On The Spot – Making It Up, Terror, and Twisted

More video shorts from the writers at Dark Oak Press and Media. Subscribe today and don’t miss out on the fun. Check out their writing on DarkOakPress.com.

On The Spot Volume 2

  • Writers making up stories while flying. Were you one of their characters? {Carolyn McSparren & Barbara Christopher}
  • Plot bunny terror. {Jackie Ross Flaum}
  • Twisted holiday dinners with heads? {Mary Balsamo}

Why Writers Face Their Deepest Fears by M. B. Weston

I’m sitting in front of my computer with shivers literally traveling down my arms. I can’t imagine how my poor character is feeling… Except my character is a Navy Seal. Named Tom… [Cue the excitement from the Elysian Chronicles fans…] He might not get as scared as me, but I guarantee you he’s not happy I’ve written him into this situation…

Writers know that creating tension in a story is vital. It means we put our characters in tough situations that we might not necessarily want to write about. It means manipulating our reader’s emotions. Your characters might need to experience sadness or terror in order to make the story better, even if you as the author don’t want to go there.

Unfortunately, we authors often have to experience the same emotions our characters experience. This especially includes me. I’m a “method writer.” Like a method actor, I have to put myself into the character’s head. I have to “be there.” That’s why I can’t just write an outline and have it work. I have to create more of a pre-draft because I literally have to go into the story and hear, see, and feel what my character feels.

So when Tom is scuba diving off the coast of Norway and has to go into an uncharted cave, I’m there with him. When he has to make a decision when the cave forks, knowing that his air is dwindling, I’m living it. And when a sea monster comes at him…

Yeah. I’m the one who has to endure the surprising sight of teeth and scales while squirming backward in a tiny sea cave trying to remember which way to go to escape and hoping the cave doesn’t become my tomb…

All from the safety of my writing desk. But I’m still feeling the shivers…

Here’s the funny thing about creating stories: the sea monster wasn’t planned. Neither was the cave. Tom was just supposed to go down into the ocean and get some samples. However, letting my imagination take control sometimes allows it to access my inner fears. I’m a certified scuba diver, and I have a fear of going into underwater caves because I’ve heard too many horror stories about cave diving without training. And I live in Florida where sharks and alligators are real threats. But getting into the story and letting my imagination take over is when the magic of creation happens.

It’s also when you might see an author jump out of her skin in a coffee shop.

For the writers: make sure you spend time in your hero’s head to get the most out of your story.

For the readers: remember to thank your favorite authors for enduring all of that emotional turmoil so you can enjoy a good story.

It’s All About Writing: Opening Lines

Your opening lines are the first impression of your story. It sets the tone of the story and sets the expectations for the reader.

Join authors Angelyn Sherrod and Allan Gilbreath for their exploration of this topic in this It’s All About Writing Seminar.

Recorded at the Germantown Community Library.

Be sure to Subscribe to the Dark Oak Press & Media YouTube channel.



Are You a Plotter or a Pantser by Kristi Bradley

The difference in a plotter and a pantser is a plotter plans out their novel with an outline before they begin writing and know where the plot is going all the way to the end. The pantser doesn’t outline, literally flies by the seat of their pants and has more flexibility to turn in any direction, allowing the story to take them wherever it leads.

A plotter may have to update their outline numerous times during the writing process. An outline is just that, an outline, not the plot written in stone. The plot is subject to change. As we write, scenes often take turns we didn’t expect; necessitating the need to update the outline on a regular basis, or even throw the whole thing out and start over.

A pantser doesn’t have to worry about updating an outline but can just as easily write themselves into a corner because they didn’t plan ahead.

Neither type is right or wrong. Your process is yours alone. The same thing doesn’t work for every writer. I’m a pantser, but something I do is a reverse outline. I usually know where I want the story to lead before I begin, and let the words take me where they will. I do track plot points in each chapter as I go so I can quick reference later.

On The Spot – Laughing With The Writers

On The Spot is the new playlist on the Dark Oak Press and Media channel. These video shorts will give you a laugh as you peer inside the insanity called a writer’s life. Subscribe today and enjoy the fun.

On The Spot Volume 1

  • Scaring the waiter when you plan a murder… mystery that is! {Carolyn McSparren & Phyllis Appleby}
  • Mother’s confession to her Marine son about the source of violence in her stories. {Kristi Bradley}
  • A biker’s poem – a twisted wolf’s perspective on food. {Larry Hoy}

Dust, Blood or Flames – How do your Vampires die? by Pat Sawtelle

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire, and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, are just a few of the many books that have invited us to explore the life Vampires. Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, and Gloria Holden are some of the earliest actors putting fear in the hearts of humans with their vampire fangs as they lurk in the shadows of the movies. Over the course of time, these magical creatures stalked unwitting humans drinking their blood before retreating to the dark places on earth, or coffins, to sleep away the day.

Staking the death walkers ends the life of these creatures. However, this is where authors use a variety of creative methods to remove the scary creatures. Vampire deaths range from bursting into flames, disintegrating into dust/ash, becoming a corpse, melting into a pile of bloody pulp, turning to glass then shattering, or even drifting into tiny particles of fiery light that floats away for a happy ending.

Vampire enthusiasts judge the creative treatments and beliefs of vampire stories based on the constraints of their favorite character in books or movies. Vampires that “glitter” in the daylight caused some very lively discussions as the twist challenged the beliefs of these enthusiasts.

For vampire enthusiasts, I encourage you to read and learn to look for the authors to explain the whys behind their death style creativity. For writers, I remind you to provide legends or logic to support your selected results from staking the evil that walks. Without support, readers can become disenchanted with your story if it conflicts with their preconceived beliefs about vampire deaths.

And yes, Chalice Moon contains support for why my vampires turn to ash! Check it out and see what you think. Fangs for reading!