Hell Really Exists
This is just something we're thinking about for the time being - if you're interested, let me know. The chapbook format would lend itself nicely to speculative fiction poetry, small collections of short stories, or individual printing of novelettes. I confess that I'd like to see theme-centered collections of short stuff, Schrodinger's Petshop Travels In Time, The Magical Petshop, and even ZOOfolk & Deals With The Devil.
As authors, how can we represent a character's point of view in a scene without having to haul him in and place him there Perhaps the easiest way is to have other characters talk about the missing character and relate the opinion that character would have expressed if he had been present. For example, one character might say, You know, if Charlie were here he'd be pissed as hell about this The conversation might continue with another character taking a contrary position on what old Charlie's reaction might be until the two have argued the point to some conclusion much as if Charlie had been there in spirit.
Standing on the summit of the tower that crowned his church, wings upspread, sword lifted, the devil crawling beneath, and the cock, symbol of eternal vigilance, perched on his mailed foot, Saint Michael held a place of his own in heaven and on earth which seems, in the eleventh century, to leave hardly room for the Virgin of the Crypt at Chartres, still less for the Beau Christ of the thirteenth century at Amiens. Henry Adams
Now demons, whatever else they may be, are full of interest. Here both demons and full of interest draw attention, expressing the principal idea more strongly than would loose or periodic structure Now demons are full of interest, whatever else they may be. Whatever else they may be, demons are full of interest.
I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any goddam stupid useless conversation with anybody. If anybody wanted to tell me something, they'd have to write it on a piece of paper and shove it over to me. They'd get bored as hell doing that after a while, and then I'd be through with having conversations for the rest of my life. Everybody'd think I was just a poor deaf-mute bastard and they'd leave me alone.
The fish vendor picks up a large sea bass and shows it to him. E.T. nods, and the vendor aims it like a football and throws it to another vendor, who wraps it. Ed, astonished, bursts out laughing. The vendor holds up a crab, and when she nods, he throws it to her. Soon all hell breaks loose, fish flying everywhere, and Ed and E.T. in the thick of it, having a great time.
Use a dictionary when you write so that people don't need to have one on hand when they read what you've written. Be especially careful about words that look similar but mean different things. The English language contains a great number of words that are commonly misused or mistaken for each other. Some commonly encountered devil pairs are given below. This list is only a beginning, and no substitute for a good dictionary. Exercise 6.3. Devil pairs Place each member of the devil pair in the proper place in the sentences below.
Some nights, I fall asleep in the dead quiet of still air to be woken by the roaring of a hard west wind through these trees. The branches whip and flail like the arms of demonic dancers. The tall trunks lean, swaying slowly back and forth, pulling on roots that must go deep to hold them from falling.
Imagining, and when i wrote the scene, tears ran down my face and i got queasy and i got cold and when I was through I went to bed and cried. I had to put myself in the place where that character was, and she was in hell, and she did a hellish thing - but she did it with my hands, and my mind, and my eyes.
However - from my own experience here - the act of writing changes the vision, and even with an outline you can end up in trouble. My friend and I had agreed to write a book together in a universe that I created in which the heroine was so strong in her faith and her love of her fellow humans that she transformed and redeemed the fallen angel who was sent to lead her astray. It was supposed to be both a life-affirming and a funny book, the start of a series of collaborative books in which humans would interact with denizens from Hell and Heaven, and in which God would demonstrate a seriously warped sense of humor. I wrote the outline, she was to do the first draft, I was to do the final draft. Somewhere along the way, she veered seriously from the outline. What had started out a fun and funny book turned very dark, ending with the heroine seduced away from her faith, left hopeless and broken and bound for Hell, with the fallen angel triumphant. When I got her manuscript, I had a...
The Subjective view is as if the Story Mind were our own. From this perspective, only two characters are visible Main and Obstacle. The Main and Obstacle Characters represent the inner conflict of the Story Mind. In fact, we might say a story is of two minds. In real life, we often play our own devil's advocate, entertaining an alternative view as a means of arriving at the best decision. Similarly, the Story Mind's alternative views are made tangible through the Main and Obstacle Characters. To the audience of a story, the Main Character experience is as if the audience were actually one of the players on the field. The Obstacle Character is the player who blocks the way.
