Tag Archives: non-fiction

Considering non-fiction

A common piece of advice in the writing world is “write what you know” and although I do like to write a lot of things for research and so forth I have never really completely considered writing non-fiction before, but now I feel I would like to, for magazines eventually.  I have contemplated writing for a couple of specific hobby magazines because I have extensive knowledge on their main subjects.  I am going to list what I feel I know a lot about here and I may or may not share posts in the future of these subjects just to give you a taste of what I know.

Gardening

More specifically no dig, organic, permaculture, poly-culture style gardening.  This also includes wildlife gardening and creating mini-ecosystems, building a pond and dry stone walling.

I am also very knowledgeable in wild food foraging, where plants originated from and native British species, this also includes an interest in garden ornithology, and I wouldn’t say I am a bird watcher, but I pay too much attention to the wildlife and bird life within my own personal property that I have gotten to know their numbers as well as their habits.

I would also say that regarding garden pests and flora disease I am also a very knowledgeable biological warrior, using only nature against nature, nothing man-made, to benefit my plant-life, this means I will sometimes grow things I don’t specifically want, simply to provide my garden what I call “Sacrificial” plants.

Along with this I have had an avid interest in flora folklore/superstitions and ancient medical uses and my flora Latin is quite good, almost Carol Klein like.  I keep up to date with the gardening world as much as possible and before my health and benefit cuts happened I was a subscriber to four of Britain’s most renowned gardening magazines amongst other magazines I was interested in – bit of a magazine addict I was/am.

I have a huge amount of experience gardening a lot throughout my life (not professionally) but in the past three years specifically it has been only in dribs and drabs and the garden is looking a mess to put it lightly, namely because of health complications.

American professional wrestling between the years 1990 and 2003

I was an addict of watching wrestling when I was 10yrs old right up until I met an ex-boyfriend who didn’t approve of how much I loved wrestling.  I watched every kind of wrestling that was available to me, I bought every VHS and DVD I could afford at the time and I was even planning to go to America to learn how to wrestle – upon reflection it is a good thing I didn’t considering my career would have been over aged 30 because of these health problems!  I read a lot of wrestling magazines and body building magazines because I was so into it, then aged 21 I kind of grew up and loss contact with wrestling almost completely until last year.  I now sparsely watch TNA and AEW.

I am not sure I could write very much about what I knew from that long ago because it would be considered too ancient for anyone to care, I suppose?

Dogs, dog breed histories and dog training and grooming

I have been considered by people who know me as being the female British version of Cesar Milan as I seem to be a dog whisperer and have helped several people understand their dog’s behaviour!

I know it sounds absolutely awful but a few weeks ago on TV there was a show on it called train your baby like a dog and I have to say it is absolutely true – I see no difference whatsoever in training a dog than I do a baby and vice versa, it is very similar!  Every social creature has an innate desire to become dominant within its social circle and this usually is the worst during infancy, every social creature eventually learns through infancy and good guidance from its elders that it has to follow rules or there will be ramifications, it is not different to humans at all.  Humanity has to get over this silly idea that humans are different to animals.

You get a neglected child and they tend to grow up off the rails and they attack authority at all costs in many cases, you get a well nurtured child and they are more likely to fall in line and be a good citizen.  I know from personal experience not every child who is neglected grows up to become an anarchist, because not every child in the world has the desire to control others.  Children like I was simply wanted the world to be a lovely peaceful place and this in turn, made me quite a submissive and quiet individual.  My brother on the other hand was the type to go off the rails and fight authority all his life.  My other brother was nurtured pretty well because he was a love child and was wanted, unlike me and the other brother, consequently he is a neutral person who has a good relationship with his mother and is socially stable with very little emotional problems.

It is the same with dogs in my opinion.  You nurture that dog like it is your personal baby and depending on how much discipline you demand of it, it will either take advantage of you and become a nasty biting little dog, or it will grow up a stable individual who loves his mama and will obey at all costs.  By discipline I don’t mean shout and yell or kick and hit, that is disgusting behaviour which will eventually become a habitual behaviour in whatever creature you are nurturing as it will become a normality for them.

