You are the Monster

The first monster you have to scare the audience with is yourself. – Wes Craven

When did you last scare yourself? When were you last really scared by something and what was it?

Fictional monsters like zombies, werewolves, vampires and such are not nearly as scary as real things like mortgages, collection calls, being unemployed, law suits, health problems, danger to children and other family. Real things are far scarier because there is less we can do about them and they are real, part of our reality. It is so much easier to read about fictional monsters and just close the book, finish watching the video, at the end. They all go away but for the memory. They go back to being unreal.

Think of the scariest thing you have faced and write about the feelings but change it around to one of the unreal monsters. Put all the fear, the real fear, into an unreal monster. See how real you can make it feel.

Conquering Fear is an Art

The conquering of fear is the highest art.

This was quoted by a fictional character in a book (The Demon’s Daughter)  by Emma Holly. I think it’s a fabulous quote. I had a look for it on Google, to see if it was quoted by anyone else. I didn’t find it, at least not exactly the same. I know the basic idea is out there but I’ve never seen it phrased this way.

This is my dolly doodle for Doodle Week, this weekend – January 9th and 10th.

No More Sunnyside Up Fortune Cookies

  • Seek out the signifigance of your problem at this time. Try to understand.
  • Your road to glory will be rocky, but fulfilling.
  • It is time to help a friend in need.
  • You will continue to take chances and be glad you did.
  • You will realize your dreams by your own efforts.

As nice as all of these are… don’t you kind of miss the days when fortune cookies were kind of a scary prospect? Do you even know that once upon a time fortune cookies were less than sweet and encouraging?

A real fortune cookie should be opened carefully, with consideration to the possible threat to your life inside of it. Each prediction could be your ultimate downfall, or you may be one of the lucky ones who gets a good fortune. Just don’t count on it…

Write a real prediction for a fortune cookie, something to bring back the traditional fear that fortune cookies have lost.

  • You will get a papercut in shark infested water.
  • Your emails will all arrive in Morse code.
  • Your favourite coffee mug will be borrowed.
  • Beware the white stuff you put on your fries, all white stuff is not salt.
  • Your pet turtle will not make it across the street in time.

After reading my list, which kind of fortune would you rather read?

The Fear of Opening One’s Eyes

Yesterday I made a post about creating new phobias. I did not make light of anyone who has phobias, we are all afraid of something. But, one of the phobias which I noticed on the list really threw me! I can’t imagine how someone would live with optophobia: the fear of opening one’s eyes.

I found a site that writes more about this and has ways of coping with it, hopefully moving past it. But, for the sake of writing, how would you cope if you were afraid to open your own eyes each morning? Or what if you had them closed a bit for a blink, or allergies, or a bug flew in your face? How would it be to live with optophobia? It would make a very interesting character in a book.

Octophobia Treatment Options, from Alive and Well Online.

How do you Know if you Have It?

From Jade Walker: Writing prompt: Make up a new phobia.

I found The Phobia List so you can check what is already there. A lot are taken. I think to create a new one you have to be really way far out there. In fact, you probably shouldn’t check your ideas off against this list. It’s too likely it will already be there. With Wiktionary you can find the latiny form for your fear word. (Latiny isn’t really a word, but it communicates well in this instance).

  • Dracophobia – The fear of dragons. (It actually wasn’t on the list, imagine that!)
  • Grammarphobia – The fear of using (or not using) proper grammar.
  • Penophobia – The fear of modern pens versus old fashioned quills.
  • Caffephobia – Fear of coffee.
  • Lattephobia – Fear of lattes. (Of course).

Now that I’ve begun to scare you… here are some real phobias (related to writing) which I found on the list:

  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words.
  • Sesquipedalophobia- Fear of long words.
  • Logophobia- Fear of words.
  • Verbophobia- Fear of words.
  • Onomatophobia- Fear of hearing a certain word or of names.
  • Graphophobia- Fear of writing or handwriting.
  • Scriptophobia- Fear of writing in public.
  • Xenoglossophobia- Fear of foreign languages.
  • Papyrophobia- Fear of paper.
  • Bibliophobia- Fear of books.

Goldfish are Carnivorous

Goldfish are carnivorous. They make look pretty empty headed, bubble brained and appear to be no threat at all. But, they do eat more than just plants. If you’ve assumed your local goldfish was harmless, you need to rethink things.

Imagine goldfish trained to be aggressive, bloodthirsty even. Someone who is really into weird, macabre stuff has put goldfish in a pond and trained them to eat meat. They begin by throwing in bigger bugs, then the odd chipmunk and then a squirrel. In a few months, just before the end of Autumn when Winter is closing in, the goldfish are tearing chunks of flesh off a side of beef. It’s almost like they have teeth! Kind of sick and twisted.

The goldfish overwinter in their pond as goldfish will. (All of ours survived this year!) But the twisted owner of the goldfish and their pond accidentally falls in when he works at chipping ice away from the top layer. He is almost instantly eaten by the goldfish who have just been waiting for a good meal to end their Winter-long fasting.

The house where the pond is eventually goes up for sale. No one really knows what happened to the owner (or several dogs and cats in the area) but he is assumed to have abandoned the place. So the city claims it and sells it cause it’s a mess and they’d rather not have to bother with it.

The new owner of the property loves fish. He soon realizes all those bones in the bottom of the pond are not just a coincidence, however. Still, he leaves up the signs for “Fluffy” just in case she comes back.

He decides to market the man-eating goldfish. People come from all over to see him drop chunks of meat into the pond and have the goldfish swarm and devour it all. He gets a nice stash of money and builds a nicer house. He even spends a bit on a monument to poor Fluffy who never did come home.

But, goldfish don’t last forever. After ten years there are just three of them left. They have grown to a huge size with appetites to match. He hasn’t had luck saving the fertilized eggs any time they have spawned, they just eat them too quickly. The remaining goldfish can’t be expected to last much longer. Still, the show must go on! So he sets up a new pond and begins training a new batch of goldfish to be man eaters. Of course, it takes time. Evolution can’t be rushed.

However, what he doesn’t realize… the original man eating goldfish feel they are not getting enough to eat, now that he is so busy training new goldfish. So they evolve a bit, just because they can. One night they evolved stronger fins, they push/ pull themselves out of the pond and push/ pull themselves along the grass and push/ pull themselves into his house. They snack on “Rover” and get a few bites of “Hunter” before the dog realizes he can run pretty well with just two and a half legs if he really has to.

For all their evolution with the fin legs, the goldfish still can’t breathe out of water for long. They can smell water in the house so they head for it. In the morning, when the home owner walks into the bathroom he finds them in the toilet bowl. After a little scream of surprise and another gasp of fear and a sigh of resignation, he gives them the big flush. The goldfish circle down the drain, on a roller coaster ride to the sewer system. They live there just fine. They breed cause down there the eggs have lots of debris to float around in, undiscovered by the parent fish.

So now you know… they’re out there.

How would you change the goldfish story? Would you rewrite it entirely with your own ideas or just edit it to add details or humour or better spelling?

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

When I’m asked about my favourite book I think of “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson.

There is a Shirley Jackson award for fiction writers. She wrote more than fiction. She was an early Erma Bombeck, writing about herself and her family life with four children.

“[L]et my reader who is puzzled by my awkward explanations close his eyes for no more than two minutes, and see if he does not find himself suddenly not a compact human being at all, but only a consciousness on a sea of sound and touch . . .”

“It is only with the eyes open that a corporeal form returns, and assembles itself firmly around the hard core of sight.”

“I delight in what I fear.”

“I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it and make it work and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.”

Have you read any of Shirley Jackson’s books or short stories?