In the example above, the structure of the story actually changed from what we thought it was. In contrast, when we shift context to create a different message , the structure remains the same, but our appreciation of it changes. This can be seen very clearly in a Twilight Zone episode entitled, Invaders, in which Agnes Moorhead plays a lady alone on a farm besieged by aliens from another world. The aliens in question are only six inches tall, wear odd space suits and attack the simple country woman with space age weapons. Nearly defeated, she finally musters the strength to overcome the little demons, and smashes their miniature flying saucer. On its side we see the American Flag, the letters U.S.A. and hear the last broadcast of the landing team saying they have been slaughtered by a giant. Now, the structure didn't change, but our sympathies sure did, which was the purpose of the piece.
What you're doing here is, a) having fun by doing something you don't have to expect yourself to be good at, and b) stomping hell out of your internal censor, who will be so shocked by your rebellion that it will shut up for a while and let you write what you want to write. If it starts to nag again while you're making progress, telling you you're no good and that you don't know what you're doing, you can always threaten it with more erotica or sonnets to your refrigerator.
In a million tiny ways, and a couple of huge ones. Let me tell you a story. I had exactly one month from the time I started Sympathy for the Devil until I had to hand it in. This wasn't a cruel publishing trick - the book was supposed to have been a collaboration, but my collaborator couldn't do the book I needed, and I found this out late, and ended up doing it alone. I was pushing through the novel at twenty pages per day - for me, that's fourteen to sixteen hours a day on good days. I'm steady, but I'm not a blazingly fast writer. I submerged myself in the book, and it started to flow. I was writing, but the part of me that had a lot to say in that book wasn't my conscious mind. My subconscious took over, feeding me scenes, and I reworked and shaped them at a feverish pace. My subconscious self was furious at the injustices I recalled from my years in nursing, and that fury fueled the opening of the book. As I mentioned in the autobiographical chapter, Nursing, Hell, and Sympathy...
Poor shmuck having a hell of a hard time of it a thousand miles away. I'm doing what I love, and getting paid for it, and I wouldn't do anything else unless I were in imminent danger of starvation. Life doesn't suck. But I'm one of those people who never minded a bit of adventure. And even for me, sometimes the sheer amount of adventure makes the whole thing dicey.
Those words start to loom after a while, don't they I haven't written. What they mean is I'm worthless, I'm talentless, I have nothing to say and even if I did no one would want to listen, I don't know why I think I can do this, and I don't think I want to and I just can't stop. And you don't have to be writing full-time - and counting on making your deadline in order to make the rent - for those three words from Hell to pound through your brain with the awful portent of Poe's narrator's telltale heart. Well, maybe I know why you haven't. When is the last time you had fun while you were writing When is the last time you made yourself laugh - when did your characters last do something that was both outrageous and perfectly right, when did your lead rip out a zinger of a come-back that you would have given your left arm for when you had that argument last month When did you last say, To hell with literary immortality and just allow the words to hit the paper without regard for their...
Side road we were travelling along, neither of us was prepared. He grabbed the bit in his teeth, preventing me from slowing him down or stopping him by sawing on the reins, and took off at a bucking gallop down the dirt road. He didn't stop until he hit a paved road . . . and the only reason he stopped then was because his hooves went out from under him and he went down and I jumped off fast enough to save myself from being crushed or breaking a leg. But I landed on my left knee and still have a hell of a scar from it. I was scared to death. We got off the highway with the help of a lady who lived on that corner out in the country and who had apparently seen us. We didn't get run over. And you're in this for the story, not for how good you feel while you write it. When your character grabs the bit in his teeth, give him his head. Let him run. Trust him not to get the two of you killed. Maybe you'll end up someplace grand, and if you don't, at least you'll have had one hell of a ride.
