Happy Halloween, Scriblings!


PJ here.  To top off our spooky week on All Soul’s day, I’d like to welcome our fabulous final guest, Fran Friel. Take it away Fran!

Inspiration and a Hubby Chat

As proof that inspiration can be found anywhere, I submit the hubby chat.  The other night, my hubby and I were talking about the TV show, Vampire Diaries.  For the most part, he ignores it when it’s on, but in a moment of unguarded interest (I know he’s actually watching from the corner of his eye), he asked me about the werewolves in the show.  “Are they suppose to be stronger than the vampires?”  I wasn’t sure, in fact I suspect it depends on what the script writer’s plot needs are for any given episode.  As if on cue, our cat yawned, and that girl has some serious fangs. 

This lead us to a discussion about Vamp Cats (and yes, we have the oddest conversations), then on to even more fanciful speculation concerning the efficacy of Vamp Turtles or a Vamp Cows.  Nah, I thought, too slow, too cumbersome.


But then, my husband, whom is widely read in genre fiction and graphic novels, said, “Fran, it’s already been done.”  No way.  But after a quick web search, he produced the evidence—Hellcow. http://geek-news.mtv.com/2011/02/24/the-10-best-vampires-in-comics Ikid you not.


What’s the point of all this, you ask?  Well, when the Seven Scribes honored me with the opportunity to write their Halloween blog, I was looking for inspiration.  What could be more inspiring than Hellcow?  And what does Hellcow have to teach us about writing?  The art of reinvention.


The Challenge of Reinvention

The Hellcow source was an MTV Geek article on  “The 10 Best Vampires in Comics.” http://geek-news.mtv.com/2011/02/24/the-10-best-vampires-in-comics/ Take a look at the link—quite a diverse list.  Or you only have to go as far as Twilight, The Vampire Lestat, True Blood, Plain Fear: Forsaken (Amish Vamp from yesterday’s blog) and scores of other vamp stories to see the variations on a theme.  Some writers will shy away from writing about a familiar subject, because “it’s already been done,” but as the vampire theme shows us, it can be done again…and again. 


So I’m setting a Halloween challenge for you to exercise your writing muscles by using an old theme and reinventing it in your own unique way (in any genre).  Here are a few suggestions to start you off:

 Choose a common topic, but be sure it’s one that has a spark for you

 In the spirit of the day, Halloween themes like ghosts, witches, zombies, etc. are great.  And with the winter holidays soon upon us, you could rewrite the Thanksgiving story or Santa’s tale.  Or how about pirates, cowboys and aliens?  Childhood characters like the tooth fairy, or the boogie man are in serious need of some new digs.  Basically, anything that gives you that little zing of inspiration is game.  Even common everyday items can be fun.  I once wrote a story about homicidal dust bunnies, and another about demonic spuds!  And yes, they were both published.

 Turn Left Instead of Right

 Writing teacher, Terri Brown-Davidson, gave me a suggestion I’ve never forgotten., “When you want to go right, try turning left and see what happens.”  As writers, we can get into a rut of comfort or predictability, so as an exercise in the process of reinvention, do the opposite of what you might feel safe doing.  Give your story and your characters some unpredictability by challenging yourself to go where you might not normally tread.  A little discomfort for a writer can create exciting results.

 Be Brave

 You’ve heard the saying, “Dance as if no one is watching.”  Well, do the same with your writing (at least your first draft)–write as if no one but you will read what you’ve written.  Be fearless, and write to entertain, intrigue, or scare yourself.  Not worrying about what anyone else will think is very freeing.  If it turns out to be brilliant, then you can always share later.  But for now, this work is for your eyes only!

 New Life

Just like Frankenstein returning to life or a vampire being reborn as the undead, the exercise of reinventing old themes can really get the creative juices flowing.  If you seek to be brave and step beyond your comfort zone, turning left instead of right down the old worn path, you may find that reinvention extends beyond the story and into your broader writing life.  Staying fresh and challenging yourself to expand your reach as a writer is important to the longevity of your career (and your sanity).  Give it a try and let me know how it goes.  Remember, someone actually wrote a story about a Hellcow and got published.  You too can reinvent the impossible!

 Happy Halloween, have a wonderful All Souls Day, and Happy Writing!  

 Fran Friel is a two-time Bram Stoker Award Finalist, winner of the Black Quill Award and former editor at Dark Recesses Press.  Her short story collection, Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales, and her novella, Beach of Dreams, are available at Amazon and Apex Book Company.  Look for her novella, Grid Walker, in the upcoming anthology, Barbers and Beauties, from editor Michael Knost.  You can find Fran at Facebook, Twitter, Fran Friel’s Yada Feast.

Thanks for being here, Fran. Love the cat fangs! Anyone want to jump in and tell us what creative re-inventions you’re working on?


