Friday, November 17, 2006

Writing About the Supernatural

The supernatural, ghosts and all the howling, growling creatures have all ways enthralled me. When I was young I used to sneak downstairs to peer into the living room late at night when my mom was watching movies about mummies or those short ghost stories they used to show on T.V. I thought I was being the ultimate sneak. Now I'm sure she knew I was there and just didn't say anything. My earliest recollection of a movie was the B&W version of the Mummy.

My novel, Apparitions, was my first venture into actually writing a book length work of fiction that revolved around ghosts. Like the films of old it's very much a ghost story yet it also has a human side. For right now though we'll stick with the ghosts and their creation.

Whenever you're working with a critter that isn't known to science -- whether it be ghost, werewolf, dragon or anything in-between -- plausibility is your main obstacle. The apparitions you show must be 'real' and to be real they must have a set of rules that they abide by. Once you set these rules they shouldn't be broken.

If you've done any reading into the supernatural or the occult you'll know there are hundreds of different theories. Which do you choose, if any?

My answer -- whatever suits your fancy and your story so long as you can set the rules and maintain them throughout your story.

If at the beginning of the novel you show that a ghost cannot leave the place it is bound to then none of your ghosts can move outside of their allotted area. If they do then the reader will rightly assume that since one rule is void they all are and they may cease to believe in your ghosts.

For Apparitions I chose to follow Greer's view on ghosts for the most part. You will see however that I tainted it as well. I twisted a few rules and made their nature more sinister than he puts forth. I took a few of their known abilities and enhanced them.

Perhaps one of the oddest things I did (for me the writer) was to insert myself into a few of the ghosts' viewpoints. Now that was an eerie experience!

Whichever way you choose to work your ghosts and beasties unknown -- be very careful when deciding. Keep your plot and characters in mind at all times. Stick to your rules and let the shudders begin!

About the Author -

Raven Bower is the author of the upcoming supernatural horror novel, Apparitions (ArcheBooks March 2007)

Raven's Blog

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