Tag Archives: creative writing

Learn to improvise tried and tested themes

There is one thing I dislike about reading stories and that is, I get confused about whether it was a movie or a book years later.  Sometimes there is a movie and a book out and I get confused because the actors are different to when I visualised it when reading. 

I also have the same problem about my own novels I write; were those my ideas or did I see the movie somewhere before?   Sometimes I have to actually make notes about where I have seen other things that I am imagining for my own stories, because I am paranoid about coming across as a copycat, I often google even characters and fantasy creatures, just to be sure.

Funnily enough, doing this has shown me how unoriginal many seemingly original stories are by other people.  At least I have learned how not to be cliché.  For example, I had an idea about a giant spider in a forest for one of my dragon novels, but then this has been done many times before, not just Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings! 

Let me tell you the others;

Conan the barbarian – the tower of the elephant

Arachne in Greek mythology

Arachnos from Dr Who

The Cthulu mythos

The wonderful wizard of Oz

Arachnophobia

There is a whole lot more – in fact giant spiders are overdone in three genres, horror, fantasy and sci-fi.

It is reasonable to think that it would be a popular choice along with rats, wasps, snakes, being buried alive because all of these are mankind’s greatest fears, so it can be a useful if overdone tool for creative writing.

But does that mean that you can’t include these overworked themes in your own writing?  Maybe not, but no one is going to write it like you, you can put a unique stance to the story, something that certainly hasn’t been done.  Maybe instead your spiders are friendly, vegan, mages, aquatic, who knows the options are many!

For your information, there is such a thing as aquatic arachnids, spiders that can live both on the land and in water, they can breathe under water, now your nightmares can really begin to grow!  What will you do with it?

So, although it is good for me to be paranoid about originality, originality in fact does not exist.  Only your stance of what already exists can feel unique to those who may never have come across something like that before and the likelihood of finding people like that is at least 33%, well I am not mathematician, so I wouldn’t really know, but the chances are, people will like your perspective on the subject or theme.  So get at it, but always be aware that you are not as original as you think – this shouldn’t stunt you, in fact, it should help teach you to think outside the box, improvise or innovate, you know?

Happy reading!

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What I am trying to do as from now…

I am more than a little irked at the concept that my followers could have been scammed or duped by a poser; I had not planned to start writing on my blog or become active on social media for another couple of months, because I am taking a long time to heal from a current chest and ear infection.  I am very ill at the moment to the extent of being permanently exhausted. 

However, I think that I should start again right now, when I am at my worst physically because it seems likely I am having more bad days than not and I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and not doing what I want to do in life, even the most sedentary of things.

I often struggle with the idea that I must always produce a poem or a short story for my blog, because this blog was created with creativity in mind.  I was meant to use this as a portfolio of sorts; for my creative writing, photography and art, instead it has become more of a journal.

I think therefore, that this blog is likely to be 50/50 journal and creative outlet.  Because I am going on a big journey spiritually, physically, mentally and hopefully career wise too.

My blog will show you more of me, my personal life, my art, my thoughts and feelings and I will try not to be too bias when I do so.

A lot of my day to day stuff will probably be talks about how I am trying to manage my mental health and disability whilst trying to be a productive creative and housewife/mother.

I will also talk about my medical journey, because it still is not entirely clear what it is I have, other than it seems to the doctors that I have around 4 different types of auto-immune disease, deafness, PTSD and potentially a serious neurological disorder too, which they are leaning more towards MS on, but irritatingly it has not been thoroughly confirmed yet.  Sometimes they say yes, sometimes it’s again, no, it’s all presumption by my GP because I haven’t been tested yet.

I will talk about my past, if I feel it would be therapeutic at the time to do so.

I will discuss life with my pets and gardening, what little I can do there.

I will discuss most aspects of my life, whilst throwing in my poetry, songs, compositions, short stories, art, snippets and advice.

I am working on far too many stories at once, most of the time.  I am also practising art, because I have an idea for a children’s picture book and I have also two ideas for comics.  I don’t buy the fact that the comic industry is dead, sorry!

