Son of the Moon

This is a free sample chapter of our upcoming book Phantasms. Contact info and disclaimer at the end of the post. Every chapter in the book concludes it self, so this is a complete short story.

The story is about some boys who plays a prank that goes horribly wrong. (okay I was always rubbish with blurbs)

It’s written for young adults, there is nothing too graphic in it. 

Skulle nogen danskere lige læse med, så har jeg tyvstjålet kerne konceptet fra Dennis Jürgensen - jeg har ændret meget jo, og derfor er historien uploadet (stadigt) - Men det er også af samme årsag at jeg ikke vil tage penge for den, så den er bare her - som min lille hommage til en af mine yndlings historier som barn.
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There’s a storm brewing on the horizon.

So I have been thinking that I should start to dabble in short horror stories again. I have two longer projects for books, but right now I am still dealing with my absolute distaste for PR work, when I had to promote Kryos.

Anyway you really should follow me & Heathers blog, I am going to post whatever I get around to write both here and there as free stuff. I need to get back into the saddle.

I have posted a longer post elsewhere about how horrible I thought it was to advertise for myself, which almost ended up destroying my drive for writing and sharing. It took me the better side of 3 months to even write something again, and when I finally did, I had lost all and any interest in publishing. It’s slowly returning though, and I guess I am licking my wounds and am trying to get back into the saddle. I figured it would be best to start in the small.

I found this blog on blogspot which had a lot of cool stuff, including some horror prompts which I am gonna look into and see if I can fill some of them.

In case your muse kicks you from computergames, mine does sometimes – I reblogged this list of free indie horror games on my Tumblr.

Just Melvin: Just Evil

I hate when people say ‘you write what you know’ that is just such utter rubbish! At least for me it is, I admit that my writing does spring from somewhere, but most often I tend to write about things that either frighten me, or that I don’t understand, and makes an effort to put myself in the different characters place.

And some information you could live your entire life, not knowing. But still you have to know it if you are going to write it, and that is where something like autobiographies and documentaries comes in handy.

Check out the IMDb page here.

This documentary is pretty hard to come by, and it’s pure “luck” that someone uploaded it to YT. It is about child abuse, and is a terrifying tale to say the least. I thought I would make you aware of it’s existence, there is 100 reasons to watch it, and just as many not to.  I rather like this docu, it is not a subject where there are many factual movies made about it.

Anyway, if your muse works a little like mine, watch it.

Keep passing by the open windows.

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As an author the critical observer is always a godsend. And as I said in an earlier entry, to draw the line in a very black and white manner, is helpful for most plots. The good vs evil never grows out of fashion.

I am very fascinated by religion, I would mostly call it morbid fascination though. What tickles me is the blind faith that I wish lived only in fiction. I cannot wrap my head around someone who would just hold up religious text, everytime someone questions anything.

Blind faith is also a very “cheap” card to use in writing. A character whose judgement is clouded by religion is capable of almost anything. I find it strangely “easy” to write a character like that, because it’s mostly like they don’t have any reasoning, besides whatever religious text they can quote. It doesn’t even have to make sense, as long as it’s roughly in the Bible. Like all sense hits a brick wall, and all arguments ends with ‘Because the Bible says so.’

Even if it’s cheap, it’s very efficient when you want to amplify something else, like free-thinker vs reformist, or sane vs crazy.

I can’t help but to think about children brought up in that bubble of crazy. To think there is an almighty power that keeps an eye on them, and punishes them in the afterlife if they don’t behave. Dude! most kids i know can’t even relate to being +18, even less the afterlife. I does sound paranoid to me, to think that someone judges you like that. And honestly what sort of lesson is that to teach your children? – I really shouldn’t say that, should I? I know that we all bring our children up in our own image, and you aren’t evil or a bad parent for doing that. Some parents are just terribly misguided. And yes I am talking about all parents that live their life through their children, if it’s those crazy pageant mothers on tv, putting their toddlers out there, dressed like a pedophiles fantasy girlfriend. extreme right-wing people who name their children Hitler and/or makes them sing about race war. Or crazy religious people who teach their children that God will be watching their every step, and that they should be righteous, brave and pure. In my opinion all of these are the same, sorry to say. It reeks a little of Münchausen by proxy to me, to push your child out in front of you, to show to the world that you are the best parent ever. And yes in some round about way, I think those parents do unto their child, to gain acknowledgement or attention from their peers (a.i people as mental as themselves).

