Sunday, 9 February 2014

Which is your gold medal ghost story?

This blog is designed to act as a companion to our main website and will involve a weekly series of themed discussions to supplement our latest short-story call out for tales of mystery, suspense and terror inspired by, and in the style of, 19th century ghost stories. This is the second blog in the series.

The aim of these blogs is to facilitate a flow of ideas between readers and writers. So whether you’re a ghost story aficionado, a prospective author or merely curious, please have a read and share your comments! There will be a new blog posted each week throughout the submission window (1st February – 31st May 2014; further details regarding the terms and conditions for the callout can be located here). You can also follow the discussion or join in via twitter using #talesomst_CBB.

In honour of the commencement of the Sochi Olympics, this week our blog-post is suitably Olympic themed. There are hundreds of supernatural stories which have been written, but which one is your favourite? Which one is your personal gold medal winner? Which one really put the chill down your spine and made you rise from your seat to light another lamp?

As the options within this genre are so abundant, please limit your selections to stories by the main 19th century ghost story authors: M. R. James, Sheridan LeFanu or Edgar Allen Poe. Please let us know which is your favourite tale of ghoulish goodness, and why!

So to start things off, I thought I'd share my current favourite: 'Schalken the Painter' by Sheridan Le Fanu. I especially enjoy the way that Le Fanu draws the reader into this tale allowing the tension to slowly build as the story progresses. Though the writing style is descriptive, details remain limited to what is required to ensure clarity whilst allowing the readers imagination to consider horrors too dark to tell. This ensures a lasting impact when the developing tension finally reaches the climax. Terror in this tale is achieved without gore and when the story is complete, the reader is left with questions which can never be fully answered by the living. Truly a classic!

So join in and tell us which story you think is best. To offer time for reading and selection, we will aim to establish a ghost story podium by the end of the callout, May 31, to be detailed in our first blog post in June 2014.

Finally, the story 'Schalken the Painter' by Sheridan Le Fanu was inspired by art. This tale had been inspired by the atmospheric effect of artworks by the Dutch genre and portrait painter Godfried Schalcken (1643-1706).

Thus, following from this note, the theme for next week will be inspiration and ambience.
Authors: what props, if any, do you use for inspiration?
Readers: do you try to establish an ambience when settling in to read or share ghost stories?

Join us as we share our thoughts next week!

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