I have also learned recently that there are many people who like reading my reviews; I have had so many requests for reviews recently that I have considered to be more proactive in that.  But I tend to review old stuff, because I am pretty slow to reaching out for current social trends.  To me, something is a current social trend if it has been published or bought out within the last decade.  Oh dear, well you see what I mean – non-fiction science aside that is.

I am one of these lame people who love the 50s & 80s and are waiting for a huge retro bash that will last a decade or more in fashion, movies and music.  So you won’t find me any time soon, sporting the latest trend of anything that is currently major, if it is not retro based. 

Personally I feel the best decades for fantasy were 1860s, 1870s, 1890s, 1950s, 1980s and 2000s, 2010s;  I am a huge Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald, Frank L Baum, J.R.R Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Susan Hill, Stan Lee, Tim Burton, Stephen Spielberg, The Frouds, Colleen Doran and Neal Shusterman and oh so many more I better stop listing them=  fan.  This was just fantasy; don’t get me started on horror, Sci-fi and dystopia and lets not be picky between artists, writers and directors either! 

There is a lot of people I have missed on the above list that deserves to be here!  This is how I know; I really can’t sit back and say I have no idea what I post for my blog.  I was just being too picky about what I should put.  I didn’t think I should really put reviews and personal feelings towards other people’s work on my blog, but you know, if it keeps the blog active, then maybe I should start?  At least it will give you an idea of how I became who I become; the kind of things that I devour for my hungry creative soul that made me produce, what I produced.

Until next time, happy reading!

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Writers and social networking

The question I posed in yesterday’s post was written because I genuinely struggle with the question and it can cause a writing slump for me as I sit back worrying about writing yet another story just like “story A” but with a lot of major differences and different characters.  I would love nothing better than to have the freedom to write all the things I would like, but that would make me come across to readers as predictable and boring.  I can run along with the same idea and make changes quite easily and do so forever and be quite happy about it, but I don’t like doing things for myself too much, I like to write to make other people happy and to help break their monotony, I don’t want to be accused of boring them with the same stuff all the while.  But I do know that diehard fans would love reading the same stuff and the same characters over and over again, but they are far and few between usually.

What I lack more than anything in my life is a group of people who can talk to me about their experiences and how they do things and whether or not I actually have the right to feel this way and to sort of give me the permission one way or another to continue doing that or discontinue doing that. 

I can think for myself don’t get me wrong – but it is hard when you are the only writer you personally know and that the ones I do socialise with are very successfully already that they got past all of this twenty, thirty years ago and I can’t get close enough to discuss this at length with them.  My writer friend circle is so small that there isn’t a lot of room for debate if you understand me?  So I don’t have a lot of personal opinions to mull over.

This is the big bug bear of writers who don’t socialise – they don’t have a support network that is large enough to actually give them a good look into a true writers world and they can eventually become quite easily biased by the very few writers or indeed tutors of writings opinions and styles so much so, that they lose themselves in their tiny circles quality of writing.  Or to rephrase that, they become who they socialise with because their circle is so small and therefore influences them too much.  I understand how vital it is to have a large network, but I just can’t seem to get started – I don’t seem to have the personality where other writers want to talk to me more than just a criticism or a sentence. 

I think it has a lot to do with the social isolation I have in general life anyway.  I never really knew how to socialise appropriately because I was always shut away whilst growing up – but I have tried to approach people in the writing community to find myself up against people who seem so full of angst at talking to me that they give me short terse sentences or just all out criticism which isn’t healthy on so many levels that to be quite frank, I have given up on the idea of online social networking.

That’s a big shame, because I really want to learn more about this craft but I just keep coming up against a brick wall socially about it.

 

 

 

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A writers question

I have a question – how many times can a person use an idea for their writing before their readers start to find the author predictable and boring?  Can the same idea be used in many different types of storylines?  This is a question I am struggling to find answers for lately; I have many good ideas for many different types of stories, but I can’t decide which one to go with – I’d like to eventually go for them all, but I worry that my readers will lose interest if there are too many differences of the same old storyline. 

I have ideas for mermaid stories; many ideas, depicting the mermaids in different lights and scenarios and in each story their culture and their ways are very different as much as their personalities are.

