Friday, May 13, 2016

What About Writers Using Superstitions?

Yep--today is Friday the 13th. For those who are superstitious, it's not the best of days. Lots of people thumb their noses at the whole idea of Friday the 13th bringing bad luck to many. Others will warn that we should not walk under a ladder on that day or stay away from black cats. Wouldn't want one crossing our path. And for Heaven's sake, don't break a mirror on Friday the 13th. All those 'bad luck' things are purported to be even worse on the 13th day of the month that falls on a Friday.

Then, there are those who believe that weird things happend when there is a full moon. Obstetric nurses will tell stories about the increased number of births when the moon is full. You shouldn't do this or that when there is a full moon.

These superstitions get handed down from generation to generation. Some pass them on with a chuckle while others have a deep-seated belief in them. They can be fun, scary, or ridiculous. Your choice. Origins of some date back centuries and some are said to be a part of our Christian history.

Writers can use these superstitions to their advantage when writing a story or novel. They help set up some visual and scary moments. They can be used with multiple sensory details, lots of emotion involved, too.

A writer might also use one of these superstitions in a story to debunk the whole idea. Make fun of it and the people who believe in whatever it might be.

I had an aunt who was terrified if anyone opened an umbrella in the house. My cousin opened one in the living room one day and Aunt Vivienne threw her hands above her head, ran to my cousin shouting, "Put that down! It's bad luck!" Scared both of us. A writer could use a scene like that to develop a character, too.

Superstitions are a part of life--a small part, to be sure. Even so, you, the writer, can put them to use as you write. Put them in your fiction or poetry. Write a nonfiction informational article about them. There are several ways to feature them.

Meanwhile, have a great day on this Friday the 13th.

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