Tag Archives: creative

Prompt result 1

Today’s prompts were Mermaid – lightning – apple, blue and bird. 

For me the searches I had found prompted these following ideas.

  1. An electric eel mermaid from the deepest depths of the ocean is trying to prove to the other mermaids who live up higher than she does that because she comes from the darkest depths that she is not evil and dark by nature. Unfortunately she loses her temper trying to make the others see a different side to her that she accidentally electrocutes a prominent figure in the other mermaids’ society and she swims away, higher and higher until she gets to the surface of the ocean, where she befriends a blue sea bird. 
  2. A woman is trying to organise a mermaid theme birthday party for her daughter’s eighth birthday. Many trials and plenty of errors meant that it was a struggle for her to find mermaid theme food for her daughter, but she stumbles across a recipe for blue chocolate apples in edible glitter stuffed into an ice-cream cone and that saves the day! 
  3. A bird has magical powers of throwing out lightning from his beak befriends a beached and sick mermaid and he brings her apples to eat from the island she is beached on.

Now all of them are very good ideas for stories, whether they are flash fictions, short stories or full novels who knows what will happen with those story-lines?  I am not claiming these story-lines, I am merely demonstrating how easy it is to play with ideas with a few keyword prompts and how you can train your brain to do this in everything you experience day to day.

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Learning to get around ADD?

I think I have to accept the fact that I have had attention deficit disorder most of my life, but was never diagnosed and still not diagnosed, this is the analysis that a couple of friends of mine have of me as I do seem to be disorganised and easily distracted – look there are butterflies outside my window right now hovering and ducking each other in and out of the lilacs! 

You see, that wasn’t a mock of people who are diagnosed, it is merely an example of exactly who I am and how I think.  Yes sure, I can sit down and write but I really struggle to stay here for more than 15 to 25 minutes at a time; I struggle to do anything longer than 30 minutes.  Watching TV is great if it is a varied show like Gardeners world or sketchy comedy (I think that’s what they are called, where they have mini 5 minute scenes?) I love movies, but I tend to need an intermission every 45 minutes for toilet breaks, getting a drink, or just generally not sitting there doing nothing and for me it doesn’t really matter how riveting the movie or anything else is, I just have this urge to move on for a few minutes and I will get back to that.

When I write I can write 750 words in 15 to 20 minutes, this is not revised and unplanned pantsing style work.  What irritates me is when I start to write a story then go into prose or poetry mode at the same time about the same thing, no I don’t want that to be my thing, but my brain starts to make songs and poetry of my stories a lot, this is usually a sign for me to stop – because I generally start ruining the story by letting it flow like that.  Though I suppose I should just edit those things out after I have done the book?  I don’t want all of my books to be musicals.

So I tend to write in 15 to 25 minute bursts, on days I try to write a set word goal, I need to break this down to 15 to 25 minutes an hour or every two hours until the word goal is completed.  For NaNoWriMo that goal is usually completed in about two hours but spread into three most days because of mental irritation.  This is not three hours of solid writing, please understand that.  I will start writing generally around 9am and by 9:25 I am going for a toilet or drink break and maybe checking social media or a game; then I am writing again around 10:15 till 10:35ish and getting a snack or thinking about checking on the wildlife in the garden.  Then around 11:30 I am writing again and at 11:55 I might start thinking ok, should this be it for the day?  It’s not that I don’t love writing it’s just I tend to overwork and I burn myself out and people usually have to remind me not to overwork!  Because you see there are certain types of animal in this world which have a feast or famine mentality and that is very much like me regarding my writing.

What you saw above was me struggling to write the same story without deviating throughout that whole day and throughout that whole month in NaNoWriMo, so basically it is a normal NaNoWriMo month for me.  A usual day to day writing habit is a little different in that every time I go back to writing it is poetry, writing down intense ideas because I don’t tend to like pantsing everything, then there are diary entries, blog entries which happen rarely to be honest, more ideas flow into my head and I would say around two thousand words a week are honestly going towards just one novel.  Well, I agree with my ADD friends, this can’t go on.  I have to accept the fact I am one of them and learn to cope with it and learn a way in tricking myself into doing more work without so many breaks!

