In a rare turn of events, I got off work early today (woo-hoo!) and had to decide how to occupy my time. I was thinking about a post I could write without re-reading anything, or re-watching anything – so I could just start writing for the sake of writing, and get a post up today before my plans tonight. And it occurred to me that while I’ve talked about evil a lot on this blog, there is a rich pantheon of evil horror characters I’ve never discussed.
One thing is for certain: not all villains are made alike, and not all behave similarly. I thought about this when considering the difference, in Star Wars, between a Vader and a Palpatine. Vader becomes pure evil, but he becomes evil because he falls; the prequels tell us that he was once the promising Jedi, Annakin Skywalker. And ultimately, Vader is redeemed. Palpatine, on the other hand, is more or less bad to the bone, as the cliché song goes. So I started thinking about all the evil horror characters who are insane, who are sympathetic, who have at least strands of humanity that sometimes surmount the darkness and show themselves a bit. And then, I thought of the horror characters that don’t have any of that – no really human tendencies, no back story, few redeeming qualities. For the purposes of this post, these are the characters I’ll label “truly evil,” and I’ve chosen five of them. I couldn’t put these five characters in order, because they’re all pretty damn malicious, but here’s the list, nonetheless, with my explanation: My five favorite truly evil horror characters: Continue reading “Evil is as Evil Does: Five of Horror’s Vilest Villains”→
I can’t say I read many books about the writing process these days. To be sure, I have no vendetta against them – especially not when they’re written by accomplished authors. I remember, years ago, reading Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird, in which she talks about taking life, and taking writing, step by step, the way her brother had to take a science project “bird by bird” when he stayed up to do it at the last minute. And in my early 20’s, I was obsessed with Mary Pipher’s Writing to Change the World. Pipher is the author of Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, and along with formulating the renowned theory that our society is taking something away from its girls during the transition from childhood to adulthood, she also sought to give people advice on how to write – especially on how to write in a way that would change things, that would make a difference. That was a fair undertaking, because Reviving Ophelia had made waves, and its theory still has resonance today, years later. Continue reading “Reading About Writing: Stephen King’s “On Writing””→
Writing this tonight, after writing a lengthy piece about Insidious (and why it’s way better than people give it credit for), felt a little different than writing most nights felt. This is the story (if you haven’t read my intro already) about a girl whose dead friend returns to earth to visit her. Michelle, the girl who gets the visit, doesn’t know why her friend’s here. This is the eighth part of the story. If you dare read the first seven parts (which feel a little choppy and uncertain now) well, here they are. I’ll preface this, as usual, by saying that I tend to do more academic writing and, to a lesser extent, creative non-fiction. I am not a fiction writer, although I’m reading about writing fiction. As such, I am only slowly learning what the hell I’m doing — and I say that assuming I ever learn! (End moment of needless self-deprecation).
I’m trying to write a novel length piece by sticking to a fairly simple 1,000 words a day. If you’d like, you can read earlier installments of this story, which are posted here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six. As I often say before posting, I’m a developing but somewhat experienced academic writer (i.e., I have a Master’s and am working on a PhD). I am NOT an experienced fiction writer (I have no professional experience at all), so these are my attempts to stick with a project (which I never do, when I write fiction) and piece a story together. I would like to write something “of novel length” which I can then work at shaping into a novel-type-project. So if you’re reading it, thanks for reading! Continue reading “Annie, You’re Dead, Part Seven”→
Okay, so I’ll give a briefer version of the same overview as before. This is my novel-like-project (I don’t think one could really call it a novel, at least not yet) that I plan to write over the span of two months by setting the very do-able goal of writing 1,000 words a day. This story is about my dead friend, but it’s a pretend story, in which my dead friend comes back to life. As Paul Simon says in “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” – “I’m on my way, don’t know where I’m going.” This is just a fun experiment from someone who’s quite used to writing academically but hasn’t had much fiction practice, at least not for a few years, so bear with me. Michael and I have written some fan fiction that you can find on this blog, but my writing my own plot and characters, alone, is proving daunting. Anyway, here are the earlier parts of the story: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. Read on, if you dare! Continue reading ““Annie, You’re Dead” Part Six”→
This is a project I dropped after four days, because every time I try to write fiction, I hate what I write. I decided, however – I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing right now, and it’s motivating me a bit – that I just have to sit down and do the work, and revise, and hope I can shape this piece into something I’m pleased with, eventually. This is a story about a girl (who’s a lot like me) and her best friend, who’s come back to visit her from the dead, and the living girl doesn’t know why, yet. I kind of lost the original plot idea; this story is going somewhere very different than where I first intended it to go. If you want to read the previous posts, I’ve done some mild revisions and replaced the old versions with updated versions, although more intense revising is still in order. I’m linking to them below, before I post my current attempt at fiction. I’m following King’s advice in his book and only setting my writing limit at 1,000 words a day, so as not to overwhelm myself when I have other things going on. So, here are the earlier installments of the story, and then the most recent installment of the project: Part One,Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.
If it’s not obvious from the different analysis I publish on this site, I’m a huge fan of The Shining. In fact, I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing right now, and I’m a bit torn, because I know he hates Kubrick’s version of his story, but I happen to love it. Still no matter what version of the classic tale you favor, we can all agree that the idea of being snowed into a haunted hotel with a mentally unstable, alcoholic, misogynist, self-interested writer and schoolteacher (how Kubrick, though not King, presents Jack) is a precarious situation, especially when you have son with exceptional capabilities but a penchant for blacking out and losing his sentience. Well, since I live in the freezing Erie, PA, a city that repeatedly makes winter headlines for its record amounts of Lake Effect snow, I’ve gotten, over the past few days, to get a sense of what it feels like to be completely snowed in (and, bonus, I’m a recovering alcoholic writer and teacher who’s also a bit self-interested, though not a misogynist). As such, I thought I’d write a post about the experience of being “snowed in” for three days, and the cabin fever that ensues from such an experience – you know, in the service of exploring different territory for my blog. Continue reading “Snowed-In: A Cabin Fever Story”→