Tag Archive: Writing


Hey guys. In celebration of nearly reaching 2000 views and 100 followers, I have something for you. the (Pre-first draft, I guess) chapter of a new book I’m working on: “Undesirables” , a superhero story told from the perspective of the villains. I’m enjoying writing it a lot, and I hope you guys will let me know what you think of it. Enjoy.

Note: No need to point out typos or mistakes, I probably know about them by now.Plus, WordPress has messed up paragraphs a little, so there may be spaces where there shouldn’t be at times 😉

-1-

Risking a glance behind him as he burst through the apartment block’s side door and tore down the alleyway, Beckett couldn’t see his pursuer. But he could hazard a guess that he was close behind.
This was monumentally bad. Weeks of preparation, reading through dossiers of his target, finding a location he was guaranteed to show up at, planning his hideout and escape routes, even pissing in empty jars so he didn’t have to pause his stakeouts and after nights of waiting, when he finally shows up, it all goes down the drain when he decides to turn around at the worst possible moment to see Beckett’s speckled eyes staring right at him through a pair of binoculars. From his vantage point in the third floor apartment overlooking the street, he’d thought he’d covered everything. But he realised, as he backed into one of his jars, that when it came to it he was just shit at spying at people.
That, or Snowfall had discovered psychic powers, and kept them a secret from him all this time. He missed nothing, it would seem.
He had hastily shaken his foot to get rid of any broken glass or urine that still clung to his shoe, and made a mad dash out of the apartment block into the cold Chicago night. If he wasn’t being chased by a dangerous and lethal super-powered freak, Beckett would have stopped to turn the air blue swearing. This could have led to something big. This would have led to something big. Snowfall, one of the world’s oldest and most renowned vigilantes, taken in thanks to the brave actions of Sam Beckett, a simple informant. It would have at least been worthy of a promotion, maybe becoming a full field agent if he’d played his cards right. The Coven wanted Snowfall. Badly. Any scrap of information that would lead to them getting their grubby hands on him would be a godsend to them, and the person who handed it to them would be reimbursed greatly for all the trouble they went to procure it. Promotions were the very least they could do.
Of course, right now, he didn’t really have any information to show them and was running for his life from a man able to create and control ice. And he happened to be running through Chicago on one of the coldest days winter so far. Luck was on the “good guy’s” side, it would seem, as he tried to avoid the icy puddles that littered the alleyway.
He really hated superheroes. Ever since real life superpowers had been brought to the attention of the world, all hell broke loose. You’d hear about it on the news: children dying in homemade attempts to acquire powers, millions of dollars spent by the rich and powerful in the hope of finding a way to shoot lasers out of their eyes. It was all for nothing, of course, but that didn’t stop them. All they wanted was to be like them. Different, unique, free of the chains that came with regular life. Beckett only had one question for those people: Why? Why try to become someone who was seen by many inside The Coven as a freak of nature, an outcast?
As a result of this landslide of adoration for vigilantes like Snowfall, some tried to be more like them then others, and those were the people Beckett hated the most. While some merely tried to have powers for the sake of having powers, others took to the streets to take the law into their own hands, to uphold justice, just like those brave super-powered men and women who did the same every day. Why they wanted to was anyone’s guess, but most would wind up dead in a gutter with a bullet in their head, unaware of just how in over their heads they had been. But the ones who didn’t, the ones who started meeting up with like-minded people, were dangerous. Lynch mobs could form as people accused others of crimes, sometimes requiring the intervention of the very people these people were trying to be like. Whole militias would rise with the intent of ‘peacekeeping’, but would usually end up as bad as the people they swore to eradicate. Anyone and everyone with a mask and a weapon if sorts wanted in on the action. With the introduction of superpowers into the world, chaos was ensuing. The whole novelty of having superheroes may have fooled others into accepting this change in the status quo, but not Beckett. He saw past this change for what it really was: hell on earth, or at least the lead up to it.
His mind snapped back to the present as he cleared the alleyway. He made a mad dash for the next apartment block across the street, trying to keep a steady foot on the icy road. It wasn’t easy and the fear of being caught by Snowfall wasn’t helping much. Managing to slide across to the sidewalk, he looked back to check for his pursuer. Beckett could find no trace of him. Had he actually given chase? Or had he overlooked the hideout? It was possible, in this weather, that he might have merely glanced in his direction and had seen nothing…
It was at this point that something picked its moment to land right in front of him. Beckett yelped and jumped back, losing his footing on the sidewalk and landing unceremoniously on his ass. Staggering back on his hands and feet, He looked up to see a giant of a man wearing hooded cloak. standing over him.

