Tag Archives: humour

Rewrites and steampunk animals

I am eager to get my desk up and stuff put into organised areas again, because I am desperate to get a start on writing towards six projects.

The idea of doing NaNoWriMo may go out of the window because I am working on remastering an old project to go into an entirely different direction altogether. 

My old project is known as Dragon 1 to some and Maud to others; so I will start calling it Maud here, because that’s the title I give it, even though I feel the title will change with the rewrite.

Why am I completely remastering the story? 

I have learned that my characters seem to lack soul, vibe, if you get what I mean?  They are bland in my opinion, well most of them, and only around six seem to have any real spirit for the storyline.  I learned that my main character is someone I do not know as well as her mentor.

Therefore the stance of the story is changing to not focus too much on her (Maud that is) but to concentrate on events unfolding and the mentor’s journey with Maud.  Because this story is about a teenager who is being mentored into understanding a certain culture and to prepare her for integration in that culture; this story is a fantasy setting where dragons and witches are a huge part of their cultural heritage.  I like to think of my story as a mix of Princess Diaries and Lord of the Rings, but the few people I have shared the old parts of the story with, believe I am not being fair to my story as in their opinion it is nothing like it, but certainly moreish!

The story has comedy elements which were slightly supressed, but now I am more confident in adding humour into my fantasy stories, the comedy scenes will be less choked as it were.

I never wrote the story from a first person narrative, which will make the rewrite easier; this story is written in a third person narrative – I rarely write in first person.

Originally the story was focused on what Maud could see and hear and what she immediately interacted with but within the confines of a third person narrative.  Now it is not like that, it is more chopped, flowing to and from characters, building atmosphere, tension and mysteries which weren’t present in the old manuscripts. 

I know it is an unpopular idea, but it is crucial to the plot that there will be two chapters or large scenes of flash-backs, because there was a murder in the plot – so, saying that, it is understandable, especially as the murder does not happen in the story, but is part of the past of the story, if that makes sense?

So this is the project I am writing towards as soon as my desktop computer is set up on my new desk.  This story has nearly been sent to publishers twice since starting it and I am so glad I held back until now; because I have put the story away for a year without reading it and went back to it with fresh eyes and saw zombie like characters and characters who personally should no longer exist in the rewrite because they did nothing but follow Maud around like lost puppies and the only exciting thing those characters did was sacrifice their lives to save the group!

“Kill your darlings” as Stephen King says, I think it was him anyway…

The second project is something I will be working on long-term and it has interest already from some comic fans I personally know.  This is going to be a long-winded project because I am trying to hone in on my art skills, which are still in the baby stages if I am honest.  So not only am I writing the series of stories this will become, I am trying my best to do anthropomorphic steam punk art that goes with it!

Yes you read right, anthropomorphic steam punk art – exciting stuff, eh?

In fact it is this second projects fault, that I have not published anywhere online at all any new inktober art for this year!  I am focusing too much on practising art for this project that I haven’t really practised much else.

Being the overprotective little creator that I am, I am scared to share my current artwork with anyone online, in case it gives too much away to the plot as a whole!

But there are steam punk anthropomorphic animals, running around a dystopian horror world, that’s all I am going to say!

Happy reading everyone, hope you are as excited to see what I am doing as I am!

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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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Gathering creative inspiration

