If someone makes a scene in public I watch. r/PublicFreakout on Reddit is great for videos like that. Anyone would watch, because it is mostly hilarious even though sometimes it is quite frightening. As long as it is not happening to me it is funny. At any rate, some of these videos result in the cops being called, if they are not in the area already. The moral is- do something disruptive/dangerous/indecent in public and a government official (or everyone) will probably know about it. In my stories, this will even take into account a monster attack. Of course, when they arrive the authorities will have it look like nothing abnormal/paranormal/supernatural was happening in the area so everyone can move on with their relatively simple lives.
I recently had a project in one of my classes (The Art of Storytelling) where I had to read a book aloud to class. Note, this is a university class, so I was speaking to other adult classmates. I read them Neil Gaiman's The Wolves in the Walls. It has amazing illustrations by Dave McKean. As part of the project I had to come up with a post-story activity that a teacher could theoretically use after reading this book to young students. I invite any elementary school teacher to use the below as a potential activity after the book is read. Use it as you will, and you can change anything about it.
1) Wolves, good or bad? Dispelling the myths.
2) Communication within a family structure
1) Crayons, Pencils
2) Construction Paper (3 Sheets, Any Color)
3) YouTube Video “How Wolves Change Rivers”; 4 min 34 sec
1. Have the kids draw a wolf on two of the construction sheets, one with a happy face and one with an angry face.
2. On the sheet of the wolf with the happy face, ask the kids to list any reasons wolves are good.
3. On the sheet of the wolf with the angry face, ask the kids to list any reasons wolves are bad.
4. Show them the Video “How Wolves Change Rivers”.
5. Discuss the importance of wolves and things learned in the video.
6. Have them draw a picture of their family and discuss an event (good or bad) that came out of communication within the family.
In my last feature, The Device, I spoke about horror characters. This time I’m focusing on actual plot or plot points. Not all of them. Characters can be cliché but entertaining. Under the right hands plots can be cliché and entertaining, but often times that is not the case.
1. Family Moves into Haunted House… I’m tired of seeing it everywhere, I really am. Paranormal Activity (series), Insidious, Sinister, I’ve never watched them. Just thinking about those sorts of plots bore me to death. The same three to four person family who moves into a house with some dark past is so overused it’s dull. Not every house has had a murder living there. Not every house is going to have a ghost or demon gaining experience points by convincing humans to kill each other. Besides, if I were a ghost I’d sneak into people’s room and watch live porn. For free! Here is what hearing voices sound like, it’s not pretty…
Possessed children aren’t scary. If they twist their heads three sixty or start walking upside down I’ll punt them across the room and call it a day. Ju-on, The Orphanage, and The Amityville Horror are the only haunted house movies that have actually scared me. I actually thought The Haunted Mansion was a funny play on the genre, as was Scary Movie 2. Other times, I don’t even like the family enough to give a crap if they’re possessed.
2. “Is Anyone Out There?”… Many apocalyptic movies work this way. It is an effective line and actually hard to avoid. On a cancelled zombie story I had written, the first line was, “Does anyone even remember their lives two months ago?” It didn’t work out as well as, “Is Anyone Out There?” because anything or anyone can be out there. There are so many unknown variables. If the monster is close and smart enough, it can trap our unfortunate hero. If a gang of marauders led by Tom Savini is nearby, well, the hero is screwed. Who knows, maybe the zombies get there first… Or, even better, another, sane human being is nearby and they decide to team up with the hero.
3. The Gas Station in the Middle of Nowhere, Oh and There Are Old Creepy Hicks… This is false. My family and I were on a trip to Roan Mountain here in North Carolina when we stopped by a gas station on the road. It was two stories, wooden, painted white and chipping in places from age. The door was mostly off its hinges. The people inside were kind and polite, happy to see us buy cold drinks on such a hot, lazy day. They owned cows which were very interested in my dog Annie, who we then proclaimed were the cows’ cousin- we have a funny picture of it somewhere. This is the beauty of Mom-and-Pop gas stations. It just works. On every long trip, the hero is going to need to fill up their car or else they’re stuck. While there they can get pieces of local history and warnings from old creepy men named Mordecai. The true greatness is the inevitability of stopping for gas.
4. Gosh, My Phone Service Sucks... This one is true, at least for the mountains. My family goes camping almost every year. If you try to call me, or I try to call someone else, I’m screwed. I’ve never been to the dessert so I can’t assess what goes on. Maybe you can contact aliens.
5. Freak Weather… In a few horror movies, especially a slasher, there is going to be some form of freak storm. I wouldn’t call the Jason X’s atmosphere fall weather but it was extreme. When both killer and hero can use the weather to their advantage somehow, it becomes a really good, really harrowing scene. Either could use wet ground, loose stones, or suddenly have the ability to see through blinding rain. One of the greatest scenes though is at the end of The Silence of the Lambs.
And because I love the movie this next clip is from... Four Lions-
College has been long so far, it feels like a week. My hands hurt. Why? The college I go to has some vague rule about no laptops in class. They're worried about me getting on Facebook or something during those dull lectures.... Well you know what? Not everyone is going to do that.
