I love a good mashup. My two favorite T-shirts are mashups, one of The Little Prince and Star Wars and another of Back to the Future and Tin Tin. They’re the best.
What is a mashup? If you haven’t heard of these ingenious things, mashups are where you take two things that aren’t usually together and put them together in a new, unique and wonderful way. Like Star Wars and Snow White, my third favorite T-shirt, where the designer used that classic picture of Snow White surrounded by forest animals and birds and swapped her for Princess Leia in the same pose.
Here’s another: the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas (that’s the movie in the picture above). I love this movie, and this is one of many story mashups that blend different types of stories to make something new, unique and wonderful. In this case, it’s spooky and Christmas and musical. Three types of stories you wouldn’t ordinarily think go together, but if you’ve seen The Nightmare Before Christmas (and if you haven’t, I highly recommend you rush to watch it — after you’ve finished reading this post, of course), you’ll know it is indeed unique and wonderful.
Blending a spooky story with another genre is one of my favorites to write. It keeps the spooky element but also takes it further. Like with my book, THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, the boy is lost on a mysterious beach where everything is trying to hurt him. That’s the spooky part, but he’s also trying to discover what happened to him, so there’s mystery too. Plus there’s magical elements to the story, so it’s also contemporary fantasy.
Here are some other examples of spooky mashup books:
Spooky and funny — NIGHT OF THE LIVING CUDDLE BUNNIES and FROM SUNSET TILL SUNRISE by Jonathan Rosen, DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM by David Neilsen
Spooky and historical fiction — THE GHOSTS OF ORDINARY OBJECTS by Angie Smibert, THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE by Janet Fox
Spooky and fantasy/contemporary fantasy — SKELETON TREE by Kim Ventrella, MOTLEY EDUCATION by S.A. Larsen, ODDITY by Sarah Cannon
Spooky and mystery — EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU by Jan Eldredge, THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET by Lindsay Currie
Spooky and adventure — BONE HOLLOW by Kim Ventrella, BEYOND THE DOORS by David Neilsen
If you haven’t read these yet, do! They’re fun, and you’ll learn about spooky mashups. Reading is one of the best ways to learn about writing. (Also, all these books are in our Spooky Reading Challenge, so you could win prizes!)
But how can you come up with your own spooky mashup ideas?
For this, I want to borrow from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter world (a series that’s mostly fantasy but also has some spooky). Remember the boggart from HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN? If you don’t, check out the entry on the Harry Potter Fandom wiki. Since boggarts change into your biggest fear, Professor Lupin teaches Harry and his friends that the best way to combat them is to think of something funny so the boggart will be both! Ron Weasley’s biggest fear is a giant spider, so he imagines a spider wearing roller skates. Pretty funny, huh?
This is like mashups. Taking two things that ordinarily wouldn’t go together to come up with something new, unique and wonderful.
You can use this idea to create your own spooky mashup. Step 1: Think of something spooky. Step 2: Think of something that’s very different. It can be something funny, an action you love doing, or a different type of story that you love to read.
For example, say in step 1, you think of werewolves. They’re pretty spooky. Then in step 2, you think of skateboarding.
Now, with the help of a what-if question, you can turn this into a mashup story. What if a kid had the chance to compete in the world’s best skateboarding contest, but the night before he’s bitten by a werewolf? And the contest is at night and during the full moon? And the kid discovers that a group of werewolves are planning to be at the contest to attack everyone in the audience???
I want to read that story. 🙂
What are your favorite spooky mashup stories?
Have any ideas for your own spooky mashup?
Tell me in the comments.