Real horror is subtle. It seduces.
One of the finest pieces of horror I’ve encountered is Loren Eiseley’s “The Dance of the Frogs“. I doubt Eiseley wrote this intending it to be horror. If he did, I have to find more horror writing by him (consider “The Fifth Planet“. Not quite horror but damn close). It is brilliant.
Horror done well is subtle. Horror can’t wack you over the head. It has to seduce you. It has to sneak up on you, entrap you. Horror, done well, must take you from comfort and peace to helplessness and inevitability.
Horror done well allows you no sure escape. Questions regarding safety, yes, freedom from worry, no. The original 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers movie (with the original ending and based on the Jack Finney novel, The Body Snatchers) is an excellent example of horror. Horrific things do not make good horror, horrifying situations make good horror.
Continue reading “Analyzing Loren Eiseley’s “The Dance of the Frogs” as Horror”
A worthy read for authors regardless of genre
On Writing Science Fiction
is about writing science fiction only as a topic, not as a focus. Somewhere in the book is a money-line about the book teaching writing first, fiction writing second and writing science fiction last.
Quite true and accurate! This book is a gem for anyone who wants to write. Don’t worry about the genre aspect, it’s a great study.
Continue reading “On Writing Science Fiction: The Editors Strike Back”
Helpful, Informative and packed with …
Although not a Writers’ Digest book (my edition is published by Erikson), it reads like one. Like all Writers’ Digest books, this is a good primer+ for writers on the road to authorhood. There were some definite takeaways, some things I stopped to consider (I’m happy when a book makes me think. It means it’s teaching and I’m learning). Noble does a good job with examples (it seems all these Writers’ Digest type books pull from the same sources for examples).
Continue reading “William Noble’s “Make That Scene””
Paul Darcy Bowles’ “StoryCrafting” offers a good toolbox for writers at any point in their career
is (so far) one of the best all-around books I’ve read on the art of writing. For one thing, Bowles spends a great deal of the book on revision/revising and gets into specifics; things to look for, things to be aware of, what not to do, what to definitely do, … Lots of books talk about revision/revising while not offering much about the mechanics of doing so (my opinion). Bowles also provides ample insight on subjects like POV, Character, Plot, Scene, … It’s truly an good toolbox for anyone learning their craft.
The best part of this is that Bowles demonstrates his process while honoring yours. He makes suggestions for your process and in the end, if something’s working for you and you know it’s working for you, don’t change it. Figure out why/how it’s working and make it better.
Sage words, that.
Continue reading “Paul Darcy Bowles’ “StoryCrafting””
Pesky commas, Da Vinci’s pockets and more
Do you revise? Do you get something down once then go over it again? And again and again? And again?
No, scratch that last “And again?” It’s too much.
No, it’s good. It adds emphasis. It demonstrates emotional commitment on the part of the author.
I know musicians revise their compositions and painters revise their paintings. There’s a story that Da Vinci carried the Mona Lisa with him where ever he went and took it out from time to time to change something.
I can’t imagine him carrying around his painting supplies and, in the middle of a papal audience, adding an eyelash here or removing a birthmark there.
Continue reading “Revision”