Just a couple weeks ago, I introduced you folks to a “How to Write Horror” Wiki that had some rather generalized ideas about writing the genre. Most tried to make it sound as easy as riding a bike. On top of the “you just need to do this, this, and this” trope, it was clearly written by someone with a misguided sense of writing in general. Need I remind you of the “don’t forget the details” line…
This week, continuing with our instructional foray into the world of horror writing, I stumbled across this Instructables page about how to write horror. This one blows the other one out of the water. Not only are the ideas cliched, there are places where the writer either forgot which word to use or used spell-check and didn’t re-read their stunning how-to masterpiece. Case in point: a line that says “…a person despaired and appeared again…” So, the person went into a massive sob-fest causing them to go invisible, and then they reappeared, good as new?
It’s elementary! I ran across a delicious-looking recipe a few weeks ago for Bourbon Brownie Petits Fours which I couldn’t pass up. I ended up tweaking the recipe a tad by using Kahlua instead of Bourbon and substituted some actual coffee for some of those coffee crystals. I ended up sharing several with people at work who told me “they’re the best brownies I’ve EVER had”. Sounds like it was worth all the work to me!
While the end result on these petits fours was grand, the process to create them ended up taking most of the afternoon (filming certainly added to the time). When I was finished, the entire kitchen was coated in chocolate (as was I), and the sink was piled high with dishes. And then, I discovered I was pronouncing the name of the dish wrong. As I said in the video, “I’m a writer. I took French in school. Pathetic.”
I decided to switch up our Horror-FAIL Friday blog to now include the occasional Horror-FAVE Friday, a collection of film, books, and video games that I felt did a superb job of fitting into the horror genre, even redefining it in some cases.
A couple years ago, while browsing along on youtube (as several of us do in our boredom), I ran across the first part for this dark narrative game called “The Cat Lady”. The art style was funky and the concept dark and fairly depressing. The further along I watched the more I became engaged in the protagonist’s endeavor to figure out what kind of world she was in. The Cat Lady tells the story of Susan Ashworth, who, unable to live after a heart-wrenching tragedy decides to end her life. Except she doesn’t die. She awakens in a strange world, inhabited by dead doppelgangers of herself and a creature disguising itself in the skin of an old woman that calls itself “The Queen of Maggots.” It soon becomes clear to Susan that the only way she can leave is by accepting a deal from this Queen; root out evil in the real world by searching for the Parasites, individuals with extreme darkness in their hearts.
I was blown away not only by the story, but by the characterization, music, and art style of this game. It has become one of my favorite examples in the horror genre by far. As visual and interactive media, it’s one of my favorite games that I’ve encountered in recent years. Now, I wish there was a book version.
Here, you can watch Youtube Let’s Player HarshlyCritical play through The Cat Lady.
Interested in picking it up for yourself? Hop on over to the official website from Screen 7 and Harvester Games.
I live in Maine where we’ve been getting an abundance of snow… Basically, a snowstorm every couple of days. In between all of this insane shoveling and toning of my shoulders and arms, I’ve been inspired to do more baking, especially literary themed baking. And, yes, I have been itching to do this particular idea for a few weeks now.
Every good horror story, film, or game has a story behind it. It doesn’t need to be intricate in order for it to have good atmosphere and be frightening…the premise just needs to be plausible. When a game tells you that the character had heard about a haunted mental hospital and, despite being warned, just HAD to go there… that’s not really the best way to start out. There isn’t even a reason given for why this character felt so compelled to go there. Also, saying that the character blacked out upon arrival and woke up later to find that he was in the exact same place he fainted in…isn’t really jarring information. But, as we delve further into the “mystery” of this game following HarshlyCritical, the story continues to hand us plot points that don’t quite add up.
Formatting with Microsoft Word: A Guide to Frustration
Yes, the above picture sums up my reaction every year I must format and layout a paperback with Microsoft Word. I am currently undergoing this mission again as I work on the paperback version of my latest novel “Memento Mori”. I am fully aware that there are other programs I can use for this task; but since I’m practically surviving on rice and bread right now, I’m not in the position to make that kind of change. I’m also aware that there is a 2013 version, which doesn’t seem to have cleared up some of the issues that have caused me problems in the predecessor. After having spent a substantial amount of time dealing with page alignment, headers and footers, page numbers, glossary writing, and the always tricky page breaks, I’ve decided to create a guide to how I feel about each one of them. Continue reading →
So, if you live in Maine (or anywhere in New England for that matter), this picture above probably describes how you felt today. On three separate occasions today, I spent time digging out my door from impending snowdrifts, and even futilely attempted to dig out the staircase at ground level before the wind filled it all back in again.
Doing all that work in the bitter cold and cutting wind was, however, a welcome experience for me. Why? Because as I’ve now sat down with a nice hot cup of tea, I’ve returned to an apocalyptic story set during the Maine winter that I’d begun a couple years ago and lost my focus on. The characters have been speaking to me for a while as I’ve been working on other projects and I know I can’t ignore them any longer. I feel as though I’ve found the right mood, the right voice, and the right way to tell this story now and I can’t wait to really buckle down and work on it.
So, we still have about two weeks until the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour comes to the wonderful little town of Camden, Maine. Every year, the Banff Centre in Canada holds a film festival where hundreds of athletes professional and amateur, budding and professional film makers all compete for the chance to be shown in the World Tour. This year, like last year, I was eager to do a Cooking Adventure that was, in a sense, “adventure” themed.
Horror media, whether it is a film, video game, or book loves to employ jump scares. What exactly is a jump scare you may be wondering? Well, let’s put it this way: Say your main character is driving to a party at a friend’s house outside the city. All of a sudden, their car breaks down. They’re on an empty stretch of road and are forced to walk to find help. After trekking through the woods for over an hour, they happen upon a derelict mansion and go inside searching for a phone or something to aid them with fixing the car. The house is old, dark, and creaks with every gust of wind. The character digs out a flashlight and begins exploring. And then…this happens…