Sarah Farrough just completed her sophomore year in IU South Bend’s School of Education. She is also a member of the Honors Program, and one of the benefits of participation is the opportunity to attend conferences such as the one held in Indianapolis in April by the Mid-East Honors Association.
Students from the honors programs at several universities gave presentations at the event, and Farrough took home a second-place creative writing award for her reading of an excerpt from her original ghost story titled “Digging Up More Than What You Bargained For.” The work of short fiction first came about as a classroom English assignment.
“We were studying the Victorian era, and one of our topics was how ghost stories started becoming more prominent during that time frame,” Farrough says. “We also learned how to write them. For our final assignment, we could choose to do a research paper or write a short story, and that’s where this story came from.”
Having studied some of the 19th-century British masters paid dividends when Farrough tried her own hand at supernatural fiction.
“I looked at a lot of the short stories we’d read and I looked again at things like the best ways of revealing a ghost,” she says.
She also kept in mind the various words that literary critics have employed over the years to describe various stages of hauntings in fiction– the subtle differences among terms such as “the marvelous,” “the uncanny” and “the fantastic.”
At the MEHA conference, Farrough selected excerpts from the beginning, middle and end of her story, rather than just reading one long chunk. This allowed her to expound on her narrative structure in a broader picture.
“That way, I could demonstrate how I went from an uncanny standpoint through to the fantastic and the marvelous,” she says. “It helped me explain my writing process.”