Monday, March 19, 2007

Things That Go "Boo!" In the Night

It always comes back to the ghosts doesn't it? The only thing maybe more prevalent is next blog's topic, but let's not get into that now. As to our haunting staples they just have so much to offer. There is the instant creep factor. The stereotypical ambience surrounding them is always delightful even when it's full-on cliché—well maybe. However, what sets them apart is the sheer breadth of ways in which they can be put to use.

First and most obviously a ghost can be the focus of the story. They can be on the side of the protagonist or they can be the antagonists directly. There are those rare cases where they are the protagonist, but that is most often a secret that is revealed during the climax or somewhere in the dénouement. Other times rather than a direct involvement they can still exert huge influence on the story when they take on the role of narrator.

Ghosts can play a part as a secondary element to a story. This role can be as a distraction, as misleaders, or as a plot twist. The best twist is often of a similar vein to the role of a ghost as protagonist. Some key character just turns out to be dead. The mood and setting of the story have to be right or it comes off as silly. However, when done correctly, the big reveal can be anywhere from satisfying to downright powerful.

Putting ghosts to use as a purely mood enhancing thing is perhaps the most exciting use of them from the standpoint of having great familiarity with them, or other overexposure to those types of stories. The mood is not the only thing affected in such cases—and they are few and far between, but out there nonetheless—but also it sets certain conventions (rules) in the readers' minds, and carries other advantages of similarly definitional types.

Mood: fatigued.
Music: Loco by Coal Chamber and Twist My Sister by Murderdolls.

Coal Chamber: Coal Chamber
Buy these at Amazon.ca
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Murderdolls: Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls

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