Monthly Archives: December 2013

Essential Reading

This is my study Bible for the next couple of months, I’ll reckon.




I have been using WordPress to do blogs and things like this for a while, and whereas I know that it is an incredibly powerful piece of kit if you know how to use it, I have never used it in this capacity.


But now, I am thinking;
I don’t really know how to do web design very well. Layouts and things look dated when I do them, and as for usability… Well…

There will need to be a lot of quality assurance.

But WordPress? What if I used WordPress to its full potential? What if I used WordPress, or something similar, to host my website?

What I am creating is essentially an archive of articles and artefacts; it’s a blog, really.

So why not take something I already know how to use, a bit, and create something more with it?

This would probably save me a lot of money, too, instead of buying Domain and Server space…

I’ll definitely have a think about it.

To Write Well

To write well, one must write

and write often.

To write well, one must read well:

reading often and reading closely.

Storytelling is contagious –

reading will spark the fuel of your imagination.

But storytelling has also been going on for as long as mankind has existed.

You should know what’s been said and how it has been said to do it well yourself.

To write well, one must treat writing both seriously and playfully, balancing the discipline of hard work with the pleasures of creativity.

Readers only respect writers who care enough to do both with vigor.

And they can spot lazy writing from a mile away.

To write well, one must first be willing to make a lot of mistakes in the name of experimentation and practice.

Otherwise, one goes stale or repeats the same errors indefinitely.

Or worse: one might become fatally boring…to readers and to oneself.

To write well, one must be willing to share writing with others, to get a sense of how readers respond to one’s efforts.

Never forget that writing is foremost an act of communication.

And if writing is an experiment, then workshopping is a way of testing the results of it.

Again: To write well, one must really care what readers think.

Often a reader’s needs are more important than the writer’s goals in telling a story. Sometimes you have to be willing to “kill your darlings.”

Yet to write well, one must not think of writing as a slavish act of catering to one’s audience — or as mandatory homework assigned by a teacher.

Writing is something magical that originates from within:

storytelling is one of the many ways we all have of expressing ourselves and discovering ourselves.

Even in fantasy, we” write what we know”

and yet, when we are doing it right, we surprise ourselves with our own imagination.

To write well is to tell stories consciously. We’re all already fictioneers,

we’re always telling stories in our everyday lives,

whether we know it or not.

But what separates a fiction writer from an everyday storyteller, however, is a particular attention paid to crafting the language and a purposeful massaging of the core elements of narrative to produce the desired audience response…

Something emotionally resonant or truthful…


Something approaching art.

“To Write Well”

Excerpted from a syllabus for a course in

The Writing of Fiction

by Michael Arnzen, Ph.D. | Seton Hill University(

Getting Attention

It has come to my attention that, in order to get the attention of people, perhaps once postcard might not be enough?


After a meeting with my producer, Roz, we feel that it might be better to send three or four sets of postcards, staggering them over a longer amount of time. Only once the receiver has all of the postcards will they be able to put together the clues that will lead them to Malice and allow them to discover the rest of the story for themselves.


This will take the cost up a bit, but it might make it a bit more interactive, if there is some sort of mystery to solve over a few months, rather than hedging my bets on one postcard per person.


The alternative to this is that, without anything to pursue, people may receive the first cards and not follow it any further if they hit a brick wall…


Perhaps it would only require any one of the postcards to get the receiver onto the website, but until a certain time, the website would only contain a countdown timer and perhaps some sort of clues? That way, they might know that they have hit upon the right thing, but that it is not ready for them yet.


It is something to consider over the coming weeks. Do I want to put all my bets on one card, or do I want to send a few, making it more likely that I will get a response, but potentially lose those who might hit on the first card? It’s a gamble. One I will consider over the next month.


I have created a Pinterest board for some of my research, in the hopes that this might be able to help people get a better idea of what I am trying to achieve. I will continue to add to it, but it can be found here. I am hoping that this will act as a sort of mood board, without the need to destroy a bunch of magazines I like, or old photographs, or without wasting tonnes of printer ink.

Visual Design

I have been thinking about designs for my postcards and the website. I think the main Image I want to try and achieve when attempting to represent Malice-Upon-Woe can be summed up with five examples:


  1. Norman Rockwell’s ‘American Gothic’
    American Gothic sums up, for me, the look of everyone who could live in Malice. Normal, but there’s something off about them. Stoney faced, serious, stern. This image has been a great inspiration and a great help when trying to describe some of the images I want to collect in order to create faux news articles for the website.
    Norman Rockwell - American Gothic
  2. “The End Is Nigh” and Victorian Photography
    I love Victoriana and gothica, and given that Victorian gothic stories were what inspired me to create this project in the first place, I could not describe it without referring to this imagery. The image below, of three men wearing their ‘The End Is Nigh’ board is something I would like to mock-up, with me wearing the board as one of the postcard designs, or perhaps for one of the news articles. It’s so bleak and miserable, so morbid. And fitting, for a town that destroys itself. For once, they were right.
  3. Memento Mori
    I speak a bit more about this on my other blog in this link but I will put a couple of examples on here.
    Victorians liked to take pictures of their loved ones in death, that their memory might live on. Memento Mori’s were not unusual, but to look at them now they seem very bizarre. A common trope was to prop the bodies up in order that they might look like they were still alive. In the image below, a young boy is dressed in a frilly dress with a basket of bay leaves: the parents wanted a picture of his deceased twin sister – it was the best they could do.
  4. Hidden Mother
    Hidden mother photographs are a great source of entertainment to me, because they’re so weird. Due to the long exposure times of old photographs, it was often difficult to get the child to stay still. A way around this was to get the child to sit in the lap of the mother, but so that the mother could not be seen, they attempted to disguise her as part of the furniture, so that it appeared to be just a picture of the child. It didn’t work. They look sinister as hell.
    Hidden mother 4
    Sometimes they did it with their pets too. This, if it was not given context, would be one of the weirdest things I have seen in a very long time.

    Hidden mother cat

  5.  The End Is Extremely Fucking Nigh
    And finally, that bit from 28 Days Later. You don’t know who wrote it, you don’t know why, but you know they meant it. Something is wrong here, and you’re not sure if you want to find out what.