This year was something a little different (although for me, not at all). They wanted us to write an audio drama for the 2015 contest, and to have at least two different voices participating. I have a bit of experience, when it comes to putting together audio with more than one voice in it, if not in writing audio drama, but I worked hard on it anyway. Ultimately, I thought I was doing alright to make it to the final round of the contest, since this year, only the four stories that got the most votes would actually be played on the show, but the host/webmaster told me there were only four entries this time, so . . . *
I like this writing contest. As I say every year, they give you certain elements you have to use in your story, so it produces a tale I would never have told without their help.
Briefly, let's look at the five entries I've done for the show.
2011. "Friends In Paradise." This was a fairly awful little story, due mostly to me having to fit "luau" and "hang-gliding" in the same damned story. It didn't end up being at all scary or amusing, though I still like the part where the dad was talking about his daughter's beautiful legs. I enlisted my niece to voice the main character, which was probably unusual for the contest judges, at least back then.
2012. "The Scottish Scene." This story I'm much, much happier with. I had to write about the Curse of MacBeth, so I wrote about three teenage girls who plan to read the Three Witches scene in the play. I got Renee Chambliss to voice all three girls, which again, elevated the story, and though she initially voiced the witch for me as well, I ended up using my own voice there, because her voice always sounds too young and lovely to pull that off. Ironic, considering she's a Level Three Mistress of the Dark Arts.
2013. "White House Tour." I had to do the most research on this piece, since they wanted me to write a ghost story set in the White House. I believe I got my niece to voice the ghost in this one, but this turned out even less scary than the first story, which is probably not what a website called "Horror Addicts" looks forward to. This isn't a great story, but it's pretty harmless. If there was a podcast out there that did genre stories intended for children, I'd certainly send this their way.
2014. "Lighthouse View/Creature Feature." Last year's story had to be about a monster and take place at a lighthouse. It's pretty alright, I think, but also had the disadvantage of being not at all scary. I didn't like the title, so I changed it to "Creature Feature" when the rights reverted to me. I once again got Renee Chambliss to voice the main character, so that sounds good, at least.
2015. "Miss Fortune." So, this is an audio drama, which turned out to be EXTRAORDINARILY easy to write, more so than any story . . . ever? Seriously, it took about as much effort as writing "Sleepless Afternoon" or one of the annual barbecue sketches I do on the Dunesteef. Of course, the editing took a little longer, and I layered the hell out of this thing, with sound effects, homemade foley, music, and both Renee Chambliss' AND my niece's voices.
The theme this year was . . . hmmm, I can't remember exactly. I know we were all given a tarot card from the Major Arcana that had to be worked into the story, and we were all given a monster the story would feature/be about. I got a double-whammy in that I know nothing about the Tarot (including "The Hermit," which was the card I got) and just as much about "The Rawhead," which was my monster.
The Rawhead can be one of two things: in British folklore, he was a kind of bogeyman, who would snatch up disobedient children if they, say, forgot to curtsy to the upper class, or made eye contact with an unmarried member of the opposite sex without a proper chaperon, or ended a sentence with a preposition. In America (particularly the Deep South), the Raw Head and Bloody Bones, as they call it, is a legendary monster made up of pig remains that stalks the night, or perhaps vegetarian restaurants.
Here be yon link:
You can go to their website and listen to the entries, and if you like mine best, feel free to vote for it. If not, there's always next year. It'll be fun to see how long I can pretend my now-teenaged niece can pass for a ten year old girl (or boy, in the case of "White House Tour").
Rish Outfield, Bator of the Macabre
P.S. I didn't know what to call this year's story. I made a list of potential titles, as I am wont to do, and some of those included "Wrong Turn," "After the Festival," "Raw Deal" and "Raw Head Festival," none of which worked. I did try, "Raw Head and the Misfortune," which I believe is the name of the band that sings that song that goes "Don't listen to a word I say, Because the truth may vary, This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore," which was played into the ground recently, and is still heard at least once a day at my work.
"Raw Deal" is the best of those, but it was also a Schwarzenegger film, so . . . no. Finally, I thought of a little tale Big Anklevich wrote once called "Unfortunate," and thought that would be an appropriate title for mine. I tried, briefly, calling it "Misfortune Teller," which is maybe the worst title ever conceived, but then thought I'd split "Misfortune" into two words, and you know, I'm pleased as a pig in slop with that. Good day, sir.
*I'm reminded of a conversation the other day at work. One of my supervisors was talking about how many hours I was scheduled this upcoming week, and I said, "Guess I'm one of the reliable ones, huh?" To which she said, "Well, unlike the others, you aren't able to find anything better, so . . ."