Tag Archives: Roald Dahl

Writers that influenced me Part 3

Roald Dahl was one of the first two authors I first discovered and loved throughout my childhood and got me into the habit of reading because of how much I enjoyed their works; the other author was Eric Hill, I was a major fan of Spot the dog.  But Roald Dahl really knew how to identify with children and think like them.

Roald Dahl was one of the first authors I experienced who actually understood how children think and how children might behave in certain circumstances and I enjoyed and respected that about him.

All too easily adult authors try to avoid the snotty nose kids covered in mud aspect of childhood and try to portray children as mini adults and it isn’t accurate!  Many people try to show that children can be brave too, but Roald Dahl fully understands that a growing person often feels fear; especially when they are alone in the world dealing with some pretty big stuff going on around them, how often children are disregarded and ignored by their elders, often in reality children are made to feel inconvenient even by those that care and love them.

He did all of this whilst never deviating from the fact that although some children can rebel and do nasty things to their elders, they still have a certain amount of innocence about them and I admire the balance he had in his stories.

Christopher Moore’s books are hilarious and I read them whenever I am having a hard time, because he is just so funny!  I love how he plays with ideas and makes fun of the aspects of society which seem to be the most serious.

Although most of his books is all about humour he never deviates from excellent high quality storytelling and never forgets the real seriousness of the lives he is writing about, because although he is a light hearted absurdist he is also very dark. 

Again I believe his books have shown me how to write in a balanced kind of way.

Ransom Riggs books are absolutely wonderful, when I first read “Tales of the peculiar” my first book I ever read from him, I actually thought he was an old European storyteller from the times of the brothers Grimm or something and was actually genuinely surprised to find out he is a contemporary writer. 

Reading his books gave me the confidence to realise that the way he wrote the stories is not outdated and it has a certain charm that contemporary readers still enjoy, I always liked this style of storytelling. 

Again I loved the darkness in his books and he sometimes portray the ickiest things with light-heartedness, he has an excellent imagination which shows me that anything you can dream up can be accepted by readers, because he has done it.  There has been times where I felt my own works were too light about the dark aspects of my own stories, where I felt I should think about reader sensitivities, but in doing so I lose myself and my readers will lose too as there are many out there who likes this kind of stuff – I am not alone.

Ransom Riggs is very good at showing how different cultures view things, that not everybody thinks and feels the same and that if magic was part of our reality there are many things we must consider about how magical cultures will be so much different to our own, in such fantastic ways.

Happy reading.

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Steampunk 2

Steampunk 2

This project started at around 2014 and I have been procrastinating a lot with continuing this, I have bursts of wanting to add things to it about once every four or five months, but those only last a couple of days.

I feel it’s a complicated project because I believe the believability of this fantasy steampunk may not be believable enough to its readers as I think this idea is very out-there…

I think it is only a matter of confidence really.

This idea is a family collaboration, including ideas from both Henry my son, and Paul my partner. Mostly the idea came from Christmas morning in 2014 I had such a bad chest infection we had to celebrate Christmas in bed. This meant, Henry enjoyed carrying up his presents to me on the bed to open them so I didn’t miss anything! In Henry’s eyes, it was the best Christmas ever, because it was so different! But then he says that every year! He had this idea my body under the duvet was a mountain for his cars to drive over and this started our game, which built this story!

That was a bad year for my chest, I was admitted to A&E (ER) the next day as it went into pneumonia, at this point I had had the infection since Halloween!

Below is what you may find in this standalone novel!

Giants

Inventors

Religious figures

Philosophy

A coming of age hero

A close grandfather and grandson relationship

Steampunk themes

Environmentalism

Existential crisis

Corny humour

Gross humour

Family friendly

Poetical interjections

Climate change

Trolls

Bio mutualism

Debunking sciences

Debunking mythology

This story has been influenced by many things, primarily throughout my childhood rather than adulthood!  This story wasn’t decided upon entirely until 2014, but I had little thoughts here and there since I was about eight years of age!  So maybe the origin of this idea is much older than I originally said?

Here are my influences below for this particular story;

The never-ending story movies (never read the book)

The princess bride (the movie)

Are all the giants dead?  By Mary Norton

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The Matrix movies

Land of the giants (TV series)

The borrower’s books, TV series and movies

Gulliver’s travel and the movies

Innerspace movie starring Martin Short and Dennis Quaid

Noah’s ark from the bible

The shrinking scene in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory movie starring Gene Wilder

I am pretty slow with this novel, because I don’t really have much of middle, unlike most of my other stories I do actually have a beginning and an end, but the middle is rather bland and needs a lot of work right now to make it more fleshed out and exciting!

I don’t suppose this work will actually be done within the next five years, but it is one of my top ten favourites to think about.

I haven’t completed draft one in all of this time!

The novel is hollow at the centre, because it has a beginning and it has a definite finale, but I just haven’t got much in the middle yet.

Thanks for reading!

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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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My brain takes me here…

They say that the books you love to read, the movies you love to watch and the things that stick with you the most can be seen in your own writing. 

What you love is often reflected in your writing and once you know yourself well enough you write better.  Once you throw yourself into all of your passions and are writing things based on your passions or similar to your passions unashamedly, you will develop your style and you will therefore come across as unique and fresh in the genres you write.

As long as you stay true only to yourself, do not write for the market, write for you!

I hope this is true.  If it is, then you can more or less guess from my likes and dislikes what could end up being in my novels.

