Category Archives: About my work

How did my work come to light?

Ideas and the life of them

Having lots of story ideas is an author’s dream, well I guess I have the dream creative life then, because I have more ideas than I can handle!

But it is not nice to be like this, having more ideas than I can reasonably write!  How do I manage being like this?  I have noticed there is not much literature on people who are overloaded with ideas, but there is plenty literature on how to try and get them! 

For me personally, I have learned that I can’t write enough to get every idea down on paper, even writing more than one paragraph about the idea is a challenge at times! 

How I manage the best ideas;

I keep a bullet point journal about the general ideas; usually just one sentence per idea as a trigger to remembering, so that later on in the day, usually just before I go to sleep, I write a further paragraph or two in an ideas folder.

I have to say, I am often brutal with my ideas, ideas come and go quite quickly for me and not all of them are worthy of note!  Weirdly enough most of the ideas come when I am on the toilet, in the bath or at a busy café!

I have ideas that are not even for my favourite genres to write, many times I discard ideas because I feel that their plots are too complicated for me or requires much more research than I am willing to do on a new subject I know nothing about!  Believe me, I am not in any need for further research material, I read mostly non-fiction these days as it is!

This past week alone I have had six entirely new ideas come and so far, only two have survived further summaries.  Those two were of the genre I write, three of the others were not of my genre and one other was way too technological – as we all know technology is not my strong point!

The ideas that remained were another dragon story and a comedy vampire story. 

The ideas I discarded were an Italian romance story, a story based on the life of a rabbit, a story that seemed too similar to the plot of a recent book review I watched on YouTube and the complicated story was a space opera.

You can’t hoard all these ideas if you are sure you are not going to write them!

I firmly believe in Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea in Big Magic; ideas are alive, they have souls, they are like ghosts of stories that want to exist, they flow from person to person seeing who’d write them and if they decide not to write them, they flow onto people they know who might.

This doesn’t mean that a person steals another person’s idea; most of the time people don’t even know that those ideas are in people’s heads – because a lot of creative people are closely guarded by what they merely think about.  Especially if they do not know that they are not going use those ideas. 

But it is strange how many times a person has claimed that a story their friend has wrote, was weirdly an idea that they had had for a long time but didn’t take the plunge.  I too, have found this! 

In fact the more creative friends I make, the more ideas I seem to get and it is not because of a feedback of ideas they talk about (because most of them don’t), it is usually about the ones they don’t talk about!  Elizabeth Gilbert explains this phenomenon in Big Magic, if you haven’t read the book I strongly recommend it!

Because of this book, I have learned not to get so uppity and upset when people write things I wanted to write, but didn’t – it’s not copyright theft if they really genuinely didn’t know that you thought of it first – the ideas just got fed up waiting on you as an agent for their life!

However in the past I have got upset over this, purely because ideas were shared with trusted members of the family and they were literally sold to the highest bidder – usually for a crate of wine or a new computer and then I get to see my books on film after all a couple of years later.  Missing out all of the time, Bitter?  Of course, because it happened a lot through that relative!  Some of those ideas were actually near the point of being sent to agents, it was the last draft when I discovered the damage that happened yet again.

Thankfully those people are out of my life, but unfortunately it has made me afraid to share too much with anyone.  I say only vaguely what my stories are about, but I am not inclined to go to writers clubs anymore, in case strangers do the same thing.  I can’t lose my hard work again and again, it is soul destroying!

My ideas folder is thicker than a dictionary. 

I get ideas flooding me at intervals that happen as frequent as every six months on average, they come for two or three weeks completely disrupting my life like some violent storm and they can come at first in around five the first week and blow up to be as many as twenty near the end of their flow, generally totalling around forty to fifty ideas by the end of the event. 

How many of those ideas do I actually write? 

I write towards approximately six to ten stories a season, but finish them entirely, usually not… I tend to pause for a year or two at chapter seventeen; there is something about chapter seventeen that seems to do that to me.  Because my pauses are lengthy, most stories take an average of three years to write, because pauses like that are necessary for me. 

There was one very rare occasion, I think it was 2017 – 2018 NaNoWriMo, I can’t remember which, where I was approximately five chapters away from finishing a novel in a month, that for me, was record timing!

