Excerpt from The Gorelets Omnibus [Hardcover Edition] by Michael Arnzen (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2012).

"Instigation" is one of the bonus materials only available in the Hardcover edition, as part of a "Horror Poetry Writing Workshop." What follows is only a small sample.

Twisted Prompts For Sicko Writers (2001-2010)
I usually include three or four of these “prompts” in each issue of The Goreletter, and I love to report when readers publish something inspired by them. I started doing this because I used to run a column in Hellnotes newsletter—which many writers of the genre were subscribed to, and I always had fun coming up with ways in the classroom for my students to write horror stories, too. So here are most of them. While I originally had in mind that writers might use these for fiction writing or journaling, don’t let that stop you from using them to brainstorm for some dark poetry, if that’s your bag. There are a LOT of prompts here. I recommend you just close your eyes and randomly drop your finger on the page. Or photocopy these pages, cut out the prompts in strips of paper, and grab one randomly from a hat. Or ask a friend to randomly recite one to you as a challenge. And, as with all such things, be as creative as you wanna be. Use the prompt in an altogether different context altogether. Go ahead and do the exact opposite of what these ask you to. Or take them literally, to the extreme and absurd. Or fiddle with the language until it is entirely something new.

230 Gorelets Omnibus

like?) Start writing and see where it takes you. Write from the point of view of fire as it burns a building down. Give it a motive. You are a new doctor at a bizarre institution. You’ve been assigned to work “The Ward of Failed Suicides.” Describe your first day. Write a necrophiliac’s love song. Narrate a gory feasting from the point of view of a flock of vultures (e.g., “We peck...”). Be sure to appeal to all five senses. A serial killer has been removing the tongues of his victims. What does he do with them? Be clever, but allow the writing process to generate a motive. Torture a popular cartoon character or personae from children’s television. Describe a seven course meal that gets increasingly disgusting with each new entree. Begin a new piece by describing the decor of a monstrosity’s “love pad.” What if—via genetic mutation—an organic “optical illusion” was created? Describe an original one. Make it do something nasty to someone else. Have fun with carpentry accidents. Script a conversation with your own evil twin. Your character is trapped in an amusement park ride that won’t stop. In fact, the mechanics seem to be speeding up! Describe the escape attempt. (Alternatively, write this from the viewpoint of a parent whose child is trapped in such a situation). Write about a magic mirror of some kind, set in a banal location (like a roadside rest stop or the lobby of a fast food restaurant). Describe the bottom of the sea—the very bottom—that murky place where no human has ever been. Work creatively with a guillotine. Reveal an offbeat request during the reading of a will. While checking her breast for lumps, a woman discovers something far worse. What? Have a modern day character stumble upon a strange secret passageway in an distinctly modern space.

Michael A. Arnzen 231

Draft a humorous instruction manual for a monster. (e.g., “How to be Cthulhu”, “Neck-biting for Dummies”) Write about a dismembered foot. Steal an offbeat character name from a piece of spam e-mail. Now put that imaginary person through hell. Write about a holy—or unholy—relic that has fallen into the hands of a person who doesn’t realize what they have. Burst someone’s bubble, big time. Write about a character who mistakes a disembodied intercom voice (e.g., “attention S-mart shoppers”; “please step away from the doors”) for the sinister command of a ghost or an inexplicable message from god. Describe a morgue from the point of view of a blind woman. Whether following the tradition of Jeff Foxworthy or not, make a list of phrases that complete the phrase, “You know you’re a zombie when....” A killer is holding a conversation with his (or her) weapon of choice in a busy public setting. What’s on their minds? Script the dialogue. Write the diary entry of a madman; begin by detailing some event (whether personal or in the news) that actually occurred in your life today. Even if you actually went insane, fictionalize it. Pick a monster, any monster. Now look it up in the dictionary. What is the original spelling of it? What variations are based on it? What words sound and look like it? Your premise for a story or poem: A vampire suddenly sees himself in the mirror for the very first time. And it scares him. Because....you do the rest. Hitchcock’s famous shower scene from Psycho never actually shows the blade penetrating flesh. Emulate this: write a highly disturbing scene without actually showing gore. If this is too difficult for you gorehounds, try to use the viewpoint of a blind killer. It’s common knowledge that serial killers often torture pets or insects in their youth. Write a scene where an animal tortures such a kid, instead. Fun with Onomatopoeia: How many weapons (or potential weapons) can you list that sound like what they are intended to do? (silly example: Skil Drill). Write a poem or experimental prose piece based on this list. Or a story about a poetic killer.

For more instigation visit http://www.gorelets.com/