Specter Spectacular: what makes ghost stories so intriguing?
Today we’ve opened submissions for our first anthology, Specter Spectacular: Ghostly Tales. The anthology will be ready for reading this fall — just in time for your thrilling and chilling Halloween reading pleasure!
Specter Spectacular is an an anthology just for ghosts, spirits, hauntings, specters, boggarts, poltergeists and spooky whatnots.
The spark behind the anthology came — believe it or not — from Twitter.
A tweet appeared in our feed asking for suggestions of classic ghost stories. We sat around thinking ooh! ghost stories! and ended up sending the poor fellow a half-dozen tweets with suggestions ranging from A Christmas Carol to The Haunting of Hill House to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to “Annabel Lee” — which then led us to discuss whether “ghost story” really could include a poem like “Annabel Lee” and if Poe wrote ghost stories or if they were a breed of horror that was a little less ghost-y.
In the end we decided that Poe might not write specifically about spirits, but he’s absolutely a great place from which to draw inspiration and start the discussion, because the thing that makes the classic ghost story so intriguing is the same thing that makes Poe intriguing.
There’s a lot of horror stories out there that are all blood and guts, slashers jumping out of corners, graphic “torture porn” rending flesh from the body. But there’s something great about stories that need none of that to get your blood pumping and make you nervous. In The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, for example, the characters basically see nothing the entire time, but there’s a constant feeling that there’s a presence in the house, and the result is completely unnerving for the reader.
Horror doesn’t need to be glitzy and overdone to scare someone effectively because the simple truth remains: what you can’t see is often scarier than what you can. Poe understood that, which is why his writing kept making its way back into our conversation.
That’s not to say that we’re looking to have every story in Specter Spectacular scare the pants off readers. We’re aiming for a mix of scary and funny, tragic and redemptive — because you can’t go around pants-less all the time.
Much thanks goes out to those on Twitter who helped us brainstorm anthology titles: @BCzubinski, @Dion_Scrolls, @TolSenti, @buriedhope, @DanielRDysson, and @GreenNovelist — your suggestions were mighty helpful!
If you’re interested in submitting a story for consideration check out the anthology guidelines for details; stories will be accepted now through July 7, 2012.