How?

By accepting the fact that the reason why I have so many brainstorms for new ideas is because my brain is easily bored with old ideas, so I need to either learn to write short stories quickly or learn to write several novels at once.  You see, I used to do this before 2010, before writing became difficult – I used to write around seven books at once skipping merrily every half hour from one project to the next, but then I was advised by so many people not to do that as I will be killing my creativity and not putting enough love into just the one I should be working on.  Well, to be honest, I know now, the opposite is true, because since taking on those ideas for a decade now, I barely write and I barely enjoy writing as much as I used to.  In fact I remember last year telling Paul how I think my love for writing has died and that my new love for creating art is becoming more of a thing.  Well, I do with my art what I used to do with my writing; I have/had several art projects on the go at the same time, flitting from picture to picture as the whim took me.  But I realise now, I know me, the people who advised me not to write like that, didn’t know me that well and still don’t. 

So I have decided, as from today, I am going back to the old me.

This worries Paul slightly because I get tired when I try to write more than two thousand words a day lately and back in the old days of my writing I used to throw out double that and sometimes even the occasional 10k a day spout.  But I think I won’t wear myself out if I go back to my old style of writing, flitting from one idea to the other because I am not easily confused with my stories.  I know categorically my ghost story to my vampire story, my mermaid story to my pirate story, my other vampire story to my werewolf story and my deity story to my leprechaun story.  Yes I write many stories at once with the vampire theme, but I know my vampires so intimately I don’t confuse plots, it is difficult because they are so different, the characters are so different.  I know the difference, even if my friends and advisers think I am toying too much with my own mind, the thing is that it builds up slowly for me and so I get to know them intimately like real people or books that already exist if you understand me?

It is like knowing a Fred and an Alice in real life, I know that Fred won’t like Alice because he doesn’t like eco warrior vegans and Alice won’t like Fred because Alice hates people who hunt for sport and wafts bacon in front of her nose.  Fred might be a big business man living in a rural setting at the weekend and lives a party life as a bachelor, whilst Alice is constantly researching climate change and the latest protests, living in suburban Greater London and seeking new vegan recipe ideas; it is as simple as that for me.

Now this isn’t bad, I have written this in forty minutes without vacating the area, but now I really have to stop.  So bearing this in mind, starting my new/old way of writing again, I could be producing more stuff quickly again, which would be amazing!

No more forcing through the same novel day in and day out, I have to do what my brain needs me to do.

P.S throughout all of this writing today, I had also had two conversations with Paul and four conversations with my rabbit.

 

 

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Writers and non-writers

A lot of non-writing people think that when you say you are a writer you have had books published and you are successful and have a lot of money or you are a social recluse.

They imagine that I sit for three hours a day or more just tapping away from beginning to end the same novel day in and day out until it is finished and then post it to the nearest publisher and within a week or two I get a phone call about how great the novel is and how I should expect to join some top celebrity at some award ceremony somewhere and become a millionaire within a year. 

But this couldn’t be further from the truth unfortunately.

For me, writing is mostly planning, writing short snippets that doesn’t go anywhere and redoing work I have already done.  I don’t follow a set pattern to my work as my brain (as well as most other writers I know) doesn’t have an organised brain like that.  Also quite a lot of my time as a writer is spent imagining things freely without writing, because the thoughts sometimes come too fast that I simply cannot type or write fast enough!

I will think about my vampires one minute and do a paragraph there, then I am onto the mermaid story and do a few lines there, then my brain will give me an altogether different idea and I have to write three or four pages of the proposed plot down immediately before I forget it, then I have to edit the three chapters I finished last week as I felt in the mood for it.  That is the life of a writer – me!

