The Ghost Narrative: Smack Dab in the Imagination by Dia Calhoun

 Gregory Orr, in his wonderful book A Primer for Poets, talks about ghost narratives. No, these aren't Halloween stories. These are the stories lurking beneath the surface of your story. Fiction writers might call this sub-text. As a writer, this is often the part you don't know until you've written the first draft. Then you begin to see what's bubbling up.

Once you know, how much do you show? How much keep simmering? That's the trick, isn't it? How do we entice the imagination of our readers just enough to keep them engaged? How much do we leave them to co-create with us in the making of meaning?

I've realized this comes down not only to my intended audience, their age, etc., but also to how much I trust them and how much they trust me. If I've built their trust in other ways--through concrete detail, three-dimensional characters, story coherence--they'll be more likely to trust that I have indeed put some treasure under the surface that will be worth the effort to find. 


  1. I've never heard of a ghost narrative. This is fascinating!

  2. This is really interesting! I've not heard of this type of ghost stories. Thank you!


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