Tag Archives: Writing

Judgement – There’s No Escape

Everyone at some point in their life will be wrongly judged by someone. It might be a random thought in a stranger’s head when they glanced at you in passing that you never knew about. It might be from people that knew you once upon a time and can’t see that you’re different now because of the passage of time and experience. It might be from people who know you merely in passing, but think they know who you are even though they’ve never had a real conversation with you. It might be because you won’t bend to someone else’s will and stand up for yourself, your life, and your priorities. Or it might be from random people because of your job, your skin tone, or some other stupid superficial crap.

None of those judgements have anything to do with you. They’re all about other people being their asshole selves because they suffer from deep insecurities or fears.

I’m the recipient of a lot of judgements, unfortunately.

Why?

I’m odd, silly, and strange. I love to spend time alone. I’m a horror author. Add to that I’m a woman who goes against the grain of most social norms (Aquarius & INTJ = me). You could say it’s in my nature to stand out…and be proud of the fact I’m different.

Most of the people I really like, love those things about me. And I love the interesting quirks that make them, them. Honestly, I get along with most people because I like diversity. I find people different than myself insanely interesting.

I’ve found that about 98% of the people who don’t like me are women I stand up to. They’re women who have tried to manipulate or control me mentally or emotionally and I simply wouldn’t allow it. Not doing what other people want and not being the person other people think you should be is wrong, I guess, because it has always made me the bitch. I could literally compile a list of about a hundred or more people I’ve come across in some aspect of my life that could fit into the category of “manipulative controller” that lash out when they don’t get their way.

I’ve never regretted standing up to those people. If standing up for myself makes me a bitch, then a bitch I am.

Then, add in the judgements I receive because I’m a horror author… I’m an author of dark fiction, zombie fiction, thrillers, and suspense. I write stuff that haunts people’s nightmares.

Because of this, some people think I’m a bad or twisted person.

I’ve had people introduce me as the person who writes weird or strange stuff. I’ve been told I can’t come to certain community events as a vendor because the content of my books is too dark. I could go on and on about the prejudice against what I write and me because I write it.

Usually, overall, judgements don’t bother me. I really don’t care what people think of me. But, I’m human, so sometimes it annoys me or hurts.

Darkness is part of life, and you can’t have light without darkness. Everyone has darkness and light inside them. Most people deny the dark part of themselves because they believe it makes them bad. I embrace mine and use it in a creative manner for entertainment. Writing is my therapy.

I give my light to my family and I give my darkness to my creativity.

I’m balanced.

I’m happy.

And I’m okay with who I am no matter what other people think.

I hope you are too! But if you’re not, I hope this post makes you feel less alone when you stand against the judgement of others.

When and if you do find yourself at the receiving end of judgement, remember…people who judge you are assholes suffering from deep insecurities or fears. Don’t let them bring you down.

 

©Rebecca Besser, 2017. All rights reserved.

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What is Horror? by Rebecca Besser

What is Horror?

By Rebecca Besser

 

If you do some research on what horror is, you’ll discover horror is the revulsion one feels when something terrible happens. That it follows terror, which is the anxiety and anticipation of something bad about to happen.

“The difference between Terror and Horror is the difference between awful apprehension and sickening realization: between the smell of death and stumbling against a corpse.” – Devendra Varma in The Gothic Flame (1966).

There are many vehicles in which horror is found: film, literature, art, etc. All of which use a mixture of terror and horror elements.

When people hear the word horror, they generally think about creatures such as vampires, zombies, demons, and other monsters. They also think about blood, pain, misery, and torture – psychological horror. The common denominator in all horror is death.

Death is the most terrifying thing that anyone can face – either their own demise or of someone they care about. Often, even a stranger’s death, seen up close, can impact someone in ways they never dreamed possible; it forces them to face the fact that they will die someday and there is nothing they can do about it.

Death, and what leads to death, scares everyone in some way whether they realize it or not. That’s the base root of all horror. Terror is what we feel leading up to the death we know is coming and horror is what we face when we are toe to toe with death.

What form of death scares you the most? Chances are that’s the kind of horror you like to experience the most, because it gives you that thrill of terror and most satisfying horror moments as it all pans out.

©Rebecca Besser, 2015 & 2017. All rights reserved.

