When Ghosts Can Do Anything

It’s our favorite day of the week! That means it’s time to ramble.


Most of the time, I write speculative fiction, fantasy being my personal favorite and first love. I’m deeply fascinated by worlds that aren’t real, places that are weird and fantastical and altogether breath-taking.

Naturally, I try to write worlds like those myself.

When I was first starting out at the innocent age of 12, I had no idea how difficult making things up actually is.

I like to let ideas sit in my head for months, even years, before writing anything down, so I spend a lot of time in my story world, checking out of this one anytime I felt like it. So, when I do write it all down after it percolates, I assume that the rules of the speculative world are obvious.

“I mean, of COURSE ghosts can possess objects!”

“But like, they can’t touch live humans, though?”

“…Oh. Um…”

My reading group for fiction class is super helpful, and they decided to give me an all-important homework assignment.

Make rules.

It’s simple, yet mind-blowing.

Before thinking up a list of rules for ghosts, I had to make them up on the spot, and sometimes they conflicted with each other. It got pretty messy.

But it’s amazing how well the story comes together when I know every little thing about my story world. I now have an entire list of what ghosts can and can’t do, complete with the exceptions to the rule.

I even had a little fun with it and created a file titled “Ghosts and Gods” (because let’s face it, gods need rules too).

Of course, I’m not including all these rules in list form within the story itself, and my characters don’t know even half of what they’re capable of. That’s the fun of it: knowing everything there is to know about your world and revealing just a sliver of that information to characters. It seems mean, but it adds a lot of drama.

“You could have told me I get more powerful the longer I’m a ghost with unfinished business!”

“Yes, but that would not have been as much fun.”

All this is to say that now I know what I’m doing, and it’s much easier this way.

So let this be a lesson to you, kids: When you get lost in a world of your own making, it’s best to know every emergency exit beforehand, just in case.


Have a lovely weekend, you earned it!

Photo by Richard Clark on Unsplash