This week: Paranormal FictionEdited by: Lonewolf
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In order for paranormal fiction, any fiction, really-- to have an impact on the reader. In effect you’re inviting the reader into a funhouse of your own creation. So, how do you help the reader get to that cooperative frame of mind that will allow you to mess with their head? The answer, in a word, plausibility. Apart from the vampires, or ghosts, or werewolves everything else in the story has got to seem as realistic as possible.
When it comes to fiction, the paranormal is big business.However, when it comes to making your reader believe your paranormal story it all comes down to plausibility and consistency. There are two ways to achieve plausibility, and the wise speculative fiction writer will use both of them. Not only do the supernatural elements have to remain consistent with each other. Ex: If sunlight burns Vampires in your world, then you’d better not have one walking as if it doesn't affect them in a morning stroll down the street–unless they're using a lot of sunscreen.
So, say you’ve got a couple of cops, in a universe where the supernatural exists and everyone knows it. Sometimes supernatural creatures break the law, and you’ve got to bust ‘em. But the writer should treat it as normal police routine. You arrest a vampire – perhaps you have to use the threat of a crucifix or some garlic to subdue him. You put on the cuffs – maybe a pair that’s silver-plated – read the vamp his or her rights, and take them to the station. On the way, you and your partner talk about sports, or women. You don’t make a big deal about having a Vampire in the back seat, because in your world it isn’t a big deal. Your cops are acting consistent with the way cops act on television and movies (which presumably reflects real life, more or less), and that gives you plausibility.
When it comes to fiction, the paranormal is big business. This particular genre is very popular, especially in erotic/romance fiction. This category or genre ranges from vampires to were-animals to witches and to everything else not normal. There are many authors and books out there, that there is something for everyone.
Excerpt of: One
“I don’t know why I come back to this every year, I really don’t.”
Valerie Rose tossed her shoulder-length brown hair over her shoulder, heaving a sigh. The sun from the early summer day accented her fake highlights dramatically. Picking away at the extra fingernail polish at the end of her recently manicured pinky, she squished up her nose in one of the most unattractive faces her normally perfect face would allow.
“Val – you come because if you didn’t then you wouldn’t get grandma’s fat allowance every year, so stop complaining. And you really need to stop making that expression.” Regina Rose said, not even bothering to hide the contempt in her voice. Her own perfectly configured face was altered only by the disapproving she gave her younger sister and the heavy make-up she applied daily. She flicked on her right blinker and turned down a narrow yet well tended to road just outside Sacramento, California. She only took her Cadillac Escalade on this path once a year but she never forgot the way. Grandmother Ellie Rose had been holding the family reunion at the same Rose Mansion for as long as Regina had been alive.
“Why, will it get stuck that way?” Valerie rolled her eyes at her older sister, but relaxed her expression and rested her head on the back of the seat. “And that’s not true. I come because of the guilt trip Blake gives me every year. He always calls me up the day I say I’m not going and tells me that if Mom and Dad were still alive…”
~ ~ ~
Excerpt of: The Past Comes Back
The Old Peppers Place, as the citizens of Colan, Texas called the old house located on the outside of town sat in disrepair and looked like the old houses in a bad horror movie. Twenty-two years of harsh weather and hard winds had taken their toll on the house, causing shutters to fall and paint to slowly turn gray, crack and peel. The yard was overgrown and brown, killed by the searing heat of the West Texas sun. The flower beds were choked with weeds, the flowers long since dead. Teenagers looking for a good time on Friday and Saturday nights hurled rocks and sticks at the windows causing them to break. The front door hung on one hinge having been kicked in by kids fascinated with what the townspeople called a haunted house.
The family who once lived in the house, The Peppers, had disappeared without a trace at midnight one night twenty two years ago. Searches for the family went on for weeks with no sign of them. Rumors spread after that about the disappearance, some said the government had spirited them off, everyone knowing Mrs. Pepper was a witch, while others said the aliens had abducted them. The local minister, was vocal that the devil had taken them to hell because of Mrs. Pepper’s craft. No matter what was true or not, the family was gone. Several people reported hearing strange screams and lights from the house. The brave ones in town had thought to save whoever was in the house, but said they had not been able to get in, having been block by and invisible force. Once the lights faded they were able to go inside but found no trace of anyone. Over time people had gotten use to it, but still the rumors and stories persisted.
