Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pretty Pictures

Spinechills has a new Tumblr here:  http://spinechills.tumblr.com/

For anyone interested in the blood-drenched tomes that live on the shelves of my workplace, I'll be posting pics of any kids' and young adult horror books that catch my eye.

Family - A Spooky New Story by Sam Enthoven

Illustrated stories are one of those mediums that I think we mistakenly believe we grow out of. You only need to pick up a book like The Arrival by Shaun Tan or The Mysteries of Harris Burdick to figure out just how big an impact illustrated stories can have on a reader. The problem is, the content of an illustrated story is usually aimed at a particular age level, and if you've graduated from those younger themes to, say, terrifying stories about creepy old houses and weird families, you might have been disappointed in the past.

But not any more! Because Sam Enthoven of Crawlers fame has teamed up with the amazing illustrator Laura Trinder to release Family, a thirteen part serial over at Trapped by Monsters. Trinder's illustrations perfectly complement what is shaping up to be a rather creepy story from Enthoven, so if you're after an illustrated read that's a bit more down your alley than puppies and kittens making cupcakes, head over now! Parts one and two are already up, and part three will be up Friday, 17 August.

Family Part 1: http://www.trappedbymonsters.com/2012/08/family-part-1-of-13/
Family Part 2: http://www.trappedbymonsters.com/2012/08/family-part-2-of-13/

Friday, August 3, 2012

Gaming and Writing - Together at Last!

When you're a writer, sometimes you'll get stuck. There are any number of ways to get unstuck - go for a walk, get a coffee, scream at your computer until the neighbours complain. When I was first starting out, I used to consult a lot of writing prompt books and websites. You know the ones - where you're told to think about your character's first job/love/car and write about it. But as I began to hone my skills and specialise in the fantasy and horror genres, I realised that a lot of these prompt books aren't so great for speculative writers - after all, thinking about a character's favourite meal isn't that inspiring (unless your character happens to be a cannibal).

"You don't need to bring anything to dinner except yourself, Richard."

That's why today when I was scraping the bottom of the creativity barrel, I went and played Skyrim for an hour. For those of you who have been living under a rock (or under the bed, where the monsters play), Skyrim is a fantasy video game with a huge open world to explore. A few weeks ago I decided the game was getting too easy, so I decided to stop fast-travelling everywhere (i.e. clicking to get to a far away location) and began riding to my destinations on horseback.

This is my horse, Sprinkles. He enjoys long rides on the beach and killing you.

I quickly discovered that the journey is a lot more interesting that the destination itself, because along the way I always find things within the world that spark my imagination. In today's playthrough, I came across:
  • A skeleton collapsed against a flag on a lonely island 
  • Gigantic icebergs in the middle of the sea 
  • A cupboard in a sunken ship 
  • A hag living in the ruins of a collapsed tower 
  • A rabbit that could run across water (a glitch, but still cool) 
After my hour was up I found I was feeling inspired again, all from these disconnected images that came together in my mind to spark whole stories. So the next time you're stuck for ideas, maybe try playing a video game for a different approach to the usual story prompts. And if anybody gives you grief, just tell them you're writing!