A typical sort of problem story might be this The hero has landed his spaceship on an uninhabited, lifeless world, without benefit of his rockets which are out of order. As he fixes the engines, he discovers the planet's atmosphere is combustible, of a gasoline-like vapor. If he had landed with the rockets blazing, the entire kaboodle would have exploded he was lucky. But, now that he's down, how in the devil can he take off again Even if the engines are repaired, can they lift off without igniting the atmosphere around them and completely destroying themselves in the resultant explosion One answer is this Since the atmosphere is composed of gasoline-like vapor, and is not pure oxygen, it cannot explode there is simply nowhere for the expanding vapor to explode to. All it can do is burn, and that cannot harm them at all as long as they remain inside their escaping, steel ship.
Akin to the sixth type is the seventh type of science fiction story the alternate worlds story. Imagine that, in the beginning, there was only one Earth but that different possible Earths branched off from ours at various points in time. Let's say that every time something could have happened two different ways, another possibility world came into being. On our world, there was a World War I which the Allies won in another world, the Allies lost in our world, we did not avoid the Second World War in a third world, they did in a fourth world, the U.S. got into World War II, and lost to the Germans who took possession of America, giving the course of history yet another turn. So on, and on, and on. The result is a vast, indeed an infinite number of possible Earths existing side-by-side, each invisible to the other but nonetheless real. This is, basically, the theory of other dimensions beyond our own, dimensions in a romantic sense rather than the mathematical. Specific science fiction...
The protagonist and antagonist may at some level represent good versus evil. In a classic mystery story, for instance, the detective, on the side of law and justice, may match wits with a diabolic criminal. In Stephen Vincent Benet's The Devil and Daniel Webster, a New Hampshire farmer who has made a bad bargain enlists the celebrated nineteenth-century orator and statesman to take on the Devil himself.
Walking down the street, I saw a blind man being led by a seeing-eye dog. Suddenly, the dog pissed on the blind man's leg. His owner took a biscuit out of his pocket, bent down and gave it to the dog. I walked over and said to the man, Sir, I couldn't help noticing what you did. It's one of the greatest acts of kindness I've ever seen. The blind man said, Kindness, hell, I just want to find where his head is so I can kick him in the ass. Two old men were watching a Great Dane lick his balls. One turned to the other and said, All my life, I wished that I could do that The second one said, Better pet him first, he looks mean as hell. Billy Crystal
Hours for not a lot of money, and if I ever wanted to move out of my parents' house (and I did, let me tell you) I was going to have to do something that paid regular money, and a fair amount of it. I added McDonald's, so that technically I had three jobs at the same time, but while I was sure as hell employed, I wasn't making enough money to feed a dieting cockroach. My mother (who also wanted me out of the house sometime in her lifetime) was working at a local hospital. She ran into some of the nursing students there, and came home from work one day and told me i ought to go to nursing school. it was cheap, it was local, and the uniforms were cute. (They were also polyester and hot as hell, but they were, indeed, cute.) so i went to the community college, boned up on algebra, and took the test. i passed easily, and found myself at the very top of what was for some people a two year waiting list. And with about that much forethought, I started into two years of hell as a nursing...
Jean Auel had, as John Gardner says, an almost demonic com-pulsiveness about prehistoric people. She delved deeply into the subject and novelized her research. At the time, it was widely thought that no one would be interested in reading about primitive peoples. But she had a passion, and now her books have sold millions. a vision means you are writing with an almost demonic compul-siveness.
It's a struggle for me to explain why this matters so much to me. I can't tell you with conviction that there is life after death I can't swear that anything we do here will face an accounting later, and frankly I doubt any such accounting. I don't proclaim that searching for the meaning in my life will improve my karma, clear up my skin, or improve my sex life, either. But I do think that as humans, we owe the best of who we are - more the best of who we can be - to ourselves, to our fellow human beings, and to the future. Not because if we slack off an angry deity is going to blast us with thunderbolts or roast us in eternal torment. Not because its better to play the odds and be good just in case. I read a prayer once, and I believe it was attributed to Thomas Aquinas, and I'm probably misquoting it terribly, but the gist of it was, 'If I worship you because I hope to gain heaven, withhold heaven from me and if I worship you because I fear hell, then throw me into hell but if I...
