Sunday, July 11, 2010


Came up with a way to make features in horror and contemporary as randomly as possible, except when new novels come along, they may or may not be featured that month.

It will no longer be based on whether or not a person/novel deserves it, but simply random. The rotation of novels would be set. Featured log-in post and featured character picked through a formula.

Of course people will still complain about it, especially since making the rotation for 2011 involved removing every novel featured in 2010 from the list in horror, but it's only fair, with 24 novels and at least half showing some activity, that novels might go a year or more without being featured. (In the past before I started doing it, some novels had gone more than a year, sometimes two without getting picked for featured novels, while others were picked every six months. I was trying to be fair, but now I see why those others novels got picked so regularly.)

That's why I'm mentioning this here so I have some kind of proof to show that we decided on this now, made up a rotation to feature novels not featured in the past year. So those people who bullied and complained to get their novels featured again are just going to have to accept the consequences.

The same goes for Contemporary.

So feature novels will not be chosen based on activity, quality, or merit, it'll just be featured when it comes up on a list. It may get bumped back for a new novel or a novel which hasn't posted in a long time and shows activity.

People will complain but at least we can't be blamed for bias.

The feature novels are now selected and put in order through 2011.
Featured log-in is chosen through a formula.
Featured character will not be taken from the featured novel, or the novel the featured log-in post is from.

We're also not supposed to pick characters from a certain writer or anyone in any of her novels for awhile. I should also extend it to novels that she is a writer in. But people are confusing characters that aren't hers for hers. (Just because someone has a happy icon doesn't mean it's this other person with a happy icon.) More on that later.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One of those days

Ever just want to go tell someone to go f! themselves?
At least online it's easy to ignore it and just say I will not take the time to write them a nasty message. Not like in person when there they are just waiting to have their heads ripped off.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Serial Killer 101

I originally wrote this for the Horror Writers Discussion topic about avoiding cliches, then took it down for some reason. Plus I felt like people might think I was bragging at the end when I was trying to explain the steps I took in creating Brame and trying to make him less of a cliche.

Since I write a serial killer I guess that's what I'll talk about.

Character development is one way to either fall into cliche or avoid it. With a serial killer it's easy to go the cliched route. The profile of a serial killer is often that of a sociopath. There are all sorts of checklists for characteristics of a sociopath based on the DSM and I've seen there is a tendency for writers to simply pick traits from the list and that's their character. To make matters worse they pick only the traits they see as positives leaving their killers without any weaknesses. So what you have is the stereotypical serial killer who is [or thinks he is] charming and charismatic, ruthless, remorseless, emotionally unattached, narcissistic - and yet they can't really be blamed for their narcissism because they are, after all, perfect, except for that nasty little quirk of killing people. I think the tendency to make the charming, handsome, ruthless killer is an attempt to make a desirable or sympathetic character without doing any work.

It's perfectly all right to be the charming, handsome, ruthless killer if he/she is written well. If the reader really does find them believably charming then the first act of ruthless killing is quite a shock. Or the contrast of a beautiful exterior with a very ugly interior can be compelling, but that requires skill and careful crafting.

Socipathic serial killers can come off as flat, one-dimensional stereotypes without the writer really knowing their character. First, if the serial killer is a socipath, the writer needs to understand more about a sociopath than just a list of traits. How do those traits affect the killer? If he stalks a certain type of victim the writer should know why and let that develop in the story.

If the story is not from the POV of the killer it's still important to know what motivates the killer, how they think, and what others think of him. Show the emotional impact of their violence on victims not just the pain.

Because socipathic serial killers share basic traits a writer really has to dig deep and fully understand their villain to make him unique and not a cookie cutter killer. Why he kills who he kills can make him stand out. His weaknesses, habits, and quirks can also take him out of the mold. I reccomend reading about real life serial killers as well as taking a close look at popular fictional serial killers. Ask yourself what makes them unique, look closely at how the author shows that, then start dissecting your own serial killer.

