Monthly Archives: May 2011

Necessary Excess

Stephen King recommended that after writing the first draft of your story, you should then cut out at least 10% during the initial editing process. This is to deal with the word bloat issues that most writers have. Usually, folks have a tendency to write way more than is necessary; too much dialog, too much description, just too many words.

Luckily for me, I don’t have this problem. No matter what my problems are as a writer, you’ll never hear someone say my stories are too long. Instead, everything I write reads like its been stricken with anemia. If I describe a character to you, you’ll know his or her gender and that’s about it. Want to know if he’s tall or ugly or robust or misshapen and horrible? Too bad! Use your imagination and fill in the blanks yourself, I’m busy moving onto the next thing.

Interested in the backstory behind that shadowy mysterious figure? Suck it. Backstory is for pansies. We’ve got frontstory to deal with and I don’t have time for explaining the whys and hows of things. The story needs to get told and it needs to get told in under 3,000 words. Anything else and I’m asleep.

Unfortunately, not everyone shares my beliefs with regard to how a story should be told (as quickly as humanly possible). I need to learn how to embellish and elaborate on my tales of horror and do so without just vomiting up superlative, excessive, redundant and purple prose.

This is long enough.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics

Happy May 21st!

In light of the impending End of Days, I’ve decided to put together a little primer for all of my readers. Enjoy!

Hello and welcome to The Unbeliever’s Guide to the End of Days! Since you’re reading this, I can only assume that the Apocalypse is rapidly approaching and you’re feeling a bit unprepared for the End of All Things. It’s quite all right to feel nervous. Most people are feeling a little uncertain in these dark times and it’s quite natural to be apprehensive as the Day of Judgment looms ever closer.

Since it’s going to be a hectic time for all involved and the Lord of Hosts will be too busy to answer everyone’s questions about their fates, I have prepared this guide for all unbelievers so that they know what to expect once the skies begin to rain blood and the eternal fires of damnation come roaring up from Hell below.

Now, this is not meant to be a comprehensive guide and this will not fully prepare you for what is to come, but it will help ease you into this often chaotic and disturbing transitional period between Ages. I’ll answer such questions as:

  • “When does the End of the World start?”
  • “Should I convert to Christianity?”
  • “What are my chances of survival?”
  • “Will it hurt?”
    And of course,
  • “Will there be zombies?”

By the end of this pamphlet, you should have a better understanding of why the Christian God wants us all to burn for eternity and how best to ready yourself for The End of All that Is and Ever Was.

“When will the world end?”

It’s important to note that the Apocalypse is only starting on May 21st. After all, Rome didn’t fall in a day and neither will the world. We will experience a great deal of worldly torment before everything goes completely kablooey. The End will come on October 21st. May 21st is just the Beginning of the End. So, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to finish that book you just started reading and those socks you just started knitting.

May 21st is when the Rapture will take place, along with earthquakes and the like. It is merely the start of the horrors that will befall you and everyone else who was not Raptured away by God’s righteous hand

“What is the Rapture?”

Some Christians believe that when the End of the World takes place, God will whisk away all true believers before the truly awful stuff begins to happen. It’s their reward for…something. I’m not entirely sure who gets Raptured and who stays. Perhaps God works on a point system and Christians earn points throughout their lives (Prayers before Bedtime: 5 Points, Convert a Heathen: 500 Points). If a Christian earns enough points, Rapture; if not, Hellfire and Eternal Damnation.

The only clear thing is that YOU won’t be Raptured and you’ll be stuck cleaning up the mess that they leave when they’re summoned up to the Unending Glory of Heaven. They’ll be leaving behind their pants, dogs and houses filled with valuables. Make use of these resources! They won’t need them anymore and you’ll need creature comforts when the seas turn to blood.

