Euphony


Euphony

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week, the literary device I would like to mention is: euphony. It is defined as the use of words or phrases that sound pleasant together. As individuals, our tastes in word choice and what sounds “nice” are obviously varied, but it is possible to piece together phrases that most readers would enjoy.

As you would expect, euphony is most commonly seen in poetry, lyrical works, and literary prose. The website literary-devices.com mentions that the phrase “cellar door” is often credited as the most pleasant-sounding phrase in the English language. I guess it is the combination of phonetic sounds that sets it apart.

Euphony is the direct opposite of cacophony, which is the use of words or sounds in phrases that clash and sound unpleasant.

I hope this device helps you in your work! Happy writing!

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Ideas when Travelling


Ideas when Travelling

by Adam Huddleston

 

For the past few months, my family and I have been traversing back and forth to East Texas. All those hours on the road lead to wandering thoughts (many of which are the basis for my writing). I’ve noticed that most of these ideas deal with driving or highways.

For example, one of my works deals with a ghost that haunts the exits on the interstate. Another concerns a rather “enthusiastic” man who cleans up roadkill. Both fit quite well in the horror genre (especially the latter; geesh) and if I ever get them finished I’ll share them on this blog.

Does the location you’re in effect the types of ideas you get? Happy writing!

Short Excerpt from Current Work


Short Excerpt from Current Work

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week, I wanted to share a few paragraphs from a new fantasy story I’m working on.

The voice came to O’Brien in the middle of the night like a soft breeze gliding over the top of a country stream. He had just exited one of those non-sensical dreams where you’re chastising your oldest child for eating the curtains, or where a herd of cattle is marching down the street, holding signs advocating nuclear disarmament. At first, he wasn’t sure if he had heard it, or if it was some trick being played on him by his overworked brain.

Then it spoke again.

“Build the house,” it whispered. “Eighteen inches high. Wood. Two-stories. Double-doors in front.”

O’Brien sat up in bed and rubbed at his eyes. A dried line of spittle ran down his left cheek.

“Hello,” he said to the darkness. “Who’s there?”

“Build the house,” the strange voice whispered again. “Eighteen inches high. Wood. Two-stories. Double-doors in front.”

Jacob O’Brien scratched absently at his bald scalp. A few dry flakes drifted down unnoticed and landed on his pillow. He tilted his head sideways and listened to the silence, straining to hear the voice again. After a full two minutes, he resigned to the fact that it was simply a hallucination brought on by a spicy late-night snack, or perhaps a particularly strong cup of coffee with said snack.

He laid back and just as his head hit the pillow, the voice returned.

“Build the h—“

“Okay! I get it! I’ll build your little house if you just promise to leave me alone.” Jacob rubbed at his temples then whispered into the darkness, “but I still have no idea who, or what, you are.”

My Favorite Works of Fiction


My Favorite Works of Fiction

By Adam Huddleston

 

A couple of weeks ago I published a blog concerning my favorite non-fiction books for writers. This week, I would like to list a few of my favorite works of fiction (in no particular order). As you can imagine, me being a life-long reader of fantasy and horror, the list is full of selections from those genres.

Stephen King has always been a “fave” of mine. He has a plethora of thrillers and chillers. Some works seek to get you at the “gross-out” level. Others are more intimate examinations of the inner-self. My favorite novel of his belongs to the latter; “The Long Walk.” Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, this story follows a young man as he participates in a horrific annual tradition. The book is eerie and very well written.

Shifting to fantasy, you can’t find many works better than those of J.R.R. Tolkien. In a world where new writers are shoveling their wares in both bookstores and electronically, this legendary author’s work stands the test of time and his “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is, to me at least, at the top. It is the definition of an epic fantasy with a huge cast of characters, a sprawling world, and an entire language created by the author.

The late Michael Crichton penned a ton of great science-fiction stories, many of which were adapted into motion pictures. My favorite work of his is “Jurassic Park.” The movie, once it gets going, travels at a break-neck pace. Guess what? The novel does as well. The author even goes into great detail concerning how they manipulated the DNA to create the stories antagonists.

The last piece I’ll mention is one by Richard Adams. One of my earliest cinematic memories is watching “Watership Down” on a VHS player in my parent’s bedroom. When I was older, I discovered that it was based on a novel of the same name. The book does a great job of personifying the characters, mostly rabbits with a black-headed gull thrown in for good measure, and bringing their adventures to life. Like Tolkien, Richard Adams gives us a healthy dose of backstory, native language, and even a form of lupine religion.

Whatever your favorite genre might be, these novels are worth looking into. They will give insight into proper world building, plot, dialogue, and character development.

Happy writing; and reading!

Excerpt from “The Winter Wizard”


Excerpt from “The Winter Wizard”

By Adam Huddleston

This week, I simply wanted to release a few paragraphs of a fantasy story that I am currently working on. If it were to ever be published, it would actually be the beginning of the second book in a series entitled “The Sea-Wall”.

The wind and snow assaulted the small, wooden cabin. Each gust threatened to separate the old timbers that made up the walls and roof. Ben and his family snuggled deep under their bed covers seeking warmth, but only managing to frustrate their tired bodies. Just as the family patriarch was nearing sleep, a loud rap came from the front door.

Ben slowly cracked one eye open and peered into the darkness. He waited a few seconds, hoping the sound was just a rogue branch blown by the wind, or perhaps a wayward owl, lost in the blur of a night blizzard. He counted to five and was about to drift off to sleep when the knock came again.

Ben covered himself in a giant bear skin and stumbled out of bed. The icy-cold floor bit into his feet and he moaned loudly. The knocking continued, growing in intensity.

“I’m coming!” he growled at the newcomer. “It’s the middle of the night, don’t ya know?”

