Published at Sunday, February 17th, 2019 - 05:19:35 AM. House. By Hamas Charlie.
Writing Haunted House Stories - Building Atmosphere Through Setting : Atmosphere strikes your character with unease. Consider the houses that might be in your neighborhood. You know the one: Its the house that pedestrians cross the street to avoid. Its the house that high school students dare to spend a night, beyond the creaking doors to warily explore the strange whimpers within its indefinable shadows. Even though nothing tangible has actually occurred, your characters are afraid. This fear comes from the atmosphere: The setting that surrounds your house and your characters. Atmosphere is the mood, and that mood should haunt your readers long after the story is over. So where do you begin? Creating a haunted house story is a frightening and daunting task. To make things easier on yourself, establish the date and time from the beginning of your story. If you write a prologue, begin the story with your date and time or, at the very least, give hints to the decade. Perhaps your character is listening to Disco Inferno just before a psychopath sets the house on fire. Perhaps your character is trembling in the shadows, her bonnet is drenched with perspiration and shes praying for her lantern to stay lit long enough to be rescued. This not only establishes your setting, but also gives you a chance to add a bit of dimension and foreshadowing to your story. Haunt Your Readers Using the Correct Word Using the right word can also establish the setting in your haunted house story. Consider this sentence: Beverly Harris walked into the house. Not very creative at all. Theres barely a setting and the action is not very descriptive at all. Lets try another set of words: Beverly, overwhelmed with incipient danger, crept through the doorway. Better. Crept is a stronger description than the word walked. This is an acceptable description that readers would more likely enjoy. But couldnt we write this sentence in fewer and more ominous words? I think we can: The house consumed her. Ominous, descriptive and simple. This causes the reader to feel discomforted; therefore, empathetic which should be your goal as a writer. To make your readers feel what your characters are feeling. Location, Location, Location Your haunted house is a character just like the rest of your cast. It should have a personality. It should draw your characters into it, much like a protagonist is hunting for a villain. It should have a personality and a history. Your protagonist wants something and your house wants something too. So what kind of personality does your house have? Consider the location. It could be a bayou mansion decorated in a French-Creole, or maybe its a simple two-story cabin in Washington State like in Stephen Kings Alan Wake. Perhaps its even more classical such as a fortified castle located on top of a sheer cliff above a sleepy village. Each of these houses should reflect its geographical location, and its personality should be revealed through the protagonists perspective. If your house could speak, would it have an accent? How would you show that? The décor? The architecture? The location of your haunted house defines its personality. Let it speak. Let it lure your protagonist back into its swampy tendrils. Other ways to give your house a personality through the setting is by re-establishing the environment according to how people speak in their geographical region. People in the Deep South speak differently to each other in Miami and people in Miami speak differently than people in Montana. People gossip about each other and every person has a different perspective on life. Apply that to your haunted house. No matter the geographical location, your house has a back-story and people will gossip about it. What they say and how they say it can reveal more of your houses personality. Each time your character hears a story, his or her perspective will change. For example, The Infinite written by Douglas Clegg, some of the characters that stay in the Nightmare House see it as just an ordinary house at first. Once they begin to hear the strange stories, the paranoia begins to take over and pretty soon the house takes on a more sinister appearance. No, it doesnt physically change. What changes is the characters perception of the house. Your house is another character that deserves to be gossiped about. Everyone has secrets; your haunted house does too. Originality is Vital There are already a number of haunted house movies and books that take place in all kinds of environments all over the world. There are literally hundreds if not thousands that take place in a haunted cabin in the middle of the woods. In order for your horror story to survive the cutthroat competition, it must be unique. It must bring something new to a concept that has been done over and over again. Being unique is vital for your story to survive. Creative writers must be flexible. Instead of a haunted cabin in the woodsy Canadian mountains, perhaps your story is about a haunted floating