“The Shadow in the Hall”
When presented with the invitation to write a guest blog for the “12 Days of Christmas” thing on the Angry Robot blog, I must admit I floundered a bit. I’m very new to the blogosphere (my college whine-o-blog notwithstanding) and not at all comfortable in my blogger skin. It’s lumpy, it fits too tightly in certain places and isn’t quite snug enough in others, and it smells vaguely of old cheese.
The first idea I had (and the one I toyed with the most) was to write a Christmas-type story starring The Dead of Winter protagonist Cora Oglesby, possibly depicting her hunting down something like David Tallerman’s Santa Thing. However, given that I was slogging through the trenches of She Returns From War, popping my head up every now and again to fire off a few dozen words, the thought of expanding on a universe that was already screaming and exploding in my head didn’t quite suit my palate. I wanted to stretch myself in another direction, to take a quick breather from the novel to write in a completely different style. I’d been reading some nineteenth-century ghost stories in an anthology and wanted to try my hand at writing one myself. I love the exaggerated narrative common to writing from that time period, and I’ve found that writing in that style can be a great exercise in playing with words and how they can flow and crash together. Mixing this excessive verbosity with a story idea I’d had for awhile, one about a teenage girl confronting the paranormal in the wake of her father’s death, seemed natural. The result, which you can read for yourself, was “The Shadow in the Hall.”