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Nova Weetman: Writing a Ghost Story using 3-act Film Structure Techniques

Session Info:

My background is in screenwriting. I studied it at Post-Grad level, and have written for numerous television series. I’ve also written short films, half-hour animations, and feature scripts. My YA novel The Haunting of Lily Frost is a ghost story and as such, requires certain things. Like being scary. If a ghost story isn’t scary nobody is going to read it.

In this session I talk about my own experiences writing this book – from a first draft that was very tame and quite dull to a much more scary book with genuine twists and turns, and how I came to use Hollywood film techniques to do this. I breakdown the book into a traditional 3 act structure, showing turning points, inciting incidents and how the structure works. I talk about genre techniques used in film and how they can be used successfully in writing novels. Then I talk about what scares us, and invite the students to discuss what scares them. How we use what we’re scared of when we write ghost stories.

  • What makes a good ghost story?
  • What makes us scared?
  • How do we plot and structure a ghost story?
  • How can we borrow from successful film techniques when telling a genre story?
  • Why I wrote a ghost story.

 

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