20 thoughts on “Happy Halloween, Scriblings!”

  1. Thanks so much for having me, Scribes. It was a blast…as well as an Alfred the Nasty Snow Storm challenge. Writing is an exciting sport sometimes.

    Paula, thanks so much for getting the blog together under less than perfect conditions!


  2. Happy to have you here Fran. Great ideas about ressurecting old stories and making them new. I’ve seen this trend growing, especially in the YA genre. It’s fun to see what new twists writers come up with. I love the writing exercise! Thanks.

  3. Thanks for stopping by the Scribes today, Fran! I love your enthusiasm and creativity. And Hellcow. What can I say about that except it’s inspired stuff. Your post actually comes at a perfect time for those of us who are embarking on the National Novel Writing Month challenge (www.nanowrimo.org). Getting out of your comfort zone, getting words however imperfect on the page, and letting our creativity loose for 30 days — now that’s freeing and exhilarating! And speaking of exhilarating, I am one of those Nutmeggers who is without heat and power, so I had a bracing cold shampoo this morning! Once I get home this evening I will be beginning my NaNo work the old fashioned way: writing by hand and warming my chilled, ink-stained fingers over the flame of a candle. It’s almost a shame I don’t have some foolscap and a quill pen. Almost.

  4. Hi Fran, Great to see you here. I love the Hellcow! OMG too much! I was one of those down and out with no power (or internet) and we missed Halloween this year 😦 Was delighted to get over to my cousin’s where there is power and read this post. I am addicted to Vampire Diaries and can tell you, the bite of a werewolf will kill a vampire. Right now, one of the vampires is trying to create a hybred werewolf that is also a vampire (don’t ask). I only allow myself to watch 2 tv shows and Vampire Diaries is one of them. When did vampires become so HOT! I’m just sayin’.

  5. Jane – So sorry to hear about the power. Crazy stuff going on here in CT this year. And bravo for your NaNoWriMo endeavor going forward by candlelight. It’s sure to change the tone of your work to one with a nice warm glow…or a creepy one. 😉

    It’s love to be here. Thank you for having me.

  6. Gerri! Hey, lady. So great to hear from you. Sorry about the power–never a fun thing. As for Vampire Diaries, I too am a fan…and the whole hybrid concept is mad-crazy. I knew that Werewolves could kill vamps with a bite, but I’m not sure about the power/strength thing. It seems to vary from episode to episode, but heck, I’m still hooked. And the hot thing–oh, yes. I believe it may have started in earnest with Anne Rice’s book, The Vampire Lestat. Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise had a hand in that, as well, I think.

    Hey, if you need a place to watch the Vamp Diaries this week, come on over! 🙂

    Hope you all get power back soon, soon, soon!

    1. Hey Fran, Our Power just came on so I will get to see my boys on Diaries. I’m smitten with Damon and I need my fix every week. I’m such a sucker for dark hair and blue eyes … melt me! Hope to see you soon, my friend.

  7. Fran–we loved having you here and will reserve the right to repost your blog again in the future when half of our audience isn’t in cyber no-man’s land.

    Thank you so much!

  8. Gerri – So glad the power is back on. Damon will be waiting… 😉

    Paul – It was my pleasure to visit with you and the gang. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

    Halloween Hugs!

  9. Hi Fran. Sorry to come a bit late. Though I’ve heard what you’ve said before you can never hear them enough because the info creeps to the back of the mind. Thanks for bringing it back to the forefront.

  10. Sorry for coming to this a bit late. Though I’ve heard what you said before you, can never hear it enough because the info over time creeps to the back of the mind. Thanks for bringing it to the forefront.

  11. Debbie wanted to comment and asked me to relay the message,

    Sorry to get to this a bit late, Fran. Though I’ve heard what you said before, it helps to hear it again because after a while the info creeps into the back of the mind. Thanks for bringing it up to the forefront.

    1. Debbie – Thanks so much. I’m the same way with the brain info creep situation. If only we could find a way to make brain post-its! 🙂

      Paul – Thank you for relaying the message.

      Wishing you both a marvelous day!

      1. Then I’m the princess, Fran. It was Donna who wanted to leave a comment, not Debbie…ooops.

        My best friend called me Paul when we were growing up. She still does occasionally. You made me think of her, but we don’t want to confuse our readers now, do we?

  12. I am so happy that I got a chance to jump on here and read your post, Fran. it was great! I’m so happy to have you here and I love your cat’s fangs. I am also a big advocate for re- working an old story and making it your own.

    1. Katy Lee – You’re a doll! Thanks so much for finding your way through the power-free zone to be able to post. I hope your power returns soon!

      It was great fun to be here with you all.

      Much Love,

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