Craft in 1,000 Words or Less

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The reason why its gotta be in 1,000 words or less? One word: newborn. I’m lucky enough to have scored a work-from-home gig, but still. Newborn. I understood that a baby would be a time vampire, but what I didn’t expect were the hormones.

And no. I’m not tired. I’ve always had two or more jobs. This is just the first time that one of those jobs has been feeding off of my deflated, screaming body. It’s for sure the first time a job brought its own set of fuck-all hormones with it that make me walk around my house in a circle, only to settle in a nest of blankets and books.

Here’s the thing, though. If there’s something Lisa and I have discovered on our podcast journey, it’s that every single writer/editor/podcaster we’ve had the pleasure of speaking with all have this one thing in common. They never gave up. No one ever said, “Oh, well I had a baby/got a job/got sick/life stuff/so I stopped everything.”

That’s the key, you see. You don’t stop. You don’t make excuses. But yeah, some things do get their edges cut. That’s what I’m learning, anyway. In this case, it’s words. Words will be emphatically cut. No survivors.

And frankly, I’d always wondered why an entire long-winded essay was required when I could sum up my point in a sentence.

As my mother would say: use your faster feet. That was her G-rated way of telling five-year-old me to hurry the fuck up, child.

I’ve been excited for this, though. Craft was maybe my very second favorite thing about graduate school. I loved finding out the how behind certain writer tricks. I miss finding the details. So, that’s what I mean to do. I’m going back to close readings and I’ll be posting my findings here. Hopefully some of what I find is helpful to you. I mean for this to be a viable source. I hope it makes you purchase some of these books so you may learn, too, because I’ll be talking about specific pages and instances of certain craft elements. Should be fun.

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So—my new tiny human is beginning to stir, which means we gotta be quick. Trigger warning: there will be swearing, I will be talking about my child, and I will be merciless. No writer is safe. I don’t mean for that to sound scary. I’m just attempting (poorly) to say that I intend to offer you insights, from anyone and everyone. That’s really what I want to do for you, you see. I want to come to your virtual door and leave you a tool you’d been looking for to fix that one thing. Here’s hoping I can do that for you, in 1,000 words or less.

Hurry. Before Jackson wakes up.

Book Review: The Writhing Skies by Betty Rocksteady

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I had no idea what Betty Rocksteady’s The Writhing Skies was about going into it, and I was surprised, disturbed, and unexpectedly delighted. Here is my spoiler-free review.

This book is a sort of sci-fi body-horror mash-up. You could also make a case for classifying this as “cosmic sex horror.” Whatever you call it: I am here for it. To be honest, body horror is not usually my thing. I have a high tolerance for gross and weird, but in terms of preference, I like my horror to be more about mood, character, and emotion rather than blood and guts.

That said, this book works because, for one, it has mood and character and emotion. And the body horror? Well let me just say, it’s not exactly what you would expect. It’s such a strange and weird and bizarre and “cosmic” take on the whole idea of body horror that it’s part of what makes this book so good.

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It’s so gross and slimy, and as the story progresses you wonder how some of these characters are still alive, with everything happening to them. But, you get the sense that the only way to stop it is to keep moving, to push forward. And I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that there are aliens, but they are also...not what you would expect. The aliens are really something Other, something so utterly not-human that I’m in awe of Rocksteady’s imagination. There is also a surprising sexiness to the body-horror that is...unexpected. It’s all just so skillfully done.

In terms of story, the pace moves. The characters feel real and the emotional core drives the plot. I would maybe suggest a trigger warning in terms of the trauma that the protagonist experiences near the end of the book. It is heartbreaking and explains so much of how these characters even ended up in this situation to begin with.

This isn’t the “type” of horror that I usually read, but I am so glad I did. It’s the heart and the emotion that sold me on the rest of it. It’s done in such a skillful, beautiful way that it just works for me. I recommend that you give it a chance!

On November 26, tune in for episode 25 of Ladies of the Fright podcast. We’ll be in coversation with Betty Rocksteady on the show!

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

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LOTF Episode Schedule for the Rest of 2018

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It’s hard to believe that Ladies of the Fright podcast is approaching its first birthday! Okay, so I know that we still have a little ways to go before February. But, still. Mackenzie and I are ridiculously proud of this passion project of ours. When we first envisioned LOTF, we just wanted to have some fun sharing our love of the horror genre. We always hoped that people would enjoy our efforts, but we couldn’t have ever anticipated such a warm reception. The community we’ve created in our little corner of the universe is so special to us, and we’re looking forward to lots of exciting things in year two.

Until then, we still have the rest of the year! We have quite a line up, and we can’t wait to bring these discussions to your ears. Many of our listeners have requested a preview of what’s to come so they can read along with the show. Here’s our podcast* episode schedule for the rest of the year. We’ve made it our goal to keep you all informed from here on out, so you can keep up with our spooky book club!

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018 (exact dates not yet determined)

Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash

*schedule subject to change

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