Tag Archives: Mad Max

The marketability of projects

For the past three months I have been struggling to write towards my novels because of family issues and other things going on that has taken up my time, such as learning new things, new skills, honing in old skills I have had and going more into my spiritual development.

Not witchcraft, spiritual development.

Along with the failure to add towards my novels these past few months, my Italian and French lessons have also been paused as well as maintaining my Morning Page Journals and daily reading goals.

But Henry and I have learned together how best to get things done, how we can avoid conflicts within the household and how we can both be warmer.  We both now spend time together upstairs in my room, whilst I write towards blog posts or research things.

This keeps Henry out of Paul’s hair whilst he cooks and whilst Paul does whatever Paul does.

It not only means that in the past two days I am less lonely, but it means that Henry is more relaxed and calm and is actually starting to smile more!

Henry is deeply concerned I am not writing my stories anymore, because he was looking forward to seeing the potential movies they could become!  He is more positive about them becoming movies than I am – but that’s the joy of the naiveté of childhood isn’t it?  Extreme optimism and putting ones parent on a pedestal!

So, Henry tersely asked me this question yesterday evening “when are you going to write more on your novel mama”? 

I told him that I didn’t know and he then said “why not tomorrow”?

So here I am six hours later at 3:13am on my laptop thinking about writing, now it’s tomorrow – question is, do I write towards the novel now until 5am and not wake up until 2pm or do I force myself to try and sleep for the next hour or so and write around noon when I wake up?

I am tempted to start writing something right now – I am not setting any goals for myself this time, just write what I write when I write it and hope that it’s more than five hundred words a day this time!

No sooner had I had this thought about writing, my brain has woken up and told me to write towards three of my current projects all at once… my brain still doesn’t understand the workings of a mortal two handed body does it?

My AD project, my lesbian steampunk project or my Easter project which should really be Christmas project first because it’s that time of year now I can play Christmas music without being unreasonable!

Though I suppose some of my author friends out there will think that Christmas music is always unreasonable!

So, here’s me sitting here thinking that I would like to rehash project AD from the beginning again, because an old idea is stale and I believe this new one will work better.  Thankfully the rehash will only affect the first three chapters of the novel, because the event is not mentioned in the other chapters!

But, I am still struggling with something in regards to this story… how to market it when it’s finished, what genre?  For me, I may market it as a children’s dystopian – but it doesn’t feel right. 

What’s in the story?  The world hasn’t fully jumped into a full out and out post-apocalypse; they are still transitioning through it, creatures are still mutating and they are fighting other mutated creatures in order to survive and in order to maintain personal territory.  The story contains various mythological creatures along with this too and some children befriend a group of bounty hunting animals who adopt them because they are orphans. 

It is stylised around being a steampunk world, filled with the innovations for survival with the relics around them – the storyline is set primarily on vengeance and survival of the fittest.

There are comedy elements as well as mild-for-children horror.

It’s an idea that has been frustrating me since Easter 2022 because I just want to write it down quickly, but circumstances have got in my way.

Once I manage to get back into writing regularly, I can see this novel being written rather quickly and what’s more, it’s a series that I had originally intended to be a comic or graphic novel – but as I am not confident in writing in that format just yet – it will have to do as a novelisation instead… perhaps the novel will come later?

But me being me, I have always had a good head for business – I don’t just see this as a novel or a movie or a bunch of comics, I see it for the potential merchandise it could have – toys etc.  The artist in me can see where this could lead and I do this almost for every story idea I have.

I know I shouldn’t, but I always think about the marketability – I do write for pleasure, but if you knew me well enough you’d know that I have always loved work and working things out and making things bigger than average!

Henry has already been helping me since the summer, design toy ideas based on characters I’ve told him about!

Upon reflection, this story is very much on par with the ideas of a superhero genre, which is why my inner business woman struggles to place it. 

Steampunk dark fantasy or children’s horror or superhero or middle grade dystopian… getting this right is vital for its success!

If I am honest I am much swayed to call it a superhero genre as it is very reminiscent of Batman and the league of super pets!  But the characters are so far removed that they have their own unique stance – in fact a friend once thought they sound like a mix of Mad Max meets The Island of Dr Moreau for kids!

Which made me smile as I never saw it until they said it!

Thanks for reading!

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My writing plans

How many novels am I working on?

I try to focus on about three at a time mostly, the same three, but I have more on the go than I admit.

Nobody will believe me if I said I have approximately one hundred and fifty unfinished works and about forty works stewing because I am pernickety and a perfectionist that just can’t seem to decide on the plot or another version of it.

It has been some months since I last said this, that when I whine about not finishing the project in time for my deadline, it is that one specific novel I am on about – project AD.

When I say I haven’t written anything I often mean to say towards the main project specifically – because in all honesty, even on my hardest of days, I am still writing something; be it poetry, songs, short stories, snippets of ideas or other novels, you can bet your bottom dollar I am still producing roughly three thousand words a day elsewhere.  But for me, it’s the main project that counts.

Along with my approximate 3k words on other works and approximately 3k words toward my main project on a good day, I am also in working mode whenever I watch YouTube, socialise on twitter and read books – which means all in all I work longer than anyone should!

There isn’t a time in my day where I am not working, unless of course I am eating, because I usually use meal times as a way to socialise with my nearest and dearest and all focus is on them.

When I read a book, it’s usually educational for me in some way.  I rarely read fiction books, but that is a habit that’s slowly changing.

I was asked on twitter recently, what would I call my writing niche?  It got me thinking, because I couldn’t answer straight away without thinking about it for about ten minutes and when I thought of what it might be, I had to google it to see if it was a thing and it is; abstract fantasy.

I suppose it is abstract fantasy because a lot of my works have a lot of abstract ideas, such as anthropomorphism, breaking down the boundaries of what is stereotypical of fantasy creatures and even breaking down the boundaries of societal norms as there is a lot of gender fluidity in some of my works.

Often whenever people ask me what I mostly write I give them a long list as a reply, something akin to; I write dark fantasy, or things of a dark theme such as descent into madness survival, anthropomorphism, dystopia and a bit of steampunk and vampires.  Those are my usual go to replies – however, it says nothing really of the giants and dragons I write about and it totally bypasses the fact that it is an abstract idea not the general run of the mill fantasy everyone is cosy with.

For example, I might have dragons who dress in regency clothing having afternoon tea picnics discussing the barbarism of humanity; or beautiful faeries with butterfly wings, heavily tattooed with shaved sides of their heads in intricate patterns getting ready to wrestle a badger as a ride to go to the summer solstice party.  You get what I mean here, though lovely and fantastical it can be a little dark in the way I write things, but still not too dark for family entertainment, that’s important to me!

So I have grown comfortable in understanding I am an abstract fantasy author with mild horror thrown in here and there.

Abstract fantasy is more doable than you think – although most people would consider Douglas Adams work “Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” as a comedy sci-fi it is often marketed as abstract fantasy. 

Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Clive Barker and Garth Nix are also considered abstract fantasy authors, to name but a few.

My current project AD is definitely abstract fantasy but it does have some steampunk elements to it too, so the marketing here can be difficult unless I decide which niche it’s actually going to be and personally – I think it’s going to be marketed as a YA science fiction because I think the steampunk elements are quite big, the anthropomorphism is due to genetic mutations, the animals are building a world out of the scraps of junk humans have left behind and they are building weapons to fight each new rising faction that is occurring out of the dust. 

I think this project screams Tank Girl, Mad Max and The Fly so this is why I have chosen to market it as YA Science Fiction rather than abstract fantasy, because science is quite a large theme in the series and yes, this is going to be a series of books and eventually I plan to make them into a graphic novel, but at the moment I am not confident in doing that – so they are novels right now.

I have also changed the species of a rival group, which is why I am falling behind on the project, because I had to rewrite four chapters depicting the new species which set me back about a week, I am happier with the idea that this rival clan is sheep rather than rats as I felt that rats are overdone as bad guys.

Also the main character has a disability, which I felt is often underrepresented in literature, so I am proud of that and it really makes the story, it really works well.

This story has bought back the fun in writing for me, which is something I haven’t felt since 2015, it has a lot of wacky ideas which work and I am so proud of.

But Project AD is definitely not my only project, no worries there.

This is part of a series, but it is not my only series I am working on and there are plenty of standalone novels too.

I have a vampire saga I am working, this is probably going to be my longest series of all my books and again I would market them as science fiction because of the fact that my vampires are not originally from Earth and they do space travel from time to time.

Another series I am working on has twelve defined stories and there will absolutely never be more than twelve books in this series because it would defy the plot, there is a specific reason why the number twelve is important to this series.  I have mentioned this story before as Steampunk 1 and this story will be marketed under steampunk because it’s quite rigid in that genre.  It is a lesbian romance of travel companions who explore new cultures and debunk science together.

Another is a dark fantasy about ghost children, this is a standalone book and I won’t say much else about the plot just yet.

There is another dark fantasy about a haunted teddy bear, which I’ve vaguely mentioned two years ago approximately.

There is a dragon trilogy I am working on.

A series of stories about giants in the same world, but all different characters, with their own stories, but it is a specific world; so far there are five planned, two half written.

A werewolf novel, which is a standalone – the plot isn’t exciting enough yet and needs a lot of work!

There is so much more than this, there is no need to worry about me being a one trick pony, honestly!

I can’t focus on one thing for too long it triggers my ADD really bad and I am always juggling ideas, some for years being remastered time and time again – but there is more to me than just anthropomorphic mutant warriors having gang warfare and vampires flying around in spaceships and lesbian balloon riders debunking science… much, much more!

I am also working on a series of books based on angels and demons and the bible etc., there is just so much fighting to get out of my head!

In my next post, I am going to be talking about how I structure my stories and how long my ideas can take to write on average.

Thanks for reading!

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Dystopian 1

This idea has been around almost forever with me!  This idea originated when I was fourteen years old, back in 1996!  It was only really thought of seriously though from 2003, after I had made friends who loved wrestling and were training to become wrestlers themselves!

It was originally thought to be a planned gimmick by my group of friends, but they abandoned this idea as many of them didn’t make it into wrestling professionally.  They all gave me permission to run with it still if I wanted to, but I changed a lot of their plans to create this story to make it feel more unique and mine.

What will you find in this story?

Gender identity challenges

Wrestling

Fight for survival

War

Bio-punk themes

Anarchy

Fallen Civilisation

Close female relationships

Mother and child relationship

Martyrism

Freedom fighters

Coliseum style fighting

Cage fighting

Animalism

Feral children being shown humanity

What influenced this story?

My friends had a huge part to play in the basics of the story.

Various professional wrestling companies, characters and their gimmicks

Mad Max beyond the thunderdome

The cage fighting scene in X-Men with wolverine

The hunger games (eventually influenced later drafts and adaptions to the plot)

The movie Amazons and gladiators!

In particular the female wrestlers Luna Vachon and Chyna, as well as the WWF/WWE wrestling stable Legion of Doom!

The movie – Escape from New York

Spartacus stories

World war Z (in later drafts and adaptions)

I have been slowly working towards chopping this story down a lot as it became a huge series of books and I am unsure I really want this to be a series after all, not deleting anything, but chopping it down into becoming a standalone with potential to then expand later on, if the publisher wants it.

I have a passion for wrestling shows and dystopia and so this is a longstanding love affair and it’s going to be difficult for me to finalise the edited version.

Happy reading everyone!

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Do you show yourself up?

I have started my writer’s journal yesterday (6th June 2022) and I was finding it insightful rethinking how my projects developed over the years and how I have grown as a writer.

Because I get so wrapped up in my projects I often forget to post on my blog, so I often do blog posts around two weeks in advance, just to help maintain activity here – because if I don’t, the blog goes quiet for three months at a time and I don’t like to do that!

Anyway, going back to my first paragraph of this post, I discovered that certain projects were bland when I originally started them – but over time, they fleshed out really well and morphed into something completely different, even character names changed to suit the new situations that ensued.

For example, I had a young child protagonist who was originally seven years old, she then became twelve and now the character is going to be fifteen.  Simply because of how the story developed into something much different and my goals are very different today than they were back then!

I also only had around five characters that were friends of the hero and helped her on her journey; this grew to become nine solid friends and a small number of fly by helpful friends.

I decided the villain dies in the end and that so does the heroine too, but this changed, I leave no spoilers as to my current decision or you’d be looking for it in any book that sounds alike, when it gets published.

But what threw me was the fact that the book developed when I developed – I don’t mean creatively developed, I mean, its subjects developed with what was going on in my life at the time of writing…

The heroine was a runaway –then she was not.

