Gimmicks


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Gimmicks

By Nandy Ekle

As a horror/thriller writer I read a lot of horror stories and thriller stories. I’ve been told I’m an adrenaline junkie, and that may true. I just love a story with lots of deep layers, tortured main characters, a little action, a little (okay, a lot) of mystery and scary, and tons of surprises.

But as much as I love these things, sometimes I feel like I’m in a rut. I look through my library and pay attention to what I mostly look at in the bookstores and realize most of my reading material is basically all the same. And really and truly, I have to admit half of it did not deliver what the synopsis on the back of the book promised. So I get leery of starting another book with same formula to end up disappointed.

Not too long ago, I found myself in a rut so deep I had completely stopped reading and writing. So on a trip to the bookstore where a friend of mine was having a book signing for her latest book, I shopped for something new. I was convinced something light and fast, humorous and glamorous would be the answer to my dilemma.

So I found a cute little cozy mystery. A cozy mystery is a mystery story that’s very light hearted. There might be a murder, but it’s not tragic, except for the person murdered. The one I bought the murdered person follows the main character around through the whole story helping her solve the mystery of her death. And there’s another ghost of a murdered person from a previous story as well.

One thing I didn’t do before I bought the book was look at the first page. If I had I would have seen that the book is full of gimmicks. The writer shamelessly tries to get the reader’s attention by using sarcasm. As the narration and dialog is so unnatural it’s actually quite distracting from the story.

I’ve always said you can learn something from every book you read, even the not great books. And the thing I’ve learned from this book is to not use gimmicks. You should make your narration and dialogue flow naturally, and that will keep the reader’s attention much better than a gimmick.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

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Oh, The Horror of it All!


Oh, The Horror of it All!

By Rory C. Keel

The term Horror describes an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. In this genre you will find stories created to stir these intense feelings in the reader. From the classic Frankenstein to The Blob of unknown origins, from the resurrected dead to the mad protagonist who never dies.

The stories in the horror genre make the nightmares of our childhood real by describing the horrific and shocking details in a way that bends them into a plausible scenario.

It has several subgenres including the following:

Aliens: which may also overlap with science fiction.

Creepy Kids: Involves possessed, ghostly or dead children.

Cross Genre: Horror that contains major elements of other genres.

Cutting Edge: Usually associated with graphic novels.

Dark Fantasy: Is the companion to human evil and strife, instead of monsters.

Dark Fiction: This is a term used in the horror genre to market stories without using the term HORROR.

Erotic: Horror that usually contains violent sexual elements.

Extreme (splatterpunk, grindhouse or visceral): 
When thinking of this subgenre think Texas Chainsaw massacre. It intends to be bloody and gross.

Fabulist: horror emphasizes stories in a specific place or old-fashioned style.

Gothic (English gothic, southern gothic): 
This subgenre is written in a ‘literary’ style such as much of Edgar Allen Poe’s work.

Haunting: Have you ever seen a ghost? You will find them in this subgenre.

Holocaust: tales involve mass deaths, or a near-future apocalyptic plague, whether past or future.

Humorous horror: The Macabre in parody such as the Munster’s.

Paranormal: These are stories that describe the battle against the evil supernatural.

Rampant Animals: Horror containing animals: birds, dogs, giant ants, etc.

Rampant Technology: Horror where machines take over.

Supernatural (demons, zombies, etc.): 
Stories of monsters persistent on consuming the lives of mankind.

Be scared, be very scared!

roryckeel.com

WRITING CONTESTS BENEFITS


Writing Contests Benefits

By Rory C. Keel

It cost money; why should I enter? What benefit will a contest be for my writing and me? I’m not good enough so I’ll never win.

Those who are looking at entering writing contests frequently express these statements and questions. I know, I’ve asked most of them myself.

Having entered my share of writing contests, let me offer some positive benefits from my personal experience.

  1. Training for working with deadlines – Writing contests give a writer the opportunity to work under a deadline. Most contests will have strict dates for submitting an entry. This is good conditioning for working with agents, editors, and publishers who will place deadlines on your writing.
  2. Provides automatic platform – A platform is your audience, those who will read your writing. While your mother and “BFF” will gladly volunteer readership, contest judges can provide you with an unbiased and anonymous audience for your writing. And who knows, the judge may be an agent, editor or publisher.
  3. Gain feedback – One of the most valuable benefits of a writing contest is the critique. To have the judge’s comments noting any mistakes, suggestions for improvement and yes, even praise can help improve your writing.
  4. Build your portfolio – Writing contests are a perfect why to build your portfolio. When seeking an agent or publisher, a few writing clips, accomplishments and certificates may be the edge you need to sell the deal.
  5. Increase your confidence – Entering a contest gives a writer the opportunity to gain confidence in their writing. Have you ever written something only to tear it up or hide it in a drawer? Have you ever said, “I could never write good enough to be published!” A writing contest provides an inexpensive way to test the waters of being an author.
  6. Avoid scam contests – As with most everything, there are people who take advantage of others. Before entering a contest, research the person or organization holding the contest and make sure they are legitimate. There are a few contests that are no more than book selling scams. When your entry wins, it is accepted for publication in an anthology, with all of the other first place winners, then you must pay an outrageous price to obtain a copy. Winningwriters.com lists a few of these writing contests to avoid.To help find your next contest check out www.placesforwriters.com or www.fundsforwriters.com

Oh, The Horror of it All!


