Tag Archives: science fiction

Summer of cyberpunk potentially

I decided in January that my reading year will contain less non-fiction in an effort to at least read twenty five full-length fiction books instead; this has failed miserably so far, because I am always in research mode. 

So far this year I have read thirty two books and of those there has only been seven books of fiction and five of those were children’s novels or comics, one was a chunky novel of five hundred and twelve pages and the other was an anthology of horror.

Basically I am trying to be like how I used to be, I used to read one or two novels a week with two or three non-fiction books, but in the last decade I haven’t kept to that, due to only having approximately three hours late in the early hours of the night undisturbed for myself. 

My Goodreads goal is fifty two books, I know I will reach my goal a few weeks earlier than the end of the year, but I would be disappointed in myself if I were to reach the end of the year and I hadn’t read at least twenty full sized novels.

So, with that being said I decided last night (Friday) to pick up some old classics I haven’t read before and I have started to read “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” by Philip K. Dick.  I have to say, as a slow reader of fiction, I am only fifteen pages in and it has hooked me already!  But I have attention span problems and fifteen pages take half an hour and I needed a break.  I have never been able to do anymore in more than half hour bursts!

I know the next planned book is not a classic yet, but I know I will need to finish up all the currently reading non-fiction books this month before I get this one from the library “Empire of the vampire” by Jay Kristoff, I heard its some seven hundred pages in length, which at my reading speed of thirty pages a day will take me around three weeks to get through!

Funny, but I read non-fiction faster; I can get through around eighty pages a day on average with non-fiction and still retain a lot of memory about what’s in the book!  I think I over imagine scenes in fiction, that’s what it is!

So, I know that I am currently reading in some seriousness right now “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” by Philip K. Dick, that’s my fiction for the week!  My non-fiction reads for the week are “Danse Macabre” by Stephen King and “The running hare” by John Lewis-Stemple.

I think after Empire of the vampire, around the beginning of July, I will think about picking up some more cyberpunk fiction, not sure what yet, but Snow Crash is kind of calling out to me a bit, I do like mafia characters.

So that’s what I think my reading summer is going to look like!

Happy reading everyone! 

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me

Crazy mind

My mind is above a joke lately.

I am getting so many new ideas for writing and art projects that it is affecting productivity in the past few weeks!

I have no idea what has happened to my brain, but today alone I have written down synopsises of nine new stories and I have too many ideas for artwork too!

But one thing is clear; I am becoming predominantly a science fiction and dark fantasy writer; if there is such a thing as dark science fiction, well I think I am that too!

I have only managed to write plans down in the past few weeks, because of intense pain and medical emergencies – the laboratories seem late in the results, I only hope there isn’t another laboratory accident as that would be the fourth one in the last five years, where I had have to have tests redone!

I have never known a hospital that is so accident prone!

Sitting at a desk is agony and the sofa is not that good either, but it is much better than the dining chair or office swivel chair.

I am trying to force myself to work on my writing and this is scaring Paul, because I am pushing myself a lot and I have been near collapse.

I am sedentary and yet I still can’t cope?  I don’t get it, I don’ know why the pain is getting so bad, but all I know is, it is getting worse every few days!

One of the stories came to me at 3:30am on Tuesday; a Christmas fantasy in Christmas tradition and that took me two hours to write by hand, the next day my hand was swollen.

I wrote three chapters since to that project, but I wouldn’t call it hard work, because the chapters are small for me. 

Usually I’d write 3k words in a day towards an interesting subject, this Christmas story is only around 1k at the moment, Paul reckons it looks like it could be a children’s book the way I am writing it, as it is very child friendly so far.

I love the story, but I am worried about how long it should be if it is deemed to be a children’s book?  I don’t know… I am not known for writing specifically for children!

Paul thinks it could be a slightly larger than average children’s picture book, because he would like to see a lot of pictures in this story – I am uncertain personally.

I know the story has the potential to be very popular, but I am not confident on how to market this.

Anyway, thank you for reading and if I don’t post before then, have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

The fear is lifted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I read mostly horror, fantasy and science fiction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me

Sunday Word Count 4

Sunday word count four – I’m not on The Wall of Shame huzzah!

This week’s word total is…

12382

And possibly more as I have written approximately six pages of stuff by hand and haven’t typed them up on the computer yet!

It is good but I have written nothing at all for three of the days this week and my only excuse for that is I was exhausted and had gastric flu.  Yes, sorry for the TMI (too much information).

The days break up as this;

11th August – nothing and that’s because our internet is still tetchy, in fact it has been tetchy again today too. 

12th August – 1584 words, which is usually considered a low average for me.

13th August – 7483 words, that is amazing and I wish most days were like this!  Especially as it is still the school summer holiday!

14th August – 637 words, quite low and not at all good in my opinion!

