Nano Spotlight: Dara the Writer

October 10, 2013

Good evening, all! The response to my original call for nano spotlight volunteers has been overwhelming, but I think I’ve still got slots for more interviews. Today the spotlight shines on Dara the Writer, who goes by doregan on the Nanowrimo forums.

Dara introduces herself…
I’m a half newbie, half previous NaNoWriMo participant.  I have participated one before, in 2005 or 2006 I think.  I got 13k in and rage quit soon after.  I didn’t like my story, I was stuck.  It was bleh and I was just a mess at that point in my life anyway.  I can’t remember how I came across it then, but I’ve always had it in my head since then.  I have ALWAYS enjoyed writing; my self-confidence, or lack there of, usually sabotages my attempts.  Early this summer, something, I still don’t know exactly what, snapped and I said to myself, “Hey, you need to get a move on and do this writing thing you have dreamed of since middle school.”  So I re-registered myself for NaNo (even participated in July’s Camp, didn’t hit my goal sadly), started a blog, and plunged in to the world of writing… as much as I could while starting a new, full-time job (I need to pay the bills somehow!).

What are you writing about this year?
My pretend title is “Life and Body Organs,” which is TOTALLY subject to change.  I don’t have a synopsis down yet, sooooo best explanation would be zombies, hereditary insomnia, body organs, all of that as one, big, happy family.  I’m as confused as you are on that, I promise you.  I’m giving myself a month to sort it all out by November 1st.  This is a story-line I’ve been pondering for the past few years Read the rest of this entry »

H is for Horror

April 9, 2012

The Script Frenzy A-Z so far…

A lot of people write horror scripts of one kind or another in Script Frenzy, and I tracked down a few of them down to talk about why.

The-raging-clarinetist wanted to do a script with an Eldritch abomination. “I like HP Lovecraft’s Colour Out of Space a lot, and the Slender Man Mythos, and Homestuck, and SCP Foundation, and I decided I wanted to write a horror story, with some sort of eldritch abomination in it cause they’re cool. Like, really awesome. I’d totally shag the Colour.”

Her cosmic horror creature is gray and formless, floating out in space, and it intensifies what the main characters want to the point of insanity – except for leaving one character alone as the only sane person in the asylum. So, not content to be a cosmic horror, the formless gray is also an immensely powerful jerk. 🙂

Miss Hannibal Gray-Napier is writing a serial killer story, but hates how dumb her protagonists have become, sparking a discussion in the Genre Lounge referencing the original Halloween. She told me that the writing is going well so far, though; she’s finished setting up the premise, and can now have fun killing people.

“There’s so many frightening things about my serial killer… I’d have to say that the scariest thing about her is that it eventually turns out that she’s been quite close to the main character throughout the movie. Just goes to show that you can’t trust anyone, which, in my mind, is far more frightening than any brutal murder or psychological torture.”

JimmyRichards was inspired to write a zombie movie because he thinks that they’re the perfect post-modern monster, and is attempting to write something better than Diary of the Dead.

“The scariest thing about this flick isn’t really the creatures, its the setting. I’m setting the whole thing in a big hotel, so there’s lots of quite narrow corridors and doors for grabbing arms to pop out of so it makes for a really claustrophobic experiences.”

Have you ever tried writing anything in the horror genre? What’s the scariest thing you could think of to write about?

Campaigner Spotlight: Nicole Zoltack

September 24, 2011

Hi, everybody! It’s Campaigner Spotlight time again, and today, the spotlight falls on Nicole Zoltack’s blog: Where Fantasy and Love take Flight.

What has been the greatest achievement of your life?

My family. Family has always meant so much to me growing up (I have 5 siblings) and starting a family of my own means the world to me. I married my college sweetheart (who was also my first kiss), and we’ve been married for 4 years now. Our family is still growing – we have two sons (almost 3 and 13 months) and will hopefully have a daughter in February (although I just want this baby to be healthy too). We want a total of 4 so we’re almost there!

Tell us something that’s frightened you.

Death has always been something that’s frightened me as far back as I can remember. I just have so much to live for and so much that I want to do with my life yet. I guess my fear stems from worrying that I wouldn’t have lived before I die. It just means that I try to live each day to the fullest and to have no regrets.

Are you more comfortable in a large group or talking with just one other person?

I’m definitely more of an introvert so talking with just one other person. I tend to be quiet and shy but once I get to know you, I tend to never shut up!

When she isn’t writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending their unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb. To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit her website at or her blog at

Thanks for your answers and volunteering for the spotlight, Nicole!








Social Media versus the Zombies – follow me to victory!

