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How to Foreshadow Like Alfred Hitchcock


“If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.” —Anton Chekhov This quote by Chekhov is the basis of foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is a literary device that allows you to plant clues, hint at what’s to come, build the tension, or even place a red herring in your reader’s path. You can use foreshadowing in a variety of ways. The resulting action can be immediate or delayed. You can use dialogue or narrative to set the scene, and you can foreshadow a symbolic event or an ethical dilemma. You can use direct or indirect foreshadowing, and it can even be true or false. Foreshadowing can feed the tension of a sce...
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Halloween Short Story – All…Fall…Down!


According to Wikipedia, Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a spooky celebration observed annually on October 31st – the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day. It is believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain; that such festivals may have had pagan roots; and that Samhain itself was Christianized as Halloween by the early Church. Some believe, however, that Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday, separate from ancient festivals like Samhain. Halloween act...
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Celebrating Perseverance in the Writing Community


Today I am happy to be part of Writers Persevere!, an event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their release of their newest book , The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward. Because Angela and Becca have spent the last year exploring painful human struggles, they wanted to highlight a very important aspect of overcoming difficult circumstances: it can make us stronger. I promised to let Angela hijack my blog today, so please read on! ***** Hi everyone! When you set...
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Eight Writing Strategies From Stephen King

The Haunted Pen - Eight Writing Strategies From Stephen King
Picture – http://www.guardian.com Stephen King is one of the most prolific and commercially successful authors of the past half century, with more than 70 books of horror, science fiction, and fantasy to his name. Estimates put the total sales of his books at between 300 and 350 million copies. 16 years ago, King shared everything he knows about writing in a book that instantly became a bestseller: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Part memoir, part codification of his best writing strategies, the book has become a classic among writers. You don’t have to be a fan of King’s writing to appreciate the wisdom within the pages of this book. Nor do you have to be a novelist: The book has highly ...
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Five Tips for Writing a Horror Story by H.P. Lovecraft


Though the term “weird fiction” came into being in the 19th century – originally used by Irish gothic writer Sheridan Le Fanu – it was picked up by H.P. Lovecraft in the 20th century as a way, primarily, of describing his own work. He also wrote in depth about writing itself. He did so in generally prescriptive ways, as in his 1920 essay “ Literary Composition ,” and in ways specific to his chosen mode – as in the 1927 “ Supernatural Horror in Literature ,” in which he defined weird fiction very differently than Le Fanu or modern authors like China Miéville. For Lovecraft: “The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to...
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Scenes From The Haunted Camera – Part Three

The Haunted Pen - Duck River Cemetery
This may seem strange to some people, but historic graveyards can be very photogenic locations offering myriad combinations of history and atmosphere. I don’t consider old graveyards to be spooky, haunting or intimidating. I find they stir strong emotions. Some tombstones are works of art with ornate and lavish sculptures. Or they’re eye-catching due to their design, carvings or lettering. Many older gravestones and statues have a weathered look fashioned by centuries of exposure to the elements. Show the location the utmost respect – this is someone’s final resting place, somewhere sacred. Graveyards represent lives, history and often sorrow. It’s not my intention to talk about my photograp...
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Flash Fiction – The Divine Darkness

The Haunted Pen - The Divine Darkness
The basis of this piece of speculative fiction is a section of text I originally wrote for my short story entitled “Killed By Death.” Reading through the finished first draft, it didn’t really fit into the story but was something I could work on again in the future. I’ve been spending a lot of time recently researching a long-term writing project but also missed the writing process and producing something new. I took the 400 or so words and developed them into “The Divine Darkness.” The antagonist is a fictional demonic entity named “Cizasias.” I hope to develop this character and story further in the future. Anyone who’s a regular reader of my blog posts (or who knows me) will know I’m a bi...
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13 Tortured Tips for Writing a Short Horror Story

The Haunted Pen - 13 Tortured Tips for Writing a Short Horror Story
Are you looking to give your readers the heebie-jeebies with a great short horror story? Writing horror is exciting and enjoyable, so look no further my sick little puppies. Listed below you’ll find 13 tried-and-tested tips for creating ferocious fiction and tales that traumatize. Good luck and, most of all, have fun doing it! “Horror fiction has traditionally dealt in taboo. It speaks of death, madness and transgression of moral and physical boundaries. It raises the dead to life and slaughters infants in their cribs; it makes monsters of household pets and begs our affection for psychos. It shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on ...
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My Writing Month – April 2017

