Topic: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Dude let's continue this here as opposed to in the Name That....

I can respect your secrecy about your writing...I've actually seen ideas of mine in somewhat famous films...inparticular Terry Gilliams works that one of my teachers knew personally...so...

But Poe was a friend of mine growing up - I mean he influences my writing even today.

What are your topics when you write?

Last edited by Shakingman (2007-01-18 02:26:44)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

I love isolation.  I feel that horror is best when a person is isolated.  Sure we would all like to live in a world where teamwork is big and everyone is each other person's friend but that is not realistic.  And often, if there is a team involved, they should be further isolated to give the desired effect.  In thinking of isolation of a group which works perfectly, I remember Poe's ever classic The Masque of the Red Death, in which he is able to isolate an entire party of people simply by having the story take place in a castle which is bolted shut.  Therefore, I try to see isolation as a main theme in writing: Not simply in getting a character to deal with outside evil, but even the demons they may be facing within (the troubled, harmed and/or flawed character).

But I do ramble.  What about you?  (And anyone else reading this lol.)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

I've always been a huge fan of E.A.Poe!  In my youth I was quite the connoisseur of short stories, so I read everything Poe did and if you haven't looked at the supernatural stories that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote you've missed out. (The Best Horror Stories of Arthur Conan Doyle ISBN: 0-89733-265-2)

TheDudeWithTheShotgun, I too like to use isolation in a story, but not exclusivly like you were (I think) aluding too.  I tend to define isolation in two ways: The Physical - as in your example of the The Masque of the Red Death.  And the Mind - where someone can be in a room full of people, but (for any number of reasons) still be completly alone.  The shunned and ostrisised of this world will feel this way.  They are disconnected and thus "alone" with no help.  I am in fact working on an idea that heavily incorporates this tone in a story.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Interesting.
Most of the screenplays I write deal with the protagonist as the "outsider," the loner...seems to be a common theme. I think our world has been forced into this existence and I don't think it's just us three who feel this way.
With serial killers, pedophiles, junkies, rapists, everyday psychos walking the streets we have a intuit urgency to withdraw from society because there is no longer any trust.
It's a sad, sad siutation we have created for ourselves and I only see it getting worse...to the point of mass undead zombism.

I recenty moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada...from a somewhat friendly small town and the people in Vancouver are strange to say the least...they are all paranoid to even look at someone who is smiling - just enjoying their day - they instantly think the person insane...or out to harm.

Is this the world we created? Technology to blame?

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Shakingman, this story I mention above gives a somewhat unique answer to why.  The uniqueness of my idea is not the what, but the way it will be presented... Never in this whole big picture way.  I can't say much more than that at this time, I don't have all the details and stuff worked out.  There is a lot of research I want to do before I get the whole thing done, but as a way to work some writing elements out I am planning a short story version when done I may be persuaded to share it.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

That would be totally cool skidog. I am only here to help not steal ideas. I have enough of my own. I'm working on several ideas right now...one a Modern interpretation of Jack the Ripper...with loads of sex and twists...I'm doing the research right now.
I'm also adapting some stuff including a Stephen King Story.
So you can always send any work to me personally to critique (constructively) thru my private email as opposed to posting it here for everyone to see.
Ditto for you Dude.
I on the other hand think posting here is a good idea as you just never know who may read it and say hey...you're hired!
Write on!

Last edited by Shakingman (2007-01-18 20:09:38)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Since we've been talking here today, I've actually started.  I'm gonna do it initially as two short stories (to get the charactures straight) one of the "good guy" and the other of the "bad guy"... I put them in quotations because in my world good and bad will be up to the audience.

To clue you in on what I'm working on, it deals with what is real.  The good guy, while in a coma,  has a vision from the Archangel Micheal and is told he is a Soldier of God and he must eliminate those who are evil.  Did he really have a vision or is he going insane?  The bad guy hears voices that force him to torcher and kill.  Is he possesed or schizo?  In the final version what happens when they meet?

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

I have been inspired here by the recent events in CA of the woman that dropped her children off the peer, because God told her too.  On the surface it is freightening to think that any woman could kill her children.  It is sooo much more freightening to think that she was telling the truth...

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

All interesting and great to see.

Skidog, I have not read anything other than Sherlock Holmes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but I must say that his mystery style is truly influential and just overall a great read.  As for isolation: I in no way believe that to be the only theme which I feel should be present in a work of horror, whether mine or others.  Although isolation is an amazing theme to me, which is seen in my writing, I explore other themes as well.

Another theme I love to explore is one of trust (now branching of course into Shakingman's love of loners).  I feel the same way when it comes to viewing society as a place of social isolation.  I feel that Stephen King's The Stand does a great job when it comes to expressing the trust among characters I would love to have come through in my writing, by pairing together a bunch of loners from many areas of life.  In a world where no one knows anyone really, it is amazing to believe that trust can still exist, even if it is faint.  Of course, the question is then presented in many writings of "Who can anyone really trust?"  As in the story Skidog is working on: Can we really even trust ourselves?

