Writers’ Halloween Fear List: BOO!

By Elvira Stoltey and Ghoulie Luek

This time of year brings out ghosts, goblins, and spooky apparitions. Of course we writers, often the creators of such paranormal specters, stare down spooks and fanged creatures knowing they are but a backspace stroke away from their demise.

While we may show bravado with the monstrous muses of our stories, we are reduced to huddling, whimpering masses, invoking incantations of protection, when it comes to…

The Writers’ Top Ten Halloween List of Frights 

10. The posts that flop.

If you maintain a blog, you no doubt have lived in healthy fear of the post that sits in lonely silence, resonating with no one except the crickets chirping in a lonely chorus.

9. Publications fade into oblivion before payment or publishers crash and burn before your book is released.

Freelance writing is filled with many perils including the constant threat of poverty. Unfortunately, the untimely demise of a publication for which you’ve signed a contract and submitted an article, does nothing to alleviate this dread. For novelists or nonfiction authors, there’s always that fear a publisher will go out of business somewhere in the process. Just try to get your rights back when that happens.

8. There are no good ideas left.

Vampires have fallen in love and been slain. Worlds have been created and evil empires defeated. Love has conquered all. Wizards, aliens, 4th dimensions and invisible forces have triumphed for good and evil. Elephants, tigers, and wolves have shown us how to be human and face our dark sides. Civilizations have risen and fallen. Bustier clad women with heaving bosoms and men with Fabio hair have shared passion.  Corpses have faced autopsies, shifty criminals jailed, and mysteries solved by unrelenting sleuths. Fifty Shades has been written.

What’s left?  A fearsome question we answer every time we pull up the blank page.

7. Every beta reader and critique partner hates your manuscript.

Shivers.  ‘Nuff said.

6. Rejections 

No. No thanks. Interesting, but not for us. We can’t use this idea at this time. It doesn’t fit our issue needs right now. Ha, seriously!? Maybe you need to seek another career option.

5. Ugly Reviews

They happen. You dread them. You swear you won’t read them. You read them anyway. And you feel like dog poop for the rest of the day (week).

4. The unintentional mistake that gets you banned from your own website, blog, or favorite social media site.

This can be as simple as a mean person marking your update as offensive or your tweet as spam, just because.

3. The book signing that no one attends.

There you stand behind your table, all alone, sampling the chocolate you brought to entice readers to approach, talk to you, and buy your book. Soon you sit, pull the bowl of chocolate closer, and eat it all. You feel so lonely. So sad.

2.The brilliant idea that comes too late.

Your final draft is finished when you discover another author has beaten you to the draw and produced a work very similar to yours. He has already signed a contract with a publisher.

1. The computer crash that comes just before you back up your files for the first time since you started your new novel, 50,000 words ago.

This is the one that makes you cry.

Patricia Stoltey
Blog Editor
Patricia grew up on a farm in central Illinois so naturally had to use the old farm in her first mystery. The second Sylvia and Willie tale takes place near and in the little touristy gold mining town of Oatman, Arizona. Patricia's third novel, a standalone suspense called Dead Wrong, was released November 2014. Dead Wrong was a finalist in the thriller category for the Colorado Book Awards. Visit her blog at http://patriciastolteybooks.com

20 thoughts on “Writers’ Halloween Fear List: BOO!

    • Thanks, Alex. I look lie a Ghoulie most mornings. But let’s not go there.

      I really do live in fear of never having another good idea. Sometimes I just am blank!

  1. How about have all of those happen, in the last month. Being a writer is so much fun. I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to be one….unless you’re sane. Great Halloween post. Gave me the shivers.

  2. These are all very scary. For sure. But #4 got me recently, and it kills me to think about it. 🙁 Sometimes, crap happens, and all you can do is pick yourself up and dust off.

    • Social media IS a scary world sometimes! There are a lot of bored people out there looking to cause trouble, I think.

  3. Very nasty list! I’ve experienced some of that, but hopefully the list will not replenish or remain until each one has been crossed off! Hope you had a great Halloween!

  4. Oh, that is a terrifying list, and I’ve experienced a computer crash dilemma with a backup program that failed, and . . . it makes me quake just thinking about it. Time to e-mail my manuscript to my hubs again, and then check the back up system (it’s like checking under the bed)

  5. Good list. Numbers 8, 5, and 2 would definitely be on my “Fright List.” Especially #2, since I’ve just read a novel which had my main character’s name being used, and when I started writing my novel I thought the name was unique/different and never been used. My how I was wrong. What’s worse is now I’ll look like a copycat once my novel gets published. Jeez.

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