by Nomar Knight
Delve into the mind of a Dark Knight.
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It's difficult to find someone who thinks like I do. Join me in exploring the dark side of life. Through torture and murder we can discover what makes us tick. Are you a Knight of Darkness? Do you seek pleasure through the misery of your characters? If so; then join me on a quest to answer a series of questions about the other realm, our inner psyche, destiny, and many other topics that may rise from the recesses of oblivion.
|Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, buh humbug! or is that phrase reserved for Christmas only? Anyway, my newest attempt at horror is posted in the Dark Society contest called Sinister Stories. Here's a link that I believe only Dark Society members can view.
For those of you lucky enough to have that special someone, good for you. As for me, I'm a hopeless romantic that believes in dreams. So I'll reserve my thoughts for that special dream girl. Perhaps some day things will be different but for now, I'll have to settle for our encounters when I visit another realm. One good thing about dreams, they light the candle of hope. Without hope, life would be blah! So Happy Valentine's Day to all whether you're with someone close, or far, or alone. Look at the bright side, at least if you're alone, you're never really alone because if you are a writer, you have your characters. Isn't fiction fun?
|Yesterday I spent the night editing and this evening I got in a few reviews. This site always amazes me. There's so much talent here. People from all walks of life, sweating it out, putting pen to paper and then being courageous enough to want feedback. I'm glad I visited my favorites and read just three of the writers. One blue case, a yellow and a black. Maybe I should have made it a New Year's resolution to at least visit 3 different ports every week. Too bad I don't believe in resolutions, just a good honest attempt at changing habits. Trade one old bad or harmful habit for one that hopefully would have the opposite affect.
As far as my latest story, I may put it on this site with a passkey. I just need to put the finishing touches, but I'm beat; long day. Another horror story is brewing. The character's are whispering. On an unrelated note, this morning I was visited by a ghost of a baby. The little gray or transparent infant had a huge head. I believe it was trying to spook me. Ha! Good luck with that one. It's been a long time since I wrote a ghost story, perhaps next month I'll attempt one since the Ides of March will be here before we realize it.
That's all for tonight. Goodnight my friends.
|I was off to a slow start today. I worked on my latest story, tentatively titled, "Bloody Valentine" and at first I found it difficult to get a hold of the main character, but once our formal introductions were over and I got into his day, he took me on a surprising ride. Veteran Police Officer Victor Prospero lost his teenage daughter, Hope, on a Valentine's Day. A year later on Valentine's Day his ex wife abandons him. Detectives claimed the missing girl to be a runaway setting the stage for Officer Prospero's heavy burden of guilt. Now he finds himself working without a partner on 4 to 12 shift in Coney Island's Brooklyn, New York. His bad feeling about the night turns into something much more than he bargained for, something that would reveal the fate of his daughter and just maybe cost him his life.
The first draft appears to be done. Hopefully tomorrow, I can start where the real magic happens. I can begin to edit. Originally I planned on entering the story in a contest here on WDC but now I just may send it to an anthology. My friend at Masters of Horror are waiting for me to deliver. It's still very raw, but I'll see what happens. Wish me luck.
|I wish I could share wonderful words of wisdom but I'm exhausted from the long week. God, one more day to go before I can dedicate more time to my writing. I'm so tired I can't even type correctly. I hope everyone is well. Catch you next time, hopefully with a more substantial post.
|This weekend I spent most of it trying to strangle my muse. I wish he were a drill sergeant and controlled the number of characters that want to spill the beans on a their respective stories. No, instead I had a tug of war between two new characters fighting for attention. My muse confused the daylights out of me when it came to point of view and then the book I'm working on, it seems the main characters are angry at me for ignoring them. My goodness, would you classify this as a good problem, seeing that I suppose it could be worse, like having writer's b@#$k. Heck, I can't even write the word.
In other news, it's been awhile since I killed someone, er, I mean some character. Yea, that's right--character. I'm aching for a fresh kill. Yesterday I killed a nice German shepherd but that doesn't count. I need to eliminate an important character. Oh well, time for my coffee ritual. Hopefully my muse will get his act together and help this poor, tired soul. I guess I'm having the Monday Blues.