With a dog, like a baby and a toddler you command and teach with as few words as possible that you repeat regularly so not to confuse them, so it sinks in and you give them infinite patience no matter how you feel.

Superstitions and folklore around the world including cryptozoology

I have had a massive interest in all things supernatural and all things strange and unknown since I was around seven years of age.  I have studied extensively as many books on the subject as possible, particularly witchcraft and vampires, but there has been other creatures and situations I have been interested in hugely.  I have also been interested in peasant folklore and their beliefs, such as talking to the bees, bowing and saluting magpies and being aware of what colour and type of flower you bring to a person or a house.  I am interested in the Victorian art of the language of flowers, something I should have mentioned above in the gardening section.  I have been gifted beautiful bunches of flowers and often hide a laugh behind my polite thank you smile, when I notice I have been gifted red and white lilies as in some superstitions around the world red and white denotes death as well as lilies being the flower of death.  I don’t hold with the superstitions myself, but I love learning about them.  For example, I have bought lilacs and hawthorns into my home as part of my cut flower display for the dining table, many superstitious people would say that my health is my own fault then, because those plants bought into the house will make the head of the house sick and even kill them within a couple of months.

World History primarily European and Chinese history

This is another subject that I am interested in, particularly my own personal genetic history and the history of aristocrats, royalty and gypsies, also ancient warfare and combat.  The history I am interested in is vast, I also love reading about architecture too and fashion from the ages.  I have a lot of useless information in my head if I wasn’t a writer, but as I am a writer these so-called useless bits of information that seem to serve no purpose are actually polished gems which will help me create real feeling worlds in my novels.

Food is another interest of mine

I am knowledgeable in vegan and vegetarian dishes (but not a vegetarian or vegan myself), the paleo lifestyle and the diet known as The Wahl’s Protocol, Mediterranean diet, Indian and Chinese diet, as well as desserts and pies and so forth.  I love cooking and baking, sugar crafting and making homemade sweets, cakes etc. you name it, I love it.  Despite my allergies, which adds another skill to my list, all these things above I can do gluten and lactose free!  I don’t just research recipes and share them either, I am so interested in the world around me and how to keep healthy (because let’s face it I need to try and stop being ill) that I can tell you the sorts of vitamins and minerals you will find in each piece of food you eat as well as tell you the best way to grow it and it’s best companion plants in the garden to grow it next to and the type of soil it needs for the highest of nutritional benefit!

I make compotes, jams and chutneys, soups, pies, pastries, cakes, bread, I am just very versatile in the kitchen, but I must warn you… I am one of these strange people in life who can’t do anything simple like omelettes or frying sausages, without burning them or myself, the more complicated the recipe, the better I am!

Chickens too

Yes you heard it; I am knowledgeable about keeping chickens and how to keep them healthy, including any plants you must avoid around them and using their chicken manure as well as making excellent homemade chicken stock and soup.

Gemstone healing

I used to be into this big time, but lately I am so ill with so many things going on that unless I lay down for three hours a day I really don’t benefit much from these anymore, simply because I can’t lay down for more than 3 minutes on a bad day without choking.

But the stuff I know seems to work for others.

Religion and religious history from around the world

Despite being renowned as a person with humanist leanings and having no precise religion, I am actually quite obsessed about learning about religion in all its forms and researching intensively.  I don’t have a religion because I don’t like to commit to something which could actually be what I call a “deceivers religion”, I am paranoid about getting it wrong.  In a lot of my research material I have discovered amazing things that have surprised me so much I have been absolutely stupefied at how little so-called pious people know about their own faith and its origins.

I try not to preach to people when religion is bought up (only inform so they can make their own decisions about things) but I am shocked about how little they know of their own faith, it is hard, but I have made a point that as far as religion and politics are concerned, I can air my beliefs online on social media but I will not engage on any debate about it, because once you commit to something like that, it will become a never ending argument as neither side tends to relent.  For some religious people, when I simply state “each to their own and lets agree to disagree” they simply won’t leave it at that.  I have extensive knowledge of Judaism, Catholicism and Christianity in all its forms as well as Hinduism and Buddhism; I haven’t much knowledge just yet on Islam or Sikhism unfortunately.  But I also know a lot about ancient religions such as Norse, Greek, Roman, Egyptian and especially Sumerian beliefs.