It is a habit I am trying to get into, have been trying to get into since 2016.  I want to write all of my novels in one month, they need life.

I feel like some sort of literary Dr Frankenstein, these books must have life, life you hear!  LIFE!

I haven’t recounted my unfinished works since 2017, back then my unfinished works were seventy six with a further two hundred un-started, synopsis stage other works.

At present there are four near to finished works and two finished works that are pending an extensive review and potential rewrite. 

I am far more organised than I used to be and funnily enough, I believe that I am becoming a faster writer when I do write. 

I haven’t written much lately because I am beginning to get apathetic about everything regarding life as there are some serious health problems cropping up where I am unsure of my future at present.

I am determined to do NaNoWriMo this year for my sanities sake, but I can’t tell what will happen until those emergency hospital appointments are done and dusted and another health problem is confirmed or denied… hopefully denied, or else, well… let’s just say; I won’t have much of a career in writing if it’s confirmed.

Happy reading everyone!

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Should I? Shan’t I?

In the bath the other day I had a really funny idea for a new story, but then I had second thoughts because if I become known for say…. Sagas about Vampires, would then making an unconnected single book with vampires done on a purely comical stance, be considered too confusing for my potential fan base?

Or, when doing a more comedic book, should I use an alternative pen name?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

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To pants or not to pants that is the question…

“I don’t think I really want to wait for NaNoWriMo to start this new story idea, but would it be considered cheating if I started this early?”

This was posted on my twitter @CreativeTardy yesterday and I can only imagine my friends sitting there staring at their screens in disbelief shouting “oh, for fucks sake, just start, will you!”

Well, you see, I have never been one for breaking the rules… well… certain rules.

“Bloody Hell, what rules?  Fuck rules! Just get on with it, creativity has no blooming rules”! 

OK, tone down the language please.  No these are not real actual replies on twitter… but, I do know there are friends who talk like this to me from time to time in private.

I frustrate them no end, I can see that it takes a lot for the poor dears not to slap me one when I get like this!

 Usually I plan my stories a little.  I have certain ideas about what I would like to include in the story and the types of characters even if I have no idea of the direction of the book, I usually have some sort of idea about some of the future of the story before I write it – sometimes I don’t know how the stories end, sometimes I don’t know the middle but I know its beginning and end.  I don’t usually pants it, as the NaNoWriMo vernacular goes, I am or was a planner.

I am thinking this new story idea called Dragon 2 will be totally and completely pantsed, but I am fighting against it at the same time.

I am, in my personal life, a little bit of a control freak – I don’t like micromanaging people, I am not that type of control freak, but I like things organised and simplified in my own personal life and I don’t like surprises!  I am prone to panic attacks when surprises jump out at me, my brother often described me to his friends as the “rabbit in headlights”.  I am the sort of annoying person who always asks for reassurance and a reminder of what to expect at certain events and so on and Paul has a lot of patience with me as he tells me for the fifth time that day that it will assuredly be such and such.  I am only like this in certain things, not everything.  I am not constantly like this throughout my life, just things that could potentially… terrify me. 

Funnily enough, I am not somebody who suffers from stage fright or being surrounded by large groups of people, especially people I know even a little bit.  I am not like that.  I am more likely to be jittery around small circles of people I hardly know or never met and I am more likely to be this way around my birthday, Christmas, parties hosted by other people I don’t know well or anything regarding health… occasionally I can be like this when food shopping, I don’t like being around small groups of strangers alone, at all.

Never really understood why – but Paul reckons it has a lot to do with things that have happened in my past with my mother.  My mother is usually antagonistic with strangers especially if she feels there are no witnesses to dispute what happened!  She often dragged me along with her for whatever ride she hoped to have from the event she caused.

I like to be organised – artist friends are astounded at how neat my areas are when they used to visit, how as I painted I would wipe up spills and go back and forth from the kitchen cleaning the water jars I used as I did my work.

Reader friends who note my bookshelves look twice at my shelves and cannot believe that my books are in genre and alphabetical order and that I had at the time eleven bookcases around the house, now I have twelve.

