On Inkshares Horror Novel

Have you guys heard about this? I recently heard about a crowdfunding site called Inkshares. It’s basically Kickstarter or Indiegogo crossbred with Createspace or Lulu. It looks like a site where you can crowdfund a novel that will have an ebook and physical presence in bookstores. Unlike Kikstarter or Indiegogo where you give them thousands of dollars and then the writer keeps a percentage and has to then hire editors and distributors, Inkshares does all of that. So if a project is successfully funded at Inshares, it includes a professional manuscript editor and distributor.

I had no idea how any of this works, so I figured I’d dive in and take a look see with my current manuscript. I’m working on a 90 thousand word novel about three strangers entering the witness protection program when they accidentally thwart a serial killer. They’re relocated to a new state, but their new home brings them into contact with horrors beyond imagination.

You can find the Inkshares page, along with fun FAQs and whatnot, and back this project here are: https://www.inkshares.com/projects/horror-novel

Thanks so much for your support!

This is Elliot Arthur Cross eternally grateful for your support. For any questions about the project, please email me at elliotarthurcross@gmail.com. Thank you and happy reading.

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On writing sequels

I told myself that after the whirlwind of typing done writing Tanglewood Road that I’d take a break from the series after I plotted the trilogy. A week went by and I found myself creating a Word file and jotting down ideas. Fast forward another week, and I just checked the word count: 14141. If you’re into numerology, then that’s pretty cool. If not, 14 thousand words is pretty good.

I’ve been thinking a lot this last week about what makes a good sequel. Scream 2 would tell you it’s a shocking death, higher body count, etc., but I don’t think there’s any formula. I have been walking a tightrope it seems of staying faithful to the original story and crafting a new tone. Should a sequel feel like an extension of the original or have its own distinct atmosphere?

Should I decide on an answer, I’ll let you know. P.S. The Keysmith is set for release from JMS Books on the 17th!

This has been Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you a pleasant tomorrow.

On The Keysmith cover

As promised, cover art as soon as I got it. Take a look:

The_Keysmith_Cover

The Keysmith is my upcoming short gay horror story from JMS books. Confession: I am horrible with dates. Not the dinner and a movie kind, but the calendar variety. I think this is due out in February. I’ll post more info when it become available.

And for those of you still searching for a kickass cover to Tom Petty’s Freefalling, I recently found The Almost doing just that on Youtube. Enjoy.

This has been Elliot Arthur Cross. Keep on reading.

On growing a story

I wrote a short horror story that I thought was some of my best writing. Very creepy, very atmospheric. Teen moves into a new home with his mom and things happen over the course of a week. Ends with a fire, you know, fun stuff.

Then I was thinking about a potential sequel as I readied to send it to publishers. As I worked on sequel ideas, I thought, why not turn my 7 thousand word short into the first three or four chapters of a longer novel?

So I’m transforming my little horror piece into a full-out dark Young Adult book.

It’s fun that a story I worked on for months and was completely satisfied with, has suddenly grown on its own. I hit 20 thousand words tonight and I’m still plugging away. Also, 13 thousand words in a few weeks is a fairly good pace.

Hopefully the word elves will continue helping me and I can post more about the story when I get a contract for it.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross reminding you not to say too much about a work in progress until it’s a done deal, otherwise you’ll jinx yourself. Peace.

On my first erotic novel

I realized that I haven’t written much, if anything really, about my upcoming novel. Crazy, huh? This will be out semi-early next year as an e-book. If it sells well, then my publisher will go print with it. Yay!

Ask Me No Questions: A Dylan Lakewood Mystery is the first in a series about sexy shenanigans that befall our hero, Dylan. He works at a mall in New England, as one of those guys who asks surveys about random TV pilots or movie trailers or deodorant.

Well, wouldn’t you believe it, but Dylan stumbles into a murder mystery when a sexy “straight” college jock is strangled in his locked dorm room? Sure there’s sex, and more sex, but Dylan tries to stay focused on task at hand and saving the day.

Cover art and official synopsis to come when ready. Look for this in March of 2013. When it comes out, I’ll post plenty more about inspiration and whatnot. And if there’s any burning questions, I’d love to hear from you all.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross pointing out that It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia rarely has any outdoor/sunny scenes. Peace.

On Paranormal Activity 4

I recently watched the latest in the Paranormal Activity series. I feel torn. On one spooky hand, it’s not a great movie, but on the other, it’s probably the best in the series to date.

But why do I watch movies? To be entertained. Did PA4 keep me entertained for 90 minutes? Sure. Is it a fun entry in an relatively unique franchise? Of course. Isn’t it irritating when people ask themselves questions and answer them? Definitely.

Note: complete spoilers on first three movies, but nothing specific about the latest one. Just generalities.

It would be fun to edit down the whole series into the plot points. You could easily tell each movie in a half hour. Things would move along, it would be great. Make it chronological while you’re at it. Open in the 80s with the whole PA3 bit. Aunt Lois is all witchy and the step-dad gets it. Then go onto PA2 meet the girls grown-up, and watch the husband decide to betray Katie. Then comes PA1, Katie gets all crazy-bothered by “Toby” while her jerk boyfriend jerks off to the creepy footage. Snippet ending of PA2 with Toby/Katie taking the baby and offing the family. That’s an hour, tops, and it’s fast-paced and stuff happens.

