March 25, 2014

Writing About: Superstitions

Writing about superstitions can be a lot of fun! And incorporating superstitions into your horror or paranormal stories can add a dash of originality and uniqueness to the plot.

Superstition: is the term for belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any natural process linking the two events, such as astrology, religion, omens, witchcraft, etc., that contradicts natural science.

Here are 15 superstitions you can use in your story:

·         Deaths occur in threes
·         Bad luck comes in threes
·         Friday the 13th is an unlucky day
·         Breaking a mirror will give you seven years bad luck.
·         Making a wish on a wishbone will make it come true.
·         Finding a penny and picking it up will give you good luck all day long.
·         Beginner's luck
·         Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.
·         Garlic protects you from vampires.
·         At the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold.
·         A cat has nine lives.
·         Refusing a kiss under mistletoe will bring you bad luck.
·         A sailor wearing an earring cannot drown.
·         A drowned woman floats face up, a drowned man floats face down.
·         If you shiver, someone walked over your grave.

There are many superstitions! Do research to find one that intrigues you.

Image by Chrys Fey.

Here are 7 things you need to consider while planning your story:

1.    Decide whether your main character is a believer or a skeptic.

2.    How does the superstition come into the story? (Does your character want to test their theory that superstitions aren’t real and purposefully breaks a mirror? Does your detective protagonist go to a string of drowning crime scenes? Are they cursed by a witch?)

3.    Think outside the box!

4.    How does the superstition impact your main character? (Do they notice their wish is coming true after they break a wishbone?)

5.    What kind of events unfold to make the superstition real? (Have two people died? Is your character waiting to find out who the third death will be?)

6.    Can you use horror or suspense in your story? A lot of superstitions can use both!

7.    How does it end? (Does the superstition prove to be real or fake? If it’s real (and unlucky) how does it end? Does it get passed onto someone else?)

Image by Chrys Fey.

When I was writing my short story “Greeting Evil”, which is about three best friends who play with a Ouija board, I combined my own experience as a (dumb) teen and the belief that evil spirits are attached to Ouija boards. And I had a lot of fun writing it. But I want to add that I do NOT have that Ouija board anymore. Nor will I touch one ever again! 

Check out my story hereI’m sorry that the background picture and font makes it difficult to read. :(

QUESTIONS: Do you think superstitions are bogus? Or do you believe in certain ones? 


  1. I've never heard of "A sailor wearing an earring cannot drown." Maybe that is why Pirates wore earrings? I've never owned a Ouija board, and never will. Not that I am superstitious, I just have no use to scare my kids. My daughter came home Fri, and was scared of Bloody Mary, so she would not go to sleep in her bed! The things that kids tell each other that get passed down through the years amazes me.

    1. That could very well be the reason why Pirates wore earrings. When I was researching for this post I read about a lot of superstitions I hadn't heard before, and many sounded just plain silly. But it was interesting.

      My mom and I were just talking about how things from when she was little and when I was little have been passed down to the generation of kids now. Like "cooties" for instance. It has to be the parents (us) telling our kids these things and then they pass it on to their friends.

      I remember going into the bathroom with my friends when I was little and being the only brave one to say "Bloody Mary" three times. Afterward, someone would get spooked and we all run out screaming. Then right back into the bathroom we'd go to do it again. haha

  2. I think some superstitions have can have substance while others, not so much. I guess it depends on how much negative energy is between what you believe as opposed to what can really happen. Your mind can do many things! It's very powerful and has a lot to do with any superstitions we choose to fancy:) Great post, Chrys! You have given me a lot of ideas!!

    1. You're right, Gina. Some superstitions I do believe in, but not because of any negative energy I put into them, but simply because they seem to be true, as bizarre as that sounds. For example: I find the superstition that deaths or tragedies occur in 3's.

      I'm happy to give you ideas. :)

  3. I'll be sure to keep this post in mind should one of my characters be superstitious. My younger sisters and I were pretty superstitious when we were young. We each broke a mirror and were quite sure that was the reason behind our long streak of bad luck. So relieved when the 7-year period was over!

    1. That is so cute. I broke a mirror when I was young too and that could very well be the reason why I had such bad luck as a teen/young adult. Hmm...