Graves, The Map Part 12

Gaby and I walk across the grass, the grounds of the asylum now pitched in darkness. We slowly begin making our way towards the old hanging tree, our flashlights and lantern off. Its silhouette is highlighted against the brighter sky making finding our way just a matter of dodging thorn bushes and fallen logs. When we get there it’s easy to see why it’s still known as the hanging tree. Torn and shredded lines of rope still hang from the dead, thick branches. They sway in the wind like morbid streamers.

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Write or Die

Oh I had too much fun with this site. Write or Die is a website and writing program that force you to write. Just keeps you on task to make sure you hit out those 500 words in 15 minutes or whatever other goal you set for yourself. The program is $20 to buy, and can be tried on their site with limited settings for free.

Write or Die forces you to keep pace with your chosen WPM by flashing color whenever you slow down too much, and playing startling sounds once you’ve breached the barrier. It forced me to just write. I had to free form as quickly as possible, and it did actually get my heart rate up. I’m not sure if I’ll buy the software or not yet, but I recommend everyone give at least the trial a try (no download, straight through your browser.) Unfortunately I lost my first attempt, but it was amazing how much it kept me on task. Give it a shot and let me know what you think! I’ll try and write another entry on a stricter time frame and see how the results work.

Ed Gein – Scarier Than Fiction

Police photo of Ed Gein, 1958
Police photo of Ed Gein, 1958

What do Norman Bates from “Psycho,” Leatherface from “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” and Buffalo Bill from “The Silence of the Lambs” all have in common?

They’re all based on the same real man.

Ed Gein.

They are all only partially based on aspects of his life. To get the true effect of Gein’s madness, you have to look at the movies together. Like Bates, Gein was obsessed with his mother; like Leatherface, he butchered human beings for parts; and like Buffalo Bill, he was confused about his gender identity and wanted to become someone else.

In 1958 his crimes came to light when authorities stormed the Gein homestead. What they found revolted and horrified them.

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On animals

I love animals. So, when I saw this post about Justin Bieber, I had to climb up on my soap box.

Here we go.

Don’t adopt or buy animals if you’re going to abandon them.

There. Is that really so hard? Dogs and cats and everything else are living creatures. They are intelligent, have feelings, and can know fear. As the dominant lifeforms on this planet, we have to take better care of the animals we love and adopt.

Speaking of which, adoption is a great way to get a great pet. I have lived with 9 dogs over my life (several dogs at a time, we aren’t some kind of crazy animal murderers), and each one has been a rescue adoption. Each one has been great. Best of all, if you still want a designer pet, you can usually find one if you look hard enough at rescues. With the internet and all the websites dedicated to finding rescue animals, there really isn’t any excuse not to start there.

This might upset people, but if you aren’t going to show a dog in competition, which is worthy of a ranting post on its own, then don’t buy a show dog. Show dogs are bred to conform to standards set by kennel clubs that like arbitrary traits that are usually cosmetic but harmful to the dogs. Don’t believe me? Check out pictures of award-winning German Shepherds vs. German Shepherd police or military working dogs. You’ll see a huge difference, and those working dogs usually come from more experienced breeders.

Finally, spay or neuter your pets. Unless you plan on breeding them, which by God I hope you know what you’re doing, there is really no reason not to. Puppy litters are big, and this keeps unwanted dogs from ending up in high-kill shelters or pounds.

Okay, I would climb down from my soap box, but let’s be real. There hasn’t been a wooden box for soap since like, 1934. The soap box has been crushed by the weight of my massive muscles. Sorry Dove.

The fear of winter

I set a lot of my horror stories in the winter.

That’s not intentional, it’s just something I noticed today. I love spring and summer. The vibrant greens and signs of animal life and growth just make me happy in the most basic of senses. A lot of people love autumn, but the dying trees and cold just remind me that winter is coming. Yeah I just did that.

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Mysterious Places: The Lost Dutchman’s Mine

If you’ve read my ‘The Map’ entry about the Superstition Mountains, than this entry might sound somewhat familiar. Among the things that I love are not just the strange creatures that go bump in the night, but the places around the world that have stories attached to them that defy explanation or raise the hair on the back of my neck.

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I keep restarting my novel, and I hate it

So I’ve run into a bit of an issue with my novel. I’m sure others have had the same problem, but I’m kind of curious as to how you proceeded.

There’s two separate ways I can see my novel starting, but I like them both. I know usually the advice is to start in the middle, but the beginning kind of informs the majority of my story. I’ve written and re-written both the opening and portions of the middle multiple times, but can’t seem to find my center.

I guess it’s kind of like writer’s block, but instead of me not being able to write, I can’t commit as to what to write. I’m bad at outlining and like to write a bit more free form, but has that helped any of you in the past? Should I write both and see what stands out down the line? I really have no idea, but I know most of you reading this are writers and editors, any advice as to how to get past this reoccurring hiccup?

As always, thanks everyone!

Horror Movie Review: Mercy (2014)

I’ve been on a Netflix/HBO/Amazon Instant horror binge over the past few days, and have to say most of the movies I watched were ‘meh’ at best. It’s really hard finding horror movies that stand up to a viewing or repeated viewing without it becoming an instant classic. I wrote about ‘The Babadook’ last week, and that’s something that stands out to me as a modern classic.

I watched ‘Mercy‘ not expecting much. The cover art is a creepy kid sitting in the middle of some kind of ritualistic circle. Creepy kids and possession movies are a dime a dozen at this point. The only way it could hit the trifecta of current horror movie trends is if it was also found footage.

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