The word of the night is radical. I need to do something radical. Perhaps I should push my muse down a flight of stairs. Darn, I live in a one family house. There are no stairs. Hmm, maybe I'll chop a finger off and feed it to the rottweiler. Happy writing all!
|Lately I've been intrigued by the challenge of stories with 300 words or less. Today I tried my hand at a two hundred word snippet and I managed to surprise myself. Originally I started writing what I thought would be a horror piece but somehow, it morphed into something else, something full of light, something perhaps on the Christian side. This venture into the light worries me a bit. So I quickly got back on my dark horse and plowed my way through another 200 word attempt. This time I tried my hand at horror. Wow! Talk about pulling teeth. I tried a different type of horror. One I won't reveal here because it would give away my ending but I wonder if I could pull off another horror story, perhaps concentrate more on my specialty, psychological horror. Hmm, maybe later.
For now I'll have to take some time for some of life's bigger distractions. I hope all is well with my favorite reader(s).
|Hmm, the other day I read about someone perhaps posing as a reviewer personally attacking one of our most talented writers. Stuff like that irks me too, if I let it. The other day I posted a flash piece and another writer gave me some useful advice but then complained that the less than 500 word story didn't do it for him because the characterization was practically non existent. What does this teach me? I guess I shouldn't post a story because of the off chance that not everyone is going to like it. Ha! Yea right! The story in question is what I call a snippet. Barely over 300 words. Now, another writer mentioned she's read 300 word stories that have all of the elements, including a proper beginning, middle, and end. On top of that the plot was amazing and characterization was incredible. Gee, I wonder if Edgar Allan Poe came back from the dead. Nah, couldn't have been him, he was rather long winded. I noticed the two reviewers didn't mention anything about imagery. I'd love to know how you can paint a picture with words so that the scene will be amazingly clear and do it with the minimal possible words. Let's try a little exercise shall we.
A dog went to a man. (6 words). Gee, that paints a pretty generic picture. Doesn't it? But at least it keeps things under the word limit. Let's use a little imagery magic. A miniature, white poodle hobbled and whimpered to a six foot, three hundred and fifty pound biker. (17 words) That's eleven more words and the story went from telling to showing thanks to the magic of imagery. No wonder I prefer long winded authors. In the previous example, we can still improve on what the biker looked like. Let's look at the queen of imagery.
Here's a simple sentence of action. I touch her and she moves. (6 words) Once again it's efficient, but very boring. Look at how Adriana Noir attacks the same sentence.
My lips brush her ear; my fingers trace the firm outer curve of her breast, drawing an audible moan from her lips. She stirs at the touch. I watch with mixed emotions as she shivers and sinks deeper under the comforter. (41 words) and oh what words they are. Now this is imagery. This small excerpt is taken from her story titled, "The Faithful Servant" .
Awesome, huh. What I have I learned from this? I prefer long winded showing with great imagery over short concise telling any day. Nevertheless, writers that manage to paint an exquisite snippet, meaning glimpses of scenes that appear to almost be complete stories have my utmost respect. Maybe someday I'll be as good as the two reviewers. Or better yet, perhaps it's better to pursue the legendary Poe since he managed to find a great way to remain immortal.
|I was just reading some of the poems I created for this site and I'm left wondering, why haven't I sat down to write more poetry. I don't pretend to be a poet but I do enjoy poets like Edgar Allan Poe, Dylan Thomas, and Robert Frost to name but a few. The three aforementioned authors wrote eloquently about death. Too bad I haven't focused my efforts in expressing what's hidden inside me. Although sometimes it has come out and a poem is born. No, I'm not a poet but oh to dream is something no one can take away from me. The year 2009 came and went and because of all the personal turmoil, I didn't write even a single poem. Shame on me.
Looking back I'm particularly fond of my collaborative efforts. I grew up listening to stupid nonsense like poetry is for girls. I suspected that kind of thinking was extremely narrow minded, especially when I saw a high school classmate recite his poetry some years later on MTV. He was part of the birth of RAP music. He called himself Ecstasy from the rap group Houdini. Oh, how dumb can I be?