I also have around thirty box files all with different genre story ideas, poems, research files etc., those are not in order at the moment because I am struggling for space and that is damaging my mental health no end, the torment knowing that those are not in order when everything else is – it makes my writing work very hard!

They mostly reside on the upstairs landing balancing on our very wide bannister at the top, that acts like a half wall and guests who use our bathroom sometimes sheepishly quiz us on why there is a box marked vampires and another marked dragons by the bathroom door?

One such visitor joked that they thought perhaps I was some kind of cryptozoologist as a secret life.

No, but it would be interesting…

I know I was a pantser before 2006, but I was told that planning is key, strangely enough my writing habits have been declining slowly ever since! So I became a planner, I know being a pantser should be as easy as it was in the past, but I don’t really know anymore.

Anyway, back to the NaNoWriMo story – I would like to start in a few days’ time, but at the moment I am trying to decide whether I should plan the characters and some of the scenes now or let it flow naturally?

Paul suggests naturally – but I have never worked that way before… I have had a lot of dreams regarding this book; a lot of the dreams suggest it will be very successful if only…

Happy reading!

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Corrupted camera files?

Frustrated that the idea to share everyday my Inktober pictures is cancelled simply because of two things, my camera keeps corrupting the files as it downloads to the laptop and therefore I can’t share those pictures and secondly, some of the pictures are actually practises for characters I am working on, so wouldn’t share them.

I am frustrated about the ones I want to share being corrupted because I am not technologically minded enough to figure out how to solve the problem, but also because I really wanted to share with you my progress in making vintage style Christmas art.

I am useless currently but I am improving.

Happy reading!

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NaNoWriMo fresh idea

I had planned to write towards the giant story 1 for NaNoWriMo but something has occurred in my mind to change that; Instead I have decided to write an a new idea with a remastered old idea combined to make a very different story, which will be called Dragon story 2.

In the old story I wrote as a short story around fifteen years ago, a young farm girl finds a baby flying unicorn and flies off into the clouds into a new magical world at night.  This time it is not going to be a flying unicorn, the story will still exist in how I originally wrote it untouched/undeleted; but this time the farm girl will find a baby dragon and an entirely different story takes place, where the girl this time will not be adventuring alone!

This will be a family fantasy, whether or not there will be funny moments in this story or not, remains to be seen at the present time.  I am in planning mode right now and intend to fully write this story throughout NaNoWriMo simply because it’s very fresh and I do better with fresh new projects than old stale ones.

When doing NaNoWriMo, I force myself to forget all other projects except for the one I am counting words towards for the event. I become completely absorbed in that story alone, so it is vital I choose correctly!

Happy Reading!

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Demonic Orchestra

I miss composing music, but there is no space to set up my equipment amongst other things – I lost Cubase around ten years ago and I can’t afford to replace it.  I have learned in the past two years how to read music, but I am still not au fait with it to the point of any real confidence. 

In the past few weeks I have wanted to compose music more than anything because my mind is literally torturing me with tunes and songs that need to be made – particularly instrumental music.

It’s getting very loud in my mind and there is nothing I can do about it right now.

I love instrumentals and the kind of music that is in my head is tango music, circus waltzes and similar sounds to my biggest musical inspirations Nox Arcana and B&B Project!

I did do composition for rock music and alternative too, but it is mostly classical or instrumental for me really.

I have four tunes that keep repeating themselves in my head and they do so at length and they get excessively loud at times and give me really bad headaches because I am ignoring them.  It is exhausting to hear it, it tires me out and it comes to me mostly when I am in bed trying to get to sleep – that’s when it is their loudest!

What is even more annoying is the visuals I get when this happens – I don’t mean real visuals, nothing like hallucinations or anything like that, no – what I mean is, the scenery in which the music wants to be played.  The music seems to demand being played in my stories, as parts of movies or something, it shows me what must happen for the perfect habitat for my music to reside.

I sometimes wonder if I am crazy…

“A perfect habitat for my music to reside”, that’s crazy talk right?

My compositions are like living breathing demons, well, if you heard the music and saw the imagery, you’d wonder if they were demons too…

The music that wants to be born in recent weeks sound like Halloween background music for Halloween waltzes or tangoes… it’s not something you’d usually hear at say The BBC Proms.  Instruments such as the accordion, bandura and violin lead the music here. 

