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MOODBOARD: “Hostages” Short Story

December 18, 2019 in Moodboard, Patreon, Vile Men, Writing

I should be rewriting a story I wrote a couple years ago but here I am procrastinating. It’s not all a loss, however, as my procrastination finds me penning this new blog post. What have I been doing the last couple weeks? I wrote a dang short story! It’s called “Hostages” and you’ll be able to read it sooner rather than later because it’s going to be the first story I put on up Patreon in January.

“Hostages” is a modern gothic horror set in Whistler, British Columbia (based off the prompt I shared last week). I have always been a fan of Whistler, despite the fact that I don’t ski or snowboard or do any winter sports at all. (Although I did recently go curling a couple weeks ago and it was rad.)

Excerpt image for "Hostages" featuring the following quote: "You won't feel things the way you once did. Eventually you won't feel anything at all."

“Hostages” is pretty much a modern gothic horror story about PTSD. If you like the stories in VILE MEN, you’ll love this one. It’s moody and erotic. It will aggravate your SADS. But if you’re like me and you like festering in moodiness, then this story will go right up your alley.

I’m really trying to mature my work by tapering back on some of the sex in my writing, but hey, I know that’s part of its appeal. That’s why you’ve been reading it, right?

So I’m keeping the sex and the tension but I’m diluting it to a more literary degree. I hate calling it “literary” because literary sex scenes are kind of dull. Then again, I can hear Richard Thomas telling me to read more Mary Gaitskill (who def knows how to write some literary sex). I know what my field is and I can stick to it.

It’s less pornographic but it’s there. The tension is there. The female-driven sexual energy (which is oft still so under-represented in literature) is there.

Excerpt image for "Hostages" featuring the following quote: "I huddle against his body, doing myself lasting damage."

Lastly, I guess I should mention the horror. I’ve tried plenty of times to pen a decent horror story. At times I’ve failed. At times I’ve succeeded. VILE MEN has three horror-esque stories. “Ghost Story” is obvs a ghost story. “Better Places” falls in the zombie story category. And I suppose “Grin on the Rocks” is a realist horror in that’s it’s a story about a man who will eventually become a serial rapist.

Excerpt image for "Hostages" featuring the following quote: "He is far from fine and he is far from alright."

But this is where “gothic horror” comes in. It’s one of the elements that I’ve loved about V.C. Andrews. Her work isn’t even inherently “horror”. According to this post that I love and share all the time, Andrews’ “horror” categorization was entirely a marketing gimmick to get women to buy horror books.

In a way it’s insulting, but I have to think, “Why the hell not?” Freaky stuff happens in every V.C. Andrews book. The melodrama hits soap opera levels of high at several points, but the settings are always characters and the family secrets reveal shocks that keep you reading. Handsome strangers drift in and out. Most of them have sinister motives. Some of them are nice but their presence always reveals more secrets. That’s horror, baby.

Is it good horror, though? Well, that’s subjective.

For a couple of years I’ve wanted to write a collection of stories called “Northern Gothic”, which would contain gothic horror stories that take place in Canada. I suppose this is the first of what will hopefully be many.

Excerpt image for "Hostages" featuring the following quote: "Somewhere beneath the muscles and bones is a heart still beating."

I’ll be publishing “Hostages” as an exclusive story for subscribers of my Patreon, which I will be releasing in January. I’ll be writing a story a month and this tier will be $5.00 per month. Is it too much? I’m trying to be fair to my labour here (because next year I’m gonna be juggling my writing with my real job), but I’d love your opinion on this.

The stories I plan on making exclusive will vary in length but will always be of my standard quality. No throw-away plots. Just solid stuff. “Hostages” is 5000 words and is something I would easily send out to magazines, but I’m trying to attempt something new here.

I know I have fans out there and I want to cater some stuff for you. I want to try something new.

Questions:

  • Is $5.00 a month too much? I do have other tiers but the exclusive stories will be provided for $5.00. Would you be more likely to support for $3.00?
  • Do you read my work for the sex? Or is it something else?
  • What are your goals for not just the new year, but the new decade?

IMAGE CREDITS:

Village with Snow: Kris Arnold | Whistler Ski Lift: Ebowalker | Red Cable Car: Yin Yin Low | Blackcomb Mountain: bnunesc | Icy Covered Pine Trees: h_m | Crystal: alusruvi | Woman: Free-Photos | Crying Man: StockSnap

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Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com.

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  • Emily Slaney January 7, 2020 at 2:05 am

    Hey, I’m a bit late commenting but just wanted to say I read your work for: the edgy darkness, the grounded compelling characters (with all their flaws!), the style you write – the way you use words, and because your stories take me to unexpected places and are never predictable. Also you do great quote graphics 😁
    Goals for new year include organising my time better, being more confident, decluttering the attic (and house), asking for help more, write more!!! (something… Anything!), make more time for creativity, and get my son through his exams!
    What about you?

  • I'm Rebecca Jones-Howe, a neo-noir writer and author of the short story collection, VILE MEN. My work has been featured in [PANK], Pulp Modern and Punchnel's, among other magazines. This site houses my writing profile and my blog, which features posts on writing, fashion, lifestyle + more. Want more?

    - RJH

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