Tag Archives: Stephen King

Who influenced my writing? Part 1

Over the next few days I will be choosing three authors who has influenced me the most in writing and why; what did I learn from them by reading their books and so on? There will be eighteen in total and they will be placed in alphabetical order each day. Enjoy my first three;

Suzanne Collins showed me that writing about politics is necessary, particularly fictional politics, because politics is a major factor in every bodies lives whether they are interested in it or not.  Nobody can escape the politics of their country or their culture and their lives are influenced by it more than they realise!

She showed me that the government can eventually become anything and do anything and that it is our job as writers to think of all possibilities that could occur to arm the public with the knowledge to understand political trickeries. 

Her books showed me how to write characters that are trying to survive dense political control and how to overcome them in ways which inspire others, rather than just being a rebel without any real cause outside of themselves. 

She has also taught me through her writing, that even the most disgusting creatures deserve love and respect, because she is certainly the only writer I have ever read that actually made me feel sorry for and cry over the death of a cockroach!

Neil Gaiman showed me that writing has to be fun and you should play with ideas no matter how silly they appear, all ideas are worthy and all ideas will find people who love them! 

He showed me not to be afraid of my own sense of humour or my sense of darkness either and that everything about the worlds you build should have some kind of balance to them. 

He showed me to find sense of humour in dark things and to find dark things in the light!  He is very clever at this in all his works! 

Also no matter who the character is, their position in society, their outward personality, everybody has a hidden side, a fun side and he shows this well in his works too! 

Stephen King showed me not to make my writing too pretty because it doesn’t help your readers identify with your world.  In order to make a realistic world you need to put in some of the bad nitty gritty stuff occasionally.  People aren’t perfect, people falter and have flaws and every character you write about must show their flaws as much as anything else.

If you are writing horror, you have to get over yourself and your own sensitivities in order to write it more effectively, because if you are uncomfortable and squeamish and give yourself nightmares over what you are writing, then congratulations you are a horror writer that is going to succeed!

I’ve learned that you can find the most fearful or disgusting thing about anything if you put your mind to it, even a gentle walk in a flower meadow will have its horrors!  A dead rabbit lying amongst the flora rotting away with maggots and flies, or an earwig hunting aphids on a bellflower:

Thank you for reading! 

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Books saved me from crime

I haven’t been raised to be who I am, I was raised to be something quite different and I fought against that system heartily because it felt wrong, corrupt and somewhat evil.

I read ferociously, reading was my weapons against self-destruction.

I am glad I took the quiet path and found solace within the pages of books – because the other path would have been a huge detriment to myself, my life, any offspring I had and perhaps a loss of art from my perspective – because the alternative path would have been a life of sordid means and running away from problems, skipping town to town to avoid being tracked by my past abusers and potentially I would have followed one of my older siblings into a life of crime.

Instead the path I took was a weird one, for the type of family I was raised in.

My mother often told me she was disappointed that I appeared to be some kind of flake, some kind of weird little creature who sat in dark corners reading books and seemed alien to what she said was a normal person’s idea of fun!

So what did my mother think was a normal person’s idea of fun?  Going out Friday and Saturday nights drinking themselves into a stupor with your friends, gorging on take aways and BBQs wherever possible and bothering the doctor about your strange back pain, without telling your doctor that you recently fell off a balcony with an 8ft drop because you were too drunk to realise what you were doing!  Oh but that’s not all, pick on the quietest person in your group and make them do things they’d never do without your cajoling and bullying – oh such fun!

Then on Sundays spend all day cleaning the house whilst worshipping God in the form of watching biblical movies in dead silence. 

If it wasn’t for books I would have successfully ran away by the age of fourteen, I knew at that age the only people who’d help me on the street were the bad kind and I was near enough prepared for it because I needed a way out.  I knew from past experiences of other women in my life that once you are in that kind of life, it is hard to get out of it, but I very nearly took that chance.  Thought that maybe I’d earn my way out, but you never do.  The big kick which knocked sense into me was that I had a cousin who had the same notion – only she had the guts to actually do it and came back home in tears, black and blue and with a new found drug addiction only a year older than me, she didn’t know, like I did back then, that it’s not only sex they get you into for money, but drugs too and in order to sell it, you have to take it yourself like a good sales person.

