Tag Archives: inspiration

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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NaNoWriMo & The Monster

I needed a pep talk on the NaNoWriMo website tonight, because I have never written thousands of words down towards a novel without revising each paragraph for weeks at a time.  I am not used to word vomit.  But I am doing that with NaNoWriMo because the motto there is to ‘just write’ and that’s what I am doing and I am finding that my story is unemotional and non-descriptive and generally trashy I have to say.  But, fellow Nanos told me, it’s meant to be like that initially, you’re just piecing things together, it’s not meant to be perfect first hand.  It’s supposed to be a little more than planning stage, it’s still part of the planning, and it doesn’t start to look like the story until draft two or three or four.

So this got me thinking.  I started to think that you know what?  If they are right and professionals do write like this on a consistent basis then a novel is like Frankenstein’s monster.  You get an arm, a leg, a hand, etc. and you sew it all together and then with each new draft you make after NaNoWriMo you are trying to find the secrets to life, eventually you will get to the grand finale, you will get that lightning bolt of life you need for your monster, the story and he shall come alive!  I hope my monster comes alive by the end of this anyway!

Good Luck to all who are doing NaNoWriMo this year!

 

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Anne Stokes Aracnafaria

Anne Stokes is one of my favourite Gothic artists; if I had money I would try and decorate my house with more of her work.  As a Christmas present in 2012 my nephew Carl and his daughters gave me a 1000 piece puzzle of Aracnafaria, one of Anne Stokes masterpieces.  I finished the puzzle in just 10 days.   I am so proud of it, it’s still wrapped in cling film around a board that I had intended to use as a backboard in order to eventually frame it, but I have never got around to doing that and it’s stored on the top of my wardrobe.

As an artist I aspire to do work as great as Anne Stokes, however, in my own opinion it’s just an airheaded dream, because I am nowhere as good as Anne Stokes and I specialise mostly in what I think are cartoon dragons and animals.

 anne-stokes-spiders-1

 

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elusive inspiration

I will be talking more about what inspires me in the future of this blog, because there are a lot of wonderful things out there that fills this creative mind of mine right up.  A lot of things that take my interest seem to be almost unheard of, music, artists, fashion experts etc.  It seems to me that I like the obscure or the famous that aren’t that famous enough to be a known household name.

I think it’s a shame that some people who inspire me aren’t known more.  I think it’s a shame that even I find it hard to find their works.  Also, not all people who inspire me are famous – not all people who inspire me have say – published a book yet, or sold a piece of art.  But there are some who have made it into their local newspaper for producing good art at big social events, but aren’t well known in any other form.

I like the elusive people, but I wish they weren’t so elusive.

 

 

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Mummy, you’re not a salad!

Listening to children can inspire more writing as they say the funniest and strangest things.

My son Henry is only five years old, yet he inspires me every time he talks to me. Yesterday I was having trouble getting Henry out of my bedroom in the morning whilst I got myself dressed, I chucked him out of my bedroom no less than six times, before he started to initiate a game with me; the game – he was Mr. Wolf and I was Miss Piggy and he was going to blow the bedroom door down and eat me up. I told Henry “It’s too early and I am not dressed yet”, to which he replied – “Mummy you’re not a salad, wolves don’t eat salad they eat little piggy’s”, which I must admit took me aback.

So always take advantage of communicating with children whenever you can, because they will inspire you, particularly for comedy and fantasy.

 

 

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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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Carnival of Lost Souls

This is NOT my personal work http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carnival-Lost-Souls-Nox-Arcana/dp/B000FOT9EE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1436560945&sr=8-4&keywords=Nox+Arcana

A lot of my work comes about because of the thoughts that come to my mind when I listen to certain music; my inspiration changes with each kind of music I listen to, this is why I love instrumental music, particularly that from Nox Arcana.
I have all of their albums, they are essential for me to work effectively. Never before has a band affected me in such a way as Nox Arcana. Their music is exactly the kind of atmosphere I need to set my brain into for my work in fantasy and horror writing and art.

I might very well review each album or song separately someday, but the most listened to album for me is this one – Carnival of Lost Souls.

The amount of fantasy horror I’ve thought of. I have even thought about a comic series because of this music, this along with (sorry, something not Nox Arcana related) = The Honky Tonk Merry-go-round by Patsy Cline. Oh the things I have dreamt, thank you Nox Arcana, very much for this one. Johnny Depp is going to love you all the more if he ever reads my stuff and found out his new nightmares were inspired by you. *insert evil laugh here*.

