Horror Writing.

H.P. Lovecraft started his writing process by defining the emotion he was going after. Then drafting until he would illicit that feeling his subjects..ERH..um.. readers. But H.P. Was a heavy plotter.

Stephen King started with a concept and built around it until it was horrifying. And if he failed in giving the scene the sense of horror intended he would go to the extremes of gross to make the scene at least uncomfortable giving it a more horrifying weight in the readers memory as they would be unnerved to recall such passages. Mr. King was a pantser and started with a concept and characters then followed them through the plot as needed to write his book.

I think that when telling a horror story whether on film or the page. You should at least keep in mind the types of and stages of horror.

Unknown, Uncanny, Unstoppable

are at least three of the most common.

Unknown

is the easiest to do right because it is the most commonly done wrong. Darkness itself is not scary, it’s when we can see or hear or feel the edges of what lies in the darkness that begins to press the panic button. It’s when a shadow’s fold over themselves in the corner of the room to make the outline of death himself patiently waiting without breathe for your eyes to close here in this world be you are claimed to his. It’s the darkness of space where stars no longer grow but the eyes see a tint of something else blocking the depths from truly being seen. It’s the shifting at the bottom of a lake, past the searcher’s reflection and the clear sky waters that refuse to let the Autumn clouds above take shape as easily as they do in the sky because something is disturbing the water’s hold on them.

When starting with the Unknown each time it appears it must become more defined, otherwise the subject will place their guard between the satisfaction of knowing and the terror of finding out. The most common mistake is going from 10% reveal to 100% reveal before the third act. The audience expects to find out slowly, manage their expectations against the needs of your story.

Examples:

Friday the 13th

IT by Stephan King

Uncanny

is when something is not quite right. I’d venture that in cinematography this is used by accident and because of form rather than by a deliberate attempt to unnerve the audience.

The best examples are often dolls, painting, ghosts because they are so common and illicit uncanny speculation since they are suppose to fit within a box but changing small details between scenes or in scenes makes them uncanny.

Inanimate objects that move when the viewer isn’t viewing them directly create the start of uncanny horror. “Julee, now three, was about to have her baby sister sharing her room. The sweetest and nicest child according to the neighborhood girls who babysat on our monthly night out. We had set up the crib in the space that was formerly her “High” tea area, where she held here tea parties, passively she may have been throwing us signs that she was upset but she was very outspoken and happy. All the dolls and animals that she gathered around her table were now leaning up against as the wall as if in time-out, all except her porcelain kamacha doll her favorite. She would sit on the edge of Julee’s bed watching the other dolls. Julee was nothing but happy when we talked about her sister coming out of my belly and home soon.”

Ghosts are often given descriptions and visages that would make them human but one detail is wrong. “It may have been they open window but the temperature had fallen and the room was now cold enough to start my shivers. Even over a boiling pot of stew I feel a draft when she walks in the room. Except for a floorboard creak her feet never fall hard enough to hit the ground with sound. “AS A Lady should..” god I’ll be hearing that for the rest of my living days.”

You can start on either side of the Uncanny valley but you must slowly move away from your starting position to build a sense of progression. Dolls with dead eyes and human hair must become moving, talking, demons with soft flesh beating under their immobile outer shell. Ghosts can start as whispers and wind and become the outstretched hand clutching at it’s victim with intend to drag them through the looking glass OR Ghosts can start as people who drift further from humanity as the story unfolds, giving up breathe by never moving their chest, staring off into thought for inhuman stretches, translucency, transparency, incorporeal. The longer something remains in the exact definition as it’s starting point the more familiar that thing becomes and fear begins to remove itself.

Unstoppable

is the pretty clear as in being self defined BUT it does not mean indestructible. There must be hope however small that it can be stopped removing that hope creates certainty and certainty is the enemy of horror. If your monster has eaten a grenade explosion and hasn’t even lost a tooth then his immortality is certain.

A cockroach can be crushed and defeated, a thousand is a challenge, a million is a certainty.

A lumbering zombie can be outsmarted, outmaneuvered, or defeated with brawn. You can out run a zombie but you can’t run forever and while you rest your fragile warm body more gather outside waiting for you meet another demand be it food or fresh air.

Death will come for you. The hope is not today or until the end of your earthly works but that is never a guarantee. You have illusion and hope that your choices have some impact on whether he knocks tomorrow or sixty years from now, eat healthy, avoid stress, go to the doctor all of these are well and good but they do not still the reapers hand forever.

I just want to wrap this up with how Friday the 13th uses all three of these to great effect. But when watching a good example its hard to see why it is good. As an artist you’ll learn more/faster from the mistakes you make and the mistakes of others than from works without mistakes.

