July 22, 2015 • Fiction: Horror & Paranormal
CAMP PLOT-A-WANNA is a weekly 8-part series where Quirk Books staffers reimagine famous authors as pre-teens, stuck together at summer camp. Check out the rest of the posts here. It is also an entirely fictional place. Please don't have your parents drop you off at our offices with sleeping bags.
To: Camp Plot-a-Wanna senior counselors
From: Camp Counselor Bill Shakespeare
At last night’s weenie and marshmallow roast, camper H. Lovecraft (Underwood Cabin) suggested the group tell scary stories around the campfire. He offered to begin a story, which the other campers could then add to. Things didn’t go exactly as planned. Here’s a transcript:
November 19, 2014 • Fiction: Horror & Paranormal
When I was a kid, I read A Wizard of Earthsea, and I read The Hobbit, and I read The Great Brain, and The Saturdays, and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and I read Judy Blume, and I read pretty much everything I could get my hands on, from Choose Your Own Adventure to the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom novelization, but there is only one book that I look back and am truly thankful for. It’s the book that saved me, the book that made me who I am today, the book that turned me into a writer. It is, of course, Famous Monsters of Filmland’s Star Wars Spectacular.
October 31, 2014 • Fiction: Horror & Paranormal
In most honest form, I recall to you an academic list, which I have fastidiously discovered through Plutonian nightmares that have defiled my fleeting knowledge of the earthly truths I once knew, of the six scariest words I have accounted in my life. Few have endured this maldictonox that was borne to pass under my visage.
I wake up in a graveyard. This sometimes happens. I spy an abstruse structure through the curtain of fog, and I come upon Your Humble Narrator's first abominable word.
October 30, 2014 • Fiction: Horror & Paranormal
Photo via Biography.com
A long time ago, before the internet gave us pictures of cats in pumpkins to celebrate Halloween, people liked to gather together and tell scary stories. Even before Halloween as we know it became an official holiday the end of the harvest, the shortening of the days, the impending winter, and the chill in the air sent people rushing to huddle around a fire eager to scare each other witless. It wasn’t just about the fun of seeing who could be the last man standing, there was also a bond that was built that would be needed for the bleak months ahead. This was the case long before master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe was even in short pants (which probably caught fire, given his luck), but after his works started to gain popularity there was a whole new batch of horrors for people to soil themselves to!
Poe’s works were visceral, unapologetic, gruesome, and psychological. He pioneered the “singular effect,” which basically meant if your aim is to write a scary story every single thing you put to paper should be for the sole purpose of making your reader curl into a fetal position and cry. Poe’s works are almost always from a first person perspective, meaning you jump into a person’s brain every time you read one and it seems like they’re always begging you personally to back them up.
It also makes them the perfect works to read out loud in the storytelling tradition. For the audience, they get to see a performance rather than a reading, and for the reader, well, who doesn’t love the excuse to go a little mad from time to time?
In a world of graphic visual violence we often forget how terrifying just sound can be (until we hear something at the window while we’re trying to sleep and remember we live on the 10th floor). This Halloween, instead of just opting for another slasher-movie fest, or eating your weight’s worth in snickers, why not gather a group of friends together, dim the lights, and have a ghost story party? Special Guest star: Edgar Allan Poe. Plus 1: Terror.
Here are my top recommendations of Poe works to accomplish your singular effect of scary fun! Happy Halloween!