Since I lost Cubase many moons ago, my computer isn’t hooked up with music composing software anymore (and I can’t read or write music, but I can play by ear and compose – with the software). My music was similar to Nox Arcana, that’s why I love it so much. I think the band must be within my soul group or something? Anyway, once I figured out how to configure my old Microsoft XP files onto my new computer (perhaps in Neverwhere) I will load up my old music and share it. Otherwise, if I really am in Neverwhere with that then my old music has been lost in the ethers of time forever. *Insert forlorn pierrot here*.

My creativity really is controlled by the type of music that’s around me at the time. In the times of no music, I tend to write flatly and that’s only suitable when I am writing non-fiction or essays.

Now being deaf, I rely heavily on vibrations, lip-reading and my two hearing aids and I am not looking forward to the day that my consultant said is in the near future, that I will lose my hearing altogether. Unfortunately at the time this was said to me, the consultant in question told me that there is nothing they can do to repair my hearing if the worst case scenario crops up, thankfully I know someone in the ENT department abroad who says that’s utter tosh. So fingers crossed that I will never lose my hearing completely.

I don’t know what I would do without my Nox Arcana!

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Erin Cooper, Artist and Friend.

The below links will take you to the work of a wonderful fantasy artist friend of mine, Erin Cooper from Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShadoWind?ref=pr_shop_more

http://www.zazzle.com/shadowind_erincooper

http://shadowind.deviantart.com/gallery/

She is the artist behind this websites banner and as you can see her skills in fantasy art are extensive, beautiful and an inspiration.

Erin is able to captivate any image I request of her for my work in more ways than one. In future, I hope that she would be considered as my illustrator for books I might have published – though I am an artist myself, Erin’s skills far outweigh my own.

I first found Erin online in a spiritual forum back in 2005 and we bonded almost instantly on so many levels, spiritually and artistically as well as forming a long-distance sisterly relationship that still goes on to this day.

We are each other’s rock and we have both been through so much together.

A lot of my writing and art wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Erin, purely because Erin is the first proper artist I’ve ever known (proper as in, have actually sold art). I say that a lot of my writing wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for her, because we talk online a lot about my stories – we talk like we are the characters to one and other and she helps feed me another point of view. This is something we have never tired of, to us, in our conversations, if we were ever overheard or read, people would think that the things we talk about are real and would probably have the both of us locked up.

It is hard to find someone like Erin who actually talks like this long-term with me. My husband Paul does this with me a lot too, and I used to have four other friends who would do this, but they got tired of it after so many years. Erin however, has made it her mission for my written worlds to be as real as the real world to her and this I thank her for.

Erin has helped me grow in confidence that I am capable of producing my own artwork, she has given me hints and tips and videos of how to sketch and paint effectively and even how to market my work on zazzle and etsy.

I highly recommend you contact Erin for commissions; she is very dedicated to her work and will work tirelessly to produce whatever work you desire from her, outside of her livery duties.

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The man in the picture by Susan Hill

The man in the picture by Susan Hill

As a lover of anything to do with carnivals, masquerades, festivals, harlequins and circus’s as well as plunging into the depths of horror stories and movies, I found this novel absolute pleasure. Never before had I ever read a whole novel in one sitting, taking just 90 minutes, I was heavily pregnant with my first born son and it was just after 1am when I started, I thought I would only read a few pages before falling asleep, but I couldn’t, I just could not put the book down, it was like I was under some kind of spell.
It is an addictive read, I want more books of this kind and I have found myself looking subconsciously for stories of a similar theme over the past five years, never finding anything as compelling or as long as this masterpiece and I must say that is disappointing.
I both love and hate books that compel me so.
At first glance it would seem familiar in a Dorian Grey kind of way, but it isn’t – it is like a ghost story, but that’s not quite right either, the plot is simple, but fantastic. I am surprised it isn’t more widely known; I am surprised that Susan Hill fans have never made much of a scene of this novel as they have with “I’m the king of the castle” or “The woman in black”, but then that is hardly surprising as I rarely see this book on shelves in libraries or stores.
I think it should someday become known as a classic horror story, though its elusiveness to the public may be a detriment for that to become so.

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Gerald’s Game – Stephen King

Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game

Gerald’s Game was an inspirational to me because I am active in the TPE BDSM lifestyle. I understand fully that Gerald and Jessie were not in the lifestyle and were just occasional kinky players, but this was a good read for me nonetheless. It was very descriptive, creepy and despite the main protagonist being tied up most of the time and being trapped with a rotting corpse; a lot went on in the story, particularly in the woman’s head.

Some people will view this story as a lot of senseless ramblings from a hysterical and half-delirious woman in a traumatic situation, but for me the novel was more than that. It was a great effort by King that showed that even in the toughest of times, people pull through it by trying to take their minds off the situation or to find humor in the terrifying situations that they are in – this was excellently portrayed in this book.

This is why Gerald’s Game is in my inspiration corner.

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