That said there are other types of serial killers than sociopaths. Before I go any further, do not confuse socipathic with psychotic. Brame is psychotic. His victims are random and he chooses them for different reasons, sometimes simply because they're available. When it comes to having a concept of right and wrong he does and he doesn't. He believes being impolite and using foul language is wrong, but he doesn't believe it's wrong when he kills somebody for committing those infractions. It's simply something that has to be done. Even though I've never stated why he holds this belief, I know why and that helps me write him. I have guidelines for his behavior.I know what motivates him and how he came to be the way he is. Also, he's not perfect- he makes mistakes, gets hurt, loses bodies, can't control his emotions, and his only friend is a box. I hope he comes off as more than just a crazy guy who talks to a box because I took the time to develop his character before writing him. Instead of just deciding to have a crazy guy who hears voices and running with that, I defined who the voices belong to and their relationship to him. I hope that does a little bit to avoid the trope of the demented crazed killer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

That Tater Had A Death Wish

Just some randomness.

My friend Mdme was telling me about preparing Easter dinner at her mom's house. She said all went well except for the sweet potatoes. She had to move them from one oven to another and this one sweet potato rolled off the pan onto the floor. Whatever, she said, she'd eat that one. So she put it back on the tray. Later she realized the taters weren't cooking as fast as she thought, dinner was approaching, so she and her sister-in-law decided to nuke them. Now, she had transferred them to another tray, one with a higher rim, and still a potato took the leap. The same potato. Only this time it bounced off the oven door, rolled back inside beneath the bottom rack, right up against one of the heat rings, and caught on fire. Yep, that tater had a death wish. She said it was actually quite good.

We had storms off and on all weekend. Last night there were seriously strong winds. Sometime during the night this big tall pine tree fell across the parking lot into the courtyard my apartment is at. It managed not to hit or do damage to anything. My roommate Mark and I got my friend Miss Montez's scooter, put it under the tree, then woke her up. She freaked out maybe all of five seconds before remembering she didn't park anywhere near there. We got called some choice names and are grounded. Grounded from what I don't know.

Speaking of Mark... he finally discovered the cause of the extreme itching he's been suffering the last few months. It was his moisturizing bodywash. Apparently he was having a bad reaction to some ingredient. Back to Ivory soap for him.

At least he's not allergic to water. I knew a damn hippy who isn't exactly allergic to soap and water as the saying goes, but he is allergic to flouride which gets put into the water. He used to bathe very very little until he found a water purifier that would remove flouride and had it installed in his shower. He's much more pleasant to be around now although he does still reek of patchouli.

At a group home where I used to live if any of us smelled like patchouli we got in a lot of trouble even if we hadn't burned one down. This one guy had a thing for this girl that wore a perfume that had a lot of patchouli in it. We came back from the movies and he smelled like patchouli from hooking up with her out in the parking lot and he got put on restriction for a month. The girl dumped him because she heard he'd gotten in trouble for smoking pot.

My girlfriend is getting her college degree next month. Now maybe when she goes for job interviews she won't hear how she's perfect for the job and has all the qualifications except they were really looking for someone with a degree. Her goal is to find a five day a week job that pays almost as much as Miss Montez makes hostessing at a fancy shmancy restaurant. [You would not believe how much Miss M makes. It makes you want to quit your day job and learn to placate idiots.]

My hope is that once Shan graduates we'll maybe possibly see each other a little more. Of course that's what we hoped when we moved in together and that hasn't exactly happened thanks to her deciding to take every course possible so she could go ahead and graduate, and working six nights a week to pay for it. Blame me too, I'm now working lunch shift for awhile to make extra money so I can beef up our savings and maybe she won't have to work so much while looking for something that's a career and not just a job. But it means I'm out of the apartment every morning by 5:30.

In good news, a person in a novel I write in at at finally got their post up so we can progress in the storyline. They've had a lot going on. At last I'll get to kill someone with my character. It's been a joke since I joined that novel that I would find some way some how to kill some one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

So cruel

I'm running on three hours sleep and I've had fairly busy day which included meeting a friend at the airport. I decided it's finally not too early to go to sleep and my headache has come back full force.

