Friday, February 12, 2010

If Amelia Earhart was alive in 1980, ghosts and the rules thereof

Here's a question for you? Do ghosts in novels follow rules? And if so what are they? I just read a ghost story that received a lot of attention last year, The Little Stranger. I guessed the kicker halfway through the book, spoiler alert, it's the narrator who calls forth the ghost, it's his malevolent spirit destroying the family he supposedly adores. There's a great deal of discussion about what ghosts are, and what can cause supernatural occurrences, it's written in the style of a nineteenth century novel and works as such, with some nice modern touches.

My book bears no resemblance to this at all. Yet I have a ghost of sorts, someone who is in limbo, then alive. It has to make sense and I find myself caught in that, partly because I guess I'm the kind of person who hates to be too obvious, partly because I don't see what I'm doing till after it's done. And done with. . .

I know Amelia would want to make her last flight again, I know that she would want to experience everything that was new and different and wonderful, I also believe that she would reject what she rejected before. The question is how to make this work on the page, how to make her come to life in a way that the reader buys. It's quite a quandary.

Yet I think of how she got her first break, of going to New York to interview with Putnam, leaving behind Boston and social work, hoping to get a shot at doing something completely unnerving and spectacular, selling herself as the right woman for the job, managing that.

It strikes me that she began her journey in New York, that she left her life in Boston to do it, and that it would happen again. That she left her sister behind once and she would do it again . . .even though in my book it's Muriel who calls her back, it's Muriel who needs her.


  1. Does AT&T have service to Heaven? Wonder what the long-distance/long-time phone rates would be? Since the Ghostbusters team has the expertise to deal with ghosts, maybe they'd know how to call one up in the first place.
    Just kidding. Seriously, I like it that Muriel's the one who calls her back.

  2. Well AT&T has pretty spotty service, so I'm thinking Verizon. As for Heaven, you probably can guess my feelings about that, but funny. Ghostbusters would be better, since I'm still in love with Bill Murray even after all these years.
    Now to make this work, it's really not as easy as it sounds, wait, just kidding, it doesn't sound easy does it? Why couldn't I stick to writing mysteries.