I've gotten five page long, single-spaced letters back from students answering my questions or challenging points I made and my reaction is that such letters are a waste of paper. If I couldn't figure it out from the material, it needs to be rewritten. This ties in with my theory about the original idea. If you can't tell me what your story is about in one, maybe two sentences, and I understand it from that, then you are going to have a hell of a hard time selling it. You don't get to put those letters in the front of your published book.
As well as a moment by moment telling, story also moves us into a world becoming extraordinary. You are a flatmate, then, apparently, you are a flatmate from hell. People who are experiencing story find themselves in circumstances no longer safe. The real world is still present, but changed. The shift can be gradual or sudden, wondrous, sometimes deeply horrifying love, loss, grief, illness, possible recovery, sudden news, travels and expeditions, things from the past erupting into the present. We sense that time is shaped differently from how we thought it was. Buried conflicts surface. Opposite forces face each other, struggle for domination. We ask, 'What's going on ' In fiction, the extraordinary becomes real, the real extraordinary. But to make the shift from one to the other requires extraordinary skill on the part of the writer. Building up worlds we recognise as authentic helps to enact the shift and make it credible. Harry Potter begins in Privet Drive. The world of story...
And I do hate to sound like the Commercial Sell-Out from Hell here, but if you don't work to make your book as marketable as you can, you can kiss any hope of a full-time writing career goodbye. Publishers - all publishers - publish books in order to make money. If you aren't willing to help your publisher out by writing books he can hope to sell, he will simply stop buying books from you. Put your heart into your stories, and your soul, and the best of what you have to offer. Then be willing to reshape your stories to make them better, more marketable, more accessible. Keep the heart and the soul in there - don't get cynical, however easy it may be to get cynical. But keep your eye on the sales figures and the bottom line, too.
If you think about your daily life, you'll realize what an important part subtext plays in it. Do you tell your boss to go to hell when he asks you to stay overtime I don't think you do, not if you want to be employed. But you might go to your desk and start slamming papers around or furiously sharpen your pencils. You are using subtext in your actions
Kismet and How Like a Virus Entering a Cell are reprinted with the permission of Diane Ackerman. The poems appear in her book Jaguar of Sweet Laughter New & Selected Poems, published by Random House in 1991. The excerpt from the poem Beowulf, as translated by Michael Alexander, is reprinted with permission from Penguin Books Ltd. Alexander's translation was originally published by Penguin Classics in 1973. Satan by Terry Anderson is reprinted with his permission, copyright 1992. At Burt Lake and Ars Poetica are reprinted with permission from Tom Andrews and the University of Iowa Press. The poems appear in his book The Hemophiliac's Motorcycle, published by the University of Iowa Press in 1993. Eloquent Lingo by Nuala Archer is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in her book The Hour of Pan ama, published by Salmon Publishing, Galway, Ireland, in 1992. Driving Past the Nuclear Plant, Patriotics and Sentimental An Epithalamium are reprinted with permission from David...
I'm here to tell you that shit stinks, no matter what you call it, and if you genuinely believe that different words are going to change that fact, you need to have your head examined. I'm here to tell you that men are different from women, and that those differences are both normal and good. Men are shot full of testosterone, and while that testosterone gives men a push toward aggressiveness, that aggressiveness is the thing that men channel into the creative drives that have given us some of the world's best architecture and literature and art, and that have created in men a sense of honor and duty and self-sacrifice. Women are shot full of estrogen, and while that estrogen push can make us bitchy as hell, it can also be channeled into creative drives that have given us some of the rest of the world's great literature and art, and have given birth to some great kids and some of the world's finest next generations. Motherhood is not a crime. Fatherhood is not a crime. Families are...
As Anderson rides, hellbound, he's hit in the back of his head, falling backward off his horse. William T. Bloody Bill Anderson is dead. GOODMAN (V.O.) I believe now that he spared my life so that I would tell his story. Yes, he was a terrible and bloodthirsty fiend, and for this he has made his place in Hell. But who would act otherwise, when all he holds dear is so harshly taken. He fought, after all, for freedom. We all fought for that noble cause, in that brutal war. But let no one forget the terrible price we paid, that fateful day -
I know a thing or two about metals. I know how to find the veins and open up galleries. I go down pits I'm not afraid. I was working well. I was foreman, and had nothing to complain about. But then the devil took a hand in things. Last Saturday night, simply because I felt like it, I went off all of a To me Nothing at all, I tell you It was the first time I saw him. The poor devil had even handed out cigarettes.
