Tag Archives: books

The fear is lifted

I am glad I have spoken to certain people via DM on twitter recently and I have been taught few things about the writing industry that I was oblivious to before now.

November right through till the second week in January is really not an ideal time to go looking for an agent for representation because it is their busiest time of the year, let’s just get that out there right now!

But the main thing that I was taught is the thing that has given me the most confidence to get on with my work and this little revelation has actually lifted me out of depression by at least 50% since learning of it.

I have been often attacked verbally by people who proclaim that my ideas are not original, in fact in some cases they feel that it is a plagiarism, even though the stories are not actually a direct rip off of other people’s work.  Fan fiction is in fact perfectly fine to write on your blog as long as you haven’t ripped off too much from the originator.  What cannot be copyrighted are the names of characters and ideas.  But don’t let that get to your head, because there is one thing that professional and successful writers have in common and that is a deep respect and understanding for those who wrote before them!

A person is perfectly within their right to include characters from other people’s work, such as Mina from Dracula mingling with the invisible man in the league of extraordinary gentlemen comics, if their story comes across as unique!

This has made me feel a lot better about some of my work, because there were times where I was struggling to find the name of a nightclub that didn’t actually exist to include it in my story, through the sheer fear that I might end up in a lawsuit somewhere down the line.  I was worried that if I named a character something completely different but gave them the exact description and personality of a known character such as Sauron from the lord of the rings, that this would be frowned upon heavily, even though a person like Sauron has been depicted a hundred times in as many novels by as many other authors already!  For some reason or another I believed there was this niche little club where people could only get away with that sort of thing, if they were part of this little club or something – but no! 

You can get away with this, there is no law against creativity and ideas and so therefore, as long as you don’t completely rewrite the lord of the rings with this character and make your own story and stance to a similar idea, you should be fine!

Saying that you need to understand that all readers are smart and they read a genre and they will know it very, very well and if your idea is not fresh and new, you will bore them with what they feel is a repeat story but done in a different style, if this makes sense?

It is impossible to be completely original, but at least try to be as unique as you can and experiment with ideas.

It is vital that if you want to write a genre, you need to first read a lot in that genre or at least the top fifty recommendations of that genre to get a taste of what might have already have been done or overdone in that genre first!

I read mostly horror, fantasy and science fiction.

I read a huge amount of short story anthologies in those genres, and in fact I am more likely to read short stories than lengthy novels; because in my opinion, reading condensed stories like this teaches me how to compose a novel in an interesting fast pace way, without the risk of coming into too many digressions and needless descriptive waffle.

I am now more confident to pursue some of my older ideas, because I was afraid that mentioning Dracula in some of my vampire novels as a passing conversation could get me into a lawsuit, that having a scene where a character collects Hellraiser novelties could be jumped on and that sort of thing and when you live in fear of this sort of thing, you find that your creativity gets crushed.

You find it hard to move on from the scene in your head, because you are sitting there worried that some boogie man lawyer is going to jump out at you from the ether and start suing your poverty ridden pants off!

Well it was like that for me.  I never used to care and when I started to care – because I had so-called helpful people advising me, that I became stunted creatively. 

Funnily enough I had learned that those so-called advisors were not actually successful in their ventures themselves, in fact some of them had no intention of being more than just a hobby writer – so do make sure that whoever you listen to, have had professional experience in the industry first or have spoken to real people that they know in the industry, before you listen to them!

I have learned what I have learned recently through a real literary agent on twitter and a successful writer friend.

I do not currently have a literary agent, because I have no intention of publishing a book until the end of next year, due to personal reasons.  This following year is going to be quite full of hospital appointments for me and I am tired easily because of my illness, so until the appointments wane off a bit, I can’t dedicate myself to the professional side of my craft just yet!

When the medications that I need are assessed properly and decided, perhaps this will help with my problems a lot more and I can function a bit better, but until then, I can’t waste peoples time in the industry until I am sure that – A I am going to be alive this time next year and B that I have a name for the neurological problem that I seem to have.

Until then, happy reading everyone and if you too are a writer, happy writing and write with confidence now you know what I know!

