Writing is Survival. Ray Bradbury’s Zen

Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing

Book Review and Commentary  February 11, 2016

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So, how’s your literary cosmos been lately? Need a boost? Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing was published in 1996, but the wisdom here is timeless. The creative side to writing fiction, the joy, the muse, the long road ahead that Bradbury explores in these chapters will inspire and cheer you.

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Bradbury asks, what does writing teach us? “To be alive!” Yeah, and his energy is on every page of this book. Zest, gusto, excitement! He echoes what Stephen King says about writing fast and furious in a heat. Bradbury advises “The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are.” No self-conscious writing now; honesty is the key to real stories. He wants us to leap upon the truth.

While Bradbury has written hundreds of stories in some forty years, he states that each tale was a way to finding himself. I really liked this idea because writing is a destination and often times the journey is in the dark. From the tone of this book, Bradbury sounds like he is ruthlessly honest with himself.

The Characters

His suggestions about creating characters are simple: “Find a character, like yourself, who will want something or not want something with all his heart. Give him running orders. Shoot him off. Then follow as fast as you can go. The character in his great love or hate, will rush you through to the end of the story.” Hot diggity! I love this idea. Let go of all the controls and have fun. Have you ever let a character just move and speak on the page without directing? That kind of writing can be so exciting.

The Plot

Plot? Oh my, he’d get a big fat F from most traditional writing teachers for this one: “Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action.” This man totally speaks my language since I never plot my novels in the early drafts.

The Muse

And then there’s the Muse. This chapter alone “How to Keep and Feed a Muse” is worth the price of the book. Here the subconscious rules, the mighty intuition. This fantastic storehouse inside us is the source of all creativity. What to feed your muse? Bradbury says to read poetry every day. Dive into books of essays. Don’t be a snob though, help yourself to equal parts trash and treasure. And feed your senses; take long walks and observe and absorb. To keep the Muse you must work regularly, work well, and “stay drunk on writing.” Stay alive!

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If you are thinking you have to slant your stories for the commercial market or slant it for high literary kudos, Bradbury say both directions are wrong and thwart the honesty of the writer and the truth of the story. He names it a lie to write in such a way aimed at being rewarded by money in the commercial market. It is also a lie for the “self-conscious literary” writer to quill a few paragraphs a day imitating the flourishes of Virginia Woolf or Jack Kerouac. Free yourself of literary cant and commercial bias.

Bradbury believes that “quantity will make for quality” because quantity gives experience. So what’s his formula?

WORK (Hard work will take on its own rhythms)

RELAXATION (Gives rise to deeper relaxation)

DON’T THINK. (Unthinkingness results in greater creativity)

 

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Available on Amazon.com or your local library.

 

This book is a keeper for me, a book to read once a year to energize and awaken. Bradbury has a thought that is probably a good mantra for any writer …

“To fail is to give up.”

Take a read of  this at The Paris Review, The Art of Fiction, Interview with Ray Bradbury

 

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Visit the RayBradbury.com website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next on my list, I’m reviewing Jack Grapes’ “Method Writing” which focuses on finding the writer’s deep inner voice and activating the creative process to empower your writing. Can’t wait!

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images-1 My Recommended List of the Best Writing Books

Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway. All the basics of how to write: the writing process, show vs. tell, characterization, fictional atmosphere and place, story structure and plot, point of view, theme, and revision.
Story, Robert McKee
Story Trumps Structure, Steven James
The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner (I reread this book once a year, it’s that good)
Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern
The Art of Character, David Corbett
Getting into Character, Brandilyn Collins
The Secret Miracle, the Novelist’s Handbook, edited by Daniel Alarcon
Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande
The Faith of a Writer, Life, Craft, Art, Joyce Carole Oates
If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland
Reading like a Writer, Francine Prose
Elements of Style, Strunk & White
Best Editing Books for Writers:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne & Dave King
A Dash of Style, Noah Lukeman
The Grammar Bible, Michael Strumpf & Auriel Douglas
Line by Line, Claire Kehrwald Cook
The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein
Chicago Manual of Style

Comments welcome!

