If You Were To Write a Lovecraftian Story What Would it be About?

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#21
I've written some. To be precise I've written a handful, not great in length, averaging about 3,000 words each but these are all rough drafts. Some of the things I've written were:

- A scene where the world is actually taken over finally by non-humans. I had the idea of a giant tear appearing in the sky above a metropolitan city out crawling a monstrous entity and its spawn which wipe out humanity. It's more of an atmospheric thing since it's literally just one scene.

- A backstory for a character I made up for Arkham Horror. I had the idea of making the character suffer dreams for a period and they abruptly stop (a nod to The Shadow Out of Time). He learns of the private university in Arkham and the books there which are kept so tightly controlled. He think that they could provide some clarity so he travels to Arkham... that's the justification for the character in the game!

- A scene in a chapel: set in the 1700s or so. A young poor male figure, boringly human, dreads his inevitable fate (basically living to 40, slaving for a lord, living as a serf, controlled by religious dogma) hears talk of brutal killings taking place in nearby towns. I made these gory intentionally. Eventually he needs to know what is causing it because it sounds like only something very inhuman could do. So he eventually goes to his towns chapel on restless night and discovers the congregation basically shredded and one lone figure remain, perfectly still, peaceful and human. Beautiful. Except for the eyes which show clearly that this human is... something. Vastly different.

- One sort of heavy prose piece, short too, kind of like What The Moon Brings. It's sort of a hint to the time when I finally settled my beliefs about the world. It's somewhat cynical but I included Azathoth as representing the sum of this realisation. Lovecraft said: The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. So I ran with the idea of Azathoth being the sum of all the contents.

Basically these 4 things are the most fleshed out things though in definite need of attention and polish.
 

BAYLOR

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#22
A time displacement causing the Great civilization at the south Pole to be sent forward millions of Years into the future, The 21st century. Bring the those being into contact with the modern world at the height of their power. Could be a story there.:)
 

StilLearning

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#23
A man awakes, paralysed, in an apparenmtly wrecked empty laboratory. He peices together who he is from clues in the wreckage and a voice controlled video diary. He eventually discovers he has been tricked into becoming the monstrous coporeal vessel for a cosmic entity, and the entities conscioussness is about to be transferred into his brain, wiping him out. He's been allowed to find all this out because, as he's its human 'father', the entity wanted him to fully appreciate exactly what had happened - sort of final salute, in it's way of looking at things..
 

w h pugmire esq

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#24
I would write a story that blends "The Picture in the House" with "Facts Concerning Arthur Jermyn and His Family". I wou'd begin with a rather wild bestial-looking woman taking refuse in a barn during a thunderstorm (she has been on a tour of New England on her bike). She climbs to an upper portion of the barn, a loft where, among bags of barley or some such, she falls asleep after having removed her top for comfort. She awakens with beams of sunlight, poking through places where the roof is decayed and patched, shining on her eyes and illuminating her breasts. The woman has a curious heritage, being the granddaughter of Sir Alfred Jermyn, her mother being the child that Sir Alfred deserted when he decided to travel with an itinerant American circus. This granddaughter (let us call her Alma) has the "Jermyn look", yet she is not ashamed of her ape-like countenance, or of her uncouth bestial nature. She exalts in it. Once the storm has passed, she is found in the barn by its owner, a timid fellow (we shall name him Jared), who invites her to share a meal in his house. In his living room, he has an odd collection of rare old books concerning magick, and there is a vile black stain on the living room ceiling that catches Alma's curiosity. They discuss magick, and Jared, in his growing excitement (of lust and lunacy), suffers a kind of epileptic fit, during which he chants the curious name of "Nyarlathotep"--and in response to his chanting, the black wetness on the ceiling begins to church and sparkle. Alma climbs to the second landing and finds the room with the blackness on the floor, a blackness that is a liquid that has spilled from out a kind of cauldron that has been used in nameless ritual. She begins to murmur the alien chant that Jarad, in his delirium, has murmured, and thus a midnight form rises, in smoke and electricity, from the churning void, a form that embraces the woman and ushers her into a realm of crawling chaos.
 

