Published at Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 - 07:03:11 AM. 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.
Building A House In Thailand? Some Facts You Should Know : Will Your Retirement House In Thailand Have Two Floors Or A Single Floor? This is maybe the most significant factors determining the cost and time needed to construct your house in Thailand. Until recent times Thai houses were traditionally designed with the living accommodation elevated from the ground on wood or concrete columns, or posts as the Thai refer to them. A normal Thai house may be constructed with, say, a dozen posts arranged in a three by four matrix, and this is called a twelve post house. Our own house in Pakchong (Pak Chong) where we plan to retire to, Thailand, is a sixteen post house (4 by 4 posts) and the upper story containing the living spaces is 3 meters above ground floor level. This is considerably more difficult to construct and more expensive than a single floored house building with all the accommodation on the ground floor. The difference between a Thai two storey house and a western one is that:- A western house usually has the living accommodation on the ground floor and the bedrooms on the second floor. A Thai house has the living accommodation and the bedrooms on the second floor. The ground floor if it has any rooms at all would probably be a utility area. The tradition of having elevated living accommodation in the Thai houses goes back hundreds of years and there are two reasons why this tradition developed:- 1) Rooms higher than ground floor level were safer from prowling animals like lions and tigers that were prevalent at the time and. 2) Much of Thailand is flat and prone to flooding. A house elevated on stilts (posts) is safe from flooding. My husband undoubtedly wanted a post house, and I adore it, but I would have been equally happy with a single storey house. My husband is paying the price of his decision to have a traditional Thai post house in terms of additional cost and longer time to construct. Therefore think with care if you actually must have a post house or if you can resign yourself to a one-floor construction which will be less costly and faster to construct. Bathroom With Bathtub Or Simple Shower Only Room This is one more choice that will shape the price and time to build your retirement house and yet again, it is a Thai compared to Western subject. Traditional style and typical Thai houses are usually not designed with a bath tub as is the norm in a western bathroom. Actually, my husband, who is British, did not want to have a bathtub, because he doesnt take a bath. He likes to take a shower so for this reason a straightforward shower room is all he wanted to have. Odd for a Thai, I love to relax in a bath tub filled with hot water and those aromatic bath salts or bubble bath. Consequently my husband has agreed to install a bath. Seeing he wanted to have a walk-in shower room, we will be having two bathrooms, one for myself with a bath, WC and hand wash basin, the other a shower room with hand wash basin and shower only. Yet again, the choices are made as a result of posing the question Who is the house for? Type Of Kitchen - Thai Style Or Avant-Garde Western Style Kitchen The style of kitchen you make your mind up to design for is one more topic that always has a large influence on the cost of the house. Normally a whole lot of preparation of Thai food for cooking is done at floor level. I mean sitting on the floor, whether floor level is at ground floor level or second floor level. Whilst we have a customary western standard kitchen in our home in England, I still put the crock on the floor to pound the cooking ingredients. In addition, Thai food is very often cooked on a single gas ring (or even a charcoal fire), or sometimes two heat sources, but no more than that. According to this food preparation and cooking approach, Thai kitchens historically are very plain affairs, and are without the long worktops and ovens, grilles, integrated sinks and integrated cupboards and appliances that practically every western kitchens has. In fact so simple are Thai kitchens that kitchens even in new Thai houses, are often not constructed as an enclosed room, instead they are a minimal exterior area perimeter wall with a roof and maybe a simple counter-top. It follows that if you are building a Thai-style house you do not have to pay for a western style kitchen with all the luxurious fittings that are expected in a modern western house. In Thailand, as a westerner, you must have a refrigerator but countless Thai kitchens do not contain a fridge or a freezer nor clothes or dish washing machines. Yet again, our retirement house in Thailand is planned with a western style kitchen, including a long granite counter-top and integral dual sink, fridge and freezer. Installing cupboards, drawers and washing machines is not in the current scheme, however, but may be provided afterwards. Whether To Have Air Conditioning Or Not Whether or not you choose to have air conditioning can appreciably influence the construction of your house if it is appropriately designed. A house in Thailand correctly designed for air conditioning will be considerably different from one designed to utilize the natural flow of air for keeping cool, instead of air-con. How A House Built In Thailand Is Designed For Natural Ventilation (Not Having Comfort Cooling) In a Thai house without air conditioning you will be relying on natural flow of air blowing through the rooms to dissipate the heat. Our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand is designed like this. You should have plenty of options for the natural wind to flow throughout the rooms. The house should be built of light materials that do not easily absorb and re-emit heat. Our house has external walls made from wooden planks that allow the wind to blow through. Openings to permit the natural air drafts to flow will feature open windows and doors, air flow louvres and open-area room designs. Windows with glazing must be avoided as they prevent the breeze from blowing in and windows focus the suns rays like a greenhouse. You only have to look at the traditional Central Plains Thai houses built a hundred years ago to appreciate how to design a natural-cooling Thai house. Features Of A House Designed For Air Conditioning Air-con works like a fridge and the house should be configured like a fridge to get the best out of the Air Conditioning. This means preventing natural air currents - it must be designed as an extremely well sealed building, tightly closed doors and windows - well insulated and if you must have natural light this ought to be provided through windows with glazing, preferably which has a coloured coating to reduce heat from the suns rays. Double glazing also helps.
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