Category Archives: horror

screenwriting time!

This is one of the screenplays I wrote for class this term. I got an A so it can’t be too bad. Some of it is a bit vague, but I’m working on it. I’m thinking about turning this into a regular short story. What do ya’ll think?

The format is off for this because I’m copying out of a pdf… but you should get the jist of it:

Dark Hearts
By
Sherri Jordan-Asble

EXT. CASTLE NIGHT
A massive castle reaches up into the darkening sky.

INT. KITCHEN NIGHT
A huge old fashioned kitchen is empty in the dark. The
floors and counters are stone and a huge chandelier hangs
above. There is a doorway on one side and an old wooden door
on the other. The door creaks open to a descending stair
case. PENELOPE slowly walks up the stairs to the kitchen and
looks around. She is wearing a long dress with a tight
bodice. Her hair is blond curls. She looks like a doll.

PENELOPE
James? James? Where is my
breakfast?

CAMERON appears as a dark figure in the opposite doorway.
Then, his figure solidifies as he steps into the kitchen. He
is wearing riding boots that end at his knees and a buttoned
up shirt, open at the collar, tucked in to leather pants.
His eyes and hair are dark, and the look on his face is
angry and heated.

PENELOPE
Cameron! How did you get here.

As Cameron becomes more visible and steps closer to
Penelope, blood can be seen on his face and hands.

PENELOPE
Bastard! What did you to to James?

CAMERON
(laughing)
I’ve come for you, sister.

Penelope grabs a knife from a counter and lunges toward
Cameron. He dodges out of her way easily and grabs her.
Penelope fights him, but he throws her to the stone floor.
He is on top of her and then he leans up, baring fangs as if
he is going to bight her.

Penelope looks over his shoulder to the chandelier above. It
starts to shake, and then crashes on them. Penelope
immediately shoves Cameron off of her, the chandelier pieces
shatter on the floor. She struggles to her feet and runs
through the doorway he had come through.

Cameron stands up, brushing glass from his clothing and then
chases after her with a wicked smile on his face.

INT. BALL ROOM NIGHT
Penelope races into the ballroom. It is lit only with a few
candles posted around the room and in wall sconces. The
light of the moon shines in through windows at the top of
tall walls that stretch into an arching dome overhead. The
center of the room is a wooden dance floor. Along the edges
of the room, carpeted areas wrap around the floor. Chairs
line the outer edges of the room.

Penelope grabs one of the chairs and turns to slam it into
Cameron just as he is grabbing for her. Cameron barely
flinches, but the chair crumbles, leaving pieces of it in
her hands that now resemble stakes. Cameron steps back from
her, as Penelope swings the wildly at Cameron.

CAMERON
You are going to hurt yourself with
those.

PENELOPE
No, I’m going to kill you.
Penelope lunges in with a stake, stabbing at Cameron. She
manages to hit him with the stake, but it is far from a
crippling blow. Cameron grabs the stakes, throwing them away
and back hands Penelope. She flies across the room and into
the wall.

CAMERON
This house and everything in it are
mine. That includes you, and you
know it. Why keep fighting it?
She shakes herself off and runs down another hallway.

Cameron again follows after her.

EXT. A LONG BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO SECTIONS OF THE CASTLE
The drop off from the bridge is massive. The moon is high
over head. Penelope is running across the bridge.

CAMERON
Stop. I mean it. The more you fight
me the harder this is going to
be… on you.

Penelope stops and turns to face Cameron. They are on either
side of the bridge.

PENELOPE
Brother, evil posses you. Have you
no heart left? Why can’t you just
leave me alone. I’ll never serve
you.

CAMERON
My heart? Evil? Morals and laws are
meant for lessor beings, sister.
The do not apply to me.

Penelope runs toward Cameron, faster than before, she’s
almost a blur. She slams her shoulder into him and he falls
back. She grabs him and shoves him over the side of the
bridge. The railing crumbles as she watches him fall. Her
shoulders and body visibly relax.

PENELOPE
That’s way too much evil for one
man.

Beneath the bridge, there is movement. Something dark is
swirling around. A massive cloud of bats flies up out of the
darkness. They have Cameron at their center. They swirl
around him, and he rises into the air, higher than the
bridge. Penelope watches, astonished, as Cameron and the
bats become one. His laughter rings out in the night, and
then he lands on the bridge, Penelope turns and watches. The
bats fly toward the moon and disappear into the night sky.
He is taller than before and his eyes are glowing red.

CAMERON
I am not so easily killed. I have
more power than you can imagine,
Penelope.

PENELOPE
I see.

Penelope falls to her knees, her skirt wrapping around her
legs. She puts her hands on her lap, palms up.

