Last week I talked about the new Umbral Intentions fiction blog starring and written by Josh Rhoads. There was a couple of spoilers, one worse than the other. Just check back, I won't mention the worst one again if you want to know about it. There was a different discussion about the project over at Inchoate Ascendant titled "Don't Jump the Gun, Pants Kicker" about the actual name of the blog. Since I may want to reference it here today you get to be the first to learn that the blog will be titled "On Dark Rhoads" and not Umbral Intentions--to confuse things worse, as also mentioned last week, the blog is for the This Mental Eventide RPG. Now with that out of the way...
The topic of merit today--and this is the lesser spoiler from last time repeated--is pacing the haunting, or how to parcel out the ghostly events. Being a blog places constraints on the story I will be telling that have less to do with the story that they do with how blogging works. This is of course only on some levels. On others it doesn't impact the story itself. Here again I'm giving things away prematurely. The first order of business is setting up Josh. Who is he on the blog? This is something different than who he is in actuality. He could just jump right in with details on the haunting. That doesn't exactly establish him as someone the blog reading public should believe. So, he begins with an introduction followed by a couple normal slice of life style posts. From there he begins to tell his past encounters and then get into posting about them shortly after the fact.
This second stage of story telling is where the issues begin to crop up. First, the blog is scheduled for Saturdays. Obviously all of the haunting incidents will not happen on just Friday or Saturday. This brings about issues of immediacy, and plays into tension. This is a matter intrinsic to blogging versus real-time interactions like Twitter and Facebook streams. It's just like news reporting where you chose an in-depth look versus greater timeliness. The length of each blog post is a further limit--they tend toward the shorter, especially shorter than full scenes in a short story or novel. There is a certain concision and economy. Another issue is that not every post should be about the haunting. This is important to avoid overload or desensitisation to the creepy goings-on. It also plays into the other important factor.
There is also the matter of pacing the haunting itself. It will progress, it will get worse, and more harrowing as time passes. The haunting must escalate. It will have its highs and its lows as far as the amount of activity. It may be cyclical, or it may be dependant on outside factors such as witnesses. Both will be true actually. Then at the same time the lows will be less frequent and less of a reprieve. Likewise the high activity occasions will be more frequent and more extreme.
The idea that witnesses impact the haunting is typical of real cases, especially when said witnesses are intrusive paranormal investigators who come along and disrupt the haunting either with their equipment, their presence, and most often because the entities responsible for the haunting are shy and do not wish to perform for strangers. There are however different new witnesses who can be brought into the situation who have no detrimental effect on the haunting and in fact encourage it as much or more as the original target. That's all I'll say for now.
Music: Catcher In The Rye by Guns N' Roses and Ghost of Perdition by Opeth.