Fifteen years down the line, it killed my cousin. She was murdered when she was clean of drugs for nearly 2yrs as an effort to win her kids back from welfare and stumbled across her old dealer who was desperate for her to buy again! It could have been me, if I chose the same path.

Drugs was a big issue for me, because I saw the damage it did to several of our relatives growing up, drink and drugs are bad, very bad, it changes people heads, make them do stupid things and then they fall apart in tears because they genuinely didn’t meant to ram your head into the wall fifteen times, they were just stressed that’s all!  So I never wanted to experiment or be lead into it.  Several near misses though of people trying to sneak it into me, but I was paranoid around strangers and never accepted food or drink from anyone just in case!

No, after what happened to my cousin I decided to stay as the quiet one of the family, lock myself away in my room because if I didn’t, I’d usually end up the night’s entertainment!

They treated me like a circus freak, something to poke fun out of, to test, experiment with, to scare, to have a laugh with her, see what she’ll do next, like some kind of trained monkey or puppet.

Despite all of this, they still had the audacity to call themselves god fearing Christians!

If it weren’t for books, I wouldn’t have wanted to be a writer.  Because I thought movies were just movies, people playing pretend and they made something good together; it didn’t occur to me until I watched several Stephen King movies with my horror loving grandma that I kept seeing in the credits “written by Stephen King” over and over again in most of the movies I watched.  I knew when I went to markets and charity shops that Stephen King books were everywhere and I decided to collect and read them at the age of 9.

My grandma was very encouraging – another horror fan in the family made her feel less lonely.

I realised at the age of nine most books I liked were movies and that movies very rarely come from other places; I liked movies and I wanted to watch my ideas on the TV or at the cinema.  I wanted the world to visually see what I see in my head or at least adaptions of it.

Books are a love – but mostly I love movies, I am very stimulated by vision and art.  I learn better with visual cues for example – I have mild dyslexia and dyscalculia as well as ADD and Paul thinks ADHD.  If something visually pulls me, I lose concentration on other things because of the interest it holds.  This can be difficult at times because I can zone out on people if I find something visually attractive about the environment around us, fashion, hair, or even a beautiful person – now that one can be awkward!

So, I am really writing in the hope that my books make it to the movies and if they don’t then I have a plan B.  I will give my first book out to publication and if there is no interest from movie producers to make something of it, then I will have to bore myself to tears to learn technology where I can create my own movies online.  How?  I don’t know, but I hope it won’t come to that!

One major type of book that saved me from a life of sex crime etc. was non-fiction psychology.  From the age of 9 I taught myself how to pacify aggressive people without becoming too submissive or self-deprecating, how best to react in violent situations and how to talk to angry people.

Now it works to a certain extent on a vast majority of people and I have been commended in work for excellent customer service and hospitality skills, but there is a small margin where the advice can actually make some people more aggressive with you – my mother is one of those.

If I didn’t emotionally react to her behaviour with me, she’d get absolutely hysterical, come close into my face screaming and then slap me repeatedly about the head, because damn it, she is going to get the reaction she wants because she needs to feel her power over me!  Because she is insecure, that’s all, my fear and tears make her happy, because it verifies to her that she is strong and she is still alpha.

It wasn’t until my mastoid surgery when I was seventeen that she was positively shitting a brick about hitting me, because I have a vulnerable spot at the side of the head would could be lethal if bashed.  So she tried other tactics to hurt me in other ways, usually the legs.

In 2012 it was a book called “Toxic Parents” by Susan Forward that helped me finally tell someone outside of the family and family friend circle about my mother.  They responded in horror, they were a nursery worker for my son Henry.  They got me a nurse and a family support worker to come and speak with me and then the police came to give advice too.  Unfortunately their advice was, get her out of your life or it may affect your ability to care for your son appropriately, meaning that we could take court proceedings to put your son into care until we feel that you are safe!