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, psychological horror, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Mary Shelley, Queen of the Gothic Thriller (WIHM)

The Last Man  by Mary Shelley   Women In Horror Month (WIHM)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  February 9, 2016

 

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Mary Shelley is the first name that comes to mind when we think of women who write horror and Gothic fiction. Did you know that when her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley was cremated, his heart would not burn? Some say it was because of a health condition; others say it was because of Mary’s deep love for him. Percy’s friend Edward Trelawny snatched it from the cremation fires. Legend has it that Mary kept the dried up remains in her desk. I wrote about this in my short story Beyond Castle Frankenstein, a historical ghost story.

 And while I’m fascinated by Mary Shelley as a writer and her fictional worlds, I am also still discovering her work, and this week honoring her for Woman In Horror Month. You can read three of her short stories here, free, at Tales of Terror:

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The Invisible Girl

The Mortal Immortal

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One of her novels not so popular and these days overlooked if not completely forgotten is The Last Man. This is a bleak portrayal of the fall of mankind (isolation, loss, a plague); the title gives away the ending. Published in 1826 (written after her husband’s death), it received terrible reviews, but was Mary’s favorite novel (semi-autobiographical). It was republished in 1965 to far more critically acclaimed praises.

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Readers who love apocalyptic stories–future time around 2100—might love it, but it is indeed a dense read (the book doesn’t get really hit until about page 200). Frankenstein is clearly the better novel.

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The Introduction to the novel states that in the winter of 1818, the author visited Naples, Italy. With a friend, she toured the Elysian Fields and Avernus and entered a dark and rocky cave. “The passage, which at first scarcely admitted us, quickly grew narrower and lower; we were almost bent double; yet still we persisted in making our way through it.”

They arrived at an ascent and then another and scrambled through it until they reached an arched roof. The only sign that life had been there was a “perfect snow-white skeleton of a goat …”

Shelley says, “At length my friend, who had taken up some of the leaves strewed about, exclaimed, “This is the Sibyl’s cave; these are Sibylline leaves.”

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Entrance to the cave of Sibyl.

“On examination, we found that all the leaves, bark, and other substances, were traced with written characters.” The characters were writings in various languages: ancient Chaldee, Egyptian hieroglyphics, some in modern dialects, English and Italian. “We could make out little by the dim light, but they seemed to contain ancient written prophecies.”

Shelley states that she translated, adapted, and edited these writings on the leaves into the first-person narrative of a man, Lionel Verney, living during the last years of the 21st century. Here are the opening lines:

“I AM the native of a sea-surrounded nook, a cloud-enshadowed land, which, when the surface of the globe, with its shoreless ocean and trackless continents, presents itself to my mind, appears only as an inconsiderable speck in the immense whole; and yet, when balanced in the scale of mental power, far outweighed countries of larger extent and more numerous population. So true it is, that man’s mind alone was the creator of all that was good or great to man, and that Nature herself was only his first minister.”

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[Image by Andy  Factor]

Read The Last Man at RomanticCirclesUniversityofMaryland.edu

Listen to the audio book at YouTube.com.

 

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“What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only

describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.” –Mary Shelley

 [Portrait by artist Esao Andrew. Visit Esao Andrew blog and website. ]

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Want to check out more blogs and events for  Women in Horror Month?  WomenInHorrorMonth.com 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror.

 This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

Join me in reading one short story every week!

Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

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Filed under fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

Women In Horror Month, February 2016, Gothic, Music, Supernatural

Women in Horror Month, February 2016

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  February 2, 2016

We are celebrating Women in Horror all this month. But not just horror. We all recognize the names Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, and Mary Shelley, among lots more women who write horror but also supernatural mysteries, dark fantasy, and ghost stories.  Have you experienced the stories of Elizabeth Hand? Winterlong launched her career in 1990.  Today I call your attention to Wylding Hall.