Everything about Snowfall looked like it was ripped straight out of the medieval times. The blue tunic and leather jerkin that fit snugly around his torso, the brown leather boots, the gloves and bracers, even the long cloak and hood that shielded his face gave him the look of a old worn traveler, a lost soldier. Here stood a superhero, in all his pretentious glory.
“Beckett?”
Watery grey eyes stared down at Beckett, and he could see Snowfall’s brow furrow in confusion.
“H…hey.” Was the only think he could bring himself to say. He didn’t know whether or not he was shivering from the cold or the fear. Snowfall tilted his head, like a dog trying to figure out what you were saying to it. He was obviously confused that the person he caught spying on him was a trusted ally to him in recent months. Nevertheless, he offered his hand out to Beckett. Taking it to pull himself up, Beckett noticed that even through the thick gloves he wore, his hand was deathly cold. One of the downsides to his powers, he guessed.
Snowfall still looked concerned as he helped Beckett of the ground. “You seem to be in a hurry.”
Beckett could only smile sheepishly. “Snowfall, you’ve got it all wrong” he mumbled, trying not to trip over his words, “This is all just a misunderstanding, I… I can explain myself, why I was here, I mean..” Beckett’s mind hadn’t caught up with his mouth though, and he struggled to think of something, anything that could get him out of this. But nothing came. He had caught him right in the act, their was nothing he could say to argue otherwise. What came next was anyone’s guess…
He wasn’t a man to be taken lightly. At just under 6″5, Snowfall towered over most folk. Broad shouldered and imposing, he was the type of person who drew attention to himself no matter what. Although the lower half of his face was obscured by thick layers of a scarf of sorts, what little Beckett could see of his face looked worn and scarred, showing His age.
Snowfall’s expression turned from concern to confusion. “Explain what?” the look on his face was so genuine, Beckett paused.
“W…what?”
“I saw you running like a madman down the street, you looked like you’d seen a ghost. Everything alright?”
Beckett’s mouth couldn’t help but fall open in disbelief. Was he that stupid? He had been staring directly at him through the window, of course he had seen him. He’d have to have been monumentally idiotic to not add 2 and 2 together and realise Beckett had been running to get away from him.
But Snowfall genuinely seemed worried about his safety. Incredible. He was that stupid.
Trying to compose himself, Beckett did his best not to laugh at the brainless lummox of a man that stood in front of him. Perhaps he wasn’t as perceptive as he thought.
“No, I’m fine, really.” he replied, warmly patting Snowfall on the shoulder. “Just trying to get out of the cold. With you around, it’s no wonder I’m freezing my ass off.”
Snowfall grinned and Beckett chuckled, glad to put that matter behind him. He could wait for a while, bide his time. Surely he’d get a second chance to get something useful to The Coven. The thought of promotions came back to him, and for a split second, he relaxed, letting the tension in his muscles go as he laughed.
As it turned out, a split second was all Snowfall needed.
Immediately, snowfall dropped the grin, and grabbed Becket by the collar of his coat. Before he even knew what the hell was happening to him, jets of ice burst from below Snowfall’s free hand and feet, propelling them up the side of the apartment block. Beckett could only cry out in horror as he was heaved over Snowfall’s shoulder. Facing the ground, there was nothing he could do but watch the ground become smaller and smaller, climbing higher and higher with each passing moment until they were the height the roof of the complex, at which point Snowfall flew across the building and unceremoniously dumped him onto it. Beckett landed in a heap on the roof, cursing and shouting as his arm took the brunt of the fall. Broken? Maybe. Trying to rise to his feet, he could see Snowfall hovering daintily over him, his gaze fixed on him.

“I’m not one to sound threatening…” he began.

“Bull,” Beckett managed to cough out, “you’ve been threatening ever since you put on that costume of yours.”

Snowfall’s stare didn’t waver “I don’t want to sound threatening, but I don’t like it when the people I put my trust in are watching me behind my back.”

“Well, it’s not like you didn’t expect a rat like me to stay loyal for long, did you?” Beckett grimaced, but managed to stand upright, his left arm bruised and aching like mad.

Landing on the roof himself, Snowfall started walking towards Beckett, his eyes always fixed on him, flickering every now and again to his arm, waiting for him to pull a weapon. Perhaps he was even tempting him to. “Oh, I don’t know about that, I thought you were quite a nice guy. For a rat.”

