Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Disconnected Series

Sometimes a story needs to be told over a length that is greater than feasible or in some manner desirable. Feasibility is quickly falling by the wayside when e-books can be of any length with no regard for spine width or holding the pages together. Desirability is a function of a few things. Cost asked for the book. The amount of time a reader is expected to stay with a story at any particular interval without seeking a change of pace. A similar need in the author either to write something different for a while or simply take a break. That author break may be researching something different later use, which doesn't break the fiction flow or feel of the current story while still giving the brain cells a chance to change gears. A series of books or stories starring the same main character(s) isn't the only kind of series. This sometimes feels like an idea that gets lost and or forgotten.

I've been thinking about this topic for the last little while because in the recent Killing Time - Horror E-Rag Issue 2-2 I released in PDF the first of my devil stories. It is titled "Toasty Warm" and so far is part of a trilogy where the only tie is that there are devils involved in the plot. Nothing else binds them. No repeat characters; not even the devils. So how is that a series? The stories are related. They are a part of the same vein of the same mythos--at least as I've done them. It's the same as they would be if they were a more coherent continuing series rather than a series in spirit or intent alone. I haven't put much more thought into the series since the conclusion of the third story. The time is appropriate to look at returning to the themes into which these stories play, what they are expressing about that corner of the mythos I wish to build, and should there be more.

The question is more what? The simple answer is that it may be time to look at pulling the strings together between these stories and bring some kind of greater coherence. This could be bringing out an overarching story that requires the previous parts--at least for the continued readership who has been witness to the events from start to newest finish--yet can stand on its own. Moving from disconnected to connected is not a given. It may not even be desirable. Sometimes trying to pull off the connection diminishes the feel that was previously held. It can weaken the strength born of their uniqueness. It may just be unfulfilling and have no bearing on the past. Either way it is a question that needs to be asked before embarking on such a goal. The rewards and the satisfaction are great if it can be pulled off though. It's something that requires a deft hand and good forethought.

Mood: reflective.
Music: Anthem of the World by Stratovarius and Sister of Pain by Vince Neil.

Stratovarius: Destiny
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Vince Neil: Exposed
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Modern Witch Conspiracy

The surface has been brushed for period piece settings and stories with evil satanic witches. What though of the modern day? Has the ghastly horror witch gone the way of the dodo? The answer is a resounding no. They are certainly about and still practicing their nefarious ways. They do have their work cut out for them in some fashion though. Their brand of wickedness pales in comparison to the likes of serial killers, mass genocide in foreign lands--though honestly those kinds of atrocities have always gone on, if not as efficiently bloody as now--and the general moral slide of society with a total disregard for the value of courtesy, freedom, humanity and life not seen in centuries. Where then is the place for witch when the Adversary seems to be doing fine without lifting an apparent finger?

As with everything that slides into the present and looks to the future the ways and the wants of the witch have become more complex. Things are subtler now than ever. Part of it has as much to do with the witch hunters as it does the witches and their master. Staying covert went from a matter of privacy to one of downright survival. As would prove later to be beyond prescient the greatest lie the Devil ever told was that he did not exist. Thus too was it for his witches. The witch scare died down, past some unknown point, but likely earlier than now expected, the bulk of the victims of the stake were left to the innocent and the witches' own chosen scapegoats. Beyond that need for discretion was the need to find ever new, ingenious, and complicated ways to waylay and corrupt a populace that was continually growing savvier and more educated by the decade.

That formerly mentioned moral slide may have occurred all on its own, but the levels that it reaches and the ways that people are led, or driven, to act on the worst impulses that it represent can, and is, tweaked by the slyest of witches. There is a new, more ambitious, agenda at work. It is hard to nail down what it is precisely, but it is insidious, widespread, and broken down into a vast array of cogs that work as a monumental mechanism of evil the likes of which hasn't been seen before. Trying to chip away at those cogs is hard work and there are multiple redundancies. There are whispers and innuendo in certain circles about the nature of the witches' endeavours. The most frightening hypothesis put forward about this Machiavellian project is that even the attempts to derail it at every turn are pushing it toward its nefarious goal.

Mood: sly.
Music: Everything Louder Than Everything Else by Meat Loaf and Pure Evil by Iced Earth.

Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell II
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Iced Earth: Night Of The Stormrider
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

From Coven to Grave

The witch's mark is an intimate marker that warns of an unholy alliance. Very few will have opportunity to see that nipple from which the familiar suckles blood. Those who need to discover a witch before it is too late must look for more external signs. Some are very blatant and others more subtle. When the witch is discovered then he or she must be captured, a job best left to the witch hunters. That requires special equipment if the witch is very powerful, and sometimes even when not. After that there is the trial, which has its own equipment needs. The capture in many ways is the easy part thanks to the skill of the hunters. The confession is paramount but not easy to attain. These are the devotees of the Adversary (the Devil) after all--lies come to them naturally. The last step, passing sentence on a confessed witch has the simplest parts requirement.

In the dead of the night they gather. Travel out to the woods, away from prying eyes. Around the fire they dance and cavort. No special garments denote them for they must be skyclad, their nakedness full and complete beyond mere skin, their wicked souls fully on display. The nudity strips them of rank and importance; they are all supplicants to their evil Master. The rituals of which they partake are dark and ominous, many of them in stark contrast to proper behaviour, such as the Witch's Sabbath. Their vileness knows no bounds as exemplified by the Unholy Water--made in a hole in the ground from the urine of the Master and the members of the coven. They fornicate with all abandon at these gatherings. Yet by day their wantonness remains hidden just as the rest of their fiendishness. No, they must be caught in small lies and tiny sick acts.

The hunt begins once a witch is discovered. Oddly enough holy water doesn't play into our hunter's bag of tricks, due to these hunters not being Catholic--though they have their share of hunters--think instead Protestants, Quakers, or perhaps for a change of pace, Mormons. Other holy items are used. Some of them are not your run of the mill crosses. They include pieces of the cross from Calvary and in the same vein nails from the crucifixion, perhaps even the famed missing fourth nail. There may be other reliquary of more esoteric history. The equipment of the trial includes dunking devices, stocks and legs irons among other painful bindings, and different torture chairs such as the pyramidal Judas Cradle. In the field all it may take is a length of rope and a stream. When it's all done it's off to the stake to burn in the soul cleansing fire.

Mood: judgemental.
Music: One by Metallica and Let Me Hear You Scream by Ozzy Osbourne.

Metallica: ...And Justice for All
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Ozzy Osbourne: Scream
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