PENELOPE
I give up.

CAMERON
I knew you would. I knew you would
give in when you saw just how
powerful I am. You can’t run. You
can’t fight this. You’re mine now,
sister.

PENELOPE
Yes. Yes, Cameron. I’m yours. You
were right.

Penelope lifts her arms slightly, inviting him to her.
Cameron takes the few steps to close the distance and grabs
her, lifting her to her feet. He leans in and kisses her. He
kisses down her neck, touching her hair. He is lost in her
for the moment.

Penelope bares fangs and sinks them into Cameron’s neck. He
screams, but she has a strong hold on him. As she drains
him, she becomes stronger and he becomes weaker until she is
holding him up. Blood is squirting out and down her dress.
She finally pulls back and looks at him. Cameron is now just
a husk.

PENELOPE
Yes. That is too much power for
someone as weak as you. You can’t
handle it.

CAMERON
(barely able to speak)
Why?

PENELOPE
I can handle it, because I know
that with that kind of power comes
responsibility. It is morals and laws that
keep us sane.

Penelope reaches out a hand and a long piece of wood appears
in it. She stabs Cameron in the chest. This time her aim is
perfect and he dissolves to dust.

Penelope slides back to the ground. Blood and tears cover
her face.

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Vampire Novel??

href=”https://rubiconwriting.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/draculaffcmina.jpg”>draculaffcminaDracula is the father of the vampire novel, but he is not the first vampire in literature. Gothic writing was established in the 1800’s as a dark genre with uncanny events and dramatic writing, and gave birth to modern horror and the vampire novel. The history of the gothic genre can be traced back to at least 1764 with The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (Gothic).

From this genre came forth many different varieties of themes including the vampire. The first vampire to appear in literature may have been John Polidori’s The Vampyre; A Tale from 1819, which was followed in 1872 by a short story “Carmilla” published in the collection called In a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. At the heart of both of these tales are remote locations and some sort of mystery around the vampire. Both characteristics can also be found in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” may have even been a strong influence on Stoker as it was the first vampire story by an Irish writer (Miller, 107). Le Fanu’s work is said to consist of psychological tortures, “…his [Le Fanu’s] conscience-spawned specters show us for the first time the ghost of the mind, which is yet, disquietingly, sometimes seen by others too, so that at the end we know not for certain whether the tormenting spirit comes from within or without (Miller, 107).” Many authors such as Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, and Mary Shelley, etc… gave us writings that shaped the feel of gothic and vampire literature defining the genre as having characteristics of, “vigorous villains, helpless heroines of surpassing beauty and unsullied virtue, and dashing heroes of limp imagination and questionable intelligence (Miller, 105).” However, other authors such as Le Fanu and Edgar Allen Poe gave us the psychological horror, and any of these characteristics of traditional gothic were present in Dracula (Miller, 103-106).

Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897, and the novel became the father of all vampires in literature, solidifying its place in Western culture (Miller, xv). There has been much controversy, however, on the quality of Stoker’s writing, and Bela Lugosi’s 1931 portrayal of the count has done far more for establishing the novel as a classic than Stoker’s writing necessarily does (Miller, xv). Regardless, thousands of vampire stories and novels have since been written with varying degrees of success since Dracula was published demonstrating the lasting impression of the vampire villain (Stoker, xix).

Above all, the vampire was if not created, then developed in Stoker’s Dracula. The vampire comes from a long folklore tradition over multiple cultures of the undead, “a corpse that returns from the grave to suck the blood of the living (Miller, 29).” The blood sucking is extremely significant in the legends and for Dracula. “Likewise, many cultures fetishize blood as a symbol of life and prohibit its ingestion or use,” thus an undead being sucking the blood of the living is a taboo, it goes against the beliefs of society in the most extreme manner making the vampire the ultimate villain (Miller, 29). This folklore can be traced back even into Babylonian cuneiform poems (Miller, 29). The traditions are rich and diverse across multiple cultures even to the Hindu goddess, Kali (Miller, 33). Stoker’s taking of these cultural evils creates the ultimate villain in the good versus evil plot. Further, the blood element adds to the psychological and uncanny elements of gothic literature.

