Horror Story Settings

Horror Story Settings

by Adam Huddleston

Since today is Halloween, and I am a horror story fan at heart, I wanted to share I list of popular settings for scary tales.  I know most are cliché, but if you are interested in writing a horror story, some of these locations are probably going to end up in your work.  In no particular order:


Haunted buildings


Rural location (cabin, farmhouse, etc.)




Amusement Parks

Open Water (oceans, seas, lakes, etc.)

Outer Space/Planets

Hope these help!  Happy writing!

World Building

Here’s a world building blog I posted on 4-30-15.  Enjoy!


World Building

by Adam Huddleston


For writers who set their stories in the world as it exists today or in the past, the concept of world building may not be quite as important as it is to folks like me; the fledgling sci-fi/fantasy author.  Real places with real people populate their work so they simply write what they know (or could find out through a basic internet search).  What happens when you want to set your story on the planet Xynon in the Gordita galaxy?  Or what if the country of your protagonist’s birth happens to be Fargan, where it rains peanut butter and jelly?

Mountains of books have been written on the subject of world building.  I would highly recommend “The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy” by Orson Scott Card, author of “Ender’s Game.”  He takes the major facets of world building chapter by chapter and explains them very well.

Once you get a feel for the different aspects: geography, peoples, history, religion, flora/fauna, etc. it is just a matter of developing them into a cohesive environment.  Generally speaking, the deeper you delve into each part of world-building, the richer your work will be.

Another bit of advice: If you are going to create something that does not exist in the real world, you must make it relatable to something that is.  What I mean is, the reader needs to be able to understand what it is they are reading about.  For example, if you say, “the warfle crawled along the ground” give a good description of it so the reader won’t be lost.

Along the same lines, use real adjectives and verbs.  Don’t say “the warfle cavadered along the sand.”  Your reader has no idea what “cavadered” means.  Just use crawled, slunk, etc.

Hopefully these suggestions will give you a jump-start in the practice of world-building.  Happy writing!

Settings in Science Fiction

Settings in Science Fiction

by Adam Huddleston

Last week I wrote about settings in the fantasy genre.  Creating a fantasy setting can be a huge undertaking.  When it comes to science fiction however, the approach to world building is a little different.

I would venture to say that most science fiction stories are set either in our world, or in what we know of outer space.  In these cases, the author doesn’t have to create a new setting, just assure that the elements of the setting are practical considering what we know.  In other words, the environment, peoples, flora/fauna, etc. of the story’s world may be our own.

It is perfectly acceptable to bend and stretch the natural laws of this world (it is fiction after all) but sci-fi still lives in a basis of reality.

Fantasy Settings

Fantasy Settings

by Adam Huddleston


The blog topic this month is “settings”.  The first thing I think about when I think of settings is fantasy fiction.  In my opinion, no other genre (save maybe science fiction) can boast of such robust and imaginative world-building as fantasy.  When it comes to make-believe worlds, not even the sky is the limit.

The joy (and sometimes overwhelming fear) of the fantasy writer is that they often place their story in a setting of their own creation.  This means that the author must imagine the world’s landscape, inhabitants, and history and then place a believable tale within it.  This is not as easy as it may seem.  The setting must complement the characters and plot of the story, without drawing too much attention away from it.

To give a quick example of my own work, one of my fantasy stories I’m working on exists in a world surrounded by a huge, vertical sea wall.  The actual border of their circular, flat planet ends with a wall of water that is hundreds of miles tall.  Since gravity must pull the water away from the land, it causes everything (and everyone) to slide sideways toward the world’s border.  This allows for some exciting, dangerous action scenes.

No matter what your favorite genre to write is, I highly encourage you to try setting a story in a fantasy setting.  It is very fun and definitely strengthens your world-building skills.

Happy writing!

Popular Novels and Their POV

Popular Novels and Their POV

by Adam Huddleston


This week, I just wanted to provide a short list of popular novels and what point of view (POV) they are written in.  If you’ve never read a story in a particular POV and would like a starting point, you could do a lot worse than these tales.


  • The Hunger Games Series
  • The Twilight Series
  • The Divergent Series
  • Gone Girl
  • The Percy Jackson Series
  • Paper Towns
  • The Catcher in the Rye


  • Choose Your Own Adventure books
  • Bright Lights, Big City
  • You
  • A Prayer of the Dying


  • The Lord of the Rings Series
  • The Harry Potter Series
  • A Game of Thrones Series
  • 1984
  • Animal Farm
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Brave New World

My Favorite POV

My Favorite POV

by Adam Huddleston


This month’s blog theme is literary points-of-view (POV). This has little to nothing to do with the writer’s opinions on certain matters, it is the style in which they write. In a nutshell, the POV of a work is how/who the reader follows the story with.  For example, in a story written in first-person POV, the reader is listening to the narrator as the tale happens to them.  In third person POV, the narrator is telling the story to the reader, but they are outside of the story.  Each POV has different advantages and disadvantages, many of which will be explained this month from the other bloggers in detail much better than what I can give.

One of my new favorite POVs to write in, and one that is popular today in young adult fiction, is first-person present tense. In this style, the story is happening in real-time to the narrator.  It gives the tale a sense of immediacy and suspense.  You don’t know if the character is going to get out of whatever trouble they are in and it feels like events in the story happen to you as well as the narrator.

When writing, many POV choices are available.  Try them all out and see which one feels best for you.

Happy writing!

The Venturi Carnival Company

This week I just wanted to share a short story I submitted to the Your Story contest at http://www.writersdigest.com.  The prompt was a picture of a large, concrete clown head laying in a deserted lot amidst leaves and dust.


The Venturi Carnival Company

Adam Huddleston

The Venturi Carnival Company rolled into Bentonville in the early hours of August 5 and left two weeks later in an overnight barrage of fire and destruction.  The first day was spent erecting the many rides and sideshows that Venturi was famous for.  By seven o’clock that evening, the fun was about to begin.  A long line of townsfolk stretched from the ticket booth to the back reaches of the dirt parking lot.  By all accounts, the first few days were enjoyed by all.  Everyone seemed enamored with the circus-like atmosphere and very few complaints were heard from the patrons.

Then, four days after opening night, a metal beam on the Tilt-A-Whirl bent.  Six visitors were thrown into the hot, autumn night.  All suffered serious injuries.  One remained in a coma for over a month.  The ride was shut down temporarily, but by the weekend, it was rocking and rolling again.

Visitors were mugged on three separate occasions, two of them at gunpoint.  One woman accused a carnival barker of sexually assaulting her behind the famed Haunted Mansion.  Carnival security merely winked at the crimes.  A belief began to grow among the townsfolk that they were actually behind the atrocities.

By the carnival’s second week, a manhunt was underway for Arturo Venturi, the great-grandson of the carnival’s founder and head of the current iteration of the gaming/ride spectacular.  Rumors spread that he had been seen at several locations about town; most of them bars or brothels.  A posse was established and the search began.  He was quickly discovered half-drunk at a table in Jimmie’s, an establishment that prided itself on both booze and women.  Venturi was captured but escaped the next morning.  To this day he has yet to be found.

Frustrations came to a head on the night of August 19.  Word got out that most of the midway games were not only rigged, but downright impossible to win.  All told, the games had cheated the townsfolk out of several thousand dollars.

A mob formed in the woods near the back of the carnival.  At the leader’s go, the group tore through the shabby fencing and made a bee-line for the assorted wagons and shacks used by the carnies.  Torches lit up the night sky, pitchforks glistened in the moonlight.  Anything made of wood was set afire.  Several carnival workers were injured, one was killed when a hefty farm-boy drove a shovel through the man’s skull.  The rest made it to their wagons and fled the town in terror.

The rides were torn to pieces.  Many of the townsfolk made off with their parts, proudly displaying them for years to family and friends when they got together for cookouts.  The only thing left behind was the giant clown head that once dominated the welcome sign.


by Adam Huddleston


This week I wanted to share with you my new interest. Sometimes when you’re stuck in your current work, not sure where the plot should go or if your dialogue is stale or not, it helps to branch out and try something different.

Although I love reading, my current schedule makes it easier for me to watch movies.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I began and finished a novel without putting it down for several months or starting another book in between.  Since I love films, I thought I might try my hand at writing a screenplay.  The first step is learning proper formatting and some of the terminology.  After that, it’s just a matter of letting the words flow on the page.

Here is an extremely short screenplay I recently finished based on an extremely short story I wrote a year or so ago.




ADAM is in bed, fast asleep next to his wife, JENNIFER.  A thin line of saliva runs down his cheek onto his pillow.  A muffled THUMP comes from the direction of his son JASON’s bedroom.


What was that?

JENNIFER twitches a little in her sleep but does not respond.  ADAM slides out of bed and glares at his wife. He shuffles down the hallway to JASON’s room.


Everything ok–

ADAM sees a giant shadow in the corner of his son’s bedroom.  He opens his mouth but is interrupted when something brown streaks in front of his eyes.  JASON’s teddy bear, ROBOT, performs a flying side-kick into the nose of a massive creature in the corner.  Bones SNAP. ROBOT drives his fist into the beast’s chest and pulls out a pulsing, black heart. ROBOT screams in triumph and holds the heart aloft.  ADAM’s and ROBOT’s eyes meet. ROBOT grins and trots across the floor to ADAM.





Yes, Adam?



Is this really happening?

ROBOT’s brow furrows.


Tonight it is, Adam.  Tomorrow may be peaceful.  The days and weeks following may be as well.  But some day…some day…

ADAM looks over at the dead creature then back at his son’s sleeping buddy.


Oh.  Okay.  Uh, thanks…Robot.


You’re quite welcome, Adam; you and Jason both.  I swore to protect his precious life the day you brought me home and I plan on keeping that promise for as long as I am able.

ADAM nods at the dead beast.


What are you gonna do with that?


Don’t worry about the Gorthok.  It’ll be disposed of before your son wakes.  Oh, and Jason whispered to me tonight that he wants toaster pastries in the morning.


Uh…toaster pastries.  Got it.

ADAM turns toward the hallway for a moment then turns back again.  The room is back to normal. All four corners of the bedroom are empty.  Jason is tucked away under his comforter, a small arm clutching ROBOT close.  ADAM heads back to his bedroom rubbing his eyes.



No more Italian food after eleven.

My Favorite Movie Plot Twists

My Favorite Movie Plot Twists

by Adam Huddleston

Even though this is a writer’s blog, I feel much more comfortable mentioning plot twists that have occurred in movies.  Without spoilers, and in no particular order, here is a list of my favorite film twists:

  • Unbreakable, The Village, The Sixth Sense (practically anything by M. Night Shyamalan)
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Soylent Green
  • Fight Club
  • Seven
  • Psycho
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Planet of the Apes
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Shutter Island