By The Fire: Episode 138 Challenge 2

Hey horror addicts, In Episode 138 of the horroraddicts.net podcast The Next Great Horror Writer contest moves forward and the task this time is a little harder. This time the contestants had to write a 250-300 word story about a monster. Participants were tested on their ability to scare with description in a short amount of time, and be judged on their monster, scare factor, and complete story concept. Sounds like a hard task but not to a good writer.

I love this challenge because it deals with monsters and what horror fan doesn’t like a good monster story. My favorite monster has always been the werewolf. I love the concept of having a split personality and not being able to control it. The person who becomes a werewolf can be the nicest person in the world but when the full moon comes out he becomes a savage monster and he can’t control his blood lust. My favorite comic character as a kid was The Incredible Hulk for the same reason. Dr. Banner was a genius and a humanitarian but when he got mad, the beast came out. The same concept holds true for Dr. Jekyll And My Hyde. The idea of a savage beast living inside you that has to come out from time to time is an idea that doesn’t get old.

Another monster that doesn’t get old is vampires. There are so many different ways to tell a vampire story and every vampire can have a different personality. It surprises me how many vampire novels I’ve read that all come up with a fresh spin on an old mythology. A good writer can make any monster interesting. Maybe one of the contestants will have an idea for a new monster that none of us have ever heard of before. There is always something new to add to a monster story.

What kind of monsters will our writers use? Werewolves, vampires, a human monster or maybe something else out of the ordinary. Is 300 words enough time for a complete story, an imaginative monster, and a big scare? In the hands of a good writer, it is.  Who will you be rooting for in this competition? Do you have your own 300-word story you want to share with us? What is your favorite monster and why?  If you have an opinion leave a comment on this blog post and let us know your feelings. Be sure to listen to episode 138 and hear what are contestants come up with.

 

Submission Call: Crescendo of Darkness, HorrorAddicts.net

Cover by Carmen Masloski

Crescendo of Darkness
Edited by Jeremiah Donaldson

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo

There’s a funny thing that can soothe the soul after a rough day at work, can put you in the mood to take on any challenge, or can transport you back twenty years in time. It’s the most widely enjoyed mode of entertainment and the most used form of mood alteration. Music.

Your story must involve music in some way. This could take the form of a specific genre or song, but also the creation of music, an instrument, or even the lack of music. What would you do if you didn’t have your favorite music to calm your mind or to motivate you? What horrible deeds are prevented on a daily basis because someone listened to their favorite song? How many people are alive because someone heard the right song at the right time? What is the power of music?

Note: This is a HorrorAddicts.net anthology. Your story must be a Horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CRESCENDO OF DARKNESS/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2017, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/17). You should expect a return within 3 months of the submission close date.

If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Writer’s Call: Real-life Frankenstein Stories

Dangerous Creations: Real-life Frankenstein Stories

Deadline: April 17, 2017

In the summer of 1816, in response to a challenge from friends to write the most terrifying possible ghost story, the young Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley dreamed up the story of a young scientist and his monstrous creation. The “Frankenstein monster” has fascinated the imagination ever since.

In conjunction with the ASU Frankenstein Bicentennial Project, Creative Nonfiction magazine is daring writers (as Mary Shelley was dared in Geneva) to write original and groundbreaking stories in the spirit of Frankenstein—but nonfiction. That is to say, we’re looking for true stories that explore humans’ efforts to control and redirect nature, the evolving relationships between humanity and science/technology, and contemporary interpretations of monstrosity.

Essays must be vivid and dramatic; they should combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element and reach beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning. We’re open to a broad range of interpretations of the “Frankenstein” theme, with the understanding that all works submitted must tell true stories and be factually accurate. Above all, we’re looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice.

Creative Nonfiction editors and a judge (to be announced) will award $10,000 and publication for Best Essay and two $2,500 prizes and publication for runners-up. All essays will be considered for publication in the winter 2018 issue of the magazine.

Guidelines:  Essays must be previously unpublished and no longer than 4,000 words.