It is interesting to read the origin of Christianity too; a lot of the original beliefs are not upheld in Christian communities of today, a Christian from the time of Christ’s death around the time it first started, would have a problem digesting a lot of what goes on in Christian communities of today.

For me personally God is gender-less, they do not have a name simply as being known as a creator or more specifically the creator, I cannot give them an image nor assume that they are in human form just because I am, I will not presume what he deems is good and evil, but I do believe he will give me the innate instinct of knowing what he thinks about certain things I am pondering before I do them.  If I think I would feel bad or remorseful after doing something, I generally consider that as a sign I must not do it and I have had this belief for nearly 18yrs.  It is naughty to presume anything about God or the creator, no one must think they can speak for him or make laws based on what they believe he wants – because I do also believe there is a deceiver who works against the truth and that is the evil in the world.  If anything hurts or kills or hates or does anything remotely negative, it has been influenced by the evil in the world or the deceiver as I call them.  I will also state that I do believe billions of people can be wrong, because billions of people can be duped, look at the concept of fake new for one thing – fake news is not new.  I must admit I have been planning a book on this, but I am scared I will become the new Salman Rushdie with death threats and so forth.  Paul believes he has never met a more pious person in his life, pious but without religion, pious but without an explanation to the world and he would never dare call me religious in a mainstream sense, because that would be very wrong, there is no religion in the world which is remotely pure enough that it cannot be tainted in some way and I believe I am by far from perfect, no one can be perfect in a world where evil resides so freely.

Some people in the past have considered me to be a Satanist, simply because I quoted something that Satan was reputed to have said once.  I am trying to remember the source where I read it from, but he was quoted in saying “I do not hate God, but I hate the God of man”, which in my opinion tells me a lot, it tells me that the God of man is what man has made for himself either by humanities own design or by the design of a great deceiver, which also shows me that Satan is not someone who is at war with God if I were to believe the Judo-Christian concept – it means there is a different devil at work, someone who has cleverly kept his name unknown and has spread bad media against those of the truth, whilst endeavouring over the centuries to conceal, hide and destroy the truth, to confuse humanity with false knowledge.

It is very deep stuff, but it is worth thinking about.

I believe wholeheartedly that there is a balance in the universe and at present the balance is tipping hither and tither good and evil, there is definitely a power struggle and I have no idea why humanity is key in it all nor whether or not humans are the only creatures on earth who have a religion, because I am not Dr Doolittle.  But we can’t presume that animals don’t have a religion no more than we can presume what the truth is.

You can find the truth in a lot of lies, because a liar can never remember their own lies and will often slip up.  If you read many conflicting religious ideas over the centuries you do begin to see a pattern of both inconsistencies and consistencies.

I know I am religious in my own way because five years ago a person in the street yelled next to me at some Jehovah Witnesses in Birmingham this “God is dead”! and for me, that was a knife through the heart and stomach and it made me feel quite ill, it affected me badly enough that Paul had to stop me ranting at them about how wrong and evil they were to state it.

I know some of my poetry seem to attack God directly, but you have never asked which God I am writing about.  Usually when I write about God so venomously I write about the God of man or the deceptive God and I will tell you something extraordinary and you may not be inclined to believe it.  But when I was 25yrs old I spoke a lot about my beliefs on four religious and spiritual forums and I was researching for the truth, I discovered many things, many so-called secret societies and secrecy in general, I was shocked to find in my private message box, a message from the Vatican telling me that what I say may or may not indeed be true, but I must stop talking about it, lest I have problems from them.  Thinking nothing of it, for a short while in my life I noticed I was stalked, primarily by priests and nuns which is unnerving and a strange coincidence.  When I decided to stop vocalising about it all, they stopped following me.

Now is this a coincidence?  I was never really sure.  But it is food for thought.  Coincidentally, seven people I knew from the forums that refused to be quiet on the same subjects, died in accidents in less than two years after my silence and a further two people were arrested for apparently nothing and was never released, weird enough their families and friends are unable to visit them which has caused big stirs with the authorities.