Horror Writing – Housing Demons

We all have darkness inside us. We all have demons spawned from scars on our souls. While most people run from the evidence of brokenness, damage, and pain, horror writers face it. We’ll sit and talk to our demons, daring our minds to push against that barrier inside – that once breached – would lead to our own personal insanity.

But, you have to keep in mind, to have darkness you also have to have light. There are no shadows to hide in if there is not first that light to cast them in their grotesque glory.

Follow my mind and thoughts for a moment… Light casts shadows using objects. The shadows sometimes show the shape of the innocent object, but other times, the shadows are twisted and warped to the point of not being recognizable. That’s where our demons – the ones inside we talk to – want to live. We have to make them a home so we can stay sane for a while longer.

A horror writer is the light, searching for just the right angle to produce the warped and twisted shadows to make you think and wonder. The objects can be anything from people we encounter on a day to day basis or just random thoughts or things we run across.

A horror writer’s job is to face the demons inside and look for the shadows they want to live in. We give them a life outside ourselves in stories – the shadows we create. We give them somewhere to live and breathe so they’ll leave us alone for a time.

That’s what we do…we create the horror and unleash the demons.

rebecca-besser-bloody-horror-banner

©Rebecca Besser, 2013 & 2017. All rights reserved.

Guest Jay Wilburn – Writing What Speaks to You

“Writing What Speaks to You”

by Jay Wilburn

 

We’re supposed to write what we know. All my stories would be about being a teacher, stocking shelves at a Wal-Mart, cooking at Waffle House, or watching Internet porn. I’d have no alien or zombie stories unless it was about a teacher being abducted or eaten. In most of my teacher stories, the principal ends up dying. I’m sure there is nothing to that though.

To be fair, that advice mainly refers to using what you know to fill out the believable sections of your story to make the extraordinary seem more grounded. It means to not overlook the stuff you do know as good pieces for story. If you live in a small, Southern town, consider writing your hardboiled crime novel set there instead of a more traditional city setting you’ve never visited. If you don’t know anything about police procedure, you can research, interview, and extrapolate. Or you can pull the story into the lives of the cop’s quirky Southern family which you do have extensive knowledge of. We each have corresponding equivalents to these setting, job, and environment elements that can serve a story in ways that all the outside research in the world may not touch on in the same visceral way. The details you know how to communicate from having your hands and teeth on it for a number of years dig down into a readers heart in a different way.

Better than writing what we know may be writing what we feel. This could still be writing what you know, but I think it goes to a bone level knowledge. Writing about pain, loss, or what you fear is more powerful than extrapolating those feelings from the outside. Those feelings can be overlaid on other situations or lives in a story in a way that convinces the reader that the characters are feeling something real and bigger than the flat page.

This can then be taken to writing what you actually care about. I taught elementary and middle school for a combined sixteen years before taking the leap to being a full time writer. Teaching kids to write is a monumental task. Beyond the nuts and bolts of letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs is getting to any level of content. Then, it was back to words, sentences, and paragraphs formed in any intelligible way. I’d spend forever pulling any level of substance out of them, then we edit, then we revise, and then we rewrite, then we repeat, and then we publish by stapling their one or two paragraphs of contrived writing on the bulletin board. Or I could make them mad about something and they would write me angry volumes that we just had to organize into sentences and paragraphs.

The same is still largely true of adult writers of every stripe. The trick as adult, professional, fiction writers is to write about what we care about in a subtle way that does not come off as preaching a sermon. Unless you are actually writing a sermon, but even then subtlety and the art of building a strong argument serve well too.

I started out writing about zombies. I actually started as a kid writing crappy fantasy and sci fi knock off stories on notebook paper that I seldom finished and never let anyone read. My pro career started with zombies. My first check for writing read in the memo line “PAYMENT FOR ZOMBIES.” Those still may be some of the most beautiful words in the English language. I still rank I Love You very highly, but Payment For Zombies is very special to me on an individual, personal level.

I moved away from zombies as my writing career progressed. I had no shame in them and jumped on writing a story about them every time an opportunity presented itself. I was just looking for other work and other tones to my voice. In the process, I think my zombie stories got better and started getting more attention. I started using tricks from other genre’s tool boxes and created better and more creative stories in every genre I explored.

