Category: WIP Teasers
Coffin Hop | Something comes howling in the wind…
the gory details:
1) HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME!2) INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND SPREAD THE WORD!3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, October 24, 2011 at Midnight (PST)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 31, 2011 at Midnight (PST)
Winners will be drawn and posted November 1, 20114) MEET AND MINGLE WITH THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY SITE’S CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!
5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL SITES IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. THE MORE SITES YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME?***Authors have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this tour is subject to these rules***
My Contest – Prize Time
My next WIP is a psychological thriller and it involves psychological twists and a cold-blooded killer. This killer curdles my blood. Already the killer haunts my dreams. But the worst thing about this character is that I am struggling to name him. He does have a moniker that he will be known by in the story but he does need a name.
Let me tell you a little bit about him. He is a psychopath. He is exceptionally cruel and sadistic. He is also a perfectionist who never leaves any trace of himself at the crime scene. He is fastidiously clean, almost surgically I would say. He preys on people that he feels are “fallen”. He is incredibly alluring and seductive. He is hard to say “no” to. By the time his victims realise he is the final person they will see, it is too late and they are taken by surprise. This man could be anyone. He might be your friend, your brother, your father, your lover, your husband or your colleague. He stalks you like a silent lioness. Do you know his name?
So…this is where you blog-hoppers come in. I need you to put your creative hats on and spin me a first name and surname for my sadistic killer.
The best name will win three ebooks by three phenomenal authors. (I will be announcing the names of the authors and their books closer to Halloween but believe me you will want these ebooks.)
The best name will also become the name of my sadistic killer.
You need to be subscribed to this blog to enter (so join up if you are not already) as well as leave your best answer (along with your email address for winner notification) in the comments on any of this week’s posts on this blog. You also need to have visited and commented on at least 5 of the CoffinHop bloggers.
The winner will be announced on this blog on 5th November.
Tuesday = Theme Music
Have you ever tried watching a horror or thriller without the sound on? I guarantee you that you will not have a problem turning off the lights and going to bed. It is the creaks and the strange sounds, the eery music and whistling wind that truly send the shivers down our spines even before the villain has come onto the scene ready to kill. The core element for horror and thriller is the theme music and the background noises.
How do we convey this horror element and scare factor into writing? How do we create shivers down spines with ink on a white page?
We must write out a theme music. How do we do this? We write using all of our senses. We bring all of the character’s senses into the story. We bring in a deep POV (Point of View) where by writing from the character in the scene, we effectively put the reader into the scene. Their heart beats as quick as the characters. All of a sudden they are not sitting there reading a harmless book…they have been transported into a situation of being hunted and not knowing what was hunting them. Our characters senses and emotions are the writer’s theme music for the story.
Here is an excerpt of one of my own stories to demonstrate. Tell me if your heart beats quickened.
“The night is dark. Not even a full moon lights up the gloom. A twig breaks. Someone is out there. Fear raises all the tiny hairs on my arms. I shiver with the adrenalin. Halting foot-steps are the only sound. I pray that my hiding place, in the hollow of the old tree stump, is not betrayed. My lungs are bursting with the trapped air. My heart beats are pounding enough to drown all hearing. The world has gone silent except for my pounding heart. Another twig snaps. I see a faint outline of a darkening just past the stump. A shadow? Fear takes over and every limb in my body fights my stillness. I want to run. I have become prey. The darkened shape moves. It grows. My heart threatens to leave my twitching body and fly into the darkness of escape. The darkened form takes shape. It becomes a large hand encased in black leather. The fingers are long and hypnotize me. I push myself as far back into the hollow as the dead wood will allow me. My eyes are locked on the hand. It moves forward, seeking, towards my throat…My breath now held tightly, the edges of my vision start blurring. The hand creeps closer and closer. Searching. Just as I can almost feel the long fingers close around my throat; my vision fades. The last thing I know is the cold smooth leather touching my throat. I pass out…” © Kim Koning
Did your heart skip a beat? Were you there with the character? Now I didn’t tell you who the character is or where exactly they may be. I just wanted you to feel this character’s fear and desperation, her mind stretching for an escape but knowing it is too late.
