Which Would Be The Better Vampire?

1 06 2018

There’s a vampire who has existed for centuries. He is fluent in a dozen languages. He has traveled the world. He has been present at all major historic events. He is expert in the humanities and sciences. He plays several musical instruments so well he can move you to tears. He is suave, unflappable, and incredibly smug.

Would it better if he fed by ramming his head up his victim’s butt, or for his butt to expand cartoonishly to engulf his victim?

Update: I got one vote for each so far.





While Writing The First Draft of A Horror Masterpiece

14 11 2017

vienna-82647_1280Fucking Austrians with their fucking prancy-dancy minuets.

When the vampire has to get a ride home with the werewolf, who drives? What kind of car?

If Van Helsing was Catholic and Jonathan Harker an Anglican, does than mean the Nicean Creed is right? Would a Mormon with a cross repel a vampire? A Unitarian?

Could Satan postpone the Apocalypse until the heat death of the universe?

People usually keep the accent of their youth. Would a 700 year old still have his original accent?

Is “fumagous” a word?

What does rot really smell like?

If my women characters never talk to each other, do I still pass the Bechdel Test?

Are there disparaging names for “Austrians”?

If he’s a wimp on page one, how can I have him do the Insanely Gross Martial Arts Move within a week?

Is it possible for a neurotic character to have a romance and not be Woody Allen?

Can it still be a paranormal romance parody if there is no sex?

If I insult everybody, is it cultural appropriation?

For the cover, do I go with the comical fishhead in front of the naked woman’s abs, or with a man-fish with naked abs?

 

 

 





This Is How Odd A Writing Life Can Be

15 06 2017

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I’ve been listening to “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast” so this post is coming out of me in Gilbert Gottfried’s voice.

My new novel is blocked up. I’ve done 80K words on a 50K word novel and at the very least I have another 100K words still to write. I have the bones of a plot but no working POV and the realization that the past nine months have not been fun.

Meanwhile, a friend who has a major publisher connected me with his agent. Great, but all agents are busy and finding one is a part-time job in itself. My publisher sent the agent a copy of “The Flesh Sutra” (WHY HAVEN’T YOU BOUGHT THIS BOOK? NANCY HOLDER SAYS IT’S GOOD AND IT COSTS ONLY 99 CENTS).

No response from the agent, okay. Agents are busy and I’ve got a novel making me question my life.

Response today. Agent wants to know if I have anything in the works.

Yes, my current work is a performance art piece titled “Existential Anguish”.

If you keep submitting for 28 years, you can be like me, a Myers-Briggs INTJ overthinking his existence in a 12X12 bedroom and running low on self-delusion just in time for a big break.

Did I mention that I’m away from my job for three weeks? THREE WEEKS! My writer friends who have lives and families and communities would kill for three weeks off so they can write what would be the next best-selling, multi-award winning novel of the ages. I will probably be watching Netflix and plucking hair off my ears.

The last thing I wanted to do was post about “wah wah the writers life sucks” like all the other writers in Writerdom. I hate being a cliche. I want to offer something useful.

Feh. We’ll see what happens.

 





Writers: Create A Truer Dystopia With Neurotic Cannibals

5 04 2017

The times being what they are, a lot more dystopias have been popping up in media. Lately, I’ve noticed these new dysfunctional societies have these things in common:

  1. Centralized planning, both economic and political
  2. Industrial efficiency valued more than privacy
  3. Poverty
  4. No distractions like sports, art, holidays, contests.
  5. Discrete cannibalism

Maybe it’s just me just cherry-picking, but it’s what I’m noticing. Here’s an example from Pseudopod: “Meat” by Sandra M. Odell.

That this is a short story makes no difference in world building. A word here, a phrase there, adds to the fleshing out (sorry) of the environment and adding to the reader’s ability to relate without detracting from the plot.

For me, a pared-down dystopia is unbelievable.

