Ghost Stories and How to Write Them
Synopsis: This book is for both writers and readers of ghost stories. Kathleen McGurl has sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines, and a high proportion of them were ghostly tales. This book contains twelve of her stories, most of which were previously published in women’s magazines. Each one is used to spark off discussion topics which will help you think about what makes a successful ghost story for this market.
Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband and teenage sons. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation that no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. These days she is concentrating on longer fiction, and is currently completing her second full-length novel. She works full time in the IT industry and when she’s not writing, she’s often out running, slowly. Kath’s website is http://kathleenmcgurl.com.
I reviewed this eBook while in Chelmsford library so had no distractions other than fellow library users. This is the second ‘how to’ book I’ve read of Kath’s so I was sure I’d be in for a treat. Kath is the creator of the popular http://womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk blog so if you have an interest in writing for women’s magazines, do take a look… after you’ve read this review.
After an introduction on what makes a short story, including maths charts showing the difference between tragedy and comedy – which reminded me of my favourite movie, Stranger than Fiction – Kath talks about ghost stories for women’s magazines, and that they’re gentle, not scary. Kath explains that there are three main types of ghost story plots: 1. The ghost is the main character and solves a problem before they can rest; 2. The ghost isn’t the main character (MC) but helps the MC come to terms with a loss; 3. Stories that appear spooky but have a rational explanation. This in itself was really useful. I write very few ghost stories but I love ‘dark’ so this book might well encourage me to do so, especially as Kath’s sold most of the ghost stories she’s submitted.