In addition to being dead and drinking blood, the vampire has other features that add to the feel of the gothic novel. From Harker’s Journal we can deduce that Dracula had fangs, pale skin, a cold body, bad breath, hairy palms, and sharp fingernails (Melton, 197-198). Another feature was that the vampire cast no reflection in a mirror (Melton, 199). Other traits were that Harker never saw the count eat or drink and the count seemed to dislike garlic and crosses made of mountain ash (Melton, 199). Additionally, when Dracula confronted the vampire women, his eyes “became red with the flames of hell behind them (Melton, 199).” Ironically, however, the one typically vampiric trait that we normally see with vampire characters, not being able to go out into the sun, is not adhered to strictly in Dracula. While we do see the count sleeping in a coffin during the day, he is also seen several times out in the daylight (Stoker, 214-216). One such place is where Mina and Jonathan saw the Count in London. “…half in terror, half in amazement, he gazed at a tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard, who was also observing the pretty girl (215).” Jonathan reveals that the man is the count and was extremely distressed at the sighting (215-216).

Finally, we know that it is difficult to kill a vampire, and in Dracula Van Helsing and his troop killed Lucy with a stake, decapitated her, and put garlic in her mouth (presumably to keep her from coming back again) (Melton, 201). In future vampire writings these features have been mutated, but these same vampire characteristics are seen in some form repeatedly throughout the literary history. Even in the recently popular Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, although her vampires are very different than Dracula, they are still very difficult to kill, requiring decapitation and burning of all the vampire’s body parts (Meyers).

The gothic genre has grown since the time when Stoker wrote Dracula, and has evolved into what most people now call ‘horror.’ However, there is a difference in the two genres. Whereas horror is scary and may be full of the uncanny, it is also full of violence, blood, and gore. Gothic, on the other hand, is dark in nature and lends to the spooky or uncanny over violence. The scenes with blood and gore are limited and are included for the purpose of the story not vice versa. Thus the vampire has transgressed into horror, but Dracula is gothic and represents the classic traits associated with the gothic genre. Regardless of whether it is called horror or gothic, the vampire novel has been around for a long time, and will continue to keep readers engaged well into the future.dracula
___
“Gothic.” The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Credo Reference. Web. 28 May 2012.

Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book, The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Print

Miller, Elizabeth, ed. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. New York: Pegasus Books, LLC, 2009. Print.

Meyer, Stephanie, Twilight (The Twilight Saga. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005. Print.

Stoker, Bram. The Essential Dracula, The Definitive Annotated Edition of Bram Stoker’s Classic Novel. Ed. Leonard Wolf. 1975. New York: Penguin Group, 1993. Print.

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Who are you?

One of the most frustrating things I’m facing in my writing journey is naming my characters. I want the names to fit the character. Some times it comes to me quickly during my outlining stages. At other times, I’m frustrated.  The perfect name doesn’t want to come to me. I think this happens when I’m trying to write the story quicker than my brain wants to process.

In any event, here is a link to a blog with five tips for picking names. They are really good pointers to keep in mind:

http://voices.yahoo.com/five-tips-naming-characters-fiction-228710.html

Here is a slightly different take on naming that is entertaining to read. This one uses some great examples to emphasise important points and perhaps some inspiration can be gleaned:

http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/write18.htm

Finally, Writing World offers these tips. I particularly like the one about not using names that end in S. Also, there are some good points about considering how your character might translate on the back cover.

http://www.writing-world.com/romance/names.shtml

This last article also spells out some differences in naming in genre stories. I think that is important. I tend to write dark fantasy or urban fantasy and some of it is futuristic. You can have a lot more leeway in naming, but if the name is too far out, it isn’t effective within the story. There is a purpose to a name and whether the story is in modern-day real life setting or a futuristic alternate universe or another planet, it has to work in the story.

Ultimately, I want a name that fits the character, flows well, doesn’t end in S, and is just otherwise perfect for the story.

Yeah… easier said than done.  Time to put on my thinking cap and get creative.

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Integration?

Part of this new writing experiment I’ve been conducting this past year, is marketing myself and mywriting. So, I have this blog, a website, a Twitter Account, and a Facebook account. I’ve tried to give them all the same look/feel for consistency and branding. My problem is they don’t all look/feel the same and they don’t really represent my brand. I have the right ideas, but my execution is less than average.

In addition to all of that, I’m going to be shopping my new novel around to agents very soon, and I’d like to have a website and web presence that represents the novel. So, I need changes. Who knew there was so much to all this?

I just want to write stories…

Well, those days are over. Even if I get a decent book deal, I’m not kidding myself into thinking that I’m going to have much, if any, help in promoting it. So, I better start figuring out how I want to do this.

Suggestions? 

Here is what I know:

  1. It has to be dark, because I’m writing horror.
  2. It has to be original, or I won’t be taken seriously
  3. It has to look professional, see #2 above
  4. It has to represent my writing, see #1 and #2 above
  5. All my sites should look and feel the same (i.e. integration), again #2 above

I also know that it is important to build a following for my writing. As writers, we have to have people read our stories, or what’s the point. The internet can be an excellent tool for this. Now more than ever we have to opportunity to really reach out to the entire world like never before. So, I want to make sure I reach out in a manner that is consistent with my 5 rules above.