September 6, 2011

Some of you have heard this story before, but I have an update on recent developments. To others, especially participants in the third Campaign, it may well be news.

About a month and a half ago, I posted about a challenge from a writer I met at the CSSF short fiction workshop this summer, Chuck. Chuck got a little zombie story published up at the ‘Tales of the Zombie War’ site, and said that he’d never been convinced about the idea of using social media to get readers, but that he’d give those of us with blogs or twitter accounts a chance to prove their worth – if we got 40 people to post comments to his story by next summer, he’d wear a t-shirt admitting defeat to the next Campbell Science Fiction Conference in Lawrence, Kansas.

I eagerly took up the challenge, and did what I could over July and August to spread the news about Chuck’s story and urge others to leave their comments. I sent an email to the 2nd crusader’s Yahoo group telling them about it. And the comment count on the story rose one at a time, or a few at once… up to 36.

We’re so close, and having risked all of my blogger cred on this little challenge, I am not about to give up before hitting 40. So please, my new Campaigner friends, I beg of you if you haven’t already done it – go read the story and reply with your thoughts, whether they’re good or bad.

We can’t let the zombies think that they’re better than bloggers after all – can we? 😉

Shaun of the Dead: a Blake Snyder beat sheet.

August 5, 2011

Opening image: Liz confronting Shaun in the Winchester, about how he always brings Ed around when she wants to be spending time alone, and that he never takes her anyplace new.

Theme stated: Does “It’s not the end of the world” count as a theme?

Setup: Shaun spends the day at work, bumps into Yvonne, realizes that he forgot to book the table for his fancy dinner out with Liz.

Catalyst: Liz dumps Shaun.

Debate: Shaun and Ed go out drinking, come back, Shaun resolves to sort his life out, goes around to the store next morning, Ed spots the ‘drunk girl’ in their garden, and they realize that she’s a zombie. Shaun calls around, and realizes that Liz and his mum are both in danger.

Break into Two: Shaun comes up with a plan – and then makes a few revisions in it as Ed points out problems.

B story: Is this Shaun’s friendship with Ed?

Fun and games: Fighting zombies, duh.

Midpoint: Philip dies and becomes a zombie in the car – everybody else escapes, but they now have no blunt objects and no transportation, and they’re far from safety.

Bad guys close in: The zombies are crowding thick around the Winchester, and Shaun volunteers to lead them astray to get everybody else in.

All is lost: Ed gives them away to the vampires, Shaun has to shoot his mother, the zombies get David and Di, Pete bites Ed and the Winchester goes up in flames.

Dark night of the soul: Sitting in the cellar, Shaun and Liz really talk as they wait for the zombies to come in and get them. Shaun volunteers to shoot Liz and then himself, when it comes to it, rather than see her be eaten alive.

Break into three: Shaun realizes that they’re on a lift, and he and Liz decide to go back up to street level to take their chances.

Finale: Yvonne arrives with the army, rescuing them.

Final image: Liz has moved in, she and Shaun both seem happy – and Shaun slips out back to play video games with zombie Ed.

Prove the Zombies wrong! Social platforms can build readership.

July 19, 2011

I got this missive in my inbox yesterday:

Subject: My Zombies Challenge You to Prove Them Wrong About Social Media

I have a previously workshopped story up on Tales of the Zombie War.  Now, one thing I’m a bit of a zombie about is the alleged power of social media.  I’m just not convinced that it does all that much to increase readership or sales.  But it strikes me that this might be an opportunity for those of you who have drank the social media cool-aid to prove me wrong.  Tales of the Zombie War is one of those places where readers can leave comments.  Typically, a story on this site averages 25 comments.  So throw your followers at me, urge them to check out my story and leave comment.  If the power of your social network raises the comment count to 40 or greater, I will have to admit I am Luddite and will wear a t-shirt so saying to the next Campbell Conference.  Here’s the link:

Now, Chuck is a really great writer, the winner of the best revised story at the short fiction workshop that I just got back from in Kansas, and you really should check out his story, because you’ll probably like it a lot.

But also – for reasons of my own, I really would love to prove Chuck wrong about this and make him wear that t-shirt.

So please, for my sake, go to the link and post a comment whether you enjoyed reading the story or not! Thanks very much.

Update – well, as of the afternoon of July 28th, we’re at 26 posts and rising. There’s still plenty of time to reach 40, unless interest dies off entirely. If you want to take part in the battle between social media and zombies, please link on your blog, facebook, or twitter – either to me, or directly to Chuck’s story on the talesofworldwarz site. Together, we can do it!

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