My Gateway to Horror: Edgar Allan Poe

I’m not sure when I first got my grubby little hands on a copy of the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe. But I do remember curling up with that battered black paperback and being delightfully scared in a way that Nancy Drew just couldn’t quite deliver.  From “The Pit and the Pendulum” to “The […]

Joyride: Female Doesn’t Equal Victim

Joyride by Jack Ketchum was an incredibly difficult book for me to read. At first I had trouble putting finger on why that was (other than the obvious amount of sexual violence against women). But as I continued to read, it began to dawn on me that the author depicted women as whimpering pitiful creatures […]

Taxi Driver: Alone in an Iron Box

Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert DeNiro, Taxi Driver details the everyman’s downward spiral into psychopathy. Travis Bickle, an unassuming and lonely NYC cabbie, seeks human connection amid what he sees as the human cesspool of the city. But the irony is that Travis himself is only a hairsbreadth removed from being the very […]

Paul Sheldon: Passive or Not?

Stephen King’s Misery is one of my favorite horror novels. I don’t even remember how young I was the first time I smuggled it out of the school library to read under the covers.  Re-reading it as a writer was an interesting experiment in figuring out why Misery works so well. Because there’s no doubt […]

Clarice’s Quest: Silence of the Lambs

Based on the book by Thomas Harris, Silence of the Lambs  starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster is one of my all-time favorite movies. I remember watching the infamous basement-night-vision-goggles scene for the first time. At that time, night vision goggles weren’t readily available online, and my teenage self had definitely never seen anything remotely […]

Will Graham: The Psychopath We Love to Love

“One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already in the mind.”  Red Dragon by Thomas Harris It’s been quite a few years since the first time I read Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. And in the intervening years, the entire franchise—because the Hannibal Lecter story is indeed a […]

American Psycho: The Unlikable & (Possibly) Uninteresting

“He’s the boy next door, aren’t you honey?” “No I’m not,” I whisper to myself. “I’m a fucking evil psychopath.”  American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis was published in 1991, both shocking readers and drawing rave reviews from critics. The movie, starring Christian Bale was released in 2000 and has become a cult classic. So […]

How to Write Better Point of View Characters aka Not Cats

Cat for ffo

Cats … aka why your point of view character matters so much. Don’t believe me? Just get me started on the number of cat stories that come rolling through the FFO slush pile on any given week and you’ll get a rant of epic proportions. Actually, my cat rant has become something of a running […]