Some of the music sound like a demonic nursery lullabies or music boxes, instruments such as glockenspiels, glass harps and glass bells lead the orchestra.  This tune in particular has decided to set its scene in my horror story which you’ll know as boat 1, this story is about ghost children.

I need to compose again, I need these tunes to be heard, but it’s difficult right now.  So I guess, I will let the demonic orchestra from Hell send me mad then?

It perhaps would be fun to do collaboration with other horror writers about a musician being sent mad by demonic music that he must compose; a sort of musical Arabian nights meets the devil! 

Stop, no more ideas brain, please, I am drowning in ideas!

Maybe this is the devil’s idea for a certain writer? 

Happy reading!

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo

For the past two weeks I am getting used to typing on my laptop on my adjustable table, it is slower than I would usually be however, but it is at least getting things done again.

Paul is not coping very well with shingles, so the move around of the rooms won’t be happening for a few weeks.  He has said come what may by my Birthday, which is the 3rd October, he had hoped to have done the living room at least – but I am not happy that he wants to try and push himself to do that, when he can barely do basic other things.

I may allow him to move things around his own birthday, if he is better, which is six weeks later – the 11th November.

I am planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I may have to tolerate doing most of it on the laptop or by hand.

I have new ideas, which I really didn’t need, but they are dominating my thoughts at a huge scale lately. A subject too, which I ordinarily wouldn’t do… aliens.

The alien story is a comedy and it will be focused as such, as I have said before, I am trying to get out of my comfort zone and embrace the humour that’s within me.

This alien story has now made a total work in process of eleven stories, which will be called these things when referring to them on my blog…

Alien story

Giant story 1

Balloon story

Vampire story 1

Dragon story 1

Cat story

Boat story 1

Ship story 1

Historical fantasy 1

Warrior 1

Apocalypse 1

There are only four stories though that is being worked on more than the others.  Why did I add 1 to the story names?  Because in actuality I have ideas which far exceed the number eleven and many of them have those things as a main theme or character.  I sometimes think that I should name the stories for you; the name of the main character, but that won’t tell you much on the potential theme.

My main passions from the above are the Dragon story 1 – Apocalypse 1 – Warrior 1 and Vampire story 1.

Apocalypse 1 is the main reason for my religious studies. 

Warrior 1 makes me nervous to write when Henry is around because it is based on a character that does wrestling for a living in a war torn kind of world and he often wants to chip in and have more fight scenes than I can cope with!  He also doesn’t like the fact that the main character is female because of course; this story must be based on Henry!  But no, I don’t want to do that.

Dragon story 1 is currently going through its approximate thirtieth draft since it was first thought of in 2003!  Also around twenty original characters have been scrapped since the start of the project entirely and the whole story line has been completely remastered at least six times. 

In this current draft I have completed seventeen chapters and I am near the climax of the story, which I am sort of happy with so far, but the first three chapters may well get remastered again to suit the rest.

Vampire story 1 is the oldest project I have ever had!  This has only been remastered three times and I am struggling to decide if some major cultural aspect is doable or not and have been thinking for the first time in my history as a writer, in looking for beta readers… but not yet!  This idea has been with me since the 90s!

Which story will be the one I choose to focus on in NaNoWriMo this year?  Potentially Giant 1, this story has never got out of the extensive planning stage, so it would be good to give it a proper first draft.  As I am now embracing humour, this will be a fantasy comedy and to be honest, the humour will work well with the landscapes planned.  My main problem with the story is, should I write specifically for everyone and be family friendly?  Or should I have a no holds barred attitude on it? 

Happy reading and let me know your thoughts!

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Simplifying my art makes me happier

Yesterday I discussed how I am struggling with what comes to me naturally and what I really wanted to do in my writing; How I wanted to be a serious writer of adult fantasy and horror, but instead I am naturally drawn to corny humour, vampires and comedy fantasy as a natural lean to in my actual first draft writings.

Today I am focusing on the fact that I wanted to be a realist artist, who paints mostly portraits of my characters and some impressionistic landscapes and watercolours, but instead, I am naturally drawn to creating cartoonish characters suitable for children illustration or satire comics.