Beckett started backing away from the slowly approaching Englishman, clutching his battered arm. Trying to scramble an explanation was difficult when he was trapped on the roof of a building late at night with his arm sending jolts of pain up and down his body. “Look, I dunno how thing’s are working out between us right now, but can I go out on a limb here and guess I’m not your best friend right now?”

Snowfall shook his head. “Why were you spying on me?”

Beckett laughed, causing his arm to shake with pain. It was a guttural laugh, and Beckett noticed how psychotic it had made him sound. Maybe he was more scared of him then he was willing to admit.

Snowfall’s step never faltered across the snowy rooftop. “I’m not going to ask again, Beckett. Why were you here? Who sent you?” There was something in that tone of his that made Beckett pause, and begin to sweat, despite the freezing temperatures.

“I… whatever a freak like you can do to me, I swear, they could do it a lot worse.” He had momentarily found his courage, but immediately lost it again when he realised Snowfall had stopped walking.

“We’ll have to see about that, won’t we?” he mused and began walking towards him again. Beckett started moving faster away from him, pain still raking his arm. He was breathing heavily now and something deep down was screaming at him. “Panic, panic, for the love of God, please, do something.” The only thing that came to mind though, was to keep backing away from the man spouting ice from his fingers. It was a horrible plan, but it was the only thing that seem to make sense. “Keep backing up, get away from him, get away,” the voice inside of him was crying. He could feel tears welling up inside him, he had never been this scared before. Why was he so scared? Snowfall was getting closer, walking faster towards him. Beckett’s cheeks were red, and he was starting to tremble. “Get away,”the voice was screeching at him, and now Beckett had begun shouting it out loud, “Get away, get away, get away!”…

And then, his foot was over the edge of the roof. Beckett stumbled, surprised that he had reached the end of the roof without knowing it. He struggled to keep his balance, one foot hovering over empty air. He shot his arms forward, blindly trying to grab the space between him and Snowfall, as if he could pull himself forward with it. He saw Snowfall’s eyes widen as he realised what was happening, he lurched forward, trying to grab one of Beckett’s outstretched hands. Too late, he thought, as he slipped over the edge.

The last thing he saw was Snowfall jumping off the roof after him, frantically trying to catch up with him as he plummeted to the ground.

The second-to-last thing to go through Beckett’s mind was how lucky Snowfall was to be able to fly and how jealous he was that he could survive all this.

The last thing to go through it was the pavement.

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Proof-Reading

Dear Saul,

I’m proud to say, when it comes to writing, I know my way around it. I’ve still got a hell of a lot to learn, but I’m optimistic that I can string together a coherent sentence. Maybe I’m not the fastest at typing, but I get it done, and maybe it’s not top notch quality, but it’s entertaining (I hope). But even me with my mastery of… mediocrity… cannot help but sin every once in a while. And I’m afraid it’s a big ‘un. I dun goof every once in a while, and I’m not proud of it.

I never proof-read my work properly. And I mean never.

Before you start lighting your torches and grabbing your pitchforks, let me say that I do not recommend doing what I do. Proof-reading your work is one of the most important skills when it comes to writing and editing your own work. If you don’t proof-read for grammatical errors, typos, and simple mistakes, you make you work come off as just a little bit shit.

Just a little bit.

“But why would *someone* (and I’m not saying who) choose not to proof-read their own work? Surely they practice what they preach.” Well, to answer this, you need to know how much of a lazy git I am. I procrastinate a lot, and I’m afraid of missing deadlines, so everything is usually done in a last minute panic (which is such a good mindset for a writer, I might add…). As such, proof-reading isn’t as high up on the list as “getting the work done, and getting it done well” is. Of course, getting it done well requires me to proof-read my work., but I’m too busy “getting the work done, and getting it done well” to proof-read…

See the paradox I’ve created? I’m trying desperately to climb out of the rut I’ve made for myself, but no luck so far. The simple answer is, I’m lazy, and if I want to fix the issue of me correcting my own work, I first have to fix the issue of me not wanting to do anything except sleep in and play video games. And for a teenager, that is a steep hill to climb, my friend. Why not stay at the base of the hill and eat chocolate, you ask? Well, believe me, as soon as you bring yourself to check your own work, you’ll soon notice the quality of your writing is improving as well, and not just the little things. You may notice huge plot holes you managed to overlook originally. You’ll see scenes and characters that don’t work, and you’ll get a feel for your own style of writing, one that will continue to improve as time goes on.