The Haunted Pen - Two Minutes to Midnight
As I mentioned in my March update, I was about to start a new piece of flash fiction entitled “Two Minutes to Midnight.” I’m happy to announce that it’s finished and can be read on the website HERE . The original influence for the story came from a “The Twilight Zone” episode called “You Drive.” The show was about a nervous and distracted man whose mind is not on his driving. As a result, he slams his 1956 Ford Fairlane into a young boy delivering newspapers on a bicycle, injuring him seriously enough that the boy dies. The man stops, but instead of offering aid, hurries away from the scene. A short time later, the car takes on a mind of its own and rebels against its owner. When he goes nea...
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Flash Fiction – Two Minutes to Midnight


Chuck Foster sat alone in his darkened living room – an empty shell lost in a raging sea of thought. His mouth was dry, he tasted stale booze and vomit. His head spun like a plate on a stick in a circus act. He had been slumped in the same chair for more than three hours, a faithful bourbon bottle his only companion. Bad things happen when you push your luck, and I pushed mine too far… The accident earlier in the evening played over and over in his mind mimicking a terrible home video, an endless reminder. Morose, he drank another glass, followed by another, then passed out. Click here to read Two Minutes to Midnight in full. Original link
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The folk horror of Piedmontese Neogothic

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Folk Horror. Apparently the tag was coined by Mark Gatiss in 2010, and used to describe a certain genre of very British horror movies that focused on the countryside, its people and its folklore, its legends and superstitions. The three movies that form the core of the genre are Michael Reeves’ historically accurate nightmare Witchfinder General (1968), Piers Haggard’s delicately-titled The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) and Robin Hardy’s classic The Wicker Man (1973). A lot of stuff follows, including some of the things that creeped me out the most when I was a kid, to wit Children of the Stones, a rather scary 1977 occult serial from ITV. It was supposed to be kid’s entertainment, but boy wa...
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Horror in Large Doses


  Ah, the horror story. Even short stories and novellas have the ability to scare the living daylights out of us, and keep most people awake long into the night. Who among us is immune to the effects of a well written psychologically terrorizing tale?   Get Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Vol 4 on Amazon Like other genres, horror has evolved over the years since the century changed. Books that once relied on slash and gore have become the minority in this genre, with authors preferring to delve into the psychology of terror. In other words, your favorite author might just use your very overactive imagination to scare you.   Excerpt   Sleep is impossible after reading these eig...
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F is for Freddy Krueger #AtoZChallenge

f
For the A to Z Challenge , I have chosen the theme of antagonists. On my normal blogging days, Monday – parenting and Thursday – writing/publishing, I will tie that day’s topic to antagonists but on the other days (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), I will write about antagonists from movies, TVs or books. On Wednesdays, my Quote of the Week will be from an antagonist that matches the letter of the day. Enjoy.  F is for Freddy Krueger, the serial killer antagonist of the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series. He first appeared in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). He uses a glove armed with razors to kill his victims in their dreams which results in their deaths in the real worl...
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Character Traits – Eisoptrophobia


Eisoptrophobia is the abnormal and persistent fear of mirrors or of seeing one’s reflection in a mirror. The word originates from the Greek “eis” (into) and “optikos” (vision, image, sight). Other English words derived from “optikos” include “optic” (relating to vision) and “optician,” a technician who designs eyeglasses according to a prescription. A person who … More Character Traits – Eisoptrophobia Original link
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80 years with and without Lovecraft


Today is the 80th anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft’s death. I think I read all of the Gentleman’s stories, multiple times, and I liked them quite a bit. I discovered HPL in high school, when I was reading all the fantasy and SF and horror (but not much horror) I could lay my hands on. Then I re-read it while in university, back when all of a sudden HPL was starting to make the news, to be critically appreciated. And I still read some of his better stories now and then, for nostalgia’s sake. Now, according to a sort of scientific study I did with my old friend Fabrizio, the Lovecraftian reader’s evolution goes through three phases: Phase 1 – enthusiasm: when you first discover the writings of H....
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Local Opportunities – Don’t Overlook Them!


Guest Post by Tam May When I knew I wanted to become a self-published author rather than go the traditional route, I started doing my homework researching the process. I knew promotion and marketing my work would be a challenge. I read articles and books on the subject, gathering information about the options available, everything … More Local Opportunities – Don’t Overlook Them! Original link
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My Writing Month – February 2017


Progress on my latest short story, Killed by Death, has been a little slower than I had originally hoped. However, I do have a very good reason for this. I took a little time away from physically writing to refine the storyline, making a few changes here and there that, I believe, will improve the … More My Writing Month – February 2017 Original link
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Open Invitation for Guest Blog Posts


The Haunted Pen Wants YOU! Are you a writer? Do you have a blog? Do you need help sharing your book or story with more people? Do you have a new book or story you want to promote? Would you like another stop on your blog tour? Would you like to increase your author platform? … More Open Invitation for Guest Blog Posts Original link
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