Last week, I learned that my narrative poem, “Orchard #9,” was accepted for publication by Coffin Bell for January 2019. This poem features a romp through a haunted cherry orchard and an encounter with a waif-sprite with a fondness for sweet cherries.
With 100 lines, “Orchard #9” is much longer than most poems, so I’m very fortunate (and so grateful!) that a journal would make a home for it. It helped that Coffin Bell seeks writing that explores dark themes, as they say, outside traditional horror. For their next issue, they’re seeking tales of magic. Might you have a story to share?
This is a time of revision as well as creation for me. I’ve been writing a couple of spooky stories that have been haunting my brain for some time. It feels good to liberate these “ghosts!”
There are plenty of stories dwelling in the rational already. Why not push the boundaries and write about the unexplained? Your story doesn’t have to be about ghosts; it can be about the day your GPS led you to take a wrong turn that resulted in an unexpected adventure. The day that a fortune cookie turned out to be oddly prescient. Or how you meet a stranger who seems to be someone you knew before.
Turn to the masters for inspiration. “Cara” by Georgia Panghorn and “The Ghostly Rental” by Henry James are older works that I recently discovered and enjoyed. More recent writers include Shirley Jackson (“The Daemon Lover” and “The Beautiful Stranger”) and William Trevor, who also wrote his share of spooky stories (“The Raising of Elvira Tremlett” and “The Love of a Good Woman” for example). And, of course, anything by Edgar Allan Poe. I’ve always loved “The Black Cat.”
There’s also a host of contemporary writers you can find in journals like Coffin Bell who focus on the supernatural and the mysterious. Check out Volume 1, Issue 3 for great stories by Michael Grantham, Tihana Romanić, Katrina Hays, and much more.
And then write your own! So, when you see all those enticing calls for “spooky stories” around Halloween (or beyond), you’ll be ready. It will be as if you dreamed it. 😉