So surprise surprise, being lazy hasn’t really helped me accomplish anything, or make me better in my craft, and chances are, it won’t work for you either. So get off your backside, put down that controller, and go read your own work. But what can you do to stop yourself from caving in and just being lazy all day?

Well, give yourself an incentive to work, and reward yourself for getting to a certain goal you’ve set. Just try not to overdo things too much:

Also, get a schedule, and stick to it. If you get into a routine, it’s easier to break that habit of  going off to procrastinate. Give yourself a set amount of time to do something, and give yourself some short breaks throughout the day. If you’re finding it difficult to stick to your schedule, start later or just have a shorter amount of time for work, then slowly build it up over time. Don’t just rush into things expecting to break out of your old habits straight away.

Finally, hang a nice “Hang in there, baby” poster on your wall. It’s the single most important thing for breaking out of laziness. Seriously.

Well that’s all I’ve got. Any thoughts on being lazy? Do you have problems proof-reading?

I have to go proof-read this post now. Maybe.

Best wishes,

-Fiachra

Dear Saul,

Hope you had a good Halloween, because November is gonna get busy. Real busy. I ‘moustache’ you a question, (geddit?) ever heard of Movember? Movember is a charity event that takes place throughout the month of November, in which brave men (and possibly women) shave their face on the first day of November, then duke it out to grow the most fabulous hair on their top lip, all in the name of raising funds and awareness for men’s health.  It’s a hilarious event. and it goes towards a good cause.

Obviously, given my teenage gumption and stubbornness, I shaved off my peach fuzz of a beard, and got to work, sitting there, slowly straining until my face went red. I kind of gave up after that, and just sat there looking slightly disappointed in myself for not being able to pop out a luscious comb of hair over my mouth. But, I still have a month to go, so it’s not all bad.

Want to have a go at it yourself? You can sign up via their website. Even if you can’t grow a moustache (You big girl’s blouse), you can support the more manly of the human race in their endeavours to make men’s health a nicer, fuzzier topic.

Don’t feel like growing a moustache? There’s always NaNoWriMo. If you have even the slightest interest in writing, then I’m guessing you have an idea of what NaNoWriMo, or National November Writing Month is.  30 days to write 50,000 word novel alongside tens of thousands others. This one isn’t for anyone else but yourself. If you succeed, it’s a testament to your dedication to the art of literature.

If you should fail…

Well…

We don’t mention those who fail…

Actually they do fine.

Seriously. And if you think you can achieve his goal, and forever be entombed in the annals of writing history, sign up on their website, and get cracking.

I’ll leave you with those for now Saul, I have to get my stache goin’.

-Fiachra

Dear Saul,

I’m baaaaaaaaaack. Did ya miss me? You can put down the pitchfork and torches now, I know you’re pissed…

I hope. Wouldn’t be much of a homecoming if I didn’t stay long. But yes, even though school sucks the life outta me (I swear, I have a life), I’ve found the time to do a bit of writing. Even though school sucks the life outta me, I managed to plan out a few things. And even though school sucks and will suck the life outta me (I’m a little sore over this), I managed to make a list of things I wanna update you on:

  • I’ve been working alongside some really amazing bloggers and writers, picking up some skills, and hopefully bringing you guys better content. Some of these folks might make the occasional appearance here, and I’ll be updating the friends section so you can go annoy them for me 🙂
  • I completed The President’s Award! I’m really happy to have completed this, and the blog is one of the ways that gave me the drive to finish it. Thanks for the help.
  • I may-or-may not be working on a fully-fledged novel, which is in very early planning. More to follow…
  • I’ve been working on the first few episodes of The Downcast, a new podcast where sit down with a friend and chat about video games while we wait for one to download. The first episode is already up. Quality is, well, crap, but give us credit, it’s passable crap 😉 I’ve also been working alongside other writers, and maybe, in the future, I may have a writing podcast for you to (maybe) enjoy.
  • I have a fun idea for a series of posts, provided I have willing volunteers. I believe it could be called ‘Writing Tennis’. I’ll essentially have a second person, one person writes the opening paragraph to a story, or post, puts on their blog and the other one follows on, either furthering the plot or idea. They post their response, and the first person will follow on from that. Repeat for hilarity. Any volunteers? 😉
  • I have a maths exam Friday. Bugger.
  • Wait that last one wasn’t really interesting.
  • I should probably stop this.
  • Jesus Christ I can’t make lists.
  • What am I doing.
  • Fiachra.
  • Stahp.

So, yeah, that’s, in a slightly broken sense, what I’ve been up to. I have lots of stuff planned for you, and I can’t wait for you to see it all.

Glad to be back,

Best Wishes,

-Fiachra

Time

 

Dear Saul,

It’s been a while. Where have I been? under a rock for the most part.

I’m sorry for not keeping up with the letters. With work on That’s Horror-ble, the new series on the blog underway, stuff happening in real life, and my lack of writing pretty much anything these past few weeks, I’ve hardly had any time to talk to you. And as my muse, I really should be. Unfortunately, time hasn’t been my friend on this one.

Strange. You plan everything out, you have the ideas in your head, the resources to pull it off, but when it comes down to it, the only thing that stops you is the fact that, well, that there isn’t enough time to do it. And it’s infuriating. Intensely planned events and well thought out plots are obliterated, purely because there isn’t enough hours in a day. As a content creator, it’s hell, especially if you’ve been working on something for so long. People who call themselves fans scream at you to release the latest episode of your hit web cartoon, and no matter how hard you work, time prevents you from releasing it on schedule.

But here’s the part that doesn’t seem to get though to some:

It’s not your fault

So many people cave to the pressure put on them by fans, or bosses, or anyone claiming that it’s your fault you haven’t been able to release something. I’m sorry, do they think we control when the suns sets? Do they think we decide when the day ends  and we no longer have the mental capacity to stay awake and work? If they do, I feel so sorry for them.

Maybe you haven’t been able to file that report, maybe your latest youtube video can’t be uploaded yet. Tell those who scream at you to get it done now to wait. If they truly care, either about the work or you, they will.

In essence, this will be the excuse I use when people ask me why I haven’t written much.  😉

Glad to be back Saul.

-Fiachra

 

When you start out as a writer, you either A: produce terrible content, or B: rush things out without reading over them.

As it happens, I did both.

I (less than) proudly present:

Henchman.

-Fiachra

Sovo, attempting to look inconspicuous, pulled the collar of his trench-coat closer as he walked down a side alley of town. The snowy town of Glacia wasn’t a place you could go unnoticed easily in, one reason being the size of it, and another being that every resident would stare a stranger down as they passed, searching for anything to identify them by. What they would do next would depend on whether or not they had a certain badge pinned to your lapel, which in Sovo’s case, he did. “Still”, he thought, his mind wandering in an attempt to shrug off the sharp eastern European winter, “never hurts to be careful” and considering what came next, and how long it had taken him to get to here, he wouldn’t want anyone following him yet.

For 6 months, S.I.S, (or MI6 as the British public affectionately called it) had briefed and trained him to play one of the most convincing roles he could. At the cost of several other agents, a link had been made between their target, going under the alias of ‘Reeve’ and the privately owned military company known as ‘Boreal Security’ a well known private military contractor that had been involved with shady figures throughout its history, despite its board of directors’ and their own army of lawyers’ claims of innocence. For those 6 months, Sovo had been trained in Boreal’s method’s of fighting, built up a lifetime of back story as a vengeful northerner from a poverty-stricken family, and had been inserted into the ranks of Boreal, where he made a name for himself, and earned his badge, a badge which the locals of Glacia feared and hated

He, of course, was forced to kill to get to where he was. Some had been innocent, some not. All where necessary to ensure his cover wasn’t blown. To ensure he could be here, today, sneaking through a back water town where Reeve had made his complex, hoping to make it to the warehouse where Aaren had promised to meet. Where he could send the first communication back to S.I.S in a year. Once he had done that, they could formulate a plan to trap Reeve here. But everything hung on getting that call out.

The man he was meeting, Aaren, was a local of the town, and had been brought on by Reeve as a lieutenant, due to his skill with computers. After he had shot Aaren’s brother dead, of course. Aaren had particular disdain for Reeve, which gave Sovo cause to trust him. After agreeing to meet him, Aaren had promised to get a line back to S.I.S with the information on how to, that Sovo gave him.

As the alley curved back into the main road, Sovo snapped back into the present. Except for several whispering town members, this part look utterly devoid of Boreal troops. But Sovo couldn’t focus on this small note.

The Warehouse was right in front of him.

Inside, the cold air became no warmer, and Sovo still fidgeted with his collar. The air inside the warehouse tasted of copper, as metal crates stacked on top of one another rusted into piles of dust. The building was decrepit, and worn with age. Sovo flicked a light switch at the door, which dimly illuminated the rows of crates that were piled around him. The Cold winds had shattered one of the windows, and snow was visible on top of some of the crates. Aaren was no where to be found

Passing by one row of crates, he heard the groan of metal. Spinning around, he was met with the sight of empty air. Nothing.