Now character’s emotions and senses are not the only way you can set your story’s theme music. What happens if you want to set the scene when the horror has already passed? What happens if your key character in the scene cannot move, feel or even speak? What tools does the writer have then? You have the setting. This is when you use your setting. This is the time when you put a hard focus on the body lying broken. The horror will edge across your spine like a crescendo of violins.
Here is an excerpt of another of my stories to demonstrate…
“She lay on the ground, a confusion of twisted limbs and red sand.
The sun was slowly starting to break over the ocean’s rim. Already the seagulls were flying overhead, their harsh cries echoing in the noise of dawn. The girl lay very still and quiet, limp like a rag doll. Slowly she cracked open her eyes, seeing only red sand. Closing her eyes again, she moved her tongue around her mouth feeling for broken teeth. The sand beneath her cheek grated painfully into her bruises. Her left hand, held in a fist, was bent over her back. Carefully she uncurled her fingers. A whimper escaped as sharp pains shot up her shoulder and into her neck. Trying not to move her arm, she lifted her hand slightly off the cool sand. With a sharp gasp, she dropped her head back onto the ground. The sun started to punish her bare legs with its rays. She opened her eyes again and watched as a tear fell from the tip of her nose into the sand. Suddenly tired, her eyes blurred. The light faded and she fell into a black hole.
That was how they found her: a confusion of twisted limbs and red sand.
She lay face down on the beach with her limbs contorted into uncomfortable angles. The bright yellow shift that she wore was twisted up around her waist. Her left arm was twisted around her back. Her other arm lay in the sand above her head, her hand curled tightly into a fist. Her right leg was bent at a right angle slightly above her hip. Her left leg was stretched to the side. She looked as if someone had tried to pull her body apart starting at her legs.” © Kim Koning
This scene unlike the first does not have the action element but the theme music is still loud and clear. Something horrific has happened and the heart of a reader is tugged.
How do you compose the theme music of your story? How do you make ink on a page send shivers up the reader’s spine? How do you crawl into the head space and imagination and pull out horror in your reader? What are your best tools? Look at your own writing and listen to it instead of reading it. You will hear the music. You will hear the creaks in the floor. You will hear the soft tread of the killer.
Now I will leave you with the creepiest theme music I know. As you listen, remember how important the music of a scene – both visual and written – can be to converting the true horror. Here is Angelo Badalamenti’s “Dark Water” Suite. Enjoy the chills…
Related articles on the Coffin Hop
- Coffin Hop | Something walks in the dead of night… (kimkoning.wordpress.com)
- Coffin Hop Contest (joannapary.wordpress.com)
- Coffin Hop Contest and Blog Tour ~ A Spooky Good Time (aprilrdenton.wordpress.com)
- Coffin Blog Hop – Amador Lockdown (alchemyofscrawl.wordpress.com)
Ring of Fire – Hope ~ Tales for Canterbury
Table of Contents – Hope | Tales for Canterbury.
Ring of Fire – Hope – Tales for Canterbury
My first short story will be published in the upcoming month in an amazing anthology of short stories called Tales for Canterbury. This is a project that I am proud and honoured to be a part of. Firstly it is a wonderful selection of stories by very talented authors. Secondly it is a project dear to my heart personally as not so long ago I called Christchurch, New Zealand home. So to be able to be part of a project that honours Christchurch and raises funds for the Red Cross is very special to me.
The book has been broken up into 3 parts:
Each part has stories that are themed around one of these three parts.
My story, Ring of Fire, is set in the Theme of HOPE.
When I was first invited to submit for this anthology I was only given these 3 key themes and told that the story needed to encapsulate either one of these three or could be a combined theme of all three. I was also told that it needed to be a fantasy-based story.
