With the holidays approaching, I'm reminded of some famous ghosts in literature. The first that comes to mind is Marley from A Christmas Carol (thank you, Mr. Dickens). "Marley was dead to begin with...."
As I look into the backstories of the ghosts in my Epitaph series, I am reminded that ghosts, even as secondary characters, need goals, motivation and conflict. They have a full character arc, much like the main characters do, especially since the reader needs to know how they died, why they died, and why they haven't moved on to the next realm.
In A Christmas Carol, Marley died an unremarkable death, but it was his life that draws the focus. As a miserly sort, he forged a chain of all his misdeeds and his inattention to human need where he might have made a difference. His appearance in the book - his goal - is to convince Scrooge to pay attention. His motivation: there's still time to make a difference in the world. The conflict: Scrooge doesn't/might not believe him. And then, of course, there are the three Christmas ghosts, each of which serve a purpose in Scrooge's life. These ghosts aren't trapped on "the wrong side," but are sent as messengers.
If you were a ghost, what would keep you from moving on? What would send you back among the living? What's your favorite ghost story trope?
Next week -- cover reveal for Epitaph 1!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. In addition to all my other blessings, I am thankful for the readers who share my journey with me!