15th August – nothing, because I was busy with other things, mostly reading and calming Henry down and having what seems to be gastric flu.

16th August – nothing again because of the gastric flu!

17th August – 2678 words, which is my good average amount for daily writing.  It is something I would do usually when Henry is at school; it is still the summer holidays so it is amazing I did my average word count for the day whilst he was home!

The writing I have done this week has been mostly notes towards my leprechaun fantasy, including a title change and rewriting certain weak characters to make them have more of a part in the plot of the story, because there was a lot of weak characters, some of which I will be deleting entirely once this fourth or fifth draft is complete. 

I have not included the words towards new story ideas I have had this week, there has been three new novel ideas I have had, but I can’t start work on them until all this other work is finished.  I am not bragging or anything but I really do have a huge backlog of ideas piled up in a corner of this room and it is getting ridiculous because I know that more than half will never ever be started, let alone finished as there is just too many!  I think I must be the only writer in the history of the world who has her own slush pile for what ideas might work and what are weak!

I am also weighing up something in my mind a lot recently.  I love reading and writing fantasy, horror, sci-fi and dystopian stories – I especially love and am addicted to my vampire stories, my saga I am doing.  But I am reading a lot about how a writer shouldn’t really have too many genres under their belt and this is disheartening to me because I love them all.  I can’t release my vampires or my fantasy in particular and there are at least four dystopian stories I really want to write; it seems to me that there are only really two horrors I have planned, so I can release the horror I guess?  Though I have been told by so many people that horror is more of my strength than other types of fiction I write.

I thought I could just write anything and be appreciated just as much, but the more I research the more I am finding that this isn’t the case, I could be found unprofessional and disloyal to my original fan base.  Even to have just the three genres could be too many.  I don’t really know what genre vampires can be put into, because I have found them in so many different sections at the bookstore and in the libraries that they have confused me – they are put into the dark romance, dark fantasy, horror, gothic and erotica sections – so which is it?  Dystopian novels can be put into science fiction, horror or thriller sections too.  Fantasy also has about three sections, dark fantasy, adult fantasy, family fantasy. 

I am struggling to decide which ones to say goodbye to.  My fantasies tend to be comedy family fantasies and some of them are dark, very dark and borderline horror again sometimes with small interjections of dark comedy. 

My Dystopian stories have links with science fiction ideas, new fictional type sciences and leans towards some religious or mythological ideologies or prophecies. 

My vampires are more complexed as the sagas cross into so many genres, science-fiction, horror, romance and fantasy as even my vampires mingle with fairies and so forth.

It is apparently great to be different, but not so different that you can’t define your genre.

If I can’t define my genre right now, how can any of my future agents and publishers?

It is both a depressing and eye opening reality of being a writer.

It makes me feel so caged.

I really love and adore my vampire novels so much and they are a huge part of who I am, but I am not ready to kiss goodbye my leprechauns, mermaids, giants and dragons either.  Nor am I willing to kiss goodbye my ripped up worlds full of warlords and surviving citizens and their struggle for salvation and freedom.

So who is going to take me seriously when I post out my stories to agents in a year or two?

Do you think I worry too much?  Please post what you think in comments below.

Thank you for reading.

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

Blog updates & I am not always so miserable you know?

My poems are so morbid, but when I am in my depressions I can’t seem to be able to write anything else other than all of this negative dribble and the more I am around other negative people, the more dribble I write.

No offence for those who are currently in my life, not all of you are negative, in fact some of you can be very uplifting and I don’t think you really realise your value to me.

I am trying very hard to keep this blog active again and to come a little away from poetry a bit and concentrate on the intended theme of the blog – fantasy.

I have also thought about posting more regular pictures of my art, sketches and nature photography.

I have recently joined as an inactive member to a new website I discovered called Curensea.com

The site is like DeviantArt crossed with Twitter, you post your creative endeavours, whatever they may be onto the site and give and receive opinions for it with the exchange of points or credits which can in turn become real money at the end of the money dependent upon how many tokens you receive that month.  The people’s messages are usually based on constructive criticism to help improve you in your chosen creative path – it is not meant to be destructive and should not be considered destructive at all if the criticisms are not to your favour.

Though I am currently inactive, that is my choice as at the moment life on the financial front are on tenterhooks for me, I need to get some advice about this as I don’t know if getting the tokens and being paid per month is considered self-employment or gift money as far as HM customs are concerned.

I also wanted to add another section to the blog based on something I have been trying to work really hard on in the last 2yrs – cosmic ordering and positive thinking.  Despite my woeful interludes with poetry online, I have quite a positive outlook on life in general, but like a true manic depressive I can go from really cheerful, happy-clappy summer camp rep to Wednesday Addams in a blink!

I am also learning a lot more about the Science Fiction genre too, so there might be some experiments with that someday soon too.  I know I have done some sci-fi art already with soft pastels.

