As part of his blog tour for his book The Confessions of Slyva Slasher, Ace Antonio Hall has written one humdinger (yes, that’s still a word) of a guest post for you all! So without further ado…
Night of the Living Plot
Ace Antonio Hall’s Step-by-step Breakdown of Night of the Living Dead’s intro.
For the Writer Seeking to Develop A Knack For Suspenseful Horror
Dialogue begins at 2:14 minutes
(Note: generally, you’d want to start dialogue after the third paragraph of your story – no later than page two – ease exposition in bit-by-bit. We are no longer in the age of Grapes of Wrath, people have shorter attention spans, today – and that means Literary Agents and Publishers, too!)
- Story Start – setting, gray; a storm is brewing (thematic)
- Plant/set-up – radio not working, character realizes that it mysteriously starts working when they get there – this gives a feeling that something is not quite right
- Irony in subtext – When brother taunts sister, “They’re coming to get you!”
- Danger – 6:34 seconds (Literally translates to page 18: Script page x 3 = Novel page)
- Character trying to help main character is killed (Lightning strikes on fiend’s face, making fiend more scarier in the POV of protagonist/viewer/reader)
- Run (A common satirical trope for horror: character falls) She loses shoes … Why? Make character as uncomfortable as possible during flee!
- Girl finds vehicle
- Ulp! No keys are there
- Rolls up windows! Locks Doors!
- Fiend comes
- Fiend picks up rock and breaks glass
- Protagonist must escape – takes off car brake – rolls away
- Yep, The car crashes
- Look Back! Oh, no, the Fiendish ghoul is still coming!
- Character stunned from car crash but FEAR makes her run and leave now useless car
- Runs into rural area and falls again (rural areas are common because they are secluded, barren and the people there aren’t in normal contact with the general population which builds suspense and spells t-e-r-r-o-r
- Character finds house in the middle of nowhere
- She looks back – the FIEND is still in pursuit of her – RELENTLESS BASTARD
- Get in the House – but ahh, the Door is LOCKED
- Run around the house to find another way in – Yes, the back door is ALWAYS OPEN in a rural house – See why it’s so good to stay away from the big cities? Lol! (Note: 1 – 20 are within the first 10 minutes which is equivalent to first thirty pages of your novel!)
- Once in we find that the house seems empty
- House is creepy and dark – The lights are out? Of course they are!
- After a few moments of terror being in a strange dark house, character realizes that they can call for help – Guess what? – The phone is dead! – Of course it is!
- Now beyond desperate, protagonist looks out window – the RELENTLESS BASTARD is still coming! As a matter of fact, he’s right outside – up close and ugly
- Run upstairs – to get as far away from the ugly scary fiend as possible and … trip over dead people – I see dead people … and it scares the hell out of me and my readers
- To hell with this, I’m leaving this place!
- At 13:32 seconds (half way down page 33-34), in comes new strong character, adding a new dynamic to the string of suspense and conflict.
There you have it! Master this, and you’ll take the reader’s breath away every time, the first thirty-to-fifty pages. -Ace Antonio Hall
This lesson is part of Ace’s master writing workshop. (Note: Thirty Pages of pure terror equals one helluva start for a Horror/Science Fiction/Thriller. Now it’s your turn. Try these techniques in your own story! Push the envelope!!!)
A spring break trip on a cruise presents a new problem for Sylva. Passengers on the ship turn into flesh-eating zombies, unlike the harmless ones she’s used to raising from the dead. She and her friends are trapped on the Pacific Ocean, and their only escape comes from a guy Sylva had a crush on she thought was dead, named Brandon. Sylva doesn’t normally hold grudges, but when someone plays with her heart they have to pay. However, with the fate of the human race on the line, Brandon convinces Sylva to join him in a secret mission, yet she can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something.
It didn’t take long for her suspicions to hold true when it’s revealed that Brandon has been romantically involved with the very enemy he now wants her to destroy. This villainous female would rather kill Brandon than let Sylva have a chance to patch things up between them. Sylva is not the kind of girl to walk away from love without a fight, but with a strange virus threatening extinction of human life, she shoves her own feelings in her back pocket to face her greatest nightmare, and that nightmare starts with something that is eerily growing right inside of her own mind and body.
Be sure to grab some Sylva Slasher merchandise!
About the Author – Ace Antonio-Hall was first published in 1998 in an Adelphi University publication called Luna, with a short story titled “1936.” After earning his BFA degree from Long Island University, he taught middle-school English for over ten years.
He now lives in southern California, and was the Vice President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (2009-2011), and still holds an executive position in the organization which gives him a huge platform to market, sell, and promote his work through the many conferences, meetings and book fairs that GLAWS holds each month. He is also a member of LASFS and the International Thriller Writers.
His first novel, a coming-of-age YA zombie story, The Confessions of Sylva Slasher, was released April 2013 by Montag Press. It is part of a series with the next book Skateboard Xombies, expected for release early next year.
About the writing life, he says: “I harmlessly dream in Technicolor nightmares, watch a ton of horror flicks, eat more donuts than I should, and refuse to stop reading Spider-Man. All of those combined give me a sweet tooth to write about the suite life of zombies.”
Ace’s true labor of love is writing fast-paced fiction with character-driven plots featuring female protagonists. He continues to write short stories and build on the world of teen necromancer Sylva Slasher as she reigns as Princess of the Undead.
You can find out more about Ace, including his music and screen acting credits, and his involvement with the Hollywood Actors Academy as part-owner, Acting Coach and Creative Director, at the IMDb Biography web site.
Oh and there’s a giveaway or two!!
Giveaway # 1
- A Kindle copy of The Confessions of Sylva Slasher
- Giveaway is: International
Giveaway # 2
(Purchase of either the print or digital version of The Confessions of Sylva Slasher is Required)
- A Kindle Fire HD featuring 7″ display and Wi-Fi
- Giveaway is: US Only