61vn59gbvvLWylding Hall is her dark fantasy/horror novel. When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. “Wylding Hall is a true surreal phantasmagoria, with music and all the accoutrements of the world of rock-and-roll set off by a wonderful admixture of the gothic supernatural. Treat it like the most exciting getaway in a truly enchanting setting.”  —Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of Hôtel Transylvania.

 

[If you enjoyed my novel Greylock about classical pianist Alexei Georg’s supernatural adventures on Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts, you will likely enjoy Hand’s Wylding Hall.]

 

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Here are two free short stories by Hand:

Hungerford Bridge, published at Conjunctions

The Bacchae, published at Nightmare Magazine

Don’t miss this interview with Hand at Maine Crime Writers.

 

 

 

220px-Elizabeth_Hand_Finncon2007_croppedLiz Hand is the author of many novels, including Winterlong, Waking the Moon, Glimmering, Mortal Love, Illyria, and Radiant Days, as well as three collections of stories, including the recent Saffron and Brimstone. Her fiction has received the Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopeoic, Tiptree, and International Horror Guild Awards, and her novels have been chosen as notable books by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. She has also been awarded a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship. A regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, she lives with her family on the coast of Maine. Visit the author’s Website at ElizabethHand.com. Visit her Goodreads Page.  [Photo by Creative Commons License Attributions-Share Alike]

Watch for her new book Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel to be released in April 2016.

 

 

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Want to check out more blogs and events for  Women in Horror Month?  WomenInHorrorMonth.com 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror.  This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

 Join me in reading one short story every week!

 Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Ghost: The Secret

“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nominalist and Realist Essays: Second Series, 1844.

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Many readers ask me why I wrote The Dazzling Darkness, a supernatural mystery that takes place in Concord, Massachusetts. A recurring question is about the famous Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in the book.  “Is Emerson a ghost?” they ask.

Yes. And no. Mr. Emerson is not a ghost in the traditional sense. One of the first elements that sparked The Dazzling Darkness was a line Emerson wrote in his address Nature in 1849:

“Even the corpse has its own beauty.”

Kind of shocking, right? It certainly stopped me on the page. Oddly, this line of prose carries a certain passion, as if Emerson somehow connected to death. He points out that there is “no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.” Of course, Emerson was being emblematic here as he did in so much of his writing. Or was he?

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Emerson’s home in Concord, Massachusetts

Haunted for weeks by this line a corpse having its own beauty, I began reading more of Emerson’s writings. When I looked deeply into his personal life, I discovered that he did indeed have a strong connection to death. Emerson lost his young wife Ellen to what was then called consumption. Driven by his intense grief over Ellen’s death, one day he entered the family graveyard and opened Ellen’s coffin to view her corpse. It was only a year after her death. What did he see? His journals say nothing more, except that he did this act. And then, some twenty-five years later, he opened the coffin of his little boy, Waldo, who died at 5 years old.

Could any of us view our beloved dead in the grave even once, let alone twice? Heart-wrenching to say the least. And yet, this experience certainly did connect him to death in a unique way.

For me, these images all connected. A story emerged. Images of a cemetery. A little boy named Henry appeared.  Coffins began opening. The dead suddenly became physically visible. A mysterious woman named Dorothea began speaking.

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The story unraveled and I met Elias Hatch, owner and keeper of Old Willow Cemetery in Concord. Elias is the last of modern-day Transcendentalists. During the 19th century, Concord was the center for the new thinking of Transcendentalism, and even today the town still carries all that Transcendental history. The Transcendentalists honored intuition, insightfulness, and creativity. As I wrote my modern story I began to see these themes emerging through the characters and especially in the mind of Detective Mike Balducci.