Trust is definitely another theme present in my writings.  At this time, I am outlining a short story which heavily relys on this theme.  It draws from both E.A. Poe's The Cask of Amontillado and Robert Browning's Porphyria's Lover.  Also, the setting is very The Fall of the House of Usher.  I hope to write it after I am finished with the other short films I am helping a friend with.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Too cool!  The Stand is one of my favorite books and I understand exatactly what you are talking about with trust...  That's part of what I will explore in my story too.  Yes, trust of those we think we know and love, trust of yourself, and the trust of society.  These are compelling themes!

I also have another idea based on secret societies, but I haven't figured out an angle on this that hasn't been done to death.  No pun intended.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Dude, I am already impressed with your eloquent venacular...I'd love to read something of yours.

As for me I've been crafting the art of screenwriting which is an entirely different way of writing. I've done away with the superfluous and I don't think I could ever return to creative prose as a style of writing ie: short or long fiction. I really enjoy screenwriting. I've just got to do more of it.

I have a coma story as well Skidog...based on lots of philosophical and psychological ideas I've comes across in life, especially that of the seven cycles of humanity...a young man lies in a coma and thru the magic (I won't give it away) of a woman entering his comatose mind, we find out his story...and why he is there. It's called "Scars" (copyrighted).

Laterz - I'm at work! My boss'll shoot me if he finds out I'm here!

Last edited by Shakingman (2007-01-19 01:34:36)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Secret societies are always hard to incorporate, Skidog.  Honestly, ever since Dan Brown used all of the secret societies no one really cares anymore.  I mean, there is only so much one can blame on the Illuminati, the Freemasons and Opus Dei.  Although, I hope you can figure out how to put a new twist on it, or who knows maybe use a secret society no one has even heard of.

If I ever get some spare time to write my new short story, I would be more than happy to share some of it Shakingman.  Bits and pieces to show my style and get some criticism.  But for now I am pretty much busy because I am in a play and helping a friend with film so I am all over the place.  Spreading myself thin and leaving nothing for my side... oh well.

As for screenwriting, even though it is different, I do consider it part of all my writing.  I feel that writing in all areas just improves overall creativity.  Always room for sharpening one's skill, even if they are Stephen King (as can be seen if one compares Carrie and Salem's Lot).  Personally, I would love to have a writing group similar to the one H.P. Lovecraft had, in which a bunch of writers would compare their stuff and do readings and just discuss literature.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

That would be cool, Dude. My ghost story is being workshopped this coming Monday. I'm looking forward to it.
I've posted the first 10 pages in here if you're interested in reading them, Dude.
Under Hush (A ghost storty)
Laterz...
Shake

Last edited by Shakingman (2007-01-20 12:19:25)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

I am truly surprised that with all the talented writers in the horror genre on this forum that no one has mentioned Lovecraft as an influence. Lovecraft was greatly influenced by Poe as well but he stayed with the "weird" fiction exploring the allure and terrors of the unknown instead of the human psyche overall.

The unknown has always terrified me more than the human race and it's foibles ever have. Lovecraft touched upon this very feeling within me and influenced me in ways no other author/writer ever has to this day (except, maybe, with the exception of Robert R. McCammon). He could hold the basic elements of a simple story in one hand and elements of the unknown terrors we all harbor in the other and simply weave the story around the unknown without ever really giving us a description of anything fantastical. He left most of the terror we felt for his characters to be drawn from within ourselves.

That simple style and his exquisitely elegant prose has proven to be a landmark element in horror fiction and has influenced writers the world over.
Especially this one.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Thanks BloodReign...I'm not very familiar with Lovecraft's works so I'm eager now to check him out after reading your post. I've even given you a reputtion for suggesting him to me. A bad, bad reputation! yikes)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Thank you, ShakingMan. I'm sure you'll appreciate and enjoy Lovecraft. He and Poe were great friends and exchanged poems for reviews. There is an annotated book of Lovecraft's poetry that he and Poe exchanged, along with letters and essays. It's a fantastic read if you are into it. I've never been really big into poetry but I found this book fascinating.

I do agree with you on one aspect of an earlier post. I enjoy script/screen writing immensely. In some ways I would rather write a script than a fiction work in prose style. There's just something about visualizing your work as you set it into place. It's a satisfying feeling I just can't get from normal writing.
However, Dude is right. It's best to keep writing in all formats to further your skills in other areas. For example...script writing helps in outlining a fiction story while a fiction story will assist you in dialogue writing for scripts. And in other areas less traversed...non-fiction writing assists you in presenting facts in a believeable way to further a plot in fiction writing. (I still prefer screen writing however)

Thanks again for the kind gesture and words and I'll be around the board a bit now. Just found this place yesterday and am thoroughly enjoying it. :-)

Last edited by BloodReign (2007-01-21 17:18:51)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Thank you BloodReign for mentioning H.P. Lovecraft.  He is a great influence on my writing.  In fact, for my Senior quote, I chose to quote him instead of Poe, simply because I felt that quoting The Raven would be too common.  The quote I chose came from The Call of Cthulhu which has influenced me greatly (and many others I am sure) and is, "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far."