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Oh to Hell with it…

Even though I have said I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year, I have joined it anyway for the community spirit; I have joined the UK, Leicester region there, let me know if you are in that region and maybe we can say hi to each other?

My personal goal is to finish six novels by 1st November 2022 to be sent for the first time ever to a literary agent – this is a goal and it may very well be unrealistic, but I am hoping it can be achieved!  The writing of six books is very realistic for me, because I tend to always be in writing mode anyway – the writing I have shared with my blog, or at least my word counts are not accurate according to Paul, who realised that I have not been sharing my handwritten notes in those word counts and I write more by hand than by computer!

What I meant about being unrealistic was my idea that an agent would take on all six projects in such short notice!

I understand no literary agent will take six books at once, I am not dense, they will be sent with reasonable gaps between each book!

I am a perfectionist and my own worst enemy regarding my writing – I was often told by tutors in my past that I overwork things and rewrite when it is not necessary, this is something I have never really learned to stop doing!

I do have OCD in many things in my life; this is another difficulty I am trying to overcome.  The OCD with my novel writing has got a lot worse since seven years ago it was suggested to me that I need to redraft some work, a notion that was alien to me at the time and now I redraft each novel at least three times a year and when you think I have over ten near complete works, this is nightmarish to some people – who may even find what I say unbelievable!

Paul has told me this is why it is important to send my work out there, so people know just how manically I do write and how it is part of the fibre of who I am!  I am never not thinking about writing, I am constantly in creative mode!

My brain cannot switch off from work of any creative type! 

When I am not writing, I am thinking about writing.

When I am not doing that I am drawing pictures or painting or planning art projects; then when I am not doing any of those things I am crocheting or knitting!  My mind is constantly creating something – it is not work for me, I don’t regard this as work and Paul finds that irritating, because to me, this is a lifestyle!  I can’t feel pressured doing any of this, because it is a lifestyle for me!  What I do feel pressured about is other people’s expectations of me when they know that I am working on something!

I don’t fear the blank page because of lack of ideas; I fear the blank page because my brain will fill it up with unplanned stuff before I can write down what I wanted to in the first place!

I don’t struggle with ideas for new projects, I am drowning in them!

So with that said,  I am now going to get back to my novel which is a steampunk adventure with an adult female main character – a novel of which has caused me to only have fourteen hours sleep in four days!

Happy reading!

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TBR this fortnight

TBR (to be read) this fortnight list includes only fiction books, not the non-fiction that I am also reading;

I, Lucifer By Glen Duncan

Goth girl and the ghost of a mouse By Chris Riddell

Goth girl and the fete worse than death By Chris Riddell

I endeavour to try and read four books per month from now onwards that are fiction and read less non-fiction, because I feel I am getting out of touch with the fiction world a little bit.

I think this has something to do with the fact that I am making more contacts with people who are avid readers and they tend to read a lot of the newly published stuff whereas I don’t. I am feeling outdated and I don’t particularly like it. I know the books I have chosen to read this fortnight are considered old stuff, but they have been on my TBR for ages.

I don’t have access to very modern books unless the library gets them in for me, because I don’t have any spare money per month to buy non-second hand books. So this will always be a problem for me anyway, because quite a few of my reader friends are able to spend an average of £50 a month on new books that they get to keep. But then saying that, they are also able to consume more books than I can too, they tend to read a novel in less than two days, I can’t do that generally, a 300 page tome will usually take me three or four days if its good.

Before I got sick and therefore financially insecure, I was just like them, in fact probably worse as I would spend £25 a week on books. I don’t like to buy second hand books for two reasons, one is that usually the author doesn’t get the money for it, and two, I am fastidious about the care of my books, most of my read books look untouched. But having to resort to second hand books because I have been in a ten year financial slump, my books are irritatingly shoddy with cracked spines and torn sheets and stains because I get them from charity shops on good months.

I, Lucifer was bought from a charity shop around eight years ago and only just got around to reading it now. That’s not unusual for me because I have nearly two thousand books in the house and at least 60% are unread. I think its primarily because I am a paranoid supporter of libraries – scared that if I neglect the library that I will inadvertently add towards their demise. I cant afford to buy new books, but I do at least have a budget of £3 a week to pre-order things from my local library and I do so religiously.

