It’s a spooky Story Starter from me this week!
The clocks went back last weekend, and it’s Hallowe’en this Saturday. We’re well into autumn now — the pavements are full of red and gold leaves, and it’s chilly. The heating is most definitely switched on!
So: this week’s writing prompt is Hallowe’en, or All Hallows’ Eve.
Carving pumpkins. Ducking for apples. Guising. Dressing up. Trick or treating.
Old Hallowe’en. Witches. Ghost stories.
Regarding ghost stories, it’s important that anything spooky is written bearing the reader in mind, in a “Friend” style — with nothing too scary, contentious, or likely to offend.
When it comes to historical stories, generally speaking, in the weekly, we don’t go back in time further than the Tudor era.
We have a super story coming up in the Christmas Special (on sale November 11) set in the 13th Century; and a story by Ewan Smith in Special 199, on sale now, set around the ancient feast of Samhain in the 8th Century. (Samhain was a feast marking the end of harvest and the beginning of the darker half of the year.)
So it’s fair to say we have more leeway, with content and with eras, in the Specials.
And a word about how many historical stories we need. In the weekly, we aim for one period story per issue (and “period” can mean any time up until around the 1990s!).
In the Special, we usually aim for four or five historical stories, and the same for the Annual. So you can see that proportionately, more contemporary stories are needed.
We always welcome stories based around landmark days in the calendar. So, for example, Bonfire Night, Christmas, Hallowe’en, saints’ days, New Year’s Eve, Father’s Day. Right now, we’re looking for stories set around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter.
If you’ve written a story but think, “ah, I’ve missed that date for this year, should I send it in?”, the answer is usually “yes!”.
We look for stories all year round for our Annual and Specials, as well as our weekly. The response time may be longer than usual, as non-seasonal stories may take priority, and occasionally we may ask you to resend later in the year.
Look out for a Fiction Ed’s Blog on current submission response times next week.
If you’re looking for more writing ideas, you can pick out another Story Starter by clicking here.