At first I pondered on these three themes for about a week or two. I realised that these three themes are core themes of the human drama we face in all cultures. I also felt a kinship with these themes as these are the themes in most of my own writings from my poetry to prose to novels. I believe in Survival, Hope and Future. But for me the greatest of these three is HOPE. For without hope it is difficult to survive and without hope it is impossible to conceive a future out of that survival. So I knew that I had chosen a theme that not only was the basis for the other two themes but something I desperately believe makes all the difference in our lives as human beings: HOPE.
Did I have a story in mind? Not immediately. But the story found me. Or rather my MC found me and told me her story. Within a few days I had the story in front of me. I was ready to compile it and submit it through to Tales for Canterbury. This story is unlike any of my other stories but the theme and premise is the same that threads its way through all my stories. The character was a challenge for me as it was a different POV than I am used to writing in. But the story weaved itself out onto the page and before long I knew I had a “quilt” of hope, survival and future in MS form.
This story is set in a dystopian world and centres on one Main Character who against odds is forced to be a Survivor. This MC is similar to my other MCs in that looking at the MC you see a vulnerable character who does not quite fit in with anyone or anything. Two terrible crises brings the inner strength of this character to the light and hope shines through a dark time. The story is told through the voice and perspective of the MC. As this character experiences danger and is thrown into a fight for survival, so you the reader will feel the same fear, doubt, flight/fight response, rallying strength and refusal to give up and in the end pure HOPE: the lifeblood that gives her strength to see a future that is brighter than what has gone before.
It is wonderful when a character is able to capture your heart. I believe this character will capture your heart as mine was captured. I believe in this story and I believe in this MC. But more than that I believe in the underlying message that threads its way through the story. It is not only the strong that survive. Sometimes it is those that seem most vulnerable that shine in sheer strength when their soul is tested by great trials. Sometimes vulnerability and innocence are just masks for a pure and noble spirit. In times of great conflict and drama, these masks fall away and the true spirit of strength shines though. Sometimes all a person/character needs is hope and a reason to fight for survival. Give them both and you have a warrior that is pure and strong in heart.
That is Ring of Fire.
Tales for Canterbury is a short story anthology loosely themed around survival, hope and the future. All profits of this anthology will be donated to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal.
The anthology will be released in April/May 2011 in electronic and paperback formats. It features stories by RJ Astruc, Philippa Ballantine, Jesse Bullington, Anna Caro, Cat Connor, Brenda Cooper, Debbie Cowens, Matt Cowens, Merrilee Faber, AJ Fitzwater, Janis Freegard, Neil Gaiman, Cassie Hart, A.M. Harte, Karen Healey, Leigh K. Hunt, Lynne Jamneck, Patty Jansen, Gwyneth Jones, Tim Jones, Kim Koning, Jay Lake, Helen Lowe, Kate Mahony, Tina Makereti, Juliet Marillier, Angel Leigh McCoy, Linda Niccol, Ripley Patton, Simon Petrie, Grant Stone, Jeff Vandermeer, Mary Victoria and Sean Williams.
Pre-orders are now available from Random Static Press.
If you would like to contact us, you can email Cassie at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are so excited to have pre-orders open! Check out our new page “Get Your Copy!” or go straight to the source and head over to Random Static.
The print copy is priced at NZ$24.95 (including postage within NZ) and the digital version is a mere NZ$12.00! At those prices, you might as well pick one up for a friend too.
- Tales for Canterbury (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- Tales for Canterbury ” Parchment Place (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- Tales for Canterbury via JC Hart (lizakane.wordpress.com)
- [books|publishing] Tales for Canterbury (jlake.com)
- Olduvai Gorge Thorn Tree (homepaddock.wordpress.com)
- SF e-anthology to benefit Christchurch earthquake (boingboing.net)
- What is your Story’s Premise? (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
I am back blogging!!
Well this has been a very frustrating 5 days. Since Thursday last week I have been locked out of my blog as well as all other WordPress sites. I was ok on Friday. On Saturday I was starting to get impatient. By Sunday I was nail-biting, wondering whether any of my posts would still be there. By Monday I had succumbed to the idea that it may be a long while until I get back onto WordPress. I was thankful that, in the worst case scenario of being locked out permanently, I had backed up all my posts and could re-archive them via a new blog.