Consider the archetype for the dystopic story, the novel “1984”. Grungy, war-weary, and soul sucking. Yet it had the very basics of distraction. There was music. There were museums and newpapers. There were viewscreens. All of it was government approved, sure, but it took the proles minds away from their drudgery, and made them more efficient for the long haul.

There were pubs and perhaps illicit drugs. There was a lottery with announced winners (invented prizes for invented winners, but still, a distraction). There was chocolate, weak and smoky in flavor, which makes me assume there were spices, so maybe a culinary culture for homemakers.

Why do I find these distractions important? Without these distractions, the citizens would very quickly go insane.

Now, insanity is a further opportunity for worldbuilding. Cultures have their own, distinct neurosis in response the culture’s environment and social pressures. These neurosis are called “culture-bound syndromes”. We know about amok , a murderous rage found in Indonesia (and source of the term “to run amok”). What of  taijin kyofusho in Japan, which makes a citizen so afraid of making social blunders that he refuses to leave his home? A disorder among the Inuit called piblokto is thought to be caused by both isolation and Vitamin A deficiency. Last, we have the origin of hysteria in Western Europe, first defined as a woman’s disorder which caused emotional excess leading to rebelliousness.

A dystopia would have any one of these, plus oppressive treatments for their removal.

Note in “Meat” that there are “crazy heads” who are condemned to “Processing” and that the protagonist herself has a rather nifty psychosis developing for solid social reasons. Well done there.

I know you’re asking “what about the cannibalism”?

I’m wondering if a reader could still relate to an industrial dystopia where cannibalism is considered a duty. In “Logan’s Run”, killing people off at the age of 30 was sanctified by a supernatural “renewal” ritual. There are primitive societies where eating enemies or the brains of deceased relatives was encouraged, the latter creating a culture bound syndrome (subject of the X-Files episode “Kuru”).  What would it take for your closest city to dig in?

Did “Soylent Green” have side-effects?

What dystopia strikes you as believable? How messed up is it?





Writers: Surviving A Nuclear Blast

1 02 2017

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How far away do you have to be to survive a nuclear blast?





Writers: Austerity Message From Scarfolk

13 01 2017

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Our Fascism Will Be Prettier

14 12 2016

 





IS THERE ANYONE WHO CAN JUST TELL AN ORIGINAL STORY?

16 11 2016

I do appreciate your attention, but the fact is that there are so few of you visiting me, you can’t pose a threat if you are offended. Moreover, if I were to incriminate myself, you people would not present as credible witnesses for the prosecution.

May I? Okey dokey.

Brexit and Trump and The Backlash were predicted years and years ago. Culture steers politics, and guys? We’ve been in a stultified, petrified, freeze-dried culture for years. Whazzhemean?

Give me a new idea that caught fire in popular culture in the past ten years. I’ll wait.

It’s been a decade of vampires or zombies, or Judd Apatow’s smirking half-improv movies, or self-referential fan-service reboots, or Explodey Old Action Franchises Parts 5.

We’ve been watching, listening, playing, doing the same things for how-many-years and whenever someone has something new, it either drops off the earth or is scorned as idiocy.

Example: The Juggalos. A group that considers itself a great big family of people who just want to shock people with homegrown, Halloween rap music, professional wrestling, and cheap bootie. Hah! What a buncharoobs! They won’t have that kind of vulgarity at Cocachella, and certainly not at Burning Man (that’s how we know Burning Man actually had something going, because the rich people co-opted it)!

Example: The creative paralysis called JJ Abrams. How did one man’s vision get control of not only Star Trek and Star Wars, but set the tone for all other major productions? His style of shakey-cam, blue-lit quirky action heroes can be found on every damn channel. This is like the 1970s only having George Lucas writing and directing Star Wars, Star Trek 1 – 6, and Indiana Jones, and having ILM create “Charlies Angels”, “Hart To Hart”, and “The Six Million Dollar Man” franchise.

