2 Quick Rules To Writing Horror

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In my research for the Infernous Trilogy, I’ve found two consistent pieces of advice to write the most compelling horror.

  1. Think of a book or a movie that disturbed you the most. I’m not talking about cheap jump scares, but something that unsettled your gut. Maybe it’s just a single picture you found floating around online like the one above, a King novel, or a James Wan film. Either way, likely, it was a relatively vague monster/demon/creature/etc. Here is why over explaining your nemesis can actually be a bad thing.

Detail of the enemy can be your own enemy

All through your writing ventures and your schooling from the age of 6, you’re taught detail detail DETAIL. The more detail the better – so long as it keeps the story line moving. However, this rule has an end in horror writing. Everyone has something that they fear. Whether it’s a memory of their childhood house basement, a scene in a movie, or something that they simply made-up in their head. But – that isn’t someone else’s fear. It’s only yours.

You have a much better chance of scaring the hell out of your readers by painting a vague picture of what your enemy is, but not give away too many details. Maybe your character only sees a silhouette of the beast. Maybe they see it fully, but you just don’t explain it. Why do you do this? Because:

When details end, the reader’s imagination picks up and creates their own worst nightmare.

A side-note as well: When your enemy is unknown, it’s creepier as well. When the reader doesn’t know what the thing in the corner of the room is, it let’s their mind travel to its own darkest depths.

2. Long sentences.Short sentences have their place. But rarely in horror. It’s disjointed. It disrupts the flow. And detail matters. Except when it’s about the nemesis. See?

When you said the scene for each chapter, go crazy with details and long descriptive sentences. Set your rooms, buildings and scenery with such vividness, the reader will see it in their head. Long sentences can suck them into a story.

 

We need more horror writers out there! Comment your thoughts, questions, or details of your latest horror project!

The Hipster Level Is Strong With This One

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I can’t be the only one who loves records?
There’s something to be said about records, actual records, not MP3’s, not Spotify, not even CDs.
Music has become so immaterial and soulless, not only in quality but how we care for it.
You can’t damage an MP3. You can’t break iTunes, unless you’re some master hacker with a purpose.
The amount of care you have to put into a record can be time consuming but it’s also so worth it.
Think of an album that really means something to you. For me, it’s After The Gold Rush by Neil Young.

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Do you want to just look at the artwork on a screen and listen to a sub par quality version? Or do you want to hold it in your hands, a fragile piece of art of the highest quality. Do you want to make the music that already meant something to you mean so much more that you have to physically keep it safe.
Drop the needle on a record and listen to music birth to life.

Music Review – Stonerider – Hologram

Score – 4.5 outta 5

Rock ‘n’ roll is coming back, but it won’t be heard on the radio – not yet at least.

One of the bands bringing the blues infused rock back is a hidden gem named Stonerider. The boys in the Georgia based band have evolved from many different types of rock. Coming to the scene in 2008, they released Three Legs Of Trouble, which was a AC/DC – Jet inspired cock rock. Four years later they released the timeless Fountains Left To Wake which rekindled early 70’s – late 60’s rock. It’s classic tone and rock piano let listeners know they weren’t just a group with rock in them. They were a band with deep substance and roots into the soul.

What would they do next? Would they even put out another album? Surviving as an independent band is so difficult.

Another four years later, Hologram is released.

Stonerider has gone from cock rock, to soulful rock, to now, Pink Floyd-esque, organ blairing, vocal harmonizing rock. They’re proving again that whatever they set their minds to, they do it right.

Make no mistake that these guys are a rip off of whoever they are inspired by.

The title song is an awakening to what rock was intended to be. It’s not about sounding as heavy as possible, having tough guy vibes. It’s soul, it’s something you feel inside your chest when you hear that organ or guitar rip around, not for the sake of doing so, but stirring something inside. Drive around open roads in the middle of the night and listen to this album.

Highlight songs are War, Traffic, And Blind Faith, Your Chains, The Great Divide, and Undertow.

They play cock rock better than Jet, early rock to match bands like Kadavar or Horisont, and they released an album unrivaled by modern rock.

I can only hope the world is gifted by another album in the future.

Check this one out on their bandcamp and buy the CD.

Why Can’t We Keep Social Media Fun?

Chances are, the last time you checked your Facebook feed, you saw a bunch of angry posts about today’s issues, politics and just overall frustrating topics. To be completely honest, nobody cares about your tangent about how much you hate Trump or North Carolina.

I’m not saying we should ignore issues, or be ignorant to them. But do you really think ranting on Facebook makes a difference? We’re living in a society where people think standing for an issue is screaming your opinion on Facebook and unfriending anyone who disagrees with you. This is modern society. It’s either what you believe, or the other idea is blasphemy and wrong.

All I want on my newsfeed is funny memes, updates worth reading from friends, and cat pictures. Not, TRUMP SAID THIS! THIS PERSON CANCELED HIS GIG IN NC.

I don’t care, and hopefully, nobody else does. Politics is a shitty topic and will divide people no matter what. So please stop spreading anger and frustration. We all know life sucks and things are getting worse. Rants on Facebook won’t stop that, neither will signing a petition, except, oh, you don’t sign petitions anymore. In today’s world, you type your name and click a button. Way to stand up for what you believe.

Why can’t we keep our newsfeeds happy and fun? The world sucks, why does Facebook have to as well?

