Saturday, 12 April 2014

A to Z Challenge 2014 - Ghosts - K is For Kick, Rudyard Kipling & Knebworth

A to Z Challenge 2014 - Ghosts
This post is
suitable for all
I'd like to tell you about a place close to where I lived for a while, Knebworth House in Hertfordshire. Also, an author better known for The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling told his share of ghost stories as well. And K is for Kick, in my discussion about writing ghostly tales today. So, join me if you will. :)




K is for Kick
No story should be plain sailing for its characters. No challenges and no hiccups along the way would be very boring :). Relationships, investigations, self-discovery, and much more, can all have their twists and turns and give a story the movement it needs. These can be large, earth-shattering wallops that lead the plot/characters off in a completely different direction, or short, momentary kicks in the pants that add to the depth of a piece.

In ghost stories, these kicks are often dramatic, for example, in Susan Hill's book, Dolly: A Ghost Story, the digging up of the doll in the grave and the discovery of its condition is a hard-hitting blow, which reverberates through the rest of the book and is a foreshadowing of what is to come. However, they don't always have to be that forceful, a domestic argument, a minor quarrel among friends, a little accident, all can be little incidents that lead to something more.

It's good to derail your story a little, put a few obstacles in the way of the plot that would otherwise run straight to the end.:)
by Sophie Duncan

First Part | Previous PartNext Part | Last Part
Lying on the sofa and chewing on a breadstick, Tris typed in yet another search on the keyboard on his tablet. He'd only been home a short while after having lunch with Julienne and taking a gentle stroll around the village in her company. They had talked surprisingly little about Berwick, having decided to start their searches properly the next day, and had instead just enjoyed a lovely Autumn afternoon. However, the train journey home had left him itching to get started, and so he'd begun to explore what the internet had to say about Berwick House. The answer was, almost nothing.

He hit enter and was waiting on the results from the new search when he heard the front door opening.

"Hi, Hon," he greeted, not bothering to look over his shoulder and the arm of the sofa at Xander's entrance.

Thus, the first he knew of anything to do with his husband's mood was when the door closed with a crash. He sat up and round as fast as was sensible to see Xander dumping his bag on the floor and glaring back at him.

"What's the matter?" he asked, almost certain the ire was aimed at him.

"I called Bill on my way home, just to check on progress. He asked me if you were feeling better after your fall yesterday."

"Oh," Tris worded the shock of realising he hadn't mentioned it and he stood up.

"'Oh,' is that all you can say? You had a possibly serious accident yesterday and you didn't feel like mentioning it?!" Xander charged, pacing up to Tris and gesticulating wildly.

"I'm sorry, I forgot," Tris tried to head the tirade off at the pass.

Xander, however, was not to be placated. His dark eyes were shining with emotion as he let rip, "You can't pretend like this stuff isn't happening, Tris!"

"I didn't," Tris denied quickly, but Xander wasn't listening.

"You're recovering from a life-threatening condition. You can't do everything you used to."

"Don't you think I know that?!" Tris spat back, his skin prickling as his defences came up.

"Hiding stuff is only going to make your recovery longer," Xander waved his hands dismissively.

"I wasn't hiding anything," Tris defended himself hotly now. "I just forgot. It wasn't a bad fall, I just lost my balance."

"You are in no position to judge what is good and bad!" Xander was not taking any excuses.

"So who is? You? I have to come crawling to you for my exit pass, do I?" Tris snarled, fed up with being treated like a child.

"Yes you do!" Xander yelled back.

"You're not my doctor," Tris denied, turning away.

Xander grabbed him by the arm, squeezing tight even when Tris tried to pull away.

"No, I'm your husband," he corrected and then ordered in a low growl, "and I am telling you not to go back to that house without me."

Tris glared back at Xander, no more words to say, but making his disgust at being told what to do very clear. Xander let him go, the rage flickering out of his eyes, being replaced with hostility. His stick was leaning against the table out of reach behind Xander, so Tris turned away again and hobbled towards the bedroom. Once inside, he slammed the door and threw his tablet across the bed.


First Part | Previous PartNext Part | Last Part

Author Info: Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling is best known for The Jungle Book, the tale of Mowgli, the mancub, raised by wolves and delivered to the village of man and safety by other animals of the forest. However, Kipling also told a ghost story or two, set in India with a definite tone of the British Raj.

At The End of The Passage begins in true Kipling style, setting the scene for a group of four men, testy in the heat and in each other's company because they are the only white and, in their own minds, civilised men for miles around. Kipling has a real flare for atmosphere and I was already feeling the heat of that place by the second page, even though I was sitting in a suburban house in wintry UK. From their conversation, we learn of the cheapness of life, even for the civil servants of the Raj and then we are dragged in a story of nightmares.

Another of his that I enjoyed was The Phantom Rickshaw, which can be found in The Phantom Rickshaw & Other Ghost Stories.

British Hauntings: Knebworth (Herts)


Knebworth House, or rather, the park, is better known for hosting a pop festival, which could be heard in Stevenage, just down the road, where I lived for a while as a jobbing student. However, it wouldn't be in this post if it didn't boast a few ghosts as well :).

 The famous ghost of Knebworth house, unfortunately for ghost hunters, no longer walks abroad, since the part of the house she haunted no longer exists. Jenny Spinner was imprisoned in the east wing of Knebworth House, and to keep herself going, she worked hard on her spinning. She spent so much time locked up in the house, she gradually went insane. When she died, the sound of her spinning wheel began to be heard all over the east wing. This only stopped when that wing was demolished.