A note about fact-checking: Essays accepted for publication in Creative Nonfiction undergo a rigorous fact-checking process. To the extent your essay draws on research and/or reportage (and it should, at least to some degree), editors will ask you to send documentation of your sources and to help with the fact-checking process. We do not require that citations be submitted with essays, but you may find it helpful to keep a file of your essay that includes footnotes and/or a bibliography.

There is a $20 reading fee. To find out more, go to: Dangerous Creations

Submissions Call: Clockwork Wonderland

LAST WEEK!!

Clockwork Wonderland

A Horror Anthology

This is an Alice in Wonderland, clockwork, Horror anthology.

CWFront

Following the rabbit down the hole is the easy part. Battling time is what will kill you. Whether you’re trying to get back home or struggling to survive in Wonderland, your stories MUST be horrifying.

“You act as if time is on your side. He isn’t. He’s always on his own side.”

At the most basic, your story must have a clock involved. Clockpunk, clock engineering, and steampunk with clock elements is encouraged as well as the thought of time as an entity. Be creative, turn Wonderland on its ear. Twist it, tweak it, punk it.

Your story may star or co-star any of the characters in the original text by Lewis Carroll, as well as characters of your own creation. Feel free to “punk” any of the characters to fit your vision, but do not use any characters from other modern day Wonderland series.

A word from the editor: I don’t care how well your story is written, if it’s not scary, or horrifying, it won’t make the cut. We are HorrorAddicts.net. Bring the horror.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CLOCKWORK WONDERLAND/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2016, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/16). You should expect a return within 3 months of the submission close date.

If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Submissions Call: Clockwork Wonderland

Clockwork Wonderland

A Horror Anthology

This is an Alice in Wonderland, clockwork, Horror anthology.

CWFront

Following the rabbit down the hole is the easy part. Battling time is what will kill you. Whether you’re trying to get back home or struggling to survive in Wonderland, your stories MUST be horrifying.

“You act as if time is on your side. He isn’t. He’s always on his own side.”

At the most basic, your story must have a clock involved. Clockpunk, clock engineering, and steampunk with clock elements is encouraged as well as the thought of time as an entity. Be creative, turn Wonderland on its ear. Twist it, tweak it, punk it.

Your story may star or co-star any of the characters in the original text by Lewis Carroll, as well as characters of your own creation. Feel free to “punk” any of the characters to fit your vision, but do not use any characters from other modern day Wonderland series.

A word from the editor: I don’t care how well your story is written, if it’s not scary, or horrifying, it won’t make the cut. We are HorrorAddicts.net. Bring the horror.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CLOCKWORK WONDERLAND/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2016, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/16). You should expect a return within 3 months of the submission close date.

If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Find What Works For You

updated serial scribbler

 

 

Finding what works for you as an author is the first step in also finding your voice. It takes experience, time, exploration, and trying different techniques that will keep you motivated to write.

The Ritual:
This is something that successful writers create for themselves. A ritual gets your mind ready to switch into “creative work mode”. This is similar to a bedtime or waking ritual. If you need to work with a cleared space, you could start there. Clean your workspace, or wipe down your desk. Add some music, or turn everything off. Whatever it is, do it religiously. This will trick your mind into getting ready for your word count.

Aromatherapy:
Believe it or not, this ties in with ritual…and not in the witchy-burn-small-animals-at-the-stake kind either (unless that’s your thing, which I hope it isn’t). Having the same thing to drink (coffee, tea…whiskey *cough*), keeping a snack, and even lighting a candle will tell your brain, “Hey! It’s time to work. Let’s get down to business.”

Goals:
Man, do you know how many times I have talked to authors that don’t have goals before they sit down at the laptop? While this may work most of the time, it won’t always. Having a finish line keeps you focused. Again, most successful authors know this. They set either a timer, or a word count goal. Definitely put this on your “I should try that” list if you haven’t incorporated it, yet.

Outline: (Optional)
Some authors find that an outline helps them organize their thoughts. It doesn’t work as well for me, but if I start to drift or lose the story, I do try to outline it so I can stay on track. An outline isn’t set in concrete. You can move things around if they don’t work, or delete them. It’s up to you (and your editor).

