I don't know about you, but winter is a strange time of the year for me. While it's happening, everything seems rather bleak - the usual gloom & doom. It's dark when I wake up. It's dark when I get home. It's almost always cold. And under the stress of the holidays, human beings can sometimes show their worst sides.
But in retrospect, there are always memories. Stories. The holidays bring people together. And perhaps the dreariness of winter inspires. Although winter can sometimes drag me into a black hole, it also tends to bring some interesting thoughts and stories out. Here are 5 examples from past December blog entries. I hope you enjoy at least one.
NANOWRIMO DAY THREE & FOUR:
Before, I focused more on the actual word count. This time, I am going to reflect on the actual mood & mindset of the writing.
NANOWRIMO & ME, YO.
This time I am going to work on a fresh draft of Ashland's Asylum. My medium will once again be 750 words.
Here is my goal: Write a brand-new 70k-word draft of Ashland's Asylum by Dec. 01, 2016. See how my first day went.
EVERY BLOG STORY EVER
FROM #NIP FOR FREE
STILL A LONG WAY TO GO
For those of you who might be new to NaNoWriMo, it's shorthand for National Novel Writing Month. In the month of November, writers all around the world drop all other lesser priorities to clack at the keyboard, hoping to knock out 50,000 words over the course of 30 days. You can follow my progress in this blog as well as on the NaNoWriMo website.
The first day of NaNoWriMo is generally pretty tough for me. Despite having piles of drafts and outlines, I tend to prefer writing on the fly and from memory during NaNoWriMo.
And that is why my numbers on the first day tend to be a little lower. However, there is still some more time tonight, so hopefully I can reach 1,667 words.
In case you haven't read the previous posts, I aim to write 1,667 words per day with a 750-word minimum. 2,000 words a day, and my entire worldview changes. Right now my word count is a little shy of 950 words.
These particular ratings are for "Strike" from Ashland's Asylum, which I'll dive into more next time. Until then, feel free to let me know about your NaNoWriMo journey in the comments. Or, check out where Ashland's Asylum begins in my short story collection No-Injury Policy.
Thanks for reading!
The term "trick or treat" was first recorded a few years before the 1930s. In the 1930s, there were no real rules regarding what kind of treat you should provide your cloaked visitors. In fact, candy was sometimes they very least of expectations. Sometime around the 1950s, though, Big Candy saw Halloween as a its golden ticket and pummeled audiences with trick-or-treat-based advertising while flooding stores with Halloween-themed candies.
Handing out candy had the appeal of simplicity. There was no more guesswork behind deciding which treats would be best for the holiday. You could just buy a bag of sugary treats and be done with it.
Due to mass production of candy, though, some less than desirable ingredients sneak their way into Halloween candy. While past lists about the Worst Things Found in Halloween candy mostly focus on more obvious malicious behavior, this years list will mostly focus on sneaky little ingredients that are a bit more scary than you'd think.
When asked "what is Chamber of Horrors NY", they answered, "The Chamber is Long Island’s Premier Haunted Attraction. A dark collection of mazes and rooms, it combines lights and sound with a cast unequaled in imagination and talent, not to mention bloodlust. Owned, built and staffed by industry veterans, we can proudly say that we are 'Where fear lives…'"
I absolutely enjoy haunted attractions, but at first I was a little unsure why this one wrote an article on the scariest elements of a good horror movie. However, after checking out the infographic below and reading the coinciding post - as well as a handful of others - I started to think about the presentation of any good haunted attraction. It wasn't all about dark pathways and ghouls popping out from the shadows, sometimes it was about the little details such as building suspense and drawing of your fears.
While it felt a little early to jump into Halloween-centered legends last week, this week we will inch closer to the holiday with the tale of a small town's secret staircase to Hell.
GATEWAY TO HELL
Story goes the Evangelical Emmanuel Church was possessed by Lucifer himself even when it became nothing more that rubble. Some said rain could never penetrate the church, even when its roof was torn off during a fierce thunderstorm.
And just further out from the church are said to be a set of steps you must never enter at risk of never returning. These steps lead you through the gateway of hell.
Although the story behind the gateway to hell was debunked and determined to be nothing more than the creative brilliance of some college students, visitors still flock to Stull, especially around Halloween, in hopes of crossing paths with the paranormal.
The visits over the years have left behind footprints on the entire town, unfortunately, and many parts of the cemetery were often vandalized, or tombstones were stolen. There was once an old tree the town allegedly removed to deter tourist. Many other attractions were also removed to keep people from hurting themselves and the cemetery. While the some of the Stull locals may advise you to stay away from the town altogether -- it's a not a tourist stop -- just remember if you're going ghost hunting on someone else's turf, don't be a dick.
For now, though, I'm going to address a handful of true and untrue Halloween candy myths, focusing on things that can poison you, get you high, and cut you.
WORST THINGS FOUND IN HALLOWEEN CANDY, PT II
CORALINE'S DAD MAKES YOU THINK
BENEFITS OF IRRATIONAL THOUGHT
10 WORST THINGS FOUND IN HALLOWEEN CANDY
But while some people enjoy a good scare, many don't and will go out of their way to avoid goosebumps. I can only imagine those who do not enjoy scaring themselves have a difficult time fathoming why on Earth anyone else would want to do such a thing. To tackle the subject, I covered the cons of loving a good scare in a previous blog post. This time, I'll focus on some of the pros. I'm not sure this will solve anything, but maybe it's worth taking a look at.