With love and hopefully better dreams than me,

HngyHngyHppo

Newsstand Pulp, Comic Spinners, Disney+, and why Harry Potter is the last great original IP franchise.

As a writer of novella’s my competition is every piece of media in existence, not just other books or movies, video games and YouTube as well, and even online click-bait articles from twitter or the FaceBook and fanfic hosted by WattPad. I am selling an hour and a half of entertainment after all.

A market theorist should argue that “With increased competition, the quality of the goods and services provided will increase as well.”

My starving artist friends argue that getting endorsed by an industry titan will provide financial success and legitimacy of their talents. My comic artist friends want contracts with Marvel or DC. My painters want their art on display and endorsed through high art circulations. Writers want a publishing deal with the Big 5. Musicians a record deal.

The current market is not a meritocracy. It looks that way on the surface and as long as people believe it’s operating fairly, my artist friends (you included) will not upset the institutions they seek validation from.

The current market is still an aristocracy but that is about to change.

If you want to skip the three narratives that I have based this theory on then skip ahead to these marks

_—_

Our story starts in the 1920s when newsstands became filled with pulp magazines. Competition was high. It bread Robert E. Howard. Competition was so high in fact that even the greats like the creator of Conan could not support themselves off of writing alone. Even being paid $0.01 a penny a word for a short story or serial part ($20 for 2k/ 4 pages), which is $0.15 in 2019 money (a 2k story would pay $300).

Competition was high on the newsstands, but there was no TV, no internet, no Facebook.

The 30s came around and a new beast started attacking the pulps dominance.

Comics.

By the 40s only a few Titans of pulp were left, comparable to today’s BIG 5 publishers. They would only accept the best the likes of Issac Asimov, but by the 1960s Competition was to high and what even the big magazines could afford to pay was too low to attract talent. The pulp magazine industry died somewhere in the early seventies a quite death.

Forty years is a good run but what happened to pulp magazines is what’s killing Comics.

In the 90s comics were still in every grocery store. A cheap impulse buy was the only barrier to keep up with the adventures of the Amazing Spider-Man. Accessible to everyone. Until one day they weren’t, the comic shops had opened and the speculator market was booming. Image Comics forced innovation from the big 2. This single extra step of going to a comics store prevented “normies” from buying comics, or the brands from attracting new fans. Licensing characters to Saturday morning TV (IMO) is responsible for creating the next generation of fans eager to watch batman/spider-man/MCU films.

Competition, since the 90s, is high but the inconvenience barrier of the comic book stores prevents access to a casual audience. The direct market, comic bookstores, continue to lose customers. Sept 2019’s number 1 comic was Spawn 300 which sold an est 262,599 units while the number 10 sold Harleen issue 1 sold 84,785. For point of reference, keep in mind that Wonder Woman was the reworked in the late 60s because it was selling only around 200,000 copies a month for an average issue. (known as the Mod ERA)

Sales are so low that Disney owned Marvel is considering shutting down the comics book division.

Disney sits at the top of the market place right now. They want to leverage this position to run Disney+ and make that sweet Netflix money. Competition in the streaming service center is now high. Access is also getting harder.

Lets go back to before cable, Disney use to air it’s movies on regular television. Then once cable came along and VHS, Disney switched to a direct to customer model. Selling it’s classic films for limited time to customers who didn’t have cable and locking their films behind the cable pay wall. They turned away 80s children who now didn’t have access to their films. Then in the 90s when they became dependent on those same 80s children to watch their films, no one showed up to the theatre. Disney almost went bankrupt before the Pirates franchise saved them in the early 2000s.

Disney+ will do the same for the Disney corporation, when they depend on the adults and parents of 2030 to show up to the theatre.

Now the short answer as to why Harry Potter will be the last great original IP.

Harry Potter books came out in the 90s. Where was there audience exposed to them? What was there competition?

Scholastic Book Fairs

90s children had little internet, no cell phones, comic books were in comic stores.

Before the movies were released, this series of books was able build a hardcore base over the course of four years then it’s movie releases brought more people into the books. Growing each year as children aged up and were exposed to the books at the book fair and the movies all over television. In 2005 cable became mandatory as the FCC demanded that all TV convert to HD by 2005. Which meant that more people had access to catch the first three Harry Potter films on marathon every other week.

Children today and for the foreseeable future will have unlimited access, to everything. Clint Eastwood’s man with no name trilogy, the death of superman, The entire discography of Prince. Whatever they, or you want, is just a couple of taps away from the palm of your hand. And that’s if they are in the mood to spend or search pirate bay. YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, Reddit, Wattpad all provide free alternatives to keep you entertained.

_—_

Competition could not be higher.

Access by everyone for everything is high.