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

Reading, Writing and Psychotic Creators

I am most unusual for a fantasy, sci-fi and horror fans for the fact that I don’t actually read or watch much of the big famous stuff like Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Angel, Being Human, 24, etc.

I don’t do it on purpose, it is almost always accidental or because something has got into the way of me being able to watch or read it, finances or simply not having access to a certain television channel or the time to watch copious amounts of TV in general.  I am also unusual for modern humanity in general, I watch approximately six hours of television a week and that is about it, unless of course it is a special occasion, such as Spring Watch and the other Watch programs or the BBC Proms, Crufts or the RHS shows.  Then you have to consider I don’t watch a lot of what I want to watch because I sometimes lose my hearing completely due to an ear disease I have and regular infections.

I am also an extremely slow reader.  An average reader reads at the rate of 250 words a minute, I can barely read 180 words a minute, 150 words a minute ensures I comprehend at least 73% of what I’ve read and can relay it, and I’ve done an online test for that.  http://www.readingsoft.com/index.html#results

All of this is strange because when I read non-fiction I must faster and I have a better comprehension rate, I can read about 300 words per minute with a comprehension of 84%, but I can understand it – when I read fiction I visualise too much, like I am watching a movie, I read it with a voice in my head; when I read non-fiction the voice goes and I more or less skim read but I actually remember what I am reading more.

Anyway the cusp of the subject for this post is that I am not well versed in the subjects I love the most simply because I don’t read as much as the average fan of those genres, or at least what I do read are very obscure to present fans of those genres because they are from authors who are hardly known or were a big thing in the Victorian age or the 60s, 70s and 80s. 

I tend to stumble upon movies and forgotten television series that had flopped, sank or got axed due to lack of interest from the public or were simply rated as B movies.  So after talking to several fans of these genres about what I love the most, they often say to me “So you really love crap then huh”?  This hurts, because I find those so called B movies more diverse and fresh than the big stuff.  OK the acting is often poor along with the special effects but the imagination for bigger things is there, but the average observer doesn’t see that, especially if they are not creatively inclined.

For me, a lot of my ideas come from these forgotten (or tucked away in shame) shores.  Told this, those people who know me can’t understand how my work is as good as it is, they say to me “but surely if you fill your brain with such rubbish you will produce rubbish, I think you should lay off these things in case it starts polluting away your actual talent”.  I feel flattered for that, but I also feel that if I started to read and watch the more popular big stuff, then I will start to look like everyone else and I won’t come across as fresh.

Now, I have had almost an instinctive inclination to NEVER read or watch certain fantasies especially.  I never knew why my instinct acts up whenever I try to read a handful of the big stuff, but it became clear to me in the last couple of days when I actually ignored this instinct and decided to read the first book in The Game of Thrones.  I am only 76 pages in and I have almost lost the will to continue the 2 fantasy novel ideas I had because there are 7 major things in this book that matches exactly what I have been writing for the last decade, even down to names and clothing descriptions.  Now I am trying to sit myself down and talk to my inner creator rationally about how it is not such a big thing because those are just names and names of events etc. the actual idea is not going to be copyright invasion because it is going to be a very different story, but my inner creator hasn’t stopped whining about this yet.  My inner creator was sure that I may have accidentally slipped up online a few years ago about my plans, but I had to remind my inner creator that this book was published when we were 17 and we only started on our idea when we was around 21.  I do have to treat my creator self as though I am a separate person because this is how I cope with it all, so excuse me if I sound a little you know… psychotic. 

I have an idea so far into the book that is a similar story to the war of the roses but with a fantasy twist, this is how Game of Thrones looks to me so far.  My story isn’t like that, my story is much different, yes there are royals and there is war, but the factions are not warring against themselves, families are not warring with each other if they are blood related, there is a different factor.  I am also trying to tell my inner creator the idea of the 12 banners I had can still be effective, because in ancient Earth cultures every clan had a war banner, this is not going to harm my novel or our reputation at all.  But she still panics.

When you want to be a writer you have to separate yourself from your work to maintain some sort of sanity and control over your initial tantrums, your initial emotions, you have to sort of step outside of yourself and talk to yourself like you are somebody else.  If you struggle in doing this, then these sorts of things will consistently stop you from writing and you will not finish anything; because you throw your novel across the room in a fit of rage about the unfairness of the world and sulk for the rest of your life about it, whereas it is totally unnecessary because your book will be very different.  If you sit back and view the whole situation as a second person, you will rationalise it all and be able to continue the work you love.

I have had such irrational things spout out of my inner creators mouth that I had to more or less act like a patient psychiatrist to my inner creator and say to them… “Look, how can this be so?  The author who has stolen your BIG idea died in 1886” see how irrational your inner creator can get sometimes?

