For those of us who love horror, October is a wonderful month. It’s the one time of year when our morbid interests tend to be socially acceptable, and we can pretend that the faux body parts and gruesome fiction lying around our houses are part of the festivities.
It’s a time when we re-watch the classics—a few of mine include Psycho, Watcher in the Woods, Misery, and The Woman in Black—or have marathons of cult favorites like the Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Saw franchises.
We curl up in warm sweaters with hot cocoa and re-read favorite books
and legends from authors like Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, E.A. Poe,
Washington Irving, and H.P. Lovecraft. Or we venture into newly
October, for me, is about reveling in the sinister and macabre and
unknown. I adore haunted houses and ghost hunts and costume parties and
decorating. Much like my writing, those things provide ways for me to
play with ideas. They’re outlets for discovery and questioning in a fun
and non-threatening way.
Decorating, for example, is something I look forward to all year. Here’s a glimpse of our house last year:
convinced that it will either make my kids the coolest, bravest kids
ever, or it will make them serial killers. I have no idea which.
even if you’re NOT into horror, if you’re at this website, then you
likely have an interest in speculative fiction. And all people who enjoy
the speculative arts, I believe, have an edge during this time of
year—Steampunk has one of the coolest aesthetics I’ve ever seen, and it
inherently wants to reconcile the past with the future. Science Fiction
questions life, the universe, and everything that crawls from the
darkest corners of our minds and worlds. Fantasy pits good against evil
in unconventional ways. All of those are excellent fodder for
October is also the month before NaNoWriMo, which
means that many of us are trying to come up with new concepts or outline
ideas in preparation for sprinting toward the 50k word count in
So, even if you don’t love October or fall or Halloween,
find the aspects that interest you—whether it’s the cooler weather,
crisp leaves, bizarre costumes, excited children, hayrides, pumpkins, or
migratory patterns of geese—and let them inspire your creativity.
challenge you to write a small piece with as much sensory detail as you
can think of. Explain your own fears in a visceral way, or explore a
character with phobias you’ve never understood. Focus on the sights,
smells, and tastes that are unique to autumn. Empathize with a
hibernating bear. Whatever it is, let yourself feel alive through your
writing in this unique time of year.
Here are a couple of links with some really cool writing prompts that might get your creative juices flowing:
Fall Writing Prompts or Horror Writing Prompts
about you? Do you have a favorite horror book or movie? Or is there
something new you’re excited to try this year? What are your favorite
things about October?
(originally posted here.)