Giving a nervous chuckle, Sovo, returned to his search for Aaren. This was quickly spiraling downwards. If Aaren had not shown up, than he had no way of communicating with S.I.S. Or worse, Aaren had gone to Reeve with the hope that by turning Sovo in, he could gain more power in Reeve’s operations.

Panic started to flood Sovo’s mind. His training was good, but after a year, he was a wreck. He needed to find Aaren, if he was here, and fast.

That’s when he noticed a figure leaning over a lump in the corner, next to an old payphone.

Despite this curious scene, relief washed over Sovo starting toward the figure, he noticed a few things. The man was tall, widely built, with what appeared to be a white motorcycle helmet on his head, over white standard Boreal fatigues. Specks of red dotted his side, and as he turned to meet Sovo, the lump came more into view, looking much more humanoid.

It was a body. Aaren’s body.

Sovo stopped as the assailant stared at him. Then he raised and opened his clenched fist, revealing phone receiver, torn from the pay phone.

The man cocked his head, grunted, then ran right at Sovo.

Dear Saul,

If a friend asked me the age old question ‘What things would you bring to a deserted island?’, I’d probably say ‘A friend who wouldn’t abandon me on a deserted island’, or failing that, ‘a laptop, and a boatload of horror films. And a boat’.

I’ve always adored horror, from the cheesy 80’s slasher’s to the piss-your-pants novels written long before I was around. And during my stint on tumblr, I wrote up on horror tropes in a series I called ‘That’s Horror-ble’ (Catchy, I know). Due to it being tumblr, a long post such as this didn’t work too well, and only a few were made. But I loved the series to death, and after a long time, I’ve decided to bring it here, because why not XD

While I’m working on the new ones, I’ll post up a few older ones alongside my regular talks with you, Saul. So please, enjoy tumblr Fiachra from 2012 🙂
-Fiachra

So you as a 12 year old walks into a video shop, maybe standing on your friends shoulders wearing a trench-coat and fake beard to fake your age, I dunno. And passing by the shelves you see it: Rise of the Unflattering Character from the Slightly Green Lagoon. Sneaking home into your room you put the DVD in and tune in to see:

  • More jump scares than a German coffee advert.
  • A college couple eaten by what appears to be a Neopet during… *wink *wink *nudge *nudge *cough *cough
  • Supposed Lost footage of the MacGuffin family during an attack by a spectral plant.
  • The trip of a life time to Daisy’s ‘Hey, we’re out in the middle of no where, come slaughter us’ forest walk
  • The group of teenagers who split up like they own the fricking Mystery Machine.

An overall, poor experience.

What when wrong then? You just saw a much better scary film the other day, it had you behind the sofa, even if it was an old film. So what went wrong?

Honestly, the genre has pretty much fallen into to the gutter with a bottle of malt liquor. it’s difficult to tell when this actually happened, but it’s easy to tell why. Sometimes, it can even be easily recognized through sequels in a series. Sure, somewhere in there are definite gems of horror film making, but do you want to search through the garbage to find those pearls.

I hope so, because you’ll be there for a while.

For god’s sake, even horror movies THEMSELVES take the piss out of the cliches made by cheap, uninteresting flicks. WES CRAVEN DID IT FOUR TIMES. Now Scream is getting weighed down by repetition.

So how did it all go wrong. How does a horror film turn a young, hopeful director into an Uwe Boll clone?

These are just a few of my guesses:

1. Terror & Horror

The most important elements in horror media are-and I kid you not- terror and horror.

Genius.

Hear me out. You may be wondering ‘Well, what’s the difference?’ That’s easy to explain:

Have you ever had a dream where you hear something veeeerrry close by, but you just can’t see it? Or when the door closes by itself? Or you walk into a room and a smell hits you that makes you just want to turn tail and flee?

That feeling of apprehension is terror.The fear of the unknown, the yet-to-happen, of the thing that goes bump in the night.

Whereas horror is more the heart pounding, wet yer knickers, AUGHGODITGOTLITTLESTEVIE moments. When the beast finally breaks down the door and you see it for all its grotesque majesty.

Yep, time to leave.

