Sunday Scribblings: Superstition

In playing in meme-land I’ve recently been introduced to Sunday Scribblings. This week, they’re asking about Superstition.

When you grow up living and breathing theatre, you hear about theatrical superstitions from the ground up – never wish anyone “good luck,” a bad dress rehearsal means a good opening night, never whistle in a theatre, never put a hat on a bed, never refer to a certain Shakespeare play by name, but rather as The Scottish Play, etc. For someone like me, though, with an active imagination, the crowning superstition is that of the Unfinished Story.

It’s a common theme in entertainment – characters enter a scenario only to be locked in until the story plays out, at which point everything ‘resets,’ and, for me at least, it’s related mostly to scary stories. I refer to unfinished from the reader’s perspective, in this, and not the writer’s, though the corresponding writerly superstition would be “talk about it and the story dies.”

But I digress.

There’s a kind of power in a tale that hasn’t ended. Until you get to the ending, you don’t know if the vampire will be dusted, or the war will be averted, or the lovers will reunite, and if you’re me, and read a lot of scary stories, and have an imagination that runs away with you, you NEED to know how things end.

Case in point. I recently read a novel called Fangland, which I mentioned here, I think, was so creepy I had to read it in daylight. It was the kind of story that lingered in my mind, whispering at me as if walls between reality and fiction had grown thin, and the whispers didn’t cease, couldn’t cease, until I’d read the tale to the end, and the resolution had been accepted.

So, that’s my superstition: Stories must never be left unfinished.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Sunday Scribblings: Superstition by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings: Superstition

  1. HAHA! seriously i am exactly the same way. have you seen snow falling on cedars? i was bored to TEARS, but COULD not drag myself out of the theater…i just HAD to see how it ended. Cast Away, was the same way for me, all of that suspense as he first found the cave, i was just sure that some sort of monster would come out, but oh no, it empty…i sat through that movie too and hated every minute of it. and yet… i just couldn’t drag myself or my miserable husband out of there!

    loved the post!

  2. “…lingered in my mind, whispering to me as if walls between fiction and reality had grown thin…” Loved that phrase!! Haunting! Horror is not my genre at all, most especially not in movies, and seldom, never deliberately, in books. Although, I have occasionally gotten into several movies and a few books whose suspense had me on that kind of pins and needles—where the walls of separation have grown thin and the fear oozes into life, not fully, but like a scary shadow. Every once and a while I enjoy it but it must be subtle and very well done.
    I do not see your Sunday Scribblings box, but that’s how I found you.

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