Archive for the ‘Novella’ Category

The photo that started it all.

So, I freaked out for a moment earlier this week. I found out that a Hollywood studio was making a movie out of The Backrooms.

If you don’t know what the Backrooms is, it’s an Internet urban legend/creepypasta about a maze that looks like a never-ending office building with the most horrid yellow wallpaper. Supposedly, there are things in the Backrooms that will come after you if you fall, or “noclip,” into them. They were birthed by a photo that was posted anonymously to 4chan, followed by some lines of text that were posted by another anonymous user, so the Backrooms are technically public domain. Anyone can use them to tell stories.

I wrote a novella taking place in the Backrooms: “It Changes You: A Backrooms Story.” And I’ve been planning on editing it throughout the week. However, earlier this week, something came up that made me wonder if I even could or should edit the story. You see, one of the most–if not the most–popular iteration of The Backrooms was created by YouTuber Kane Pixels. He’s created his own mini-mythology through a highly successful YouTube series, the first video of which having over forty-four million views at the time I’m writing this.

Yeah, the new movie is going to be based on his take on the Backrooms, and he’s likely going to be writing and directing as well.

So, my first reaction was like, “Oh shit! Way to go, you’re barely out of high school! Good luck, I can’t wait to see it!” And then I was like, “What does this mean for ‘It Changes You?’ Will it even be worth editing and trying to find a home with a movie on the way?”

In times like these, I look to the experts I know best: my fellow horror writers. So I asked them in one of my Facebook groups. And they pointed out some things that I’d almost forgotten.

First off, plenty of writers and creators are making stories and videos and whatnot off the Backrooms, not just Kane Pixels and myself. Hell, I’ve seen one author posting photos of his own story on Twitter and Hive. I won’t be the last one. And so long as I don’t steal anything to someone else’s interpretation of the Backrooms, it’s fine if I want to release my own version of it.

Yeah, a movie might make things more difficult. But it wasn’t as if they weren’t difficult before. Let’s face it, everybody’s putting out their own versions everywhere they can. So long as I keep trying, my version is well-written and compelling, and

And it’s not as if the movie will be a surefire thing. It could end up in development hell or just never get made. Look at the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie. That thing has been in development since 2015, and it reportedly only just started filming this month! And the Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud? One of my favorite fantasy series from childhood and still beloved. It was supposed to have a movie years ago! But twenty years after the idea was first floated, still no movie out, even though some new studio bought the rights four years ago.

Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen with the Backrooms movie? It might spend several years in development before it actually gets to the production stage, let alone gets filmed and released.

In the meantime, that’s plenty of time for me to make a mark with my version. Not sure if that’ll be on its own as a standalone novella or as part of a collection, but that’s part of the fun of the search: getting to find out what happens and where your stories will end up.

So, this weekend, I’ll get started on editing “It Changes You.” Some friends/colleagues read the first five-thousand words and gave me feedback, so I’ll look over their notes, and then get to work. By the end of the weekend, maybe I’ll have it off to beta readers, and then maybe next month off to publishers.

But for now, I’ve got work. Until next time, good night (no matter what time it may be where you are), pleasant nightmares, and–watch out! There’s a killer behind you as you’re reading this!

The original photo that started the Backrooms. At first, not too creepy, but then you realize that there’s no sign of human habitation. And that’s what makes it really terrifying.

Well, I didn’t think I’d get it done this weekend, but I somehow managed to do it. Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Boxing Day/Happy Holidays to me.

So, as I mentioned in my last article on Ginger Nuts of Horror, I was developing a story based on the Backrooms, an internet urban legend that’s become really popular in the past year or so. For those who don’t know, the Backrooms were inspired by a photo of an empty office decorated with yellow wallpaper and some accompanying text, both posted anonymously. The text went something like this:

“If you’re not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you’ll end up in the Backrooms, where it’s nothing but the stink of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in
God save you if you hear something wandering around nearby, because it sure as hell has heard you.”

