Ordinary Horror

Think of something ordinary and give it a horror story.

I like reading about objects like paintings, furniture and dolls which have stories of death and destruction behind them. I do wonder if there is some truth to it. Of course, people who tend to live with risk, take adventures and such, are likely to have accidents and die in crashes or even pick up diseases. So, you can’t take every story seriously and believe it just because you read it.

However, I do think strong emotion hangs around in places and objects too. There are places which give people a strange, out of sorts, feeling. There are people you meet and dislike right away, without any reason. Almost everyone has walked into a room where people have argued and felt that tension – without anyone saying a word. So it does seem possible something like that could stick around. Possible but I wouldn’t say I believe fully.

It does make a good story. How would you write it? What object or item would you pick? Was it stolen from an ancient site? Did it belong to a murdered woman? What was the tragic event connected to it? What happened to people who owned or used it since then? Pick an outline and give it a good story. Try to spook yourself with it.

Source: 25 Terrifying Objects That Are Genuinely Linked To Freaky Paranormal Events

Message in a Bottle Delayed

messageinabottleSource: 25 Incredible Stories From The World Of Ships, Boats, And Sailors

Pretty unbelievable. One of those things you would guess as false and yet wonder if it’s just odd enough to be true.

Imagine you found (by some long chain of events) a message in a bottle from a long forgotten relative. Just as in this case,  written as he or she was dying then left to be found. You could create a whole story about how the message was left but lost and wandered around for centuries only found by some odd mixture of events. It wouldn’t need to be a message in a bottle. It could be found in a time capsule. It could have been under the floor boards of an old house being demolished. So many options to choose from or invent.

Write the story, from start to finish, all the places and people who became involved in that old message along the way.

Copyright Traps

How could you use a copyright trap in other creative work, like writing and photography? It’s not like a watermark for photos but a way to prove the work is your own from something only you would know was an error.

The more likely story, though, is that Argleton was an example of a copyright trap, which cartographers have long used to catch would-be thieves from stealing their hard work. In this case, either Google was laying the bait for a competitor (hey, Bing?) or the mystery town was inserted in analog form long ago by Tele Atlas, the Netherlands-based company that supplied Google Maps with its initial framework.

Source: D E C E P T O L O G Y: Why digital maps killed the town of Argleton

Alltop in Decay

Alltop – Top Writing News.

Addendum: Before you read this post know that Alltop fixed the broken and doubled links. I don’t know who in particular did it but I’m very glad they did!

alltop in decay

Looking at Alltop, the Writing section which my site is a part of, is sad. I was so pleased and proud to be one of the sites asked to join originally. But, now that is tarnished as Alltop seems to be yet another website which has been sold and left to fall into linkrot.

On this Writing category page there are three sites which obviously are no longer active. Two are the same site, a double listing, even. No one seems to be looking, fixing or caring what happens to Alltop.

I’m sad to see another site crumble in the dust of making a buck.

I don’t blame site owners. If you put all of that into getting a site off the ground and were successful you might play with your laurels a bit and then be happy to take a great offer. Money enough to let you sit on your laurels and not have to work so hard again, if ever.

I know, in part, why people buy a site which has gotten big and I can understand that they don’t have the stamina or passion or whatever to keep it from falling apart. But, why do some of them deliberately buy a site and then abandon it?

It happens far too often.

I like photographing abandoned houses because they are sad, lonely and maybe I wonder about the story behind them too – the mystery. It doesn’t seem the same with abandoned sites. They fall apart in the wrong way. There is no romance to it, just decay.

Now that I’m dead, I want to tell you a few things

Every letter on Dead Advice begins with the same first sentence: “Now that I’m dead, I want to tell you a few things.”

Imagine, for a moment, that you have just died. If you had to look back over the arc of your life as it stands today, what stories would you tell? What lessons would you share, what things might you regret or confess?

via Dead Advice.

Now that I’m dead, I want to tell you a few things.

First of all, your feet are just not that interesting. Neither is the sidewalk. Look up. Pick up your feet as you walk, walk with a light step rather than scraping your shoes along as if they carried the weight of the world. Carry yourself with confidence, even if you don’t feel it. Shoulders should be level, not sloping. Keep your back straight and your head up. When someone walks by you look at them. They may not look back at you, many people won’t and some cultures even find it threatening. But, there is a confidence in walking in the world looking like you have a place in it.

You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be kind and patient with everyone all the time. But, listen when people talk to you. Remember what they tell you. People will be more impressed if you remember some small thing they told you than if you remember their name. The little details are more personal than a name handed out freely.

Keep some mystery in your life. Have something you feel passionate about, something you are learning about and something which can stir your curiousity. Mystery, curiousity and passion are the real things of life. Food, shelter and the rest may be practical but life requires more than the practical things in order to open your eyes to the world each morning you wake up again.

One last thing, value your culture and your history. Culture may have to adapt to world changes but history should not – it is past and can only be changed by the people looking back at it, giving it new perspective.

Snip.it Dumps it’s Content Curators in One Swoop


Snip.it may be excited. I feel used and tossed aside. Yes, it was a free service so I should appreciate what I had. But, that’s just it. I did appreciate it. I went out of my way to promote Snip.it and I did give suggestions for making it better. I was really happy and feeling good about the community there and the content we were building. I invited friends to join. I was banned from a forum on another site because I tried to encourage more people to join Snip.it.