Some people are of course just victims of what is done unto them, and therefore gives to others what they have, that being what they were tought. I remember this one fella in a murder case in Arkansas, Chevy Kehoe. (yeah my brain stores pointless info like that). To recap that case it was something with him killing this arms dealer and his family, to get to this blokes weapons so Kehoe could sell them for money, and fund his Aryan army. This is of course really far-fetched, and completely mental. But as the court looked at his reasons for doing something like that, they would find a very troubling childhood, living in a cabin with his 7 siblings (or something like that) and his parents who were these crazy nazi survivalist. If I remember it correctly he did actually attend school to some point, where his parents pulled him out, and took over his education. And then he was taught his parents crazy beliefs instead. I know that this defence gave him life in prison instead of the needle.

I am not making excuses for people like Kehoe, because no matter how crazy your life is, its common knowledge that you can’t go about killing people. No matter if you have some text that tells you it’s alright, or what your ultimate goal might be.

I can’t help but to think what it must be like to be brought up in an enviroment like that. Where everything is that black and white, us vs them. It must be really scary as a child, and confusing too. In most cases i hear/read about something like this, the children have no access to critical media. And to voice a different opinion or ask the wrong questions, might bring down a punishment, or your parents mistrust on you. What child wants that? So I would imagine that you eventually stop asking questions and just accept reality.  Maybe some of them dream of a different life, but simply don’t know how to make it happen, or knows that they have to leave their family behind if they chose to exile themselves from the commune. And it is like that in most cases, isn’t it? Either you are with us or your are against us, blood relative or not.

There is something strangely comforting in a simple thought process like that. Free thinkers have a knack of making life more complicated for themselves. I mean a draught for instance, it’s not the punishment of God, it’s a combination of toxins and a rapidly decreasing ozone layer and so forth. No God there. But wouldn’t it just be nice if you could dispel science as rubbish, and blindly trust in a text older than dirt.

I can’t help but to think that it must be comforting to just hand your life over like that, you are no longer responsible for anything, and everything is a part of God’s grand design. I am not sure if these people live in complete denial, and knows. Or if they really are that ignorant. But then again, as I said, ignorant people are a bliss to write.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Some time ago I  stumbled across a story on fanfiction.net, and one can argue I was asking for it, looking on that site. But, this one story I saw had ALL the faults and fell in ALL pitfalls I could think of.  And so I sat down and tought of what advise I would give to fellow writers if I could.

1) Don’t introduce too many characters at one time. It get’s confusing, and the last thing you want is for the reader to go back in your story, to try to figure out who some person are.  You are not writing the Icelandic Sagas, you don’t need a family tree.  Introduce your characters slowly, and tie them to something that will help people remember them. So spend some time with each your characters as you introduce them. If you introduce a bunch of people, like a group of friends, a platoon or family, that needs introduction at the same time, I recommend that you still use the ‘spend time’ mantra, and while you might mention them all, then pull one character out at a time and tie them to something.

2) Make your characters unique. the art of writing is similar to the art of drama on a stage. When you act on a stage you have to overdo everything, or the audience down in the back won’t see. And it’s everything from your speech pattern that has to be loud and clear, and your makeup that is way overdone.  All to help everyone see what you want them to see.  I think writing is the same! You don’t have the aid of images or movie, and therefore you have to spell everything out. Always remember that people are not inside your head, and everything is important when you build a character, from eye color to favourite cigarette brand. Everything tells the reader something about the character. So if you feel like you characterize your characters a little much, to the point of caricature, it’s okay. You need to get your mental image across.

