Tag Archives: competitions

Ghostly goings on


Just a quicky! Might post something more later..

I’m considering entering a writing competion. More for the motivation of having to write to a deadline and theme than in any genuine belief I’ll win…but the topic is Ghost Stories.

I have a question. Does a ghost story have to have a ghost in it, or can it just be something spooky and strange? Not as in “real life” weirdness, but an alternative reality of a scary nature?

What do you think?


I did some researching and found a few definitions:

“A ghost story may be any piece of fiction, or drama, or an account of an experience, that includes a ghost, or simply takes as a premise the possibility of ghosts or characters’ belief in them. Colloquially, the term can refer to any kind of scary story. In a narrower sense, the ghost story has been developed as a short story format, within genre fiction. It is a form of supernatural fiction, and is often a horror story.” – From Wikipedia

In “Some Remarks on Ghost Stories”[3] (1929), M. R. James identifies five key features of the English ghost story, as summarized by Prof. Frank Coffman for a course in popular imaginative literature:

  • The pretense of truth
  • “A pleasing terror
  • No gratuitous bloodshed or sex
  • No “explanation of the machinery”
  • Setting: “those of the writer’s (and reader’s) own day”
Not sure that helps though!