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

The Fear of Darkness

Darkness is one of the more interesting things to fear. You could write mountains out of molehills about darkness and still not really know what it is. Beautiful, mysterious and full of space for your imagination to wander. Why fear something like knives, water or bacon splashing you when there is the dark to be looked into. It’s a magical fear.

I don’t fear the dark myself. It’s more about the other side of the darkness when the lights come back on and the world, people, life floods back in filling all the little niches and cracks and making you be something understandable again. The darkness is kind of nice, simple, blank and limitless. It’s the opposite of a blank, white page waiting to be filled. The darkness is already complete but you can always add whatever comes to mind, if you feel the need. The darkness always has room for more.

How do you feel about darkness? What could you write about it and a fear of the darkness?

Keanu Reeves has been open about his fear of the darkness and sort of assumes that it comes from a philosophical standpoint: perhaps a fear of death.

Source: 9 Celebs and their STRANGE Phobias  DailyForest 

Role Shaming Dice

Maybe you’ve never tried a role play game like Dungeons and Dragons so you don’t know anything about multi-sided dice (except as a rumour). But, I have played and felt the gamer angst of bad dice. If you can’t blame the dice, what can you blame? They don’t mind – you just get an even lower/ higher roll at the next most inconvenient time.

Examples of role playing dice shaming follow (found on Facebook). What would you write to shame the dice? Any game, if you don’t play roleplay with dice.

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Are you Still Writing Letters?

I’d still be writing regular letters to penpals, Grandparents and/ or my niece but there is a problem with people not writing back. No letter writer is an island. Plus, there are the perks of shopping for stationery. (Not to be confused with stationary – not moving).

Of course my Grandparents can’t reply for sadly obvious reasons. Unless there are family skeletons in the closet I haven’t wandered into yet, literally. I lost touch with all my penpals from my younger days. We had less in common, less time to write and so it goes. My niece would likely write more if I sent her a few more letters in the mail. But, it’s discouraging to be in a one way conversation through the mail. Like someone who just nods once in awhile, leaving one person to carry the whole thing. But, she is a school girl still. About the age I was when I began writing letters to the Grandparents and penpals from all over the world.

Did you know they don’t teach the children how to write in school now? Printing, but not cursive writing. No handwriting, not the real kind. What a loss for all the coming generations. Cursive writing is elegant. I can remember how adult I felt when I was able to move up from printing to cursive. Not these days. Oddly, they don’t teach typing or keyboarding either. Is being unable to communicate a literacy problem or as long as they can read are we assuming they can get by?

CaptureTonight I joined the Letter Writers Alliance. I only wish it were Canadian, here in Ontario, so I could attend some events. I’m still glad to support the group and the cause of letter writing.

When did you last write (in cursive) a letter you sent in the mail to someone? I’d even count birthday or Christmas cards if you wrote a note to go along with it.

Write About an Earring

earringI like those long, dangly chandelier earrings. My brain has a small obsession with the way they move, sparkle and hang from the ear lobe. It’s a bit weird, but that’s how it is.

I can picture in my mind an earring and how it flips as she moves her head. How it brushes over the fabric of her jacket. I can see the sparkle of the gems and gold. Once in awhile it catches on the fabric and pulls at her ear, just a tiny bit.

Can you write about an earring? Don’t give it a storyline where finding the earring leads to solving the crime, etc. Make the earring the star, the focus and the entire story. Describe the earring and the scene, the action of the story. How much can you get from just one earring?

Source for the earrings: Aliexpress.

earrings

Perfunctory Moments

According to Miriam-Webster, the word perfunctory is-

Just kidding. I would never subject you to the moist handshake of essay openers. But while we’re on the subject, now is a good time to talk about your throw-away moments. The moments you have to get through the show the big plot point you can’t wait to write.

Take a woman about to discover a body. Or a killer. Whatever. How do you make the start of the scene stand out? To you, she may just be PERSON ABOUT TO DISCOVER BODY (housewife, 40s). To a good writer, she’s a woman in the middle of a day. Good day? Bad? Maybe she’s soaked from the rain. Maybe the paper bag of groceries is so wet it breaks. Perhaps a PEAR rolls to the front door of her apartment where the shadow of TWO FEET are visible under the door…

In some scripts the writer is so excited to drop a body (or discover one) the scene leading up to that moment could’ve been written by a computer program. I’m not even talking about a good computer program. A $4.99 in Fry’s discount bin, cutting edge of 1997 kind of program.

When your script is finished, go back to your big reveals – especially those after throw-away moments – and ask yourself if you really need to throw those moments away.

Every scene we read is time we give to your script. Throw-away moments let us know if you value our time as much as you value your own.

Source: Reader’s Lament: Perfunctory Moments

This post comes from an abandoned blog from 2013. I like this post. The idea of all the little moments in our day and how even the big events have little moments before, during and after.

How would you write the scene with the woman who discovers a dead body? What was her day like up to then, what mood was she in and how is it she (in particular) was in that right place and right time to find the body? She may not be the lead character in a story, just some woman written about and then not heard from again.

Web Rings are not All Dead

I have found:

Webring Software

Ringlink software available at SourceForge.

Ringmaker software at Orca PHP Scripts.

Draupnir Ring Manager for WordPress sites.