~ ~ ~
Excerpt of: The Reaper
The town was common enough, stationed on the outskirts of a thriving forest. A high wall surrounded the town, mainly for protection against large animals, but its occupants lived in peace, happily going about their daily lives. The sun had reached its zenith and was beginning its descent when a young woman, average enough, emerged from a small alleyway. The alley was narrow, and she was very much alone. Thinking she had dropped something, she turned and headed back down the alley, scanning the ground. The woman was young, but her face was lined and drawn, her eyes blank and devoid of life. Her clothes, although once rather elegant, were now dirty and slightly ragged. However, she clutched a purse to her chest, barely held closed, and the audible chink of metal on metal was easily heard.
As the woman turned around, she was confronted by the sight of a large man, an ugly scar running from the bridge of his nose to his ear by the jaw line. He was tall and broad, and a curved, rusty knife was clenched in one meaty fist. His small eyes, pale and watery, were fixed on the bulging purse in the woman's grasp. She screamed and did the only thing an unprotected, frightened woman could; she fled. She ran back the way she had come, only to scrabble frantically at the brick wall that impeded her progress. Whimpering softly, she slid down the wall and settled on the floor, still hugging the purse to her. The man leaned against the wall, running a thumb along the knife. He could wait; she wasn't going anywhere.
Eventually, he grew tired of her, so he pushed himself away from the wall and came towards her, savoring in the fright that grew rapidly in her eyes. With the blade held high in the air, he had no problems wrenching the purse from her startled grasp. He tossed it over to the other side of the alley so as not to stain it with the inevitable blood that was to follow.
~ ~ ~
Excerpt of: Memento
I delve into the wreckage of my forlorn ship. The sails are tattered; shown under the rippling light beaming down from the unfathomable heavens looming so much farther above than i find comforting. My eyes adjust to salty water and the dim luminescence. I dive closer to get a better look at the grim reminder. The wood is rotting away and slowly fading. The ships stern has the figure of a maiden seemingly melted into the wood. Her eyes convey nothing but what seems to be dread. She seems to be pleading with me. Her eyes tell me to vacate this place, I will find only sorrow. The ships wheel is slightly spinning as the passing currents flow against it. My hand grips the helm as if to captain this vessel. But then I remember how well I fared in our last encounter. I pull away, as if burned by the slick timber. I breathe in a breath of salt water. It burns my lungs, but I seem to still live. Why would I be forced to live this life of eternal pain?
I float below deck, clutching my chest as it heaves once more in pain. I see a room I know somehow must be meant for me. A sparse little shack of a room. My hand is pulled to a small dresser sitting in the corner next to what would hardly be called a bed. The drawer creaks as I reach in. The sound penetrates even through the fluid all around me. A small objects glints although there is hardly enough light to merit such a reaction. My eyes water; ironic to shed a tear in salt water. I reach my hand to grab the memento. I feel it's smooth lines and striking coldness. It burns. Just like everything else in this place. The icy hands of the object grip at my heart. Squeezing it so as to make it stop. But once again I do not die.
~ ~ ~
Excerpt of: The Walkers
“Our father was a scientific genius. It was he that created the serum. It was meant to be given to soldiers overseas that were near death. It could strengthen the heart and keep them going just long enough for the proper medical attention.”
“Why did they kill our father?” asked Kail. “Why did he have to die at the hands of the military?”
Jackson winced as he leaned over to tighten his boot buckle.
“The military wanted it for much more than what it was intended for,” he said. “They wanted to use it to revive a soldier who was already dead.”
“You can't be serious,” Kail handed her brother his bow, sitting down in the nearest chair so she wouldn't fall down first. “That's . . . inhumane.”
“That's what dad said.” Standing up, Jackson lifted his hands over his head, stretching his body. Kail heard his back pop, and she flinched, knowing it probably hadn't felt as good as it should have. “That night when we were kids . . . they came to the house, numerous soldiers, to try and get the serum for that purpose. He refused to give it to them, telling them that it was too dangerous and not what it was intended for. They tried to negotiate. When dad still refused, they killed him. It was the only way they could get their hands on it.”
Feeling sick, Kail bent over, resting her head in her hands. Images of that day flooded in front of her eyes; the red stained snow, the sound of the shotgun as it put a bullet in her mother's body. She could see Jackson's thirteen year old face; terrified, yet brave as could be for his little sister.
“That was seventeen years ago,” Kail whispered. “Why is this just happening now?”
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