The Literature of Love… Scary Love

(c) Prawny

(c) Prawny

Muses, I want to share with you my love inspired reading list. There is no better day to share this list than on Valentine’s Day. Ah, when romance is in the air, I get this dizzy-tingly sensation in my head and a flutter in my stomach… a response also known as nausea.

What, did you think I was actually going to share a list of my favorite Romance stories? You did!? Oh, sweet muffins… NO! (*elbows Chris in the ribs* “Stop laughing!”) The list that I am sharing today is of love inspired horror stories. Nothing says “I Love You” more than a sharp object through the heart.

In all seriousness, authors who are able to combine these two distinct and contrasting genres within one story are able to weave a tale that leaves readers completely out of touch with their emotions. The ratio of fear and love must be balanced to elicit a sense of uncertainty on whether one is to feel a sense of romance or terror.

Love camouflages itself with a sparkly, warm exterior. However, underneath its disguise, love is a dark, murky beast that lures in those naive and unaware. When you let your guard down and invite love in, the one you open yourself up to holds your beating heart in his or her hands. The organ, which is sparking your life, is to be treated with a tender touch. Yet, humans are not gentle creatures by nature. Uncaring emotions always surface and your delicate heart is easily crushed by the fingers of the one you trusted with every ounce of your being.

Love is patient. Love is observant. Love waits for the perfect time to strike. Love turns into the most horrific of monsters. Love will break you…

On this day that celebrates romance, read something that will make your heart race from both tenderness and terror. Read a story that exploits the unmerciful nature of love:

1. Lovely, Dark, Deep by Joyce Carol Oates
2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
6. Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen
7. Northanger Abby by Jane Austen
8. The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allen Poe
9. The Mask by Robert Chambers

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Do you have a favorite story that combines the romance and horror genre? Comment below.


You Know You’re A Writer When…

You Know You're a Writer When...…you’ve spent the last forty minutes reading about the fire resistance of normal bedding to see if your character can use it to escape a burning building.

…you can’t remember the last thought you had that wasn’t immediately followed by “that would be a great line for X”.

…you’ve written the same line sixteen times because you can’t work out what the next one should be.

…you’re hoping that the seventeenth iteration will fire up the neurons.

…you get excited glancing at your word count because you’ve finished the day on a round number/just passed the exact half-way mark in your novel/realised your daily word count has been 666 for the last three days running and you’re considering calling in an exorcist.

…you see your total word count as a high score.

…you’ve just spotted that you’ve used the same sentence at least twenty times in your first draft.

…you name a walk-on character after the first thing on your right so as not to break your flow.

…you know you’ll change that name later so it won’t matter.

…you don’t change it because it has an exotic sound to it that fits the character.

…you start researching foreign languages because Mr Toaster sounds a bit weird but Monsieur le Grille-Pain could be a secret agent.

…your wife/girlfriend demands to know who “Alyssa” and “Victoria” are.

…you go back and check every word in the list to make sure it’s correctly spelled.

…you know someone will spot the one word you missed and it’ll really bug you.

…your first 250 words come so slow it’s like watching paint dry but the next 1000 pass in seconds.

…you still pause briefly to consider if “Who” actually begins with a “H”.

…you analyse every situation you encounter with “what would X do if they were here now?”

…your first action upon witnessing something horrific/funny/terrifying/weird is to reach for a notebook and pen.

…you spend hours editing descriptions of murder victims so that they don’t sound too much like that aunt everyone hates but would be instantly recognised by that mole on her face.

…you can recall the dates of your characters’ birthdays more readily than those of family members.

…you threaten unspeakable evil when you discover someone else has used your intended book cover.

…you’re only leaving the house for twenty minutes but your bag still contains a pen (plus one spare because, well, you never know), a pencil (in case both pens run out of ink), a pencil sharpener (in case the pencil breaks), a notebook, and a spare notebook (in case of aliens).

…despite carrying all of the above, you record all the ideas you get on that note-taking app you have on your phone.

…you struggle with dialogue when sitting down to write but the instant your head hits the pillow, you’re suddenly Martin Luther King Jr.

…the realisation hits that nothing you make up is crazier than the world outside of your head.

…you compose stupid lists like this instead of actually writing.

Lets keep this going by adding your own in the comments.

Sometimes Humorous Elements of the Writing Life

Humorous Elements of a Writer's LifeNo one understands a writer like another writer. This fact has led to numerous interesting . . . um . . . experiences with non-writer friends and family. This list (in no particular order) is far from complete. In fact, we invite you to continue adding to the list in the comments. We are writers here. If we can’t laugh with each other, we’re all in missing out, right?

1.  Most writers never quite agree when told a piece is good. All we can see are the flaws and weaknesses. We desire to be told it is good, but don’t fully believe it. And we argue about it.

2.  People avoid your writing space for weeks, but the day you decide to tackle the sex scene, every family member wanders by to look over your shoulder and ask what you’re writing.

3.  Characters have no manners. They start talking during meetings, at dinner, and any other inopportune moment they can find.

4.  Most loved ones never get used to you suddenly staring off into space, unresponsive to their presence. You’d think, as often as it happens, they’d eventually adjust, right?

5.  No one outside of other writers understands the emotional impact of putting a favorite character through the wringer or having a character die. Efforts to explain go nowhere.

