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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/newsletters.php/action/archives/id/4788-Holiday-Horror-Juxtaposition.html
Horror/Scary: December 27, 2011 Issue [#4788]


Horror/Scary


 This week: Holiday Horror: Juxtaposition
  Edited by: LJPC - the tortoise
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This newsletter is about how juxtaposition can be used to make a story or novel more interesting, more entertaining, and more dramatic.

Although Ben Bova wrote Science Fiction, his advice is just as worthwhile for Horror writers:

In mathematics you may not be allowed to add apples and oranges,
but in fiction it's always good practice to juxtapose two unlikely elements.
Alfred Bester put a murderer into a future civilization where the police were
telepathic in his classic The Demolished Man. Anne McCaffreY [sic]
combined a sensitive young woman's disembodied brain with a powerful
intersteller spaceship to produce "The Ship Who Sang." Ray Bradbury
brought hungry lions into a suburban nursery in his tale, "The Veldt."

~ Ben Bova, The Craft of Writing Science Fiction that Sells





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Many horror novels, stories, and films (like A Christmas Carol, Silent Night Bloody Night, Black Christmas, My Bloody Valentine, Leprechaun, April Fool's Day, and Peter Rottentail) revolve around a holiday theme. But why should that be? Aren't holidays about family, love, and celebration? Yes, and that's exactly what makes them ripe for twisting in new, nefarious directions. *Smirk* It's the juxtaposition of the sweetly familiar and non-threatening with the deadly and monstrous that fills the books/films with excitement.

Juxtaposition - placing two things side by side in order to highlight the contrast between them; one thing is usually the antithesis of the other.

This literary device has been used to great effect by authors (and screenwriters) in two main ways.

*Noteg* Juxtaposition can be used to combine separate ideas into a conflicting whole.

*Bullet* LOST - Modern characters are trapped on a jungle-filled island; their civilized natures contrast with the wilderness around them.
*Bullet* TRUE BLOOD - Bill Compton's elegant, southern manners, gentlemanliness, and insistence on decorum are in direct contrast to the fact he's a vampire.
*Bullet* DAWN OF THE DEAD - There can't be a better example of juxtaposition than zombies wandering around a mall like dazed shoppers with muzak piped over the sound system. *Laugh*

*Noteg* Juxtaposition can be used to describe things in an unusual way.

*Bullet* "Lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps - an eyesore among eyesores."
~ Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart.
By combining "coquettish" with "decay", Poe paints a picture of opposites and makes his description jarring and unforgettable.

*Bullet* "These were the riverfront streets of the 1840s, packed with immigrants, where the worlds met over the back fence, and gallery to gallery; yet despite the throng, and the wilderness of masts above the levee markets, the French Quarter was then as forever a small town."
~ Anne Rice, The Feast of All Saints.
When she describes worlds looking over fences, and uses "wilderness" with "masts", Rice creates unusual images that help a reader see the contradictions in the New Orleans she envisions


The next time you're tempted to write a scene where your monster/villain is in a castle, a cemetery, or a back alley - stop! Think about it again and consider putting him in a more unusual place, somewhere the reader would never expect to find a monster, like an office building, a hospital, a kindergarten playground, a basketball arena, or a convention center filled with plumbing suppliers or Sci-Fi fans.

When you're describing things, don't use typical word choices. I once wrote: "She perched on Aldia's shoulder, taking care not to touch the glowing amulet." Then I thought, well, everyone's read about a glowing amulet before. It's too mundane. So I changed it to: "She perched on Aldia's shoulder, taking care not to touch the amulet, which glowed with a greasy light." Okay, maybe "glowed" is still there ... but by ending the line with the juxtaposition of "greasy" and "light," I left the reader with a more vibrant and ominous image.


Until next time: Let the horror bleed onto the pages with every word!





Some frightfully fun Holiday Horror stories for your enjoyment:

Santa Claus is Coming!  (GC)
He's making a list, checking it twice, if you've been bad, you forfeit your life.
#583312 by Iritegud

 The Mall Santa.  (18+)
The night before Christmas, snow running red, inside the house, the family was...
#573563 by Iritegud

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#1436083 by Not Available.

 Santa's Elves  (18+)
Written for the Holiday Spirit Writing Contest. Genre: Horror
#1624292 by Ravenwand, Rising Star!

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#303643 by Not Available.

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#1831520 by Not Available.

 A Time to Receive  (18+)
This year, the naughty are getting more than just coal...
#1732483 by Bard

 Santa's Little Secret  (13+)
A horrible little story about what happens to bad children at Christmas time.
#1734087 by Andrew

 This is how it ends  (18+)
What do you get when you perform a dangerous pagan ritual on christmas eve?
#1731437 by CaesarRupus....

 Kris Krimson  (ASR)
A tale of Yuletide creepiness unfit for Santa traditionalists.
#1631313 by Word Of Todd

A Calendar for Christmas  (13+)
A short horror story.
#852046 by Handsome Bill


 
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Since this is my first Horror Newsletter, I have no feedback to post. *Sad* Feel free to write something to me, so I have something to put here next time! *Bigsmile*
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