I don’t like to be predictable though, but it is true that there is a little of what I love in everything that I do

Below is a list of stories, books or movies in which I mentally visit and live in a lot, for some reason or another, I am dragged back there to relive scenes or add new ones in my mind.  However, I never write those reimagining’s down through fear of becoming a fraud!  Though I have sometimes thought about doing fanfiction!

1922 By Stephen king – this story in particular has actually influenced a horror I am writing, which is based around a well in a garden too, funnily enough.  But the story concept is poles apart besides the setting of a well. 

Spider By Hanns Heinz Ewers – Every time I see a spider I remember the story.  Every time I see a woman working at a loom or spinning yarn, I think of this story.  You would think that wouldn’t be very often then, but I know a lot of prepper, homesteading type ladies who do this regularly.  I have wanted to do this myself; I have always wanted to make my own felt too. 

The complete collection of The Wizard of Oz By Frank L Baum – So many imaginative things in all the stories, living china dolls, servant monkeys, it’s absolute joy!  The landscape descriptions, oh my word, they are divine, I just can’t help but bring myself back to those scenes. 

Smoke and Mirrors By Neil Gaiman – So many lovely stories and poems in this book, I presume they are poems in any case?  I see them as such, I love the prose, I just love the way he writes!  It is very soulful writing. 

The man in the picture By Susan Hill – This is the only book in my entire reading history, of such length, that I have read and could not put down even for a toilet break!  It is just so gripping and I loved it, it had a similar air to Dorian Grey, but in my opinion much better executed.  I love Venice, never been, but still, always wanted to, love with a passion masquerades and carnival life. 

Matilda By Roald Dahl – Ever since I was little, since Victoria Wood read this on TV I have loved this story and nagged my mum in buying me the book, but she never did.  I must have borrowed this book a hundred times from the library before I became an adult and bought it as part of a trilogy compilation.  How I wished that my soul got angry enough with the people in my life that I could play with the supernatural like she did!  It may have solved a lot of my childhood problems, or created worse ones, who knows? 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Very alike to Wizard of Oz, the scenes are great, but I also like crazy characters, madness or at least the descent into it ideas.  I love kooky takes on animal and plant life and this was such a joy to behold.  The artwork etc, I love everything about Alice in Wonderland and I have an addiction to collecting Alice in Wonderland novelties.  There were times I pranced around in life hoping I fell down a hole where things were very different too. 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – If you can actually manage to read the whole book and get past the awful main scene, you will actually find this book very deep on an emotional level that is not just traumatic, but beautiful too.  If you read deeply, push past the horrible stuff, it is very meaningful.  How the dead view the living, how the living cannot move on until the dead does, what dead children do in the heavens.  Living out their wildest imaginations; yes, a lot of it is weird and sickening, but I urge you to try and edit those horrible bits out of your mind and read it without those bits.  It takes strong stuff to do that, I know!  But honestly, it is a lovely book besides. Try to skim the nasties.   

Confessions of an ugly step-sister by Gregory Maguire – I love Cinderella anyway, but this plot was good and more to the way that I thought it was behind the scenes.  I love how I learned real history in this book too, the bit about the tulips in Holland.  By the way, that’s another addiction I have – tulips.

I.T By Stephen King – I used to be scared of clowns, big time, before I even learned about Pennywise, but it is funny to actually say that I loved the character Pennywise so much it lessened my fear of them.  Weird I know!  In the past two years in particular, I have lost my fear of clowns entirely and now enjoy them, in fact, they are becoming the main projects for my art!  I just hate the scene of little Georgie.

The Mad Max Movies – I have a thing for life on the road, roguish living, post-apocalyptic tribal societies and the general chaos of survival as whole societies descend into madness.  For this reason too, I think I like the next movie;

Reign of fire movie – I love subterranean settings and when you throw in dragons in a post-apocalyptic world I am in my element. 

Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins is another subterranean setting I love, full of gothic elements such as bats, rats, roaches and gore with an edge of the apocalypse feel to it. 

The Blue Bird starring Shirley Temple – this has been in my mind since I was a very small child, a lot of things about this movie can be seen in small snippets of some of my work.  I have mentioned Old father time and I have cats and dogs which can take on a human form, children trapped in dream time in a couple of my stories to date so far.  No Spoilers, because they were just passing things in the plot, not the actual plot at all.

The Karnstein Trilogy – I love this much more than Dracula, I love the movies and the books they were based on.  I loved it so much that I had been heavily influenced by this trilogy my whole life; I have had to be careful when writing my vampires in fear of coming off as a plagiarist.  You may see what I mean with what I mentioned in “The Blue Bird” paragraph.  I have had to learn to chop up everything I love and move them around genres and different stories, like some experimental stir fries. 

I shall write about the tropes and scenes and types of characters I like in future posts – keep eye out for those!

Happy reading! 

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Marshmallow World Review

One of my most favourite songs for the imagination at Christmastime is “Marshmallow World” lyrics written by Carl Sigman, the music by Peter DeRose and was a hit sung by Bing Crosby in 1949.
It captured me with the descriptions of landscapes of snow being of marshmallows, whipped cream and sugar. I often wonder if that is where Roald Dahl got his inspiration for Willy Wonka from; it isn’t very difficult to see why.
I myself have often seen in my mind similar landscapes for a certain story I love writing. Though I am not too happy about getting that particular story published as to me it is just overly descriptive with no real plot, though I often thought about making a story based around an Easter world.

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