As you may recall, I’m co-editing an occult detective themed anthology for Emby Press at the moment. So far, we’re a month and some change into the submission period and we’ve gotten a nice mix of stories, but we could always use a few more. Now, last week, I posted some links I thought might inspire some submissions, but I’ve gotten a few e-mails from people who are still a bit unsure of what sort of character to write about. So, to that end, I thought I might point the prospective Eldritch Inquests writer towards some possible solutions.
If you’re really stuck for a character to wrap a good paranormal mystery around, why not try your hand at a pastiche of an existing, well out of copyright occult investigator? While some editors frown on pastiche, I’m a fan of it, when it’s done well. I love reading about the continuing adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Carnacki the Ghost-Finder. Again, I stress, when it’s done well. Pastiche is a fine art and one not every writer is capable of. But, if you’re still stuck for an idea, why not see if some of these older characters spark something?
The prototype of almost every urban fantasy/paranormal romance protagonist, Sheila Crerar discovered her psychic abilities even as she was forced to rent out the ancient Scottish castle she’d called home for the first nineteen years of her life. She soon embarked on a career full of psychic contests and punching werewolves. You can read the stories she appeared in online, if you like.
For something a bit less rough and tumble, why not take a look at Aylmer Vance? The ghost-seer is a more cerebral sort of detective, with a melancholy outlook and strong sense of empathy that served him well in his various supernatural encounters.
And there’s quite a few more listed on Tim Prasil’s wonderful Chronological Bibliography of Occult Detectives. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now’s your chance.