It is a strange world out there, stranger than you think and more secretive and deceptive than you think.

Arts and crafts

I have a  broad scope of knowledge regarding arts and crafts, from doing 1000 piece puzzles, to knitting, sewing, embroidery, decoupage, greeting card making, scrap-booking, felt making, making Christmas and Halloween decorations, you name it, I have probably done it for a time. 

Learning languages and having an interest in the origins of words and names

For some of my friends I can come across as a bit of a Susie Dent from Countdown to them, I will explain the name and origins of their chosen names for their babies and I will bring up words they’ve never heard of before because they have recently been removed from the English dictionary and I am vainly trying to popularise those words so that they can get back into the dictionary once again.  I had a huge debate three weeks ago with a bunch of online friends about the new username I have on a game site we use, the word was Eventide, a lot of people misunderstood this as being Eve as in Adam and Eve and some others thought what does ide mean?  Because they thought I meant event ide as some thought perhaps I loved fishing!  Well no, eventide is old English for evening and they can’t understand why I just didn’t name myself Evening instead.  How boring.  A lot of people are forgetting the use for the words dawn and dusk and even twilight, you say the word twilight now and they instantly think shitty teen vampire movie.  Twilight by the way is my most favourite time of the day, it is so beautiful sometimes and I have often thought about naming a daughter Twyla because of it, though the meaning of the name Twyla is old English for two or double, usually given to a twin daughter a lot like the name Thomas for boys, which also means twin.  I know quite a bit of Latin, I am currently a level 3 Italian students, fluent in French, tourist ability in Japanese and Spanish and I have learned excellent methods of learning languages at an incredible speed.  If I practise a language an hour a day I am usually fluent within the year at most, regarding languages I am a fast learner, astute, adroit, you name it!  It can be difficult to speak in all the words I know because I still have that working class way inbuilt into me, but I can shift the manner of which I speak very well to whomever I am talking to at the time.  I don’t mean my voice, I don’t mean my personal mannerisms or accent, I am simply talking about going from tabloid to broadsheet whenever the situation needs it!  I often sit there, with my semi-working-class accent talking to people of upper middle or high class talking to me, they think working class, OK, I use some big words here to make myself sound smarter and I sit there and grin because I can use big words too, it is a lovely feeling to have, smarm.

That’s about it really.   That and general literature, but that is mostly useful for quizzes or recommendations rather than being a piece of worthwhile knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Calculating Words

750words.com is excellent, I’ve been writing on there every day since I found it and I have discovered my flaws – the words I used too often, though I have learned them I haven’t yet learned how to control how much I use them.
Also, I have discovered what subject’s interest me depending upon my mood or emotional state, therefore, I can predetermine what type of story I should write based purely on how I feel that day. This is excellent because I have worked out that based on my emotional moods today, I should write with great fervor anything to do with horror or violence; because today, I am mostly stressed and angry.
Horror is another genre I love to write for.
750words.com is good for people who like to use the site known as http://nanowrimo.org/ as you can see how much you are likely to write each day outside of your normal fiction or poetry. I have learned I can fit in at least 10,000 words per week towards my writing effort as an average that would mean I have the ability to complete at least four novels per year if I put my mind to it. What is amazing is that 750words.com times your writing to the second, it includes any pauses you may do and I have learned that I write for an average of 15 minutes a day using that site alone.
So, if I am writing non-fiction and just babbling about myself like I do on 750words.com then that means I can write 750 – 1200 words within 15 a day.
Egotistically I have learned I can fart out 2000 words a day if I am talking about myself or my life, but working with fiction is another matter – I average about 500 words per 30 minutes.
Poetry on the one hand is another matter too – with poetry I can push out a new poem every 10 minutes.
Thinking about this, I am unsure really what it means, but it’s interesting in any case.
Let it be known, I only take 500 words per 30 minutes with fiction, if I have not planned scenes – if I have planned scenes I can write 3000 words an hour and that’s no exaggeration!
I haven’t been able to write that fast within the same time frame with planned scenes for a long time though, because of my illness. Coughing and being very ill in other manners take up a lot of time as one tries to compose themselves – anyway – things are going to improve soon as a new operation seems imminent = adenoidectomy.

