You’ve probably already heard that wonderfully creepy urban tale about a teenage boy and girl making out in a car in some Lovers Lane in Anytown, USA, and how the boy starts telling the girl of the “Hook Murders” in the area, whereby amorous teens are being killed by an insane, escaped killer with a hook for a hand. Perhaps not the smartest move on the boy’s part, as his girlfriend gets all distracted by fear, going from initial anxiety to eventual near-hysteria, resisting his advances and demanding they leave that instant. Which he eventually does. He’s all bummed, they bicker on the way back, arrive at her place, she jumps out, slams the door…. and screams. He runs around to her side of the vehicle…. and sees what she sees: a single bloody hook dangling from the door handle.
Creeped out? Good, because I am, and a good haunting is no fun alone. Continue reading “Off The Hook”
Our wonderful interwebs are full of blogs and writing websites that showcase an endless procession of writing advice and tips. We’ve discussed the pros and cons here on Indies Unlimited many times, so I don’t want to go over old ground. While planning the content of this post in the quiet small hours, however, it seemed like a good idea at the time to take a slightly skewed, bizarro-world look at writing tips using our trusty list format. Now, it seems… well, slightly stupid. But since I didn’t have a backup, here it is, anyway: a new kind of list. Twenty Five Writing Tips That Probably Suck. Seriously, though, I’m not wasting anyone’s time: loosely hidden within this apparent drivel are some actual decent tips, once they’re extricated and unpacked. You’ll see. Continue reading “Armless and Legless”
As much as we sometimes pretend we don’t, we love rules. Even the most maverick of writers is receptive to those clever, memorable guidelines, if only to know what to kick against. And the reality is that rules for writing—as for life, let’s face it—are not only abundant but are bewilderingly contradictory.
See, the thing about rules for writing is that, kind of like a yin-yang symbol, they always contain cute little seeds of their exact opposites. Witness the exhortations—from such authoritative guides as Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style and George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language—to err on the side of simplicity, to avoid in particular the pretensions of Latin- and Greek-based language in favour of good old Anglo-Saxon English (put simply and memorably: “avoid fancy words”). Plain common sense advice about plain common sense English, right? Well, yes and no. Outside the secret and no-doubt sordid fantasies of botanists everywhere, Orwell’s example of a snapdragon is still in no danger of being superseded by antirrhinum almost seventy years after he expressed his reservations. Similarly, ameliorate and clandestine have their place, even if we are more often inclined to use help and secret. Continue reading “Breaking the Rules”