Just as business as usual kept going in American politics with Obama (oh yes it did, guys, or did we send any bankers to Guantanamo or Iraq?), that same gritted-teeth durance went into consuming entertainment. That DC movie was not so good? Maybe they’ll get it right next time. That new group sounding like anything else on your iTunes feed? Meh, it’ll do.

It’ll keep your mind off of the war and the oligarchy and what your neighbors hung on their porch.

Pissed off about it? Grab some punk rock or angry rap, read some Bukowski, and drink a Pabst, thanks 20th Century!

We do not have a language for our values. We got comfortable and took it for granted, then leased it, and then sold it.

chuck

This is the Western World’s Premier Underground Satirist. Think On This.

 

You want to know the big difference between music of the 70s and 80s and today? The artists didn’t use it to sell commercials.

Except DEVO and they did it as a big meta-satire.

Even before the Alt-Right, there were artistic clues of seismic discontent. Micropress and self-pub starting taking all the revenue. “Bizarro”, “Weird”, and religious-themed fiction appeared en mass, and would never have gotten attention from TOR or Ballentine. None of them would have gotten shelf space if it weren’t for micropress.

Why Lovecraft? Because so desperate for a new idea that we went back almost a century.

Yet these touch our imaginations, our adrenal glands, and our amigdala. Does anything speak? Does anything touch our hearts?

Who has come forward to just tell of any broken, gutsy dumbass who made good?

IS THERE ANYONE WHO CAN TELL A STORY? NOT PREACH. JUST TELL AN ORIGINAL STORY?





Unsettling Dioramas. From Canada. I Know, Right?

5 10 2016

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Have a look at Patti Normand’s work. She says her intention is to show how nature and humanity coexist with indifference, and how that creates an unsettling expectation. I note that characters make drastic choices without presentation of a context. Why the moosehead? This helps with the unsettling.

Is there a victim? Is there a criminal? Sometimes lives veer away (as in the woman fleeing the relationship in “Gone With Dear Trevor” on her website) and we cheer despite the resultant anguish of Trevor left behind, or sometimes the dinner becomes diner (see the recipe for “Lake Monster” accompanying “What Lies Beneath” the bottom image). Part of weird fiction is pulling the camera back so far that the idea is in the forefront of the emotion.

When framed in the trappings of bygone times like 1960s Ontario, the unsettling becomes even more cerebral. This is how “Stranger Things” and “Twin Peaks” and “X-Files” can take child murder and make it palatable.

I think right now horror is chasing “unsettling”. Times are pretty horrific, true.  Unidentifiable horrors and serial killer antiheroes distract us from our frightful obligations toward tribe and nation. How can the faceless or inaccessible pay for their crimes? The police are ineffective, the lawyers too smart, the Gospel too clear. Let Cthulhu, Hannibal Lector, or the rogue FBI agent handle it.

I am disappointed by contemporary society. If the evangelicals are correct, all the nice people I know are going to Hell (which should always be capitalized). If there is no God, then I am part of a failing justice.  I can’t be the only person feeling this. I’m sure this is why weird is doing so well and that low-budget horror is in another golden age.

Touch the weird stuff up top to see more, or just go here:  http://www.pattinormand.com/





Research! Death In A Microwave!

31 08 2016

 

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Image Courtesy Gizmodo

From Gizmodo:

“Well, I can tell you from experience being microwaved is pretty… intense. Imagine the sensation of being slapped on a bad sunburn, combined with an electric shock, instantly. On the plus side, it also stops instantly once you’ve frantically jerked your hand out of the microwave, so it isn’t all bad I guess? :)”

Yet for adults, staying in a fetal position with eyes tightly clenched may — MAY — keep the liquid parts of us from overheating. Babies in standard home microwaves would probably survive, though with skin burns and severe damage to eyes and genitals. Industrial microwaves would cause internal organ damage, but overall it seems burn wards see people with far worse injuries.

I deem this death: OOGY, NOT HORRIFIC

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