So tonight I sit in front of the computer with no particular theme in mind, wishing upon a star, wondering where's the magic and how it can shine on me.
|Life tends to constantly distract us from our usual desires. Many of us have things we'd prefer to do but something unexpectedly comes up, stopping us from having fun. Well, this time I've been distracted. It started with disappointing news some nine months ago. My 18 year old daughter was expecting a daughter of her own. This of course was not in my plans for her but then again, destiny has a way of bringing us to our knees. On January 20th at 3:55 pm my granddaughter was born. She's adorable. She has a dimpled chin, like me, and dimpled cheeks like my aunt. To me she looks so much like my daughter did when she was born, but the baby's father says she looks like he did and his parents concur.
It's strange to see your own offspring to have a baby of her own. Darn, I'm too young to be a grandpa. Well, at least I've been making over my body and I'm starting to see progress. Hopefully, the baby, Chaniela, will have me around until she has her own child. I just hope she doesn't sell herself short on fulfilling her dreams. Of course my daughter vows to get back on track with college and I believe her since besides looking like me, she's got my tenacity. We will succeed in life no matter what comes our way because when times get tough, we ask God to carry us through and when times are great, we thank him for never abandoning us, even though sometimes we can't feel his presence when the only thing we think about is our own problems. HE demonstrates an amazing amount of patience with us self-centered humans.
Before I sign off I want to take the time to thank God for another gift: friends like the wonderful Adriana Noir for reminding me that no matter what life is throwing at me, there's someone out there who cares enough to send me kind, loving words. This site is filled with many great people who take the time to let each of us know we make a difference. Words are truly powerful and never have I learned that more than on WDC.
Thank you writers of WDC you're all great.
|Every day you breathe is an opportunity to write. Life tends to kick us around and drag us through various degrees of hell until we grow so weary we can't go on. Most of us retreat into a dark abyss where hope is choked out of existence. I'm to remind not just those few reading this blog, but myself that when we dust ourselves off, we must utilize that despair to our advantage. Hold those dark memories, feelings of inadequacy, and hopelessness just long enough to produce your next greatest piece of art. But do not allow it to stay in your reality. Banish it back to the dungeons of fiction for real life is too precious. Yes, you make a difference in this life. Who you are makes a difference whether you're aware of it or not.
To reiterate, my friends, all writers of whom I've had the pleasure of coming in contact on this site, have made a difference in my life. Some have impacted my writing in wonderful ways and others have made my personal life so much better. If I was to stop and mention all of you, I'd probably never finish. However, I will mention one writer in particular, because she's special. Adriana Noir has led by example with her great writing. She's gotten me to see the bright side of life, regardless of how her own life may be going. She was under the impression that she could be absent for awhile and nobody would notice. Well, she's wrong. Adriana, you do make a difference in so many of our lives and those closest to you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and friendship.
|I am left to ponder on many of life's mysteries. Right now my thoughts are consumed with finding the lone voice of encouragement. Real life distracts me too much with all of its twists and turns. I feel as if I'm sitting in the darkness, surrounded by a large, thick haze. Why can't I put these things aside? Last night I read Mara's blog and got more depressed. Tonight however, her message was much more positive. In these dark times, I need that. A dear friend is not doing well, I hope she bounces back because I miss her friendship, her kindness, her words of hope.
I sense yet more changes coming and I'm weary. Even with the time to write dangled at me like some carrot on a string, I shy away from visiting my characters. I can hear them whispering in the dark, yet I bury myself with distractions. Can it be that I'm my own worst enemy? I can only hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
|We may never know when inspiration will strike or where it comes from but when it does, and it will come, we must be prepared to enjoy the journey. Last week I was reading what my friends were up to on Facebook when I spotted what I thought at the time to be a rather clichéd attempt at getting horror writers to get their juices flowing. The editor of The Far Side of Midnight, Johnny Copper, posted this on his Facebook bulletin: Screaming, you wake up, and lay on your bed in the dark, sweating and waiting for your heart to slow down when, something touches your foot... Do you have a scary, or interesting, or weird thought you'd like to share? Post it up here or send it to Johnny, we'd like to hear it!
