Welcome Deborah Abela – 10 Top Tips for Writing a Ghost Story

The fabulous Deborah Abela has stopped by on her blog tour to celebrate the release of her latest Ghost Club book, The Haunted School.

Deborah is currently working on her third Ghost Club book, and has generously agreed to share her fabulous tips on writing a ghost story.

Ten Tips for Writing Ghost Stories

By Deborah Abela. Children’s author


1)             Write From a Point of Fascination

I’ve always been fascinated by ghosts and have really enjoyed writing four ghostly books so far. 

2) Make your Ghost Feel Real

Write about your characters as if you’ve met them.

3) Read Famous Ghost Stories

Learn from them, borrow techniques of the genre but make it uniquely your own.

4) Establish the Rules of Your Ghost Story

In The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen, (Vintage Classics) Aurelie discovers a secret about her family that has something to do with ghosts, but before I could do that, I had to work out the rules that operated in that world and stick to them, so that the story remained true.

5) Decide How Spooky Should You Be?

This will depend on the kind of story you want to write, who your audience are and being true to your characters. Ghost Club is a series aimed at 8-11 year olds and because I am essentially a coward who doesn’t like to be scared, I like to create a sense of mystery and suspense, with a smattering of comedy but pull back just before it gets too scary.

6) Wherefore Art Thou?

Work hard on the details to create the perfect setting for your story…so far in the Ghost Club series, I have set the ghostly quests in a castle, a haunted school and in a citadel in Transylvania that was frequented by Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s, Dracula. I used real facts about Vlad and the citadel to further add gravitas and authority to the story. Sometimes, though, the most usual and unfrightening settings can be scary….bedrooms late at night, a small wavering of a curtain when there isn’t a stirring of wind.

7) I’m in the Mood for a Scare

Create a sense of mystery and suspense by slowly revealing small snippets of information to the reader that will hopefully hook them in so they can’t wait to find out what happens next.

8) A Story is still a Story

…so there will need to be:

a)    Characters we are intrigued by (even if we don’t like them, we need to be keen to know what’s going to happen next)

b)    A setting that feels real

c)    A series of problems that keep your reader turning the page all the way to the exciting climax and conclusion.

9) Just Checking

Some good general questions while you’re writing are:

  • What is the story I am trying to tell?
  • Who are my characters and what’s in the way of them getting what they want?
  • What is driving the plot forward?
  • Where is my story set? Is it interesting? Does it add to the story?
  • Does it have a strong voice?
  • Does the dialogue sound real?
  • What is the X Factor about my story that makes it unique? 

10) And Finally

Just start.

Happy spooking!!

From Deb

Visit the next stop on Deborah’s blog tour:


Did you miss the previous stop? See http://fairfieldbooksonstation.wordpress.com

More information about the complete blog tour is available at the end of this post where you can also leave your comments for Deb or questions about her books/writing.

To see all the stops on the tour see http://www.DeborahAbela.com

REVIEW – GHOST CLUB – The Haunted School

I’ve always loved a good ghost story so I was looking forward to reading Deborah Abela’s new book Ghost Club: The Haunted School. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Deborah Abela lured me into the story from the first chapter, The Dead Headmistress, and the suspense just kept coming.

Ghost Club features twins Angeline and Edgar who are Ghost Catchers. Unwillingly, they become embroiled in a Senior School Experiment to conjure up the spirit of Mary Tudor. But the experiment goes horribly wrong.

Fortunately the entity seen by the students isn’t real, but the pale girl ghost in the corner is.

To make matters worse, Angeline’s worst enemy, Travis seems to know exactly what they are up to, and there’s nothing to stop him from blowing their cover..

Travis follows them when they are trying to find out more from the girl ghost, and she makes some surprising revelations.

Ghost Club: The Haunted School is the second book in the Ghost Club series for 8-12-year- olds.

Angeline and Edgar are great characters – clever and funny with their own vulnerabilities and quickly endear themselves to the reader.

You can also catch up with Deb, and find out more about her books and writing at these other great blog tour stops:






















Next week we return to our regular writing tips with a piece about How to Fix Unlikeable Characters