The one plus about the situation was that I finally got to grips with tumblr. I had toyed with tumblr this year; mainly using it for posting photographs. But with WordPress denied to me, I was forced to get tumblrised with tumblr. I learnt how to add a comments tab as well as a “Facebook Like” page. I also realised that should the need rise, I could blog from tumblr.
Just as I was giving up hope on WordPress and preparing to grieve my loss of my beautiful Dragonfly Scrolls, I logged on this evening and….I was in. The site was very slow and took about 15 minutes to get me in but I was in. The first thing I did was check that all my previous posts were intact and unharmed. Thankfully I can report that they are all intact.
I did have a few breakthroughs during my enforced lock-out. I was forced to get down and dirty with a short story that I have to write this month. I had a theme and an idea but the characters and the essential plot kept on evading me. Finally inspiration struck and I had my main character. The story suddenly came alive for me.
This made me realise once more that for me Character is the all-important element in a story. Without a Character I have no emotional connection no matter how good the story idea may be. So for me no Character is a creative block.
So now I have a Character and I can see where this story is going. Suddenly where before a faceless Character stood at a four-way crossing not knowing which way was the best route to take; now a Character with purpose and drive took me down a route that was suddenly clear of obstacles.
Another plus about this enforced lock-out was that inspiration struck constantly this last weekend. I have a head full of story ideas. So I have to invest in a new notebook that I can keep handy and capture the ideas as they flow. I have five submissions to complete by the end of this month, not to mention work on two WIPs. So these ideas are going to have to take a backseat for a little while until I take them out and give them the full attention they deserve.
For now I am just happy to be back in the land of WordPress. Watch out for me here. The next post will be a new interview for the Warrior Wednesdays series…If you don’t find me here know that I have been locked out again. Do not despair there is more than one way to word a blog. If not on WordPress, look for me on tumblr. Post I will…by hook, crook, WordPress or tumblr…
For now I leave you with a taste of one of my WIPs. This is a piece I tumbled on my tumblr site:
Inspiration is sometimes loud and jarring. But sometimes it is that one snapped twig in the dark forest. There is an eery silence and you believe you are all alone and then very faintly you hear a distinctive snap: someone is walking there. Suddenly you are not alone.
Today I heard the snapped twig in the dark forests of my imagination. It is the foot tread of a story. It moves quickly and quietly through the forest. Is it following me or am I following it? I still my thoughts and listen. The dark silence is almost deafening. Nothing.
Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimmer of movement. There is a shadow behind the tree. My heart beats violently struggling to maintain its home in my chest.
I feel watched.
© All rights reserved Kim Koning.
Characters and their secrets
Have you ever had reticent characters? Many readers and some writers believe that once you have written a book and created characters it gives you an omniscient presence in your character‘s world. For some this may be true. In my experience though, the opposite is true: instead of being creator and puppet master, I – the writer – am the servant and puppet. For me, my characters lead me down the twists and turns of their story. You see they have already walked it and lived it or are right in the thick of it, if anything I am an observer or a recorder of what they want me to tell the reader.
In my interviews on Warrior Wednesdays I always ask the question: What is most important or what comes first in your writing? The Story or the Character. You may wonder why I ask this. I ask this because in my own writing whether I think I get a story idea first or whether a certain character pops into my thoughts and hearing, ultimately it/they come from somewhere. I could say that I am brilliant and have a million and one stories within me but that would be false. I believe that as a writer we are a medium and a vehicle for our characters to tell their stories when, where, how and why they want to.
OK, I hear you say: so are you hearing voices from the deep dark and beyond. This is getting a little loopy! While if your right brain – creativity – rules you then count yourself loopy. Now don’t worry or look all shocked. I mean that yes you are loopy by the definition of a society where left brainers are the majority. I mean you imagine worlds, people, events, places in your head. By left brain definition you are deluded or hallucinatory or in a simple term loopy.
