lurking horror

Original snip (young adult)

And here’s a snip from the YA I posted on patreon just now:

She’d never heard her sister scream like that, shrill and terrified, worse than any nightmare given flesh. Shadow leapt over a pile of rubble, fumbling with frozen fingers at her satchel. The camping knife, the camping knife, she needed to find Tempest, to help her, to save her, and all she had was a fucking camping knife to ward off whatever horrors lurked in the darkness.

               It was almost too much to process—so Shadow didn’t process it. She just reacted on pure instinct, flashlight sweeping the ground just before her feet as she hurtled half-blind into the darkness, skittering across rock and through pools of gathered water deeper and deeper into the cavern.

               Some part of her warned that she should be leaving some kind of trail they could follow back to the sinkhole entrance, but the rest was responding to pure adrenaline. Her sister’s shrill cries echoed from deep inside the earth, farther and farther away even as Shadow raced the darkness to reach her—as if, somehow, Tempest were being dragged away by something bigger and faster than either than them. As if—

               Suddenly, without warning, without preamble, the screams died.

How to Return to your Manuscript

Every writer knows what it’s like to set a manuscript down for an evening and just… not pick it up again.

Usually when this happens, we have every intention of returning to it the next day, but for some reason or another, we don’t. 

One day turns into a week. Which turns into a month. Maybe two. 

The longer the manuscript’s been set aside, the harder it becomes to pick up again. It turns into this dark, hulking presence lurking at the edge of your consciousness, like something in a horror movie, eating away at that piece of your identity labeled “writer.” 

The reasons for not picking it up may change, but there’s always one.

You may not know where to start again, or doubt that your abilities are up to the standard its plot or characters require. You may not know where to find the time to write anymore. You may have even sat down to write just a few minutes ago, and ended up here on Tumblr instead, unable to bring yourself to open the manuscript file. 

If you’re reading this post and feel personally attacked…

Don’t fret. 

I have a writing exercise for you. 

Set aside ten minutes of your day to look at your manuscript. 

  • I recommend reading the last scene you completed, but this is your manuscript and your time. You can look at the first page. Or that one scene in the middle that you actually kind of like. Just don’t look at a blank page. Blank pages are scary and this is all about eliminating writing anxiety. 
  • Personally, I make this the last thing I do in the day, so I go to sleep with my manuscript in my head. Sometimes it helps to let my unconscious mind have a go at sorting through what I’ve read. However, I think it’s helpful to do this before any long period of time when you can let your mind wander. You may find writing more helpful before work/school or during lunch. Before a commute. Whatever works best for you. 

But don’t write and don’t look for more than ten minutes. 

  • You’re not allowed to change a single thing in the document. Not a comma. Not a misspelled word. 
  • When the ten minutes are up, simply close the document and go on with your day/night. 
  • There will probably be some things that you do want to change in the manuscript. They may be very simple, sentence-level fixes, but they may be as big as an idea for continuing the scene or the start of the next chapter. Let those thoughts sit with you, instead of all of the manuscript doubt and anxiety that were sitting with you before.
  • And yes, keeping your time down to ten minutes is important. You want a focus on a bite-sized portion of the manuscript. If you read too much, you’ll give yourself too much to consider for the next day, you’ll find too much to change, and you’ll run the risk of making your work as anxiety-inducing as ever. 

The next day, sit down with your document for another ten minutes. 

  • Allow yourself to make the changes you didn’t make the first day, or ones you’ve come up with since. This may mean adding a few commas and removing a few ‘that’s. This may mean continuing with the scene. Ten minutes is the perfect amount of time to set down a good paragraph. Try that. 
  • Again, force yourself to stop after ten minutes, even if you’re on a roll now. The stopping means that you have to keep all of those changes that you’re excited to make inside your head. It means that your thoughts about your manuscript are good and productive. It’ll keep you looking forward to your next writing session. Key advice: at the end of every writing session, always leave an edit in your head. It’ll be that small, tangible thing you can start with in your next session. 

Rinse, repeat, and develop a routine. 

  • Sit down for at least ten minutes every day. Make it a routine. Once the manuscript is open, do whatever feels comfortable to you: whether that means reading a chapter, editing something old, or writing something new. 
  • If you’re coming up with edits and scenes that simply require more than ten minutes, start amping up your writing time. Write for an hour. Write for two or three. 
  • Have a super busy day and know you can’t write for an hour? Those ten minutes are still fine. They’re still enough. Never feel like having spent three hours writing yesterday means you have to spend three hours writing today. Never feel like a failure for not spending X hours a day writing. That will only lead to not writing at all. 
  • What if you get stuck again? Go back to a shorter writing time, go back to reading and not writing. Reduce the pressure you’ve put on yourself and relax your expectations. The most important thing is simply returning to your manuscript every day whether you have something good to set on the page or not. 
  • Never got un-stuck in the first place? That’s still okay! Keep spending your ten minutes with your manuscript. Write or just read. Keep it in your thoughts. Make it a defined, real, thing instead of that monster lurking in your head. It may take time, but eventually, something will click, and by that point, opening that file and getting started will be a piece of cake.
  • If you are able to write for an hour or two each day, you may find it useful to continue setting aside ten minutes each evening to read that day’s work–read but not edit–and keep a few edits in your head for the next day’s session. 

By the end of a week, whether you’ve written a hundred new pages or fixed a lot of bad grammar, you’ll at least be in a place where you’re once again thinking about your manuscript in tangible terms, as a thing made up of words and paragraphs instead of anxiety and blank pages. 

Maybe in the end, you’ll decide that you simply need to abandon this story and pick up a new one. If this happens, you’ll be in a great place to start, with a writing routine already in place. 