6.  Some writers take on characteristics of their main character while in draft. Now that makes for some interesting exchanges with family and friends.

7.  Writers are more likely to develop an ulcer from caffeine consumption than a deadline. We’d just rather blame the deadline for the caffeine.

8.  Friends want to celebrate when we finish a draft. We’d rather hole up with a bottle of wine and mourn.

9.  As soon as you begin writing the middle of a novel, you’ll get half a dozen much more interesting ideas for new stories. It never fails.

10. Nothing induces panic in a writer like words going fallow. We’re afraid the words won’t come back, even when we know they always do.

11. Few of us escape the embarrassment of being caught acting out dialog for both characters. Out loud.

12. No loved one is quite prepared for a writer’s reaction when they are interrupted and pulled out of flow. For that matter, neither are most writers.

13. People in a writer’s life don’t understand why we complain about doing something we profess to love unless they are also a writer.

14. Only a writer can go to the mall and call it observational research.

15. Writers are best paired with non-jealous significant others. More than one writer has muttered the name of the hero or heroine in their sleep.

16. Most writers are clearly not quite normal. Gossip is writing fodder. So are the doings of everyone we know. No one in a writer’s life knows how a bit of them will come out on the page, but it’s a safe bet they’ll eventually find out.


Your turn. Add to the list and keep it going.

A Writer’s Journey and The Lord of the Rings

For me, the writer’s journey, from first word to final manuscript, is a long and dangerous one (at least as far as sanity is concerned). Living inside the heads of so many characters can’t be good for my health but like Frodo, the ring-bearer, it’s my cross to bear. I recently likened my protectiveness towards a first draft manuscript as characteristic of Gollum. I liked the comparison at the time but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that, as I forge my way through the landscape of the novel to that elusive final draft, I invoke many more members of the Fellowship.

The Hobbit Phase (Planning and character development)

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins (image from Wikipedia)

Everything is shiny and new, the ideas come thick and fast and excitement is at an all-time high. I feel as carefree as the hobbits frolicking in the Shire. Life is good and nothing can ruin the feeling. But, there are dark clouds gathering on the horizon, something big is in the making and I know little of the tumultuous world beyond my home (outline).

Frodo Phase (1st Draft)

Writing now begins in earnest; a grand adventure from the outset. Soon I am hounded by temptation at every turn. The lure of new projects or simply procrastination (blogging, as I’ve come to call it) is great, issuing forth its Siren call. I get an almost constant feeling of being out of my depth but, like our hero, I’m driven, single-mindedly, by one goal: destroy the one ring…I mean, finish the story. So, I plow ever onwards despite the difficulties.

Gollum Phase (Transition period)

Gollum (image from Wikipedia)

This is the worst time for me. The first draft is now complete and I must let it rest, forget about it for a time. It’s around now that I start to hide in dark corners, stroking my manuscript (keep it clean) and cooing ‘my precioussssss’. I grow very (over)protective of it and can realise a potential for violence if it gets misplaced or taken from me. These are not the only traits I share with this anti-hero, there’s also the matter of our stunningly-good looks.

Gimli Phase (2nd Draft – plot holes and pit falls)

The manuscript rested and my temptation with other projects sated, I can now start my first read-through and second draft. Heroically, I wade into the thick of it, wielding my mighty dwarven axe to cut and hack at sentences, even whole scenes, which don’t hold true to the story. This phase can be short skirmish or a lengthy campaign but it always ends the same way – piles of dead words at my feet (or spilling out of the litter bin).

Legolas Phase (3rd Draft – sound and flow)

With the broad strokes taken care of, subtlety comes into play. Now, I’m keen of eye and ear using both to hunt and track errant words and scenes from the story with precision, surgically removing them with my white-handled blade (red pen). This is a time for ensuring the narrative flies straight (figuratively) and true like an arrow loosed from my bow, that no obstacles or humps are encountered which may way-lay or deter the reader from seeking the end of their quest, the end of the novel.

Gandalf Phase (4th Draft – grammar and spelling)

Gandalf the White (image from Wikipedia)


The fourth draft is purely a proof-read for grammar and spelling. I stand on the precipice and scream: “You [poor wording/spelling errors] shall not pass!” This is a time where the wisdom of experience is most sought after, to apply the final shine and coax any overlooked potential disasters into the light.

Aragorn Phase (Final manuscript and submission)

The journey is finally over (for now) and I feel like the king of all that I survey. It’s a new world out there just ready for the taking.

The Contradictory Writer’s Mind

The Contradictory Writer's Mind - HumorThis conversation may or may not have actually happened…

Friend:  How goes the publishing process?

Writer: Nerve-wracking!

Friend: Why?

Writer:  I’m afraid people will read my book.

Friend:  But that’s good, right?

Writer.  No.  It’s bad.  What if they don’t like it?

Friend:  Well, don’t publish then.  That’s okay.

Writer:  That’s not okay!  I want people to read it.

Friend:  But you just said–

Writer:  Oh!  What if I publish it but no one reads it?  Is that worse than not liking it?

Friend:  Well, I–

Writer  Surely someone will read it.

Friend:  I’m sure they will like–

Writer:  But then what if they don’t like it?

Friend.  I’m confused.

Writer:  Why?  I’ll publish and people will like the book.

Friend:  Glad to hear it.

Writer:  So how’s your day been?

Friend:  Nerve-wracking…