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Read before Aug 15

My current reading list or books which are to be read before August 15th are;

The lady’s maid (my life in service) by Rosina Harrison – I’ve read 66 pages so far

Sociology; themes and perspectives (second edition) by M Haralambos – I’ve read 34 pages so far

The adventure of English (the biography of a language) by Melvyn Bragg – I haven’t even started this book yet and that’s very bad of me as I always wanted this book and it was given to me as a 16th Christmas present by my cousin Shane that was 14yrs ago.  To think I wanted that book so badly and I’ve never even read the introduction, naughty, naughty!

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole – I’ve been reading a lot of historical books lately that focuses on either horror, cult fiction, gothic history and literature and this book crops up several times as a re-commendatory read; so maybe I should pick it up?  I downloaded it as it’s completely free on kindle.

Dragon-lance chronicles (books 1 – 3) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (though personally I think it will take me 3 months to read this particular book). – I’ve read 24 pages so far, but it is going to be cast aside a few weeks whilst I read other books; because I am getting into non-fiction history lately as research material for my stories; hence the servant biographies that are appearing.

Nutmeg by Maria Goodin – I did read about 10 pages but then I put it down as it was hilarious but I was already very nearly finished reading some other compelling book – this book made such a good impression on me I sent it back to the library and purchased it on amazon; I did this because I want to take my time reading it and soaking up its fantastical imagery and comedy.  I am looking forward to re-reading those 10 pages and reading more at a later date, hopefully before August.

Lucky by Alice Sebold – I’ve read 38 pages so far and I have to admit the author has made me paranoid about making and keeping my hair short these days, though they do say that it’s rare to be raped more than once in a life time!

Parallel worlds by Michio Kaku – I’ve read 293 pages so far, though I’ve been reading this since last year and I am unsure if I will start reading the rest of this for at least another month or two, there’s something about me where I become more scientific in the autumn.  Don’t ask why, I don’t know ha-ha.

Whatever you think by Richard Gentle – I personally know the author of this book, I was supposed to of read it about 2 months ago but I got involved in other books, I really owe it to him to read it and give my opinion.  I am not a very persistent reader at the best of times and its shockingly rude behavior not to have given a special effort to this book.  So far I have read 18% of this kindle book and it was very interesting so there was no reason for me to of put it aside all this time.

The art of happiness by the Dalai Lama – I’ve read 51 pages of this so far and I am looking forward to reading more as it’s really eye opening. 

The goddess experience by Gisele Scanlon – I started this book last summer, I’ve read 137 pages so far, a lot of information in it is out of date as some of the recommended stores and websites have closed down which is such a shame. 

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King – I started this book just after Christmas 2012, I’ve read the first story of this anthology and I’ve read to read more; that’s 156 pages so far.  I think the reason why I didn’t continue the anthology was because the first story sent me into a state of shock about how horrific it was.

 

 

 

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Reading VS Writing – take 2

A few days ago I read another person’s blog (wished I remember whose) and they said that they used to predominantly write poetry and they’ve somehow unwillingly switched to story writing now, they still dabble in poetry from time to time but it is no longer their focus.  It’s funny but I’ve got the opposite problem, I’ve written stories since I was ten years old, in fact novel length stories and even a few sagas but in the last few months I can’t seem to focus on stories anymore (I noticed it’s been since I started reading fiction more) and poetry is coming more than easy for me. 

Why this happened I’ve no clue, but I suspect it has something to do with me reading other peoples stories and their style affecting the way I think about my stories to the point I have probably lost my courage to write effectively.  I think reading fiction for some writers may be dangerous and detrimental to their own story writing and style, if we enjoy non-fiction more but want to write fiction; maybe it’s best for us never to dip our hands into focusing on other peoples novels? 