Webrings for Writers

I’m not sure how active these are but it gives me hope. All the others I checked which were on web applications were abandoned, dead or not functioning. At least this proves it can still work. Webring.com and Ringsurf haven’t managed to entirely kill every last webring.

Not-A-Webring

Drinker with a Writing Problem 

Creating a Creative Routine

I’m running out of leftovers, frozen things and assorted edible make-do schemes. More importantly… I’m really low on coffee cream!

Grocery shopping has become my laundry day. That trudge to the basement, or the laundry mat in another building. Hauling baskets and soap too. Then trying to stay awake while everything spins around and around in hot water and then hot air. I didn’t like to leave my laundry unattended. I could have… it just didn’t seem polite I guess.

These days grocery shopping seems like more of a chore. But, I have laundry on the ground floor of a bungalow, I’m spoiled.

This year I found a trendy looking fold up cart for groceries. Nicer for taking everything on a bus ride with me. Possibly I will not take the taxi home nearly as often. It’s never been about waiting for the bus. I don’t like the pack mule feeling of carrying all that stuff. I had put it all in a backpack and then bags for whatever didn’t fit. One extra bonus about the cart is how much easier it goes up the stairs than I do. (With all the groceries I mean).

Anyway, this may seem less than interesting but… We write about routines. A routine shows character, cleverness, determination and so on.

How creative can you get creating a routine?

Think about grocery shopping, laundry day, commuting for work, or anything ordinary which is a bit more of a chore and requires a process, some thought and planning. How does your own routine show your character, if you’re not afraid to make it personal?

The Art of Coffee at the Keyboard

Who says you can’t glue yourself to your computer and still have a fancy, hot coffee? We want it all and we want it good. So, I’m coming up with ways to have better coffee, without having to put on your coat and be kind to any others in line at the coffee shop.

Make a Stand

Even the oldest, most worn-looking coffee mug, will look fancier if you put it on a pedestal, a short one. I use an old mouse pad I didn’t want to throw away. It elevates my ordinary coffee to a slightly new level. It also makes coffee circles a quick clean up. Just rinse the mouse pad instead of having to clean things off my desk first.

DIY Coffee Art

Of course you can learn how to do your own coffee art. But, that would take time and more equipment than I have on hand. Instead… use a clear glass coffee mug and add cream (or milk, etc.) slowly. Let it swirl around and create patterns. Don’t stir it until you’ve enjoyed the art.

If that doesn’t work for you go with a coffee doodle. Create your own stencil with your last rejection letter. Once you cut out a shape place the stencil over your coffee mug and let some cocoa powder, or cinnamon drift down. It works better if you don’t drink it black but I’m not telling you how to drink your coffee.

Seasonal Coffee at Home

Add a dash of flare to your coffee with cinnamon, a teaspoon of hot chocolate powder,  a touch of pepper, a lick of salt or little vanilla. Make your own pumpkin spice with actual pumpkin pie spices which you can buy in most grocery stores I’ve ever been in. A bit of extra festivity needed… try liquor. I’ve got whiskey at my desk to add when the coffee gets too cold.

Another idea (if you don’t mind crunchy bits between your teeth) is to add doughnut sprinkles and other small but edible things to the outside lip of your coffee mug.  I don’t highly recommend this. But, I don’t add sugar to my coffee, it may be a great idea for those who do like sweet coffee.

Milk It Up

Heat and then froth your milk. You will need some creativity if you don’t have a frother. A French press pot is nice because it can double as a milk frother (just don’t become a wild and crazy plunger and end up getting it stuck, or breaking the pot). Microwaving the milk does an okay job. Don’t walk away while it’s in there and then remove the milk from the surface (unless that milk clog thing doesn’t bother you).

Frothy milk does change the taste of the coffee. It’s creamier. You can use skim milk and get more froth, likely due to having less fat content in the milk.

Put a Lid on It

I will drink cold coffee, by necessity. I don’t love it. Somehow, coffee gets much colder, faster, at my computer desk than it does any where else in the house. I’ve tested this theory countless times.

I tried buying fancier coffee mugs, those thermal types with take-out coffee lids. They didn’t make much difference and they were a nuisance to wash since they are not dishwasher happy. Instead, I now put a lid over my coffee. Any bit of paper works well. An entire letter still in the envelope does a better job and it gives me something to do with the bills I don’t want to open yet.

Another plus side to having a lid – it keeps the bugs out. I admit I have ignored the odd tiny floating fly when I really did want to finish my coffee, but those occasions were rare. Likely there were more occasions when I just didn’t notice the little floaty thing or it sank… well do you really want to go into the details?

coffeeart

Now you have some ideas to help you with your coffee while you write away at the computer. Hope this helps!

Note: I don’t know the source for this image. I found it on another site which had reposted a lot of images. It just suits this post so well. 

Filler Words are Really, Actually, Like, You Know… Wasting Time and Space

Some expressions can like really screw up the way you communicate, you know?

Source: These Six Filler Words Are Undermining Your Credibility | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

I used to work harder on not using filler words. I would add “that” to the list from Fast Company. What are your own worst junk words?

Anyway (a transitional and lazy filler word), we can’t write the way we speak to a friend. Keep your writing just formal enough to avoid losing readers to the written version of ummm…..