|REVIEWING NEWS & VIEWS: HALLOWEEN '08 ISSUE
Today, October 31st, there are Halloween parties, little spooks will knock on your door, things will go bump in the night, and you are either sad when Nov. 1st dawns - or relieved the scaryness is over for another entire year. If you are one of the latter, a safe place to retreat from the chills of All Hallow's Eve is to WDC. Draw the curtains, pull the blinds, lock the door, and turn on the Internet. Or is it? You see, here on this very site are a variety of ghouls prowling the darkness, looking for yummy items to devour. At great risk to my personal safety, I arranged to interview several of these creatures about reviewing the Horror genre, a fitting topic for this newsletter.
Each Ghoul's interview is special, and deserves its own newsletter. So, Halloween 2008 will last longer this year, a good thing, for the holiday of masks and moons always ends too abruptly.
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LOTUSNEKO: What kind of ghoul are you, and what brought you to the Review
ANNIE WILKES: The Group started out as “Review Fools” for April, 1st. I took part then and was eager to do it again. KimChi combined two things I love, reviewing and developing voice. I played Annie Wilkes from “Misery” by Stephen King because she's scary, has a recognizable voice, and because - in a creepy way - she's a literary critic.
LOTUSNEKO: She certainly is every writer's worst nightmare! Is horror
your favorite genre? What techniques do you use when reviewing Horror?
ANNIE WILKES: Actually, it isn't, though I read it and have even written one horror story. It's not easy to convince me that there's some supernatural evil out there.
I wouldn't say that the techniques vary with the genres. I read each story looking into the plot, the characters, the descriptions, the language. But each genre has its own pitfalls. The real difficulty in Horror is to scare me. There's an old, uninhabited house with barred windows, and somebody has been murdered there years ago. Am I scared? Actually, no. You've got a lot more work to do, setting up the stakes, the conflict, the way to the solution. Horror is not that much about atmosphere. It's about the inner conflict of the characters, or so I think. I find the best Horror scenes are the ones when the hero is confronted with a danger that doesn't fit his worldview. His perception tells him one thing, his mind tells him another. That's what I look for in Horror, and I try to get it across in my reviews.
LOTUSNEKO: What advice would you offer people who want to review Horror,
but have never done it?
ANNIE WILKES: Review. You already know that a horror story is supposed to fill you with
fearful suspense. You don't have to be the world's expert on the genre. You can start with reading a story and giving honest feedback to whether you feel the horror or not. Do you believe what is happening? Or do you say, nah, nobody in their right minds would be doing that. Or anyone in their wrong mind. Then you can give valuable feedback regarding character motivation.
If you feel you don't know enough about the genre, read more. Find out what you like and what you don't. And – most important – why you like it or not. You'll get a sense for what's good or bad very, very soon.
LOTUSNEKO: What kind or type of Horror stories do you enjoy?
ANNIE WILKES: I like Horror stories that explore the evil of human beings, like “Misery” for example. And I like anything that plays with the genre, adds an angle, questions the clichés. I'll give two examples from WdC: "A Time for Blood" by Lynn McKenzie Lynn McKenzie . She has a new and refreshing take on the werewolf genre. "Afterglow" by Satuawany Satuawany is a series of stories about vampires, written with a depth that is rare in the genre.
LOTUSNEKO: Do you run across anything in Horror that turns you off or makes
you stop reading? If so, what?
ANNIE WILKES: Gothic props. Castles, Victorian mansions, parchment, pale faces in
flickering candle light. It makes me laugh.
LOTUSNEKO: What are your plans for Halloween?
ANNIE WILKES: Halloween is not a traditional festivity in Germany though some children
make rounds for tricks or treats. Okay, for treats. I've never seen any pranks.
There are a few costume parties in Berlin, and I might go there. I've always wanted to draw a red slash across my throat. Come to think of it, this year, I could simply dress badly and bring a mallet...
In keeping with the holiday, my picks are my own Horror/Scary short stories and poems. I
will give treats for reviews of my Horror pieces. What treats, you ask? Treats such as
awardicons, reviews, gift points, and more. Please mention you saw this in the Halloween
RNL. This contest will continue throughout my Halloween newsletters that feature the
ASK & ANSWER
((Last months's question was: I forgot to add it! But received feedback nevertheless:
From April Sunday
Fabulous input on Amazon Reviewing. Q: Do you always need to purchase what you review?
Signed, Curious TEFF Fiona T.Teffom
On 9/19/08 at 4:58pm, Fall Shivers lotusneko wrote:
Hi Fiona, That is a good question; I will include it in the next NL, but I wanted to answer it.
Others are probably wondering the same. No, Amazon is not like Ebay, where you have to
purchase what you review. On Amazon, you look an item up and there is a button saying
"create your own review." You do not have to buy anything you review on Amazon.
Will wait for next nl, since I'm not going to try any Amazon reviewing
myself. Also, how in the heck can you review something you don't have access to or
don't have in front of you? Curious TEFF
WOW! Then this must also apply to the many 2008 (etc) fiction novels, I take
from libraries. Cool!
Thanks for the answers, my friend. How very fantatically interesting this.
Signed, Grateful, Curious TEFFY
PS, I saved your newletter.
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