Happy reading all!

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Favourite genres to read

Reading is something I do often, but in more recent years I have noticed a decrease in reading fiction for non-fiction and I am starting to miss reading fiction as a whole.  I am trying to increase the fiction that I read, but a lust for research usually gets in the way of it.

I miss fiction a lot and I want to share with you the genres or types of books that I enjoy the most;

I obviously enjoy vampires, but they seem to have a broad genre rather than just slotted into one and ironically they don’t often get found where you expect at libraries and bookshops.  I expect to find them at the horror section, but oftentimes they are found in the YA section or even romance!

My favourite genres are fantasy, horror, YA, dystopia and graphic novels.  I love anthologies too and tend to read more short stories than full length novels and I love novellas too.

I dislike romance or having too much romance in the stories that I do read, I tend to skim past scenes like this a lot, and I am not at all a romantic person!  I think it has something to do with the fact that my mother consumed fifteen mills and boon a week as I was growing up!  If there is one thing I can say about my mother, is that she read faster than I ever could!

For a small time during my youth I did kind of get into some of her romance books, but the naughtier ones which made her laugh a bit but also side glanced me in concern as I was becoming more and more an adult; the silhouette, blaze and historical/regency ones I liked best.  But there are only so many gooey eyes and passionate forays in the bedroom you can read before you need to get a grip on your hormones and stop reading that sort of thing for sanities sake!

So for mental health reasons I avoid romance, not because I am a prude, far from it, but there comes a time when one gets tired of a constant sense of nonfulfillment, as it were.

Right anyway, enough of that!

Bitter about a misspent youth of being such a good girl and obeying her mother and never dating anyone until she was twenty purely because of the fear of the scene that would unfold just because I suggested that maybe I am old enough to go out on my own now mum?  Is it obvious?  Well… of course… it wasn’t normal back then and it isn’t normal now… well… Covid19 might have made that sort of thing normal now, but generally it isn’t normal is it?

But yes, I love horror and fantasy and I love humour too!  Those are my genres I love to read and even write.  Christopher Moore, Susan Hill, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, Ransom Riggs, Roald Dhal, David Walliams, Frank L Baum, George McDonald, Edgar Allen Poe, Max Brook, Anne Rice, Brian Froud to name but a few of my favourites.

There will be more in depth posts in future about what I like and even why.

Happy reading all!

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What is a trope please?

I am not au fait with the majority of the vocabulary of the writing community as such, primarily because I have more or less isolated myself in recent years from the community due to a mistrust of old friends I once had in the community.

Therefore I have been trying to learn some of the technical speech other writers now use.  I only learned the other day what DNF truly meant “did not finish” in regards to the book reading community.

I should really make a DNF shelf on Goodreads, didn’t know that was accountable until now.  Up until now, any books I read partially on Goodreads but did not finish was either said as such in the review or just removed from the currently reading list.

The word trope confuses me slightly too.  I thought I understood what the word trope meant until I started to speak to a friend about tropes the other day who seemed confused by what I was saying.  She then said, those are not tropes, they are themes or settings; they are not the same thing.  So, what exactly is a trope?

I watched about eight YouTube videos last night trying to figure it out, hence why todays post is late.  To me, I did seem to understand what a trope is, my friends are never really ones to explain themselves or correct someone fully, sometimes I feel that they are just critics for the sake of criticising and yes, some friends, this one included already knows I think that about them, because I am very open and say what’s on my mind!  But still, it never prompts them to educate – some will feel that saying “Google it” is justifiable, but as a friend surely the idea of friendship is a sharing of ideas and opinions and to educate one another?  Isn’t that what socialising means?

To me it does mean that – but to people I know socialising seems to mean to them a complaining of their lives, a competitive stance on their life with each other, a woe is me and sympathy chasing, gossiping about others, usually venomously or merely grumping about the state of the world.

So what I believe a trope is based on YouTube research is in fact based on themes and events that happen in the novel – such as found family, a bunch of friends get together with a communal task, or the story has a circus, or a vampire, or the scene is set in snowy Alaska, or it is autumn in the book, or there is a love/hate relationship.  I think those are tropes, because some tropes are also themed.