Of course, writing prompts are nothing new, especially for the writers at WDC but to my surprise, this old premise nagged at me when I was supposed to be writing today’s blog entry. So instead of concocting words of wisdom, a flash fiction horror story was born. Imagine my astonishment when a rare form of writing emerged from the recesses of a simple, ancient idea. The story in question came out in second person point of view. I have only penned one other story with that POV since I consider 2nd person to be quite annoying after more than a few pages. The basic elements of horror are present. The entire premise can be summed up in three words, so I thought I had a title for this strange aberration of prose. I tentatively called it, “An Unwanted Visitor. I guess that from time to time I lack originality when choosing titles and although the aforementioned title is rather blasé, it did get to the heart of the matter, that is; until I realized the story could be about your mother-in-law coming for a visit.
Then I asked myself, what would Johnny Hopper do? Hmm, that was easy, work that magic. Edit baby, edit. So after several readings, the current title kicked me in the gut this morning. Thus, "Invalid Item" now sits in my port, awaiting discovery from the great writers of this wonderful site.
“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”- Jamie Paolinetti
Happy Writing My Friends
|"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken bird that cannot fly."
Drawing inspiration from the darkest corners of your soul may contribute to some fine horror. We learn from all situations, good or bad, that it’s important to turn negatives into positives or we risk becoming consumed into a dreary void from which escape may be impossible. There are terrible or excellent sources, depending on your point of view, of horrific situations involving innocent victims, madmen, and hard working people. Sometimes we learn about them through news media, sometimes through personal experience. Regardless of whether or not real life horror affects us directly, as writers we can still sympathize with the victims, or perhaps with the aggressors.
Perception plays the ultimate role in opening a reader’s eyes maintaining their attention. Story openings provide a taste of something alluring, something remarkable, and something so shocking that our sagacity is rocked beyond our usual understanding of how things are. The juiciest of news stories inform about a horror that already occurred while the best stories show how terrible situations affect a character’s world. As writers, we live to engage our readers much like a magician utilizes smoke and mirrors to enhance the illusion of what if. The call for authors to use every source at their disposal is of paramount importance, particularly when writing horror.
Here’s an excerpt of an opening of one of my tales after watching a news story on CNN.
The first time I saw the stranger, a bomb exploded at Times Square. I watched amazed as police officers rushed by unaware of the monster in our midst, but I knew what he was. He looked like them. You know the type. They hide their heads and their faces remain unshaven. I figured if I caught this fool, the FBI would have to let me back in.
The news story was of a bomb going off in a place I have visited many times in the past. Nevertheless, the opening grabs the reader’s attention and although I decided not to tell about what led to the event, I chose to mislead the reader to events occurring after the bombing. The story’s title, "Mistaken Identity" is perhaps, too revealing, yet I manage to end the tale with a twist; but I’ll discuss twisty endings another time.
Here’s another excerpt drawn from my personal experience as a child in a story called "Invalid Item"
My first encounter with death stole my innocence at the ripe age of seven. It came like a disturbing night creature whose purpose to astound and mortify entrapped innocence, while sucking its victims inside a dark abyss from which escape eluded the unforgiving heart.
As I leaned against the second floor window and watched a heated argument unfold between two patrons in front of the neighborhood pub, nothing could have prepared me for the event to come. At first, dark, disturbing words spewed from the taller gentleman. His frustration spread across his face. A street lamp's iridescent glow illuminated his gaunt cheekbones, as his fiery eyes threatened the stout, much smaller man.
With one swift motion, the little gentleman produced what I now know to be a snub-nosed, .38 caliber, nickel-plated Colt, not unlike the toy my parents bought me. While thoughts of a comic drama unraveled before my virgin eyes, a sharp blast, followed by a puff of blue smoke, surrounded the duo. The tall man recoiled, held his chest, pleading with his eyes. Once again, the familiar popping echoed throughout the street, followed by the ominous cloud. Burnt metal permeated the night air.
