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Writing Where It Hurts

It is no secret that writing good stories is not as easy as many people believe it is. If translating your thoughts into words isn’t hard enough, the first draft is followed by numerous rewriting and editing rounds. A writer revisits every one of their stories ad nauseam before – and if – it ever sees publication.

What happens if a story is particularly painful to write?

Articles, Blog, Book Launch, Previews

Black Death: A Tiny Mass Murderer

black death

October, 1347. Twelve ships entered the harbour of Messina, Sicily:

“The people who gathered on the docks to greet the ships were met with a horrifying surprise: Most of the sailors aboard the ships were dead, and those who were still alive were gravely ill.”

This is the standard passage telling of the Black Death arriving in Europe. While doing research for Leo’s story,

Articles, Blog

The Monsters You Never Recognise

Dark Monsters - Frenchy25 via Flickr

Picture yourself in a dark alley. There, in the shadows, the glint of bloody jaws. Something moves, its disfigured limbs crawling too fast to be natural. What is that?  You freeze, back up. Then, nothing. Did you imagine it? You listen, you watch, until you see something in the corner of your eye and—!

What makes monster stories so appealing? And why are we so inapt to recognise those very monsters in real life?  

Articles, Blog, Chris's writing desk

Where Has The Horror Gone?

In the age of mass media, horror enthusiasts needn’t go to a bookstore or cinema to get their fix. And for once, it’s not the Internet that is to blame.

horror

A Dying Fire

Every day and every night, the syndicate news channels spew one horror story after another. There is enough drama to satisfy our every craving for fear and terror. And should the world fail to be on fire, the news writers add drama to whatever is happening with a few choice words: calling a collision a “car accident” doesn’t turn any heads, but “disaster” still gets a response.

It’s no secret that we are desensitising at an alarming rate. Hundreds get killed in a natural cataclysm, yet we shrug and check our Facebook status. News outlets desperately try to fan the flames of this dying fire by using ever more superlatives, but fact remains that the number of people who give f*** all about anything is dwindling faster than ever before.

You can only fan a flame so many times before it starves.

Horrific Methods

Unfortunately, the horror side of the entertainment industry feeds off that same dying fire. The audience isn’t scared – or even mildly uneasy – unless they care. Unless they empathise with at least one of the characters and their situation. The artists’ job is to make them care. Feed the fire, as it were.

But that has become an uphill battle in all media.

Articles, Blog

Hacking Your Fear of Failure

fear of failure - hands - AK Rockefeller

Fear is the essence of horror. So as a writer of horror fiction, naturally I’m an expert fear manager, right?

On paper, yes. In reality, I’m always more or less terrified of one thing in particular. And so are you, whether you realise it or not.

The Commonest Fear

Extreme fear is high profile. The list of phobias is endless. But the most common everyday fear is as insidious as is it crippling. Everyone suffers from it. “Not me!” you say? Think again. Think of…

…failure. Nobody wants to be a failure. No one wants people laughing at them. You may not call it fear, but your shoulders tense. You feel queasy and your palms become sweaty. All at the mere thought of failing to…