I am currently working on my book of Ghost Stories and I figure that this is the best time of the year to write them. I admit that I have had a hard time before the holidays had begun to put my words on paper. There seems to be an endless list of things to do and people to see, although I do admit that Ellen does most of the work, she being the more social of the two of us. I'm the designated musician in charge of playing the Christmas tunes (Which I completely abandon Christmas Day).
Okay, let's get down to business. Writing is not something that comes easy to me. Of course, as many of you have found, it is easy to have an idea but much more difficult to implement. Few of us have the ability to write anything good off the cuff, so to speak. How do I write?
This works for me:
1) I make an outline. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just jot down a possible title for your story, pick a location, characters ( just a few if you are writing a short story), and a simple plot. Don't get too complicated in your outline. You can make changes later.
2) Research your story. If you haven't figured it out already, the Internet is the best source of information that you can find. Location, History, People's traditions etc. must be accurate to give a true feeling of "being there" to the reader. Take notes on anything that you find odd or unusual. I picked up a book on Strange England for 30 cents. It is filled with the beliefs, superstitions, folklore, and history of the English people. They are considered to be among the most eccentric (and interesting) people in the world. What a find!
3) Find a quiet place to work. I need total silence to think while I am creating. I can have noise while I am illustrating, but not when I am writing. Few have that talent!
4) Set a time for writing and stick to it. You alone know your schedule. Want to be a writer? It's a job that you will love if you really love to write. NO EXCUSES!
Well, these are things that work for me. Now to create a spooky atmosphere, I close my eyes and imagine being in a setting that I remember as a child walking among the gravestones in the local cemetery which lay a block away from my childhood home. I would look at the dates on the headstones and try to imagine what the people looked like, how they sounded, and what their dreams may have been. What time of year would a ghost most likely speak with you? That's up to you, but I figure that they get bored in the winter time and would love some company!
Comments? I would love to hear from you. - T.R.