As long as I get to sleep before midnight I'll be good. I usually get up between four and five to get ready for work . I was really hoping to get in some extra sleep though.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I just don' wanna

Now you'll never know what I don't want to do because I just deleted this entire post.


Because it might upset someone unintentionally.

I broke out of my apathy long enough to get annoyed, but am reluctant to vent about it for hurting someone else's feelings.

Yes, I know, I'm lame.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A slice of hell

This morning I woke up with a raging headache. It was like a really bad hangover. The swollen brain feeling, hurts all over, someone shoot me now sort of headache.

As I made my way to the kitchen I had this thought of please don't let there be dishes in the sink. [BTW, I'm once again stuck saying sink instead of dishes so every time I try to type or say 'dishes in the sink' I say, 'sinks in the dish' and when I ask for a plate I say sink. Rather frustrating.] The idea of there possibly being anything in the sink was almost enough to send me back to bed.

Instead I found a roommate cooking sausage which sent me straight to the bathroom to worship at the porcelain shrine.

That was the start of my day.

Eventually my headache did let up some. I even go to where I could keep food down, didn't have to keep my arms clamped around my head, and could even bear company.

About this time my girlfriend returned from visiting her mom with two neices and one nephew in tow. The oldest being seven years old. I don't know if it was my mental state produced by the headache and wallowing in depression the last few days, or the fact that the oldest is stubborn and stupid, the middle just stupid, and the youngest just stubborn, but at one point I actually said, "My god, it's a wonder more people don't beat their children." Except thanks to me being paraphasic it came out something more along the lines of "God thinks more people should eat children."

One of the kiddies will not be looking forward to going to church Easter Sunday. Not the youngest. She's kind of twisted and started telling me about zombies eating people's brains while they're still alive. They are usually dead by the time the zombies finish so she said.

After my girlfriend hauled off the kids and went to work I had the place to myself for two hours. Eventually another roommate came home and we decided to go to the grocery store. On our list was bacon. The quest to get bacon annoyed me almost as much as the seven year old who smacked when she ate. There were four people standing in front of the bacon. All together apparently, none of them actually looking at the bacon. I stood there several minutes watching them just standing there talking and finally went to catch up with my roommate Mark. We went up and down a few aisles and those people were still there. A few more aisles and I saw them leaving, so we head that way with our cart, but we can't get there because those four people stopped to talk to a few other people, effectively blocking both routes around one of those long coolers they always have stuck between the meats and frozen foods. They just stood there. Doing nothing. Some weren't even talking. Just standing there. At last we got by them, but it was too late. Some other people were camped out in front of the bacon, just standing there. Possibly talking. I don't know. We went to the other end of the store and back and those people were still there.

What is wrong with people that they just stand in front of the bacon? Is there something fascinating there that I'm missing? Is that the spot to stand?

I finally went over to them and said, "Excuse me. I need to get some bacon." And you know what happened? If you guessed nothing, then you're correct. They ignored me. Well guess what? I'm over 6'7". I've got a long reach. I got our bacon and also tossed a few other things into their cart. I wound up doing that to the other people too. All the bacon hogs. When they got to check out I wonder if they noticed all the little cans of brains in milk gravy, the bean-o and maalox, the feminine deodorant spray, pacifiers, cat snacks, pearl onions, and whatever else I could pick up and toss into their carts, or did they not discover it until they got home?

They're lucky I did slip small items into their pockets then yell "shoplifter" as they left the store. Not that I've ever done that to anyone. *cough*

The good thing about me feeling like crap all day and getting crankier by the minute, was it finally motivated me to write a post for featuring a particularly unpleasant character of mine. I keep having to double check it for random words and repetitive phrases that I'm usually able to pick out before or right after I publish it [thank goodness for the edit feature] and his language isn't quite as colorful as usual [I get help on that from my best friend who's got a mouth on her], but was glad I got it done anyway.

Now if you don't mind my girlfriend just called to say she's off work and headed home so whatever kind of hell I've had today it'll all be better when it's just her and me. [the three other roommates are tucked in their beds already.]