But forgive me if I am wrong, can anyone help me?

If you can tell me what you think a trope is let me know in the comments below.

I was having a conversation with my friend about what I liked as tropes and apparently I am wrong, most of what I said was not considered a trope.

If I can find out the difference between tropes, a scene, an event and what have you, then I will make a post about what tropes I enjoy in the books I read and the kind of tropes that are in my stories that I write!

Happy reading!

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World War Z – book review

I finished reading World War Z on Wednesday by Max Brooks and I have to say that it was incredibly thought provoking and the best example of world building I have come across in a long time!

There were things in this novel that I would never ever have dreamed of thinking as possibilities in a zombie infested world that I found very clever.  You understand that zombies are considered undead or dead people reanimated but do you really understand what that would really mean if it were real?

Think about it, what could the dead do that we could not if they happened to have become ravenously hungry reanimated autopilot predators?

Terrifying things actually!

They could survive climates and places that we as living breathing human beings would struggle with!

The story is absolutely amazing and without giving you too many spoilers I can’t really say much more than this… if you want a horror in a dystopian world and you want to be taught near perfect world building and keeping things real, then this is a must read, whether you like zombies or not!

This is how world building is done folks!

Happy reading!

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Hyper-thoughts a mental illness?

I think one of the biggest reasons why I dislike reading novels are because they feed my imagination and make me think of new stories and I am not in any shortage of story ideas as it is.  I think reading fiction can add to my insanity at times, overflowing me with too many ideas that sometimes it literally does feel like my creativity really is driving me insane!

I am the same if I am overloaded with looking at other people’s art, new movies and playing new games.

I do all these things with caution but not matter how cautious I am in doing these things, reading, watching movies and looking at art etc, I can’t help but become over exposed to stimulus that feeds my imagination at least three new story plots at a time!

There are times I have actually bought on strained wrists or my carpal tunnel syndrome to just write the ideas down fast, I can never do so fast enough and I have even had people buy me Dictaphones to try and help me but again, I can never speak fast enough!  It is actually quite horrible, people say it sounds like you are blessed, but in my head it is utter chaos, I can’t focus at times and this is a huge part of my procrastination in general, because I can’t seem to focus on one idea, my brain thinks about multiple things at once.  I am sure this is actually a mental illness, but I don’t think there is a known mental illness out there for people who can literally think about several subjects and problems all at once and then get confused when they have to try and focus to explain to others what those ideas and thoughts are!

I wish telepathy was a thing, it would solve a lot, I could have a room filled with people who would be writing separately all of my ideas for me and help me organise the chaos and bring it into reality as fiction or art.

I have been suffering from this strange mental problem even more in the past few weeks; I am inspired by almost everything I have access to lately.

 I suffer from migraines frequently and it could be my auto-immune inner ear disease doing it some of the time, but most of the time I think it’s the hyper-thoughts as I like to call them. 

I have been told I can’t be a very good writer unless I read a lot of fiction and I don’t generally.  I read more non-fiction than fiction, so I feel lately I have to throw myself into some more novels by other people.  I am finding it hard to fit into creative circles because of two major flaws I have, the lack of fiction reading and the lack of social media I indulge in.

Ugh, I don’t know what to do.

But I do know this; it is affecting productivity lately at a major scale.  Whenever I sit down to write stories these days I don’t enjoy them as much as I used to, I sit there sometimes and cry, because my thoughts can’t seem to align themselves.  I am confused and often confounded by the goings on in my head that I stare at my previous words in awe that I finished those at least, but I can’t seem to move on and I can be like this for over an hour before giving up.

I am trying to do what other people recommend that I do, that is focus on one to three novels and finish those before doing others.  This is not working for me and I am so out of focus these days I find it hard to go back to my old way of writing – which is to literally write towards one idea until the others call me and so on.    This has meant in the past I once had as many as 27 separate novels on the go at once and the average time it took to complete just one of those stories was around 5yrs.

What has put the pressure on me the most I think is the notion that I have been told that some of my words in progress will be of out of date or over used themes by the time I get it to publishers that they won’t be interested in it when I get around to it.  That is so very demotivating.