“Dead Song” came out of that wild exploration. The short story is a weird, little anti story that drew some serious attention. I took another look at it and decided there was a lot of untold story behind it. I very quickly discovered that there were connections in the tale that I had not considered. I started book one of the Dead Song Legend thinking the whole epic tale would be one, stand-alone novel. After the first couple chapters, I thought I was dealing with a trilogy. After a couple more chapters, I stopped again and outlined out the entire span of the Legend, if I were to tell it in its entirety and I came up with twelve books.

I finished and published book one along with the five song soundtrack. Both are linked below.

The book deals with drag queens, zombies, music, family lost, family chosen, and identity. Tiny Jones is a gay man that ends up with multiple identities he chooses for himself or that are partially chosen for him. Almost every character in the story goes by a stage name – an apocalypse name. They all have different reasons for hiding or reinventing their identities. Identity is what we share with people about ourselves, but it is also what we hide.

The relationship between Tiny and Satch in the story represents every relationship from family to friends to more. They reveal and hide. They push and pull. They are stronger and weaker together. Their lives and relationship impact the lives and relationships around them. They deal with a world that in some cases has stripped away problems around race and sexual orientation because of a focus on survival. In other cases, the thin, social parameters that held some of those prejudices in check have been stripped away and they are more raw and less confined. Through it all, they find life between the music people still write, play, sing, and perform when they want to do more than just survive.

All of these issues speak to me as a writer, as a reader, and just as a person. The Dead Song Legend is the story that speaks to me. It is the story that sings to me.

 

Check out the latest book and music from a new series by Jay Wilburn:

Dead Song Book 1 final cover

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00YDZKXCI/jaywil0d-20

Dead song book 1 CD Cover Idea-001

The Sound May Suffer – Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/amazing-circle-of-suffering/id996569862?i=996569871&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Author Jay Wilburn

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

© Jay Wilburn. All rights reserved.

Oh, I swear! – An Article about Swearing in Writing by Rebecca Besser

Oh, I Swear!

By Rebecca Besser

            Recently, in a group I’m in on Facebook, someone brought up the topic of personal religious beliefs and swearing in writing based on a person’s moral standards. Being a Christian myself, I chimed in on the discussion, explaining the only way an author would be swearing, and that it’s separate from that of a character.

Let me explain… One must understand that the only time the author would be swearing in fiction would be in the narration. The only way there should ever be swearing in narration is if it is from the point of view of a character who is prone to that kind of behavior.

Swearing in dialogue is the character swearing, not the author. The reason characters swear is to make them seem like real people. Real people swear. For example, if a character is a drug dealer, the character would have to swear or they would be unbelievable to the reader. Or, there might be brief measure of swearing by a character when they’re startled or afraid. Even if you were writing a pious character, something along the lines of a swear word might slip out of their mouth when something happens that warrants it. This makes them human, because even human beings with the best intentions make mistakes.

To force your personal beliefs onto every character you write is impossible and wrong. Each character should take on its own personality and they should have a different background (usually) than the author. If not, the author’s characters would be bland and boring. Life is diverse. Writing life calls for diversity in characters, beliefs, and actions. You can’t live is a tiny little box of your own right and wrong and write something that’s going to touch people. If that’s your goal, you need to switch to nonfiction – you’ll be better off there.

There’s also another aspect to the swear word issue that gets complicated in the “swearing” area: culture. What is a swear word in one culture isn’t necessarily a swear word in another. All words are words, and your cultural-base decides which words are “bad” words. So…no words are really bad. What makes a word bad (or a swear word) is the implied and perceived meaning of that word to the people of different cultures. If you think about it that way, no words are bad or swear words. That puts an entirely new spin on the issue, doesn’t it?

Personally, I do include moderate swearing in my writing – in character dialogue. Swearing happens whether people want it to or not, so use it where it’s appropriate and moderate the rest. Let’s all be human – authors and characters – unless, of course, you’re writing aliens.

*Note: This article was previous published in Rebecca Besser’s Newsletter and guested blogged on Mark Malatesta’s Blog.*

©Rebecca Besser, 2015. All rights reserved.