Oh, The Horror of it All!

By Rory C. Keel

The term Horror describes an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. In this genre you will find stories created to stir these intense feelings in the reader. From the classic Frankenstein to The Blob of unknown origins, from the resurrected dead to the mad protagonist who never dies.

The stories in the horror genre make the nightmares of our childhood real by describing the horrific and shocking details in a way that bends them into a plausible scenario.

It has several subgenres including the following:

Aliens: which may also overlap with science fiction.

Creepy Kids: Involves possessed, ghostly or dead children.

Cross Genre: Horror that contains major elements of other genres.

Cutting Edge: Usually associated with graphic novels.

Dark Fantasy: Is the companion to human evil and strife, instead of monsters.

Dark Fiction: This is a term used in the horror genre to market stories without using the term HORROR.

Erotic: Horror that usually contains violent sexual elements.

Extreme (splatterpunk, grindhouse or visceral): 
When thinking of this subgenre think Texas Chainsaw massacre. It intends to be bloody and gross.

Fabulist: horror emphasizes stories in a specific place or old-fashioned style.

Gothic (English gothic, southern gothic): 
This subgenre is written in a ‘literary’ style such as much of Edgar Allen Poe’s work.

Haunting: Have you ever seen a ghost? You will find them in this subgenre.

Holocaust: tales involve mass deaths, or a near-future apocalyptic plague, whether past or future.

Humorous horror: The Macabre in parody such as the Munster’s.

Paranormal: These are stories that describe the battle against the evil supernatural.

Rampant Animals: Horror containing animals: birds, dogs, giant ants, etc.

Rampant Technology: Horror where machines take over.

Supernatural (demons, zombies, etc.): 
Stories of monsters persistent on consuming the lives of mankind.

Be scared, be very scared!

roryckeel.com

WRITING CONTESTS BENEFITS


Announcing

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest

Now open for entries

 For one low entry fee you can now enter multiple categories

Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in EVERY category.

Go to:

www.Panhandleprowriters.org

Entry rules, procedures and format regulations are listed on the FiW Writing Contest page

Download FiW entry Application and mail along with your entry.

Entry fees can be check or Money order, or pay online using “Payments” on the PPW website.

Sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers

Writing Contests Benefits

By Rory C. Keel

It cost money; why should I enter? What benefit will a contest be for my writing and me? I’m not good enough so I’ll never win.

Those who are looking at entering writing contests frequently express these statements and questions. I know, I’ve asked most of them myself.

Having entered my share of writing contests, let me offer some positive benefits from my personal experience.

  1. Training for working with deadlines – Writing contests give a writer the opportunity to work under a deadline. Most contests will have strict dates for submitting an entry. This is good conditioning for working with agents, editors, and publishers who will place deadlines on your writing.
  2. Provides automatic platform – A platform is your audience, those who will read your writing. While your mother and “BFF” will gladly volunteer readership, contest judges can provide you with an unbiased and anonymous audience for your writing. And who knows, the judge may be an agent, editor or publisher.
  3. Gain feedback – One of the most valuable benefits of a writing contest is the critique. To have the judge’s comments noting any mistakes, suggestions for improvement and yes, even praise can help improve your writing.
  4. Build your portfolio – Writing contests are a perfect why to build your portfolio. When seeking an agent or publisher, a few writing clips, accomplishments and certificates may be the edge you need to sell the deal.
  5. Increase your confidence – Entering a contest gives a writer the opportunity to gain confidence in their writing. Have you ever written something only to tear it up or hide it in a drawer? Have you ever said, “I could never write good enough to be published!” A writing contest provides an inexpensive way to test the waters of being an author.
  6. Avoid scam contests – As with most everything, there are people who take advantage of others. Before entering a contest, research the person or organization holding the contest and make sure they are legitimate. There are a few contests that are no more than book selling scams. When your entry wins, it is accepted for publication in an anthology, with all of the other first place winners, then you must pay an outrageous price to obtain a copy. Winningwriters.com lists a few of these writing contests to avoid. To help find your next contest check out www.placesforwriters.com or www.fundsforwriters.com

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest


Announcing

2013 Frontiers in Writing Contest

Now open for entries 

 For one low entry fee you can now enter multiple categories

Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in EVERY category.

