5 somewhat obscure horror movies perfect for Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us! While a good horror story can chill me to the bone for a long time after I’m done reading, well done horror films have a tendency to instead hit me hard and fast, but leaving me pretty okay in the paranoia department afterwards. Tons of sites do lists of movies you have to see for Halloween, and while they contain the classics, they don’t exactly give new material for people who’ve seen them all. So, I decided that I would list off my recommendations for lesser known, sometimes indie horror movies. This is not an all inclusive list in the slightest, but I think it’s a good place to start if you’re looking for something a bit different than “Halloween” or “The Shining.” This is all my opinion and is ranked in no particular order. Also, these are movies that I watch multiple times a year, so that will say something.

Continue reading 5 somewhat obscure horror movies perfect for Halloween

I’m bad at the Twitter

I’ve really been enjoying my time with my WordPress site, and reading other blogs and the like. When I wake up I scroll through the mobile apps feed, reading things and looking for new people to follow. The only problem is that for some reason, it won’t let me like posts half the time. It’ll just freeze as soon as I hit ‘like.’ So that’s a bit frustrating. I usually catch back up when I’m on my computer and can follow things then, but it’s something I’m not always great at remembering.

What I’m absolutely horrible at remembering is that I actually have a Twitter account. I understand how it works and why it’s appealing, but I have trouble thinking of what the hell to write there. I want to use it more, but now it exists pretty much to echo my Facebook group updates when I have a new blog post out. I’ve been trying to figure out why I forget about it when I like to update this as often as I can (for those who remember my goal to update M-W-F, and realize it’s Tuesday, don’t tell anyone.) But when I update here, I write stories or editorials or even what are basically diary posts. 140 characters is hard for me to put any content into.

That’s not a criticism of Twitter in any sense of the word, but I think my own limitations and preferences as a writer. 2 Sentence Horror Stories are fun to write, but the more I write them, the more clichéd and boring they become. I’ve seen some people do amazing work in the form, but mine end up becoming ‘X is something innocuous. Y is a twist that changes X.’ Again, not a criticism of the form, but something I struggle breaking out of.

Writing is about cutting and avoiding purple prose, but Twitter takes it to the most extreme form. Because of that, I feel like I can only use it as a promotional tool since I feel kind of self-centered talking about small events in my day (he says, as he writes an in-depth essay about his inability to Tweet.) I end up feeling guilty that I’d be using it too often, or on things so mundane that followers would just get annoyed. I have a Facebook where my friends and family have to listen to that crap, I don’t want to expose it on the world.

So! How or do you writers use it? Any secrets on content, or am I just being too critical on what I may end up putting out? Or do you use it mainly for promotion or social stuff or what? I joined it because people looked at me funny when I said I never had a Twitter account, and now that I do I have no idea what to use it for.

Old Records and Lost Tomes: The Map Part 9

My doorbell rings. It hasn’t done that in months. I disconnected the phone about 2 months ago, and if I didn’t have the mail slot, the postmaster probably would have sent some cops over to do a “wellness check” and make sure I hadn’t kicked. After what happened in the mountains, I was put on a ‘voluntary’ unpaid leave of absence from the DNR. I had started to show up late, finish my projects well behind schedule, and take several more days to get somewhere than usual. My boss likes me, so I figure this was the chance to fix myself up before I get shit-canned.

I bolt awake and feel the weight of the heavy black shotgun pressing into my chest. After I lost the rifle, I needed something with a bit more kick than the .45, but also cheap. The salesman showed me a pump-action shotgun. It had a short barrel, enlarged magazine, and a smaller than normal stock for self-defense in the tight spaces of a home. I bought it on the spot and picked it up the next day. I had taken it out behind my house a few times and test fired it. The steel and polymer gun shouldered differently than my now lost rifle but was easy to pick up nonetheless. I wouldn’t be winning any skeet shooting competitions, but I know how to at least clear a jam and roughly where to point the end of it.

The doorbell rings again and I slink off the couch, carrying the shotgun by the receiver. I try to knock the plates and empty pizza boxes out of my was as quietly as possible.

Then comes the knocking. Knock knock knock, right on my front door. Don’t they know how rude it is to knock on a man’s door at 3pm?

Continue reading Old Records and Lost Tomes: The Map Part 9

Strange Happenings with Bailey 3, or: Whelp, the neighborhood is haunted

In a few previous posts I introduced y’all to my dog, Bailey. Here she is taking care of me after my recent Septoplasty. I clearly am in good hands here. (Also, I can breathe now, which is the strangest sensation.)

Anyways, I posted some of the weird happenings in my recently built neighborhood here:

http://wordsfortheinternet.com/2014/05/22/strange-happenings-with-bailey/

http://wordsfortheinternet.com/2014/05/23/strange-happenings-with-bailey-addendum/

As a quick refresher, the back of my yard, as well as those of my neighbors, butts up to a 100 feet wide gas exemption, where nothing can be built due to large pipelines run through the ground. Taking Bailey out one night, I heard a strange voice. That’s detailed in the first post. The second is something I discovered about the local lore.

So, while I do write horror stories, this series of events is true to life.

Continue reading Strange Happenings with Bailey 3, or: Whelp, the neighborhood is haunted

Clutter: A Self Reflection

Since I’m on an organizational binge I figured I’d post a self-help column. And by that I mean ‘help yourself by making a confession to the internet so that you feel guilty and are motivated to do something.’

When I decided to try my hand at freelance writing I worked between two different computers and also shared documents through Google Drive. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to have 4 different versions of a project spread around everywhere I could stash them. I have finally decided to clean out all the unnecessary stuff and consolidate my documents in one place.

This is a big deal. My wife can spend 20 minutes just listing the places I randomly put things. That’s not her acting as the nagging wife stereotype, that’s her speaking the truth.

My name is Chris Burcham, and I make a huge mess anywhere I live. It’s not on purpose. Some of it is laziness, I’ll admit; it’s easier to leave an empty can or bottle or plate on my desk when I’m working than to walk down a flight of stairs. Don’t want to break the writing groove! That’s what I tell myself anyways. I will finally break down and clean up an area once it reaches critical mass and starts to bother me, or when Karen is trying to find out why all the spoons are missing. I try my best not to be a slob, I really do. To clarify, this is just mess, not a “Hoarders” style health hazard. This is more of a “too lazy to put my boot polish back,” which is staring at me right now from the corner of my desk. But then pump that up a ton.

Awakening the clean freak in me requires enough random things on my desk that it’s starting to become a typing issue. It is then I wonder who the hell put all those cans there.

I seriously rarely notice how messy I’ve been until it’s at the breaking point, and that’s the problem. I’ll move through the house with a list of things I want to clean and then end up writing or taking the dog out, or sitting down at my computer for hours to help the Allies win World War II.

So! Today I realized I at least need to keep the office clean. I’m more productive and happier when in order to find the most up to date copy, I don’t have to search through the 17 folders I use on each desktop. I’m starting with my computer. Cleaning up the desktop, removing the Microsoft Office Trial pop-up I have to click through whenever I try and open a .doc file in a different reader, stuff like that.

I even have a central writing folder now! With sub-folders where I can find things! This is probably the least exciting thing to read ever and I apologize for that, but every blog needs a boring entry covering a topic that a mom would be proud of.

But! I’m excited because I’m motivating myself to clean, even other rooms! Then maybe I’ll be able to find things.

Like my wedding band I misplaced 3 days ago and still haven’t found.

I’m ignoring my personal Gmail though. 4,579 unopened messages. A vast majority of those are just old newsletters I haven’t unsubscribed to, emails about an upcoming bill that I already know about, those things that I’m sure everyone is a bit guilty of. But probably not 4,579 times over. Also, it’s not too much of a priority because of how angry Karen gets whenever she sees my Gmail inbox.

She’s an “everything needs its place, oh God why do you have a mass of faded gas receipts on and around your night stand” kind of woman. She did know what she was getting into though. My wonderful wife will wait suggesting tidying up until I have 3 pairs of pajama pants stuck to my chair, and shirts on the floor that I can’t remember if they’re clean or dirty. To think about it, it’s probably because she knows that I’ll get a bunch of stuff in one go instead of light cleaning then slacking for a week.

I back up my projects regularly on an external hard drive now, but for all you established folk: do you have any advice on where to keep back-ups, or original files and the like? Or how you keep organized in general with your blog?

Also, because I apparently have the spatial awareness of a newborn baby, any tips on how you keep your workspace clean?

Oh, I almost forgot, I myself am obsessed with being hygienically clean and I’m somewhat of a germophobe, so yeah, I don’t get it either.

Structure

So, now that I’m writing again I figure that I need deadlines to keep myself from being lazy.

This keeps me moving, and also gives you an idea of when I actually might post something.

I will always have a post, unless noted, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Monday and Wednesday? Wild cards. Who knows what I’ll post! Maybe the status of my novel, problems I’ve run into writing, topical and personal things. Stuff like that.

Friday will be henceforth known as Frightening Friday. A new short horror story, or thoughts on horror, every week. I was thinking of calling it Freaky Friday, but I didn’t want to mislead anyone who hopes that it’s about my in progress fan fiction where I wackily switch bodies with Jamie Lee Curtis while I have quarter life crisis.

Now, I’m still going to update more than that probably, but those are at least for sure days. I’ll fill the rest of the week with selfies of me making various duck faces, in front of food I’m about to eat.

So, that’s that! Thanks for reading, I will try to not forget about my new schedule between today and tomorrow. That would be embarrassing.

Cellar

There it was again, three raps this time.

It’s been like this all day and I really have no idea what to do. My wife is standing next to me, as puzzled and frightened as I am. She’s clutching the flashlight like it’s a holy relic. I’m holding the axe so tight that I can already feel callouses forming on my palms. I haven’t taken a swing yet, because, well we don’t know what to do.

Knock, knock.

Continue reading Cellar

OK, I lied. I have a post for today. Well more of a rant about vidya games. So, without further ado: GamerGate: Whaaa?

GamerGate is a thing for some reason. Some people actually think it’s a viable movement for their belief system and that floors me a bit. For those of you who don’t follow Internet drama, GamerGate purports itself to be a social movement fighting to improve the ethics in video game journalism. The aim is to correct a pretty well known problem where game development studios and the big game publishing houses influence review scores for their games in return for ad revenue, exclusive news, and demo copies of games and systems for journalists. Continue reading OK, I lied. I have a post for today. Well more of a rant about vidya games. So, without further ado: GamerGate: Whaaa?

Quick pop in… (and a recommended link)

Working on some projects but should have a for-real-big-boy update in the next day or so, so thanks for holding in there. I didn’t just want to come on here to be all like ‘oh it has been two days they might be worried, better reassure my fans.’ But instead to tout a post I found awesome. I found it through the WordPress ‘Freshly Pressed’ section so others may have read it already, but wanted to re-link it.

http://blottheskrip.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/top-ten-writing-mistakes/

One of the groups I’ve been following closely in addition to other writer’s and other interesting people, are editors. It has been greatly helpful to see what the common complaints are on their end, and the advice they give to improve an author’s chance of getting accepted. Most of them are also funny as hell and come across as charming, so that helps swing my assessment a bit.

I’m going to re-link this blog post I read today which is an awesome no-bullshit look at what not to do during the creation of a novel. Maybe I like it because it’s one of those ‘knowing the mechanics of writing is great, but you also have to be good at the story part too’ kind of vibe. It helps validate my ‘focus on story instead of rules’ attitude. So I’m linking it, because I don’t know how WordPress works for someone else’s site views if you re-blog them. Does it just count on mine? Do they still get credit? I want the traffic to go to the original source. I have no idea what happens, so I figure the safest thing is to post a link.

http://blottheskrip.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/top-ten-writing-mistakes/

So check it out, and let me know in the comments if you know how the hell this thing works re: re-blogging.

Oh, also, I’m okay. I know that many of you are probably F5’ing my blog desperately waiting to see when I’ll pop up again, so be strong! Not too much longer!

The Internet is changing the way we read. I’m screwed.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that the Internet may be changing the way we read. People are starting to just scan text for key words and very easily digestible information instead of taking the time to let content sink in. As a writer with a love of short form written horror, this is my worst nightmare. Horror needs build up! Tension! Actual consumption of atmospheric words and not just scanning for ‘blood’ or ‘incomprehensible!’ How can I compete with that? Well, I took a look around the Internet and figured I’d give it a shot. Fuck it.

Continue reading The Internet is changing the way we read. I’m screwed.