Of Writers and Prose: Creating a special occasion in your story.

Have I mentioned that I am in love with the world I created for my alternate reality story?

Okay, maybe a few times, but this is a place where I’ve let my imagination run wild with possibilities and mashed two genres together, or maybe three. I don’t know. Okay, let’s not call it mashing how about blending?

One reason I love this world so much is that I get to create holidays. I believe holidays are important to stories. It allows you to explore the culture you’ve created, and it can offer some wonderful opportunities for your characters to interact and reflect. Because this is an alternate reality, I chose to expand on some well-known celebrations; keeping them familiar while adding just enough of a twist that they are unique.

It sounds like a daunting task, but I made it easy for myself by jotting down a few things about the holiday that I know. For example, Halloween. First celebrated as the end of harvest and end of the year by some cultures, celebrations revolved around the finality of the growing season. The end of something scare people because they don’t know what will happen afterward, so I designed a playful ritual where a volunteer dresses up as a Banshee (or as I spell it for the novel Banshii) and is led through the parish by someone dressed as an undertaker. Children throw flowers at them as they pass by and chant a little poem. If the Banshii stops near someone, they throw several small bones, and the bones foretell the future for that person, but it’s all for fun.

I also expanded on the idea of covering mirrors. Instead, all windows and doors are covered with heavy black material, with only the homes of people who lost a loved one within the past year remaining uncovered. The idea is, that the newly departed soul returns on this day for one last visit, and might get confused as to which house they once lived in. The covered windows and doors make it easy for the spirit to find their family, and for the neighbours to show respect for the dead. I made this a very strong superstition in the story.  

Those are just small adjustments to traditions that are still widely performed. Do you put celebrations in your stories? How do you create them?

About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms of Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal is to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing, she spends her time collecting crystals, knitting, gardening, cooking and listening to very loud music.

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