The same with my vampires, I have many different personalities for vampires and many different concepts of how they should live their lives within my stories – but – should an author be known for always depicting the vampires and mermaids that they write about in the same or similar way as they always have done?  Should they be known for that kind of vampire and that kind of mermaid rather than many types?  Do the readers expect consistency in every story about vampires to be alike or similar to another story they have read from the same author – or are big changes from story to story acceptable?

I wish I knew more about this.

I have never joined a writers circle or anything before and I have never really socialised amongst other writers, it is difficult for me to get to group sessions because of my illness and disabilities, so as long as it is free online I can’t really find out more.

What are you views on this subject?

 

 

 

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Friend for a procrastinating writer

I need a kick up the bum

A good writing chum

Who will nag at me all day!

To sit and write and get on with something

To focus and not to play

I need someone formidable

Who will watch me as I write?

Making sure I do not wander

Making my schedule really tight

I need someone to bother me

Have you done it yet?

Which story do I ask them?

The one I told you pet!

Oh OK you see, I wandered

I did this instead you see

Now haven’t I always told you?

To focus on A first then B?

Ah, yes, sorry dear

I will try my best

Yes you will or I will nag

I need that kind of friend, a person with zest

So where are you friend I need?

The one who will make sure that I will bleed

Every little ounce of my blood

Onto the paper in a creative flood

A story that I’ve started to end

All because of that elusive friend

Where are you friend?

Please come quick, I need these stories to end

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My mind is a mess of ideas

I sit in nervous wonder at how my ideas remain

How I abuse them always and drive them all insane

I ignore them often, pushing them aside

Though they always remind me that they are always by my side

How I often think about the ones who have left me

How they were my best but they were forsaken by me

I wonder why then, that they do not rebel?

Why they do not turn around and make my life Hell

Like other authors say theirs do, I wonder why mine do not

I wonder if it is because my temper is so very, very hot

Maybe they don’t want to cross me

For I am as I am told – a force to be reckoned with

A formidable old soul

I don’t know what the answer is, but it is always clear

That those who leave me are very few

Those who stay are loved dear

But I keep getting new ones, constantly banging on my door

I get them so often, I am popular

It makes my head quite sore

I never know who to take and work on every day

It’s like a mother with too many children, each of them want to play

I can’t give my attention freely, some I will surely neglect

I wished my mind was more organised

Instead the mess in there makes me sweat

Oh so many stories and songs and poems and rants there too

I wouldn’t go into her brain says my husband, if I were you

But there I go again, thinking about this and that

I just wished I could get on with it

Whatever is next, in fact?

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Wandering in my mind (Wimm) 1

I am watching the mass of people that have gathered here today expecting something new and unique to show them.  They are watching me with patient curiosity as to where I will take them today, the man who is slightly balding in his mid-forties is grinning with anticipation and scratching gently his wrist around his watch and the beautiful auburn young lady in her early twenties beams at me and clasps her hands in front of her.  I shan’t disappoint them, or the many others besides.

There is an icy chill in the air, a large bonfire crackles in the moonlight behind me and I turn to it to add another log to the fire, a scent of lavender fills the air as a beautiful blond lady in blue silks and a medieval gown throws a large bundle of lavender into the fire.  We sit down, this lady and I, upon felled wood and I play upon a pear wood recorder as she begins to recite a poem sang in beautiful Latin about the coming of snow, it is a haunting piece which fills the gathered audience with solemn peace and nostalgia, though they don’t audibly understand the words she is singing, they can understand it by the lilt and chill of her voice along with the biting of the air around them.  The young lady with auburn hair is almost overcome by the power of the ladies voice and others take in deep sighs and close their eyes as they soak in the night air.

Men dressed in blue velvet and silver medieval court clothes pass around toasted vanilla flavoured marshmallows to the audience, a taste of warm sweet snow, a great paradox to the subject of the song.  The marshmallows fill the audience with hope of warmer climes to come, a glimpse that it shan’t be forever cold, that tonight is just an interim and those come and go quickly.

 

 

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Stifled writing and a look into my brain! (WARNING – it is not for the faint-hearted)

People who write can often get bogged down with the concept of finding that great idea which will earn them money and quite often when they do this, they lose themselves and in some cases, even lose the love for writing itself.