Ben hobbled through the modest den and grasped the brass knob, wincing as the metal stung his palm, and ripped the door open.

On the narrow stoop, covered in a thick blanket of bright snow, was something that resembled a human figure. After a few moments, a thick walking staff appeared out of the whiteness and pushed an ice-covered hat upwards. A pair of deep-blue eyes, deeper and bluer than the waters of the Sea-Wall (not that Ben had actually ever seen the Wall in person), opened. The eyes belonged to a trouble-worn face, and Ben took a step back as a bushy set of grey eyebrows furrowed over them. The man leaned forward and fixed Ben with a fierce gaze.

“It’s time to repay your debt,” he said.

Is Your Story Original?


Is Your Story Original?

by Adam Huddleston

 

Perusing the discussions on r/writing (a subreddit for writers), I came across a basic question one redditor asked: How do I know if my idea is original or if it’s been done before? There were several excellent responses, which is comforting since I myself have wondered the same thing before.

To summarize the best responses, I would say that you can attempt to read as much as possible in your particular genre. See what works and what doesn’t, what similarities and differences your work has with others’ work, and what changes you could make that would make your story better.

Most importantly, relax! There are really only a handful of plots that have been used throughout history. Your details are what makes your story unique! Don’t be afraid to write it!

Plot Structure


Plot Structure

by Adam Huddleston

 

I can’t recall exactly where I got this from (could have been on this Wordsmith Six site for all I know) but I found it to be very useful.

Plot Structure

Hook:

Inciting incident:

First plot point:

First pinch point:

Mid-point:

Second pinch point:

ONWAGD:

Second plot point:

Climax:

Denouement:

Show protagonist in “normal” (current) world- Protagonist is incomplete (reveal flaw/insecurity/secret want)

Inciting incident that forces protagonist from normal world- Increased awareness of need for change

Introduce key secondary characters; establish setting & tone- fear/resistance to change — comfortable in current life

Protagonist must make a choice/decision- Overcomes fear/resistance to change

Plot point #1: Journey begins as result of decision Mental/emotional commitment to change

Protagonist begins “living” in the new world Protagonist is disorganized (imagine the feeling of first day in new school)

New complications arise Protagonist is tested and begins adapting to new ways/questioning the old

Complications grow –Complications escalate to new crisis Protagonist is slowly growing, but still inauthentic–not committed to changed self

Mid-point: crisis forces new decision/direction Protagonist is confronted with their flaw/desire (often is the antagonist who holds up this “mirror”)

Protagonist catches breath (even if complications are brewing behind the scenes) Reward scene: protagonist has accomplished something and has brief moment of victory

Complications develop new level of complexity Begins accepting consequences of new life

Excerpt from “The Winter Wizard”


Excerpt from “The Winter Wizard”

By Adam Huddleston

This week, I simply wanted to release a few paragraphs of a fantasy story that I am currently working on. If it were to ever be published, it would actually be the beginning of the second book in a series entitled “The Sea-Wall”.

The wind and snow assaulted the small, wooden cabin. Each gust threatened to separate the old timbers that made up the walls and roof. Ben and his family snuggled deep under their bed covers seeking warmth, but only managing to frustrate their tired bodies. Just as the family patriarch was nearing sleep, a loud rap came from the front door.

Ben slowly cracked one eye open and peered into the darkness. He waited a few seconds, hoping the sound was just a rogue branch blown by the wind, or perhaps a wayward owl, lost in the blur of a night blizzard. He counted to five and was about to drift off to sleep when the knock came again.

Ben covered himself in a giant bear skin and stumbled out of bed. The icy-cold floor bit into his feet and he moaned loudly. The knocking continued, growing in intensity.

“I’m coming!” he growled at the newcomer. “It’s the middle of the night, don’t ya know?”

Ben hobbled through the modest den and grasped the brass knob, wincing as the metal stung his palm, and ripped the door open.

On the narrow stoop, covered in a thick blanket of bright snow, was something that resembled a human figure. After a few moments, a thick walking staff appeared out of the whiteness and pushed an ice-covered hat upwards. A pair of deep-blue eyes, deeper and bluer than the waters of the Sea-Wall (not that Ben had actually ever seen the Wall in person), opened. The eyes belonged to a trouble-worn face, and Ben took a step back as a bushy set of grey eyebrows furrowed over them. The man leaned forward and fixed Ben with a fierce gaze.

“It’s time to repay your debt,” he said.

Favorite Horror Movies


Favorite Horror Movies

by Adam Huddleston

 

Since this will be my last blog before Halloween is upon us, I thought I’d share some of my favorite horror films. In no particular order:

Night of the Creeps

Night of the Living Dead

The Thing

Silence of the Lambs

Jaws

Coraline

Poltergeist

The Shining

Psycho

Alien

Creepshow 1 and 2

If you are a fan of the genre, I highly recommend giving any of these movies a watch. They are entertaining as well as wonderfully written, shot, and acted.

Happy viewing!

“The Nanny” Film Review


“The Nanny” Film Review

by Adam Huddleston

 

The next film up for review is “The Nanny”. Released in 1965 and starring Bette Davis in the titular roll, “The Nanny” is a class in suspense. Unlike many movies that try to create a “slow burn”, this picture begins raising questions very early and spends its 91-minute run time answering them.

The dialogue is perfect and many of the screen shots are very well done. One in particular is an extreme close-up of a character as she crawls along the floor. The effect really draws the viewer into the scene. The acting is superb, not just by Ms. Davis (which is suspected), but also by the two main child actors (William Dix and Pamela Franklin).

“The Nanny” is a perfect example of “hag-horror” and I highly recommend it to any horror or suspense fan.

Happy watching!