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How to trigger a horror writer – Learn more about TheLadyInBlack09’s writing process!

NoInk   |   25 May 2020


The story behind the suspense plots from Ma. Ana Theresa Cruzate

Female writers are mostly thought of to be writing only cute scenes that will make their writers fall in love. This is why when we hear a female author in other story genres like action or horror, sometimes we find it astonishing. The same experience goes with Ma. Ana Theresa Cruzate, or also known as TheLadyInBlack09. Started from online writing and reading platforms, she has become a household name for every local literature fans because of her extraordinary skills in telling spine-chilling tales.



When asked about the history of her author pen name, a simple explanation was given to us by Ana. She says, and we quote, Lady kasi, medyo babae ako. Hahaha the 09 came from my birthday na October 9 and the black naman sa pen name ko, obviously... Sobrang love ko ang black color. Hindi ako comfortable kapag walang touch ng kahit na Anong black ang gamit o damit ko. Kaya do'n nabuo ang TheLadyInBlack09.”


Moving forward with our interview, we asked her more about her writing. We first asked her how was she able to determine her writing genre, which is horror. She explained that she first experimented with different genres and even tried mixing suspense, thriller, and horror. When she was able to conclude that her readers like the horror stories better, she decided to stick with the genre, which grew on her.


Meanwhile, when asked about her “enemy” genre, she’d go for Science Fiction. She reasons out, Kasi kahit fiction pa rin siya, dapat medyo mas makatotohanan compare sa mga sinusulat ko. Sa genre ko kasi na horror/suspense, I can create my own world. Ako masusunod sa lahat. Pero sa Science Fiction, dapat halos lahat valid may valid explanation.”


What’s interesting in TheLadyInBlack09’s writing is her “trigger point” to start writing. For her, a plot or ending she doesn’t prefer makes her write because she wants to have her own version – a version that is more thrilling for her.


Diving further to her writing and her writing process, she confesses to have a schedule for it. According to her, she tries her best to follow this schedule even during her lazy days. Her schedule follows her outline of the story to avoid scattering the ideas all over the place.


When asked how to make sure she writes original stories, Ana tells, “I love to read books kasi, lalo na suspense/horror ang genre. Kaya nako-compare ko ‘yung mga sinusulat ko sa mga nababasa or napapanood ko na movie, ‘May ganitong scene na bang nasulat?’ ‘May ganitong story na ba?’ etc. Sabi nila, halos lahat naman daw ng story, naisulat na. Nasa writer na lang kung paano niya gagawing kakaiba ang isang normal na story. So sa version ng story na sinusulat ko, mas gagawin kong twisted ang plot lalo na ang ending.”

Lastly, as a writer, she dreams about joining the Palanca Awards. She wants to take it step by step by first having the courage to join. For her, submitting a story to the Palanca Awards is already an achievement because she struggles to write something for it. We’ll definitely look out for it!



TheLadyInBlack09’s writing tips


We also asked our featured author to share some writing tips to us and we quote her, word by word! Enjoy!


  • Read books. May mga writer akong nakikilala na nakakapagsulat ng stories kahit hindi sila mahilig magbasa but personally, ‘yong pagbabasa ko kasi ng books and naging workshop ko para makapagsulat. In-adapt ko ang way ng pagsusulat ng mga writer na kilala and gumawa ako ng sariling style para sa pangalan ko. Kaya by reading, marami kang matututunan.


  • Make an Outline for your story. Not necessarily na detailed ang outline. Pwedeng bulleted form siya and each bullet has the keyword ng next scene na isusulat mo para hindi ka maligaw. Kapag sa middle ng pagsusulat mo, may biglang pumasok na bagong idea sa on going story mo, you can still edit the original outline.


  • Publish your work online. Marami ng writing platform ang pwedeng gamitin para may ibang makabasa ng mga sinusulat natin. Best example ang NoInk. By publishing your works online, hindi lang readers and mage-gain mo. Pwede ka rin magkaro’n ng ibang mga friends na makakatulong na ma-improve ang pagsusulat mo.


  • Write a lot and get critiqued occasionally. Hindi kasi pwedeng tayo at tayo lang ang magbabasa o magki-critique ng sinusulat natin. Pwedeng mapansin natin ang pagkakaiba-iba ng way ng pagsusulat natin but still, mas okay na makakuha tayo ng critique from different people. Kaya may mga writing platform na pwede nating gamitin para mas mag-improve tayo as a writer. Dapat din open tayo sa mga critique na ibibigay nila. Hindi palaging sa positive side lang tayo naka-focus. 


  • Make a schedule time to write. Minsan mahirap ‘to. Kasi ang mood natin, hindi naman sumusunod. Pero kailangan kasi na i-practice natin ang sarili natin na sumunod sa schedule na ginawa natin sa pagsusulat. Para hindi nasasayang ang oras. 


  • Be humble. Take advice. Be teachable. Karamihan sa mga aspiring writer na nakikilala ko, Introvert. Kaya mas gusto nilang tinatago na lang ang mga works nila. Pero paano tayo matututo kung hindi natin ipapabasa ‘yon sa ibang tao? Kailangan nating lumabas ng comfort zone natin kahit minsan nakakatakot. Eventually, mag-eenjoy din tayo kapag naka-receive na tayo ng mga positive and negative feedbacks.


  • Take an ordinary situation and create something horrifying. ‘Yong akala mo normal na scenario lang pero lalagyan mo ng something eerie o katatakutan. ‘Yong mga ordinary situation na pwedeng mangyari rin sa ibang tao. Para kapag nabasa nila, mai-imagine nila, paano kung sa kanila mangyari ‘yon? ANong mararamdaman nila? Matatakot ba? O kakabahan? 


  • Use setting to limit or trap your characters in the story. Think a confined space like a cellar, coffin abandoned hospital na sa tingin mo pwedeng makapanakot sa mga readers mo kapag sila na ang nasa gano’ng situation.


Grab a copy of her book “Tell Me How You Want To Die” under ABS-CBN Books! Here’s a short summary of this read:


This story has just a simple game.


How to play?


Kapag tumapat sa iyo ang bote, kailangan mo lang sagutin ang tanong sa laro na… “Ikaw? Paano mo gustong mamatay?” At pagkatapos, mamamatay ka na… Sa paraang gusto mo.


Ang simple ‘di ba? So, ano? Handa ka na ba? Sigurado ka ba na gusto mong sumali sa larong ito? Napag-isipan mo na bang mabuti? Nang malalim? Nang paulit-ulit? Kaya mo na bang sagutin ang tanong na, “Ikaw? Paano mo gustong mamatay?”





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