A Note For Joe

A story of coworkers and courtesy, and a librarian in a pickle.

This story is my first round entry in the NYC Midnight 2016 Flash Fiction Challenge. You get prompts for genre (Fairy Tale), location (library) and object (coffee pot) and have 48 hours to turn it into a 1,000 word max story. I had a major block until 4 hours before deadline but it snapped together just in time. This is as submitted with only rough editing.

Hope you enjoy!

Continue reading “A Note For Joe”

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Trapped (Unseen, Insertion)

This will be an insertion for Unseen, Ages of the Seed Vol 3. The main characters in Unseen experience the same circumstances from very different perspectives. This is how Darkness lived through Ch.1.

Trapped

Cold.

I am cold. So very cold.

Has there ever been a cold like this? So all consuming. My world is frozen. I would shiver but I cannot remember how.

Why can’t I see? Could I ever see? Yes, I remember a time far from now when I saw… Continue reading “Trapped (Unseen, Insertion)”

How to write a Fairy Tale

First, recognize that there is nothing fairy about a Fairy Tale. Our forbears came up with this term because before Disney, fairies were terrifying. They were the bump in the night, the terrors of the unknown, the font of darkness. Fairy tales are meant as cautions; to guide and control. They are a social construct and if done well they are the truly timeless tales – told and told again, maturing and altering over time. Fairy tale archetypes form the base of every character we write and the classic versions of them are modified for every generation.

You will be hard pressed to find any modern book, movie, tv show or broadcast where you cannot find a comparable fairy tale that is their progenitor. These stories form a cultural base that transcends generations.

“And the moral of the story is” is a common thing because yeah, these were most often tales told to teach or impress moral values.

Second, write a fairy tale.

It’s not hard. These are some of the very most basic elements of storytelling. About all you need are:
1) What is the moral lesson?
2a) How horrifically can I show somebody failing to learn that lesson? /or
2b) How cleverly can my protagonist outwit the test?

Note that those are the only real options available. Learn the lesson through failure (and usually a grisly end), or figure out the lesson and use it to outwit the antagonist. Somebody has to lose. The lesson/moral always wins.

I’m particularly fond of taking modern tales and converting them into fairy tales. The Monster Under the Bed. Bloody Mary. The bloodier the tale, the easier it is to convert. Fairy tales are brutal. Hmmm… This should probably have been a number. Okay: Third. Fairy tales are brutal because they were socially imperative messages meant to stick. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Don’t kill. See a pattern here? Fairy tales teach things critical to the function and wellbeing of social groupings.

Look Fourth on modern fairy tales. Take any modern horror and you will probably see one. For example, last night (this morning? forgot to go to bed, sorry) I converted the Bloody Mary myth. All I had to do was change the POV to Mary. Suddenly it’s a cautionary tale against adultery instead of an unsourced horror in the mirror.

Modern horror movies are our fairy tales. So do the above with any horror movie. Most of them were intended for it. Some examples:

Slender Man: Stranger danger
Jason Vorhees: Adultery (initially)
Alien: Rape
Final Destination: Fate v choice
Jigsaw: Purgatory
Freddy Kruger: Masturbation (initially)
The Others: Adultery. Again. There are a lot about adultery. Sex sells.

Fourth, get religious. Okay, that’s not actually necessary. But look at religions. In Western culture almost all of our fairy tales tie to bibilical or primary European pagan beliefs, because that’s what we have carried from generation to generation. It’s the same in the East, North and South. The Christian Bible is a massive field of ready to convert fairy tales. So are the works of every other religion, and for the very same reasons.

Hit wikipedia. Look up an obscure religion and migrate a myth to New York City’s Central Park. Voila. Modern fairy tale. And possibly a Hollywood blockbuster. Hollywood loves Central Park.

Magnum Opus Idea: Convert King James to fairy tales. Win all the money.

Fifth, stop with the happy endings! Unless it is ironic or promotes a DIFFERENT moral lesson than the expected one a happy ending destroys the intent of the tale. Fairy tales are supposed to be scary so they stick with you and are memorable. Fairy tales are the rod we use to literaturally* beat morals into the next generation. Happy endings don’t stick. Or rod. We were using rod before, right? I’m losing my metaphor here.

Anywho, stop with Disney** endings is what I’m saying. That only works for the princess crowd, which is an entirely different audience from the fairy tale crowd.

So go write one. They are short and exceptionally fulfilling. And everybody lives happily ever after, right?

NO THEY DON’T!

But that’s okay because it is what makes them work.

* Literaturally – (wordified) Accomplished using the written word.
** Disney puts out great stories, the last fairy tale they made was Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

[Post cleaned up 11/14]

Mirrors

This is my take on the Bloody Mary curse. As fairy tale’d.

______________________________

Maire sat in her abject emptiness, waiting, waiting, waiting, for her hero. Somebody would free her, it had been promised. So many had come to challenge the curse, all had failed. But Maire knew that some day there would be one who would rescue her. It was fated. It was foretold. Some day there would be one strong enough to release her. Strong enough to face the unquenchable fears of their own selves, strong enough to face the horror of their own being, strong enough to set her free.

“I curse you, Maire of the Vale. I curse you once, twice, thrice. I curse you and all that look upon you. Naught shall you see but yourself and never shall you see the Laird of life nor death.” Continue reading “Mirrors”

Hunting Todd

This short was written and published in 2003 in a now-defunct horror zine. Hmm…hope that wasn’t my fault. Anywho, it has a multi-option ending that I really liked. Think “choose your own adventure” meets the Brothers Grimm. Part 1 is the common body and parts 2-4 are the different conclusions. Does Todd escape? Does Terry finally achieve his elusive goal? Only you can decide.

(#3 is my favorite) Continue reading “Hunting Todd”