I am at fault of doing this as much as anyone, particularly in the past five years, this is because financially I am suffering to the extent that birthdays and Christmases have been disappointing and not as traditional as I am accustomed to.  In fact recently I found an old Christmas shopping list, which included food, presents, games and décor and basic normal food to last for two weeks over the festive period so we can focus on more family time and that list was five pages long with two sections on each page; this year it was only 3 pages long with only one section as when I write in an excited state, my letters get bigger than my usual handwriting – which is a bizarre idiosyncrasy that I have.  My lists are quite methodical, I will list food from Tesco, Food from ASDA and food from other places separately within the list; I will list where to buy certain presents too and for whom, which shops, so we kind of plan a shopping map in our minds whenever we go to town.  Along with this list will be a separate length of what kinds of decorations or traditional Christmas stuff we need, such as crackers from B&M and purple bauble at Wilko, you get the idea?  We usually do a massive buffet on an old pasting table in our living room and fill it to the brim with food and drinks as well as the coffee table, because Christmas Eve is the only time in the year where we can guarantee an influx of visitors and we like to feed them – this year it is a no go and I am embarrassed that this may come across as too inhospitable compared to what they are used to, as everyone usually got a bag of food to take with them either for snacks at home that night or jars of homemade stuff, which we just can’t afford to do this year.

I hate pleading poverty, but lately it is getting me to a state of breaking down.  I went for advice on my ESA benefits two weeks ago to a lady who is very kind and runs a charity, I was so embarrassed detailing my struggles to her as she was helping me fill out the forms that I was shaking and my teeth were chattering so badly with the humiliation of it all.  She thought I was freezing cold, but I told her, it’s just that I am so embarrassed by it all and she said that it was OK, but it really isn’t though is it?

Usually I am very good at being calm and self-composed, despite anxiety issues, but lately I just can’t keep it together, I am struggling to hide behind a façade like my normal self would.  Most people can’t tell that I have anxiety issues because I masked it so well, but lately I break out in tears over the smallest of things and what is worse is that I am getting short tempered with it, with people I feel are cold or unfeeling and I have this awful feeling that I will say something out of character at my next medical which will make me lose the benefit.  I am very scared about it.

If I could get a job I would, but no one is going to employ someone with the health issues I have.  I did struggle a few years to get a job, before it got too bad seven years ago.  All of this makes me try to push myself to create something just to get out of this mess, but it isn’t working, it is stunting my creative growth badly because I am not writing what I really want anymore.  I am writing the lesser ideas I have which are the most popular amongst my nearest and dearest and unfortunately what I love to write about, they hate immensely.

What I like writing about are dystopian stories similar to Mad Max, I am Legend and Tank Girl.  I enjoy writing about vampires and their sired offspring as I call them and histories as a massive saga dating back to the Ancient Sumerians and contemporary times too, how they live and how they lost loved ones.  I enjoy writing inane pun infested comedy fantasies where you meet mermaids and trolls with a very Monty Python meets Discworld air to them and I enjoy writing horror that touches taboo subjects.

According to those who are in the know, the only type of book up there I have mentioned that they can barely stomach is the comedy fantasy, not my main love of in depth vampire soap operas and dystopian tribal warfare.

Yes I love my fantasy comedies, but whenever I discuss my writing with those who are privy to them, they always get more excited about any updates on that genre than anything else and I feel if I don’t write this genre more than the others, I am failing to please this specific audience.  I am one of these people who find it really hard to talk to people about my work, those I do are precious to my motivation, if I don’t talk about my work, I can’t do the work.  But unfortunately my discussion circle seems far too niche and not entirely me.

I used to mix and mingle my genres a lot and had a wider circle I trusted to talk about them to, usually as dinner party discussions but since moving to Warwickshire, I don’t have that anymore.  London is a very different place, with very different people with mind-sets very different to Rugby’s.

I have mentioned vampires and horror to people up here I thought I could trust with my writing, but they recoil or give sideways glances to those next to them and simply state “Oh, right, not my cup of tea really”; Then I share my fantasy comedy ideas and they feel that fantasy is strictly for children, surely I should write something nicer for them?  Not drunken elves and mermaids who rip eyes out and swear profusely with such corny puns as well!