Whatever I write in story mode seems to be bland and boring, less interesting than what I can read; yet a few years ago when I hardly ever read fiction my stories were interesting, exciting, different and a lot more people commented positively in my work, these days I am getting a lot of frowns and a lot of “what the Hell happened to you” kind of comments.

I tend to over think things, so reading other peoples work makes me analyze them and start comparing myself to them, which is dangerous in any situation to any person.

The problem is, I am starting to enjoy fiction as a reading source, to the extent I am searching high and low for good books I can sink my teeth into, it’s become as big as an addiction as my lust for non-fiction books and the more I read, the less I write.

I am trying to steer myself back into reading non-fiction only, but it’s difficult.

If I want to write stories I’ve noticed it’s coming out in very short prose forms these days, writing in a normal story telling way isn’t working anymore; especially lengthening the stories to a novel size.

Poetry is easier for me these days; in fact I can throw out a poem every fifteen minutes on average and I am desperately trying to teach myself that it’s quality of work not quantity, which seems to be what my subconscious is doing – focusing on quantity, not quality.

I believe the old saying that all writers are mad, because of this…  I certainly feel mad.

 

 

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Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

I read this book in January 2013; I still remember some of the stories as clear as day.  I felt it would be good to put up previously read works on this site, because I don’t read enough fiction regularly to sustain this part of the blog, I mostly read non-fiction works based on social history, religion, the occult, psychology, true stories and biographies.

For those of you who have never read Neil Gaiman or know about the book “Smoke and Mirrors” it is an anthology of fantasy, horror and dark fantasy short stories and in my opinion, prose. 

Anyway, first up is “the wedding present” I don’t remember much about this story at all, other than I remember disliking it, but I can’t remember why.  I do plan to re-read this book at the end of this year for revising what I think is good and bad about it all, as I am trying to teach myself how to read critically, so re-reading this story will help me remember why I didn’t like it.

The next story I liked, it was humorous, “chivalry” A little old lady goes into a charity shop and buys a chalice and she is soon pestered by a time traveling knight who declares the chalice is rather special and tries to get it off her for several weeks, she eventually relents with a surprising ending.

“Nicholas Was” is next, a very short story, or was it really prose?  I don’t know what it was, but I do remember it, and it was confusing, although I did like the imagery it portrayed.

“The Price” oh my goodness was that a scary tale, I felt like crying for the cat.  I think the cat was based on some kind of protective angel, but that’s well hidden in the story if that’s what the cat was.  A brilliant tale, loved it, and I loved the audio of it too which is free and can be found at this website www.neilgaiman.co.uk/smokeandmirrors/audio

Another of my favorite was “Troll Bridge” I think almost every fantasy writer has written their own variation of this story at some point; I know Terry Pratchett has, although I’ve never read that one yet.  Neil Gaiman’s Troll Bridge was in my opinion, unique; I found it really thoughtful and inspiring.  I sometimes hoped that I could crawl under such bridge and make a deal like that, but would I really want to?  Who knows…?

“Don’t ask Jack” bought back nightmares of my childhood, that’s all I am going to say about this story.  I don’t like remembering it, to be honest.  In fact, I wasn’t comfortable with the story so much, I had to put the book down for two months before I could read the story that came after it, and that was because I forgot the previous tale. 

“The goldfish pool and other stories” Brilliant, I was so happy I picked this book up again after abandoning it, this was a great story, touching, haunting, fantastic.  I was really upset it was a short story; I could have read hundreds of pages of this work easily. 

“Eaten” I don’t remember this story either and I can’t remember if I liked it or not – sorry.

Again, one I loved “The white road” the imagery in my head was so lucid, I adored that.  I tend to think of actors or people I know when I read books and I was seeing actors and actresses from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “The Aristocrats” TV mini-series in 1999 one actor in particular was actually playing a Mr Fox, Alun Armstrong, he was playing Mr Fox in my mind when reading this story and the girl was a blond haired Winona Ryder for some reason.  The other actors and actresses from those movies and series that I was seeing in my head were there purely as spectators of the revelation that was being said between Mr Fox and the girl.

I was a wonderful story; I loved it, such passion and a delight to read, but am I being too bold? Ha-ha.