Because my son did sustain a head injury earlier on that month due to my mother encouraging him to do dangerous things, such as deliberately climbing onto the dining room table to jump off it onto the floor, he was 14 months old and had only been walking seven weeks!

She didn’t want me to have children, you see, it wasn’t part of her plans.  She wanted me to stay home forever and become her nurse when she is old; she told me this over and over as I was growing up.  I accepted it, because it’s what daughters do, but mothers tend to want their daughters to thrive, be independent and happy in their own right too and usually good mothers want their daughters to expand their family, don’t they?

She didn’t.  She didn’t want what she called “more problems” that came in the form of new family members – she didn’t want me to go out alone and make friends, because she liked to micromanage my every waking moment.  It was hard for her to allow me to go into full-time work and she’d often sit in her car all day long outside my work place waiting to see what happens, if I leave early etc.

On some occasions I was ten minutes late in leaving the building because my boss required extra work, my mother would embarrass me by making a visit to the building demanding to know where her daughter is and how they can’t push me around into doing more than my times worth!

I often lost jobs because of her.

Because I knew how she liked to micromanage me and because I wanted to be a good daughter and keep my head down and please her the best I could, until I could convince her to allow me freedom and a family of my own – I decided to talk with her about me becoming self-employed with homework of some description, there was always an issue for her and that never worked.  Because she would become obnoxious when I was on the telephone (up until 2015 I had perfect hearing in the left ear), so keeping those jobs was a task too.

She revelled in telling people about how lazy I was, how she is stuck with a quiet reclusive freak of nature that is eating or starving herself to death periodically and has no enthusiasm for life whatsoever.  Not true, I had no enthusiasm for the life she wanted for me.

I had a lot of ambition until I gave up wanting.

When I was twenty seven I left her to move in with Paul, it was done sneakily but I had to do it that way.  By thirty I had to stop all contact with her, because she is a respected matriarch in the family that meant I had to say goodbye to everyone except for a small handful of relatives on my dad’s side of the family.

She would never know or appreciate that all I ever wanted in my life was for me to be considered a daughter that was good enough to stick around and help as much as I did.  Good enough to trust out alone, good enough to get chores done, good enough to deserve a good husband and family of her own and good enough and trustworthy enough to be humane enough to want to care for her mother if she ever needed it.  I didn’t need to be moulded and abused to do that, but she didn’t understand and I don’t think she really cares.

Because I messaged her in 2014, two years after not speaking to her and I said to her – I am willing to forgive and forget everything about the past, if she is willing to tell the truth to others about how my life was like and repair my reputation in the family and secondly I’d come back into her life if she could allow me to take full charge of my own life because after all I am a woman of thirty now with my own child – she said no, she won’t do that.

I said well just give me permission to live life how I want and I will work it out with the others myself.  No, she said, I won’t do that Tina, because I don’t agree you know what is best for you and as far as I am concerned, you don’t need that permission really, what are you playing at exactly?!

So I said to her – are you telling me then that I have got you wrong?  That you’ve always allowed me to make my own decisions and you never intended to interfere?  No she said – I never said that and you know what Tina, this is the end of the conversation.  I leave the ball in your court, come or go as you please, but I won’t change – I stand by the fact that you haven’t a clue about life and that you are a stupid, stupid girl and as far as I am concerned I wish you never have any more children, you made a stupid mistake when you decided to keep that one! (This was in reference to my Henry who was planned and is very much loved)!

I also wanted to point out, that the message came about because I wanted to tell my mother that I was hospitalised with an ectopic pregnancy and how my plans for a large family could be over and I was feeling suicidal over it – because all I wanted in life was to be a mother of a large brood.

Books have helped me heal from that too… books are magic aren’t they?

Thanks for reading! 