More likely than not, just spending time with your story will fan up your love for it again. And once more, your manuscript will be the annoying, stubborn, untameable child you adore instead of a lurking horror. 

For more advice on working through writer’s block, check out another post of mine: What to Do When You Can’t Write

Originally posted by gypsyastronaut

I’ve been talking about Richonne Jr. for a minute...

And folks were hating, talking about they weren’t ready for all that.  And then Andy rolls up with this:

“Despite all of the perils and horrors lurking around every corner, Rick actor Andrew Lincolnsays having a new child with his new love Michonne fits the overall goals of Rick. In an exclusive interview with ComicBook.com, Lincoln spilled the details which will have the online shippers going wild.

“Oh, yeah. Without a doubt,” Lincoln said of Rick and Michonne having a child. “I think the whole point is to start again and to restart and it’s about the future, and it’s obviously the next generation and, as far as we can tell, we’re outnumbered undead to human a lot. It is about repopulating the world. I think that they make a terrific couple and I don’t think he would hesitate. Also, maybe in a couple of episodes time, there may be a jump ahead in the curve and maybe setting themselves to that job at hand."”

2

Drew some facial variations of wendigos, fleshgaits, or just generally those subhuman predatory horrors that lurk the wilderness in wait for us. Their skull shapes take on some combination a long the way of human and either coyote, deer, or feline. I’m especially happy with the bottom left and top right faces.
Inspired by horror reading videos I listen to on youtube.

Userscripts: hey newbie coders, wanna feel like a goddamn wizard?

Following on the ten-line fix for Tumblr’s fuckery I threw together earlier tonight… for anyone who’s dipped their toes into programming but doesn’t know where to go next, writing Greasemonkey scripts is an excellent way to get hands-on coding experience.

  • It’s centered on small, concrete tasks with actual meaningful results on the websites you use day-to-day. No artificial coding exercises. Just go out and fix something that annoys you.
  • The resulting sense of power is… somewhat intoxicating. Also, your friends will think you’re a wizard. A wizard who goes around relieving the everyday frustrations of people stuck on a website that doesn’t meet its users’ needs.
  • You get to monkey around with the products of other people’s real-world web development. This will expose you to all kinds of widespread conventions and practices that you’ll never find in tutorials. It will also expose you to the messiness and occasional pants-on-head stupidity of other people’s code, an experience that’s equal parts aggravating and reassuring.
  • It’s low-overhead. No compilers or interpreters to install, no libraries to download, no web-framework boilerplate needed to get started, no convoluted build-and-deploy process to actually get the thing running. Literally all you need is a browser extension you might already have installed, and you can sit there with the “New script” editor open in one tab and the page you’re tinkering with open in another, making tiny changes and hitting “refresh” to see what comes up on the Javascript console if you try this.

So, newbie coders: go out and try something! Write a small cosmetic fix for something annoying on a site you visit regularly. Write your own blacklist script for a site that doesn’t have one. Write a dumbass word-replace script for pure entertainment. Break your Tumblr dash in new and entertaining ways. Ferret around in the page source and the site’s API documentation to see all the hidden metadata you could add to the UI. On Tumblr, check out the “data-json” HTML attribute that comes with every post on your dash, and fool around with it: hide non-original posts, hide everything but your own posts, display NSFW posts with a different background color.

You will have to learn some Javascript, which is a pain in the ass, but a vital skill in any kind of web development. Like English, it’s omnipresent, easy to pick up some basics and cobble them together into something atrocious that gets the job done, and fractally infuriating as you delve into advanced uses and getting the details right. Which is fine for our purposes, because dumb hacks are the bread and butter of Greasemonkey scripts. I’d also recommend looking at jQuery, because grabbing the elements you want to tinker with on a page that has eldritch horrors lurking in its page source is a nightmare in straight Javascript. jQuery has a bad rap in heavy-duty web development, but for DOM traversal and manipulation on random third-party websites, it’s a lifesaver.

(Caveat: dumb hacks are not heavy-duty web development, and when/if you decide to start leveling up, you will want to put in the fractally-infuriating effort of learning how to get the details right. Fucking around, breaking shit, and writing terrible hacky code on your own time is how you get good. But learning some best practices before you start contributing to larger projects is how you avoid being the one who unleashes the eldritch horrors that everyone else then has to deal with.)

For people who are not coders, but are theme developers or good with HTML/CSS… coding at the Greasemonkey-script level isn’t actually that far removed from what you’re already doing. If HTML is nouns and CSS is adjectives, Javascript is verbs. The learning curve is a bit steeper than getting into HTML/CSS, and the universe of advanced uses that aren’t relevant to your interests is wider and more intimidating, but I promise the basics are not sorcery. Fire up a W3C Javascript tutorial and the jQuery documentation, take a look at existing userscripts, change them just to see what happens. Then take a deep breath, click the ‘new userscript’ button, and try to tweak something on your Tumblr dash. It will do nothing and/or barf an unholy mess onto your browser console the first 15 tries, which is a totally normal part of programming at all levels of experience. And then the tweak that finally Does The Thing will be magical.

War is hell.

There is a Slurpuff. Its name is Malkorok, it belongs to KoL (of Pokecharms) and it is a terrifyingly powerful unholy abomination noted for augmenting itself and wearing down its opponents a lot quicker than one would expect of its kind. There is also a gun in Destiny 2 called the Merciless, which does the same thing, but in a slightly different way.

Somehow the two got put together - and I simply could not resist doodling the resulting lurking horror.

A very quick doodle with a very quick coat of paint, but it just had to happen.

(Actually working on a proper picture now but it is taking longer than expected. So have this trainwreck in the meantime. xD)