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Monday, 1 October 2012

October's Challenge is a Horror!

Hello there from the bears. As promised we are bringing you (and ourselves) a new challenge for October. Hmmm, now what well known event occurs in October??? No, Podgy, it's not your birthday!! Halloween? Well we can't do a simple Halloween challenge, as our challenges are literary based. What about one of our favourite gothic novels of the 19th century - Dracula (oh how very inventive of us!!)

Dracula is one of the best books we've ever read, never mind being the best gothic novel. It's written in the style of letters and diaries, and this really adds to the narrative. Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to help Count Dracula with a purchase of a London house, this sounds like a simple enough task, but all is not as it seems. Jonathan is warned on his journey to the count's house that all is not well, and indeed experiences a few odd events along the way. Soon after arriving, he decides that he will leave, but events take a sinister turn and strange incidents occur back in England.

Each person tells their own story of the unfolding horror, beginning with Jonathan Harker's journal. If you like intrigue, coupled with 19th century horror, and haven't yet read Bram Stoker's Dracula, then we thoroughly recommend it. You'll be engrossed after the first page, you'll need to know, why does Lucy sleepwalk, who is the mysterious Renfield? Does all end well for Jonathan et al? Be warned though, Podgy had to sleep with the light on for two nights after reading to the end.

Stoker concentrates on themes of modernity, a concern of Victorian England, and indeed, Jonathan quotes "The old centuries..have powers which mere modernity cannot kill" . This was a time of great change in England, what with the industrial revolution, and old beliefs were being challenged. Stoker highlights this fear with the ease of which Dracula travels about England, leaving horror and fear in his wake. Another strong theme running throughout the book is that of desire, and a common motif is blood, and lots of it!

So, what about the challenge? Well, we don't want to be too constrictive and deter our dear friends from entering, but we're wary of being too vague and not instructive enough, so we've all put together some inspiration words to start your creative journey with us this month.

Make any project; card, ATC, altered book or page, art journal etc, with any medium you choose, but please use at least two of the following as inspiration for your project:

red to indicate desire, or blood, or horror even
bats or any other suitably gothic or scary creature
a scary quote
darkness or midnight
a gothic mansion or castle
good versus evil

How you interpret the Dracula theme and the inspiration words is totally up to you, we like off the wall ideas as much as we like literal interpretations, and we'd love for others to join us in our challenge in whatever way you may see fit. It's so much more fun with friends.

We hope we've not waffled on too much, we do love our novels, and we tend to go on a bit once we get started talking about them!
With love from the bears.


  1. YAY!! Been waiting for some insbearation! Can't wait to start! :)

  2. Can't wait to see what people come up with. You never know, I may come up with something too.

  3. You have inspired me. I'm going to have a go!

  4. Excellent, we love people joining in. :)

  5. Thank goodness you nudged me, bears... I'd missed this (been some hiccups in my blog-visiting recently I'm afraid, though I really did think I was up to date with you) - will definitely be playing... ideas are already circulating!
    Alison x

  6. I've done one! It was great fun and I'm looking forward to next month's challenge

  7. Great challenge, thank you so much.


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