"That'll teach you to steal from me, you prick."
I ducked behind the curtains while the gunman searched his surroundings. Somehow, I sensed his menacing stare penetrate through the wooden frame like daggers launched with expert precision.
Curiosity drove me to rise while the frantic little man scurried away, leaving his nemesis on the pavement.
At first, I puzzled over the injured man's safety, but when he moved his hand towards the heavens, a heavy sigh of relief escaped me. Maybe the little man used a toy gun after all. Any delusions I had began to evaporate when my focus shifted from his bony fingers to his wide, frightened eyes. They pleaded with me as if I, a young lad, could swoop down and take away his pain. Although time whispered of its eminent departure, it froze when our eyes locked. Then, like a wild fire's rapid consumption of its natural forested habitat, a pool of blood surrounded the man as if attempting to disinfect him of his sins.
Shivers traveled up and down my spine as images of evil flashed before me. The pale man’s habit of thievery began at boyhood. With every terrible deed I witnessed, an electrical sensation rocked deep inside my chest transferring energy all over my body. The euphoric sensation dissipated when his eyes took on a glassy glow. I sensed that the gentleman, who moments earlier demonstrated lively animation, departed to a world beyond my comprehension.
My fixation never wavered.
His eyes, those empty huge eyes.
I’m sure you can guess by this opening that Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite author since what came out of me appears to mimic his style somewhat. Although not my intention, I like the way the story rings. Oh my, there’s another topic for another day.
My final draw on experience has to do with our emotions. I’m sorry to note that depression can help you create some of your best work. Here’s another small excerpt, an opening for a scene, from my latest story appropriately titled, "Invalid Item" .
A thick blackness surrounds me. I rub my arms trying to keep warm. Goose pimples brush against my fingers. I let out a breath expecting to see white smoke but the air is so thick that I wonder if blindness has won. I pinch my chest. The feel of the erected nipple makes me wish my dream girl was here. Without making a sound, I stand still, listening to the dark void that engulfs me. In this abyss my thoughts control my movements. I glide forward at blazing speed expecting to see a change in my surroundings, but all I get is colder. As I contemplate stopping, wind begins to howl. No not wind--whispers. The darkness is alive. Screams fill the void. What I thought to be a howling wind is in fact, cries of terror. I shiver as chills attack my body like army ants biting down on soft skin. The constant shrills force me to cover my ears. Just when I think insanity will have its way, a familiar odor begins nauseating me. I know that scent but I can't identify it. I cover my nose and let the ice cold cut my skin. Madness.
Tears roll down my cheeks and quickly ice up. Despair pounds my chest. Guilt slaps my face. I know I'm not alone, yet loneliness consumes me. I feel it pulling pieces out of my heart. The screams are everywhere; above, below, next to me, and somehow, inside me.
"Please make it stop!" I shout, only to hear my words echoing back but not just in my voice. Women, children, and men, repeat my pleas. At first they mimic me one by one, then in unison. Liquid oozes out of my ears and hardens. My cry repeats over and over, creating a chaotic symphony.
That is all for today.
Keep your eyes open. In this world, it’s fortunately unfortunate or perhaps, unfortunately fortunate how horror happens at anytime, day or night.
|"The most valuable writing habit I have is not to answer questions about my writing habits."
What type of person are you? Are you a person that loves to make plans, keeps an agenda and religiously enters every appointment? Perhaps you keep a journal as well and record your private thoughts. Or maybe you prefer not to waste time with planning and prefer spontaneity over rigid self regulations. Maybe, throw caution to the wind… go where the wind blows and any other cliche about drifting your own way. What I like to know is if your muse is like you are? If you’re a planner, does your muse work well with outlines? If you like to take one day at time, does your muse prefer to react based on the characters’ actions?
I wonder if writer’s block is caused by an author’s personality not being in sync with her muse. For example, a person who plans most things, having to allow the characters to guide them through a story map, would that lead to writer’s block? Just think about the intrinsic chaos going on inside the author’s brain. Whew! Messy, messy.