A majority of my work will never see the light of day because I worry about its content.  Is it too violent?  Are the sexual scenes too graphic?  Is this touching a socially taboo area?  But I don’t stop writing them because it is a part of who I am, but it does mean that the public will never get the full and raw me and I don’t think that society ever does get that from any author anyway.

People who don’t write don’t understand that there is much more to writing than that and for a lot of people who do write, it is never about the money and it is never about the fame.  Take me for example; what spurs me on to write?  Originally what spurred me onto writing was the fact I enjoyed it too much not to do it – the second reason was that I hoped my stories would become movies.  I really do still hope for the latter.  But it is not a realistic dream yet.

I don’t intend to be a scriptwriter, which makes it all the more difficult.  I don’t like the idea of my privacy being invaded when I am out shopping as I can often suffer from anxieties in new places and having a famous face someday will just add to the stress for me.  But despite this, I love people and making them happy.  I wouldn’t be human if I said, I don’t want the money – but being rich from writing is also not realistic.

Which begs a question as to why I do it then?

I do it for the love of writing and the love of play.  I am a very playful and imaginative person who constantly lives in hope that there is always something better than this.  I believe if you don’t like to play and you find writing hard work and you want the money and the fame and you don’t believe there is something better than this then you are wasting your time.

I love entertaining people, I love being a hostess, I love sharing ideas with people, I am very much a people person by my very nature.  I have often thought about becoming a life coach or a creativity coach as a lot of people who know me describe me as a very motivating bubbly and uplifting person.  I don’t see why though.  Because to me I am a very pragmatic and often sharp person with people, particularly those I find who are ignorant and arrogant or both. 

Despite dreading fame for the having my face noticed in public and despite the fact that becoming famous through writing is probably a pipe dream, I do still fantasize about how happy I would be seeing how happy and excited strangers will be whenever they see me around.  But it scares me witless too, what lengths would some people go to in order to be near me?  It terrifies me.  But I am more than happy to be polite and friendly to any who come near and by me, entertain them as much as I can but I would just want to get on with my life, do the shopping, and spend time with my family out and about without such concerns.  I suppose I get the fear of the behaviour of fans from my mother, because my mother is the sort of fan who screams and charges at celebrities whenever she sees them – I couldn’t cope with that as I am a naturally jumpy person.

So instead of worrying about the good and the bad, I have decided to just let life happen to me.  If the universe thinks I should have that kind of life, let it happen and hope it’s all good.  Maybe I will somehow be protected from all that fuss – who knows?  All I want to do is write, entertain and have my brain poured out onto the TV screen eventually as good movies.  That’s all I really want.  If I was rich enough I would probably produce movies instead of books, not that it would be any faster quite the contrary, but the notion of working with a large team of people playing with the same dream would be absolutely fantastic.

Besides, with the people I am related to, doing this is in my blood by all accounts and I should fine fitting in with playful, imaginative people in that setting like a glove.  Let’s hope gran was right. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Writer losing her mojo

We all have heard the saying that “writers write as simple as that” and it is really is as simple as that, but most don’t actually do it as regularly as they should or at least believe they should.  For me, I do not write as much as I believe I should because in the last few years I have lost my mojo, I forgot what it meant for me to write and I have done a lot of soul searching in the past year to find out where the passion has gone.

I did something rare for me – I re-read a book, usually I don’t re-read books unless I put them into a reference category but this particular book I re-read and saw it with fresh eyes and read things I didn’t remember were in the book in the first place.  The name of the book was “Big Magic” written by Elizabeth Gilbert.  When I read this book I asked myself a question; “Why do I think I have lost my love for writing”?  It was a simple answer really upon reflection and I would never have gotten this answer if it wasn’t for this book.  My writing became too focused on financial panic, the urge to write as much as I can so I can earn a living because I needed to break out of debts, but instead, this kind of pressure halted everything about my creative mind and I found I couldn’t do anything other than dramatic self-pitying poetry on mass, the stories and the playtime died, literally.