home in the Puget Sound. Or maybe consider moving your cliché southern plantation to the sunny beachfront tropics of Africa surrounded with palm trees, monkeys and deadly spiders as big as a coconut. Originality doesnt have to be that extreme either. Perhaps your setting is in the Colonial American suburbs of Massachusetts but the architecture is ultra-modern. One last thing to consider when choosing an original setting for your haunted house story is the lighting and ambience. Remember that the farther your house is to the equator, the more drastic your hours of day and night become. A haunted house located in lowest parts of South America, for example, will spend at least a full month in total darkness in the winter and a full month of total daylight in the summer. Enter If You Dare H.P. Lovecraft was a master at building atmosphere through setting. He used the description of the landscapes and neighborhoods to give the reader an ominous feeling long before his character even approaches the house. Take this example from The Picture in the House: ... They climb to the moonlit towers of ruined Rhine castles and falter down black-cobwebbed steps beneath the scattered stones of forgotten cities... The haunted wood and the desolate mountains [are] shrines, and they linger around the sinister monoliths of uninhabited islands... But the true epicure in the terrible and unutterable ghastliness is the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England... Their strength, solitude, grotesqueness and ignorance combine to form the perfect portion of the hideous. This paints a very sophisticated picture using carefully chosen adjectives and a forward approach. Although H.P. Lovecraft has surpassed the expectation of horror in its finest excellence, award winning author Joe Schreiber writes a more literal description of the Round House in one of his most bone-chilling haunted house stories: No Doors, No Windows: ... It was sparse and plain and narrow, with a curved concrete floor and smooth, almost circular black walls that didnt look as though theyd been painted black but were somehow sculpted out of naturally black material-some substance that literally absorbed light. There were no doors and no windows. Although the passageway appeared to be straight, there was definitely some bend to it, some winding quality just outside the lighters glow. Both of these excellent examples describe the haunted house using atmosphere and setting in different ways. They work well because of the strong word choice and vivid, unnatural descriptions that go beyond the details of how someone would usually describe a house. Joe Schreiber didnt just blatantly say: The room was round. Instead, he painted a picture so vivid that the reader simply got a sense that this room was unnatural and no sane person would enter it -especially if he only possessed a lighter. When is a haunted house not a haunted house? A haunted house isnt always necessarily a house. It can be an apartment or a condo on the beach. Sometimes its a cemetery where spirits of the dead live, work and haunt like in Neil Gaimans novel, The Graveyard Book. Haunted factories, sanitariums, junkyards, prisons, schools, caves and even sewers could all potentially be haunted house stories. All the same rules apply.
How To Plan A Retirement House For Thailand - Essential Factors To Consider : Pitching Your House Specification - The Important Factors You probably already have a good idea of the type, size, layout etc of the house you are planning to build in Thailand for your retirement. After reading this article you may decide to review your ideas. In the time it has taken to get my house half finished in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, two colleagues have seen their houses started and completed and at half the cost. In fact the build of our house has turned out to be a nightmare of the kind you hear about in the newspapers or read on the Thai forum websites. On the other hand, these other houses were built quickly and cheaply with no hassles at all. (Compared to my problems anyway) So what was the difference between their house and ours that made all the difference? It All Begins With The Concept - What You Want Your House To Be What you want your house to be will depend upon many factors, who will use it, how do they want to use it and more importantly who is the house for and what are their expectations? Who Is The House Intended For? Our house was essentially my design. The layout of the rooms, style of house, type and quality of finishes etc was based on what I wanted as a retirement house and was of quite a generous standard. My Thai wife of course loved it. My colleagues houses on the other hand appeared to be based on the minimum that they could get away with whilst satisfying their Thai wives requirements. Essentially those houses were based on a Thai wifes expectations. They were designed for the Thai wife not for themselves. The standard of houses in the west tend to be much higher than in Thailand and the westerners demand more mod cons, western