So back to the question: Do I hear voices from the deep, dark and beyond? To be honest, yes sometimes I have and do hear a voice. It pops into my thoughts and starts speaking. I know it is not me because it does not sound like anything I would say. Sometimes the voice is loud and sometimes it is quiet. For me though, I tend to stop and listen. I have tried the ignore button, even tried the mute button but then I end up with sleepless nights and eventually I just learn to respond. All that is usually needed is for me to listen and then a picture forms in my thoughts of who is speaking. Sometimes this is done by showing me a place first and sometimes it is like staring at my reflection in a mirror and slowly see a figure emerge from behind the door that is closed behind me. Then the who of them becomes a basis of their story. They live and breathe so they must have a story. That is when I put the pen to paper or finger to keyboard, whichever is in the closest vicinity, and write. Voila` a story is born and a character is on the page.
But some stories are different. Some characters like to keep secrets. They may even keep their identity a secret. You may be able to picture them but they do not tell you who they are. This may be because they enjoy the game or the control they have over you and your curiosity at this point. It may even be a method they are using to firstly get your interest in a story and then to keep it by leaving you with mysterious threads. For me this is very frustrating. I am a type A personality and like to be the one in control (blame my german roots) and I do not like surprises. If I am being honest here I also struggle with patience. So this character is like a double-dare and a red flag all at once for me.
In my new WIP, new in that I am at the start but not brand new story in that this story and these characters have haunted me for a while now. I knew I had to get this story written no matter how difficult the telling may be but somehow was coming up against a block. Then last weekend I had the epiphany to switch tracks from the German Professor Perfect to the train conducted by the 6-year-old curious and emotional Kimmi. Voila` the flood gates of inspiration started opening. But I still had a major problem. I did not know the identity of the antagonist. I kept on bumping up against this character. I could see the character but could not get a feel for this one like I did for the other characters. So I set it aside for a while and concentrated on talking to my characters in my NaNoWriMo novel and having a lot of fun with them on Facebook.
In the meantime I had also begun work last night on two writing workshops hosted by Savvy Authors. In one of the lessons, I had to write a full-page synopsis/outline via question and answer mode. So I decided to do the synopsis on my difficult WIP. It was late last night when the email had come through with the first lesson. So I looked at it and thought I would sleep on it and write it up first thing this morning. Well, the sleep idea soon turned out to be turned on its head. The synopsis kept on playing over and over in my head like a stuck gramophone. It got to the point that with 2 hours of broken sleep, I decided enough was enough. I would have to get this synopsis out my head and onto the screen. (The Macbook is never far away.) As I started answering the questions and the synopsis started fleshing out, I felt what could only be termed as a CLICK like something had locked into place or been opened. Suddenly as large as standing right in front of me, I met my antagonist. Just by finally knowing who this character was, a myriad of loose ends that had me stumped were tied up and the whole plot revealed itself to me. You see I could not see past the middle to the climax or the end because this story’s antagonist had hidden their identity from me. Suddenly I also knew why the identity had been hidden. This identity is the secret key to the whole story and demystifies both the protagonists as well.
Now I am not saying that I enjoyed meeting this antagonist as the character is the most sadistic and cruel character that I have yet met in my own thoughts. Just by this I know that I have not created this character. I have never actually known someone this… lets call it shadowed or darkened. But as much as this character scared me to the depths of my soul, I suddenly had the key.
So yes characters keep secrets. Sometimes you find out through clues. But sometimes all of a sudden the secret is unlocked in an instant and it becomes a Pandora’s box. You will not be able to put the secrets back in the box once it is opened. Instead, try to rein in the secrets into one place: Your Characters’ Story. They know who you are. Now it is up to you to find out who they are.
So I ask you now, in light of my character unveiling, what comes first character or story?
Are you – the writer – the creator and puppet master or are you a mere medium and servant?
Ask yourself do you really think you just imagined some of those characters in your head and in your stories? Or are they the Storytellers and you are just a pen and paper?