For the word, nothing has been published except for the things that are published on this blog simply because I didn’t want to approach a publisher with such depressing poetical themes, because I still hold to the idea that I am primarily a fantasy and horror story writer, not a poet!  I am also an essayist I suppose, because I like writing and hoarding information I have learned about my favourite subjects, but I am not sure how to become a paid essay writer and I am not really going to approach that as a career until I learn more about it. 

Anyway – getting back to the main subject of this post.  I forgot how to play – yes, even in real life, I have forgotten how to play and to laugh because of my severe depression, breakdown and financial worries.  I became so down in the dumps about my life that I had two years of being carefully guarded by Paul my fiancé because I couldn’t be left alone for fear I’d commit suicide, seriously.  One point it got so bad, Paul had to go out somewhere without me and he needed to ask a neighbour to sit in with me.  To say I am over that now, would be wrong, the slightest thing brings it back, but I am not as bad as I used to be, the self-harming has stopped a little bit and I am more predictable these days; but ultimately, the depression is still there and I am trying hard to find out how to play again, how to feel happy again and how to enjoy life.  I don’t enjoy anything anymore and it is getting increasingly difficult since the doctor is now looking into what they believe to be a very serious neurological problem, either MS or motor neurone disease, but like always there is a long waiting list here in the UK and I won’t really know what’s going on with me for several months apparently.

So, how does one go about trying to find out how to be happy again and learn to play again?  It turns out according to the book “Big Magic” and a couple of other books I have read recently that it is something most adults get out of practise of, that once you start trying to become playful and do things which are generally playful (even if you don’t feel happy doing it or feel that it is playful) you will eventually trick your mind to becoming playful and you will build up a type of momentum.  Once the momentum is built up, you will start to feel a change – well I hope so.

I thought hard about how I write stories now in comparison to how I wrote them ten years ago, was there any notable differences in how I produced work back then than now?

Yes there was a huge fundamental difference in fact. 

A decade ago I wasn’t afraid to be thought of as eccentric or insane, I would play with my imagination and I would share my thoughts and ideas no matter how obscure and strange they were with people around me and then I would write about those ideas.  I used to have a lot more creative friends too, but many of them have creative careers which have made them too busy to socialise even online, some have died, some have decided that they too have lost their playful side and have become super conservative people.

I have also found that my social circle is smaller these days which is amazing because I used to think my social circle couldn’t get any smaller ten years ago, the people who I do talk to these days are very serious people who have a worried look on their faces whenever anybody talks about anything out of the ordinary, even if you were to explain that you are an artist and a writer so it’s not a mental health problem, it’s just my mind playing with ideas and therefore there is a story in this.  You’d be surprise how people like that can dry up your will to be imaginative or to share your ideas.

Some people who have very little imagination tell me that they wished they had more of an imagination and they start to tinker with my story ideas themselves (which I don’t mind) but then they start demanding that they must change my concept on my fantasy worlds because things are just not plausible and that readers are real people who live in the real world and they want something believable, so they start pulling at the threads of my fantasy infrastructure and start literally pulling my fantasy communities apart by the seams.  It turns out that even my perfect all powerful fantasy God is not infallible, that he has other beings that will cause problems he can’t deal with and that even this God ponders who created him and so forth.  I told the person, you are going too deep here buddy, I don’t want to go that way in my story, but they insist that I must.

I became a fantasy writer because I find the real world too boring and predictable for me to want to think about and write, the idea of making a fantasy based novel plausible, to me, is laughable, because fantasy is supposed to be anything BUT normal. 

To cut myself off from such people will almost completely isolate me again, which I don’t want.  But can I really sit through another conversation where my worlds are being shattered write before my eyes?  I often feel like screaming at the top of my voice “Of course this fantasy God has a creator you dumbass, it is me, I am their goddess, I made them, but I am not egotistical enough to put myself in the book as the all-power”, does any other writer go through this?  Or is this situation totally unique to me?

