Ghost Story with Explanation


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Thread: Ghost Story with Explanation

  1. #1

    Ghost Story with Explanation

    Are there any examples of ghost/horror stories where the reader is given an explanation of all the phenomena that have occurred? I'm thinking that it could make for quite an interesting structure. The idea would be not to give the reader the explanation as the story goes along as that would then not be scary, but to have the story in two parts, the first being the ghost story where lots of scary things are happening, and the second the view from another perspective where everything that has happened now makes sense. It seems quite appealing to me. Can I do that?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Escribo View Post
    Are there any examples of ghost/horror stories where the reader is given an explanation of all the phenomena that have occurred? I'm thinking that it could make for quite an interesting structure. The idea would be not to give the reader the explanation as the story goes along as that would then not be scary, but to have the story in two parts, the first being the ghost story where lots of scary things are happening, and the second the view from another perspective where everything that has happened now makes sense. It seems quite appealing to me. Can I do that?
    You can write whatever you like because it's YOUR novel.

    IMO there are too many cookie-cutter books out there. As an avid reader I get tired of reading the same plots over and over ad nauseam, so please, give us something new.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Escribo View Post
    Are there any examples of ghost/horror stories where the reader is given an explanation of all the phenomena that have occurred? I'm thinking that it could make for quite an interesting structure. The idea would be not to give the reader the explanation as the story goes along as that would then not be scary, but to have the story in two parts, the first being the ghost story where lots of scary things are happening, and the second the view from another perspective where everything that has happened now makes sense. It seems quite appealing to me. Can I do that?
    Yeah, I think you can definitely do that! It's good to try anything different that comes to mind

  4. #4
    OK thanks, will do. My book will be too short if I don't do it anyway. But I'm surprised that I can't think of any examples of it being done before.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Escribo View Post
    Are there any examples of ghost/horror stories where the reader is given an explanation of all the phenomena that have occurred? I'm thinking that it could make for quite an interesting structure. The idea would be not to give the reader the explanation as the story goes along as that would then not be scary, but to have the story in two parts, the first being the ghost story where lots of scary things are happening, and the second the view from another perspective where everything that has happened now makes sense. It seems quite appealing to me. Can I do that?
    It sounds like you're writing a metaphysical mystery. Mystery writers commonly do just what you're asking about. We see the events play out, then at the end the author drops them all into perspective so the reader sees what really happened. Classically, it's the "Detective gathers all the suspects" scene.

    There is a now out of production show called "Hustle" which did the same thing with con games. The stars were a group of con artists who preyed upon unlikeable people. The writers were clever about making it look like things were going very wrong at times in each con, but it always turned out to be part of the con. At the end of each show, a series of cut scenes would reveal "what really happened".

    Not only do I think you CAN do it, I believe authors owe it to the reader. It proves the author thought out the story behind the curtain and didn't cheat. Anyone could write a sequence of scary things to disturb the reader. The clever writer is going to know how and why the scary things happened, tie them all together, and eventually prove to the reader how clever the writer is.

  6. #6
    It could work. Certainly worth testing it out in a first draft.

  7. #7
    I'm sure it can be done. Personally, as a reader, I prefer it when not every incident is accounted for. I even remember this at the level of Scooby-doo cartoons when the explanations came at the end - there were often one or two items that were never explained adequately.
    It can leave the reader (or viewer) with 'But what about ...?' type questions. This can make the story stronger, and leave it open for a sequel.


  8. #8
    You could do the classic final chapter reveal. This has been done by everyone from Agatha Christie to Scooby Doo. Literally thousands of examples. For a ghost story, this probably works best if you have a likable character in the story treating the haunting as a mystery to be solved. That way the reader can expect that there will be some resolution, which builds tension (i.e. the final reveal doesn't come out of nowhere).

    Alternatively, you could divide the story into equal halves, where the second half is a long journey of explanation. This won't hold the reader's attention if it's just explaining how the events of the first half took place. It should add new emotional dimensions to the story. Important scenes of the first half should have entirely new meanings in light of the second half. For example, the ghost that appears to be tormenting characters in the first half is revealed to be protecting them from various dangers in the second half, while we slowly learn why the ghost is helping them in the first place. Play around with it and see if you discover any fun ideas rattling around in your subconscious.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Escribo View Post
    OK thanks, will do. My book will be too short if I don't do it anyway. But I'm surprised that I can't think of any examples of it being done before.
    I would take that as a good thing! I love the idea, I thinks it's original and exactly the type of thing that would be popular today. Especially with all the move towards more realistic shows. It sounds like something that Netfix would pick up for script.
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  10. #10
    I find people like it when I explain my paranormal elements.

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