Ghost Writing

Wow, it’s been almost a month since we unlocked the doors of Ravens Retreat *gets tangled in cobwebs* We’ve been trying to think of something to blog about for a fortnight, but we had nothing to say, so rather than ramble on, we kept quiet. We’re of the opinion, if you have nothing to say, don’t say anything. Boring everyone for the sake of banishing silence is a bad thing. The reason for the silence is the damn ghost stories.  We’d hoped to release the collection, Deadly Reflections this month. We started the bloody thing in March and 8 of the 13 were already written. We even printed out the stories double spaced for their final error check. We were so close to the end, we could smell the freshly bound book. Then we hit a snag:

The stories weren’t good enough.

And we were sick of reading them. There are a couple of stories in there that were written years ago. One is from 2008 and it’s even been published. But we weren’t happy with the ending, so we rewrote it. Some of the stories we were fairly happy with, but the others were really stressing us out. The darkshines were encroaching and we were this close to throwing the whole collection into the nearest fiery lake.

So in order to save what little remains of our sanities, we’ve decided not to release the collection this month. In fact, it’s not going to be released until October. We’d originally planned October for Scott the Zombie’s release, but that novel needs major reconstructive surgery to get it even halfway decent. October will be a nice tie-in with Halloween – perfect for ghost stories. So we took a two week break and wrote a new story then redrafted two of our favourite stories, which are yet to be published. And during that break, the darkshines descended with horrific force, leaving us in a state of unbearable depression for 7 days that was so bad even the endorphins from exercise couldn’t help us, and hiding in our imaginary worlds couldn’t shake off our demons.

Then yesterday, Cat had a third operation on her knee. Luckily it was only a debridement, where they removed dead tissue, but it means she’ll be on crutches for a few weeks before beginning yet another recovery period. She was more upset at having to give up zumba and squash, but at least we’ll have more time to work on the collection. Half the stories have been redrafted again and we think they’re ready. It’s just the second half that’s causing us problems. Nothing we do to them seems to work. We will never be happy with them, they’re just not good enough. We can’t face writing several new ones, we’ve run out of ideas for ghost stories. Even after a 2 week break, the thought of editing those ones is putting us off working. It’s felt like running on a treadmill – you’re doing all the hard work and getting nowhere but the timer’s counting down and you can’t get off.

It’s the creative person’s worst enemies – doubt and fear. Creative people are always critical of themselves, their work, it doesn’t matter how many times people tell them it’s good, they only remember it when it was bad. Then there’s the fear it will never be good, that what you release will never be as good as your previous work, even though you secretly believed your previous work was also crap. We never read our work once it’s been published, mostly because we can’t bear to, in case it’s as bad as we remember it being during the redrafting stages. Or in case we spot mistakes.

We haven’t set a date in October yet, but it will definitely be that month. If it isn’t, you’ll know the collection is sinking into a fiery lake somewhere.


  1. Darlings, this difficult battle with doubt keeps you from being one of “those” writers guilty of the “Three B’s”; Boastful, Blase’, and Boring. You want to do the very best and release only the most magnificent collections of stories.
    Those of us who are your fans and/or friends are happy to wait for the release. Anyway, the release of ghost stories in October is even better. The release is just in time for our fave holiday, HALLOWEEN!! What could be more perfect?
    Remember the advice you gave my writer? It works.
    So in the meantime, much love you, good luck keeping that cheeky zombie in check, and I shall be happily waiting!

  2. That doubt is a killer. It’s way too easy to get into a vicious circle of doing nothing, rewriting the earlier bits because you know you can then doing nothing… and then rushing the last bit when you come up against a deadline.

    • this is why we’ve delayed the release by two months, because we didn’t want to rush it out just for the sake of releasing it in our chosen month. We’ve been stressing because last year we had two short story collections and a novel out, whereas this year, it’s only been Bad Romance. But in the end it was our mum who said if we’re not happy, don’t release it, because we’d only end up regretting it. So we listened and it’s the right decision. Plus October is better for ghost stories.

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