So I am currently on a journey to find “My tribe” as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it and to find my playful imaginative self again and to have the confidence and focus of not listening to those who are dismantling my worlds and to continue with what I had always planned instead.  Which is a shame because these people used to feed me ideas, used to support me, but these days it is just soul destroying.  I have to ignore the world destroyers.

I wanted to join a writers group, but not sure what is involved with those and I am scared to find more people who are like that, once they’ve heard my stories.  I am trying to forget the people who are making me focus on writing purely for financial reasons and try to focus once again on writing for me, for fun, for release and for pleasure; the way it should be for all writers.

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TASKS AND PASTS

I have this book called “365 Ways to get you writing daily, inspiration and advice for creative writers” by Jane Cooper.  I have been thinking about what to post on my blog to keep it active, I am not sure I want to post up my snippets for actual things I am planning as I find it a bit personal, but I thought that perhaps these tasks would help me show you my creative writing so you can critique me, thus help improve my style or enhance my work. 

I don’t lack confidence in my writing, because each to their own and I understand that not everyone is going to like my stuff, but I do want to be more involved with my blog and I do want to know if my writing does need more improvement.

I don’t want to worry about grammar and punctuation at the moment, because the priority for me is to get writing and be more active in the creative community than be a pedant, because being a pedant (and coming across many other pedants) was what made my writing stop for several years.

I have many friends who are artists and not many that are writers and the artists tell me that the worst thing that any artist can do with their creativity is to try and make it too perfect before it’s finished, because then you lose the heart and soul of your work and nobody will like it then; writing is not different, many writers like to look at themselves as a form of artist and visual artists like to consider anyone who is creative as an artist too!  Actors = performance artists, writers are verbal artists, painters are visual artists, singers are music artists, you get the picture – if you are creating something or trying to show something in a new light YOU ARE AN ARTIST!

One big thing I learned recently is that my writing from 2002 is completely different than the writing I did in 2008 and though you would think that I had been writing that time and had obviously improved my craft, you would be wrong!  I became a pedant and people who read my work were also pedants, they were grammar Nazis and they were not interested in my genre and they were going on about honing in on my style of writing before I actually wrote the stories I aimed to write to the extent, I found I lost my heart and soul and so did my stories.  I became a show don’t tell writer who turned into a tell don’t show writer and I didn’t know it until only last month, when I was revising three neglected stories to revive, two of which came from before 2002 and were rewritten in 2008 and 2016 – that is how I could tell that I had lost my way. 

I also sat back and wondered about why I had lost my passion to research, read and write?  I blamed a lot of things and people for it, but ultimately it was because I had lost heart and I was no longer giving momentum to those three things that used to bring me joy every day.

I lost contact with several of my favourite forums and journal sites because of some spiteful bullying I endured at the beginning of 2009 from a scorned ex – that broke my network big time, I had developed decade long relationships which were broken down very quickly with his childish games and I just didn’t want to be anywhere where his energy had been at the time.  This caused me to go into what I call “Creative Isolation”.  I had only two creative friends who stuck by me after that event which spread across thirty websites!

But anyway, the blame still lies with me.  I allowed this to affect me in such a way that I created this creative bubble around myself, thus my writing suffered due to lack of oxygen and lack of oxygen made me lose momentum and once momentum is gone it takes will power and a lot of pushing yourself to get it back again, but you can get it back again. 

This is why I mentioned the above book.  I am going to do tasks in the book and post them on my blog for you to critique, I may not respond for a few days at times, as I often forget to check my mails and comments, but I will get to you in time.  I take my craft very seriously, sometimes too seriously that I forget sometimes that it is supposed to be fun.  I know the book has 365 ways, but I will not do one task per day, I may do many a day or my own random tasks whenever I can.