Some people want to visit the 21st Century! Strange is it?
With taking so many important notes, typing is far faster and has less strain on your hand. We all know how it feels to put pen on paper for so long. It hurts. Besides, if some asshole decides to look at something else during class; it's his grade in trouble. Not a class disruption.
I was prepared to start writing notes via computer twice and was stopped. I didn't bother ask anymore. So fine, have a majority of our work on the computer but don't allow us to access valuable resources. Computer labs sure, but I don't want to spend much more time there at campus than I have to. So sorry folks, I'll take my musings somewhere else.
I love the title and you guys will have to get over it. I wasn't being completely original with the title of the drawing/painting I did. The Dream Today Forgot is one of the surrealistic writing pieces I was working on. The plot fizzled out until just recently but I have yet to go back to it. I'm not sure if I ever will.
The Dream Today Forgot
To dream means to rest
Tonight for tomorrow
You achieve the world.
Dream Forever- Chuck Rodgers Project
Fresh loam pressed in between the meat of webbed toes and tickled the rest of his bare feet with cold. Greenish veins pulsed through the webs in the thunderous pumping of his excited heart. Rodger Nimes did not dare himself to move. This was his dream and he’ll keep it in a strong grasp for as long he could. Swim free and strong Rodger, until you reach the bottom of the river. Swim free, swim free, swim free!
A choking sob of joyous laughter burst from his chest. One minute and dusty sound flowed over the wet howling of surging water before him. Birds of paradise happily cawed amongst themselves on the other side of the river. Each was adorned with a strange crown like a cockatoo but feathered with such exquisite colors; he did not believe such hues were found on those ghostly birds.
Sing with the birds! Swim free in the river!
Behind him a crow called out in flight. Leaves rustled off of the branches as if disturbed. Warm air carried them high above his head until they landed drunkenly into the water. They were immediately submerged by the rough current and out of his sight. He caught a final glimpse the large black wings shimmering to the south.
It doesn't fit the title of the drawing because all of that above is going to change. If I decide to do something with this piece. The land is going to be just a little bleaker but no less wondrous and... Worth the ride, let's put it that way.
Happy Flip will also return.
If you think closely about it; monsters could only survive in the time before the internet. With today's technological achievements, the paranormal may actually fail at whatever they're doing. Even monsters or whatnot have to hide out until the right moment to strike.
Vampires:If a blood-sucker needs to go to the bank there will be a problem. Banks are only open during daylight hours. How is he supposed to deposit a check? Or even check on his bank account if the internet is down? Sure vampires have superpowers but it doesn't matter. Robbing a bank is out of the question.
Not one vampire-on-human movie has one with the baddie winning it all. Eventually, and quite often overnight, the vampire is returned to the grave. See, humans are still and always will be top of the food chain!
Finally, with all of the new building developments appearing; the vampire may lose his home. All it takes is for a construction worker to find a coffin in the basement. Sure they'll shut down the break down of the abandoned building for a short while. However, finding out what is in the said coffin is the primary issue. Open the coffin around noon with broken walls; andFIZZLE-BURN-CRISPY-CHICKEN! A fried vampire. For the second time in less than a week.
Again however- there are no finally's, what am I kidding- the internet could possibly save this poor soul. You see with the extreme aversion to sunlight; vampires will not be able to hold any kind of job. At all. But, the internet has plenty of work-at-home options for said vampire.
Werewolves: Where is a man supposed to go when he gets extra body hair every full moon? Or every night, depending on the situation. Driving far away for another's safety in this economy is not a good thing. So again I preach, where the hell is he supposed to go?
If strolling down the neighborhood; they will be spotted. Immediately following will be a mob of gunmen. Really, really, good gunmen. Because while I may have to have a few extra pairs of pants- if I see a bloodthirsty werewolf near anyone of my family (current or otherwise) I am going to kill it. Granted, not all werewolves are evil. Some are just fuzzy and warm and kind cuddly....
And God forbid someone steal their clothes while they are running around (ya know, all furry and stuff). Come morning you get a streaker. Followed by eternal harassment.
Wizards: Stage magicians don't count because the bunny is always in the hat. Everyone knows that. So what if there is an actual wizard shopping for supplies at the local Walmart? Followed by a sudden urge to steal because of an invisibility charm? Unfortunately their buddy is outside just anxious to try an explosion.
Explosion goes pa-tut! and they are now on the run. Problems include hundreds of people being able to see this event. Car chases will be seen. This can not be hidden in any sane action...
Oh and the wizards are arrested for property damage, arson, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest. Poor wizards. Never had a chance. Along with the fact that they may actually be pestered by the paparazzi. Look at Criss Angel. He does magic and he's ultra-popular. But for something really good to happen these ol' wizards need their concentration- because we aren't talking about Gandalf and the Balrog.
Speaking of old people... Would you really like to play Bingo with a man who can manipulate matter? All he would need is some deception and his staff disquised as a walking stick and presto! Bingo is out for a week because he won too much money.