Deep Space Nina

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#25
In fact I wrote two Lovecraft-inspired stories and also published them in anthologies. One was about a zombie walk, where it turned out that it was in fact a meeting point for Dagon´s "children". The other one was about a woman who had been brought to a really odd convention abroad by a fanfund. It turned out that the reason was not as she was the SF-hyperfan they wanted to get to know, but as she is the chosen one to finish a book like the Necronomicon.
 

w h pugmire esq

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#27
My newest story continues my queer obsession with "Pickman's Model"--that "minor" tale that has been so amazingly influential. Lovecraft has given us such a unique world, a world of ideas and themes and characters that I cannot resist delving into week after week. The more I read his fiction, the more it beguiles and inspires me. This seems to go beyond mere "fan-boy" adoration, to something deeper--as deep as love, some soul-connection. The basis of my new tale seems rooted in fan-fiction mentality, for I have portray'd Lovecraft's title character in the first portion of my tale (although I name him "Peters"), despite the fact that ye other story in which I portray'd Pickman is, for me, a complete failure. I simply can't stop myself. It's as if I have such a deep longing for Lovecraft's invented realm that I need to expand aspects of it with my own fiction; and the more I read Lovecraft, the more ideas for such stories are hatch'd within my brain. S. T. has accepted "Pickman's Lazarus" for A MOUNTAIN WALKED II, & so, thus encourag'd, I shall continue to write such stuff.
 

J Riff

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#28
Aliens, in fact, and not supernatural beings. Ancient creatures, existing in a higher energy state, a telepathic state, a virtually non-dying existence... HPL was writing hard SF about real entities. So there. They are out there to this day, prove they aren't. )
Here on mundane Earth, 2016, however - I struggle to continue writing the adventures of Phillip Ashton, weird-fiction afficianado, who manages to connect, unwillingly and unwittingly, to the other side, the dimension next door, where Lovecraftian-like activity is going on apace. The trick seems to be keeping it all away from modern pooh-poohing society, so an apartment full of books is all the reader gets as far as an EarthBase. Stay tuned. * )
 

Extollager

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#29
Mine would be about 30,000 words, ideally. That gives you time to develop plenty of atmosphere, etc. I'd want to deploy plenty of authentic antiquarian detail and develop a strong sense of place, since I enjoy that in "The Whisperer in Darkness" etc. I think much of the imaginative appeal of Lovecraft isn't simple the rigmarole of weird cults etc. but his commitment to place and local history. I'd rather read a weird tale that develops this kind of thing but has a "weakish" plot idea than a story with a cool twist on the "Mythos" but a perfunctory sense of setting.
 

Extollager

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#30
I listened to David McCallum's reading of "The Haunter of the Dark." It's as if Lovecraft set himself to write a "Lovecraftian" story. A weird horror thumps around inside a deserted building, emitting a revolting stench -- that's been done before. The old church has a library including the Necronomicon and the other well-known tomes; and the story hardly needs them -- indeed the narrator wonders why they are still there, as the reader may be for other reasons. But having grinned and shaken my head over these things, I will say that I enjoyed the evocation of Blake's cross-town view of Federal Hill at dusk, etc. That's my favorite stuff in the story. I think Lovecraft might have been more interested in that material than in some of the material more essential to the plot.

And so that bears up a point I was starting to make in my previous message. A really good "Lovecraftian" story likely should evoke a real-world place or region that the author loves and knows. If you aspire to write a really good Lovecraftian story, maybe forget for a while about eldritch horrors and unspeakable tomes and learn about the place where you live or some place you know well. Learn about its history, learn about its weather, its trees, its waters, about places where one geo-form meets another, e.g. where glacial till gives way to clay. Learn about its architecture and why the older houses were built the way they are, and how they were built. What materials were brought it, what building materials were local? What did people do? Where did they come from and how long have they been there and why did they settle there? What do the local place-names tell about the place? What calamities have occurred in the area -- three-day blizzards? oil refinery explosions? illnesses related to lack of drainage? Who were the more learned people and what did they do? How short are the winter days and how long are the summer days? You might find that setting your story back 3/4 of a century or so is conducive to plotting and atmosphere. Can you go to the library and spend time browsing through old city directories? I have a few of these for places from my life, and it's remarkable how evocative they can be of bygone work-ways and so on. How about browsing old newspapers? Perhaps your newspapers are indexed. Can you think of index headings that might lead you to interesting local color and nuggets of incident that could be incorporated into a plot?
Directories man.JPG
By the way, I'll bet he'd have been interested in the Images of America series... or might have helped to write one if they'd been around in his time:

Images of America

I'm just throwing out questions to help readers see what I'm getting at. Chuckle if you like -- I'm writing with tongue in cheek -- and yet I'll bet that Lovecraft could have answered most of those questions, and a great many more, about the places he wrote about, allowing of course that his stories are imaginative works and he invented his locales. I think J. D. mentioned a while ago that HPL owned quite a collection of old almanacs. I'd like to know more about them. I suspect they were repositories of the kind of local or regional information that I'm yammering on about.

