#atozchallenge: B is for Barghest, foretelling your death

Horrid, ghostly black dogs terrorize hapless victims in many stories and legends.

Most famously, Sherlock Holmes had to deal with murders seemingly carried out by such a beast in his first tale after Reichenbach Falls. While there are various interpretations of ghostly dogs and Barghests, the legends from Yorkshire and other parts of northern England tell of shapeshifting spirits that usually appear as large black dogs with fiery eyes. These beasts walk about with the sound of rattling chains, and appear near a town when a notable resident was about to die, or had recently died. If one appears upon your threshold, you or someone in your house is about to follow it to the great beyond!

Sources:

Image – Barghest – Bigger and Badder by Mejin on DeviantArt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barghest

http://mythicalarchive.com/creature/barguest/

 

 

#IWSG – This A-to-Z thing is great for inspiration!

iwsg

With April in full swing, many in the IWSG are firing off quick words of wisdom for the first Wednesday of the month, and getting right back to the 26-letter, 26-day challenge.

The smarter ones have managed to fit their IWSG quota into the theme, blogging something useful for the support group that begins with B! I’m doing my post separately – thanks to the miracle of scheduling, it will appear just 1 hour after this one! For my little nugget of support this month, I just want to say that the A-to-Z-challenge is proving wonderful for me. The research is helping my long in-progress novel take shape, and the Twitter tag, of course, helps bring in interested visitors! It also lets me find other cool blogs – I’m holding myself to visit one or two every day and leave some comment, even if it’s just “This is cool”.

This month’s challenge is making me think ways writers alter the rules and details of the things they research. In my case, I’m researching the folklore of evil spirits, and discovering the ‘rules’ that those beings follow. While my planned novel will be in my own fantasy world, I still want many of the ‘rules’ from real-world folklore to give it a more “authentic” feeling. I can change some rules, of course, but I can’t call a banshee a banshee if she doesn’t wail omens of death! I have to know the basic elements to make my fantastic beings recognizable.

How about you? What are you getting out of the A-to-Z-challenge? What cool things have you learned by checking in on A-to-Z participants?