MAYBE YOUR BOSS IS A MONSTER
You might've even demonized your boss for a weak paycheck, a lack of hours, some personal comments, or favoritism. However, to play devil's advocate, your boss probably has a lot of responsibilities. When your boss has to focus on a lot every day, there might be some oversights, which really sucks when you're the oversight.
But what if your boss turned out to be truly possessed by a demon?
GETTING LOST IN NEW YORK
WHY DO YOU READ?
Sometimes my excuses are quite wild; sometimes I blame another book.
That's the case with this blog. Don't consider it so much as a form procrastination as much as a productive way to step aside from Excluded and look at some of the other horror elements I've come up with since the novel.
In this case, I reviewed some drafts of Ashland's Asylum as well as an older post called 6 Insane Cures for Insanity.
Although I'm reviewing some of the treatments from the previous post, to see what makes for an intense scene or two in the book, I can't help but continue diving into the other bizarre methods doctors once used to "rid" their patients of various psychological ailments. As always, feel free to let me know if one of these treatments deserves to be in the novel.
FOR THE FUN OF FEAR, PT I: THE CONS
NO INTERNET UNTIL YOU WRITE
5 ELEMENTS OF A GOOD HORROR STORY
sO GOOD, I DID IT TWICE. OR SOMETHING.
Chance Black, while not the writer he hoped to be, was a pretty damn good photographer. With his skills, Chance turned a dollar or two--enough for him, his wife, and his son to get by. One day, a comparatively sizable paycheck came along. An opportunity arose to photograph an event for the Long Brooke Sync, a local tabloid publication, but Chance had no idea what would come along with the cash.
By coincidence, one of his photographs captured suspicious behavior in the background, and unfortunately for Chance, the man committing the act figured it out first. In order to take the photograph back from Chance, the man in the photo decided he needed some major collateral.
"LUCKY SHOT" IS A SERIES.
CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS PARTS IF YOU NEED TO CATCH UP
IS IT BENEFICIAL TO FORCE ART?
Provide your answer below and then find out which response might be best for you.
Perhaps you know some of these places are real, or at least, based on real locations. But perhaps there are a few you didn't. For no real good reason other than I like this kind of stuff, I've compiled a list of 5 Famous Fictional Places Based on Real Places.
THOSE WHO SEE DEATH
When you create a character with a special gift--or a dark power for the more nefarious--you wonder if the heart of the character's concept is believable. Quite honestly, if Lovefall suspends too much disbelief, to the point it's no longer enjoyable, then it's only my fault as the writer. However, I feel a little bit better after doing some research about 3 other folks who have claimed to have insight into death.
6 INSANE CURES FOR INSANITY
I've constructed the a list of the Top 6 Insane Ways of Treating Insanity--in my whatever opinion--and perhaps some of you might enjoy helping me decide which pieces of equipment to include in the story ? Hey, hey?
SATURATION: A NOVEL'S ENEMY?
I was fortunate enough to ask these questions to Red Fez editor and Literary Underground mastermind Lynn Alexander and New York Times Bestselling author of such books as Crank Ellen Hopkins.
With his skills, Chance turned a dollar or two--enough for him, his wife, and his son to get by on. One day, a comparatively sizable paycheck came along. An opportunity arose to photograph an event for the Long Brooke Sync, a local tabloid publication, but Chance had no idea what would come along with the cash. By coincidence, one of his photographs captured suspicious behavior in the background, and unfortunately for Chance, the man committing the act figured it out first. In order to take the photograph back from Chance, the man in the photo decided he needed some major collateral.
Recently, I brought the story back out and reread it. I'm not completely sure how I feel about it, but I am re-releasing the story "Reassurance, or the Evolution of a Pessimist." It's a rather dark tale involving razor blades, promise rings, and psychological masochism.
HOW THIS STORY CAME ABOUT
I had an instructor from Ball State challenge his students, including me, to write a story based on some kind of formula, such as including the first three of something you saw. My challenge was to work the first 3 advertisements I saw on facebook into a narrative. The first 3 ads I came across were for wrestling rings, promise rings, and an ad for a dating app.
So, if you're into strange, experimental fiction, keep reading below. But don't say I didn't warn you.
5 Deadly MakeShift Weapons
Made in Desperation
For no good reason other than perhaps researching equalizers for Ashland's Asylum, I began scouring the vast depths of the web for stories about people who have done just that: crafted their own weapons during desperate times, such as being on the run or under pressure to escape from prison. I'm not writing about all of the devices I came across, but here are 5 Deadly Make-Shift Weapons Made in Desperation.
For awhile I think I’ll never wake. Every night, for as long as I can remember since Jen was taken away, I’ve ended up in the same town square. I’m never sure where exactly, but I know it might be somewhere in Lovington, the second-most crime-ridden town of Chase County. No lie there. They have less crime than Raven’s Crook, Chase County, but in my night terrors, it’s all the same. Something always lurks behind me, an ominous presence breathing down my neck.
Maybe you've never considered "learning" as a possible addiction, but here I am to suggest the contrary.
JUST TUNING (BACK) IN?
When I began listing a handful of my favorite blog entries from the past in January, it worked out fairly well. This month, I'm going to follow suit by listing 5 of my favorite entries from the Februaries of years past. They vary from ideological posts to thoughts on writing to free stories.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.