Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween For Writers

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

Happy Halloween!  Our home was bustling with all kinds of creepy excitement this morning as my kids went through their morning routines (on less than their usual amount of sleep since we stayed up late to watch our favorite baseball team—The Boston Red Sox—WIN THE WORLD SERIES against St. Louis last evening) loaded with ideas on how tonight would be their best ever Halloween.

I’ve got to be honest—I’ve never really been a “Halloween” person.  Though autumn is the richest and most sensual season of them all to me, I’m just not smitten by ghouls, goblins and everything else “Halloween”.   My 8 kids, however, are so because of their steadfast enthusiasm, I always jump on board each year with frighteningly, festive decorations, ghoulishly sweet treats, and of course—anything goes on Halloween—“tricks and treats”, lots of pumpkin carving, and yes—delicious candy.

What I do love about Halloween is the opportunity it presents to dive into a genre I normally tend to shy away from—horror! 

For starters, let me share that one of my favorite writing books is On Writing, by best-selling author, Stephen King.  (Thank you to my blog partner Kate for recommending and giving me my treasured copy of this book!).  While some of his guidance is not exactly revolutionary (he recommends The Elements of Style as a must-have reference), other revelations that vindicate authors of popular fiction, like himself, as writers, such as his preference for stressing character and situation over plot, are engrossing. He also offers plenty of commonsense advice on how to organize a work space and structure one's day. (Truly priceless)  King's strongest recommendation, however, is that writers must be readers so today I’m going to share a list of some “Halloween worthy” books that my kids and I have enjoyed over the years.

Ghost by Katherine Ramsland   With the same open and personal style that won her much praise for Piercing the Darkness, bestelling author, Katherine Ramsland turns her keen and curious eye to the phenomenon of ghosts to uncover the truth behind a number of supernatural sightings.  On the track of an authentic “haunting” she encounters psychics, shamans, voodoo practitioners, and high-tech ghost hunters eager to reveal how to contact spirits.  But it’s the author’s daring experiments that penetrate her inspired paranormal investigations worldwide making this such an interesting read.

Confessions of a Werewolf Supermodel by Ronda Thompson is another eerie favorite in our family.  Supermodel Lou Kipinski seems to have it all, but as we find out early on, beauty is only skin deep—and sometimes Lou’s porcelain complextion can get a bit hairy!  A fun and timely read during the Halloween season.

The Shining by Stephen King.  No Halloween would be complete without the nail biting read—The ShiningThe Shining is probably his best known novel and of the first twenty or so novels that King wrote, and it seems to me the one he wrote at his happiest. He wrote part of it at the Stanley Hotel near Estes Park, Colorado—a place near to my heart because we adopted our oldest daughter nearby in Colorado 20 years ago! Compared to The Dead Zone, Cujo, Pet Semetary, Misery it just seems like a book he enjoyed writing more than any of the other early works. The irony is that The Shining has become synonymous with horror fiction.

And that's the way The Shining works on you. Jack Torrance is a flawed man with a drinking problem, a violent temper, but a sense of humor and a genuine love for his wife and child. He's a guy we want to root for! And that's why his descent into madness is so powerful. (and so chilling) To some degree, we all can relate to him.

How does Halloween influence your writing?  Or is there a particular horror novel that makes your skin crawl and your writing juices flow?

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