My New Year’s resolutions were: Be more honest, and make this the year you try in earnest to start the process of being a writer!

Well, to start that off I entered two short story competitions in January: a flash fiction for www.theghoststory.com and a short story for www.thefictiondesk.com. The Ghost Story gives an opportunity for writers to submit unashamedly supernatural and uncanny writing, and the Fiction Desk needs no summary from me!

I never saw myself as a writer of ghost stories or supernatural fiction. I mostly read literary fiction and dramas; my “first” novel (which is way on the backest of burners) was a historical/fantasy novel about trauma, and the current one I am writing is about university graduates living in a suburb of Leeds.

However, often when I write short stories I find myself writing about ghosts or the supernatural. Why? I think that the answer for this is that ghosts and other spirits can operate almost unseen inside places. They are inextricably linked to places, and have a perspective on them that we do not.

I enjoy writing about place, and have been luck enough to travel to lots of interesting ones. My first holiday with my fiancee was to a frozen Amsterdam and was also my first ghost story – a boy and a girl in a vast Gormenghast style apartment block.

The story I submitted to the Fiction Desk was about Paris and a man who, attempting to understand the city finds himself in trouble with the spirits of an ancient cemetery. Then my flash fiction submission for The Ghost Story was based on my New Year’s in Shanghai, the history I saw there and a visit from a vengeful goddess.

 

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A view from The Bund in Shanghai – last year about thirty people died here in a crush of sightseers

 

All places in my mind are tinged with a sense of loss and regret, there is often a potential edge of danger pulsing razor edged beneath the surface. For me, I think that ghost stories have a potential to peer through the surface a bit more and see the make up of the shifting something beneath.

I’m off to Hong Kong in a couple of days time, I wonder if any inspiration will come to me there?

Thanks for reading, if you have any thoughts about being inspired by places, or why we write ghost stories then leave a comment! Also, if any of my old (and surprisingly loyal) followers are back again, thank you so much!

Jonathan

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A Theme Park in Chongqing called “Foreigner’s Street”, prizes for best interpretation.
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