Convenience of Access is being limited only by the Titans themselves.

I have a plan, a theory, and a mission. But I can not do this alone.

The Future is not individual artist competing against each other.

The Future is small groups of artists functioning as one for each other.

The larger and more unified the artist group the more effective they will be as individuals.

I’m bringing together seven independent authors whose target audience is men ages 18-25+.

As the Magnificent Seven remarks.

“Men are Cheaper than Rifles.”

Right Now there are two requirements for a seat on this council

          1. You must have at least one professionally edited publish work for sale. (one mistake per 10k words)

          2. You are willing to spent at least 2 hours a week for the promotion and success of the council.

E-mail me at hppofantasywestern@yahoo.com

The first applicant to meet the requirements will be accepted immediately. Then applicants will be approved through an interview process and by a majority vote of the sitting members of the council until all seven positions have been filled. The last approved member of the council will get amazon and goodreads reviews from the sitting six members, As the first order of the council’s business.

Whether first or last you’ll be a winner, if you join a winning team.

I also want to make this clear. I don’t want your money. I want to help you sell books. I want to sell more books. I want to use the skills I have to best serve the other members of the council, in exchange for promotion, legitimacy and audience sharing. If you want these things as well and you’re willing to spend two hours of your time each week trading support for support.

Then let’s work together.

Send these to anyone author you know might be interested.

With Love,

HngyHngyHppo

You can reach me on Twitter at @HppoTweeter

Why Hank Pym’s Pocket tank is lighter than you think.

[Spoilers for Ant-Man and Captain America Civil War]

One of my favorite hobbies is retro justifying. Where you apply the logic of a universe to itself in order to justify the impossible and the illogical. This is because I grew up as a star trek fan. And if you don’t “fix” the logic holes your not invested in the Sci part of   Sci-fi.

So onto Hank Pym’s pocket tank.

It’s established within universe that once Ant-Man shrinks down that he hits with the force of a full grown man. He has not lost an ounce of weight. That would mean that the tank Hank Pym carries around on a key-chain weighs about 68 tons. Hank Pym still looks in good shape for his age but I doubt he is hitting the gym hard enough to lift that.

Okay so my answer comes in two parts either may be 100% true or one my be false but if the other is true than the proof still holds.

  1. Hank Pym is and has intentionally or mistakenly lied about the properties of his Pym particles

    2.) Gravity is a property of the Quantum.

Gravity as a property of the Quantum is the easiest explanation since so little is understood about this fundamental force of the universe.

Hank Pym as a liar is far more likely IMHO. First piece of evidence is that if all his particles did was shrink the distance between particles. All you would need to do is apply the same method Edison used to invent the light-bulb. Which is probably the method that Cross attempts. The result of which is vastly different than the pym particle.

These are the properties of the Pym particle as we observe them in Ant-Man

The Pym particle violates the square-cube law.

The Pym particle and the cross particle both require a structure (suit or container) to operate “safely”.

The Pym particle unlike the cross particle is stable and does not leak or decay.

I think the solution to our tank problem is this. The way in which the Pym and cross particle function is that they do not only shrink the distance between particles but that they do this by constructing a lattice throughout the entire unit being shrunk. This lattice creates false particles and negates real particles. By creating false particles within the lattice Scott Lang doesn’t fly away when he is giant and hit by a breeze. Imagine that the Pym particles also can create a way to negate the properties of real particles. So when you shrink down a tank and have the intention that the tank weighs 68 tons to less than 2 ounces the Pym lattice suspends or negates 67.9999375 tons.

The cross particles are not stable and there lattice begins to decay after it is created. The Pym particles are static but manipulated by the regulator on the suit.

This solution fits the throwing disks as well. Since the throwing disk come in two varieties enlarging and shrinking.

The throwing disk after hitting a solid finds the border between the solid and the surrounding air and commences shrinking or enlarging.

This lattice may also act as a membrane allowing Scott Lang to breathe the same amount of oxygen a normal sized Paul Rudd would need. Very effect for when he is small but when he is large. This membrane would be unable to create enough “false” oxygen to feed his giant brain.

This membrane and lattice would also explain why that ugly dog is able to continue to live. Since the Pym membrane and lattice is stable, does not decay, and continually refreshes itself around the borders of its effected object, That ugly dog would ingest a normal amount of food for a dog but only have access to the amount needed for an ant.

TL;DR Hank Pym is a liar

the Pym particle doesn’t simply change the space between particles.

The Pym particle creates a magical lattice and membrane between the shrunk and the world in order to violate the laws of physics.

If you enjoyed this then you might want to read my take on Ready Player One and how the protagonists for both the movie and book are not the same person but work for their medium.

With love,

HngyHngyHppo