I'm going to focus on romance today, because there's nothing better to discuss on such a wonderful day. Below is a short, tender moment between Lt. Sarah Bryson and her husband, William Bryson, from Ruby Caves. This is an important scene. The hug, the quietness- a moment to let everyone relax before the extreme, inevitable violence. This is one of the parts where I actually (mostly) stray from putting my characters into emotional turmoil. Here, Sarah is fighting the past, even while remembering it. Remembering helps her keep focus of what's ahead of her.
An old coworker of mine from Camp Dogwood used to read my stories when there was a pause in our work. When she read my horror stories she always found them frightening. They weren’t overtly frightening though. I asked her on a walk after work one night what she had always meant. She explained that what I had in my stories was a slow creep factor. Everything would be normal, but at the same time something was obviously very wrong with the scene. I put focus on certain things that would make sense in our natural world but still have a feeling of wrongness and ebbing dread. Little things too. A sentence of oddness, and then I immediately move on to something normal.
Pop culture has provided us with many snarky heroes, insults, and comebacks. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with a good threat or warning. When I watch Arnold Schwarzenegger threaten a much smaller guy, I start laughing at the ridiculous ways directors and screenwriters have to find to physically harm Arnold. When Liam Neeson threatens to kill his daughter’s kidnapper, his icy exterior and later bloodbath make it terrifying.
Senioritis hit me hard for the Fall 2016 semester but I still made it out of my four classes alright. In three of them I earned a B. The fourth was a C+ (with .5 of a point away from a B). Papers, papers, and more papers. It is draining on the psyche to write so many of them. When I was finally done at the end of the day I don’t want to write. I’m so exhausted I need to let go of my laptop for a while. And I do not want to sit at my desk with a notebook. All I wanted to do was make dinner and watch a movie or TV show. Writing is not compatible with a tired me. It started affecting the pacing of my stories.
One of my New Years Resolutions was to write a romance with no paranormal activity or violence; just a normal, sweet romance. What better time to start it than around one of the most romantic days of the year? The plot is simple. A man with Sideditus who must live with the disorder: every time he sneezes his body inexplicably jumps to the left. He is led to another person with the disorder and teaches them how to cope.
When I asked my American Literature I professor if I could do a short story in the style of Poe, she was ecstatic. I’m glad she was ecstatic, because this was a really fun write. It took me two days to write the initial story (Thursday and Friday) and then I spent Saturday night editing. At the beginning of the English paper I introduced the general themes running through Poe’s stories and told her my intentions. I have lost that introductory paragraph somewhere along the line. That kind of sucks, because I thought it was a great start.
Edgar Allan Poe crafted a perfect murder mystery in The Cask of Amontillado. Great murders have strong motives; however, Montresor appears to have none. Is he insane? Absolutely, and that’s a perfectly rational explanation for burying a drunk old friend alive. Unfortunately for Montresor I am as stubborn as a student looking to get an excellent grade on his paper. My purpose was to expose him, and I did. Wikipedia had some excellent theories on the murder and I went to the cited works provided to find what I could.
The only time I remember fishing was in Florida, on a dock out in the sun. It was burning out there and we had just gotten fishing poles from a Wal-Mart (or the Florida equivalent). Bait was from a little shop close by. I think they were frozen shrimp. Anyway, I never caught anything, none of us did. A fish large enough to break my sister’s line actually gave her a nibble. These were the cheap rods. We left a little disappointed.
In Zoology we’re learning so much about ocean life it should just be called Marine Biology. But man, fish are awesome. I know the scientific reason why sharks have to continuously swim and fish don’t. I know what makes them float too: swim bladders in fish, and livers in sharks. Tunicates are boring sea teapots. Perches are interesting to dissect, as are squids, turtles, and a freaking shark. They didn’t smell either because of the preservatives used.
I’m using what I’ve learned to create semi-realistic creatures. The fins and tail of a bony fish are supported by bone. That could be a useful weapon and defense tactic. The lateral lines in a fish allow them to sense changes in water pressure, the currents, or electrical charges. None of these carry very well over land, but what if the monster adapted well enough to sense electrical currents over land or air?
We’ll be screwed and worshipping Dagon and Cthulhu in no time! And they aren’t even the biggest threat. The Host is a scary movie featuring something from underwater and it devastated an entire city simply by instilling fear into the citizens and government. How did that movie get started? Chemicals were being dumped into the water. We have a problem like that with waste entering the groundwater- specifically, pig crap here in North Carolina. If radiation seeped into the water system, who knows what could pop out if it was mating season. It’s a very real fear, because we’re running out of places to put our crap.
Nothing I write about will ever get as large as Godzilla- not an aquatic creature anyway- and while I turn into a fan boy every time I see new Godzilla 2014 trailers, it’s time to let something come a little closer to home.
What I mean by that is doing something with the mogloop in the Nutmeg novelization, Radiation Road. Throughout the series he’s been called a Dragon-Squid-Thingy. I’m not sure that’s going to change much. The tentacles or appendages hanging down from its chin are going to be gone though. That’s just going into weird Davy Jones territory. Now, as an alien, it doesn’t mean it can’t be wild.
Tuesday we learned about toads, komodo dragons, and snapping turtles. Those three combined will create an awesome beast. He won’t have a shell. However, the jaw muscles of a snapping turtle start all the way at the base of their skull, allowing it to give us our favorite animal action. I’ll explain later.
Oh what the hell, why not?
Ha-ha-ha-ha, so awesome! I'm going the first day!
I enjoy the lone wolf hero, who doesn’t? They’re badass and have grizzled beards, most of the time… But I can’t see myself using them often. Originally I conceived Dave as the lone wolf in his series, but that’s just ridiculous now. It works in games like God of War because Kratos is literally a god. He can handle giant monsters better than most, but even he has the help of Athena’s blades.
I’m writing the ending to Ruby Caves, and I thought I needed to make my villain scarier than he already was. Mom pointed out that werewolves don’t need to be more frightening than they already are. She shoots down my ideas when necessary, and I’m glad she does. Otherwise I would be stuck in a cycle of getting nothing done for a long time.
My plan was to have mind control involved in the story somehow; I would have had Erika turn against her father at a crucial point in the last battle. It would have made everything worse for the heroes. There are a couple of reasons this would not work- one of which can’t be explained due to spoilers.
I am an author. I am a fan of horror, thrillers, and comedy.