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Other hobbies

What do I do when I am not writing?

Quite a lot actually, because I don’t write much at all these days; I have lots of ideas for things to write but I think illness has made me lose focus and passion for it.  I was a lot more passionate about writing than I am nowadays.  It is simply because pain distracts me and makes me lose where I am heading – coughing fits and a severely runny nose are the biggest contributors for throwing me off course, yanking me out of the zone, as it were.  As I have said before in many posts, I live with a perpetual chronic cold, with ear, nose and throat infections thrown in.  It isn’t just a sniffle, I wish it were, but I can get through five hundred individual tissues on a bad day, two hundred being the norm for me.

Since the 21st December 2019 the only things I have written are what are on the blog and approximately 5000 words of non-posted works of other things, but nothing contributing to my novels.  Hand written notes of other ideas are not included in this, I am spending more and more time in bed these days as I can barely move.  All these problems are giving me severe insomnia and hypersomnia.  What do I mean by that?  Well I don’t sleep at night, I seem to sleep better during the day, for some reason my chest and sinus is worse at night.  When I do eventually sleep during the day I sleep between 7 and 16 hours in a stretch, to wake up for 2 hours in a choking fit with a dry crusted mouth.  Not a pretty visual I know.  I can go 30 to 40 hours without sleeping, purely because I am too busy clearing mucus from my system.

So it isn’t any wonder why I lack focus and concentration really.

Basically, everything I do when I am not writing, are things I can do at home, in the bedroom.  Primarily with my desktop computer, as I have recently had it moved to the bedroom due to the fact I am often too sick to get downstairs these days and I have moved my laptop downstairs for the rare occasion I am down there for more than an hour.  Because my legs swell a lot sitting at the computer desk, I can only sit here for an hour before I have to rest with legs up for thirty minutes, to get the swelling down, so even if I am on a roll, my ankles start burning and that throws me off course and I have to go and put my feet up.

I read approximately 30 to 80 pages of a book per day and about half a magazine too.  The types of things I read the most are fantasy, sci-fi and comedy fiction with a lot of non-fiction thrown in; the non-fiction I enjoy are self-help books, nutrition books, history books, theological research, mythology, folklore and cultural studies.  My current reading list is Time Song by Julia Blackburn, The Toll by Neal Shusterman and Roy Vickery’s folk flora. 

I do puzzles such as codebreakers, arrow words and gardening magazine crosswords – before my chest got too bad I used to love doing 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles, but it is frustrating having a coughing fit and losing pieces across the room all the time!

If I am not too busy fighting mucus, I get to knit, crochet, sew or practise my recorder and keyboard. 

I watch TV only if there are documentaries I am interested in, I mostly watch Smithsonian and BBC four with some Drama channel thrown in.  I will watch anything with Lucy Worsley, anything about the history of jazz, soul and classical music, nature and wildlife documentaries, documentaries about farming and country life.  I like science too, so I will watch sky at night and space science programs as well as things in the past such as time commanders, gladiators and the occasional wrestling show.  I love comedies, I only watch the comedies on the Drama Channel, but I am picky about which ones to watch.  I like only connect and some quiz and puzzle shows like Countdown, but I don’t watch them all the time.  I have to be in the mood to watch TV and before I was sick I watched around three hours of TV a week, these days it’s about two hours a day.  We never miss Michael McIntyre’s Big Show if we can help it, nor do we tend to like missing gardeners world or shows such as the RHS show, cruft’s and BBC Proms.  I’m pretty old fashioned I suppose for someone who is thirty seven.  I dislike soap operas and drama llama stuff – yes I mentioned the drama channel, but there are three hours a day where it is strictly comedy and I tend to only watch that channel (at the comedy times) or food network when there is nothing else on.  Sometimes I put on a DVD and I will often choose vampires or family animations and comedies. 

The main things I do these days are play games online.  I don’t even socialise that much online anymore, because I lose concentration and people who know me are starting to think I have memory problems.  Because a coughing fit will make me forget what I have said or what I was on about.

The online games that grip me are… Roblox, yes Henry got me onto it and to be honest, Roblox has saved my relationship with my son!  Because I find his kind of games hard to do since becoming sick – Roblox has opened a whole new world for us and we play hide and seek and various other games together.  When Henry is at school, I still sneak onto the site and play bee swarm simulator, Ripull mini games and fairy simulator.  Bee Swarm simulator especially!

Other online games I play are ovipets it is a cute breeding game on facebook and I have been addicted to that for nearly 5yrs. 