Here’s a site that seems to have really good ideas about linking your sites and promoting your work:  http://marketingforwriters.com/ The article mentions listing your blog/newsletter at online directories, but it didn’t provide any links to said directories. But, the ideas in the article make sense.

This one: http://www.marketingforwriters.org/ seems to have some great tools and articles.  There are marketing techniques, articles on using promotional items, and how to articles including a great one by Elizabeth Kirwin on How to Pitch a Story.

I’m happy there are so many great resources, but now I have tons more information to sort through – I have to integrate my resources before I can integrate my online presence!

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Query This?!!?

With my novel, Summer Blood, finally finished and sitting with my Alpha-Readers, I’ve decided to write a query letter to send out to potential agents. So, what goes in a query letter? How do I capture the attention of a good agent when I know 50,000,000+ other writers are trying to do the same thing? I have to stand out somehow, right?!

So, I google’d it. Of course…. I found a decent website right away. Thanks Google!

http://www.writing-world.com/basics/query.shtml

This site says there are five points to a good query. They are as follows:

  • The hook
  • The pitch
  • The body
  • The credentials
  • The close

I think the hook is the most important. If you don’t grab the agents attention in the first two sentences, I think you’re screwed. RIGHT~?!~!?

So, what’s my hook?  According to the writing-world website there are many ways to grab the agent’s attention, and many ways not to.  The “don’t do this” section seems pretty common sense to me. So, what about the “do this” part? None of these really work for me. These seem to be good ideas for non-fiction writing. But, I get the idea.

Be real, be interesting, but don’t come across like every other ding-dong writer begging for attention.  Then, the right agent will pick me!

Here’s my first paragraph:

Stories like True Blood and Twilight have been breathing life into the old classics making vampires HOT right now. My adult novel, Summer Blood, takes some elements of the classic vampire stories and adds new twists. These vampires leave blood, violence, and sex in their wake, and readers that love that will also love Summer Blood.

Does that grab your attention?

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My characters are hi-jacking my brain!

I just finished editing my first novel, Summer Blood, and I’m discovering that the characters are not finished with me!  I can’t stop thinking about them. When I drive to work in the morning, they start having conversations and doing things… I think that means I need a sequel… hmm.

It is an odd sensation. I thought I would be starting a new project by now, but I can’t let these guys go yet. Their story isn’t finished.

Summer Blood is about two wicked and powerful vampires that find love and their humanity when they kidnap a strangely attractive human – until their makers step in and change everything!

Gwinafel O’Dale is a sexy, flirty, and very tough vampire. She kicks ass or kisses it on her own whim.  She meets Tobia. He’s the broody dark one that hates himself.  Their relationship causes them to grow up a bit. She finds she can make a commitment past a few hours and he learns he doesn’t have to cast a gloomy shadow over everything in his life. Then they meet Matthew.

Matthew is an enigma. Gwinafel is drawn to him in a supernatural way… 

That’s all I get to tell you!!  I hate spoilers! But, I hope you’ll be interested in finding out more about these characters from the Desolate Incubus series. Summer Blood will be the 2nd installment.  I’m going to release Blood Pact, The Desolate Incubus Histories first.  

I had to cut a lot of juicy material out of Summer Blood, and it will end up in Blood Pact.  Yes, I do mean juicy!

So, I’m excited about these characters!  I hope others will be too… and I hope I can write enough about them so they’ll get out of my head.

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Death’s Hand – 5 stars!

Death’s Hand by SM Reine is packed full of action! I highly recommend it:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005WZKJN6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=smre03-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B005WZKJN6

I’ve read previous books by this author such as Six Moon Summer and All Hallows Moon.  I have a review of Six Moon Summer on my website:

http://sjordanasble.com/Books__Reviews___Links.html

Her previous books were really good, and Death’s Hand promised to be as well. The writing is impecable and the author’s style is easy to read. This is a very talented author and her new book Death’s Hand only proves it further! 

If you like hot chicks kicking ass then you are in for a treat. Reine tells a complete story in Death’s Hand while dropping hints of things to come. She doesn’t answer all the question and leaves possibilities out there. The heroine saves the day, but does she get to walk away with everything?

Her characters are compelling and interesting. You find yourself rooting for them as they push through the conflicts of the story line. Speaking of story line, WOW! This plot line is solid and interesting.  Take one ex-exoricist, one hunky witch of a partner, and a loyal best friend, then throw in the best friend’s hunky cousin and a couple of corpse-raising necromancers and see what you get… spicy, deadly fun! 

For more on SMReine: http://www.smreine.com/

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