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.
Mr. Burt Bacharach said it best: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” And that was my intention last week on Valentine’s Day when I made a pink-frosted chocolate cake for a good friend and co-worker of mine (as it happened to be his birthday the same day). It seems as though this week, I’ve seen several examples of bullying, hatred in the media, and an all around depression because of our never-ending winter here in New England. And then, there is that little bit of depression that the single people of the world (including myself) often get on Valentine’s Day. In short, last weekend, everyone was desperate for sunshine, for laughter, for smiles, and for friends.
It can be hard to look past the desire for companionship when you feel lonely in order to realize that there are people in your life who matter, who you care about and who care about you. Basically, without descending too deeply into preaching, look at what you have today, the good and the bad and appreciate it for what it is.
Today, I’m telling you to make a cake. Make it for someone you care about, make it for someone who might need it, make it for yourself if you are feeling low and need just a little break. Make that cake and enjoy the act of making it. Put on your favorite song and rock out in the kitchen. Because…being happy is what matters. And if you’re making cake, how can you not feel good?
There are those of you out there that have toiled with the idea of writing a horror story. It may have been just a quick campfire tale, a one-shot Creepypasta, a full-length novel, or even the background for a survival horror game. There are the cliche ways to go about doing this. Five teenagers meet at their house in the woods, one by one are separated, and end up dying horrible violent deaths (Only Joss Whedon has managed to re-invent this genre and do it like a boss, in my opinion). Then, there are the truly fun and unique ways to go about writing horror. This is what I enjoy. However, there’s always that daunting task of how to go about starting a project like this. Sometimes taking that first step can be the most intimidating thing you do. For the lazy, I was horrified to discover a wiki page on how to write a horror story. A WIKI. Are you freaking kidding me?
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.
So, you’ve crafted a horror novel, or filmed your movie, or made your horror game. Now all you need is something to call it. I’ve always felt that picking a title for a book, film, song, or movie is a very unique and wonderful moment. I like the idea of coming up with the right combination of words, or just a simple composition that ultimately leaves people interested in wanting to learn more about the piece. I do, however, know that there is also a wrong way to go about this. Take the film above for instance. “Kill-Dozer”? Seriously? It’s like a bad incarnation of “Christine”. A bulldozer isn’t that intimidating when you think about it. It’s slow, big, and really only frightening if you happen to find yourself on a construction site in one’s path. And the thought of a possessed bulldozer makes me wonder what the filmmakers were smoking when they came up with the concept for this one. It’s certainly not the worst though…