As well as a new attention to self and surroundings, modern fiction writers aimed to position their story-worlds close to the common experience of living readers. This stylistic development is usually defined by the term realism. King also insists on 'sensory reality'. However strange, the world of the story must be made habitable, believable. If it were not, his peculiar horrors wouldn't be able to threaten or attack. In terms of technique, King, too, is a realist. Indeed it might be that all modern fiction requires a credible state of sensory reality, and that this is its difference from the world of religious allegory and seasonal myth whose authorship is often anonymous and whose main purpose doesn't require a world of credible illusions. This was a quality that myths and fables didn't even need to consider. Fiction in the modern world has to earn its right to credibility, and does so in a style that uses reality effects and constant researched reference to the actual. It has to...
Again, rely on your garbage detector. If you don't find benefit from an exercise, don't torture yourself. However, avoid resisting for resistance's sake. In this context, you may learn as much from submitting to direction as from resisting. Often, Writing Practice exercises will push you beyond your comfort zone. If you find yourself squirming at the keyboard, you are probably writing something important. Let yourself squirm. Write through it. You may actually feel driven by demons in some moments. Let them drive. You will survive discomfort and your writing will benefit.
Jack Ellis, director of development (fund-raising) for Ohio University was being given a testimonial dinner. One speaker told the story of the carnival strong man who wet a towel and then squeezed every drop of water out of it. Then he offered to bet anyone in the audience fifty dollars that they couldn't squeeze out just one more drop. Up sprang our guest of honor, and sure enough, he squeezed out three drops. Who in the devil are you asked the strong man. And the man said, I'm a fund raiser for Ohio University.
But I've been using outlines since I started. I've only written one book without one (Sympathy for the Devil ) and I haven't found outlines at all restraining. Remember that an outline is only a map. If you find some unmarked side roads you want to explore once you're moving well, explore them. If you discover an entirely different route than the one you mapped out, take it. My finished books only bear passing resemblance to the novels that come from them . . . but the outline allows me to check from time to time to make sure my new route will still get me to my chosen destination.
If you follow my first suggestion, you are going to hit places where you cannot figure out how to write a scene. It will be too deep, too emotional, or too personal for you to want to tackle it, and you'll be tempted to take the easy way out - to skip that scene or to write around it. Don't give in to temptation. Now is the time to strip yourself naked and walk off the cliff. There's water at the bottom, and you'll discover that flying naked through the air can feel pretty good, and that you're a hell of a lot better swimmer than you could have imagined. But the only way you're going to discover that is if you jump.
Next, new people start showing up and auditioning for parts, tap-dancing across the pages going, See, and I can sing the Star-Spangled Banner and ride a unicycle, too And if they tap-dance pretty well and don't hit too many wrong notes, I tend to hire them - only to be left scratching my head and wondering, Yes, but what do you have to do with my plot Medwind Song and Flynn the cat in Fire in the Mist, Felara in Hunting the Corrigan's Blood, Earwax in Sympathy for the Devil, and Belinda in When the Bough Breaks are all characters who just showed up.
My life is an adventure, and almost every morning I wake up amazed that I'm the lucky shmuck who gets to do this for a living. Yep - even when I'm broke. Writing is hairy and scary and uncertain, but it's also wonderful and thrilling and a hell of a lot of fun. If I could be anyone in the world doing anything in the world, I wouldn't be Stephen King or Dean Koontz or John Grisham with all their success and all their money . . . I'd be me, and I'd be doing this. Right here, right now, making it on my own and climbing the mountain by myself.
To defeat the Dragons, Kait and Ry must destroy the source of the sorcerers' power -- the Mirror of Souls. But if they succeed, they will lose the only weapon that can stop Luercas from becoming a demonic god who will enslave the entire world . . . forever. The DEVIL'S POINT Novels Sympathy for the Devil The Devil and Dan Cooley Hell on High
I can give you unbiased reviews of lots of writers, but I can't give you an unbiased review of Lawrence Block. I'm warning you in advance. The man is one of my heroes, and my role-model, and one hell of a writer at everything he turns his hand to. Consider yourself warned, then.
Today, few straight adventure novels are written and published. The non-fiction lists have begun to supply adventure tales that have few fictional equals. Henri Charrier's best-selling Papillon, concerning the author's real-life ordeal on Devil's Island, his repeated escapes from the police, his hazardous ocean voyages in leaky boats never meant to brave the fury of the open sea, his months with a primitive South American tribe and his acquisition of a native wife, has the authority of detail that fiction rarely achieves. Likewise, Maurice Herzog's Annapurna, which concerns the French Himalayan Expedition's heroic climb to the top of the world, contains more high drama than any man could spin in a fantasy. Readers are willing, even eager, to put down the money for a real-life adventure story, but are only rarely interested in an adventure novel.
GOODMAN Let me tell you something, you son of a bitch. I may not be like those killers who call themselves Union soldiers, but I'm not crossing no river with the likes of you, I sure as hell am not one of you, and I will never forget what you did to my men. So unless you're going to kill
Writers sharpen our sense of the world by making us hear and see with intensified clarity at times when otherwise we might just take things for granted. The Golden Gate Bridge probably doesn't need de-familiarising, while other, more common, experiences, will. The poet Peter Sansom, for example, instead of saying 'drove off at speed', writes of a 'floored accelerator waking the whole street'. Rather than 'looking a mess' D.B.C.Pierre writes 'Ella's just skinny, with some freckles, and this big ole head of tangly blond hair that's always blown to hell, like a Barbie doll your dog's been chewing on for a month' (Pierre, 2003 126).
In The Pine Barrens, John McPhee describes how he went up to a house in the midst of New Jersey's Pine Barrens to ask for water and met one of Hog Wallow's residents, Frederick Chambers Brown. I called out to ask if anyone was home, and a voice called back, 'Come in. Come in. Come on the hell in.' Almost like a cinematographer, McPhee walks with his cinema v rit camera on his shoulder through the vestibule, the kitchen, and into another room where the camera pans across the overstuffed chairs, one strewn with a pair of trousers, and finally reveals the source of the originally shouted invitation to come on the hell in Fred Chambers
As PowerPoint use has become ubiquitous, an acerbic backlash to its use has also gained momentum. Use of the program's default slide design, in particular, has been blamed for everything from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster (Tufte, 2003) to economic losses in the business community (Simons, 2004). Editorials have asked Is PowerPoint the Devil (Keller, 2004) and Does PowerPoint
My marriage, which had been a serious mistake, (I married a man whom I discovered much later was both a closet homosexual and a pedophile), hit the skids in a big way. I was still nursing. I was still writing. And suddenly I was looking for a way out of a private hell, and facing off against a determined enemy, who told me point-blank, You've never been out on your own. You'll never make it without me.
Unless you have been to Alaska in the middle of the salmon run, when the black flies are biting like hell and the mosquitoes make blankets on every inch of exposed skin, and unless you have cut an inch-thick steak from a king salmon pulled fresh from the river and gutted right there, and unless you have wrapped that salmon steak in tin-foil filled with butter and perhaps pepper, and buried it in coals to cook, you have never tasted real salmon.
If you want specific titles of books that began as maps, I give you Fire in the Mist, Bones of the Past and Mind of the Magic (the Arhel novels), Sympathy for the Devil, The Devil and Dan Cooley, and Hell on High (the DEVIL'S POINT novels), The Rose Sea, Glenraven and Glenraven In the Shadow of the Rift, Hunting the Corrigan's Blood, Curse of the Black Heron, and finally the trilogy I'm currently writing, Diplomacy of Wolves, Vengeance of Dragons, and Courage of Falcons (the SECRET TEXTS trilogy.) In other words, you'd have to look through your stacks a bit to find a book I've written that didn't begin as a map.
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