The Horror Genre

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to editThe horror genre goes beyond life and death and explores the fates worse than. The mind-hack, as Dan Wells would say, that you are trying to evoke in your reader is a sense of fear and dread. According to Shawn Coyne, the key scene in any horror story is “the victim at the mercy of the monster” moment, and the thing that set the story in motion is the attack of that monster, real or otherwise, that forces the protagonist out of their safe zone.

The object of desire in horror tends to be survival, both in the literal sense and the coming back from the edge of sanity sense. When the protagonist doesn’t care about their own life, a small child, woman, or dog tends to be thrown into danger to spur the protagonist into action.

That antagonism between the forces of good (or neutral) and evil are king, and the antagonist must, according to Coyne, always be evil. An evil that can’t be reasoned with. The horror subgenres tend to be broken down by the way the story explains the monster. Reminder, these subgenres can mix and match within or out of the horror genre. You can have a romance with a horror subplot, and you can have a horror with a romance subplot. It’s all in how the writer divides it.

Subgenres

  • Uncanny – The forces of evil in the story cannot be reasoned with, but they can be explained. Think serial killer plots.
  • Supernatural – These are stories in which the monster isn’t “real” or explainable. Possessions, hauntings, vampires, werewolves, those kinds of monsters fall under the Supernatural category, but in my opinion, this is where the most genre bending occurs. If you have a supernatural villain in a fantasy setting where werewolves are totally a thing and everyone knows it, then the werewolf if uncanny, not inexplicable.
  • Ambiguous-  The reader can never be quite sure if it is the supernatural at work or not. These stories tend to question the protagonists sanity on a deeper level than the outsider looking in a supernatural story. The Babadook is a good example of this. Was there really a monster, or was the monster symbolic of the mother’s depression?

External Conflicts and Goals

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to editExternal conflicts deal with conflict outside of your protagonist. That’s the villain, the earth quake, the monster. Your character may grapple internally with how to handle the conflict, but the object of conflict itself is not happening in your character’s head.

External goals are the obvious goals that drive the story forward from the inciting incident on. Ralph’s medal, destroying the one ring, ect. It’s a tangible item or other person that’s easy to identify, and while it drives the plot, it’s ultimately secondary to the intangible changes made within the protagonist along the way.

That tangible object and conflict is going to vary genre by genre. In an action story, it’s going to be the villain and the thing central to the villain’s plan. In a love story, it’s going to be the character of desire, in a crime story, it’s going to be the criminal, often with the object being sought a victim whose time hasn’t yet run out.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll get into the external conflicts from several different genres that are outlined in Shawn Coyne’s The Story Grid, along with some examples of my own.

Mythology Monday: Deities Associated with Asclepius

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Short and sweet Mythology Monday today because I had a few too many more notes on Asclepius to include in last week’s post.

Asclepius had a wife and a handful of daughters who were all associated with healing, and there’s a bit of repetition and overlap among them, so bear with me.

Epione was Asclepius’s wife. She was also the goddess of the soothing of pain, and by most accounts, mother to the goddesses listed below.

Hygeia (Salus) was the goddess of good health, the reason why good health is called hygiene, and an all together different goddess than her sister Aegle (Aigle) who was the goddess of the radiant glow of good health and shared her name with a variety of other goddesses.

Akeso was the goddess of curing illness. She’s different from her sister, Panacea (Panakeia) the goddess of universal remedy (or as gamers might know her, the cure-all), because she stands more for the process of getting better rather than the cure itself. Iaso was also a goddess of recovery, but not cure-alls and not the process of getting cured.

Paeon (Paion) The physician of the Olympian gods. He was sometimes considered a unique god, other times he was considered an epitaph of Apollo or Asclepius.

P.S Persephone is on sale from May 20th-May 26th for 99 cents! Please spread the word.

Venus Rising Cover Reveal!

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Venus Rising has a cover, too! I love it :D. And check out my blurb.

The final battle . . .

Aphrodite is in big trouble this time. She’s stranded on the island of the DAMNED–without powers and without her beloved Ares. Worse, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the demigods figure out she’s a goddess. If that happens, she’ll wish she were dead.

Help arrives in the form of an unlikely ally. But Medea has her own demands, and if Aphrodite wants to survive–not to mention find Hades and the weapons cache–she has to meet them.

But all their plans take a back seat when they find themselves in even more pressing danger. When Medea moved the island, she rendered it unstable. Now it’s breaking apart and sinking. In the chaos, the demigods have risen up, blaming the gods for their misfortune. Nobody is safe from the demigods . . . especially a Pantheon sympathizer like Aphrodite. And they’ve come up with a deadly test to uncover any imposters.

Aphrodite knows she can’t do this alone. It will take the whole Pantheon to get her out of this mess. Unfortunately, they’ll have to find her first . . .