The idea of a corpse having beauty crystallized in my mind. I didn’t know quite where I as going during the drafts but in the end, I had a ghost story, a supernatural mystery about the Brooke family, Antonia and Adam, who confront long-buried secrets of the dead while they endure a tireless search for their lost child Henry.

And the ghost of Mr. Emerson seemed to speak from the very pages I was writing.

A secret lies buried beneath the haunting statuary in Old Willow Cemetery. The surrounding woods are alive with the spirits of Transcendentalists Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott. Elias Hatch can sense their presence. Does he know the secret power buried in Old Willow Cemetery? Would he ever reveal it?

If there is a secret that all things subsist and do not die, as Emerson wrote, that secret lies in Old Willow Cemetery.

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The Dazzling Darkness (print edition published by Crispin Books) hit the Amazon Kindle Best Seller List for 17 weeks in Mystery/Thriller ghost stories. The novel continues to sell in the top 150 in this category.

BRONZE MEDAL WINNER, Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for Supernatural Fiction, 2014

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEWS ★★★★★ “Paula Cappa is a master of the metaphysical mystery genre…an extraordinary and original storyteller of the first rank. Very highly recommended.” 

“Fast-paced, sensually-vivid novel with an uncommon take on Transcendentalism … characters alive with true-to-life dialogue and compelling descriptions … suspenseful, heart-wrenching, and unique … stunning conclusion … this novel dazzles.” Amy Belding Brown, author of Mr. Emerson’s Wife.

 

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Organization Website

Ralph Waldo Emerson House Website

Transcendentalist Trail in Concord, MA

Sleep Hollow Cemetery, Concord, MA

The Colonial Inn, Concord, MA

[Emerson is said to haunt Room 24 and the stairwell in The Colonial Inn.]

Ghosts in Concord

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Zuvembies and the Voo-Doo Man

Pigeons From Hell    by Robert E. Howard  (1938 Weird Tales)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  January 26, 2015

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Come to the old south, to Blassenville Manor. Who doesn’t love a Southern Gothic horror story?  Blassenville Manor is long abandoned when two young men stumble upon this decaying mansion and decide to spend the night.

‘The old deserted house stimulated their imagination with its suggestion of antebellum splendor and ultimate decay. They left the automobile beside the rutty road, and as they went up the winding walk of crumbling bricks, almost lost in the tangle of rank growth, pigeons rose from the balustrades in a fluttering, feathery crowd and swept away with a low thunder of beating wings.

 ‘The oaken door sagged on broken hinges. Dust lay thick on the floor of the wide, dim hallway, on the broad steps of the stair that mounted up from the hall. They turned into a door opposite the landing, and entered a large room, empty, dusty, with cobwebs shining thickly in the corners.’

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I won’t ruin the suspense (and this story is truly high suspense), but  I will say the story includes a secret room, People of Damballah, and yes, a hatchet-stroke in the dark.

 

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In Danse Macabre, Stephen King’s nonfiction book about the horror genre, he writes that, Robert E. Howard’s Pigeons from Hell, is “one of the finest horror stories of our century.” See if you agree.

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Robert E. Howard fans favor his stories about explorer Solomon Kane and Conan the Barbarian. Weird Magazine fans revere him as one of the best in weird and fantasy fiction. At the age of thirty in 1936, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

 

 

 

 

Read the short story (three parts) at Gutenberg.net.au.

Listen to the audio (1:19 hours) on YouTube.com

Watch the 50-minute film (adaptation), Boris Karloff’s Thriller Theater on YouTube.com

Visit the Robert E. Howard Foundation.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror.

 This is a compendium of over 160 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

 Join me in reading one short story every week!

 Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

PulpFiction.com

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

February is Women in Horror Month.  Stop by for shorts stories by women authors for the entire month. And not just horror but mystery, supernatural, fantasy too.