Spooky, no? The Backrooms has since gone viral, becoming a series of games, YouTube videos, and fan art, among other things. However, there isn’t a lot of prose fiction set in the Backrooms yet, so I thought I’d try to get ahead of the crowd and give it my own original twist while I was at it. After all, it was stuck in my head. Might as well make something with that.

Thus, I have created “It Changes You: A Backrooms Story,” which I have spent basically all of December working on. The story follows a bunch of people, particularly two teen girls named Kat and Ginger, who end up falling into the Backrooms, and what happens to them as they try to find a way out.

This story was a blast to work on for so many reasons. The first half is very strange and psychological, while the second half has body horror, some really gross stuff, and a bit of cosmic horror that was terrifying even to me! I also had a lot of fun making the main characters nerds into anime and Doctor Who like I am, and Kat in particular is a writer who also happens to be aromantic, like me.* I also based some characters loosely on characters from shows I watch, including Law & Order, and let my mind go in some really weird directions with this story, which allowed my characters to take over to a greater degree than I’d ever seen before with a story. Overall, it was just a great experience writing it.

And let’s not forget how much ambience helped me write this one. Prior to Kat and Ginger finding themselves in the Backrooms, I listened to YouTube videos of outdoor crowd ambience to get in the mood. Afterwards, I listened to ten-hour vids of fluorescent buzzing to really help me feel like I was in the Backrooms, and during the final scenes of the story, I listened to creepy horror music to get me in that cosmic horror mood.

And now this story is finished, a novella of decent length of nearly 27,000 words. Yeah, that long. No wonder it took all month to write. Anyway, I’ll let it rest a while before editing it and then sending it to a beta reader to look at. But honestly, I think it has potential. The Backrooms are still not as well known as other internet horror creations like Slender Man or Momo, so there’s plenty of room for this story to make a splash. That’s the hope, anyway.

So, now that this story is done, what’s next for me? Well, I’ll save that for another blog post. Right now, I haven’t had dinner, so I’m going to fill my belly, watch a late movie, and then hit the hay. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and happy holidays! I hope Krampus didn’t visit you this year. Or maybe I hope he did, I honestly don’t know how many other people love the guy like I do.

*Aromantic means I don’t feel romantic attraction or want to be in a romantic relationship. Like, I’m physically incapable of doing so. It’s a real thing and a discussion for another blog post, but I liked putting it into a story through one of my characters.


One more thing before I forget, my Followers of Fear: in the hopes of starting 2023 off on the right foot, I’m having a special sale on my published stories. The electronic copies of most of my books will be discounted to 99 cents for the first week of January, and the audio book of The Pure World Comes will also be discounted for that first week from certain retailers. If you’re interested, please head to the retailer of your choice after the new year and download a copy.

And if you like what you read, please leave me a review letting me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love reviews, and they help me out in the long run. Not only that, but reviews help other readers figure out whether they want to read a story or not. Pretty sweet, right?

Right, now that’s the real end of this post. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

I would say pop some champagne, but I decided to abstain from alcohol this month. It’s healthy to do every now and then. I think I’ll stick to tea instead.

Okay, enough weird asides. As of this evening, I’ve finished a novella I started working on back in December, making this my first completed story of the year. The story is called “They Sleep Within the Rock,” it’s exactly one-hundred pages and is about twenty-six thousand, four hundred words. Which is just a bit shorter than I thought it would be.

As for the plot, the story is about a group of white supremacists that try to establish a “whites-only enclave” in the American West, only to find out that the land they’re on has a history to it, and may be cursed. The story was inspired by a news article I read about white supremacists trying to buy up land and housing in rural areas to establish their own mini ethnostates. Yes, that’s something they’re trying to do, and I hope they’re never successful at it.

Anyway, I read that article and thought, “I can write a story about that. There are so many ways to make a story about people trying to establish a place like this scary.” It took some brainstorming, but I managed to come up with something that I liked and, over three months, I got it written out. And I found it quite therapeutic, as well. There’s been such a rise in anti-Semitism in the US and worldwide lately, and the horrors reigned on my people, such as last month’s synagogue hostage situation in Texas, have been rising as well. It was nice to be able to visit some horror back.