I don’t really know what to do right now because of it.

Happy reading

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Tidying up ideas

There are lots of papers all around my house of various story ideas that have never been started yet; many of these papers contain less than one paragraph of what that story will be.

I have decided over the next few weeks to start writing in a new offline journal all of these ideas in more details, so that when I want to work on a new story, I am not sitting there flummoxed about the kinds of things I want in that story and forget them altogether for an entirely new idea.

I am surprised to find that I have 354 known ideas so far and not all of those papers are gathered yet!  If I had been asked how many ideas do you suppose you have lying around?  I’d suggest that maybe it were a little fewer than 90, but not 354+, that’s both tremendous and sad, because they’ve been neglected in some cases for as much as 25yrs!  Some of the ideas I had when I were only ten years of age! 

Thankfully a few of those ideas I delayed, because had I of written them all those years ago they would have been garbage in comparison to the fresher stances I have these days towards them.  Sometimes it is best to procrastinate as sometimes the ideas get better or more solid and real.

I was so sure back in 2006 how I wanted a dystopian tribal story to go, but had I of done it back then, it would have been boring and full of plot twist flaws; these days, the ideas have consumed me a lot and they are showing me better ways to form themselves and I find it very exciting and less flawed.  There is more drama, adventure and excitement in the story and more characters have a proper defined role whereas before they would have been better off not existing – basically, they’re starting to add to the plot now rather than act as a page filling distraction, which upon reflection I realised they were back then.

I am trying to prepare myself to put the vampire aside for a while and make a decision on which novel out of eight I’d like to start writing for NaNoWriMo July 2021.  I think there is only really two to decide from really, the steampunk fantasy series or the dystopian tribe.

It is very likely that I will not get any books published until late autumn of 2022, because of certain events going on in the family between now and then – it would make me a little too busy, with the sickness as well, to start a career until that moment.  Things should have calmed down family wise around then; in fact Paul is almost certain of it.  It is very likely we could be moving house you see, as well, not to mention, Paul has promised me that he knows someone with a pregnant bitch, who’ll give us a puppy just in time for my birthday!  It will be a border collie.

Also it’s my Henry’s 11th birthday today!

Anyway until next time, happy reading!

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5 movies that made me cry

Bambi

I think most people would put this one down in their list, if they are sensitive to animals and loving nature etc.  So this just speaks for itself really.

Paulie

I love the movie Paulie it is in my top 100 all-time favourite movies, but it is emotionally hard going for me.  The poor little blue crowned parakeet, had a tough little life, but initially his life was good, he loved a little girl with severe speech impediment and helped her along.  But then one day her father came home from the army and demanded the bird be sent away, because he was getting the girl into dangerous trouble. 

The bird goes from person to person over many years and always, his personal goal was to go back and find his little Marie, the little girl he always loved.  The movie has all sorts of drama and adventures in it for the little parakeet; some are hard going for an animal lover like me.  But I loved this movie nonetheless, but if you are like me, you must expect a whole host of different emotions throughout the movie consistently and it is a big rollercoaster ride, let me tell you! 

Marley and Me

This is the most recent movie I have watched that made me cry, I watched it only a few days ago, it was the first movie I had watched in four months.  Again, an animal made me cry!  I just can’t stand sad movies where animals die!  But I keep watching them anyway, because my most favourite kind of movies is those with animals as main characters, children or vampires.  So, yeah, quite contrasted mixes!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Look, I know you are confused here right now, but you really have to know me, in order to know why this cuts me up big time!  I just find some vampire movies very romantic, with this whole, reincarnation and love re-discovered concept and how people are willing to literally sell their souls for love.  I know, it’s screwy, but stop being judgemental here, we’re all different right? 

I cried when Dracula died and she was clasping at him broken hearted and in a catch 22 situation where she was literally torn between the dark and the light side; the best for her and the worst for her.  Being wholly human and experiencing as many emotions as a person can possibly handle all at once, all the for the sake of having to choose which love to love and which love to let go.  Yeah, I’m weird, who cares?