“Queen of knives” and “The case of the departure of Miss Finch” other delightful reads.  I loved them, they reminded me of one of my favorite Hammer horrors, “The Vampire Circus”, and they also had a similar air to “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.  I too, almost wrote a book similar to all four of these examples when I was fifteen years old.  A story based around a circus of the night, traveling vampire gypsies picking off locals at their stops, turning some, training some, it was a good idea I thought, but at the time I was going through a turmoil.  My brother had friends in publishing, they were at his house having a dinner party and I was also invited, they asked to view my work so arranged another dinner with my brother and I gave them some of my work, unfortunately I never got them back and they plagiarized my work, unfortunately still, I had no proof they did this because when I lost my completed work I lost heart in re-writing it all and burned the notes I had gathered over the two years it took me to complete it. So basically they got off Scot free and I’ve nothing to prove in court, so my loss I suppose.  My brother also worked behind the scenes of major film companies, so needless to say they did make a movie out of what I wrote, but made minor alterations, I won’t mention the movie here or the people, because I don’t like making a fuss, especially when I cannot offer proof.  The story was different to my gypsy vampire idea, but was vampire themed nonetheless, just this was the point of no return for me until I reached twenty one and had confidence in writing again, by this time I had forgot the idea, I only remembered the idea after reading those stories.

“Changes” I don’t remember this story either regrettably.

“The daughter of owls” now that was a beautiful fairy-tale in my opinion. 

“Shoggoth’s old peculiar” made me smile because it made me think he based the story on my family, who live on the edge of the Welsh and English border, they run a pub which resembles an eighteenth century tavern and I’m sorry to say they have toad-like faces and an old fashion air about them.  They are constantly cribbing about hiking tourists in their area, particularly Americans, which made this story feel it was made especially for me.  Obviously it wasn’t, Neil Gaiman doesn’t know me from Adam, but still, it felt special.

“Virus” I didn’t like either.

“Looking for the girl” I disliked too.  Reminded me a little bit of one of my exes, made me feel this story was based on his future life.

“Only the end of the world again” I liked, was it a sequel to one of the above stories I wondered?  Or more than one – I sense an air of “Shoggoth’s old peculiar” but also “the white road”.  I loved the combination if I am right, it worked amazingly well.

I think the “Bay wolf” is also like the above review, though I am confused, because I am trying to remember all the stories from only four months back and it’s difficult, particularly as I am writing this review on a day that my headaches are mild and wondering whether or not they should get worse and become the usual migraines.

“Fifteen painted cards from a vampire tarot” was also good, many stories in one.  Again, this was something I was thinking about writing as an inclusion to my traveling vampire gypsies when I was a teenager, another reason was because an old horror movie with Donald Sutherland inspired me a few years previous called “Dr Terror House of Horrors”. 

“We can get them for you wholesale” was both hilarious and bleak; I never laughed out as loud as I did when reading this story.  I truly recommend it for people who have a sick sense of humor like me!

“One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock” and “Cold Colours” I don’t remember these stories either unfortunately.

“The sweeper of dreams” was also beautifully written and after reading it, knowing I’ve ignored my love for writing for almost two years solid, I began to wonder if the sweeper of dreams came and visited me and stole my muse away or not?  But obviously it hadn’t, because I’ve started to write again, though, this time, my muse focuses mostly on poetry, not stories, like before.

I despised “Foreign Parts” it’s really not my kind of story at all. 

“Vampire Sestina” was brilliant and again, too short.

“Mouse” I couldn’t remember much about mouse either.

“The sea change” was a good read too, for what I remember and that’s not quite much at all, ha-ha.

“How do you think it feels” I liked the story and I hoped for more, but no.  Sometimes I think Neil Gaiman lacks the confidence to make some of his short stories into novels, it’s like he doesn’t believe in them so he makes them short but sweet.

“When we went to see the end of the world” that was a confusing read.

“Desert Wind” was nice.

I don’t remember “tastings” either.

“In the end” now that was very thought provoking and again, made me pause on the book for a fortnight whilst I thought things through and read “Enoch” and a few other non-fiction stories, for absolutely no other reason than to try and confirm my own beliefs in some strange inane kind of way.