That being said, I don’t know if the story is any good. It was therapeutic and I enjoyed writing it, but that’s no mark of a good story. Plus, I’m sure there are plenty of things that could use improvement in the story. Perhaps there’s even a need to rewrite certain parts.

Well, I’ll try to edit it later this year if I can. I say “later this year” and “if I can” because I’ll soon be editing the stories for my upcoming collection Hannah and Other Stories, so that’s obviously going to take up some time. And after so much editing, I may just want to write rather than edit another novella. But hey, at least whenever I do return to it, I’ll be able to see it with fresh eyes. That’ll be helpful, for sure.

So, what’s next? I think I’ll take the weekend to relax and refuel my creativity. I have an important blog post I want to put out before Valentine’s Day, so that’ll take priority. And I want to edit that superhero horror story I wrote last year and see if I can find a home for it. And after that…well, we’ll see what’s going on then.

But for now, though, I think I’ll hit the hay. Good night, my Followers of Fear. I hope wherever you are, the winter storm isn’t causing you too much trouble, and that you have pleasant nightmares.

London Bridge and Parliament in the 1890s, right around the time this story is taking place.

Evening! Or is it morning? I’m not sure, it’s a late-night writing binge and time becomes meaningless after one of those. Anyway, as you can tell from the title of this post, I’m halfway through this super-important story set in my beloved Victorian England that I’ve been hinting and mentioning for God knows how long. And now I’m halfway through the damn thing, I think it’s time I talked a bit about it.

So, first let me tell you what this story is called. After a lot of deliberation and one or two placeholder titles, I’m calling this story The Pure World Comes. The story follows a young maid named Shirley Dobbins who goes to work for a mad scientist, and what occurs while in his employ.

In terms of genre, I think it’s a mix of Gothic horror and gaslamp fantasy (a subgenre I might need to write an article about another day). But it’s so much more than that, at least to me. It’s also a distillation of everything I’ve learned over the years about the reign and age of Queen Victoria, and I think it shows in the text.

It’s also an excuse for me to reveal the identity of the man I believe was Jack the Ripper. Yeah, that’s right, I have a person in mind whom I believe was Jack the Ripper, and I found a way to make it part of the story without shoehorning it in! Who is it, you ask? Well, you’ll have to hope the story gets published so you can find out.

And now, onto the page and word count (because of course I’m including that. You guys know me, after all). In terms of 8.5×11 pages, with 12-point Times New Roman font and double-spacing, The Pure World Comes is about 128 pages at this point. And in terms of word count, it’s 36,376 words. Yeah. You know how I consider novels as stories at sixty-thousand words or higher? I have a feeling this will be a novel by the time I’m done instead of a novella. Pulling another River of Wrath here, I guess (and yes, I will edit that soon).

Whatever it ends up being at the end, I’ll hopefully have it done by the close of May. Mid-June at latest. In the meantime though, I’m heading to bed. It’s late (or is it early?), and I need my ugly sleep if I’m going to get anything accomplished tomorrow.

And in the meantime, expect something big Thursday morning, my Followers of Fear. I have something special planned, something I think you’ll be excited for. Keep an eye out and stay tuned.

Also, signed copies of my novel Rose are still available! Send an email to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com to inquire about placing an order.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Goodnight, and until next time, pleasant nightmares!

Normally I don’t do this for first drafts, especially ones that are still in progress, but I’m having so much fun with this story, and I love the opening so much, I can’t resist!

So for those of you who haven’t seen this little meme before, this is #FirstLineFriday, something I used to do quite a bit on this blog but now reserve for special occasions. Here are the rules for the meme:

  1. Create a post on your blog titled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like Iā€™m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, a story-in-progress, or a completed/published story.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback and try to get them to try #FirstLineFriday on their own blogs (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

As many of you know, I’m working on a story set in my beloved Victorian England. I haven’t settled on a name for the story, so I won’t give you the placeholder title. However, I can tell you that this story is a distillation of not just my enjoyment of the era but a representation of my thoughts and understanding on it. And this opening represents that understanding 110% percent. Enjoy:

A stream of shit and piss fell from the second floor of the Avondale house, where it mixed with the piss, shit and mud that already littered the avenue.