Gathering creative inspiration
I once read somewhere, though I can’t remember where exactly that for your personal creativity to be as original as possible and for you to develop a noticeable personality for your followers you need to be selective about what you put into your brain. Therefore, you must be choosy about what you want to learn and what you expose your brain to… the kind of stimulus you give your brain will determine the kind of work you are likely to produce.
With the above being said, it has some bearing to me. I have noticed that I am not easily influenced by regular fiction or classics or best-sellers, though some of my favourite books and stimulus have been best-sellers, by and large most of my stimulus has only been heard of by people of certain small sub-cultures.
I regard myself as a fantasy writer with a bit of horror thrown in the equation or vice versa. I am not really sure if I write more horror or more fantasy; though I suppose the readers of this blog will perhaps state that I am neither really, but a poet; I have however said in the past, that I do not put many of my stories up on the blog because I am never really sure if they are finished or not and even then, I am unsure if publishers will publish them if they’ve been on my blog first.
The things that stimulate me or have stimulated me will be noted below, I shall include music, movies, programs, books, individual people, artists and more and this list shall grow and grow over the years.
It will not be written like a list because I would like to explain the lure.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey has been mentioned on this blog before as a favourite of mine. I am not fond of stories regarding winter because I have an excellent imagination even in the blazing heat of the hottest summers on record and I would be sitting down reading books with snow in, feeling freezing cold – but this particular story gripped me because not only did it teach me about farming life in Alaska, it taught me that the best stories in the world always end in a way you are not expecting it to. It was the first book I ever read where the ending made me feel numb and a little bit angry, but not in a bad way.
Monty Python has always influenced the humour in me and their influence is often shown in my family fantasy stories. I love their silliness and the seriousness their jokes come across as, it is like their characters are acting as normal as anyone would in the same circumstances and why would it be any other way? Monty Python and Terry Pratchett have been very good in teaching me that life isn’t always the same in every world and that there are many ways a society can live and it would be perfectly normal to that society to be that way… I mean… why not?
Of course Terry Pratchett will get a mention on his own with disc world being a huge favourite series for me, his humour has no bounds. In fact, his is the first piece of fiction that is over 20 pages long that my seven year old son has started to read. In the last few days I have been reading 12 pages a night of Sourcery. He is so thrilled by it that it isn’t proving to be a very good bedtime story at all for him, far too stimulating! My son is quite a serious fellow really, he has a sense of humour but I think most of it got squashed during the ventouse, though he tries to joke occasionally bless him. He does how ever find it amusing if not weird that there is a world in this book where bed bugs will wave goodbye when the mattresses run away and that luggage will walk away from time to time and hassle publicans for crisps.
Ransom Riggs is a new favourite of mine, I only started reading him in mid-march 2017 and I didn’t discover him through his debut book either, I discovered him through “Tales of the peculiar” and I am so glad I did. His stories aren’t just good, they are haunting. They feel like they have been around for centuries, I swear I knew these stories from somewhere before, they feel so familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it. I did my research, they are not copied, he is just so good that it feels old… the stories feel as old as Beowulf to me. They feel like they are part of societal fabric. I can see me developing an obsessive readership type love for this author if he carries on like this in the future! Part story-teller, part mesmerist I think.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is shocking, too shocking for some people to read beyond the first chapter, but to me it is a beautiful story if you can get over such a horrific subject. For me, it is about how a person’s spirit lives on even in death and how they can still influence the living by how they think and feel about the living – basically, the more the spirit thinks of the world, the more the world will feel the loss of the person. It also talks about the wonders of being dead; the freedom to create your own little haven and that paradise is whatever you want it to be, there are no real rules to paradise and the story ends in such a way that it shows that justice isn’t always done in a black and white way.
Susan Hill is a favourite, particularly her story called “The Man in the Picture”, it has a theme I adore more than most themes – a theme of a carnival, Venetian balls, Venetian masks with a dark veil. I love how it is almost like the picture of Dorian Gray, but with its own unique story. You can also sense a little of Roald Dahl’s The Witches in this story too.
The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie is again a subject connected to mesmerism and carnival or more to the point circus acts and magicians as a matter of fact, mesmerism, circuses, carnivals, fantasy, comedy, horror, theatre, oddities, mimes, jokes, harlequins, jesters, pirates, gothicness, insanity and surrealist things draw me – they provide me with inspiration, which is another reason why I love the music of Nox Arcana as they provide music for all of these subjects.
I love the band Misfits and the insane clown posse, once again, circus and dark themes. I like Melanie Martinez as she is like someone who fell out of the suicide squad movie.
I like Batman purely for the villains, mainly Joker and Harley Quinn.
I used to watch WWF but I stopped shortly after The Big Boss Man died, I haven’t been updated with them since, I haven’t a clue what’s gone on since that big event. I wasn’t a huge fan of him, but I stopped watching it because I couldn’t get it on TV anymore in my area because my parents gave up digital. But I loved WWF and WCW because of certain themes wrestlers had, my favourites were, The Undertaker, the insane clown posse with Luna and the oddities, Kurgan, Giant Silver, I loved Gold dust and Raven, Vampiro, the misfits in action, mankind, Dude Love, Doink the clown to name but a few.
Up until 2015 I watched TNA on Freeview, I stopped watching when Mickie James left mostly, but I also liked Brian Kendrick.
There is an unknown author out there called Alex Weinle of which I won a giveaway of his debut anthology of short stories called “The Decapaphiliac”, he is excellent and is a new Neil Gaiman in my opinion, though there is absolutely nothing wrong with the real Neil Gaiman – this author is similar. I recommend them. He lured me with his fantasy, dark humour and the fact that he seems rather fond of cafes and market places like me.
I like dark humour a lot, I like Jimmy Carr and the mesmerist magician Rob Zabrecky, and they lean on the humour I tend to have the most, I have this Victorian quality about me, a seriousness that looks severe and when I am in a playful mood it can often be mistaken for insanity or instability.
Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz are as classic as I would go as far as literature is concerned, though I do love classic gothic horror especially by HP Lovecraft and the likes.
Neil Gaiman I am a fan of, the kind of darkness I love – Coraline, smoke and mirrors etc – delicious for the hungry mind.
Freaks the 1932 horror is wonderful too – I like it – to me it has a dark humour but also a moralistic undertone. Once again part of the pull for me is the circus theme.
Cirque de soleil also pulls me because of the circus theme, vampire circus, the night circus, Hetty Feather, Oz the great and powerful and the circus mesmerist feel of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka.
I also like Victorian asylum themes; I love Dracula for that, Nightmare on elm street, Angels at my table, Chaplin the movie and once again, music from Nox Arcana with the album Blackthorn Asylum.
All these things, dark, mesmerising, surreal are what I love and what fuels my creativity.
I literally soak myself in everything that inspires me, if it doesn’t inspire me or grips me, then it goes, I don’t waste my time on it and my selectivity is unusual, it is strange and it is hard to find kindred in this type of darkness.
I just wish I would knuckle down and work harder and get brave enough to finally take the plunge and kiss my work into the black hole that is the post box and send it on its merry way to a publisher and onto your bookshelves, flying to you with black and white butterfly wings.

 

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