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Published at Monday, February 11th, 2019 - 12:28:52 PM. House. By .

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.

Buying A House - Design and Style Tips : We are going to start this entry with a basic overview of the designs and styles of houses. The different types are as follows: Ranch - One level Split Level Split Foyer 1.5 Story 2 Story Patio Home Condominiums Town House To understand the difference between the types of houses we should look at things someone would normally consider when they buy a house. If someone does not want to walk up and down stairs it would be a natural assumption a ranch or patio style house would best suit their needs. Someone that does not want to cut grass would be more interested in a condominium or town house. The people with children or an expanding family would probably lean toward a split level, split foyer, 1.5 story, or 2 story. Especially if they need their own space. Does the House Conform When we ask if the house conform we are asking a basic question. Does your house look like the Jones down the street? We all want to be different in some ways but being different in Real Estate is not always a good idea. This can drastically affect the value of the house youre buying. If the house is a lot bigger or smaller than the other houses in the neighborhood, it does not conform. When buying a house you never want to buy the biggest house because the value will never be maximized to its full potential. If you are going to buy a house that does not conform, buy the smaller house. Think of it with this example, if Donald Trump lived in your neighborhood would his house help or hurt your value? The answer is Donald Trumps house would help the value of your house because he is always going to have the very best house. Your house on the other hand would hurt Donald Trumps value because your house would bring his value down. This is why you see similar designs and styles in a neighborhood. The reason for buying a house smaller than any others in the neighborhood is because the only way the value can go is up. The most inexpensive addition anyone can make to a house is adding square footage. No one ever tears down part of their house to make it conform to their neighbors. Things You Notice But Do Not Realize Have you ever noticed there are always more condominiums, town houses, and patio homes for sale in a neighborhood than there are in a traditional neighborhood? There are many reasons for this activity but we will cover the most important. When buying a house you should examine competition. Competition is what is for sale in the neighborhood, how many and for how much, compared to the house youre interested in buying. For these types of homes, they are usually a first or last time home buyer. This means the young married couple or the elderly that down-sized. In these neighborhoods, there is always what I refer to as a fire sale. Someone is expecting a baby and needs more room so they need to sell fast. When a fire sale takes place there is always a drop in the asking price to try to sell it before any of their neighbors. This is a good strategy for them since all of the homes are identical. This is not good for you though. This is also called the principle of substitution. Why pay more for the exact same thing when you can get it on sale down the street? The value in these neighborhoods struggle to appreciate and go up in value because there is so much competition compared to a traditional neighborhood. How and Why to Bargain Shop When Buying a House It is unfortunate to have as many deals on the market as there are today. It does not make you less of a person to look for a foreclosure or short sale when youre buying a house. A house is your greatest savings account. If you look at these types of houses they will most likely need repairs. This is perfect for you as a buyer. The market is slow and Lowes is not selling as much. If Lowes isnt selling as much then contractors are not working as much. This benefits anyone buying a house if they will use the discounts available to them in the market. The house down the street is selling for $150,000, but the foreclosure is selling for $65,000. The foreclosure looks horrible and not very appealing in its current state. Take the blinders off and imagine it like the house down the street once the repairs are completed. Lets say the repairs cost $30,000, with the foreclosure. You saved $55,000, instantly by buying the foreclosure. If you buy the house down the street you are going to paint it at the least to match your taste. Now youre in debt because you paid full price and spent money after the fact. There are mortgage loans to buy and repair from the very beginning so take advantage of them. The most recognized is the FHA 203(k) loan. There is also Homepath sponsored by Fannie Mae. You can look at their website for available houses in your area. You can also visit the HUD Home Store. When youre buying a house make sure you dont buy with short sighted thoughts. Buying a house is an investment you are making today but is one of the most important investments you are making for your future. If you buy a house right today, it will provide the equity for security in the worst Real Estate market. Its a long term saving account to draw from if its ever needed.



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