Terror is easier to do is writing than in film. In film, you are limited to using audio and visual elements to scare the viewer. While this makes full-on horror scares easy to do (and some filmmakers do them very well) build-ups and suspense become a chore, and are sometimes thrown out of the picture all together. In writing, you have everything: sight, sound, touch, smell, emotions, down to the tiniest detail. In the hands of the right person, words can easily become nightmares. Even then, full on scares require thought, and if done wrong, flop completely.

So what does this have to do with the genre now? Well, everything really. Having a balanced amount of the two is difficult. too few real scares and you eventually get used to the tension, and it becomes boring. Too many horror jump scares, and… well nearly every modern horror film is testimony to that.

Before high-budget flicks, movies relied on terror to produce good scares, so as to save money. Night of the Living Dead had a budget of $114,000, miniscule by today’s standards. Hammer Horror Films average budget was around $70,000.

So the excuse for today MAY well be ‘We have too much money’. They don’t really need to worry, so they use scary-scares to scare the scared, but don’t scare the not-easily scared, because they’re not scared by the scary-scares like the scared, who are easily scared by the scary scares.

2. Repetition

The cardinal sin of entertainment. The first thing you must avoid when making anything, a movie, book, t.v show, hell, a frickin’ smoke signal, is repetition. Because NO ONE likes repetition.

Because NO ONE likes repetition.

Easy joke, moving on…

But honestly, it’s a pain when you have to watch the same thing over, and over, with minimum change, especially in something that’s designed to frighten you. It ruins the immersion, and if it’s really bad, it turns the rest of the movie sour.

Repetition easily occurs within films of the same franchise, especially nowadays. Every major series, Saw, Hellraiser, Paranormal Activity, Halloween, Scream, Elm Street, everything at some point has suffered repetition at some point in their lives.

*Cough Living Dead series *cough

Sorry, bad coug… *Cough Films about exorcisms *hack

Should probably get that checked…

And don’t give me that ‘There are no more original ideas’ crap. Of course there are new ideas. Take an existing idea and mess around with it to create something unique. Old movies could keep things fresh, so there’s no reason why modern film can’t.

But the worst perpetrators are found footage films. A recent creation of modern horror started by a film about cannibals. Yeah, great start to a new genre. But Once Blair Witch became a hit, the shaky-camera floodgates were opened.

Some of them are fine. Blair Witch was good. Troll Hunter was good (I secretly adore Troll Hunter, but I don’t want to sound biased, so I won’t go on about it) and Cloverfield… well I shouldn’t get motion sickness when watching a film, but it was good. But it’s THE SAME PREMISE ALL THE TIME:

Troll Hunter: College mates go out shooting a documentary. They find nasty monsters.

Evil Things: College mates go out, one is shooting an amateur film. They find nasty people.

The Tunnel: Documentary team go into abandoned tunnels. Guess what? Nasty monster.

Grave Encounters: Reality t.v – turned – nasty monster-mania.

Project X: Teenagers. Documentary of party. Nasty people.

YES PROJECT X A HORROR FILM. SO BAD IT SCARED ME AHAHAHAHAHA.

Sadly, ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ aren’t words in horror. ‘safe’ and ‘easy profit’ certainly are. It’s sad how little directors are willing to risk just because they don’t want to lose money. Hopefully this will change soon. Even books on horror are starting to seem to familiar…

Uh oh, looks like she’s found out the cameraman’s drunk again. That, or she can’t find the plot.

3. The Villain

You’ve seen zombies, aliens, monsters, the whole shebang. These are common today, and in the past. But lemme ask you something: When was the last time any of them spoke?

This is more common than you think. So many of today’s horror films and video games have no proper villain. Sure, it’s scary having something monstrous and primal that you don’t understand chase you, but when was the last time someone or something had more charisma, or more of a personality than The likes of Norman Bates or old Freddy Krueger? (Not the ‘Your on Prime time!’ Krueger, thats for sure)

Something to be truly scared of is something that thinks, something that knows what it’s doing, and is proud of it. Something that gloats on how it will win, and you know it’s right. Bates has such a good personality (or personalities, if you’re feeling meticulous) and very few films can recreate him, just like with many popular 20th century killers: Hannibal Lecter, Voorhees, ghostface, and so on. Many try through reboots, remakes or straight-up new creations, but they just don’t have enough character to support themselves. Most just end up being 2-dimensional killers, or worse, not scary. Being hunted by something is the most primal fear of all and if a movie fails at that, then it doesn’t deserve the money it brings in.

And one other thing: Puppets and Food are not scary. I’m not afraid of something that I can either put in my mouth or something I can put my hand up into.

Wait that came out wrong.

