Monday, October 22, 2012

Who-Knows-What (October Theme) by Holly Schindler

I’ve long insisted that Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday.  “The wax lips!” I always say.  “The candy corn!  The plastic hatchets!”
           
But my Halloween love is actually about far more than that.  Just as my love of ghost / scary stories is about far more than the fake blood.  (While we’re at it, when I say I love horror stories, I’m actually more of a fan of a psychological thriller than a complete slash-and-dash bloodbath…)

It’s recently occurred to me, though, that the real reason I love Halloween is a pretty writerly one: it gives me chance to make stuff up.

Catherine Ryan Hyde smartly commented on a post here at Smack Dab that one of the biggest misconceptions about novelists is that they consistently write thinly-veiled autobiographies.  Like our own Catherine, I also write completely fictitious, invented works—none of the situations or characters featured in my books are ripped from my own life.  I get a serious kick out of making stuff up.  Creating a whole world completely of my own invention.

Yep—grape-flavored bloodshot eyeballs will always have an incredible amount of charm.  But even when I was little, the costumes were what I loved most about Halloween.  I loved figuring out—usually by mid-summer—how I was going to dress up.  And I don’t really mean that I looked forward to being someone other than me.  I mean I loved figuring out how to create a mummy or hobo or bobby-soxer.  (Only one year in all of the—ahem—fourteen that I trick-or-treated did I have a store-bought costume.  Looking back, it was by far my least favorite.)  I loved the getting-to-make-it-up.

But that’s what we get to do every day as writers.  On the page, we get to dress up and become a fictional “I.”  We get to look at the world through someone else’s eyes.  We get to invent. 

Ditto for the horror flicks.  I’m a complete sucker for the tension-filled scenes you know so well: the protagonist is standing on one side of the door; a strange noise has just erupted on the other.  The protagonist begins to breathe hard, slowly reaching for the doorknob.  At this point, my mind always goes into overdrive as I imagine what is on the opposite side of that door. 

Again, as is the case with Halloween, I get to make it all up.  Until the opposite-side-of-the-door is revealed, of course.  But I love those who-know-what’ll-happen-next moments.

…I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to be yet this year, what I’m going to wear to greet the trick-or-treaters who will ring my bell.  Right now, I’m having too much fun imagining the possibilities, making up a hundred different scenarios, imagining this year’s who-knows-what.

4 comments:

  1. You *must* post a photo after H'ween!

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  2. I love writing suspense, too - so fun to imagine all of the possibilities! And yes, please post a pic of your Halloween get-up. I'm thinking of being 'crazy author at the bookstore who forces everyone to buy her book.'

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  3. Love that costume idea, Trudi! And I will definitely be posting some post-Halloween pics (enter demonic laughter here)...

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  4. It's my fave holiday too, Holly! I love getting all creative! And I second the photo! Looking forward to see what you come up with this year. :)

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