Flightrising is another breeding game, but I go in and out of phases with that.  Primarily I have played this for a whole eight months without a break, purely because Henry wants to see what dragons I breed and he loves to name them and do what we call “Dragon Lottery”.  Dragon Lottery is where I look through the offspring possibilities scrying menu to see what will happen if I pair certain dragons up, sometimes I can’t decide, so I make a list of all the best ones that go with my chosen female that day and I number them, then Henry, Paul and I will choose a number from the list and put it through random.org and sometimes someone gets the number right, in which case that person must get a treat of some kind or get to choose to do something; I breed five pairs of dragons every five days, because that is how long it takes for the eggs to hatch and we have a limit of five breeding nests on this game. 

I used to play online scrabble but I have got accused of cheating because I know too many unusual words.  I don’t cheat on that game, I don’t see what purpose that serves other than the joy of creating misery on another person who loses and I am not a vindictive person like that.  I really do have a broad vocabulary, though I rarely use it outside of scrabble and I love doing anagrams for fun, so I see a lot of seven letter words and I am a dictionary and language addict, so I know words that are weird to normal people.  Here is a list of words I know for high scoring on scrabble, which have got me accused of cheating when used previously – plus, I have read books written by scrabble champions.

ZEBU – QAT –  QUARE – SEQUIN – AWK – EUOI – AIA – QI – KIMCHI – VEX – VAV – TAV – EAU – UVEA – AEON – OXIDE – POXY – QIN – QINTAR – FATWA – QABALA – QADI – SJOE – KHAKI – EUOUAE to name but a few.  I have to admit I was shocked when SEQUIN was considered a questionable word, the others I can understand, but I was sure almost everyone knew what sequins were?

I love words and word play so much I have considered about having a word of the week thing, but I am unreliable with keeping to things like that, as you can clearly see from past efforts or lack of.

Other than sketching with pencils or sharpies in bed and/or colouring in and story planning, I don’t do much else on a bad day.  On a good day I can add about an hour of light gardening to the list but not much else anymore.

I’m pretty boring I suppose, by my peers.  I can’t even cuddle the rabbit lately because I cough too much it terrifies the poor thing!  I suppose I sound like some big barking bear or something to the poor creature.

I have gone out to the doctors and walked past dogs when I am like this and the dogs think I am barking at them, they react accordingly, it is embarrassing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fan Fiction, Alice in Wonderland scene 1

I often like writing things in my own style and image which are already published; I suppose this is called fan fiction?  I prefer to do this with old classic fantasy and horror rather than anything else, particularly my many versions of various scenes from Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, of which I am entirely devoted to as a fan to the extent of being a collector of anything about those wonderful creations.  I even quote from them a lot.

Alice was leaning against the big oak tree in her parents stately garden, it was a warm summers day with bright blue skies above and no clouds to be seen, she was thinking about life and pondering strange and wonderful things, when her eye caught a movement in the blue hyacinth bed. 

Through all the commotion of rustling leaves and flowers bobbing around like they were coming alive, out popped a little white rabbit who rushed across the garden at full speed. Alice was amazed and excited there was a white rabbit in the garden that was very unusual as wild rabbits are usually brown and drab, but this rabbit was even more astonishing than that. Taking a quick second glance Alice realised she had saw right.  The rabbit was wearing a silk embroidered waistcoat and holding a golden pocket watch, running about on two legs as though it was human.  She shot up and ran after the rabbit that seemed to be muttering something to him-self.

“Oh, no, no, no, this can’t be, it can’t be” groaned the rabbit as he was running towards the bluebell wood. 

“What can’t be Mr Rabbit”? Asked Alice, hoping she could help the poor creature.

He turned around instantly stopping for a moment looking as shocked as Alice did when she first saw him.

“I am too late to explain, please go away, no time for socialising, goodbye, I am late, late, late, late, late” and he ran off again.

Alice ran after him again, wondering what on Earth a rabbit could be late for?  She ran and ran after him so fast that she tripped over a branch that was on the floor and fell with an almighty thud onto the ground.  This made the rabbit stop once again and turned around and he frowned with irritation at Alice and took a few steps towards her.

“I am too late for all this funny business you know!  If you follow me one more time, I shall have to get the law onto you, you know?  It is not seemly to stalk strangers.” He said.

“I do apologise” said Alice.  “But I was eager to find out what you were late for”?

“Mind your own business” said the rabbit and with that he was off again.