Increasingly a few of my writing and art ideas are becoming more and more comic ideas, not just funny, but comic as a whole, including the art I do.

My colour palletes are specific and consistent, my doodles are too and I am finding that comedy is punching its way through my art too!

I am creating funny creatures and doodling faces into random splatters and blobs and creating unique characters; with Henry’s help, we have been deciding names and personalities for the beings and progressively Henry is encouraging me to make stories of them.

This is something I have fought against in a professional way and kept to only doing this as a hobby with Henry – but more and more, I am starting to become more inclined in doing art consistently, when I do this, than when I do what I feel I am supposed to be doing!

I have noticed also that I am simplifying my art increasingly instead of refining it to become more detailed and realistic, to such an extent that it is very suitable for many children’s novels.  My style is looking similar to artists such as Quentin Blake, Katie Risor, Dr Suess and the likes.

Yet my aim was to be more detailed and to eventually brave steampunk and to perhaps be of a similar style to, Brian Froud, H.R Giger and Colleen Doran eventually, though my colour palette is very different.  I tend to like pastel primaries or as I call them, candy colours, or my darker palette which concentrates mostly on black, purples, orange and gold.

As I am fighting against my natural inclinations to develop a wanted style, I am finding that I am burning myself out in both art and writing and therefore becoming grossly unproductive.

When I ignore what I really want to become and focus on who I really am, I tend to do more and feel happier in myself doing those things.

But I do worry a lot about how simplistic my art is – I mean, other than children who would really be interested in this kind of art?

Something I did for inktober a couple of years back! See the injected humour… couldn’t help myself!
Pictures originally made to cheer Henry up after a bad day, being bullied at school. But instead, Henry is trying to collaborate a series of stories with me, regarding them.
created via blobbing random water colour paint on paper and drawing details of what my mind saw in those blobs.

Maybe I am a snob – no definitely I know I am a snob, it must be true.  Why else do I fight against the grain?  I must be… up until now a snob in denial?

Happy reading!

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Funny VS Serious

Something has changed in me regarding my creative pursuits. 

I have for many years wanted to write horror as my main genre, focusing primarily on supernatural beings such as vampires with a very serious stance on the subject.  I then wanted to write fantasy as well but for the adult market; However, I have been battling with these ideas for the past five years as I have become more humorous in my writings and more emotional and I have found myself writing much less serious horror and more family oriented fantasy.  The horror I do write is becoming increasingly comedic and I don’t really know why, but I enjoy it.

I have fought against putting in comedy in my books, but I can’t help it, I wanted to write in a manner that depicts the darkness of human nature in a very serious way.

I have learned as I am getting older, I am finding humour in the most unusual of things and I am writing in a light hearted way increasingly.  My books were originally going to be of the seriousness of Anne Rice, Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but as I am developing as a writer I am becoming much more like Christopher Moore, Ransom Riggs and the writers of the league of gentlemen television series.

I have a couple of writer friends who saw this happening to me long before I did!  They often said to me “Tina, you really are a funny woman, you should write comedy it will really take off” but I shunned it moodily and said that I am not really that type of author and I was worried to take such a stance creatively because once you are renown for being funny, isn’t there always a pressure to maintain this personality to everyone?

Well I sought to push out the comedy that was in me, every time I wrote a funny scene I edited it out, until the scenes started getting funnier and the stories were becoming more and more demanding that they should be humorous in form. 

I have to admit I have avoided comedy entirely in my blog because I am scared of it to be honest!  My sense of humour is rather unique I feel and somewhat dark.  I am scared that people will start to think that my humour reflects me as a person, to me; humour and people’s acceptance of different types of humour can be a very touchy subject and should always be stepped into with caution.

Along with all of this, there is also the problem that I am one of these people who are constantly afraid of offending people, I always like to remain as polite as possible and sometimes people can consider humour as impolite or downright rude!

I am terrified of doing this, but I am going to try and get out of my safe comfort zone and attempt to write the humour on my blog occasionally – now please remember, the idea of showing people the funny side of me scares me!  I usually keep my sense of humour to very close friends and family and in general I am looked upon by those who are not close to me as a deadpan sort of woman!