I.T (1990)

I can’t even watch this one for five minutes before my tears start!  Little baby Georgie, that was so gruesome and I have to admit, I very nearly didn’t watch the rest of the movie because of it.  I just hate that scene, yes; I watched the movie before I read the book when I was 15.  If I could magically jump into the TV and save the kid I would have… violently!  But I am sucker for being shocked and disgusted and for pushing my own boundaries in an oftentimes vain attempt to try and harden myself up to the worst aspects of humanity.

The amount of times I have often gone back to the scene in my head and it is me who is mind fucking the clown to death, not him getting away with it!

This is what I love about Stephen King though; he knows how dark reality really is and he doesn’t shelter his readers from it like some other more (supposedly) considerate horror authors.  There is no nannying when he writes.  Sometimes the vocabulary is vulgar as is in life, people are vulgar as in life, things get twisted, as in life, it is all real, it is brutally real his stuff, despite it being fictional, the general concepts are real things.  Death, brutality and murder, war, disease is not a pretty thing and should not be romanticised at all, he does this wonderfully, he takes the poetry out of death and that is good, because it shouldn’t be glamorised!

You get authors who write about TB for example and they gentle tell you about the coughing of blood in the tissue like they are dying elegantly; But if Stephen King were to write it, he would talk about the ear hacking coughs, the phlegm and the retching of the patient and the dribble down their chin stained with coarse dark blood and their loved ones, scared for their relative, recoiling and choking on the smell oozing from their loved one.  That sort of thing and that is good writing, it is realistic! Who wants TB glamorised gently?  Aren’t books supposed to be educational?  Stephen King definitely gives you an education!

But yeah, generally, my heart breaks when a kid or an animal dies in movies.  I even cry for some monsters because they are misunderstood, not Pennywise though, but I have cried for a couple of King’s monsters.  Lol.

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Gardening & writing plans & books – oh my!

I have only written about one page towards a novel this week, because of sickness, but also because I am reading a little more than normal – mainly magazines based on gardening and permaculture.  I have no energy to garden yet and it is actually quite unlikely I will do much in the garden this year, but I am learning as much as I can whilst I am out of sorts.  I have reinjured my leg twice in the past two weeks and so mobility is now getting affected, I have an old break that never healed properly and the two separate injuries were heavily on this old break.

I have written approximately 5 pages towards the plans of a new novel for April’s NaNoWriMo as I do intend to participate this year.

I have also started writing a non-fiction book based on my current knowledge of gardening and self-sufficiency, hence the extra research too, I want to be thorough as I realised there is not enough of the kinds of information I want out there readily available and I wanted to make it easier for others like me to find.  So far I have written approximately 10 pages towards that.

All of this whilst sick with a chest infection, injured leg, ear infection and the extreme depression caused by the harassment I am getting from my neighbour, which is actually making me scared to go into my own back garden these days.

I am planning to start selling my artwork around the end of the year; there is a local opportunity for me to take up positions in the local art gallery and I am going to snap those up.  I won’t be ready until autumn.

I have also done four half done pieces of artwork this week, there are plans for 6 more, I am trying to do them fast, but they require a lot of layers and drying time so that can be frustrating!

I am also starting a junk journal for the first time.

Whilst I am updating you all, I may as well tell you about some of the books I have read this month.  I have read “Conversations with God” as a non-believer in mainstream religions; I found it refreshing, because to me, it proves all the instincts I had about God growing up are true and valid.  But I had all those ideas beaten out of me because my family can be quite radical about this sort of thing.

I have also read “The library of the dead by T.L Huchu” which I absolutely loved, it was about ghosts and it is a mystery, a sort of detective for the dead sort of supernatural thriller/fantasy.  I found some parts of the story very gory, but it was a fun read and I look forward to reading more from this series – as I think I heard it is a series now?

I read “The Spooks Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney, which I felt was not really suitable for children under the age of 14.  I found it too disturbing in some parts and my son and his entire classroom had this read to him during school lockdown online and most of the children were asking the teacher not to read it to them because of nightmares!  So there you go!  I enjoyed it, but I found it too quick paced.

I am currently reading two other books I got from the library, so I will update you all on those soon.  The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor!

So this is a condensed down and short as possible update for you all, hope you all are well and I will hope to post again in a few days’ time.

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