Guest Post: How Urban Legends Shaped My Newest Story by Yawatta Hosby

Scary man at night.

Thank you, Priscilla, for letting me be a guest on your blog today!

To celebrate Women In Horror Month, I’d like to share something about my newest work-in-progress. Hi, I’m Yawatta Hosby, a horror and suspense author. I’m working on a story now about a serial killer using urban legends to murder college students. Right now, my story is with beta-readers. After I revise from their feedback, I’ll be looking for an editor and will hopefully publish Urban Legends (my working title) soon.

These are the urban legends that inspired my horror scenes (in no particular order):

  1. Monkey Paw–You’re granted three wishes that don’t turn out as expected. There’s a horror twist for each wish.
  2. Dead Body in a Mattress–Someone checks into a hotel. An awful smell assaults their nostrils. They figure out there’s a dead body hidden in the mattress.
  3. Bloody Mary–This is the urban legend that scares me the most! You’ll never hear me say her name five times in front of a mirror! Whoever chants her name gets tortured when she appears.
  4. Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On the Lights–A roommate comes home and hears a noise as she tries to sleep. Thinking it’s just her roommate, she doesn’t bring any attention to herself to get the other girl to be quiet. In the mirror, she wakes to blood written on the wall or mirror, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights?”
  5. The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs–A young lady is babysitting. A creepy guy keeps calling her. He eventually reveals himself; he’s been hiding upstairs with the children.
  6. The Hook–A couple make out in their car. The guy goes outside to investigate noises but never returns. The woman hears a scraping sound on the roof of the car and finds her boyfriend dead, hung from a tree.
  7. The Killer in Backseat–Someone follows a car. They keep flashing their headlights, scaring the woman. She finally realizes there’s a deranged killer in the backseat with a knife.
  8. Hanging Body as Prop–People see a dead body hanging from a tree for Halloween, not realizing it’s real.
  9. Getting Buried Alive–Someone gets buried alive and there’s nothing they can do as they’re stuck and steadily losing oxygen.

Before I write any story–doesn’t matter if it’s a novella or short story–I’ll work on an outline. It helps me stay focused on the plot. Then I’ll create characters who will make my plot work, especially the ending. Before writing Urban Legends, I Googled different urban legends to see what would work for a college campus setting. I also wanted urban legends that could connect with each other. For example, a dead body in the mattress could be moved by a character to another location, becoming the hanging body as a prop or aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights legend. It’s fall semester at the college, so my characters will be celebrating Halloween. A Halloween party is the perfect scene for a hanging body as a prop legend. Someone could think the dead body is part of the Halloween decorations outside.

I had so much fun researching the origin of each urban legend. Plus, I was so surprised how many different versions each legend has. That really blew my mind!

What is your favorite urban legend?

Keep smiling,
Yawatta Hosby

Photo of author Yawatta Hosby
Yawatta Hosby

Yawatta resides in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. She enjoys connecting with other writers through blogging. With a desire to escape everyday life, Yawatta creates short stories, novellas, and novels. She’s always had a fascination with psychology, so she likes to focus on the inner-struggles within her characters. Yawatta is an avid reader, favorite genres: mystery, suspense, horror, and women’s fiction.

Priscilla here. I have read several of Yawatta’s works, my favorite being Perfect Little Murder, a YA horror novel. (It’s awesome!) You can find Yawatta’s author blog at yawattahosby.wordpress.com and her Amazon author page at www.amazon.com/Yawatta-Hosby

Feature image by Elti Meshau on Unsplash

20 thoughts on “Guest Post: How Urban Legends Shaped My Newest Story by Yawatta Hosby

  1. Hi Yawatta! I didn’t think we had any urban legends in this area (central Virginia), but then I remembered the haunted bridge. Actually, a lot of cities and rural areas have them (supposedly, of course). You stop and put your car in neutral on the haunted bridge, and the ghosts of car wreck victims will push your car uphill and away from danger.

    Thanks for sharing your article, Yawatta!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Priscilla, thanks for introducing us to Yawatta. Welcome, Yawtta.Those are some scarey premises.Living in a college town (I’m not aware of urban legends connected to this town although I’m sure there are some), Halloween would be the perfect time to set such a tale. I think I can feel one emerging here since UVA was built with slave labor and Edgar Allen Poe attended school here for one term. Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Yawatta! I love urban legends. I’ve even given presentations on them. I recognized most of those you mentioned, but I think the one that freaks me out the most is the hook. When I was a kid, there was a local park in our area, where “the incident” was rumored to happen. That shivery, scary feeling has stayed with me ever since.

    As an author, I also write about urban legends and folklore. I look forward to hearing more about your book!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bloody Mary is a close second for me, Priscilla. I would never want to tempt the legend and recite her name three times in front of a mirror. She’s one of the legends I touch on in my presentations 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Yawatta! What fun that Priscilla hosted you like this. Your urban legends were fun, BUT are you familiar with the 1998 movie “Urban Legend”? The premise of your WIP sounds very similar to it. (“A university is beset by a rash of gruesome murders that resemble old urban legends.”) I don’t mind. I love both urban legends and serial killer stories so…I’ll keep an eye out for your release! Thanks for the introduction to Yawatta, Priscilla!

    Liked by 1 person

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