My sense of humour I would describe as sarcastic, ironic, dark, tongue in cheek, warped and very corny.  Sensitive people would call some of my sense of humour as just simply sick and over the top!

Most of the fiction I gravitate towards reading are very dark horror or humour.

Most of the television shows I watch are comedies, costume dramas, horror or fantasy; but looking at my DVD collection it is mostly two thirds comedy!  People who know me, but are not close to me are often puzzled when they look upon my DVD collection; they look back and forth from me to the collection in sheer wonder.  I am not very public about my humour and I am not entirely sure why!

Part of the redefining myself is to bring out the real me in all its raw details to everybody, so this means I have to start getting comfortable being me in public as well as private.  This means people will start to see a new me, those who are not close that is and it may confound them.

My vampires had a lot of corny jokes in their books, but I deleted some of them in the past thinking that humour had no right in being in a serious vampire novel.  

I felt that people would not appreciate a corny joke in a book about vampires unless it was consistent throughout the book and was specifically marketed as a comedy – I felt that my stance in writing a humorous sentence only once every twenty pages or so wasn’t enough and would perhaps irritate hard-core readers of the genre.  Then I found Christopher Moore’s “Bite Me”, though I admit his comedy is very consistent throughout the book, unlike mine.

I will talk also about how my art is affected too in another post as I am also fighting with what I want to do VS what I seem to do most and enjoy!

As stupid as it sounds, this post was meant to be a post about how people need to focus on their natural talent rather than fight against it – instead it is just basically me telling you all how I am struggling to come across as a serious person, but I fail miserably and try to hide my sense of humour from the world!

Hopefully some of you will have read it how it really is – that I am not confident to be myself wholly and that I am trying my best to be so.

Thing is, I don’t want to be funny in everything – some of my work in this blog has proven that I do think very deeply about a lot of things and I can come across as deadly serious in many subjects!  Can an author be appreciated for the two very different takes in their works?  I hope so, but doubt it somewhat.

Happy reading!

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Shingle me this…

My new writing and art area has been put on hold for a couple of weeks due to illness, this time it is not me;

On Wednesday, Paul woke up with a rash on his chest, it was quite small at the time and he thought it had something to do with the new deodorant he started to use the day before, but it wasn’t.  On Friday that same rash spread all around to his spine and even more on his chest but had turned into hundreds of red raw looking blisters!  Turned out he has shingles and now (because I have a suppressed immune system) we have resorted to sleeping in separate rooms for the time being. 

I have heard that people who have had their second covid vaccine may get shingles approximately 16 to 20 weeks later, as a high number has, but the doctor insists this isn’t the case for Paul and that it must be stress because of the worry about my pending neurological diagnosis.  I have to admit, I don’t believe that.

Paul is not taking this well, it is mostly the medicine that is making him exhausted, but I am still worried because of his age, despite how healthy he is for his age I am worried.  Paul is twenty seven years my senior!

I still hope however selfishly this may sound, that we will be able to set up the new desk and art area before the 1st October in time for my daily posts for inktober; but if this doesn’t happen by then, the art will still be done, but may be added to the blog a week or two later.  At least my art table is set up, just not in the new area, that’s all.  My inks and sharpies may be a little dry now as I haven’t done much art with inks or sharpies since Easter, but I hope they’ll be Okay, Paul says that they are water based inks so should be fine with a touch of water.

Having Paul ill like this has made me realise just how much I simply can’t manage without him, I have to admit it is an eye opening time for us all right now!

I am somewhat getting used to typing via laptop however much it does lag and some of the keys do not work on first punch (is that the right word?).  So I am starting to do a little bit of typing on my adjustable table on the sofa downstairs or rather, right now, in bed, because everybody had decided to live upstairs since Paul has become sick. 

I feel sorry for Paul because we do not have a TV aerial for the spare bedroom, even though we have a spare old TV for him, he is missing a lot of his favourite science documentaries and the meds are making him feel too sick to eat, he has lost weight even in this short time.

I am also annoyed at him for not wanting help, he still thinks he can do everything even when he is swooning around on the verge of passing out!

Anyway, we will hope he slows down soon and gives himself a break!  He needs it!

Happy reading, everyone!

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