The Beginning, Middle, and End Blogfest

I decided to participate in the Beginning, Middle and End Blogfest hosted by Kate Larkindale! Because blogfests are apparently my new favorite thing.

Now I know you’re supposed to post the beginning, middle and end of your WIP, but what if you don’t have an ending (or even a middle)? So I’ve decided to post from a short story still under shadow of the mighty revision hammer: SPACE MAN.

I generally don’t like the idea of posting my work online, as I am the nervous neurotic writer sort (if you think nervous neurotic is redundant, then you clearly do not understand the full extent of my neurotic nervousness), so basically I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone BIG-TIME.

But I wanted to participate, mainly to read other people’s entries. So here goes:

Beginning

In the summer of her thirteenth year, Lauren moved to a small town full of dead people.

Middle

That afternoon she took her break outside on the bench with Esta. Esta fanned herself with her hands and simpered, “I can’t stand this heat.” Lauren agreed although she did not understand why it was then that Esta wore a mink coat. Lauren wanted to curl up into a roly-poly bug, to turn her body into shadow, but the heat from her skin would only make the humidity worse. The hiss of cicadas sounded like steam rising from a pot.

End

Lauren leaned on her knees and gasped for air. The ground was soft and clay-like. She straightened and wind whipped her hair. Above her an airplane scarred blue sky with spiraling tracks of white clouds. The air smelled like earth.

***

Since this is a fairly long work (roughly 7000 words) I’m not sure what sense can be made out of context.

Actually, my chosen paragraphs feel naked without the rest of the story!

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6 Monsters to Keep You Up at Night

I heart monsters. Truly, madly, deeply – love monsters.

My favorite are the kind that only kids can imagine – you know, the the ones lurking under beds and behind closets? Usually slimy with dozens of eyes and big sharp shark teeth?

When I was a young warthog, I used to imagine a whole parade of monsters coming out of my closet and marching past my bed. I was convinced that if I opened my eyes and peeked out from under the blankets, they would eat me.

Somehow, this made it difficult to sleep.

From the photo album

Now that I’m a grown-up, I’m 99% confident that the only things in my closet are dusty scarves and old skirts and moths. (AHHH.)

But I still have a fascination with monsters. There’s nothing that can mesmerize me more than a good old-fashioned scarytimes monster.

Just for you, I’ve written about 6 favorite monsters that thrill me every time. Now they can keep you up at night, too. You’re welcome.

Why don’t we look under the bed together? You go first.

Amazing art by the talented Goro Fujita

  • 6. GIYGAS FROM EARTHBOUND

If you were a kid in the 90s and owned a SNES, then there’s a good chance you’re familiar with this bizarre yet awesome Japanese RPG. I will someday post at length about this game, by which I mean this Thursday. 

But today I’m just going to say that the final boss Giygas has some of the most terrifying dialogue to ever occur in a video game. You may have heard about this before, because the horrifying nature of this dialogue has reached viral meme status. (By which I mean that Cracked likes to talk about it – and by the way, Cracked is almost certainly run by SNES-owning children of the 90s.)

Shigesato Itoi, the mastermind behind Earthbound, infamously patterned Giygas’ dialogue in the game after a certain childhood trauma that occurred when he accidentally went into the wrong theatre and saw a movie entitled The Military Policeman and the Dismembered Beauty. This movie traumatized Itoi so much that he just HAD to put dialogue/elements of it in the final battle, thereby paying his trauma forward for all the little children who played the kid-friendly Earthbound.

This means that Giygas – the big bad alien guy that plunged your entire world into chaos – basically spends the entire boss battle begging you not to hurt it anymore. Because his dialogue is essentially the same as the victim in a horror movie which has Dismembered Beauty in the title.

Also, there’s something wonky going on with the Giygas art, which has been theorized to be everything from a fetus to a boob. I don’t know. But this interview of Itoi discussing the infamous dialogue suggests that it is, in fact, a boob. /learning

  • 5. NO FACE FROM SPIRITED AWAY

I rewatched Spirited Away a couple days ago. IN THE NAME OF RESEARCH. Wherein I learned many important things, such as that I still love this movie, and that it’s probably the best animated movie I’ve seen in my entire life, and that I might like it even more than Finding Nemo and The Iron Giant combined.

I love No Face. His character design is so strong that he can just stand there, and I instantly know what he’s about and what he wants. And the parts that I don’t know I want to know. Because he succeeded in intriguing me.

For me, the best monsters make it about you. Giygas accomplishes this by suggesting that you’re the bad guy. Now, I know that No Face has a message about greed somewhere in there, but for me the more potent message has always been that we all have a No Face. We all have a part of ourselves so desperate for love and affection, we will poison ourselves to get it. No Face’s desperation for love is palatable, especially in those beginning scenes where he doesn’t even say anything.

Spirited Away actually has a bunch of great monsters. Before re-watching the movie, I was originally going to write about Yubaba. As a kid, Yubaba scared me more than No Face – personally, I think there’s something uniquely scary about Yubaba to children, as she inhabits such a twisted mentor/mother role. And she has a huge head.

Mostly it’s the huge head

  • 4. THE MONSTER FROM SUPER 8

Yes, I liked the monster from Super 8! Okay, hear me out. Like a lot of people, I found the ultimate reveal disappointing, at least in terms of monster design. I don’t want to spoil it for people, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I liked the 1st half of the movie better than the 2nd half (and that Super 8 often feels like 2 distinct movies).

Nonetheless, I think Abrams did the monster really well. Why? Well, the monster in that movie is not really the thing that eventually shows up eating people. No, the monster is Super 8 is a conglomeration of bad things that happen to the main character – his mother’s death, his father’s aloofness, fighting with his best friend, having a crush on a girl who can only be described as the Juliet to his Romeo – things that are, for the most part, outside of his control.

At the end of the movie, the main character gives a little speech about how bad stuff happens. And it’s okay. Bad things happen.

Also? That movie has some killer suspense. Seriously.

That’s it for this 1st installment! I will pick up the trail next Monday with 3 more monsters to give you the willies. (Thursday is a post about the SNES game Earthbound.)

But before then – 

What do you think of my choices? Do any of these monsters interest/scare/thrill you?

What would YOU pick? What are some of YOUR favorite monsters?