Another post may follow tonight, dependant on what’s going on with the family tonight; We’ve been pretty busy lately and it’s not just me who appears to be sick either, so bear with me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inktober challenge 2018

 

Tomorrow is the start of Inktober and Wednesday is my 36th birthday, yesterday Paul (my husband) and I went out to select my birthday presents and I chose to concentrate on stocking up my art supplies.  I chose to take on two new Medias this month, inks and oil paints.

As you can see in the photographs I have eight different colours from the Winsor and Newton range, traditional black Indian ink, apple green, silver-metallic aluminium, purple, blue, scarlet, sunshine yellow and peat brown; I wanted gold but they were sold out, so I have to buy them another time.  I didn’t realise until I had got home that these inks are mixable, which meant that I would have needed the white I saw there, to mix with the scarlet to make a sort of pink colour.  I learned this by watching some YouTube videos which showed me how to use the ink for various effects in art.

I am very new to inks in this format, usually I draw with inks from felt tip pens and biros, but I wanted to do something a little more traditional – so I bought a dip pen for drawing and mapping to help me, I was tempted to pick up the big black feather quill I saw there too, but I forgot to put it in the bag at the end of my shopping trip, I was limited to a budget of £75, so I wanted to see if I had more money for it at the end of the trip, I did, but I forgot it.

I also bought a pack of 28 limited edition sharpies that are fine permanent markers, another thing I have never used before.  Now all of this didn’t cost me £75, there were other things I bought too – but I took a photograph of the things I specifically bought for the start of Inktober, which is something I am trying to do very seriously this year.  I have also bought a pink mixed media sketch book with forty pages, specifically for this event. 

For those who are not in the know, Inktober is an annual event which lasts for thirty one days throughout the whole of October, where artists are urged to use inks in their art in at least one picture per day and to record these pictures on social media – the idea was bought about by a guy called Jake Parker, it’s a sort of NaNoWriMo for artists.

I am hoping that my best friend in the art world, Erin Cooper is going to do Inktober as seriously as she normally does this year as before now, I have never took on the challenge as seriously as I aim to for this year – it would be fun seeing what each other can do this month.

So, the challenge starts on October the 1st, all you need to do is draw with inks daily, until Halloween and you’ve officially passed Inktober, miss a day and you can go to the imaginary Wall Of Shame!  Well that’s what I will do to myself, if I miss a day, lol.

 

 

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Creativity & self-esteem

A unicorn skips across the meadow into a world you can only imagine

It bounds to places unknown to man

It does so, because it can

A ghost is just a whisper of a past lived in flesh

Its message is not always clear but it is always received with gooseflesh

A memory is like a ghost, it shimmers in the mind

A glimpse of the past like a silhouette clings to you in a bind

Some are happy, some are sad, some are good and some are bad

Like the creatures in your head, a memory is good when it is fed

So dream your little dreams some more

Wallow in their scenes

Treasure each little pocket

Though it may never been seen

For you live a creative life, though wasteful it does seem

The pictures that are in your mind, helps your self-esteem

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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.

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One random thought

I drew a skeleton but it came out as a cartoon style skeleton, wasn’t my intention, I had hoped for it to look like some serious gothic artwork, but no, it’s comical instead.
Then a few days later I drew a cartoon style hedgehog and the expression on its face is more sinister than my attempt at the gothic skeleton, funnily enough I put both of these into a drawer and forgot about them for several months, then when I was sorting through my drawers I came across the two pictures and put them into the art pile I made, both were cut out and around. I didn’t realise it until I walked away and came back with a drink, that they both, together looked rather comical. The hedgehog was between the legs of the skeleton looking upwards at it, the skeleton looking nervous and the hedgehog sinister, made me think of a silly idea for a short story about a demon hedgehog gynaecologist and this skeleton being its patient – however, this idea is too dumb; I am not going to do it.

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Gathering creative inspiration

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

 

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