Horror is full of cursed mirrors, dangerous books, and creepy dolls, but some of my very favourite sinister tales feature much more surprising objects, including a saucepan, a pair of gloves, and a dinner plate.
I have a special interest in supernatural fiction by women from the early to mid 20th century; in eerie short stories by famous names like Elizabeth Bowen, Katharine Mansfield, and Edith Wharton, but also by less well-known writers like May Sinclair, Margery Lawrence, and Eleanor Scott.
All the objects above appear in their stories, often with murderous intent. Once I started looking, I found more and more examples of ordinary items with sinister or supernatural aspects. So many that the first version of the essay I wrote for Horrified Magazine on the subject was 4,000 words long.
When I started thinking about a topic for my first creative writing workshop, haunted objects seemed like the obvious choice. I thought it might be far too niche, but enough people came along for the ride that the workshop was fully booked! We had a great time looking at some different approaches authors have used to creepify everyday objects and then playing with our own ideas.
Here's a 5 min clip of me talking about what domestic horror means to me, with authentic 'ums' and 'ahs' because I didn't have any notes for this bit. That's also why everything is very 'rich'.
I'm so happy, because ever since I started writing myself I've wanted to share what I've learned with others. I get so much from the classes and workshops I attend (you can find them all on my resources page but especially the Rambo Writing Academy and Write Like A Grrrl), both practical insights and inspiration, and I love the thought of doing the same for other people.
It was slightly nerve-wracking to take the plunge, rather than waiting for the day that I finally ascend to become a Proper Writer - and presumably get some kind of coronet or at least a sash - but the group were smashing and I can't wait to do it again.
Here's the next workshop date!
- Haunted objects: a domestic horror writing workshop. Tuesday 10 January 2023, 6 - 8.30pm GMT, £5 - £20. More details and tickets here.
I've got a few other workshop ideas brewing, some based on suggestions from attendees at the first one. When they're ready I'll share details and dates for:
- Funny bones: horror and humour
- Tools for building dread
- Fantastic feelings: emotion and speculative analogy
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