General

Ten Fun and Spooky Activities for Writers this Halloween

It’s October! And that means that legally, we are all required to be at least 20% spookier than normal. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop writing! Here are ten fun things you can do as a writer to get into the spirit of the season.

  1. Sell your Soul in Exchange for the Ability to Write the Perfect Draft

Look OK I know this seems like a big step but think about it. You could write the perfect draft on the first go every single time. Every single time! You wouldn’t have to cut out repeated words or work out where objects are in physical space because you magically have that power! Yes, you do theoretically need your soul, but also – think of how easy the copyedit would be.

I mean I’m pretty tempted… (image: giphy.com)
  1. Summon a Ghost and Get Them to Give You Accurate Details for Your Historical Setting

We’re all busy people. Hitting the books for historical research takes time and notebook space and the prices at the library café are always marked up by a couple of quid at least. Why not take the easy way out and ask the restless dead? Will you get haunted – well, maybe a bit. But you’ll also know that your setting is on point, so swings and roundabouts.

  1. Make Out with a Vampire

They are the bad boy love interests in a solid 45% of YA novels so technically this counts as research.

  1. Predict Your Sales with a Crystal Ball

It’s totally possible to predict your sales without a crystal ball, of course, but that is a skill set I do not possess. And yes, I could learn about data and market trends and reaching new marketplaces OR – and hear me out – I could buy this crystal ball, which would also look nice on my bookshelf.

  1. Pet a Black Cat

Because he is a good boy.

SUCH a good boy.
  1. Find a Spell that will stop you getting RSI

Writing has a lot of physical effects on the body. Whether you write on a laptop or with pen and ink, you can often wind up getting some kind of hand or wrist strain and you usually end up all hunched over at some point. OK, you could just get a wrist support and make yourself a proper little writing area with a desk and a chair to help your posture, but you could also solve your problems with magic, which has never gone wrong even once.

  1. Hang Out in a Graveyard for the Aesthetic

When writers do it, it’s called “soaking up the atmosphere”. When other people do it, it’s called “loitering”. As an author, it is very important that you make this distinction clear by carrying a little notebook even if you don’t write in it and by saying the word “liminal” a lot.

  1. Learn How to Brood like the Sinister Yet Attractive Villain

Again, a very important skill. It’s important to get into the mindset of all your characters and fortunately this is an easy one to practice. You just sit in a shadowy corner or stare into the fireplace with your hands clasped behind your back, making grumpy faces until someone timidly interrupts you. Bonus points if you respond by snarling “leave me to my work” or “bring them to me” or something else equally sinister.

  1. Pet TWO Black Cats

Because they are TWO good boys.

SUCH GOOD BOYS
  1. Read from Every Spooky Tome you Find

And make sure you do it out loud. Even if it’s in Latin. They always say that the best writers are readers, anyway, and it probably won’t backfire.

General

How to Survive a Horror Novel

It’s October and you know what this means! Spooky season is upon us. But how, you may ask, are we to navigate all of the terrifying ghosts and ghouls that October has to offer? With this handy-dandy field guide, that’s how! Allow me to distract you with spooky nonsense for the next five minutes – you never know, it might come in handy.

  1. Never, ever move to a creepy old house in the middle of nowhere. I don’t care if you’ve inherited your beloved Great-Aunt Methunia’s childhood home, just burn it down, it’s riddled with ghosts.
  2. Never, ever move to a creepy little village in the middle of nowhere, we’ve all seen The Wicker Man.
  3. Always carry spare batteries for your inevitably flickering torches.
  4. CHARGE YOUR GODDAMN PHONE.
  5. If you see anything with antlers, run. I promise you it is not a deer.
  6. On that note, buy running shoes.
  7. Be intensely suspicious of people who wear all black. They are either a) witches, b) people-eating murder billionaires, or c) serial killers.
  8. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from The Mummy, it’s this: YOU MUST NOT READ FROM THE BOOK.
  1. Girls: if your boyfriend ever tries to get you to go into a spooky old house by going “Come on babe, it’ll be fun,” dump him immediately. You might be single but on the bright side, you’ve still got all your own blood.
  2. Guys: don’t be that boyfriend. I promise you, it will not be fun.
  3. Never, ever go anywhere by candlelight. You’ll just get eaten.
  4. Get one of those little torches you can wear on your head. You’ll need your hands free.
  5. If your car breaks down not two miles from a dilapidated old house with a single light in one of the windows, please, please call a taxi.
  6. Children only ever laugh for evil reasons. Also, anything they sing will be slowed way down.
  7. For some reason all teens look and sound like twenty-five year old adults. They’re teenagers, though. Fleek.
I fit right in.. (image: giphy.com)
  1. Get some throat sweets and a bottle of water, so you can deal with all the screaming.
  2. Maybe take a first-aid course too.
  3. The second the sun goes down all of your lights are going to start flickering. Learn how to change a bulb, and don’t stand flicking the same switch on and off for thirty seconds while conspicuously not looking over your shoulder.
  4. Never, ever back into a room while panting because you’re just sooooo relieved you escaped the serial killer, gonna turn around now without switching on the light, it’ll probably be fine.
  5. Learn how to get bloodstains out of your clothes. Trust me, you’ll need to know.

And there you have it! Your foolproof guide to surviving any given horror scenario. Happy spooky season and don’t get eaten, guys.