As for me, I’ve tried both methods, and while planning usually leads to a completed first draft, since it’s in the editing where the magic really happens, I’ve decided to let the characters guide me for my latest attempt. The last time I did that, things got messy and the vampire, Countess Lorraina Sandoval, fought the main character for attention. Her persona was too strong which means, perhaps I focused on the wrong character. While I’m currently working on a demon novel, the Countess comes alive, in my thoughts, at night. Unfortunately for her, I’ll have to tune her out since my vacation is officially over, leaving less time for my passion—writing.
I guess what I love most about writing is that it all comes down to choices. Next time you write a story, experiment a little. Put the characters in stressful situations and let them make the choices. What? Give up control of my own story? Well, truth be told, the stories aren’t really ours. They are gifts sent through our receptive capabilities so readers may be entertained. Naturally, we are our first reader and I love having fun. Does this mean if I structure the plot, my characters won’t come alive? Not necessarily but we need to be aware of believable character reactions to any given situation. Just like not all children and people behave the same way when facing similar encounters, characters behave differently as well. The best characters tend to act outside the box. Create one of those and you’ll be glad you are a writer.
|The other night I heard a guest speaker on CNN tell America they shouldn’t worry about terrorism. Once again it looks like history will repeat itself. Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.” Jesus Christ wanted everyone to turn the other cheek. Martin Luther King Jr. preached tolerance, peace, and unification. The end result for the aforementioned: a beheading, a crucifixion, and a raging bullet. Albeit, Marie was a spoiled child and will never be in the same league with Jesus and Martin, but the point being they all perished at the hands of Change. Change? The former queen of France wanted to keep the people in their place by selfish means. Hence, the French Revolution ignited beyond her smug expectations. The people wanted Change. Jesus Christ performed miracles, spoke eloquently, and inspired millions giving rise to a New Testament. He inspired a new religion, Christianity. Then Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of a colorblind world. Now we have an African American President in the Whitehouse, who by the way, campaigned on “A Change You Can Believe In.”
So why do I bring up the topic of Change? Since your protagonist has to undergo some form of significant change, it’s best that you provide ample opportunity through plotting, to assist your character in the ultimate transformation. Imagine a Priest who preaches turning the other cheek but when he gets beat to a pulp and witnesses a nun get raped, he suddenly finds himself questioning his ideals. Perhaps, on his road to recovery, he decides to pump iron, learn how to shoot a firearm, and kick some bad guy tail. I can see Clint Eastwood in this role.
So next time you’re stuck and find your story going nowhere, think about how change, not necessarily drastic, can help you squeeze some quality action out of your characters. If the focus on character doesn’t help, change the setting. How would the vengeful priest do behind bars? How would he handle being thrown in a tank with sharks and a butter knife?
Make sure your Change serves a useful purpose and be prepared for an entertaining ride.
|Persistence is something I admire but when the one demonstrating a relentless campaign is a man-eating vampire, my admiration for that character trait takes a back seat to impending survival. Her name is Countess Lorraina Sandoval. She was made in the 1600’s in Salem Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials. Both she and her twin sister were spared from a hanging from a dark force worse than death itself.
Anyway, the beautiful, tall redhead with emerald green eyes revisited me just before dawn. The last time I set eyes on her, fear ruled our encounter. No, she wasn’t afraid of me, I was terrified of her or more specifically, her ability to turn me into what she is. Lorraina possessed special gifts as a human, those abilities got stronger in her current state. Here’s an excerpt of our encounter:
Me: I suppose you want me to write your story.
Lorraina: There is so much to tell, Darling. Oh my, you sound delicious.
Me: Sound? (Completely baffled.)
Lorraina: Your heart beats strong. I bet your blood is tasty.
Me: I know what you’re doing. You won’t intimidate me into dropping my current projects in favor of yours.
Her eyes beamed. Unlike us humans, her face never changed colors. She remained pale, almost spectral.
Lorraina: You told me to come back when I thought you could stomach my accounts. Here I am.
Me: It’s almost dawn. Surely you have many pages to fill. (Don’t look at her eyes.)
