It Has To Be Scary

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The submissions call for which I’m crafting a story has a stipulation: Pieces have to be scary. Easy then? No, considering I haven’t been scared by a work of fiction yet.

Though, four authors have come close, so far: Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Adam Nevill.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Bradbury with his short story, The Emissary, and King’s novel, Misery, had managed to give me gooseflesh. This was achieved, perhaps, by their ability to immerse the reader in the story and the characters, in addition to perfect timing.

Barker’s short fiction anthology, The Books of Blood, heralded a new age of Horror for me. These stories were like listening to Iommi’s (et al) War Pigs for the first time; the text glutinous with dread.

With Nevill, it was the building of, and unrelenting, tension in the first part of The Ritual that may have been achieved through the main protagonist’s increasing isolation, as well as setting and pace.

All I have to do with this technical knowledge is apply it … within a 2,000 word frame.

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Haunting Portrait Series Juxtaposes People with Plant Life – Creators

My story, The Woodwose And His May Queen (not yet published), explores Man’s relationship with Nature to the extent of actual metamorphosis. Not unlike these photographs in the Creators article.

“‘Treeheads,’ the fictional hybrids in Cal Redback’s darkly poetic images, are exactly what they sound like.”

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Source: Haunting Portrait Series Juxtaposes People with Plant Life – Creators

Horror: A Literary History Ed. Xavier Aldana Reyes, (London: British Library Publishing, 2016), 224 pages, ISBN: 9780712356084 Following the publication of Body Gothic (2014) and Horror Film and Affect (2016), Xavier Aldana Reyes continues to draw scholarly attention to the oft-maligned genre of horror. Unlike his previous publications, Horror: A Literary History is an edited […]

via Review: Horror: A Literary History — The Dark Arts Journal

Stew Until Tender

tender-sam-guayWith the second draft of Up On Midwinter Hill complete it’s now time to allow the story to stew. Meanwhile, I’ve also had feedback from The Nameless Writing Group for my shape-shifter piece, Hashtag Rewilding, (which has been on the backburner) so I’m pretty much ready to revisit this one.

I reread Rewilding a few nights ago, and it was then that I saw the wonderful illustration (opposite) by Sam Guay entitled, Tender. I was fascinated by the bark-like background that the woman’s almost misshapen form appears to be morphing into and, in particular, the way her belly has become a woody knot or whorl which may symbolise anxiety or hunger.

I drew parallels in this artwork with Hashtag Rewilding, notably the theme of trust. Whilst the woman in the picture does not seem particularly happy about placing her head in the jaws of a wolf, this mouthing behaviour is very common amongst canines and can be seen as being similar to a hug for a human. Maybe the woman in the picture has a pre-conceived idea about the act, like we all have about something at one point or another. Given the present state of my (Western) society, perhaps we do need to pay a little more attention to how we act and learn to trust our instincts rather than what others tell us.

Hashtag Rewilding, borne from an exchange on the recent sighting of the Hull werewolf, Old Stinker, and the rewilding debate explores what happens when we are both ruled by prejudices and when we are free of them.

With thanks to the artist, Sam Guay, for the kind permission to use her work. Please visit: http://www.samguay.com/

For more information on where to read Hashtag Rewilding, watch this space.