I noticed things were quiet on Snip.it for the past couple of months. It was unusual, but I didn’t really think about it. Then, out of  the wild blue today this notice came up when I tried to add a fresh link to my account. I had already added several links just hours ago. So, this really did happen without warning. In spite of the words they say I feel betrayed and shocked even. I’m kind of angry.

My traffic was building, I had over 5,000 subscribers to my topics and I was able to see what was bringing traffic and what wasn’t. Now I have no way to keep in touch with my subscribers or ask them to follow me to a new site, nothing.

In the end, Snip.it is dumping us all for some mystery Yahoo! thing. What does that leave us with? A job curating content at a new Yahoo site? No. It leave us with absolutely nothing. But, we can take our links (which aren’t going to mean much stuck in bookmarks) and quietly get lost.

I made the Snip.it Hall of Fame. I didn’t look until I read the post Snip.it Snaps on Kitsch Slapped. Somehow it doesn’t seem to mean all that much. It would have meant a lot more when there was a Snip.it and I felt a valued part of the site and important to it’s growth. Now I wonder what Yahoo actually bought. (Our content collections and mainly, our subscribers? What was Snip.it if not a place for snipping content and sharing it with subscribers and those who wandered in from links we posted to social media?) I heard Yahoo paid $10 million for Snip.it. They say thanks for being a part of Snip.it, but I get no part of that. I’m left with far less than what I put into the site and I feel burned, really burned. The Hall of Fame thing is like getting a gold watch out of a bubble gum machine.


Don’t Forget Context When you Add your Content

How to make my posts impacting?
← 6. Topic Management

On the view mode of your topic, edition features are available for each post to:

Add Context: why should your audience read this? How is it connected to other posts you’ve curated on the same topic? Connect the dots, give your opinion and thoughts: the Post description area is just here for that, either directly from the publishing window or, once the post is published, by clicking on the pen icon.

via How to make my posts impacting? – Customer Feedback for Scoopit.

I think we do forget context when we write our content. It’s such a race to get a new post finished and posted that we forget to give it the extras that make it relevant to readers and show them not just why we wrote the post but why they should read it.

I don’t mean showing them why they should read it in that marketing way that treats everyone like they read at the grade school level and just took a giant happy pill. I mean actually thinking about why someone should read your post, what they can get out of it. Think of why you would read it yourself and what you would hope and expect to get from it. Then, make sure you have that information in the post you wrote.

When it comes to curating content it is so easy to get a bit lazy or try to rush through and add several links while skipping the chance to add your own commentary. But, links without that context are less likely to be clicked. Think about yourself – how often to you click a mystery link versus one which comes with the context to tell you what the link (or the blog post) is about.

Invent a New Kick on an Old Gumshoe

There have been all kinds of private detectives, investigators and amateur sleuths in fiction. It would be hard to come up with a completely new character. But, if that were your challenge… what can you come up with? To give you an idea here are some practical links for people who really are interested in a career as a private investigator.

It’s too much of a stretch to create a private detective as a baby. Though it would be interesting to work out the bugs on that idea, it just seems too much to expect a baby to get around well enough to get the job done. Not to mention the language barrier.

So my idea for a new detective is a teenager, a girl but not at all the Nancy Drew type. This girl is into body art and dresses all in black. People tend to cross to the other side of the street to avoid her. She’s actually very clever but hides it, not wanting to look geeky to her friends. Some how she gets wrapped up in a mystery to help a friend or neighbour.

Invent your own detective, give it a try.

Another Laura

Does it catch your eye to see another person with your same first name? I always feel curious to know a bit about them, wonder if we have anything in common. Is there something to all that theoretical predictions about people’s names, their lives and their personalities?

Today I found a post about a Laura. She’s deceased and she liked shells and beach glass. I like walking along the beach and looking for those little, unique treasures too. I pick up small fossils as well. This Laura was born in February, not my birth month but she is close to my date. I’m the 19th and she is the 18th. Her year is 1967 so she is younger than I am and already dead for five years. That’s sad.

A quote from James, who was writing about Laura:

I’ve thought of using the Oscar Wilde quote, “The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.” But, I don’t know. Love for Laura wasn’t that great a mystery. She was pretty easy to love.

That was a nice thing to have said about another Laura.

Try looking up people with your same name online. See who you find. Anyone you would enjoy getting to know? Anyone interested in things you would also like to know more about? Maybe someone near enough to meet for coffee? Maybe another writer?

Write a Short Mysterious Mystery

The fun thing about reading a mystery is having a group of people and picking which of them is guilty. It’s not always a murder, or at least I don’t think it should always be focused on a death. There are endless mysteries in the world, why choose just one.

Could you write a mystery? Write about a group of five or more people, give each a description, some background/ history and show who they are through the actions and conversation in the group. Don’t make anyone look guilty and yet give hints as to who is guilty. That should be enough for a bit of fun for a short story. You don’t even need to give it a traditional ending with all the loose ends tied up into a neat bow. Leave the ends tangled, let the reader keep guessing, wondering if they guessed right. After all, you’re writing a mystery.