kitchen, security doors and windows, high grade fittings and finishes etc. On the other hand, such features of western houses are not commonly found in Thailand, the Thai spouse isnt aware of them and doesnt need them. Hence a house based on a Thai wifes perspective can be much simpler and cheaper than a house based on western standards. Sometimes the designs of these other houses were simply copied from one of the many pre-designed Thai houses that you can download from the Thai Government website. In short they were off-the-peg houses. In contrast I had a set of construction drawings produced by a registered Thai Architect in Bangkok and the set of drawings comprised some 42 sheets! Im glad I had those house plans made and for my large, high spec house, they are essential. Key Thai House Configuration Considerations Whereas there are a number of key considerations that will considerably affect the cost and time to construct a retirement house built in any country, number and size of rooms for example, there are some key considerations that apply specifically to a retirement house built in Thailand. These key considerations relate to the differences in what is considered as normal practice in a Thai house and in a western house. The key considerations are related to the number of floors, the bathroom, the kitchen where there are fundamental differences in approach between western practice and Thai practice. Another key considerations is whether the house is to be provided with air conditioning or not. One Or Two Floors What number of levels you intend to have is one of the most important criteria that can affect the price and speed of building your retirement house in Thailand. For thousands of years Thai houses are built with the living spaces lifted up from the ground on timber or concrete columns, or posts as the Thai describe them. A standard Thai house may exhibit, for example, a dozen posts set in a 3 x 4 matrix, and this is termed a 12 post house. My own retirement house is a 16 post house and the upper story containing the living spaces is 3 m above ground floor level. This is considerably harder to construct and costlier than a bungalow construction having all the living accommodation on the ground floor. I undoubtedly wanted to have a post house, and my Thai wife really likes it, but Im convinced she would have been equally happy with a bungalow. I am paying for my idea to have a traditional Thai post house both in terms of cost and time to construct. Thus think wisely if you certainly want a post house or if you can put up with a one-floor construction which will be less expensive and faster to build. Bathroom Or Shower Room This is a further decision that is most likely to s the price and period to build your retirement house and again, it is a Thai compared to Western subject. Conventional style and basic Thai houses are frequently not provided with a bath as is usually common in a western bathroom. Surprisingly, I prefer not to have a bathtub, because I dont use one. I usually enjoy a shower thats why a basic shower room is all I want. Unusual for a Thai, though my wife does like to relax in a bath tub filled with hot water and those smelly bath salts or bubble bath. So we are having a bath tub. Since i want a walk-in shower room, we are having two bathrooms, one is a western style bathroom with hand wash basin, WC and bat tub, the other a shower room with hand wash basin and shower only. Again, the decisions are made on the basis of answering the question who is the house for?. Type of Kitchen - Thai Style or Western Style Kitchen The style of kitchen you decide to construct is another area that can have a large impact on the cost of the house. Traditionally a lot of preparation of Thai food for cooking is done on the floor. Even though we have a normal western style kitchen in our house in the U.K., my wife still put the crok on the floor to pound the ingredient e.g. for a nam prick. Also the Thai food is often cooked on a single heat source, or at most two heat sources, one for the rice and the other for a pot of food, e.g. soup. In line with this pattern of usage, Thai kitchens traditionally are very simple affairs, and do not have the long waist level counter tops and ovens like a western style kitchen. Frequently the Thai kitchen even in modern Thai houses, is not an enclosed room, but is a simple external area with a roof and perhaps a short table and sink. So you do not really need the expense of a western style kitchen will all the counter tops, cupboards, cookers, grilles, cooker hoods etc that go into a modern western home. In Thailand you will need a refrigerator but many Thai kitchens do not have a freezer or a washing machine for clothes or dishes. Again, my retirement house in Thailand is designed with a western style kitchen, complete with long granite counter-top and integral dual sink, Fridge and Freezer. Provision of cupboards, drawers and washing machines is not part of the current scheme, however, but may be provided later.
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