I was a runaway at the same time this story originated in my mind, the characters plot of running away changed, when I no longer felt the need to run away in my real life. 

This is a development I didn’t notice until I revisited the writing process to add to my current projects journal – it is interesting.  I used to pooh-pooh the idea about creative people subconsciously putting their lives into print and that people psychoanalysed everything that wasn’t really there, but, you know… I think there is something about all of that!

If you write a certain theme, it’s because you think or feel or have experienced it in the past or at the present and it is coming out in your writing. 

So be careful at what you are writing out there, I know a lot of real life bitches who tend to write a lot of romantic dramas where there are mega bitches and they just think, their work is set apart from themselves… but… hey… what will literary psychoanalysts say about you in the future, what will they see in you through your work?

It does reveal a lot – I have a writer friend who writes a lot of childish roles in her stories that are not entirely based around children and she struggles a lot with her inner child, she is trying to be mature, but she just can’t hack it and she doesn’t mind I am writing this, I asked her!  But she found it amusing about how accurate this seems to be even with her!

I know another writer who always wanted to be a rock star or a Goth, but was always nervous to do so because of societal stigma, particularly within the Jewish community – so, they write those kinds of characters.  Sorry I didn’t ask them about this, but being that they aren’t named… do they really mind?  I hope not!

You don’t know it until you see it!

But you write yourself in everything!

Since learning this, it has kind of made me paranoid about what people will think about me… but then again… I am happy with who I have become and I am happy I am not who I used to be anymore, so I won’t stress too much!

I just don’t want the analysts to harp on about my mental illness all the time and look back on me with pity!  I don’t like that.

The journal has been a revelation.

What is included in the journal is my journey and thought processes about what is happening in the book – any movies or books that influenced those pivotal scenes, are my characters actually a mock-up of say, my favourite movie characters?  Yes, actually, I can see that a lot in my work!  But it is unique enough to not come across as a total rip off!  That’s very important!

I have even included lyrics which also helped me think of scenes, with references to the singer and the song name. 

Why am I doing this?

Because these journals are on a work by work basis, when I get a piece of work published I have this goal that if I sell ten thousand books, I will send out to publish these snippets from my writers journal to show my readers how I got it done and what influenced me, because I don’t know about you – but I am a very nosy reader!  When I read an author’s book, I want to know more about them as a person, what they think and what they like so I can see who influenced them!  Because I love evolution!

Being a creative, whether you are a writer, song writer, musician, artist etc; you are going through an evolution which will influence and inspire other creatives in the future.  This is exciting and I love this sort of thing!  I am obsessed with evolution, particularly the evolution of the mind, culture and society!

At this point in time, there are hundreds of works by other people who have influenced all seventy nine of my nearly finished works, yes, seventy nine!  There have been many things which have influenced me several times over in most of my works and those are;

Nox Arcana music, art and lyrics

Neil Gaiman’s works, particularly his prose and comics

Colleen Doran’s Raphaelite style artworks

Various wrestling shows with their gimmicks and storylines

Aurora Aksnes lyrics and music videos

Anne Rice vampires

Vampire movies in general

Modern gothic art, particularly by Anne Stokes

Tim Burton’s movies and artworks

Ancient myth and legends worldwide

Roald Dahl’s works and movie adaptions

Lady Gaga’s music videos and lyrics

Stephen King’s works and movie adaptions

Brian Froud and the Froud families’ artworks and puppet movies

The Mad Max series and franchise

Mafia movies and history

Max Brooks works and movie adaptions

Children’s classic bedtime fairy-tales

Marilyn Manson music videos

Queen music and music videos and adaptions

The Rocky horror picture show and its adaptions

Suzanne Collins works and adaptions

The Animals of Farthing wood

Watership down and its adaptions

Wind in the willows and its adaptions

Monty Python TV shows and movies

Terry Pratchett’s works and adaptions

Johnny Depp’s characters

Robert Downy Jr’s characters

Gabriel Byrne’s characters

Al Pacino’s characters

Bette Midler characters

Kathleen Turner characters

Pam Ferris characters

James Earl Jones characters

Bon Jovi lyrics

To name but a few, I know it’s really a lot, but its few in the real number of influences I have had over the years!

So you see – you are what you are and you can’t hide it!

Happy reading everybody!

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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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