Fun fact: I posted this on my personal Facebook page, and someone immediately guessed this took place in Victorian England. I was like, “You’re right on the money!” Turns out, she spent some time abroad studying at Oxford (lucky), and Victorian novels were a big part of the curriculum. So of course, she knew.

But what do you think, Followers of Fear? Did this opening grab you? Make you laugh? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

And in the meantime, why not try #FirstLineFriday on your own blog? It’s a lot of fun, and a nice way to promote your work. And with that in mind, I’m going to tag one of you. Iseult Murphy, you’re on the chopping block! By the power of the tag, I hereby designate you to do this tag next Friday. I look forward to seeing what you post next week. Mwa ha ha ha!

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Hope you enjoyed the opening to the story I wrote. And in the meantime, if you haven’t heard, I am now sending signed copies of Rose through the mail to people. Send an email to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com and I’ll give you the details on how to get a copy. Doesn’t sound like a bad proposition, does it? Especially since we’re all stuck inside these days.

I hope you all have a relaxing and safe weekend. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

It’s a quarter past two in the morning, I’m very tired and have no idea why I do this to myself, and thank God Almighty I don’t have work tomorrow morning, or I’d be one hot wreck. But anyway, good news! After over a month of hard work, I’ve just finished a new novella, which is both my first new story of 2019, and as my most disturbing story yet.

“The Autopsy Kid and Mrs. Autopsy” (wow, talk about a title) is a piece of human-based horror al a Misery and The Girl Next Door. It follows a young girl living in France who becomes entangled with a very disturbed young man after she’s caught shoplifting by said young man. It’s a really dark and gruesome story, with plenty of viscera and a very disturbed villain to boot. And as I said above, it’s probably my most disturbing story yet (and Snake included a scene where a dude got impaled in the most painful way possible). There were points during the writing process where I got a little uncomfortable, which says something about the story and how potential readers might react.

Still, it’s a first draft, so it’s going to take a lot of work before it’s ready for publication. And that’s even if I can get it published somewhere. Besides its length, this is, as I said, pretty dark stuff. Granted, human-based horror is usually very dark and requires a certain kind of nerve to get through it (everyone remembers the hobbling scene from Misery, right?). But this story? I’m sure plenty of editors would want me to censor some of the stuff that goes on in this one.

Not to mention the villain shares some similarities with another villain I’ve created that’ll be coming out at some point. But I’m less worried about this problem. I mean, if Criminal Minds can get away with variations of the same villains over and over again, eleven years in a row, why can’t I have similar villains every now and then?

Well, with any luck, I’m sure I could get it published in a short story collection, either one I put out myself or with a publishing press. I’m sure with the right marketing and a bit of editing and luck, this story could be well-received and give more than a few people nightmares.

Anyway, I’m just glad to get this story done. I had a feeling I’d get it done this weekend, but I had no idea I’d be up well past midnight working on it, adding about seven thousand words in the past twenty-four hours (a new record for me) before I could sit back and say that the first draft is finished.. I’m pretty sure I looked something like this during the past couple of hours.

I hear we even look a little alike. At least, I do in one of my many terrible visages.

Anyway, today’s writing brings the total page and word count to 164 pages and 48,581 words. Not exactly the longest I’ve ever written, but still quite a bit. And enough to leave me really exhausted right now.

Anyway, I can’t even imagine editing this behemoth right now. Pretty sure I’m going to leave it alone for a long while so that when I do return to it, I can look at it with fresh eyes. And in the meantime, I’m going to head to bed and sleep as late as I can. In the morning, I’ll likely have a celebratory movie marathon with low-calorie ice cream and hot tea. And if I do any more stories before I have to work on Rose again, it’s going to be something much, much shorter.

So until next time my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares.