Friday, 28 October 2016

BOOK TALK | Elements of Ghost Stories


I don't know about you, but during the autumn and winter I find myself reading more and more ghost stories - cosying down with blankets, a hot drink, and ghost story in hand is one of my favourite ways to spend the longer, darker nights. I've read a few ghost stories recently, and it got me thinking about the elements within ghost stories that really make the story for me, and today I thought I'd talk about them.

| ALLURE OF A GHOST |
Although I've read, and enjoyed, many ghost stories with the actual physical presence of a ghost, I find that just the allure of a ghostly being to be a lot more frightening than a physical being. The unknown, and your own imagination, can be quite a terrifying thing.

| A HAUNTED BUILDING |
I'm sure we've all read a ghost story that features a haunted building or house of some kind, in fact it's quite a cliché within the genre really, but I love a foreboding building that turns out to be haunted. I think the setting itself really lends to the story, and done in the right way, often a haunted house can be a character in its own right.

| OLDER TIME PERIOD |
When it comes to the time period of a ghost story, I find books set during olden time periods - especially the Victorian time period - tend to be a little creepier than reading books set during a modern age.

| SETTING DURING A/W |
The seasonal setting really sets the tone for a ghost story - I mean, how many ghost stories have read that took place during a summer heatwave?! The colder, darker months are the perfect backdrop for a ghost story, and often the chillier weather elements only add to the atmosphere enveloping you whilst reading.

| ATMOSPHERE |
Speaking of atmosphere, I think it's important to build up a chilling atmosphere through words and unfolding story - often a mysterious writing style can do this, as well as the setting of the story, and the feeling of a build up to an event.

| NARRATED |
Having read a good number of ghost stories during my lifetime, I've read ghost stories told from varying points of view, however when a ghost story is being narrated to someone else, or being told in first person after the fact, I instantly find that chilling. I think it's something to do with the fact that I know something sinister is to come, and I'm trying to figure it out along the way.

| SPINE CHILLING |
I want chills whilst reading a ghost story. I want that hair standing on end feeling. I want to feel so creeped out that I'm looking around myself and surroundings feeling suspicious, as if someone is watching me.

ARE YOU A FAN OF GHOST STORIES? WHAT ELEMENTS MAKE A GHOST STORY FOR YOU?

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6 comments

  1. I love ghost stories. For me, it’s all about the atmosphere, pacing, and plot. I like my scary stories to be fast-paced and unpredictable.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I definitely understand why you enjoy your scary stories that way!

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  2. I don't read a lot of ghost stories as I'm a bit of wimp! But I do really get the allure of a ghost and know just what you mean about that. That is why they scare me! And so true about the Autumn setting I've never thought about that before!

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    1. Haha! I know ghost stories aren't for everyone! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Trish :-)

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  3. I will be on the lookout for these elements as I read the Roald Dahl collection! They all do make perfect sense for an effective ghost story. I think so many of these are present in spooky or gothic tales without us even really thinking about it, but it all adds up :)

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    1. So true, Christine - I hope you're enjoy the Roald Dahl collection!

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