P.S my idea of fun is… picnics or eating out at buffets or country pubs with a large group of family or friends, rowing on a lake, visiting a zoo, playing with dogs, doing messy arts and crafts with kids and playing pretend with my creative and kooky friends, oh and swimming, I love swimming and gardening or being in a beautiful garden that isn’t overlooked! That’s the light side of me… there is a dark side too… What does that part of me like?

Once again friends or family around me, snuggling down with a horror movie – watching thunderstorms, creeping people out, telling a good story, having sex and generally being my weird self!

And guess what!  No drink and drugs for any of that is there? Well, erm, maybe the pub lunch eh?

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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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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! 

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A wry smile to judgemental people

How many stories did you choose not to write because you felt you weren’t original enough, because you have found something similar during writing your story?

I wager it happens almost on a constant basis and you feel you can’t win, you can’t be original and guess what… you’re partly right… you can’t!

But then again no one can, all stories, movies etc are from borrowed ideas, the thing is, they were not written by you, in the exact way you want to write it, so in a roundabout way, it is original.

There have been hundreds of stories I gave up over the years because I felt defeated over their content, it was like the world was taunting me with “it’s already been done you fraud”. 

But if you read a lot of non-fiction, particularly biographies of other writers and even book and film reviews etc, you will find that you are not alone and you are not a fraud.  Around 2015 I nearly gave up writing altogether, because I had a hundred ideas and all of them were taking several times over in some way or another.

Even Harry Potter has been done multiple times and there are two similar stories where the main character is called Harry Potter!  A very low budget 1980s horror movie called Troll had a main character called Harry Potter who didn’t realise that his neighbour was a witch battling an evil wizard who kidnapped and possessed his sister in the basement after turning into a troll.

Even if you want to be so unique writing fantasy, the chances are, your unique conglomerate of a name may have already been done somewhere, either as fiction or a foreign cultural mythos.  I was caught with this a few years ago, I thought I had a wonderfully unique name for two characters in my fantasy story, Shannara and Melissandra… two of the biggest fantasy works out there had already used those names and I didn’t know until a friend asked me who I was trying to kid!

I thought nobody would be silly enough to write about man-eating rabbits and guess what they have and from what I read in Danse Macabre by Stephen King it was a jolly good horror movie as well!  Then, I felt the world was testing me again, because a year after my idea the movie “Curse of the were-rabbit” came out, but thankfully it was nothing like the thing I wanted to write (which for your information I decided against).

I also felt like a fraud when I wanted to put pen to paper to write a story where all the childhood heroes, Santa, Easter Bunny etc would team up together in another world because something happened to the children on Earth – but again I gave up that idea because of a movie which came out that was similar – a movie by the way that I love and is a family favourite nowadays!

I had this idea of a post-apocalyptic world where the only survivors lived on a permanently mobile train to survive because leaving the train was too dangerous… Hello snowpiercer!  I worked on this novel for five years whilst I was learning the science behind the stuff I wanted to do in this book – after seeing the movie I had a three year sulk, the book may still get written but it definitely won’t be because of climate change now!

The main heartbreaks happen when you realise that you don’t know your subject well enough that this and that has happened before – vampires my dears, my vampires have been done so much before the world has become bored and complacent over them – that is heart wrenching, but when you discover you worked hard for three decades on something and find a big corporation older than you have done half of your ideas, you get to feel like you shouldn’t bother anymore!

I got to the point about a year ago where even a novel title would get my heart racing for all the wrong reasons, because oh my god, it is another thing that is going to prove to me I am wasting my time as a writer!

I force myself to read and watch reviews of similar things lately and even read or watch them, just to make sure if I am panicking for no reason… Paul assures me my ideas are similar but so far removed that it won’t be considered a copycat.  I am still nervous nonetheless.

I am also nervous about the fact that around a third of my books I consider comedy, not all of them, just around a third and that some of my ideas may come across as cameos of works that have already been done by other people and may be received with criticism, because they think I am being critical of them!  Yes, I know I am a worry wart, but it is something to consider!

