Did it ever strike you how similar characters from stories and characters from history are?

I mean – you read about people like Lawrence of Arabia and James Bond, Hamlet and Rasputin, Norman Bates and Jack the Ripper, Spartacus and Robin Hood and you probably know that some of them are real and others are just made up, and you perhaps even know which is which – but for all intents and purposes, does it really matter?

They are all ghosts.

Oh, not in the classical sense – they are not disembodied souls; but still – they don’t have bodies and they are loose in the world. They are loose in our minds.

When you create characters – you are creating ghosts and you are setting them loose, to wander through the minds of your readers. So write responsibly.

If you create a powerful ghost, such as Hannibal the Cannibal, then you’d be well advised to write a worthy adversary for him, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you let bogey-men loose in the world without caring about the effects they can have, then you abuse your talents as a writer and your position of responsibility as a shaper of the world. Please don’t do that.

And so, the moral of the story is: don’t create anything that you wouldn’t want to find hiding under your bed.

Pretty please?


Just when I thought I could not be stopped, when my chance came to be king, the ghosts of my life blew wilder than the wind. (Japan – 1981)



6 thoughts on “Ghosts

  1. Not make anything I wouldn’t like to find under my bed? Not much will fit under my bed as it’s not that far off the floor. My Chiweenie sometimes crawls under there and he can’t stand up at all. How about in my closet? Much more room in there. I can’t keep all of my characters a nicey nice as that would be completely boring…. no? Danger spices things up a bit. Overcoming monsters feels good. All stories have to have bad guys and I have met some bad ones in my reading. Then I get to watch how the good guys take him/her out. That’s fun. If everything is going along just right I lose interest and put the book down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes – closets – I forgot all about those. Here is the UK we are afraid of things that grab your ankles from under the bed (at least I am), but I think that the closet would be the US equivalent. Maybe other countries have their own sources of fear too – I wonder!
      And yes – I agree – we should take care write a good hero to win over every anti-hero we create. 🙂


      • They only rattle in warning. If you leave them alone they will leave you alone. And in addition, we don’t have rattlesnakes here where I live. I have seen some where I lived before but no problems. I did once chase a rotten little boy threatening to put a snake down his shirt. He screamed like a little girl and ran with me in hot pursuit. We were on a field trip at the time and the teacher saw what was happening and laughed. “A girl is chasing a boy with a snake? What’s wrong with this picture!” I decided putting the poor snake down someone’s shirt was snake abuse and let the terrified snake go. It was only a harmless garter snake. Oh, and the boy never bothered me again. *evil grin*

        Liked by 2 people

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