Go to:

www.Panhandleprowriters.org

Entry rules, procedures and format regulations are listed on the FiW Writing Contest page

Download FiW entry Application and mail along with your entry.

Entry fees can be check or Money order, or pay online using “Payments” on the PPW website.

Sponsored by the Panhandle Professional Writers

Where do you belong?


Where do you belong?

Where does your writing fit in the world of genre?

A genre is a “category” of literature or other forms of art and culture. Knowing the answer to this question will be a great benefit in every area of your writing.

Here is a list of the major writing genres: children, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, short fiction, thriller, westerns, young adults, mainstream, nonfiction. Within each of these groups there are multiple sub-genres.

You will find that your thoughts will be more focused when you write if you understand the genre where your project best fits. You will also have a greater chance of success when seeking the proper agent for representation. Remember that not all agents represent every genre. When submitting your work directly, choose a publisher that best fits your writing. Research the company to understand what genre they represent to ensure greater chances of publication.

To help you discover which Genre fits your writing best, we will explore each category in future weekly blog posts.

Rory C. Keel

Oh, The Horror of it All!


Oh, The Horror of it All!

The term Horror describes an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. In this genre you will find stories created to stir these intense feelings in the reader. From the classic Frankenstein to The Blob of unknown origins, from the resurrected dead to the mad protagonist who never dies.

The stories in the horror genre make the nightmares of our childhood real by describing the horrific and shocking details in a way that bends them into a plausible scenario.

It has several subgenres including the following:

Aliens: which may also overlap with science fiction.

Creepy Kids: Involves possessed, ghostly or dead children.

Cross Genre: Horror that contains major elements of other genres.

Cutting Edge: Usually associated with graphic novels.

Dark Fantasy: Is the companion to human evil and strife, instead of monsters.

Dark Fiction: This is a term used in the horror genre to market stories without using the term HORROR.

Erotic: Horror that usually contains violent sexual elements.

Extreme (splatterpunk, grindhouse or visceral): 
When thinking of this subgenre think Texas Chainsaw massacre. It intends to be bloody and gross.

Fabulist: horror emphasizes stories in a specific place or old-fashioned style.

Gothic (English gothic, southern gothic): 
This subgenre is written in a ‘literary’ style such as much of Edgar Allen Poe’s work.

Haunting: Have you ever seen a ghost? You will find them in this subgenre.

Holocaust: tales involve mass deaths, or a near-future apocalyptic plague, whether past or future.

Humorous horror: The Macabre in parody such as the Munster’s.

Paranormal: These are stories that describe the battle against the evil supernatural.

Rampant Animals: Horror containing animals: birds, dogs, giant ants, etc.

Rampant Technology: Horror where machines take over.

Supernatural (demons, zombies, etc.): 
Stories of monsters persistent on consuming the lives of mankind.

Be scared, be very scared!

Rory C. Keel

Where do you belong?


Where do you belong?

Where does your writing fit in the world of genre?

A genre is a “category” of literature or other forms of art and culture. Knowing the answer to this question will be a great benefit in every area of your writing.

Here is a list of the major writing genres: children, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, short fiction, thriller, westerns, young adults, mainstream, nonfiction. Within each of these groups there are multiple sub-genres.

You will find that your thoughts will be more focused when you write if you understand the genre where your project best fits. You will also have a greater chance of success when seeking the proper agent for representation. Remember that not all agents represent every genre. When submitting your work directly, choose a publisher that best fits your writing. Research the company to understand what genre they represent to ensure greater chances of publication.

To help you discover which Genre fits your writing best, we will explore each category in future weekly blog posts.

Rory C. Keel

The Genre Wardrobe


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Genre Wardrobe

 Standing in front of the mirror I adjust the lapel of my jacket. This outfit is a little too professional. I take the jacket off and change from stilettos to loafers. Now it looks a little on the casual side. So I change the slacks for a skirt and put on a pair of boots. Now I look a little flouncy. I change the skirt to jeans, the blouse to a button up shirt and go back to the loafers. Now I look comfortable but fairly dressy. So I change the loafers to sandals and the shirt to a t-shirt.

The point is that changing from one genre to another is as simple as changing the style of outfit. You start with a basic plot story—main character with a goal, arch enemy throwing obstacles at the main character, and a conclusion of win it all or lose it all. To make it look like a certain genre you simply change an element or add a twist.

If you want romance, add attraction that cannot be ignored. If you want science fiction, add outer space and aliens or futuristic elements. If you want horror, add fear and blood. If you want western, horses and cattle and American wilderness are what you need. And if you want fantasy, you need magic. There’s even a genre called “main stream” for stories that don’t fit anywhere else. And it has become popular to mix the genres so that you get things like paranormal romance, psychological thriller, historical fiction.

So here’s your assignment for the week. Take one of your favorite fairy tales and dress it up in a different genre. You should get some surprising results.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle