Writing a Ghost Story During the Dog Days of Summer

Firstly, the big writing news of the month is that I’ve had four new pieces accepted. They’ll be out later in the summer and early fall. They’re short, quirky little stories, although one does contain the blueprint of a character and tone that I may one day expand upon.


In other news, it’s hot out.


The fans are blowing. There is air conditioning if I chose to use it, but it is hot out. And sunny. Of course it is. It’s summer after all, and it’s only going to get hotter. Naturally, this means it’s the perfect time to write a ghost story.


Confession time: I have never actually written a proper ghost story before, and I’m not entirely certain that I’m writing one now. That was the intention, certainly, but stories shift and morph. And, in all honesty, ghost stories have never been part of my wheelhouse. This is an odd statement given that I have read Sheridan Le Fanu, Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James, Henry James, Ambrose Bierce, and even dipped my toes into William Hope Hodgson. Just this month I added Susan Hill to my roster. In short, I have read a good amount of ghost stories, but it’s not a genre I’ve ever attempted myself.


But here I am, in the summer, trying to put spooky ghosts and family secrets to paper. I’m on familiar ground with secrets and even claustrophobic houses, but for some reason, the ghosts are just a little outside my comfort zone. It’s an interesting exercise at least, and brings up interesting questions about just what my wheelhouse actually entails, since ghost stories are close but not quite right. Questions for another day. The question of the day is with only three characters, why is it so hard to find something for one of them to do?!



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