Turning Tales: The Secrets of @RTGraver

Throughout Turning Tales, we could count on @RTGraver to give us chills. He takes innocuous everyday objects like pumpkin pie or an elevator and turns them terrifying. Published in 2021, his debut novel “Succubus” is a love story between a man and a demon set in a world threatened by imminent destruction. He is now working on his second novel, a chilling survival thriller – every day for a few hours before the beginning of his shift. We asked him to share some of his writing secrets.

Here’s some sage words from @RTGraver:

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As many of the readers and fellow contributors may have noticed, I enjoy writing scary stories and subtle horror. I enjoy writing pieces that show readers that not everything has to be fear inducing in a direct way, but still leaves a bitter taste of fear when they’ve finished.

I have taken part in many writing challenges, and when I’m not taking part, or writing my own novels and stories, I enjoy keeping myself on my toes by writing ‘two sentence horror stories’. They help with the development of ideas, and are the perfect way to show that you can write something with exactly the right amount of words, even though it’s only two sentences, and it can still be scary and a complete story. Here’s an example of something that isn’t directly creepy or spooky, but is definitely scary, in a real world sense:

Another body was found at the Mount Everest Base Camp today. They’re being brought down by the melting.

It sets the tone in the first sentence, whilst giving the reader the sense of coming dread. With the second sentence, it highlights a real world issue, global warming, which by itself isn’t necessarily a scary concept, but combined with the set up of the first sentence, it really brings out the horror of the real world and the consequences of our actions as humans.

I encourage everyone to have a go, and it doesn’t have to be horror stories, it works for romance, comedy, and anything in general. It will improve your writing skills when you can cut words that aren’t needed and still be able to tell a complete story.

Many of my short story ideas have come from these two sentence ideas, on which I then develop a plot, arc and characters. You’d be surprised how much a couple of words can influence a full story in this way.

As for the sessions themselves, I have really enjoyed each week. It’s been great to see other contributors provide feedback on stories and reading other people’s works. When it comes to being a writer, it can be very lonely in your own head sometimes, and this forum has a real sense of community, not just in the sessions, but overall. I feel that every author has room to develop their craft, regardless of the genre or style they write, and that isn’t possible without the help of other people.

I know a lot of people who are scared to share their stories, for fear of ridicule or mocking, or that they simply feel that it isn’t good enough to share, or that it’s going to be too similar to something else. From first hand experience, of all of these things, I say just do it! There has been so much written in the history of the world, that chances are, yes, you’ll have read or seen something similar. But, the one thing that is different, is who writes that story. It will always be unique. Don’t be scared of writing, because everybody has their own voice. How many fantasy stories and worlds have been created? Yet, it’s one of the most popular genres that gets bought again and again and again, because readers enjoy it. So what if something you’ve written is similar to someone else’s, everyone has to get their ideas and inspiration from somewhere. You do you, and create some magic with words.


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How many two-sentence stories have come to your mind since you read the words “Mount Everest” and “melting”? If there is a story on your mind – share it below! And have you made similar experiences with getting support from other authors or do you prefer working alone?

This is the first post in a series about our winning Turning Tales authors and the secrets to their writing. Stay tuned and watch this space.

Next in this series: The Musings of @reneeschnebelinbooks.