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, horror, horror blogs, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, suspense, tales of terror

On Writing. Fiction

On Writing. Fiction

Book Review and Commentary,  January 21, 2016

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41O3ebvsQSL._AA160_ On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King is #15 (at this time) on the Amazon Best Seller List in Reference/Writing Fiction paperback books. With over 2300 reviews (3% having 1- and 2-star reviews posted by disappointed and angry readers), I found this book to have little value in “how to” actually write, but great value in the thinking behind King’s writing processes. By reading this book, you will not learn to write effectively or how to write horror stories, but you will learn King’s perspective on how his stories emerge and what he values for his creative writing adventures.

I have over twenty writing books on my shelf—twenty-five editing books. I’m always reading and studying writing books on story, plot, characterization, themes, narrative, and the mechanics of creating stories.

So, what is writing? King says it’s telepathy. He believes that writing is the purest form of telepathy of all the arts. He advises not to “come lightly to the page.” Serious business? Absolutely. The act of narrative is a creation after all. King speaks of his Muse (and yes there are muses—believe). My own muse is unlike King’s who is a “basement guy” that inspires him. Mine is a woman and she exists outside my windows. I can’t see her but the light and the sky stream thoughts to me and without a window or a walk outside, I wonder if I can write at all without her.

It’s true that King addresses vocabulary, grammar, passive voice, nouns, verbs sentences, adverbs, description, and the mighty pace and beat of a story. Sure he recommends Strunk & White’s Elements of Style. Most writers know these basics; what is more helpful is how King speaks about the seduction and magic of writing—about letting go of the fear and self-doubt.

I love that King is more of an “organic writer” than a planner and plotter. Probably because that’s how my writing process works as well. “Stories pretty much make themselves,” King says. I agree. He prefers the “situation” of the story to flow from his intuition. “The story is the boss. Write fast to outrun the self-doubt.”

King advises against writing out plotlines, story outlines, and all that predestination. In The Secret Miracle, The Novelist’s Handbook, edited by Daniel Alarcon, Stephen King is quoted as saying he “never” outlines. Some people believe the old axiom that ‘plotting and spontaneity of real creation are not compatible.’ For organic writers this is often true.

Another book on writing is Steven James’ Story Trumps Structure. Here, Steven James echoes King’s standard for organic writing. James tells us to ditch the outline and follow the rabbit trail. “Let scenes evolve … trust the narrative force to reveal the story.” Steven James believes that using “uncertainty” is an essential ingredient if you desire to make art.

On Writing is friendly and inspiring with common sense advice. I loved King’s philosophies and creative perspectives, but there wasn’t a lot new or progressive and was rather thin on character development. A favorite writing book of mine on creating characters is David Corbett’s The Art of Character, Creating Memorable Characters for Fiction, Film, and TV.  “Without an intuitive grasp of the characters, you can all too easily fall into the trap of reducing them to simplistic automatons or “plot puppets,” acting in accordance with ideas or story necessities rather than behaving with the complexity of intention that real individuals possess.” That makes sense to me. King seems to agree with this approach when he says that he wants his characters “to do things their way.” I like that he lets go of controlling his characters to live and breathe themselves into the story.

The reason I read On Writing was because I thought there might be some insight about writing horror vs. suspense or writing horror vs. mystery. King had nothing to say on this. Author Steven James points to a difference between suspense and horror. James sees suspense as “always emotional” and makes the reader afraid to look away. “A murder is not suspense. An abduction with the threat of a murder is.” In horror, the reader is full of fear to look at the action but wants to see it (Do we really want to see this guy beheaded? Horror readers do and enjoy that fear. Interesting paradox ). A horror writer awakens the readers’ inner violence but within the safe confines of fiction.

I’m not a horror writer; my stories are supernatural suspense, ghost stories, and mysteries. And while I like the threat of murder, I don’t want to witness the bloody stabbing in gory details.