© All rights reserved Kim Koning.
- Facebook for your Fiction (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- Telling your story in your Character’s voice (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- Cutting the stone into a diamond (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- Warrior Wednesday (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- Perfectionism is the great Oppressor (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- Basics 101 : Character Creation (writeanything.wordpress.com)
- Writing: Giving Your Characters Names (writinghood.com)
- Exclusive Look at Character Profiles from Charlaine Harris’ Dying for Daylight PC Game (dreadcentral.com)
- The value of putting something down on paper (gointothestory.com)
- What We Can Learn From Character Blogs (successful-blog.com)
- Colouring outside the lines (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
- Creating The Characters (thestoryinme.wordpress.com)
- The Badass Character in Therapy (psychologytoday.com)
WIP Teaser 09/08/10
The hot desert wind blew across the deserted plains. It seemed that no creature lived in this place. This is the desert of the seven seas. Arahas is its ghostly name. Once in another moon, there were seven great seas here. These seas were the life force of Nede. But that was many moons ago. The water did not evaporate gradually. The water just disappeared. All the sea creatures died and their skeletons turned into dust. This dust became heavy from the sun and changed into desert sand. Now this place was called The Desert of the Seven Seas. The sand was white like freshly fallen snow and it glittered like a thousand crystals. This desert is the boundary between Nede and the other lands. Once you could sail across the waters and freely enter Nede. Now, the way was certain death. Nobody had made it across the Arahas in many moons. If you were not blinded by the brightness of the skeleton dust, you died of thirst and melted from the intense sun. Your cries for help were swallowed up by the endless echo of the Desert’s silence.
On the other side of this great desert lies a deep swamp. This place is an ominous shadow on the desert’s horizon. This is a place of dead things and darkness. The sweet stench of decay permeates the very air. There seems to be something wrong with the swamp trees, if they could be called that. Their roots are dark purple and are twisted above the ground. The roots seem to be grappling with one another, twisting and turning with deadly malice. The trees seem to be strangling each other. They are grappling dancers in a macabre dance of death and drowning. The trees seem to echo a drowning as the leaves and branches of the trees are under the murky depths of desolation. The water does not move. It lies in stillness like some great scavenger of the depths. It waits for death.
Death not found in the desert comes home to this place of desolation to find submission at the touch of the cold hand of the end of ages. The Trees groan and creak in torment warning all who dare to find their courage and cross the ghostly sands of Arahas that their fate has caught up with them. Many are those who have tried to cross the ghostly Arahas only to turn back in fear when reaching the boundary of Evorgnam Swamp. The cries of mercy coming from the groaning purple roots crack open holes in the bravest heart until the desolation of the murky depths seem to be sucking the heart from within. Those few rare souls who do make it across Arahas will not pray the price of losing their very soul in that groaning and keening place. Not even Paradise is worth that.
For that is what lies beyond this place of death and despair. Paradise. Nede. No creature has entered or exited Nede for 324 moons. All we know now of this place of dreaming is that it holds the key to all that is good and all that is true. From the scribes of ancient moons we know that it is a place where no boundary can be seen and where time is suspended. It is a verdant land that is said to take one’s breath away with its sheer exquisite magnificence. It is written that the creatures there are unlike any creatures on this earth. They are creatures of myths and dreaming. There are creatures both terrifying in their power and those that are rare like precious stones. It is written that all the creatures there have one language but many tongues. The many peoples of Nede walk as one with the creatures. The land is filled with waterfalls and crystalline rivers. The plants are as tall as the heavens and as small as a blade of grass. The trees are covered in jewels richer than in any earthly crown. All of this and many more scrolls were written about the Paradise beyond Evorgnam 324 moons ago. Nothing has been written these 324 moons. Even the ancient scrolls written with the rare bennu feather dipped in its iridescent blood are fading. The words are falling away and the echoes of a Paradise lived and recorded is being pulled into the echo of a dream…
All rights reserved © Kim Koning