PA4 Cons: The parents were underutilized. I liked both of them, the dad especially because of his reaction to seeing something weird on the video tape. He just laughed, shook his head, and was all, “Kids with their video cameras.” That would be my reaction if someone showed me some Ghost Hunters caught on tape spookiness.

The main characters are practically obsessed with watching the nightly footage to see if anything weird happened, but then stop the day after something freaky does? Way too convenient.

The character switcheroo was handled poorly. It’s a spoiler so I won’t go into it, but it was a little haphazard and was like an episode of Lost. One thing is revealed, but it opened the door to three questions. At least there you had Hurley freaking out about it and Jack’s dad spying on them from the woods.

The coven. Okay, yeah, sequels have to reveal things. PA3 semi-explained that Aunt Lois was a witch who promised demon “Toby” a baby. Fine, I guess. Wasn’t in love with that revelation. The first movie was so effective because you didn’t know if it was a “regular” haunting or what. Could just be an evil psycho ghost. Or a demon. Whatevs. Now we know this group of witches is assisting Toby, and I don’t know. PA4 didn’t do much to explain anything about the coven, but just reinforced the fact that it exists. I want this to be a ghost movie, not a witch movie. Imagine if Freddy Krueger was worshiped by some cultists who helped him out. Why? *note: I think one of those hundreds of unused Freddy Vs. Jason scripts went that route. Complain about FvJ all you want, it could have been 100 times worse.

Pros: Likeable characters! What? Crazy. Our two heroes are the most likeable, believable characters in the franchise, which isn’t saying much, but you could pluck them out of PA4 and put them in another movie and you’d love watching them interact. At least we’ll never have to deal with Mycah from the first film again. “Oh, my girlfriend’s going crazy and she hates that I keep filming everything? Guess I’ll zoom in on a close-up!” That douche bag had it coming, whereas these characters I rooted for. And you weren’t sure if they were dating. They were in this nebulous friend/flirty zone instead of being placed in a cookie-cutter dynamic. Nice realism there.

Great use of modern technology. The Kinect dots things were cool. Some of the frights were effective. The bath tub had me squirming. Chandelier was a little Clue, but something had to happen.

Continuity. I complained about the coven, but at least it feels like it’s connected to the last movie. I enjoy a well-connected series, and this one feels like it’s in its own universe. Katie Featherston helps anchor them all, and I enjoy her limited screen time. Normally I’d wish for more, but there will be more in the sequels and I can live with that. Next Halloween I’m there for Paranormal Activity 5. Bring it on.

In closing, if you like the series, then you’ll like this one. If the found footage genre isn’t your liking, then don’t bother watching then bitching about it. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it doesn’t try to, either. Three out of four stars.

This has been Elliot Arthur Cross reminding you that modern ghost movies make a point of not letting the family just move away. Too bad Hitchcock didn’t make The Birds today.

On dialogue

Get your dialogue right, people. This kills me, it really does. I don’t care how great your characters and plot and setting are. If everyone talks like robots, then your story will suck. Sorry. I bought an e-book the other day to see how the publisher’s quality is. I like the publisher, I like the story, but the dialogue sucks. It totally pulls me out of the story and makes me aware that a 40 year old is writing about at 20 year old’s plights, almost like a middle-aged Mormon woman writing as Bella Swan, an inexperienced, clumsy teenage girl. I’d hate to hurt anyone’s feelings and mention the story, so this guy should consider himself lucky. And I hope I banked karma points with the universe 🙂

I have always gotten a lot of praise on my dialogue, for years on various stories. Otherwise, I would be self-conscious about it. If you don’t get constant praise on your dialogue, then it’s probably not good.

Here’s some simple tips to help you out:

1.) Read it out loud! That will catch/fix 90 percent of stuff.

2.) Pretend you’re watching the characters talk on TV. If you’re having a problem visualizing the conversation, then the flow is probably off.

3.) Respond yourself. Read a question, like “How’s the weather?” If your character says, “I find that it is warm out today” and you would reply, “Pretty hot out, I guess” then write that. People use contractions. People add little qualifiers. People speak differently than grammar dictates.

4.) People are weird. Some characters should say messed up things. I was working a few years back and I had to spend a few hours training someone. This girl was pretty funny, and we started talking about reading and writing. She said to me: “I’m just saying that I’m probably a better writer than you” completely out of the blue. What a brilliant sentence to write. No one in his or her right mind would say something like that. A co-worker/friend was there and she looked scandalized. I had to bite my lip from laughing. Two years later and I’m a published author with several stories in the pipeline and she’s still writing weird poetry in a notebook. But keep in mind that when you create stories, the people who inhabit them might be weird.

5.) People aren’t all witty and capable of coming up with nice amounts of examples. Sometimes they stop at four. I’ve been criticized for my characters sounding too intelligent. Keep in mind that there are different levels of smarts spread across the general populace.

I wish I could only write dialogue form here on out. That would be fantastic. Just pages and pages of people talking to each other. You’d read it, you’d laugh, and then I’d make a living somehow.

Also, I’d like to make a living writing regardless of dialogue or anything. Oh well. This has been Elliot Arthurt Cross saying long life and prosperity to you all… No, that sounds derivative of some sci-fi show… Bye.