So, what did I get out of King’s On Writing? King’s prime rule is to read a lot and write a lot. Learn from the master storytellers. Not newsy advice, since most successful writers tell you to learn from the best writers and read, read, read and write, write, write. King emphasizes a writer must have razor-sharp honesty, discover your muse, and follow your intuition. Dispel self-doubt and run with your stories. Here is his most valuable point about writing in just two words: “getting happy.” I think the gift in this memoir of King’s is telling writers to discover your own true path to your stories and have fun doing it. There are no magic tricks to successful writing, horror or otherwise, but writing in itself is magic. King is famous for saying “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

Clearly, if you as a writer are feeling the magic as you discover your stories and write them out, then your readers will too. Storytelling is an exertion of power, isn’t it? To write fiction is to allow characters to live in our psychic space. And then they live in the readers’ psychic space. Telepathy, as King describes.

I think the last word here goes to Ray Bradbury because it’s so true: “First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” Zen and the Art of Writing, Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury is next on my to-read list and review.

 

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My favorite list of the best writing books:

Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway. All the basics of how to write: the writing process, show vs. tell, characterization, fictional atmosphere and place, story structure and plot, point of view, theme, and revision.

Story, Robert McKee

Story Trumps Structure, Steven James

The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass

The Art of Fiction, John Gardner (I reread this book once a year, it’s that good)

Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern

The Art of Character, David Corbett

Getting into Character, Brandilyn Collins

The Secret Miracle, the Novelist’s Handbook, edited by Daniel Alarcon

Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande

The Faith of a Writer, Life, Craft, Art, Joyce Carole Oates

If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland

Reading like a Writer, Francine Prose

Elements of Style, Strunk & White

 

Best Editing Books for Writers:

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne & Dave King

A Dash of Style, Noah Lukeman

The Grammar Bible, Michael Strumpf & Auriel Douglas

Line by Line, Claire Kehrwald Cook

Chicago Manual of Style

The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein

 

Here’s the famous Rolling Stone Interview with King.

Ten Writing Tips from Stephen King, from MentalFloss.com

StephenKingOfficialWebsite, StephenKing.com

StephenKing.com/Library

 

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Rossetti: Pia de’ Tolomei

If you have a writing or editing book you’d like to add, please feel free to comment.

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Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, horror, horror blogs, literature, novels, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, Stephen King, tales of terror

Killers, Cool and Slick

The Killers   by Ernest Hemingway (1927)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror,   January 19, 2016

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Human evil and violence prevail in this tidy little mystery, which is seedy and suspenseful. Gangsterism! If you are a Hemingway fan, you likely know the Nick Adams Stories. This is one of them. Two men walk into a bar … well, not exactly a bar, a lunchroom/saloon named Henry’s in Summit, near Chicago. We meet two hit men.  Did you ever know hit men to eat with their gloves on? You gotta love Hemingway.

In The Killers, male camaraderie, irony, and death are big themes for this noir. For our young and innocent protagonist Nick (the “effaced” narrator), he is initiated into the dark side of life.

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Hemingway, known for his ‘minimalist’ writing, who was greatly influenced by Gertrude Stein, wrote The Killers first draft in a frenzy of inspiration before he ate his lunch one day in May 1926. If you want to experience brilliant characterization through terse and clean dialogue, this is the story to read. I read it three times; it was that good.

 

 

 

 

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Want some insight on Hemingway’s thoughts on writing? Here’s one nugget: “The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day … When you’re still going and you come to an interesting place and you know what’s going to happen next, that’s the time to stop. Then leave it alone and don’t think about it; let your subconscious mind do the work.”  [From With Hemingway, A Year in Key West and Cuba by Arnold Samuelson.]

‘Let your subconscious mind do the work.’ I like that a lot. Trusting that other side of your creativity.

 

 

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Read The Killers online at Liternet.bg

Listen to the Audio at YouTube.com.

Watch this full feature noir film adapted by Universal, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassevetes, and Ronald Reagan (1.26 hours):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUSnxAA9qlU

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror.

This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

Join me in reading one short story every week!

Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Mysteries In Paradise   Sisters In Crime Blog  Crime Fiction Lover

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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