It’s interesting to note that the Rapture is not mentioned in The Book of Revelation, at least, not in the same way that Christians talk about it. There IS talk of 144,000 descendants of the Tribes of Israel being marked with seals so they’re not harmed during the Apocalypse, but that doesn’t sound like what modern day Christians talk about when they mention the Rapture, which is handfuls of Christians being lifted bodily off the planet.

 “So why May 21st?”

For thousands of years, people have tried to determine when the End would arrive. Obviously the world was going to end, but it would be nice to know the exact date and time. Religious scholars pored over texts, trying to discern some hidden message behind the words that could let them know the day Judgment would come.

Time and again, they have claimed to hit upon the right combination of secret symbols, mysterious numbers and divine inspiration that lets them unlock the secrets of the Bible. They proudly released their works on the public and announced the time the End will come, right down to the minute. To date, they’ve been wrong every single time and the World has refused to submit to the brilliance of these scholars.

But then came along Harold Camping. He took up the gauntlet that so many others had fumbled in failure. He crunched the numbers and worked up his own formulas and determined the day the world would end: September 1994.

Undaunted, he began again and has come back with a new date: May 21st 2011 is the day that it will all start. The formula he used is a bit complicated and reciting it will put the layperson into a stupor from which they would never recover. Suffice it to say that real math was used and there is no doubt that he is correct this time. Sure, Apocalyptic scholars have gotten it wrong dozens, if not hundreds, of times before, but they were probably using the wrong Bible and bad math before. This time it’s for real.

“What can I expect during the Apocalypse?”

While there isn’t a specific time mentioned for when it will all begin, there will be a few key indicators that it’s about to get Biblical up in here. If you start to notice piles of clothes scattered around with nobody inside them you’re either the victim of a prank or God and His angels has scooped up all the Believers so that they’ll be safe from harm.

Then the moon will turn a blood-red color and the sun will become as black as sackcloth. So there will definitely be strong indicators that there is something afoot. However, a schizophrenic sky and empty clothes are not the worst thing you’ll encounter.

The Book of Revelation is fairly graphic about what is to come. There will be beasts running rampant, there will be angels pouring cups into oceans and seals will be broken. It’s important to remember to STAY CALM. Panicking will only make things worse for the rest of us. After all, the last thing we need is someone shrilly screaming because they saw the Beast with Seven Heads devouring up the oceans. Don’t be THAT person. Be the person who has quietly submitted to their fate in the corner, not bothering anyone.

For much of the End of Days, you’ll be tortured, burned, earthquaked, plagued and tortured some more. Revelation also states that though you’ll long for death, death will run away from you. But do not despair, for that’s only for five months.

Then comes Judgment Day and the zombies.

“Whoa, there’ll be zombies?”

Well, not zombies as you conceive of them. After all the earthquakes, plagues, and Satan, God wants to judge everyone to determine if they’re worthy for eternal life in Paradise. And He wants to judge EVERYONE, living and dead.

So after five months of torment on Earth (which will be October 21st), He’ll call everyone who has ever existed to be judged. While this might, at first, seem like the perfect recipe for the zombie-pocalypse, the dead have not been called to wreak havoc. Instead, everyone will gather into an orderly line and wait while an angel looks up your name in the Book of Life. Instead of a nightmarish landscape where you run around shooting zombies while just trying to survive, it’s a lot more like jury duty. Since there have been about 106 billion people since the beginning of history, it’s going to take a while to get to you. So bring something to read!

If it turns out you’re not in the Book of Life (which you won’t be or you wouldn’t be around to read this), God casts you into the Lake of Fire.

“That sounds like that would hurt. Is the lake of fire painful?”

Oh yes, but don’t worry; after you’re burned away, you’re gone for good, your consciousness eradicated. God is not such a fan of the appeals process. At which point, your part in the End of the World has come to its conclusion.

Thank you for reading this primer and I hope May 21st finds you Raptured. Otherwise, keep this close I guess.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Thinking and Pondering: Science, History, Analysis and Over-Think