The thing about me is that I like comedy, but I also like to be considered serious in other works.  I don’t know how to balance that out if I were to become a published and known author.

I have thought about making it uniquely refined by choosing two pseudonyms, one which concentrates on family comedic fantasy and the other which is for my darker and more serious themes in horror and dystopian fiction.

But as the world grows ever more sensitive to the content of fiction, it also raises concerns in whether or not I might actually be too taboo for my readers?  I worry about the state of the world in that people are developing such horrific sensitivities about bad things in life, that they want to hide it all, thus making it go further underground and making it lost to history so that history will eventually and inevitably repeat itself, because it is just too god awful to be shown and be remembered!

Rape, suicide, racism etc are really awful things and I do nothing to glamorise it, but because I write it, it doesn’t mean I enjoy or partake in those things, it just shows my experiences in life and that this is life in all its cold and horrifying ways!  Why hide it?  Why criticise it to the extent it can’t be written anymore?  Most of my novels are not set in contemporary times; they are set in the past or the distant post-apocalyptic future.  You want realism and yet you can’t stomach it?

Grow a thicker skin for the sake of your children, because they need to know this stuff goes on eventually, so they don’t repeat the horrors of the past!

For me, writers block doesn’t exist – what throws me off writing is all the judgemental ass-hats out there who think that uniqueness comes ten a penny, when in actuality, it doesn’t exist!  What throws me off, is trying to please the masses by making my writing so passive and politically correct, you won’t want to read it because it’s too damned boring and unrealistic!  We can’t all skip around in daisy fields, kissing strangers and pretending we’re all care bears my dears, if we did that, you’d say we’re all a load of pot heads!

I have offended so many people with this post, no doubt you’re going to sweep me under the carpet and forget me and unsubscribe because I hit a nerve or I caused some kind of trigger in you… but hey, that’s life, trying to go around all the time pleasing everyone will send you mad and I am not even going to try anymore!

I am what I am and I write what I write, like it or dump it!

But know that regardless of what you choose to do right now, I love you, because we’re all cousins and you stood up for what you believed in by unsubscribing from this awfully mislead and evil person!

Happy reading!

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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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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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Stephen King’s Dark Tower Multiverse?

I am planning a long reading project specifically focusing on Stephen King’s Dark Tower series; however, there is more to the Dark Tower series than meets the eye, so it seems.

When it comes to Stephen King I am a slow reader, because I find his books very long most of the time, it takes me an average of 3 to 6 weeks to finish a King novel, yet here I am, planning to read approximately 19, could be more!

Because I know my attention span is almost non-existent in almost every context of my life, I know that this reading project will probably span over 5yrs for me – that is realistic, because knowing me, as I do, I know that I will not just focus 100% on these books, there will be other books thrown into it as well as I have a heavy penchant for non-fiction and anthologies and my goodreads current reading list has 13 books in it, some are non-fiction reference books I started two years ago.

There is a YouTube video I watched the other day which tells you in order to better understand the Dark Tower series you should really do further reading between books of the series to understand the novel more; why?  Because a lot of the characters and things within the Dark Tower books can be found in other non-Dark Tower books by Stephen King.  What I find strange is in my opinion this is not a comprehensive list, because according to the YouTuber they mention that “The Shining” is mentioned in these books as well as Carrie White, yet these books are not part of the list he gave.

Here is the video if you are interested… https://youtu.be/4pmxpfPfzOw

Now before I jump in and read his recommended list I will be researching other people’s suggestions as well before making my decision where I will start.  No doubts at the end of this project I will have created my own list of recommendations because personally I think I know Stephen King novels like the back of my hand, I have been watching most of his movies and reading his stuff since I was 8yrs old, I have just got slow with reading altogether since 2006.

Also I was extremely hasty in 2009 when I wanted to run away from my parents’ house, I gave away half of my unread Stephen King collection to charity, because I was downsizing to the point I could take almost everything with me if needed.  However, I never had to do that and if I had known that before I gave away the 200 books I had from other people as well, I would never have truly given them up willingly and the DVDs too for that matter!