“Babycakes” the title attracted me because when I was in college a friend of mine thought it would be good to have a name for each other, a pet name, so she came up with the name “Babycakes” I was baby and she was cakes.  She called me baby because I lacked experience of the world and she felt very motherly towards me.  Regrettably, the story isn’t as sweet as the one I just said above about me and my friend; it’s haunting in a bad way, terrifying because that could become a truth and I felt bad that I had read it, like it’s shameful.

“Murder mysteries” was beautiful, I liked the story outline.

Now, here comes my favorite story of the entire book “Snow, glass, apples” Neil Gaiman’s take on Snow White and it’s wonderful.  Unique, tragic, he saw what I saw in the story, not a victim but a spoiled dangerous little brat, that’s what I’ve always seen snow white as, but oh, it’s wonderful how he mingled this story with vampirism and victimization of the queen.  A pure work of genius!

This book was 50/50 in my opinion, 50% bad and 50% good, but the good bits are excellent, they are unique and imaginative and I love them, they inspire me to write my own stuff.

Thank you Neil Gaiman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sorry Kithara

I’m having doubts that Kithara was a good idea, I’ve had doubts from the moment I clicked publish, actually.  I know what I want to write, but it feels familiar to me, like maybe it’s a rip off of something, there’s that nagging feeling.  I know no book is truly original work, it’s really hard to be 100% original, I understand that, I strive to be original and I feel like a cheat at times.

With the story Kithara, I also felt as though it started rather slap dashed and in a way it did, I wrote it and immediately published it on here, no edits.  A big mistake?

I think it was a big mistake, I was very eager in getting a short story started on here and I didn’t want to put any of my previous stories up because I wanted to save them for approaching actual publishers.  I’ve always been told I rush in where angels fear to tread, I am always rushing what I do and too eager to please everybody all of the time.  So, I got into a habit after reading “Stephen King On Writing” to write my stories and put them away for a few months then read them and edit them accordingly, but I guess I was too excited by this blog that I forgot my new rule.

I want to abandon this story and never do more to it personally; but I do too, because this has been idea that’s been floating around for nine years as an actual novel, I thought it would be a good idea to put it up as short story chunks online.  Although I want to stop this story right now and ignore it ever happened, maybe even delete it from site and start re-arranging it as a novel again. I feel I am ripping off my readers, though Kithara hasn’t had any comments or likes, so maybe it’s not something to worry about?

But worry I do, it’s my nature, that’s why I never get anything done.  I suppose, though everybody who knows me say they never see me resting, they never see me do absolutely nothing.  I am always writing or have my nose stuck in a book, gardening or cooking/baking, playing with my son, tidying up, and doing stuff for charity.

I feel like a secret procrastinator, I actually do very little, it’s just other people see me doing something all the time that they don’t see me for what I really am… lazy.

When I write it’s always as short as a poem each time, then I move onto another story or another poem or song, then I research a little, then I get up and tidy, then I bake a cake to avoid working more, then I go back to typing really slowly my stories, reading, re-reading, editing as I  go along, deleting a lot, and as I mentioned in other posts, burning a lot.

I think the only thing I do a lot is, post online, I do a lot of non-fiction posting of a lot of things in various places.  I’ve been told I should write non-fiction as I seem to do a lot of posts based on it, but I can’t do that, I did an Open University course in 2010 and I got very low scores because I can’t reference for the life of me, I know all these great things but forget where I learned it from and I forget to make the important notes, I make lots and lots of notes, but nothing important; so I gave up that course for a while, mainly because my son was starting to crawl and cause chaos.

The course was “Introducing the social sciences”, these days I am thinking about switching to literature or something, that should be easy because I am still signed up with the OU but as a non-participating student and it is an open degree, means I can shift around a bit.

I doubt Kithara will continue for several months actually.  I think any story posted up here will be a touch and go for finishing.  So please don’t get your hopes up with me, the worst thing anyone can do for me is to have any expectations of me, I always let people down.  Just sit back and hope you’ll actually read an ending some day.

Sorry xx

 

 

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