Apparently my personality must reflect my work and because I don’t lark around like some tomfool jokester all the time and I seem a pretty calm deadpan person in real life, I can’t be taken seriously in comedy surely?  Won’t I come across as some kind of fake?

Now that hurts, but it has been said to me before and I find it amusing that comedy must be serious… really?  I wonder how we all laugh at serious comedy!  Should we laugh at flippant tragedy then?  I don’t know what kind of world I have tripped into a hole of, but it is certainly quite different here to where I am from, I can tell you!

I think if I was to walk up to my favourite British comedian of today and say “Darling, you are not taking your comedy seriously” he would choke laughing and crying at how stupid that sounds.

*passes a dictionary to said people and points to the word “comedy” for reference*

So, though I am currently in quandary over my work, my main quander is this – “how can I develop a trusting relationship with people online so that they can become my beta readers and I can learn to trust the online community with my plans and outlines”? 

I’m not sure I can.  I am very protective of what I share with people because I have often had entire ideas stolen and published behind my back and that someone became very successful with my ideas and have not produced work since I eliminated them from my social circle a decade ago.

I have thought that maybe signing up to a free creative writing course with the OU would help me discuss work and improve my skills with an online tutor?  But not sure if that is really what I want – improved skills are always good, but not sure if I want straight laced professional opinions which are bias regardless of genre and content.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking about just writing whatever, whenever and go back to my scatty ways that were long lost a decade ago.  Paul tried to organise me too much I think?  Tried to get me to focus too much that I lost my way; I don’t really have a way.  I am higgledy-piggledy and mentally a mess when creating.  Paul often said if a hypnotist was to delve into my mind for just five minutes he would run out of the room screaming “get me out here, she is completely insane, she is such a mess, she is so confusing, help me, help me…. And oh, pass the paracetamol that gave me a headache!”

Why the drama?  Because I will have seven documents up at the same time, one is a horror about a cat, two are vampire novels concentrating on two entirely different characters, one is a comedy fantasy with tiny people, and one is a dystopian story based on a religious concept of the apocalypse and angels, the other document is writing notes to eventually put into any work in the future, along with research papers and notes, scribbled papers and notes off the computer, and Wikipedia up on the internet with another internet page looking for the history of Thracian warfare.  If that is not enough, I am also meddling with playlists on Amazon music flipping through them depending on which scene and novel I am working on in those few seconds, whilst daydreaming about food and what it might be like if I was the size of a peanut in my garden.

You get the idea?  That’s my brain in just five minutes.

I am like the dog who is in the garden playing fetch with you then all of a sudden I have ran away chasing squirrels, then coming back to you wondering where the ball is and oh look sausages!

With a mind like mine, it has been said by people before – is there any reason to wonder if I will ever find it possible to get anything finished?

I pass them some books I have indeed already finished and I do so quite proudly.  Then I announce, they are not for sale, they are not edited and they are not good enough.  The person looks through them, finds they do indeed need editing but are absolutely wonderful, why not publish them? 

Because they are mine!  Then I grab the books and hug them close to me with a snarl!

I am like this even with the art I paint too.

Thing is, there are ideas I do want to sell.  But I am scared that those private stories reveal too much about my inner workings.

I feel psychologically exposed, basically.  It brings about the kind of feeling in which I can only sit back and think, it would be better to be physically nakedly exposed than that, then Paul tells me to stop being weird and dramatic!

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Prison of a dark pearl

Blackness descends all around me

Clothing me in the shadows of darkness

How dark can it get?

Darker than dark

I am hidden from the world

Hidden within the prison of a dark pearl

They keep me safe, but blind, concealed alone

Clasped within the hands of the damned

I am at their mercy

For at any time, the pearl can drop and break

As can my soul

When shall I at last wake?

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Daily Prompt 5

Today’s prompt – Dragon – Clarinet – Alien – Fear – Pineapple

I had an interesting passing thought with this one today, but I am trying to ignore it as I am too busy with other writing projects at the moment.

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