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Word Count 4

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

This week’s word total is…

12382

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

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

The days break up as this;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It makes me feel so caged.

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

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The Thumbprint Thief (multi-source combo)

You really should read how Sarah has handled the prompts I wrote out a few days ago, she has meshed them really well with other word prompters too, it is amazing! So clever!

via The Thumbprint Thief (multi-source combo)

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August 18, 2019 · 15:25

Daily Prompt 10

Daily Prompt for today is – An electric guitar – Blood – Stag – An Aquarium – A drowning.

Now believe it or not, this was actually randomly selected, it is so strange how they all seem to interconnect in some bizarre way, well in my mind they do.

There is a lot we can make of these prompts. 

Go and have fun with yours.

 

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Daily Prompt 6

Today’s prompts are – Cobalt – Sultana (title) – Fork Lift – Archaeologist –  an engagement

These are some lovely prompts, giving me a few ideas again.  Now remember to look up images of these things to help you come up with story ideas if you are struggling to think of anything.

Now you are probably thinking how can these word prompts be lovely?  What kind of a story can I make there?  Well, though the other day I said I didn’t like to think too much on these prompts as I am overloaded with writing projects already, I will tell you a couple of things that have come to my mind with these words.

Don’t always think of the Sultana (the wife of a Sultan) is always young, no!  With these prompts I am getting a much more mature Sultana image and she is concerned about giving her son a wonderful engagement present.  She knows that an archaeologist nearby is digging near an old cobalt mine and she comes to an agreement with him to find the best quality cobalt and cobalt workers to make a gift for her to give to her son; or perhaps steal a beautiful item from their ancestral graves? She will pay him handsomely after all. But in Story Land that never happens easily does it?  Now how can you make something like this more exciting?

Another idea is that an archaeologist finds the burial site of a dead Sultana and it is beautifully decorated with lots of cobalt jewellery, pots and designs.  But a drunken assistant causes a lot of problems when he accidentally sets off his fork lift truck full speed ahead and smashes the lot, causing huge troubles for the archaeologist in not just being likely to lose his job, but also by upsetting the spirit of the Sultana herself.

See, there is a lot to play with here.

Now go and have fun.

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Myths of the tailless four arm mers

Every mermaid is expected to drown in her own tears

For the dreams she’s had for years, of walking on hot sands like a lady for a man

A thousand myths and legends tear at the mermaid’s heart

Myths of the tailless four arm mers

She has seen them in her people’s art

How she wished to be an explorer of their sands

Witnessing the dry green scape and touch them with her hands

How she wished she knew, what it meant to be dry

Dry from all her tears

 

The foregoing poem was written rather quickly and the quality has surprised me, usually I think everything I do is useless, but I like this piece.  In fact I like it so much, I feel a story coming on, whether it will be short enough for me to want to post that eventually on this blog, I don’t know, but it is inspiring me to do more and there are other poems creeping into my head of a similar theme too!

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Reading, Writing and Psychotic Creators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Vampire Loyalty

I have been watching Vampire Diaries season one this week, I have just finished episode fourteen and I have to say, I am a little disappointed with the lack of vampire loyalty in the plot.  Vampires seem to kill more vampires than they do people in this show and I have to ask, what is that all about?  From what I know of vampires if they are not solitary creatures they are pack animals and I think that the writers here had a hard time trying to decide which type of vampire they wanted to write about.  It is like they cannot decide whether they want a solitary vampire, a vampire twosome that has run away from the pack, or a pack style vampire story.

That’s my observation so far with the series.

Another observation is this, when are we going to get a TV series that concentrates purely on vampires rather than mortal/vampire romances and also throwing in werewolves, witches and other things into the equation too?  When is this going to happen?  When are we going to get a TV series where vampires have vampire relationships and there are no other supernatural beings but them?

I am waiting on that…

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snippet 2

It was midnight and Sophie was brushing her lush brown hair that she had just taken out of her beautiful bun and her eyes became heavy, ready for sleep, when she caught a glimpse of a little girl in a cobalt blue dress at the corner of her eye reflected in the mirror in front of her.

Sophie started for a moment and looked behind her, but the little girl had gone.  She shrugged this off as a sleepy hallucination and continued brushing her hair.

Crash went the vase at the other end of the bedroom, smashing into pieces on the floor making Sophia stand up in a start.

What on earth caused that?  She thought.  She started to become anxious, alone in the house with no children of her own and no pets for the cause.  She decided to get downstairs fast to phone her husband who was on his nightshift at Donaldi’s a restaurant in town.

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