Guest Post by Jay Wilburn

Author Jay Wilburn

Write Everything if You Want to be Long Winded

 by Jay Wilburn

 

I appreciate the opportunity to muck up Besser’s blog. As I write this I am currently involved in the Winter of Zombie blog tour. I’m pushing my short story collection, ZOMBIES BELIEVE IN YOU and a short story I have in ZOMBIES: MORE RECENT DEAD with Prime Books. Links to those books are at the end of this post.

I’m also doing NaNoWriMo trying to produce the first book of what will end up being an ongoing zombie series. I’m knocking out and starting freelance and ghostwriting jobs hoping to catch up on rent. I’m also joining Richard Chizmar over at Cemetery Dance in his project of rereading all of Stephen King’s work. In my version of the #StephenKingRevisited challenge, I am rereading all of Stephen King’s novels in the order that they were published. I’m hoping to learn something about long fiction through this process. I will blog before and after each book with what I pick up from this experience for those who are interested. I will also link to Chizmar’s posts on the official site and Bev Vincent’s brief history posts he is writing for Chizmar as he reads each book. You can get to those from my link in the next paragraph.

Here is the first blog post in my #StephenKingRevisited series – BEFORE CARRIE. From there you can click through the others: http://jaywilburn.com/stephen-king-revisited-before-carrie-stephenkingrevisited/

Here is my opening post for NaNoWriMo on starting my Dead Song series: http://jaywilburn.com/the-one-trick-pony-rides-again-for-nanowrimo/

I don’t know what I am doing. I am struggling to put together the word counts that I used to produce somewhat naturally. Some of that is due to struggling with my health. Some of it is being up in my head instead of just producing on the page. The rest of it is doubts about my ability to keep doing what I am doing.

The title of this post comes from Becca giving me free reign to unload on all of it, so here it is. As I fall short a few days on NaNoWriMo, I’m looking at drafting for a few days without tracking the word count. I will then look at the end of the week and see how “just writing” has worked for me.

I don’t think it is writer’s block. I also hold to the new philosophy that writer’s block is just fear and doubt translated into inaction. My job and identity are as a writer. I decided that before I was making a living at it. Now that I’m seeing a bit of success at that I seem to be trying to balk with doubts of my own ability.

Time to just write.

Here is Zombies Believe In You:

ebook:

http://www.amazon.com/Zombies-Believe-You-Jay-Wilburn-ebook/dp/B00LM9CIVM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415237789&sr=8-1&keywords=zombies+believe+in+you

paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/Zombies-Believe-In-You-Collection/dp/061595460X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1415237789&sr=8-2&keywords=zombies+believe+in+you

 

Here is Zombies: More Recent Dead:

ebook:

http://www.amazon.com/Zombies-More-Recent-Paula-Guran-ebook/dp/B00MG5IUXG/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415237995&sr=1-1&keywords=zombies+more+recent+dead

paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/Zombies-More-Recent-Mike-Carey/dp/1607014335/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415237995&sr=1-1&keywords=zombies+more+recent+dead

audio:

http://www.amazon.com/Zombies-More-Recent-Dead/dp/B00N9D40DS/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1415237995

 

©Jay Wilburn, 2014. All right reserved.

Horror Writing – Housing Demons

We all have darkness inside us. We all have demons spawned from scars on our souls. While most people run from the evidence of brokenness, damage, and pain, horror writers face it. We’ll sit and talk to our demons, daring our minds to push against that barrier inside – that once breached – would lead to our own personal insanity.

But, you have to keep in mind, to have darkness you also have to have light. There are no shadows to hide in if there is not first that light to cast them in their grotesque glory.

Follow my mind and thoughts for a moment… Light casts shadows using objects. The shadows sometimes show the shape of the innocent object, but other times, the shadows are twisted and warped to the point of not being recognizable. That’s where our demons – the ones inside we talk to – want to live. We have to make them a home so we can stay sane for a while longer.

A horror writer is the light, searching for just the right angle to produce the warped and twisted shadows to make you think and wonder. The objects can be anything from people we encounter on a day to day basis or just random thoughts or things we run across.

A horror writer’s job is to face the demons inside and look for the shadows they want to live in. We give them a life outside ourselves in stories – the shadows we create. We give them somewhere to live and breathe so they’ll leave us alone for a time.

That’s what we do…we create the horror and unleash the demons.

rebecca-besser-bloody-horror-banner

©Rebecca Besser, 2013. All rights reserved.