Several years ago, when I was green as lettuce and attended the Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith workshops on fiction writing — which made me a little less green, if nothing else by providing a much needed wilting — they kept saying the same puzzling phrase “Treat it like a business.” And of course, […]
I’m lazy by nature. I’d rather think beautiful thoughts than write them down, hone them into something intelligible, and share them with the world. I’ve tried to make money on beautiful thoughts, but everyone simply refuses to pay me! So I’m writing.
I’m writing because, with time and effort, I can make money on the ideas that come from the old spiritus mundi. The only problem is, I hate writing exposition.
I hate coming up with excuses for characters to reveal their motivations or explain who they’re working for and why the evil cult leader needs the thingummy for world domination or how the ancient Aztec calendar is really counting down to an alignment of the stars during which (providing the proper sacrifices are made and the occult forms are observed) will prepare the way for C’thulu’s horrific awakening from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. I’d prefer to skip all that pipe-laying.
I wanna get to the part where St. George gives the Dragon a good lancing. I wanna write the part where Schwarzenegger is cutting his way through Thulsa Doom’s cannibal minions. I wanna get to the part that set the old brain box on fire.
I don’t only wanna write those action scenes though. I also wanna skip to the part where the Lady of the Wood rides swiftly through the night with only a small lantern to light her way. I’m good at the disjointed powerful images. Plotting and exposition, that’s where I have to flog myself.
I tried selling the disjointed images, but nobody will buy that unless you’re a painter or photographer. So, back to the outlining I plod. Using my meager talents and hoping I don’t confuse folks along the way.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be searching for a plausible reason for Zoltan to give a brief history of the Cult of Tanit in the Near East and Central Europe.
So I have a semi-well thought out theory that’s been percolating in muh brain box over the past few days. Classic monsters are on some level metaphors for our collective, deep seated (seeded?) fears of various aspects of human pathology.
Here’s what I have so far:
Werewolves are Addicts: This one’s easy. They’re more or less their normal selves and able to keep it together until the full moon rises and the beast within takes over. They’re a danger to those around them in their wolfish state. Then they wake up with only a fragmented recollection of what happened the night before.
Vampires are Child Molesters: If you survive the vampire’s bite, there’s a good chance you’ll become like him. You’re consumed by an unnatural desire. You can’t fulfill it in broad daylight. Also, like with pedophilia, many modern artists are working to rehabilitate vampirism’s public image.
Zombies are Mob Violence & Plague: As best I can tell, Zombies (at least in the post represent a sociological fear of the mob and biological plagues mixed together. Fear of the mob because of how we can become this hideous meta organism that recognizes and devours individuals or groups that are not of it. The plague fear is easy enough to see. Just like the bubonic plague, you could watch anyone around you become infected and infect others.
Kind of dark, I know, but just had to get the idea down somewhere. You all are the lucky recipients.
Are you a fan of vampires? Neither is Gyorgy Zoltan. In this installment of my current short story, Zoltan and Maria are locked in battle with a blood sucking menace and his undead minion. Can they save the patients of St. Alena’s Hospital?
Zoltan closed on the creature again. This time, he held a small glass bottle. He flicked his wrist and a single thread of holy water whipped across the room, landing squarely on the vampire’s face.
Dr. Constantine lurched back and let out an inhuman shriek of pain. The left half of his face bubbled as though he had been drenched in acid. He instinctively covered himself.
The moment’s hesitation was all Zoltan needed. The saber came down like lightning in a perfect arc. The blade sliced down the vampire’s face and took the tips off two talons in an unbroken movement. The wounds sizzled in the wake of the Hungarian’s sword. Constantin roared with fury this time.
From what Maria had seen, Zoltan was the fastest human she had ever seen and he still couldn’t match the vampire for speed. Zoltan continued his slashing attack, but Constantine had recovered his composure. Though the left half of his face was a sickening mess, the vampire avoided Zoltan’s attacks with ease again.
Then Maria hear the familiar electronic BING of the elevator. She turned hoping it would be a security guard, a doctor, anything human. Then the doors opened and out came the shambling gory form of Dr. Brown.
The re-animated corpse moved clumsily but steadily towards her. Its grey, lifeless eyes shivered in their sockets. Maria was rooted to the spot in shock and terror. Then she gritted her teeth and gripped her silver knife.
“Zoltan! Dr. Brown’s back,” she called to her companion.
The Hungarian barely turned his head to reply, keeping his eye on his opponent.
“Hit him vit da holy water and stab him in the brain.” He responded in between great slashing cuts aimed at the vampire’s head.
Maria readied herself. She spread her legs and bent her knees slightly. In one hand was her silver dagger, in the other, the spray bottle she had taken from the janitor’s closet filled with holy water. She didn’t have more than a few ounces of holy water and didn’t want to waste it. So she bided her time. Keeping one eye on the slow moving carcass and the other on Zoltan and Dr. Constantin.
The shambling creature came closer. Maria tried to moderate her breathing and keep the panic from welling up inside her. The nearer it came, the less it looked like Dr. Brown. The grey skin, the slack jaw, the dead eyes made it clear to her that she was no longer facing a human being. The walking corps was less than twenty feet away now. It took jerky, halting steps toward her. Maria checked the spray bottle again and switched the nozzle from “stream” to “mist.”
That’s right, things just went from Stream to Mist.
With lots of markets opening up for submissions, not just Cirsova, and lots of new writers trying their hand and getting short fiction published, I think it’s worthwhile to do a short post on how a Manuscript should be formatted. There are lots of sites out there that give guidelines on how to format your […]
I’ve read this a few times and it is very helpful when writing dialogue. Enjoy it!
*Sorry. I have an eye appointment today to find out if I’m still seeing things double (whee) but will be back on next week. Also this is a post people seem to find useful, so I like repeating it every three years or so — last time was 2015*.
Dialogue — a Lesson With Fred And Mary — a blast from the past from October 2012
Yes, I’ve done this before, but I found while teaching a workshop that I couldn’t find it in the archives, and anyway, I’ll do it again from a different angle and maybe it will stay in people’s heads. It really is n many ways, when it comes to writing, what separates the pros from the amateurs. I mean, it’s not the only thing, but it is often the last to fall into place and while you’re doing this the amateur way it will slow…
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Sea Anemone Man thanks your for all your hard work.
One hot take to rule them all …
So, saw Guardians 2 last night, and I gotta say. As a franchise, people who like pulp SF should maybe start looking to Guardians of the Galaxy instead of Star Wars. Star Wars has averaged out to be trash, coasting more on the theoretical potential of the property as it has been explored by other […]
Dear Reader, what follows is yet another ill-advised composition from my poorly medicated Cousin Rupert. I relinquish all legal responsibility for any opinions or wild allegations that are made below – Ed.
Hi there everyone. Since my last post, I’ve been concerned as to why I’m not getting through to more of the worker bees in this insane anthill we’re calling modern society. My mother says I would have better luck if I didn’t call everyone sheeple. But I realized that it might be helpful if I shared a few of the things that convinced me that human beings were being harvested of their life energy by a cabal of cranially advanced reptiles and organic grocers.
Here are five seemingly unrelated “red pills” that will open your stupid fat sheeple eyes.
- AC/DC has never played at the Superbowl. In what sane world is this allowed to happen? AC/DC has been getting jocks amped up for centuries. The only logical explanation is the Illuminati are concerned that a national broadcast of “Riff Raff” would incite all you sheeple to take off your sheep blinders and throw off the yoke of reptilian oppression.
- RadioShack is still in business. Now that batteries and sub-par electronics are widely available, there is no economical reason this store should still exist. The only logical explanation is that it is a breeding center for the Lizard Men that run the Home Shopping Network.
- You can never find hotdogs and buns packaged in the same quantities.
This one is pretty obvious to everyone right? Moving on.
- Patrick Stewart was allowed to stop playing Professor X. What’s that? You don’t see the connection? Did we find a better actor to portray Charles Xavier when I wasn’t looking? Did Hollywood get tired of making jillions of dollars on superhero movies? Did the man who played Captain Jean-luc Picard all of a sudden lose his taste for taking photographs with nerds? I didn’t think so.
For those of you who remain unconvinced. You should hear yourself. Your pathetic sheeple mind is so desperate to deny the truth of the Illuminati you can’t see what the facts are telling you.
Number Four looks small, but very serious in his uniform.
He approaches the plate and bends his knees.
A spatter of clapping rises from the stands.
He squints at the setting sun.
The first pitch is wide. “Good eye!”
Second pitch is a strike. “Nice swing, choke up a little.”
The third pitch comes down the middle and PING!
The ball rockets past the pitcher and skips across the dirt through the shortstop’s legs.
Number Four hurries on beanpole legs to outrun the throw to first.
The first baseman has his glove outstretched.
Number Four lands lightly on the bag and doesn’t break his stride.