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Horror and fantasy are a perfect combination of genres for a dark, twisted and imaginative tale to take place. Cliff McNish is an author who has written many books of these genres, books such as Doomspell. However, it is not only the stories that he writes that can fascinate and inspire young writers—it’s the story of how he became an author.

During his talk in the FLY festival 2017, McNish gave the audience an insight into the inspirations for his books and what prompted him to become an author. The reason he started telling stories was so that he could stay in contact with his daughter; his first book Doomspell was in fact created because of her interest in witches. McNish described to the audience the struggles of starting a story. When he started writing, the story evolved from a couple pages (his initial intention) to an entire book. What’s so intriguing about this book’s development is that it was like a discovery for McNish…when he started facing criticism for his book, he gradually learned that from criticism, one can improve. At the end, he gave a writer’s tip on story development: always think of how it can get worse for a character before it gets better. This way, a character’s struggle can seem more real before they begin to overcome their problems (or seem more tragic in a tragedy story).

Cliff McNish’s stories are perfect for sending chills up one’s spine. His story of becoming an author can be seen as an inspiration for all writers.

By Samar Kiani.