Just write whatever you want to, don’t worry about copying someone else or having someone else copy you, because you need to get over this first draft, then you can weed these similarities out.  The first draft doesn’t really matter that much, because there will be many, many drafts after it before it is polished.  That is how you can write and finish your book.

Also, if you need more convincing on this matter please read this book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I consider her a genius on this kind of stuff.  Elizabeth Gilbert tells us that ideas are alive, they have a spirit of their own, they go from person to person looking for someone to write about them but sometimes the ideas are not happy with the result so they go on and on until they feel perfected by someone and oftentimes many people will get the same idea at the same time, but all of them with their individualities will be slightly different to each other.  No one can be 100% identical in the way you write, what you write, how you write it, how the ideas came to you and how others are going to feel about the work. 

Yes there are coincidences in the world, this is a world of constant coincidences and that is all it is “Coincidence”, synchronising a little from other brain waves, but never being 100% the same, just similar and you can’t get sued for being a little bit similar, unless of course you have copious amounts of sentences in your book which matches people identically, but that’s a different subject for a different time.

So stop procrastinating by reading this post and get on with your work.

Leave a comment

Filed under About my work

Henry’s take on Dr Strange

My son is getting quite excited about a new movie coming out called ‘Dr Strange’ he is a huge Marvel fan.  I was shocked to discover that Benedict Cumberbatch will be taking the lead role, because I would have thought he’d be too busy for it, but also thrilled at the same time, he is a very talented actor.

He is looking forward to the prospect that other characters from Marvel will be having their own movies in the future that would be suitable for his age; he is six years old.  He wants Elektra, Blade and Dr Octopus.

I will say however, he has never seen Elektra or Blade the current movies, but he knows them from his Trump card collection.  He also knows Elektra from DareDevil the movie, which he watched only last week.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

The Watch

I do not claim any rights to this image.

What fantasy fan would be complete without venturing into the genres of science fiction, comedy and horror occasionally?
As a Ben Stiller fan, I wasn’t too disappointed with this movie although it’s not his finest moment, but it was very funny nonetheless. Ben Stiller’s character Evan is the solid citizen of a small town in Ohio. Evan worked as the manager of Costco supermarket and one of his employees got murdered mysteriously one night whilst on security duty. Evan being very close to his employees felt that he must do something about it, so he sets up a neighbourhood watch group with which only three other local men became a member (all oddballs in some way or other).
Things turned out pretty strange for Evan and his group members as they accidentally ran something gooey over, they found a strange metallic sphere and took it home with them having no inclination that it was other worldly.
Strange people start entering the groups lives, particularly Bob’s daughters life and things get out of hand – alien sightings happen, more murders and the group becomes more and more determined to make the town safe.
The movie isn’t without its drama and ups and downs despite it being mostly a comedy, foul language rages rampant in this movie with plenty of sexual innuendos, a mass alien shoot up and twists in the plot.
By and large it was a good, if somewhat weird movie that had a very “scary movie” feel to it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Droid Pox

In a previous post last year, I mentioned that I play scrabble to rev up my brain for writing each day and also to assist me in writers block; some games take on a life of their own and bring about themes or stories unwittingly.
This happened to me again on my last game.

The theme seemed to be robots, technology and disease; it gave me a wonderful idea for a story that I don’t think I can pull off because it’s too technical and I am not a very technologically minded person.

The words played were “Droid”, “Pox”, “Robot”, “Death”, “Fail” and the idea these words gave me were…

A futuristic tale based on robotic advancements that are so great, robots take on a life of their own and a new computer virus is designed by outcast Eco-warrior type people who live rurally around the cities, specifically designed to kill off the new robotic race; quite similar to the idea behind the cyber-men in doctor who; this made me think of a droid pox that affects metals, electric and robots irreparably as it sort of corrodes the metal, this will also affect the infrastructure of the world – basically things that aren’t robot specific.

Obviously such a thing will cause a collapse of buildings, bridges, transportation, trade, importation, and society, as humans will have to start relying on their own manual labor as they did centuries before the collapse and they can’t cope – some can’t cope emotionally because some of the droids affected were disabled relatives that were given lifesaving or life enhancing robotic organs and limbs etc.

I really have no idea how to pull this off as I am not scientific or technologically minded at all and I really want to write this, but I think this will be an abandoned idea.

Shame really.

I am willing to discuss this with people who are science/technology savvy on this subject and perhaps we can work together on this story?

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Cosmic Order Cafe

The cosmic order sounds like a cafe on a galaxy highway

A stop off point between Venus and Mars

Serving alien coffees and chocolate bars

Martians stop there every day, drinking tea and ordering cake

Plutonians stop on their long journeys too, they hope to reach the Earth’s moon by noon

 It’s a funny little saying though, when you hear people shout and go “it’s the cosmic order you know”?

I wonder if it’s true, that somewhere up there, that’s what aliens do?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under poetry