How To Write A Book On Your Phone

I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem…I can’t find the time to write. The worst part about this statement is that it’s not even entirely true. Everyone has time to write.

Here’s my issue. I work nights, and my best time to write is when I get home before I go to sleep. Except when I get home, I’m destroyed and want nothing more than to relax and unwind. Even though we can say that writing is our dream, our passion, and career in the works, it’s WORK. Make no mistake. Writing is fun, but it’s tedious and hard work. So when I get home from work, I don’t want to work more.

I’m making it easier for myself and thought I would share what I’m doing.

I have the benefit of being able to use my phone for long periods of time at my job, but not a computer. So I went on an Amazon buying purge and bought myself a phone holder – this one here and then I bought a Bluetooth keyboard that will sync to my phone – this here 

Since I, like most people write novels on Microsoft Word – I downloaded their app which is well reviewed. Saving my documents on SkyDrive, I can access them from the app and work on them and type to my heart’s desire. I haven’t done any of this yet, I’m waiting for the products to come in the mail, but I’m sure this will solve my lazy writing habits.

Full size keyboard for a phone, it’s going to look funny but it will work.

 

Free Books On Kindle

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Both of my books are free next weekend on Kindle!
Infernous is a fast paced horror story about a demonic possession and what happens inside the mind of possessed person.
A Song For Swans is about a teenager with a nearly immediate life ending cancer and how he copes with the sudden idea of death.

Both are free on Kindle next weekend!

And Then I Fall Asleep (Truth Tuesday)

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I’m starting a new weekly writing prompt to encourage writing for not only myself but others. It’s called Truth Tuesdays. Similar to one line Wednesday, it’s a short piece of truth; just something you have to say.
So here’s mine…

There are so many small things happening in my life that I feel the need to amount them to a sum or believe that they’ll lead to something but they don’t. They’re just a lot of small conversations and occurrences that happen, and then I go to sleep in the morning.
Thanks,
Zac

When Does Life Get In The Way Of Writing?

Does life get in the way of writing more than it helps?

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Lately I’ve been finding life getting too busy and complicated and it’s been messing with my writing time. The worst part is that it’s not just the busyness that ruins my writing times because I still have time to write. My mind is so warped and tired from the events around me, I just sit and stare at a computer screen and accomplish nothing.

However on the adverse, it’s been life that inspired me to do all my writing. Whether it was horror writing, realistic fiction or just songwriting, life has inspired it all. It was occurrences during my childhood and adolescence that inspired the horror. It was a dearly missed friend dying of cancer that inspired my realistic fiction. Lastly, it’s love and love-lost that inspired most of my songwriting.

I’ve found that extraordinarily good and bad things in life inspire writing – at least from me. Death, a breakup, finding love, or keeping a friendship alive, it all spurs embers in the writing mind’s fire. But the humdrum everyday buzz of life combats those more meaningful events. It’s a constant struggle with a push-pull state of warfare. It’s the taxes, the 40 hour work weeks, worrying about bills life that brings down creativity and brings to light apathy, fatigue, and laziness of the mind.

Maybe it’s the best writers that are able to use all aspects of life towards writing and I’m just not there yet. Still, it’s no fun being in a valley and not having the inspiration or heart to write. Writing is a bloodline after all and I’m only complete when I can pursue my career and dream.

Walter Died

This here is Walter, say hi.

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So I totaled my car the other day. Without going into the menial details, it wasn’t my fault and thankfully the insurance companies agree. However I found, and find myself rather sad about saying goodbye to my friend Walter. Yes, his name is Walter. Yes, it’s a HE.

Insert insecure gay joke here because I named my car a guy’s name…

But I’m curious to know how naming an inanimate object somehow gives it personality. Why am I attached to a car? I gave it the name Walter and assigned it a personality that doesn’t exist. I imagined the car having a mind of its own, fighting through the hot and cold seasons just to get me to where I needed to go when in reality it was just a series of metal and plastic pieces with no heart at all.

Is it because I’m a writer that I pretend to personalize a car? Is it because I’m young? I know I’m not the only young person to name a car or get hung over one when it gets trashed.

I call it a combination of the two, which is a double whammy unfortunately for myself. I think younger people are searching for so many things that they name vehicles to fill a void that hasn’t been filled by something more significant yet. Either that – or they do it because they’re bored.

I can only look at myself as an example. I’m single, besides my writing career which is taking its sweet time getting started, I work a crappy job and still struggle to support myself. There is a lot to be desired in my life. I have long friendships that blossomed in adolescent life, but in the shadow of adulthood, are dwindling down to but embers.

I took pictures of Walter because I wanted to remember him and the memories we shared. I had many life changing conversations and experiences within him. I went on my only vacation with my best friend and drove to Kentucky on 3 hours of sleep. I drove to North Carolina to meet my brother on a whim and went to countless shows. I took pretty girls on dates and got to fog up the windows on a few occasions. From my perspective, I should feel a degree of friendship with the car. I spent fragile years of my life with him. He was my bro. And in the end, he protected me when someone decided to be Pennsylvania’s dumbest driver.

People don’t do these things later in their life because they have filled those voids. Maybe my next car will have a name, maybe it won’t. I can only assume that when I have a car that doesn’t have a name, it means I’ve moved on to some degree.

But I’m young, and I’m a writer. I like adventure; anything to make life more interesting than it is. So here’s to you Walter, you magnificent bastard – here’s to the years I spent trying to figure myself out with you.

RIP

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