4.- 50.
In the interest of length, I wanted to use just my main gripes with the genre, but there’s so much more I could argue about. Bad acting, poor design, plot holes, macguffins and deus ex machinas, generic and convoluted stories….

*Sigh…

I dunno, I just want the genre to get out of the gutter, and put down the malt. I want to be afraid of the dark again, not just afraid that the next advert I see is for K-fee. I want to have a reason to hide behind the couch again like a big girl’s blouse.

‘Who knows, maybe directors will start to realise that what they’re currently doing just isn’t working for anyone. They’re losing money, and we’re losing interest. Hopefully this is just a bad bend in the road to recovery. Maybe Hammer Horror will start putting out better films one day, and we can all be afraid once the sun goes down

‘till that day, I have plenty of things to talk about, so I’ll just keep writing to keep myself (and hopefully you guys) amused.

-Fiachra

Guess who’s back? And guess who’s late making another entry for the  Teens Can Write Too! blog chain?

If you answered Fiachra for those then you’re on a roll, but despite me being 3 days late (sorry about that), I’m gonna write this post, so help me God.

The topic for this month?

“How have both the people in your life and your own personal experiences impacted your writing? Do you ever base characters off of people you know?”

One thing that pretty much doesn’t need to be said is that you cannot get away with basing evil characters off of friends and family. If you say to someone ‘Oh, X is based off of you’, they probably won’t want to hear ‘Because is a prick, much like, yourself.’

Trust me, it doesn’t work.

I have based characters off of friends and family though, usually using quirks they have, or just using routines I notice that they have. No one feels upset, I get a more human character, every ones happy. If you want to be sweet, you can base a character off the better traits of  someone you know. How they smile, the way they walk (or strut), how they laugh, all the little things and the better larger ones not only provide a good frame for a realistic character, but also won’t get you slapped in the face. Now, if you’re really desperate for a girlfriend, or you just want to be a bit of a suck up, you can claim that the entire character is based off a person. Personally, I’ve never done this, because it either leads to awkward conversations as to why I did it, or it simply doesn’t work. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to make a complete copy of a real life person 3-dimensional.

A good way to get bad traits, rather than go after your friends, is to base them off of people you hate,  which I have done. Now, I don’t recommend doing this to a person you see regularly. They’ll find out eventually, and you don’t want a black eye just for a character, now do you? Try using old teachers you gritted your teeth upon seeing, bullies you hated, a politician you despise (if you’re feeling anarchical, just insert the name of the current world leaders at every opportunity 😉 ), etc. etc.

So how have the people in my life impacted my writing? Well, the most important aspect would be the fact that they got me writing in the first place. If I didn’t have the friends I had,  I may not have chosen to go to a just-started writing course in town.  wouldn’t have started a blog, and I wouldn’t have met all of ye. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

-Fiachra

 

Day 27, Monday: A letter to your readers

Dear Readers, from Ireland, America Korea, the Maldives, etc.

I don’t really have a lot to say to you guys, most  of my usual stuff relates to you. I suppose I hardly ever talk to  you directly, but I only really have only one thing to say to ye: Thanks.

I started this blog back in December last year, and though it sounds incredibly cheesy, I really did not expect it to become so widely enjoyed. Over 60 followers, nearing 1000 views,  it may not seem like a lot to you, but it means a hell of a lot to me.

So, thank you, for putting up with me talking to imaginary people and rambling on during the weekends. You guys are awesome.

-Fiachra

 

 



Day 23, Thursday: Things you’ve learned that school won’t teach you

School hasn’t taught me a valuable lesson: Writing, otherwise known as the career I’d like in my future. I know, ‘What about English class?’ I hear you cry. Of course that’s gonna help me, but when it comes to actually writing fiction, short stories, etc. it ‘s only gonna help you remember to use ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’. No, the only person who can help with your writing is you. So grab yourself from a parallel universe and get cracking.

…What, you can’t do that? Huh, could’ve sworn…

All weird misconceptions aside, there is really nothing you can learn in school about finding a style of writing that suits you, idea conception, or anything besides the basics of English writing. You may learn a bit about Shakespeare, but apart from reading Romeo and Juliet I learned nothing on on Shakespearean  literature. If you wanna be a writer, I would suggest going out and reading (I kid you not) EVERYTHING. The worst Dan Brown novel you can find, the back of a cereal box, anything you can get your hands on will teach you. A successful writer reads religiously, so go out there, get a mug of coffee, find a warm  fireplace, a large stack of books, and get studying.

-Fiachra

 



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