3) Don’t be an idiot, research the stuff you don’t know.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate people who say ‘You write what you know’, nothing is further from the truth! It is true that you of course pull stuff from a pool of knowledge inside yourself, but you can’t live that many different lives. Just as an example, I have never lived through a Zombie Apocalypse, and I have never been a soldier. This doesn’t  keep me from writing it, but it does mean that I have to use my google-fu, or ask people around me, because I can only assume what would be a logical reaction to some specific situation. Don’t fool yourself to think that Stephen King knows what he’s talking about all the time, I am sure he does research too. And you can never research too much. And don’t be a wuss. If you write a story about child abuse, and you really don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, in respect for the people who might be able to relate, you owe it to them to get it right, and so you for instance google it, and you don’t google ‘sad children’, you gotta google the right stuff, and in the process you get info that you just don’t want, and you could have lived out your life happily never knowing. But then you should maybe write about something else. And for the sake of everything holy, if you never had sex, please, please don’t be a prude if you want to write about it, go google it kids!

4) Don’t hold back, you are never too much. Don’t think there are subjects that you can’t write about. As long as you ‘warn’ the readers in your summary, all is good. You should write what your muse tells you to, it makes you a happier person.

5) Sometimes insinuation is your best tool. It’s really hard to be subtle on text. And I don’t mean you have to write everything out, because sometimes insinuation is the most powerful tool you have. Like for instance one of my favourite authors H.P. Lovecraft, he rarely actually wrote anything scary, he just set the scene and let the reader draw their own conclusion. But you need to make sure the scene is set, you don’t want your reader not to understand what you are hinting at. Lets for the sake of this say that you are writing about spousal abuse, then you can for instance write the verbal fight, and have character 1, drag character 2 into the bedroom and slam the door. No one would be in doubt that the abuse would continue behind that door, but if you didn’t make sure that we as readers understood that it’s abuse we are talking about, then we would just be confused.  It’s always more scary to try to guess what is under the bed, than it is to actually see it. And sometimes less is more, remember that!

6) Stay true to your characters. Nothing will justify a sudden turn of a characters reasoning to do something, not unless you put something in the story that will explain it. Something like a near-death experience, newfound religion or something like that. Characters are imaginary people, but they are no different from you and me in that aspect. You wouldn’t just wake up some day and think, ‘omg I think I should stop killing people’, or whatever. For you to make a major change in your life, something often happens that makes you question your existence. And it’s the same with fictional characters! There are of course exceptions, if you make a character that doesn’t give a shit about anything, you can basically do whatever with that character, but always remember to justify it somehow, if it’s trough dialogue with another character, a letter, or internal dialogue. Otherwise i promise you, you will unhinge your readers.

7) Listen to your readers. Well unless they are complete twats, but don’t be an ignorant bastard yourself. It is really hard to give constructive criticism, and it’s equally hard to receive it. But if someone tells you that ‘Bill’ is confusing them, or that Karl Urban isn’t German. You should listen! Feedback is a great tool to get better at what you do, be it good or bad. We all like being told we are fantastic, and that what we wrote is awesome, but truth is, that it just isn’t all that stellar all the time. You can of course just ignore it, or tell them off, but I would advice you to listen when people have something sane to say. I promise you that when you go back and read that story in 10 years time, you will cringe, and admit that what people told you was probably right.

8) Make a plan before you start. I think most authors on the internet had one of those long ass stories that just goes on for ever. Mostly this happen because it’s a popular story, and you and/or your readers don’t really want it to end. But honey, all stories have to end some time. Personally I have more than once forgotten what I wanted to write, and where I wanted to go with some specific story. That is why I am telling you that making a plotsheet is essential, and no one is telling you to stick to it word for word, you can move stuff around like you want, include stuff in chapters that suddenly fit in when you write it, but you didn’t think would fit when you made the rough sketch. I have had stories be 5 chapters longer than I expected, and also 5 chapters shorter, it doesn’t give you any ‘safety’ like that. It just means that you know where you are roughly going with the story, and believe me, the story does benefit from it.