Lorraina: I suppose I could order you to write my accounts but then you wouldn’t add your original style. Instead of an exciting story, you’d have some sort of news story. Those are boring. (She licked her lips.)
She wore a tight black tube blouse, a black leather jacket with silver spikes. If anyone were to awaken, they would swear I was speaking to a seventeen year-old biker bimbo. At least until they got a good look at her face.
Lorraina: Do you like what you see?
I gazed up back at her face, trying hard not to meet her eyes. She laughed. Chills ran through me.
Lorraina: If your heartbeat keeps increasing, I’m going to have to feast on you. You look scrumptious when you’re blushing.
I searched my surroundings, I knew escape was impossible.
Lorraina: We’ve talked a few minutes and you haven’t gone to the bathroom. You are more tolerant of my presence, Darling.
Me: How’s your sister? When will I meet her?
Her green eyes appeared to grow darker.
Lorraina: It’s my story you’ll write, not hers. Do you know why I let you live?
I remained in a numbing silence.
Lorraina: My sister made me promise not to kill you. She said you will be of value to us. Although, apart from your strong heart, I’m not sure that she’s right.
Me: Countess, I promise, I will get to your story soon. Please, give me a few more months.
Lorraina: Darling, I have all the time in the world but you… (Her hypnotic voice trailed off.) My sister would feel better if you crossed over of your own free will, like we did; but I want to snack on you right now.
I folded my arms, trying to stop my body’s open display of fear. I knew Lorraina thrived on the emotion.
Lorraina: I feel like biting you anyway. That way I’ll know when you’re ready for me.
I automatically unfolded my arms and reached for my neck. Again she laughed.
Then something unexpected happened. I blacked out. When I awoke, she was gone. I couldn’t find any evidence of fang marks, yet somehow I felt different. I wondered if other writers had characters that were so overwhelming that reality merged with their dark world. Since our second encounter, I’m not always sure about things. My energy drains during daylight. Oh, and the dreams put me back into the 1600’s. Perhaps she’s guiding my thoughts. What did she do to me? Will I ever be the same again?
| A warm, bright summer morning brings forth a new day filled with the promise of fulfilling dreams of days past. With the new dawn comes a chorus of chirps outside your window or perhaps a steady hum of someone’s lawnmower in the distance. The sun’s heat coupled with blue skies occasionally painted with a few puffy white clouds may lead one to believe that this is the day for something magical. This just might be the day for the next greatest novel ever to be written and it just may originate out of your muse.
Ha! Yea right! I seriously doubt this could happen to me for you see, I need darkness to function. While terrible things do happen during the day, horror breathes at night. Yes, all sorts of unsavory characters come out at night. Some of them may be living next door to you. As authors we must be on the lookout for anyone different. That lady that likes making dolls resembling some of your family members just might be a witch. The man that prepares your favorite oatmeal in the morning may sprinkle a special dust concocted at night to insure you lose your memory on a gradual basis. Let’s not forget the barber who uses a unique tonic on your hair under the guise of cleansing the hair particles when in fact each time you visit, the heathen has to utilize all of his skills to mask the fact you are going bald at an alarming rate. Hereditary my eye!
One thing I have found to be true is that at night dreams are born. Magical possibilities can be given an opportunity to breathe. Despair can fester and grow into uncanny situations filled with heart wrenching experiences for your characters. Imagination is the key. What if your character is haunted by a drunken ghost? What if your sweet, innocent child character holds the key to the world’s destruction? What if the power to harness the sun’s energy is hidden in the most timid of mankind? At night, the possibilities are endless.
Naturally, not all horror occurs at night, but the purpose of this entry: I want to show that while you sleep, insidious nocturnal creatures may be at work with evil deeds.
Take comfort that in real life, heroes do exist and they seldom sleep, day or night.
|What to do when a character attempts to consume your soul. First, you need to show it whose boss. Flex the almighty pen or fingers and write a story where the same character is humiliated beyond anything you would do to your worst enemy. If that doesn’t work and the character begins to keep you awake at night by giving you more horrific accounts, then consider the alternative: make peace with it, thank it, maybe even make it a hero.