This memory makes me extremely sad because I had almost completed the collection for the Green Mile at the time too!

Anyway the above list was shown as this, to be read in this order;

  1. Salem’s Lot (seen the movie)
  2. The Stand (owned read to page 40 on average before weirdly getting the flu, this happened on 4 separate occasions I read the book – spooky!)
  3. Dark Tower – gunslinger (owned never read)
  4. Dark Tower – Drawing of the 3 (owned never read)
  5. Eyes of the dragon
  6. The Talisman
  7. Black House
  8. Everything’s eventual (not the title story yet but everything else)
  9. Dark Tower Wastelands
  10. The Dark Tower Wizard of Glass (owned never read)
  11. Insomnia (owned never read)
  12. Bag of bones
  13. Dark Tower wind through the keyhole
  14. Dark Tower the wolves of calla
  15. Dark Tower song of Susannah
  16. Everything’s eventual (the title story)
  17. Hearts in Atlantis (the 1st story)
  18. I.t (owned, read halfway before mastoid surgery made me forger to finish it, seen the movie too)
  19. Dark Tower

As you can see there are at least three books missing from this list if we were to include other mentioned characters from the Dark Tower.  There is no recommendation to read Carrie, The Shining or Doctor Sleep.  So those who are not au fait with Stephen King but want to read this epic fantasy series, really would not get the idea behind the mention of “The Shining” or Carrie White, how much more has this YouTuber left out I wonder?

So until I have watched a few more videos and viewed a few more blogs based on other reader recommendations, I will have to keep this project on hold, because I don’t like to miss a trick wherever possible and no, I don’t like spoilers!

Happy Reading!

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5 movies that made me cry

Bambi

I think most people would put this one down in their list, if they are sensitive to animals and loving nature etc.  So this just speaks for itself really.

Paulie

I love the movie Paulie it is in my top 100 all-time favourite movies, but it is emotionally hard going for me.  The poor little blue crowned parakeet, had a tough little life, but initially his life was good, he loved a little girl with severe speech impediment and helped her along.  But then one day her father came home from the army and demanded the bird be sent away, because he was getting the girl into dangerous trouble. 

The bird goes from person to person over many years and always, his personal goal was to go back and find his little Marie, the little girl he always loved.  The movie has all sorts of drama and adventures in it for the little parakeet; some are hard going for an animal lover like me.  But I loved this movie nonetheless, but if you are like me, you must expect a whole host of different emotions throughout the movie consistently and it is a big rollercoaster ride, let me tell you! 

Marley and Me

This is the most recent movie I have watched that made me cry, I watched it only a few days ago, it was the first movie I had watched in four months.  Again, an animal made me cry!  I just can’t stand sad movies where animals die!  But I keep watching them anyway, because my most favourite kind of movies is those with animals as main characters, children or vampires.  So, yeah, quite contrasted mixes!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Look, I know you are confused here right now, but you really have to know me, in order to know why this cuts me up big time!  I just find some vampire movies very romantic, with this whole, reincarnation and love re-discovered concept and how people are willing to literally sell their souls for love.  I know, it’s screwy, but stop being judgemental here, we’re all different right? 

I cried when Dracula died and she was clasping at him broken hearted and in a catch 22 situation where she was literally torn between the dark and the light side; the best for her and the worst for her.  Being wholly human and experiencing as many emotions as a person can possibly handle all at once, all the for the sake of having to choose which love to love and which love to let go.  Yeah, I’m weird, who cares?

I.T (1990)

I can’t even watch this one for five minutes before my tears start!  Little baby Georgie, that was so gruesome and I have to admit, I very nearly didn’t watch the rest of the movie because of it.  I just hate that scene, yes; I watched the movie before I read the book when I was 15.  If I could magically jump into the TV and save the kid I would have… violently!  But I am sucker for being shocked and disgusted and for pushing my own boundaries in an oftentimes vain attempt to try and harden myself up to the worst aspects of humanity.

