Sunday, March 30, 2014

A to Z 2014: Abandoned Places

I know the official theme release day for A to Z is long past, but I have to (for all kinds of National Security reasons) keep mine under wraps right up until the last moment. That's how these things work. I wouldn't want my theme out there wandering around the Internet all unprotected and getting into trouble. My themes have been known to do that, cause trouble and stuff. Okay, maybe not, but I do have to guard my theme more closely than the Colonel guards his chicken recipe.

Because I feel like it; that's why!

Abandoned places have long been used to great effect in all kinds of horror environments. And Scooby Doo. Abandoned (haunted) houses. Abandoned warehouses and factories. And, my favorite, abandoned amusement parks. There's always that gypsy fortune teller machine that scares Scooby and Shaggy, then there's a great chase scene. Oh! And super hero cartoons, too. I'm pretty sure the abandoned amusement park has been used in both Batman and Spider-Man cartoons.

As much as I'm tired of the whole dystopian/post-apocalyptic thing, I think abandoned places have been quite under used in these stories. Think this
Of course, it works because the Statue of Liberty is so recognizable, and the sight of it like this speaks more to us about what has happened than words could have. It's all we need to know.

I think the tendency is just to make up places to be abandoned; how much work does it take to make up an abandoned house for your haunted house story? Not much. But I think there are plenty of actual places out there that have already been abandoned that could add that extra kick of realism to a story. And some of these places have great atmosphere; if you could put that in a bottle and sprinkle it on your pages...
Hey, I'm just sayin'.

Beyond that, some of the stories of these places are just interesting. And the pictures are cool. So you can always just look. Or, you know, add them to your list of places to see before you become an abandoned place yourself.

And, to give credit where credit is due, my wife came up with this idea. I think, now, she has come up with all three of my themes? I know she came up with at least one of the other two (but I'm not looking back at the moment to check the other one). I had a theme of my own for this year, but she sent me a thing with all these pictures of places, cool pictures, and, after I'd looked at them, she gave me that, "Hey! You could use this as your theme!" After looking back at what I'd planned... well, you see which theme won out, don't you.

So enjoy the month! These may be the shortest posts I do on any consistent basis.


  1. Sounds like it's going to be an awesome theme. I hope some of the abandoned theme parks or islands in Japan made it to your list! :)

  2. Now that is a really cool theme. You'll have an endless supply of places. (At least Scooby and the gang never ran out.)
    The abandoned mental facility used in the movie Session 9 - can't remember its exact location, but that was one creepy abandoned place.

  3. Great idea! Looking forward to your posts. Good luck with the challenge.

  4. That image of the Statue of Liberty was so impressive.
    This should be quite a theme! Looking forward to seeing what places you unabandon!

  5. The head of the Statue of Liberty was used in a film. The Planet of the Apes. It's a great theme.

  6. I really like this idea. Just don't blow my mind and make one of those locations my house. Because then I'll just have to stop and question EVERYTHING.

  7. I like your theme a lot. We've got loads of abandoned places back home and not just ancient ones. We've entire ghost villages that were built during the boom and then left vacant.

  8. Is the D entry going to be Detroit? I mean a lot of this place is pretty much abandoned.

  9. Alex H: I'm not through with the list, yet, but I have looked at a couple of places.

    Alex C: There are a lot of places. Way more than I thought there would be.

    TAS: Thanks!

    Donna: I would I could personally go and unabandon some of them.

    Jo: yeah, that's the one.

    ABftS: Wait... what's your address again?

    Anne: There is near here a whole gold rush era town that was just "discovered" due to low water levels in one of the reservoirs.

    Pat: Detroit has at least one mention so far.

  10. This sounds cool. Abandoned places always take on that desolate air. It's very inspiring for those of us that love apocalyptic fiction. Can't wait!

  11. I absolutely LOVE it. And though I'll never be done with post-apocalyptic stuff, I agree that there are many abandoned places that would make awesome settings for stories.
    Really looking forward to your series, and being able to finally take the time to read you on a regular basis again.
    I've truly missed your blog, but I haven't been to many in the last month, so don't feel singled out at all :-)
    See you tomorrow then!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

  12. Jeanne: I hope you get some good stuff out of it.

    Tina: Well, the blog will always be here, so you there's always the opportunity to catch up on what you missed.
    I have missed your comments.

  13. I read this this morning, and wrote a comment and then the Internet ate it, and then I thought "oh, well, I'll comment when I get to work" and then I was pretty busy all day, and now it's 7:26 p.m. and I'm finally commenting, but because Mr F is using my computer, I'm on Sweetie's, which nobody really likes because the keyboard is awkward and it doesn't play well with our wifi.

    Anyway, cool concept for A to Z. I look forward to having 26 more ideas to steal from you and not give you credit. I always like your A to Z's.

  14. Briane: This one is actually kind of harder than the others even though it's less writing. It's difficult to find usable pictures.

  15. Think I said this in my other comment: I'm GREATLY looking forward to this series!

  16. randi: You did, but I'll take it!

  17. I really like this theme. I'm a big fan of abandoned places. Like you I'm very fascinated with abandoned amusement parks. I'd love to take a leisurely trip across the country and be able to stop at abandoned places to take photos. Someday maybe.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  18. Lee: I'm waiting for the day when I can just decide to go to the places I want to see. Like, right then. I want the teleporter pads NOW.