Tag Archives: genre

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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Reading and writing past and present

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old when Mr Alistair a therapist/teacher told me that I had a gory imagination and extraordinary talent; back then my specialism was horror and it has only been in the past seventeen years that my writing has moved onto fantasy, comedy and poetry.  I started writing stories about alien invasions, vampires and alarmist ideas about climate change, El Niño and the end of the world.   I have for most of my life been a dedicated environmentalist, but since I talked so much in a spiritual forum about my concerns I lost confidence to continue writing this journalistically (is that a word? if not why not?), because I was accused of being a doom-sayer and me being a very uplifting positive person this accusation hurt me enough to stop me.

My first ever short story of any real length was based on Persephone in the underworld that I wrote when I was eleven.  I imagined how life must have felt like living in the underworld and even when I was that young I had a good clear understanding that not everyone is 100% evil or good, so I wrote about Hades in a positive form and it was very much influenced by my passion for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  This is a theme that has followed me through my writing life; if there is a misunderstanding in something, I am always willing to show another side to it – determined to prove to everyone that nothing is just black or white; it is a multitude of colours.  I can do this to the most indigestible of subjects too, according to a few people who have seen my handwritten work – thus I am sometimes known as an excellent mediator and diplomat, as long as the subject doesn’t get me too personally hot under the collar. 

One friend recently told me that they see me as society’s apologist, whatever that means.  I looked it up and I am not really that religious enough to be considered an apologist, though I suppose if you were to watch me answering questions whilst I am watching many quiz shows on religion, you’d say I seem to know an awful lot about religion for someone who isn’t interested in being religious.  You see I think this is where people misunderstand me – it is not that I am not religious, I am more humanist because I think that religion by and by causes division and I am all for world unity.  However I am a deeply spiritual person who literally believes in anything until it is absolutely solidly proven not to exist – hence why I leave milk and honey next to the stove at night for the house spirit (Nisse/elf) and ask permission to the tree itself before I prune it and honestly believe in various ancient customs and ideas – though I am still soul searching, but I will make this abundantly clear now, this is not an invitation to be converted to anything.  My ancestry history is so mixed, whenever I feel I should dedicate myself one way or another, I feel like I am upsetting some ancestor on the other side, so I don’t bother myself with dedication of that sort.

Anyway, this post was going to be about how I started writing and what I started with and where I have ended up.  I have written a lot of comedy and comic themes recently that I have noticed I have more and more of the fantasy and sci-fi comedy genre, if that is a genre.  I told Paul the other day that I feel like I am being possessed by the spirits of the deceased members of the Monty Python gang and Terry Pratchett, I try and write serious high fantasy and I can’t help putting in some silliness into it and I am seeing corny puns in everything!  The more I fight it, the funnier I get.

Unfortunately the comedy themes are rarely if ever posted on here, because I have made this mostly into a life update and poetry blog, rather than the intended fantasy blog, because I worry that my worst writing might be my best and my best my worse in the eyes of the world.  So I never really know which short stories and snippets to risk posting here.

I have decided to make this blog more of a writing diary, but again I have fears that I might reveal too much of my plans.  Fear is a major factor for me not posting much lately.

I have a handwritten diary I update about once a week on average because I keep forgetting to add to it – this diary is purely about my writing, my plans and any strange themes I have noticed that day or week.  For example, I have noticed I get a story idea in my head, then a book falls off the shelf in the library of a similar theme I was thinking about – weird coincidences like this happen a lot to me.  Then whilst television flicking, subjects of things I have been thinking about or themes of the day seem to be found everywhere, even on my sons chocolate wrappers as adverts at times!

I was thinking about sharing these day to day themes and the weird occurrences they have been discovered as part of my day to day blogging, as these things often develop into story ideas for me as I sit back and wonder what the universe wants me to do with these supposed signs?  What story is she prodding me towards and I believe this is why I have more ideas than actual work – I am never without a new idea, the problem for me is writing them down fast enough and concentrating on less than three at a time.  This is extra difficult for me because I am an attention deficit sufferer, I get bored doing the same thing or thinking about the same thing for longer than twenty minute bursts – hence why my current reading list on Goodreads usually has around twelve current books on the go!  It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a book, it just means I really can’t concentrate for more than twenty minutes.

Thinking about my reading list on Goodreads has actually just reminded me to make a point here on a matter a friend recently said to me the other day – she noticed that I have all these books on Goodreads I am currently reading but I only manage to read between ten and forty pages a day of maybe two or three books and she said that as far as she understands I am always reading but the Goodreads activities doesn’t prove it.  I said it is simple really when you consider that Goodreads is not designed to update magazines and newspapers and out of print books that are not listed on their site at all as well as local pamphlets and guides, game back stories, research websites, other people’s blogs and so forth. 

Here is a list of my magazine subscriptions and I do mean, I read them every time they are published either weekly or monthly;

Writing Magazine

Garden News

Sci-Fi Now

Gardeners World

Tesco

Yours

Pets @ home

Total TV Guide

Amateur Garden

Kitchen Garden

Lego club magazine

WWF membership news and stuff

Bibliophile

BBC History

New Scientist

Focus

Classic Rock

When I pick up a new magazine, that is the only thing I can read from beginning to end and it takes me around an hour to two hours – the reason why I can do that with a magazine rather than a novel is simple, the subject changes every few minutes.

Honestly, I am addicted to reading, I am addicted to downloading new information into my mind on a constant basis and I am a person who doesn’t enjoy sleep – I see it as a waste of time, but being ill, I have to sleep more than most and it literally drives me crazy!  All I want to do is think learn and do.

So there you have it!

Hello, I am Tina Cousins and I am a reading and writing addict and I don’t intend to cure myself of it, goodbye.

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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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Horror and mental illness

One or two of my poems have been considered to be short stories in my mind by me, I thought this was enough – however my husband and a friend of mine mentioned to me yesterday that some of my poems are moreish and therefore they feel that I should work on making them into a larger story preferably novel sized piece.

My husband is quite persistent about two of the poems I’ve agreed would make a better larger story, therefore he is straddling me to the grindstone and making me get to work on them because I’ve been procrastinating on my leprechaun comedy for eleven years now and I am losing enthusiasm for it.

I’ve been advised by a friend too, that my fantasy work is good, but my horror is better as I seem to write more freely and graphically, which shows that this is where my genre should be. Funny enough I originally was a horror writer, I only entered the realms of fantasy within the last decade in order to get a wider audience and I was mistaken with the idea that I would be more free to do my own thing – in horror you can do that, in most other genres there does seem to be a general protocol.

I tend to read fantasy and horror but usually horror prevails as a reading choice for me, so therefore I know that I am more experienced with horror; I also have a sadistic, black sense of humour and a lust for shocking people; which I guess makes the genre perfect for me.

I know a lot of people are getting tired of vampires but, they are my favoured creature. However, I do love writing about mental illness (considering I have experience there too) and so writing about the horrors of the mind comes easy for me – particularly if it is regarding cruelty and isolation.

The novel I am attempting to write whilst I put my leprechaun comedy on hold is based around the self-harming and mental illness of a young girl who lives within an asylum and how she got there and why, the book will concentrate on the horrors of the occult, social services, abuse and isolation. There is more to the story, but I am not going to give things away, there would be no fun in that now would there?

So forgive me if the blog is neglected for a while, my husband really wants this story written and I am looking at my previous work with fresher eyes and I am very enthusiastic about this one. Who knows, perhaps it will become finished enough for me to have the confidence to post it up for YouWriteOn.com?

Ciao for now.

 

 

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The Watch

I do not claim any rights to this image.

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

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