Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Demons


Yeah, I thought it was a shot of an unpublished writer too, but apparently it's a poster from a movie called Prophecy.

Besides a collective of Russian mafia, a stack of librarians, and an aport of portals, a demographic of demons ran amuck in the early entries of Miss Snark's Crapometer, supported by a solicitude of Satans.
In response to the siren call from the distant marketplace that paranormals are hot, I suppose.

Nice word: demon.
Hasn't changed much over the centuries.
Which may mean something.

Due to the restrictions of Crapometer word count, one is usually unable to tell how specific the writers got with their demons.
Or decide if they were the simple generic sort.

Don't think the word alone is sufficient anymore to carry that necessary frisson of terror.
A writer may not be able to depend on the standard well of superstition to clothe his creation. Readers may need distinction, differentiation, designation.
A hovering, formless, soul-sucker or mincemeat-machine might not cut it, though a description of demergic depredation could go a long way to resolve that.
The effect, as it were, leaving the cause to the imagination.

How strong are the traditional fear and horror reflexes?
Is the devil in the details?
Wonder if calling forth creatures from the Pit/the Otherworld is adequate, merely a sample of lazy writing, or a dependency on a word motif that has lost its power.

28 comments:

MissWrite said...

LOL @ a shot of an unpublished writer. Speaking of demons though, did you read over on Tess's blog about the critic who panned (and that's putting it extremely mildly) a book that hadn't even been actually written?

Seems this critic saw the book listed in a publisher's catalog, then wrote a scathing review only to find out the author never turned in the manuscript and the book was never published.

Did the crit appologize? No... she simply said, well I hate that author anyway, hopefully she'll turn in the book so it can be published and I can give it another bad review.

Don't ya just love that? Talk about a writer's demons... you don't even have to actually write something to get burned.

James Goodman said...

I think the use of demons must be used with care. There are still gripping stories to be made with them, but one must be careful not to fall into the pit of the overdone while evoking such creatures.

Bernita said...

Geesus, Tami!
They're real!
What subjective ad hominem arrogant hate!

Variety, James, would be welcomed, I think.

Ric said...

Or trying to come up with something "NEW AND ORIGINAL"?

You start with what you think is a really good idea - then, in researching, discover it's been done a hundred times.

Try again with something you haven't seen in literature, and, flipping through horrow movies on obscure cable channels late at night (yes, James, I do it, too), you see your plot playing out.

Demons are really hard to make "new and refreshing".

anna said...

Speaking of demons, my company has
arrived.
Merry Christmas or whatever it politically correct these days
see ya soon

Bernita said...

Fiction is the art of making plots sound "fresh and original."

Sure, there's always some hyper-knowlegable geek ready to point out that, yeah, you're plot resembles a cult movie made in 1952 or some long-forgotten pulp writer of the 30's.
But your voice, your style, and your twists can make it different, Ric.
We can be too self-censure/censoring.

Bernita said...

Merry Christmas, Anna.
Thank you for the gift of your poetry.

EA Monroe said...

Good morning, Bernita. One thing I have discovered about demons and goblins: They never notice you, until you notice them.

There's nothing as fearsome as the unknown, ie -- a shark swimming in the water. (Jaws) And, apparently, critics, too!

Bernita said...

That's definitely not been my experience, Liz.
Both the 'real" and the "unreal" can ambush the unwary.

Robyn said...

For me, traditional demons have lost their power. In books, tv and film they have become so pathetically easy to defeat. In the zeal to make the hero/heroine invincible, fighting and slaying a demon is a walk in the park. Kind of like red-shirts in Star Trek; they're fight fodder.

I remember when The Exorcist stunned and frightened everyone. Now, thanks to books and shows such as Buffy and Angel, demons are just average joes going to work. They can be good or evil. It's entertaining, but demons have had their teeth pulled out.

Jaye Wells said...

As a recovering Catholic, I can honestly say I still have an irrational fear of demon posession. But, in fiction, yes, their powers have been diluted somewhat. It seems no fear is sacred as far as fiction is concerned.

spyscribbler said...

Well, after watching Phoebe and Cole, and reading several yummy eroticas with demons in them, I have to say that demons don't inspire the slightest frisson of terror at all!

I pretty much drool on command now, by the mere use of the word. Danger and the forbidden are entirely too enticing for me, LOL.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Robyn, Jaye and Spy.
That's very interesting. Is it just familiarity with the breed?
A loss of the "unknown" factor?
More sophisticated readers or weaker writers failing in the thrills and chills department?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...I knew that picture as soon as I saw it!

The one thing I've noticed in the Crapometer this time, is that after so many...they all start sounding like the same thing...LOL...glad I'm not an agent having to pan for gold in all that dross!

Demons have been done to death...I want to see something new! LOL...I guess the agents do to!

Bernita said...

According to Miss Snark, "nameless, faceless evil has been done to death."
Yes.
Demons may still have some milage left as denizens of certain genres IF they are not tossed in nameless and faceless.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Am I the only one that can't get onto Miss Snark's page?

Bernita said...

I was just able to access it, Bonnie.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Okay...if I disable my Internet Accelerator, I can get in...*sigh* computers!

raine said...

Sigh...I seem to be sighing a lot lately...

As an author who occasionally writes paranormals (one on the back burner now), I'd STILL like to believe they'd be given a chance if well-written with a strong voice, and not simply dismissed as "yet another demon/vampire/werewolf/shapeshifter" story.
Have the undead really been undone by sheer numbers?

Bernita said...

Don't think so, Raine.
Think it's more a case of lack of variety.

Even Miss Snark liked at least one - and she doesn't do fantasy or romance.

russel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve G said...

Demons are different things to different generations. What might scare me, won't faze a teenager. I've learned not be afraid of those things that terrorized me in my youth. But they've been replaced with something new. Take a ride on a German Autobahn and you see a demon in every second truck pulling out in front of you and causing you to slam on your brakes. You see a demon in the Mercedes that wasn't behind you a minute ago, but now fills the rearview mirror. Life is full of demons.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernita said...

Speed demons have replaced demon rum...
Certainly, some people drive as if possessed, Steve!

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, Steve, yes those trucks need to be exorcised. But that Mercedes behind you ... *cough* ... that could be me. :)

Candice Gilmer said...

I think it depends on your perception of the demons.

For me, I've seen the Devil done over in a lot of books, and he's always the same -- shockingly sexy, suave, and generally appealing, even though, whoa, that's the devil, should I find him attractive?

Why is he always depicted that way? How do we know he's not a comic book geek (I can say that because I'm one) who collects figurines of comic book characters and other nicknacks all through his house that looks like something out of the fifties, including the plastic couch covers?

That woudl be terrifying to me. ;)

Bernita said...

~grinning~
Heh. Gabriele!

Some have said that evil is most terrifying when it is bland and banal, Candice.

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