 

You can preorder Venus Rising today! In celebration of my new cover and upcoming release, Persephone will be on sale starting tomorrow, May 20th-May 26th for 99 cents! Please spread the word. If you want to get caught up, now is the time.

Snakes and Stones Cover Reveal!

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

Snakes & Stones is a collection of short stories inspired by the tale of Medusa; the woman turned gorgon in Greek Mythology. Medusa’s tale is one of abuse and oppression, however these tales take a different twist on her story.

All parties involved with this anthology have volunteered their time and works in order to make this collection happen. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to loveisrespect.org in order to assist in helping teens and young adults in abusive and/or oppressive relationships.

A myth that has withstood the sands of time tells of a beautiful woman turned hideous beast.

Some say she was punished because of the lust of a man. Others believe it was her own beauty  
that brought on the curse.

However, there are some who believe her curse was actually a gift.
Hear the story of Medusa as told by six popular young adult authors:

When I Fell by Christina Benjamin
Medusa by Kaitlin Bevis
The Case of the Missing Soul by Susan Burdorf
Lies of the Beholder by Erin Hayes
Medusa’s Curse by Suzanna Lynn
Favor of the Gods by Ali Winters

Brought to you in one anthology…
Snakes & Stones

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to
loveisrespect.org.
Be sure to check out my blog tomorrow for the Venus Rising cover reveal.
 Currently only $0.99 on preorder! Price will rise to $2.99 after release day.

Mythology Monday: Asclepius

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I shook my head. “Put Zachary in charge of Reaping. You can trust him. If we can find two, maybe three other souls we can trust on the surface, I think they can handle it.”

“Zachary?” Hades gave me a quizzical look.

“Asclepius’ new persona,” Cassandra explained.

“What makes you think you can trust him?” Charon gave me a surprised look.

“He helped me when the Reapers were attacking me. And he never had to be charmed. He swore fealty on his own. Who’s Asclepius?”

“He swore fealty? To you?” Hades’ eyebrows shot up. “Well . . . okay then. You’ll still have to try to charm him, but if you say he’s trustworthy . . . ”

“Who is he?” I asked again.

“He’s the first Reaper.” Hades was talking fast, indicating we needed to move on from this conversation. “He was a god of healing, and he tried to stop death. That violated the rules of nature We put into place. Rather than changing the nature of the dead, it changed him.”

The way he said “We” emphasized the capital letter, and I understood he was talking about my mother, Zeus, and the rest of the original six. When they created the world, they’d all agreed on its natural laws. Earth and all its inhabitants formed a complex system involving all their powers. To protect their creation, they’d even given up the ability to lie. Words had power; the wrong words could unintentionally change the nature of something. I’d never considered the ramifications of a god intentionally trying to change the rules.

I felt sick. Poor Zachary. He’d tried to stop death and become its first agent.

~@~

Asclepius (to cut open) was the mortal son of Apollo and a princess named Koronis. Unfortunately, his mother died during childbirth (for was murdered for being unfaithful to Apollo, myths vary), so his father had to cut him from her body (hence the name). His mother was placed among the stars (The Crow constellation).

The demigod was then placed into Chiron’s care and taught medicine. Chiron taught him all he knew, but Asclepius also learned medicine from snakes whispering in his ears. Snakes are sacred to medicine to ancient Greeks, so the demigod grew so skilled that he figured out how to stop death and restore the sick back to life. Unfortunately, Zeus was very against the idea of immortal man, so citing fear of overpopulation, he killed Asclepius’s with a lightning bolt. Other myths claim he was killed for bringing back a specific person (Hippolytus).

The gods honored the fallen demigod with the constellation Ophiochus (the serpent holder), and performed apotheosis to turn him into a god so he could continue to be their doctor.

In most vases and paintings, Asclepius looks like an old, bearded man holding the staff with a snake around it that you’ll see in so many hospitals. (He was kind of a big deal in medical circles).

Asclepius participated in the Calydonian Boar Hunt at some point. He also married  Epione, the goddess of soothing pain, and had five daughters (Hygieia, the goddess of health;  Panacea, the goddess of universal remedy;  Aceso, the goddess of recuperation; Iaso, the goddess of healing, and Aglaea, the goddess of beauty) and three sons (Machaon, Podaleirios and Telesphoros). He may have also had a son named Aratus, with a woman named Aristodama. More on them in a minute

In my universe, he wasn’t turned into a god, because let’s face it, that’s uncharacteristically kind of the gods. He was turned into the first reaper. Now instead of healing people, he releases souls. You’ve met him in the Persephone trilogy as the reaper, Zachary.

 

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

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Moms deserve more than a day. Remember to call your mom this weekend and do something special. If you are a mom, take it easy and make wonderful memories (after you call your mom and do something special).

For those of you missing your mother this mothers day, do something happy that makes you think of her.

Have a great weekend everyone!