As you pointed out BloodReign, H.P. Lovecraft was truly a master at using the unknown to bring about true terror.  All of his Old Ones and the many mysterious creatures of his mythos have greatly brought about fear to me many times.  One theme which I loved (and can also be found in Poe's work) is man's inability to explain and understand everything.  Often, the characters are haunted by their own ignorance because try as hard as they (or we) may some things are just beyond human understanding.

Another of my favorite horror writers is Ambrose Bierce.  Any of you read any Bierce?

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

I most certainly have heard of him. I remember "The Boarded Window" from High School english lit. I found it to be rather typical of the works from that era and didn't fully hold my attention for some reason. I never did pursue his writings further, probably because I was so deep into Poe and Lovecraft and anthology books by Clive Barker (Books of Blood).  My teacher at that time recognized the fact I was reading constantly and she gave me a rather large volume of collected Poe works. That book eventually led me to discover Lovecraft. I guess you could say I just found Ambrose Bierce at the wrong time.

There is an author I discovered when I was about 12 or 13 whose tale absolutely chilled my blood. I'll try to find his name tonight. It was in another book of anthologies I found at my house as a kid. I'll try to post a bit later.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Oh, Clive Barker.  I can talk hours about Clive Barker.  I love him so much as a writer.  He is probably one of my most favorite horror writers, and just general writers, ever.  He has an amazing way of just capturing a reader and bringing him into a pure darkness.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

There was a short story about a young man who thinks his parents are poisoning him. I know it's little to go on...

I'm not sure but the title might be Bradbury -

I'm trying to find the authour and title of this shorty story  - if it rings a bell at all please post it.

Last edited by Shakingman (2007-01-22 03:32:45)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

I'm wanting to say that the short story I am remembering is "Enoch" by Robert Bloch, but I am not sure. It took me forever to find any information out about the story but I think that's the one. In a short mention in a film review for Torture Garden it says that it was reworked to use a black cat in a crypt (?) instead of the little creature. Anyway...

What I remember: A man is in jail for murder and he is remembering how he came to be there and remarks about a creature that whispers in his ear and drives him mad until he does what it requests. If he refuses the creature, Enoch, causes him great pain. Eventually his deeds catch up to him and he is caught...and Enoch is nowhere to be found.
Suddenly he feels the little creature in his hair and sliding down to his neck and shoulder and hears another requested whisper. The man starts to go mad. He is imprisoned and can not comply. Suddenly the man feels intense pain in his ear and his head. He grabs at his head and collapses to the floor, sounds of crunching soon follow.
A whistle is heard and Enoch crawls from the man's head with a hollow pop and skitters off to another man and hops in his pocket. The other man walks away.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Nope...this story is about a teenaged boy who thinks his parents are poisoning him because he can't eat or sleep and feels weird feelings in his stomach...I'm fairly sure it was from Ray Bradbury...I could be wrong but there were no Enoch's involved.

Last edited by Shakingman (2007-01-22 03:14:53)

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

If you like Lovecraft check out Robert E. Howard (yes, the guy who wrote Conan stories).  He was influenced by Lovecraft himself and used the Cthulu mythos in a number of stories.

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Oh no, no, no...I'm sorry man. I haven't been feeling to well this past week. I should have been clearer in my post. The story synopsis I posted was from the story I read as a kid. Your story I'm still researching out.

"The Blue Bottle" aka "Death-Wish" doesn't seem to fit. "Blue Bottle" is about a martian bottle that grants your most heartfelt desire and the searchers that are looking for it. I do seem to remember the story you mentioned however. If I recall correctly it was reprinted in an anthology by Charles L. Grant. I would grab my collection but my entire library was lost in the hurricane. I'm now reduced to researching via the internet than my library collection. (sigh)

Skidog - Can't say I ever read any Robert Howard. Other than the movie I never had any interest in the series so never pursued the author further. Thanks to your recommendation I'll be happy to check out his short fiction. Thanks!

Re: Shakingman and the Dude's Let's talk about horror writing Post...

Well the "punch line" to this story is that the kid thinking he is being poisoned by his parents; can't eat, can't sleep, stomach butterflies, etc...is that he is in love for the first time. I'd like to adapt this into a short...but can't seem to locate the story.

Thanks for your research BR...maybe that will help...I'm pretty sure it was Bradbury...I may be wrong...but I remember the title "The Blue Bottle" from the anthology I was reading at the time...my god...30 years ago...ahhhhhhhhh! I'm getting old and decrepit! Mother, make it stop!

Last edited by Shakingman (2007-01-22 14:01:10)