Throughout literature there have been several characters that live beyond the pages, particularly for those fortunate enough to portray them on screen. Take the Joker. Jack Nicholson did a wonderful job on the big screen. Of course, Jack is a bigger than life actor with his unique mannerisms and voice. I never thought anyone could top him until Heath Ledger came along and took the Joker’s character to a whole new level. Afterwards, Mr. Ledger had so much trouble getting the character out of his head that he needed a form of psychiatric treatment. I read somewhere that Jack Nicholson suggested he check himself into a hospital for a couple of weeks.
It’s strange that Mr. Nicholson was suggesting a form of character possession actually taking place. Could it be that Mr. Ledger’s untimely demise was his way of trying to actually kill the Joker? As a writer, I understand since I swear my muse has a life of its own. I wonder what things it’s done that I’m totally unaware of. Author Dean Koontz admitted to attempting to kill one of his muses. He claimed to have pushed her down a flight of stairs where she landed, he hoped, with a broken neck. Well, she managed to come back for another novel or two before he finally killed her.
I have to admit, I did interview a female vampire character of mine. I typed in the details of my adventure but a virus vanquished the evidence of our encounter. Also, I misplaced the hard copy but I recall having to interrupt the interview to take care of my necessities. Her powers seemed to force me to run to the bathroom. In retrospect, she tried to persuade me to make her the main character of the book. I politely told her that she was a bit cliched. A vampire that strives to rule the world is rather old news, but she insisted she had a new twist. I told her to come back when I was stronger to stomach her accounts. She stared at me like a lioness eying a tasty meal. Of course, the interview was concluded with yet another visitation, on my part, to the bathroom. Perhaps she took pity on me and allowed me to survive, or maybe her ego is so large that she wants me to write her story so the world may see what’s coming for them. She’s such a nasty vampire.
My encounter with the female vampire leads me to my last suggestion, if the character is too powerful for you, run! Of course, sooner or later, it will get you, consume you, and hopefully, make you a ton of money.
|Why it is that one’s creative juices tend to flow in the most unlikely of places baffles me. I wish I could say that my best writing is done at my desk in front of the computer, but truth be told; ideas jump out at me in the bathroom. Perhaps it’s the solitude of the place or the anticipation of running water, or the need to think while doing nature’s cleansing. I don’t know why, but the bathroom seems to be working akin to the Fountain of Youth, only I call it, the Fountain of Muse.
In my case, the developments of crucial characters are born in a bathroom. I understand that for a normal person, the bedroom should be the most exciting place, but while the bedroom is a place of rest, relaxation, and sometimes exercise; I find myself exiting the bathroom with either a gleam in my eyes or just super anxious to unload my discoveries on paper. While I don’t always have a great experience in the Fountain of Muse, sometimes the well runs dry or like constipation, ideas strain to trickle out. Fortunately, I do have alternate rituals which put me on the right track. Although, I must admit, these rituals take place in other locations. For example, some of my characters prefer coffee over the nuances of a toilet. As a result, I’m regularly spotted in my neighborhood café surrounded by all sorts of invisible ghosts, demons, vampires and the like.
Another place I visit on occasion, especially when the character is either extremely stressed, or causes an unbelievable amount of grief, is the neighborhood pub. I’ve discovered that alcohol not only drops human’s inhibitions, but also that of fictional characters, since they believe they’re human too. Now I must admit I have not yet gotten smashed to the level where the characters take on a three dimensional perspective and therefore, have to carry me home. Taking account the evil I communicate with, it’s best to keep my senses in considerable working order.
I recall one day admitting to a teenage female that the evening prior, I had interviewed a beautiful, female, twin vampire. Instead of campaigning to have me committed, she begged me to introduce her to the character, even though I explained that vampires who were made in the 1600’s tend to be a bit antisocial. Nevertheless, she had to settle for a drawing of the character. In addition, I told her to picture the Olsen twins with fangs.
I’d like to know where your Fountain of Muse is located. Feel free to comment. Next time I’ll write about when a character consumes its author.