Like I said last month, September and October are two of my favorite months during my favorite season. So I find it easy for October to inspire me.
I live in a rural area, and the harvest of corn and soybeans is in full swing. If I wanted a story to follow the cycle of farming, I could start it in the spring with planting and end it with harvesting. The characters’ story arc could mimic the growing season.
Of course, in the U.S., many people spend October gearing up for Halloween. I have never liked the horror aspects of Halloween, but because I have kids, the holiday is a lot of fun. Selecting costumes, participating in school parties, trick-or-treating with friends in our small town where just about everybody comes out for the evening makes Halloween a great holiday for kids.
It’s the perfect setting for the adventures or misadventures in a picture book, chapter, or middle grade fiction.
I like the mysterious quality of October and Halloween. When I host my annual Halloween party for my family, I emphasize mystery, rather than horror.
I have been working on-and-off for a couple years on a murder mystery that climaxes on Halloween night. I don’t have a title yet but here’s a summary:
“When members of the Stowecroft family, the leading family in Willet County, West Virginia, are being murdered one by one, Junior Lody notices a connection between the current crimes and ones involving the Stowecrofts fifty and seventy years ago. Following the techniques he’s read about in books investigating Richard III and the disapearance of his nephews, Junior realizes the truth behind all the crimes and races on Halloween night to stop the killer from striking again.”
The murders swirl around an empty house the Stowecrofts own on the edge of town. I like adding a haunted house to an October mystery. The colors of fall and the decreasing daylight enhance the air of mystery. The death and decay of nature mirror the murders and old family secrets buried deep.
I have always liked climaxes that occur during a big social event. A strong contrast can be drawn between most of the people enjoying the event, like trick-or-treating in a small town, while the real drama with the main characters goes on behind the scenes. Two examples like this are the main characters searching for assassins during a political convention in The Manchurian Candidate or during a symphony concert in The Man Who Knew Too Much.
How does October inspire you?