Force it:
Yeah, I said it. Force yourself to write. You don’t have to force yourself to write your current work in progress, but find something else to rinse your palate. Do a writer challenge, find an interesting picture and tell the story you see, rewrite an old short story, or just blog about how you don’t feel like writing.

And last but not least…

Do not give up. No one sits down all the time and writes. Even Shakespeare took some personal time (hello? muses?). Just make sure that you come back to it and don’t stop. The more you write, the more your brain fires up, and the better you get at your craft. Whatever it is that works for you? Do it.

What things do you include in your writing ritual to get you in the mood? If you listen to music, what music is your “go to” when you write? How do you get over the writer’s blues when you fall into the pit?

The Serial Scribbler: An Author’s Integrity

SerialScribbler

One of the things I want to discuss today is an author’s integrity. This can encompass many things. Obviously, the first one that comes to many peoples’ minds would be that the work isn’t stolen. And you’d be correct. Stealing another author’s work is probably right down there with pond scum.

Personally, I’ve dealt with it. Whether it’s someone parasite’ing off your idea, your branding, your marketing or even, oh I dunno, a book title that is unique. It makes your skin crawl and your brain sizzle, am I right?

But there are other aspects to an author’s integrity that we don’t quite think about. Those are the things I want to dig into.

As a small, independent publisher I see much of the same crowd and I know many of he same people my authors hang around with. If you think that I don’t hear the rumors, and see things like lies, sabotage, manipulation and more, you’re sadly mistaken.

Probably the most heinous act of one author is to assassinate the character of an undeserving fellow author. This can happen in the form of a review (or what I like to call the hyena attacks where groups of friends all converging on the author’s book), Facebook posts, interviews, and more. I like to point out to my own authors that this is deplorable behavior and if those people were to focus all that energy on marketing and engaging their own readers, they’d probably see a more fruitful result.

My advice to authors, new and veteran, is to build your reader base, and build your integrity. If you say you will have a book done by a certain date, do all that you can to do that. Be yourself, be unique. (There are no truly unique ideas, however, your take on the idea is what sets you apart.) If you hear negative talk about another author, ignore it.

Do not let negative words come out of your mouth (or be typed) toward anyone else.

I’d like to point out that this rule doesn’t apply to your close inner circle. We all need someone we can confide in and tell situations to. These people should also have good integrity and realize that there are “Vegas Rules” attached to your trust in them. However, you must understand that there is a clear, and defined difference between “gossiping” and “venting” or “explaining for the purpose of gaining advice”.

Business is Business and it’s a jungle out there. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a cannibal. Don’t chew up your own and spit them out.

In my company, I have staff and members that will tell me what they’ve seen and heard about an author, then, if they aren’t already friends with them, they will watch how they interact, what they say and how they present themselves, etc. It’s not something I ask them to do, it’s something they do on their own. They are so protective of our image and our reputation (which took tons of hard work) that they want to know if this person is going to represent us in the same protective way.

Is this a fail safe method? No. There’s always someone that will slip through the cracks, but being labeled “difficult” from a publisher is professional suicide. It will affect everything you do.

Again, Business is Business.

In the role of an author I try to be helpful, courteous, and professional at all times. I never know who I’m talking to and I understand networking as an independent author is my (and any indie author’s) lifeline. I have to deal with this group of creatives on a daily basis, so it’s important that they know they can trust me.

Believe me, I hear a lot of things about a lot of people. But because the buck stops here, as the saying goes, I’m able to weed through it and pluck out the “B.S.” rather than marinate in it. One of my mottos is: I’m allergic to bullshit.

Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what a lot of other publishers are looking at, as well. We see, we do not say, but we’re aware. In addition to publishers, you have outside opportunities that may become closed off; interviews, podcasts, radio shows, etc.

Tell me what you think about this week’s subject: Integrity. Do you feel your reputation is important? Do you think you should be judged on your reputation, good or bad? How do you avoid gossip?