Aliens: As noted, it would be too hard for any odd creature/person to show up without being spotted. And if I remember correctly, aliens aren't very subtle. Several thousand sightings of UFOs are reported each year. What do they want? Nobody is sure. Whether evil or to help us save ourselves; they stick around.
If- and I use if very loosely here- they want to be secretive about all of this snooping around our earth (or theirs).... Aliens just don't do a dandy job at it. Granted, we help them get away by providing blurry images or video of every single paranormal event out there.
Now in the way of not helping them- and let's take this for granted- aliens are ugly and they have no alibis. They simply have nowhere to go if they crash land. Food and water are another matter. We humans eat the food we eat for the simple fact that we have the same molecular background as everything else on earth. Aliens do not. Propose they are completely different molecular structure; they can't drink our water.
Breathe our air. Or eat our food.
Oh and they'll have to adhere to Will Smith complaining about cookouts and the 4th of July.
Bigfoot: Same goes for these furry ape/man/beast things. Not one person can get a legitimate picture without moving the camera like they have tourettes. If they did sorry for the mentioning. Otherwise with all of this Global Warming; the guys are literally fried.
Woodland creatures need the forests. Not a zoo. Or a highway to feed carrion birds. They need the woods.
Overpopulation doesn't help because we seem to want to dig holes and move dirt. For what really? A fifty-thousand dollar house or a damn golf course? We don't need all of this space. So when Bigfoot families get run out, where do they go? Where does anyone go?
Don't even get me started on hiding. Harry and the Hendersons explained that entire situation for us.
Mermaids: Ariel has no real chance at all. Sure she's nice but so many people are mean. If a mermaid is sighted there are photographers and scientists and interested tourist on the hunt. And then generally there is at least one boat of loony men with harpoons.
No the mermaid does not want be poked by any part of a burly seaman. They have far more class than that. So why don't they come out of the water? Maybe we wouldn't really want them to anyway. From the fourth Pirates movie, they were pretty pissed off. Wouldn't bode well if they were actually like that.
And I'm sure they're not. Not all beauties are evil.
Everyone hates a big mouth. Such as the guy above.
Big Mouth: State the obvious, loud, either talk too fast or too slow, and migraines usually begin to transpire around them.
So what about in a story where no one can hear them? No one can you hear you scream in space right? Or the woods? Well what happens on the page? Occasionally too much. Yes, dialog is vitally important; that's not what the point is.
Take this for example:
"Hey Tony, where are you going?" Helen asked.
"Then why do you have your shoes on?" she asked again.
She said, he said, she asked, he asked. It's often redundant after one use. We all know that this symbol right here (?) means a question has been asked. It's also cause for sloppy dialog. There has to be a mix of actions and speech in the same little section.
No one cares if Tony was picking his nose. Helen may ask why somewhere in the dialog anyway. Or if someone is doing jumping jacks. The reader will understand that. Contrary to popular belief, some humans actually have brains.
Now whether or not they have to actually search for it is up to them.
Some people just simply don't need to mingle with society in any way, shape, or form. Occasionally though, these types are the heroes. Most often, as with any contradiction; they are just simply evil. I have both types running through my series. Here's one of the characters you'll see as "bad" at most and good. Look, you just won't really want to meet him on the street.
Dave Kaczmarczyk: A former special ops soldier; known for his demolitions and guerrilla warfare expertise. Due to a severe injury he was disbanded. Of course it doesn't stop him folks! Now he is a private mercenary- hard price for men and lenient with women. He gives to charity every once in a while too. Sounds like a nice guy right?
So what's wrong with him? He's a sociopath to the extremities. Road rage. Carries weapons everywhere. Talks to Death and Morrigan while no one else can see them.
Now for the last two creepy people on here. Death and Morrigan. With these two hotheads around, there is violence everywhere in Dave's world. Let's learn about them.
Death: Yes, the Grim Reaper. Although instead of a cloak he wears a jogging suit. He absolutely and vocally hates his job. To pose even more rebellion; Death drinks on the job! Via fruity cocktail drinks in a hollowed coconut- with a bendy straw and umbrella for flashiness.
One of the reasons he hangs out with Dave all the time is- he's obsessed with Death. And Dave comes up with some creative ways. Also, he thinks Dave is such a bad ass that he gave the man.... I'm not going to spoil it.
Morrigan: Irish goddess of war, prophecy, and fertility. She appears, with Death, in my next story. Seen more as a protector of Dave- she gives him hints and emotional support through ordeals in his life. Now, she is an erotic figure of the look-but-don't-touch variety when it comes to Death. Her outfits are seen as modern and revealing to a point.
Her constant bickering with the skeletal figure irritates Dave to points of madness. Dave doesn't know if either of them actually exists, but weird things do happen. Morrigan is a prominent figure because she's been watching over Dave since his childhood- and to his death.
Well that's all for now. Adios folks.
I am an author. I am a fan of horror, thrillers, and comedy.