The amount of times I have often gone back to the scene in my head and it is me who is mind fucking the clown to death, not him getting away with it!

This is what I love about Stephen King though; he knows how dark reality really is and he doesn’t shelter his readers from it like some other more (supposedly) considerate horror authors.  There is no nannying when he writes.  Sometimes the vocabulary is vulgar as is in life, people are vulgar as in life, things get twisted, as in life, it is all real, it is brutally real his stuff, despite it being fictional, the general concepts are real things.  Death, brutality and murder, war, disease is not a pretty thing and should not be romanticised at all, he does this wonderfully, he takes the poetry out of death and that is good, because it shouldn’t be glamorised!

You get authors who write about TB for example and they gentle tell you about the coughing of blood in the tissue like they are dying elegantly; But if Stephen King were to write it, he would talk about the ear hacking coughs, the phlegm and the retching of the patient and the dribble down their chin stained with coarse dark blood and their loved ones, scared for their relative, recoiling and choking on the smell oozing from their loved one.  That sort of thing and that is good writing, it is realistic! Who wants TB glamorised gently?  Aren’t books supposed to be educational?  Stephen King definitely gives you an education!

But yeah, generally, my heart breaks when a kid or an animal dies in movies.  I even cry for some monsters because they are misunderstood, not Pennywise though, but I have cried for a couple of King’s monsters.  Lol.

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Learning about prose, poetry and verse

I am an almost entirely self-taught writer and artist, I have never received proper formal training in my creative endeavours; the closest I believe would be the English Literature GCSE I did in distance learning college when I was twenty one; I am never sure if my grammar or punctuation is correct and I have little confidence in how professional I come across.  I am confounded when I hear that many writers will edit and reedit their work even before they blog it, to me, every blog post, every blog poem and story is a first draft – is this really so bad to confess?

I never really had proper schooling as a child either; my time within the educational system was sparse with long bouts of home education where my very dyslexic and sheltered mother would be my only teacher.  Even as a home educated child, I was mostly self-taught via books from the library or videos and magazines – I never got my hands on the internet until my seventeenth birthday and I only got it because my mother was pushed into it by both my brother and society as a whole – because when I reached college age, most things I needed were online and hard to find offline.  My pleads with my mum for the internet were only heard when several times we entered stores inquiring about college books and other things I needed for my studies and was told to go to the web – which for several weeks my mother thought was some new brand of shop and she kept looking for it everywhere, until my teacher explained to us both the web was actually the internet.

I never learned, even to this day the difference between poetry, prose, rhyme, haiku and song.  But I am starting to learn – better late than never, eh?

Rhyme and poetry, are they the same?  I don’t know yet – but it is prose that throws me.

Haiku explanation is the simplest of the lot – but what makes a song?  Is a song really a long poem that repeats itself?  I think it is, but not clear.

This is why I lump all those things together in tags – most of my things are rhyme or poetry I believe, though I am not sure I quite understand how to create a stanza – what is a stanza?  Is it just a paragraph?  I don’t know, I am still learning.

This blog is as much about my learning of the craft as it is my doing of the craft.

I must admit, other than just doing the craft, I don’t do much learning of it.  I never actually went out of my way to read books about how to hone my craft and understand the terminologies – the only exception to the rule are the books I read on how to write fiction and how to write generally – such as Stephen King’s On Writing and Julia Cameron’s the artist way and that sort of thing.

It is only recently that I learned to try and not to write numbers down like this, I was 21yrs old and I ate 5 mouthful of peas – instead I know that I should write I was twenty one years old and ate five mouthful of peas – it seems rather basic, but they are important things to learn.

I consider myself an artist, though I have never sold a piece of work purely on the base that I never know if my work is finished properly enough to sell – for example, do I have to varnish a painting or preserve it in some way and if so how and what do I do?  I have researched this online and I don’t find the kind of help I need.

So this post is just letting you know that I am still on a learning curve about what a poem is and what is prose?

 

 

 

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