PS: I'm well aware that Lovecraft hadn't been to Australia or Antarctica, the settings of two of his most impressive stories. There's also a place for immersing oneself in material about a locale one wants to use but doesn't know firsthand. Indeed, one might find one comes up with a story one never would have conceived otherwise if one reads nonfiction (as well as fiction perhaps) set in such and such a place.
If you want to write Lovecraftian stories, I'm suggesting (for what it may be worth) that you should consider trying to "think like Lovecraft" in ways that go beyond the ones of describing bizarre monsters and expounding a nihilist philosophy. I get the sense that many of us who enjoyed HPL as younger readers tried writing "Lovecraftian" stories back then -- when we didn't know a whole lot other than stories by Lovecraft and other weird fiction, etc. It would be regrettable if we couldn't do a lot better now. (This is a generalization -- I'm not thinking of particular writers.)
 
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Extollager

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#31
A good idea might be to start the story with something productive of anxiety but with an obvious natural explanation. I've been living in North Dakota for many years now. With our level terrain and (in places) sparseness of trees, we have big skies.

It could be a good move early in a story (not necessarily in the first paragraph, but once the story really gets going) to deal with some sky phenomena. For example, a clear, cold sky of winter could begin to become hazy as a weather system moves in with moisture, and winds pick up. There's hardly anybody else on the road -- which is nothing unusual on the country roads around here. Snow starts to fly and visibility is increasingly reduced. One could gradually raise tension this way. I suppose one could introduce peculiar optic and/or aural phenomena. One wouldn't necessarily have to go right from this into some weird stuff; in a longish story, one might ease the reader's anxiety a bit by having the skies clear, and then move on to the next stage.

Something like this would be "Lovecraftian," it seems to me, but could also emerge from a real sense of place and history, etc. and not just from the Lovecraft one has assimilated.

If this sounds at all interesting to anyone, would you care to say something about scenarios you might develop? Am I urging this local/regional aspect too much do you think?

You sure see a lot of abandoned houses around here. Farmers would build a new one and not pay or take time and effort to tear down the old one.

 

Extollager

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#32
Just thinking a little more about how one might proceed... What do you know about the people in your region? Who were they, where did they come from, etc.? Lovecraft often linked his terrors to some sort of ethnic background (I'm not thinking specifically of his racism, but rather of less offensive matters). What implications for a story might you find there?


To continue with my North Dakota example. Many of the people in my immediate part of the state not only are descended from Norwegians, but from Norwegians from particular parts of Norway. Other areas around here had lots of immigrants from Germany. There don't seem to have been many resident Native people in the area, though there are village remains several hours' drive west of here. One possibility that occurs to me would be to have my protagonist asking questions of some sort or another, and one or some of the people he talks with have roots among indigenous people in the area -- and what transpires is that they detected something amiss in the immigrants who came here. Who might these be? Well, could it transpire that there's an area which was settled by people whose descendants came from an unwholesome part of the old country and brought certain secrets with them?

Couple more ideas. There are a great many remote farmsteads etc. around here, which you would have to get to by taking minimally marked rural roads paved with gravel, etc. Very easy to get lost. The remoteness is a North Dakota "natural resource" if you like. Could one write a story about certain persons who were "rounded up" and kept in some isolated area here -- not necessarily former inhabitants of Innsmouth! (But if you were looking to deal with them, back in the Twenties, you might see benefits to isolating them in the most landlocked part of the US...)

During the Cold War, North Dakota had more than an "average" share of nuclear missile sites. Now, does one want to do some research and thinking around about some kind of angle there?

I'm not saying these ideas are great, but I'm trying to hint at ways one might develop "Lovecraftian" story ideas that owed something to HPL's profound interest in certain regions. All that I have given so far are pretty basic ones. But what about delving into local and regional history? Who knows what triggers I (or you) might find for some ideas?

Enough from me for a while... Thoughts?
 

Extollager

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#34
But is it the "universe" that affects us in some of his best writing? Isn't it often mostly the evocation of a particular locale or scene? And so people want to go to Providence and see the "shunned house," and so on. I'm saying that, if I wanted to write a "Lovecraftian" story, I likely would try to avoke a strange mood in connection with a particular place. There might be an attempt at making a sense of some strange dimension impinging on it, but the location would matter. If someone wants to be "Lovecraftian" then maybe he or she would be well advised not to try to copy the verbal mannerisms of HPL but to pick up on his deep interest in places he knew.
 
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