Infernous II: Shadow & Soul

Chapter II of the Infernous trilogy has been delayed just a tad. The reason for this is I’m halfway across the country in school to get my CDL license. You got that right, writer turned trucker.
So the expected release for chapter two has gone from summer to late summer/fall. It may even be better if it’s timed around Halloween.
But rest assured, it’s coming.

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2 Quick Rules To Writing Horror

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Photo Source

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.

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.

 

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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The Belittling Of Writers

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STOP!

If you’re a writer you have heard the following statements:

“I always wanted to write a book, except…”

“You have so many good ideas – you should write a book!”

“You always have such great stories – you should write a book!”

“Can I be a character in one of your books?”

 

If you’re a writer you have seen the following phrases somewhere:

“Careful not to make me angry, I’ll put you in my next book! (Or some variation)

Okay, I can only think of one phrase…

All of these insult my passion and profession as a writer to the core of my being. Allow me to explain myself…

I’m all for having fun, making jokes about pretty much everything because who doesn’t want life to be fun? And maybe if these phrases and pieces of conversation were done so in moderation, it wouldn’t be bad because hearing one of these once in a while isn’t a big deal; hell, I wouldn’t even mind it at all. However, the volume of these phrases is out of control. Here’s why these statements are at heart – insulting the profession of writing and making a mockery of what we do.

 

  1. “I’ve always wanted to write a book, except I never had the time.” Let’s dissect this. This statement is fine if someone is actually interested and has a desire to write. However, that is never the case. It’s because they see your book and think how cool it would be to have a book of their own. So they put themselves on the same level as you by saying, “Yeah well, I always wanted to write a book, my friends tell me I should.”
  2. Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel. However innocent and joking as this statement is, a writer isn’t going to compromise his or her own’s book just to put someone they know in the story. It just belittles the act of writing a book. It’s difficult.

I need only ask one question: Do you write? The answer of that question will determine if you’re a writer or not.

Okay, so I’m not going to dissect each one, it would be redundant and boring. But the core belief of all these statements is consistently the belittling of writing. Just because someone thinks it would be cool to be a writer, doesn’t mean they have the stones to do it. And please hear me out, I don’t mean to put myself or fellow writers on some stage and say “YOU CAN’T BE US. WE’RE AWESOME.” That’s not at all what I mean.

For me, writing isn’t a fun, carefree thing I do because it’s my hobby. I already have an post on my site titled “Writing Is Not My Hobby.” It’s not my hobby. It’s my dream, my profession, my passion. It is literally the most important thing to me beyond family and friends. It’s everything to me. So when someone acts like my small and seldom accomplishments could be achieved by anyone who THINKS they could just pick up a pen and write an eighty thousand word book, it backhandedly slaps any writer in the face.

Being a writer is a hard life, and it only gets harder with the evolving…or devolving industry – depending on how you look at it.

Do you have an interest in writing? That’s great! Truly. Talk to a writer about it, they’d love to talk your ear off about everything and I mean everything. The majority of writers and authors are like most musicians – the nicest and most sincere people you will meet. They love talking about their passion. I would love to talk to anyone who wants to get into writing. But these nonchalant statements of how easy it would be to write a book are lazy and angering.

Maybe I’m being too sensitive, if so, just tell me. Zac, stop being a whiny (insert expletive). Either way – I don’t have many things that bother me. But this one takes the cake.

Thanks for reading my tirade.

Infernous – The Comic Is Happening!

So here is the first post of many detailing all of you about how my recent horror book Infernous is now being made into a comic series. It will likely be 3 issues, and we are currently drawing up the characters and writing the script. But who is WE?

The fine artist who will make the violent story come to life is Matthew Mahoney. This is our first venture into the world of comics and we are super excited.

What to expect:

After the first two issues are completed, we will run a Kickstarter fund on one of the sites (Indiegogo, Gofundme, Kickstarter) to help raise money for printing, shipping and creation costs. Once the goal is met, we will ship out the first issue to Infernous. The following month we will continue to work on issue 3, as well as ship out issue 2.

This time frame for all of this is still up in the air, but we will have artwork to showoff soon!BELETH 1