Tag Archives: non-fiction

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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