19 May 2018 - 11:00 am

Mind and Spirit: Prologue

Welcome to the Asylum! Come in, take a seat, but don’t get too comfortable. Today, we’re going to get our spirits unsettled, look into the disturbed, and maybe, just maybe, solve a mystery from the wrong side.

We’ve got a lot ahead of us: five hour-long challenges, each a different piece of the puzzle, each exercising a different writing muscle. In this Asylum, we also have an extra level to our challenges to keep you on your toes. We’re going to dive into the supernatural, so you’d better be wearing your best ectoplasm-proof pants.

Before our first challenge, let’s get familiar with the landscape of the story ahead of us. 

To get started, close your eyes and think of a world. Perhaps it’s like ours; perhaps it’s alien and strange, or in a disconnected time.

In this world, some believe the spirits of the dead can linger. Some think it’s rubbish, tales to scare children or the inventions of feverish minds. Others believe they can talk to those who are gone. In this way, this world of yours is a lot like ours.

Choose a location somewhere in this world. A town or city. A spacestation or a remote village. Somewhere people live and breed and die. Think about what type of place this is, its chief characteristics, its weather, its people. 

In this location, there is a building that the locals say is haunted. Focus on this building. What sort of structure is it? A home or a business or something else? How big is it, and what does it look like? When did it first become haunted? Is it still in use, or has it been abandoned? What are the stories that people tell about it, even the ones that can’t possibly be true?

Now think about the spirit that clings to this place. Who was the person it used to belong to? How did they die? Something powerful or important is holding them to this world beyond death – what is it? Is it to do with the person they were, how they died, or some kind of external agency? What sort of ghost have they become?

Open your eyes. You have five minutes to note down the ideas swirling in your brains. Capture them in words: the building, the ghost, the reason. Five minutes, and then we will start to tell our stories.

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