The gardens of the house are stunning and well worth a visit, but it is the lakes that draw the attention of any paranormal investigators. One is lovely, but the other is murky and knotted with weed. It is said that there are various nighttime visitors to its shores. Not a place for the faint at heart, especially after midnight!

I'd love to hear your own spooky stories, add them to the blog comments. :)

A few of us discovered that we all had supernatural themes for the AtoZ so we got together and did a mini list. If you also have a supernatural theme (ghosts, monsters, witches, spells etc), please feel free to add yourself to the list.

get the InLinkz code to add to your blog

39 comments:

  1. I loved Rudyard Kipling's books when I was little. My mom had an old hardback edition of the Jungle Book. I'll have to see if she still has it. Fun fact, there are two towns I lived near, Rudyard and Kipling, guess who they were named in honor of. ^^

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two places named themselves after Kipling - now that's a tribute :)

      Delete
  2. I watched Jungle Book a couple of weeks ago. I love the cartoon. A phantom spinning wheel would be very creepy. New Zealand doesn't have many ghosts, because we don't have the history you do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been listening to The Overtones latest album in the car and I've managed to earworm myself with The Bare Necessities :) New Zealand has many wonders other than ghosts :)

      Delete
  3. "Kicks" is a great way of describing it, and also a great method for developing plot. Some writers struggle through the middle part of their story. The best way to create the next scene is to ask: "How can things possibly get worse?" But you're also right in saying it doesn't have to be a great disaster. The more subtle "kicks" are harder to pull off and can be the most chilling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that 'how can things possibly get worse?' - a writer's constant state of being :)

      Delete
  4. I've seen lots and lots on your blog now, Sophie. All good. Lots and lots of stuff there. I like the advice about kicking the story, derailment. Love the Kipling material too. The unhappy marriage in your short story. All great.

    But I can't hit on the A-Z links - maybe there's a temporary bug. Is this where we comment? You can't be doing this each day, surely? Great stuff!

    http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.ie/2014/04/j-is-for-judge-judy-z-blogging-challenge.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, glad you enjoyed the post :) And yup, this is where to comment thanks.

      Sorry that the links aren't working for you. If it's the list.ly list that is causing problems, it might have been their site had a glitch, happens some times. I've just checked the links and they're working in IE, Chrome and Firefox now. Please LMK if you're still having problems. (The only links that won't work, or won't take you to a useful page, are the next and last part links on The Burning Web, because they won't work until those posts go live).

      I started compiling the post content in Feb, because I knew there was going to be a lot. Thanks for commenting, :)

      Delete
  5. I didn't know Kipling wrote ghost stories. I'll have to check them out, sounds like something I'd enjoy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love it when stories surprise me with 'kicks'. Good choice for K

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by - glad you liked the post :)

      Delete
  7. Kipling!!! Haven't read his short stories, but I love his fairy tale stuff. Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies are both enchanting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I haven't his fairy tales, so thanks for the rec, I'll look them up :)
      Sophie
      Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
      Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

      Delete
  8. A doll in a grave gives me the creeps, even this early in the morning! That's certainly a kick!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It existence haunts the whole story, it really is creepy ;)

      Delete
  9. A phantom rickshaw? Cool! I like kicks in the pants too. I try to throw every twist and kick I can into my stories. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah, a whole ghost vehicle that haunts a man, very spooky. Kicks and twists are great to play with :)

      Delete
  10. A doll in a grave? wowsers!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan Hill has a way of making creepy things creepier :)

      Delete
  11. I think it's cool that Kipling was known for more than just The Jungle Book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is good that he has a body of work folks can enjoy :)

      Delete
  12. I am a big believer that a writer has to let bad things happen to their characters. Our lives aren't always good, so our characters should also experience the pain and challenges that we do, if at least to make them real but also for plot reason too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - and you raise a good point about keeping it real. Although sometimes when I catch plot lines from soaps I wonder how so much bad stuff can happen to so few people! The mortality rate for medical staff at Holby City is astronomical! ;P

      Delete
  13. If I were locked inside for years doing nothing but spinning, I'd go insane too. Right before I went on a murderous rampage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see where you're coming from there :)

      Delete
  14. I love it when the 'kicks' don't become kicks until later. Basically when a minor argument, a passing remark etc. become central to the story plot later and the reader is left saying "i didn't see that coming!".

    Sania @ Fragile Words

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If a writer can that right, that can be awesome :)

      Delete
  15. Kick ... yes I like a good kick in the pants (not literally of course). Good adaptation of the letter K inserted into the story too.

    Never been to Knebworth, neither for music festivals or visiting. The ponds sound great, especially the murky one knotted with weeds. :) And I also had no idea that Kipling wrote ghost stories. You are a veritable pot of knowledge for all things spooky. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, glad you liked the choice of word.

      I never made it to a concert at Knebworth, but I do remember one day when Elton John was playing, we could hear it in our garden at Stevenage.

      Glad to be of service about Kipling :)

      Delete
  16. I ought to read some of Kipling's ghost stories. I love all things ghostly, so I'll definitely be going back through your posts :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're worth a read. Yay, another ghost fan :)

      Delete
  17. You have inspired me to go find my ancient, well circa 1890s book full of Swedish ghost stories with scary illustrations. I'll probably write a post about it once the A to Z is over with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that sounds like a great read - I look forward to your post after the A to Z! :D

      Delete
  18. Love all the hauntings you're sharing. So interesting and creepy! lol

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    ~Anna
    herding cats & burning soup.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm enjoying Tris and Xander's story. Looking forward to the next installment.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear from you. :)