There are a number of ways to celebrate the life and work of macabre American writer Edgar Allan Poe, born this day in Boston in 1809. Taking a cue from one of his poems, one might ponder a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore. Or, taking a cue from his actual, brief life, one might simply collapse and die in the streets of Baltimore while calling out cryptically for someone or something named “Reynolds.” Failing either of those options, fans are hereby advised to test-drive an Edgar Allan Poe short-story generator devised by The Huffington Post’s Maddie Crum. Using Crum’s Mad Libs-style template and entering in a few simple nouns and adjectives, the user will instantly be able to create some “ersatz Edgar” or “faux Poe.”
Once this onerous task is completed, the aspiring author can then move on to the second phase: crafting a title. Fortunately, Crum has a template for this as well. All that is required is an -ing verb, a color, and a body part. Behold:
As can be seen in the above examples, Crum’s generator really only provides the reader with a title and a first sentence. The term “story generator,” therefore, is rather a misnomer. But there is at least enough material here to jump-start the imagination of an aspiring author. Using this Poe simulacrum, a fan might take their first steps toward becoming a towering giant of Gothic literature, dying tragically at the age of 40, or both.