9) Writing is an illusion. And your job is to make the reader ‘buy’ your universe. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a story about Horatio Caine as a little blue fox in the fairy princess’ castle. You have to drag the reader into it. I often have this mental image of pulling a bedsheet over the reader, untill they only see and hear, what I tell them too.  In theory you should be able to make a child rapist ‘understood’ if you so choose. Think of you as a guide into your fantasy world, and you take the reader by the hand and bring them there. I promise you that if you can make the universe believable and interesting, no one will notice that a character suddenly stopped being in the story (pulling a Tolkien), or your bad grammar, (unless it’s truly atrocious). You have to fool the reader to believe a lie.

10) Chill with the metaphors. Please, please, please, don’t get caught in the metaphor jungle. I believe in minimalist writing, as in, you don’t explain more than you have to, but you use words that cannot be misunderstood. Please call a penis for a word that everyone understands, don’t call it flesh-rod or manhood. It just makes your reader break out in giggles (Unless you are writing a bad fic, and you aim for laughter) Also a pet peeve of mine is ‘orbs’ I hate that word in any context! But it is especially bad when people are describing eyes, it just makes me think of dead doll eyes. Get your shit together, you know when a word is lame or unsexy, I suggest you use http://thesaurus.com/ if you can’t come up with a decent word.  That site is also great for avoiding repetition of a word, you can basically say ‘despair’ 20 times, but if you use 4 different words no one is gonna notice.  If you don’t know how to explain something you can always save it with writing something like ‘the picture frame looking thing’ because then the reader has a reference of a thing they know what is. And i will say this again, no one wants their readers to go WTF?

11) Don’t fall into the Mary-Sue trap. You are not your character unless you write an autobiography. True that all good authors leave a little of themselves in every character, and every story. You research something and add your own logic, that is what makes it yours. For the sake of the argument, a character like say Gandalf the Grey, wouldn’t break down crying if he cut his finger, or someone told him he was wrong. Maybe you would, but he wouldn’t. Always remember, never forget! To write is to drag your illusion over reality, not to thrust yourself into a fantasy.

12) To write is to explore humanity. There is no better way to see light, than when it’s surrounded by darkness. I once wrote a story about a neo nazi who fell in love with an Asian woman, many people felt it was a bit much, but for me it was a great way to tell a story about love sees no color, social status or gender. But I did sit down and read up on everything I could find on said subjects, but in that process I found myself on some very questionable forums and homepages, but I took what I could get, and filed that away for the characters. It was a hard thing to write, even for me, the process of this neo nazi from hateful to accepting, and some of the opinions he had made me count to 10 before I could write it, but if I didn’t it just wouldn’t work.  My point was that I didn’t judge my character, because i knew exactly why he was the way he was, and my job was to make the reader see that too, I needed them to see the boy under the swastikas, and later root for him to kiss the girl.  And THAT is what you want, you want your readers to cheer and cry with your characters, no matter how full of flaws they are. And this is where fantasy is better than the real world, because redemption is a key stroke away. And honestly where would we be if no one dared to explore subjects that makes both them and others uncomfortable?

 

Lastly I have a small plea for myself. If you can’t write a decent summary, take the first two paragraphs from the story! Also don’t write ‘fb makes me write faster’ because that is just unappealing and pathetic. To write is a world of patience, you have to keep on writing, posting your stuff around and with time someone will notice. But don’t think you can just write a semi inspired fan story and everyone will fawn over you.  Also don’t worry that you will be judged as a person on what you write, if people can’t see the difference between you as a person and the stories you tell, they are idiots.

Thanks for reading. 😉

(Subject line quote is by Ernest Hemingway)