Tag Archives: publishing

Writer losing her mojo

We all have heard the saying that “writers write as simple as that” and it is really is as simple as that, but most don’t actually do it as regularly as they should or at least believe they should.  For me, I do not write as much as I believe I should because in the last few years I have lost my mojo, I forgot what it meant for me to write and I have done a lot of soul searching in the past year to find out where the passion has gone.

I did something rare for me – I re-read a book, usually I don’t re-read books unless I put them into a reference category but this particular book I re-read and saw it with fresh eyes and read things I didn’t remember were in the book in the first place.  The name of the book was “Big Magic” written by Elizabeth Gilbert.  When I read this book I asked myself a question; “Why do I think I have lost my love for writing”?  It was a simple answer really upon reflection and I would never have gotten this answer if it wasn’t for this book.  My writing became too focused on financial panic, the urge to write as much as I can so I can earn a living because I needed to break out of debts, but instead, this kind of pressure halted everything about my creative mind and I found I couldn’t do anything other than dramatic self-pitying poetry on mass, the stories and the playtime died, literally.

For the word, nothing has been published except for the things that are published on this blog simply because I didn’t want to approach a publisher with such depressing poetical themes, because I still hold to the idea that I am primarily a fantasy and horror story writer, not a poet!  I am also an essayist I suppose, because I like writing and hoarding information I have learned about my favourite subjects, but I am not sure how to become a paid essay writer and I am not really going to approach that as a career until I learn more about it. 

Anyway – getting back to the main subject of this post.  I forgot how to play – yes, even in real life, I have forgotten how to play and to laugh because of my severe depression, breakdown and financial worries.  I became so down in the dumps about my life that I had two years of being carefully guarded by Paul my fiancé because I couldn’t be left alone for fear I’d commit suicide, seriously.  One point it got so bad, Paul had to go out somewhere without me and he needed to ask a neighbour to sit in with me.  To say I am over that now, would be wrong, the slightest thing brings it back, but I am not as bad as I used to be, the self-harming has stopped a little bit and I am more predictable these days; but ultimately, the depression is still there and I am trying hard to find out how to play again, how to feel happy again and how to enjoy life.  I don’t enjoy anything anymore and it is getting increasingly difficult since the doctor is now looking into what they believe to be a very serious neurological problem, either MS or motor neurone disease, but like always there is a long waiting list here in the UK and I won’t really know what’s going on with me for several months apparently.

So, how does one go about trying to find out how to be happy again and learn to play again?  It turns out according to the book “Big Magic” and a couple of other books I have read recently that it is something most adults get out of practise of, that once you start trying to become playful and do things which are generally playful (even if you don’t feel happy doing it or feel that it is playful) you will eventually trick your mind to becoming playful and you will build up a type of momentum.  Once the momentum is built up, you will start to feel a change – well I hope so.

I thought hard about how I write stories now in comparison to how I wrote them ten years ago, was there any notable differences in how I produced work back then than now?

Yes there was a huge fundamental difference in fact. 

A decade ago I wasn’t afraid to be thought of as eccentric or insane, I would play with my imagination and I would share my thoughts and ideas no matter how obscure and strange they were with people around me and then I would write about those ideas.  I used to have a lot more creative friends too, but many of them have creative careers which have made them too busy to socialise even online, some have died, some have decided that they too have lost their playful side and have become super conservative people.

I have also found that my social circle is smaller these days which is amazing because I used to think my social circle couldn’t get any smaller ten years ago, the people who I do talk to these days are very serious people who have a worried look on their faces whenever anybody talks about anything out of the ordinary, even if you were to explain that you are an artist and a writer so it’s not a mental health problem, it’s just my mind playing with ideas and therefore there is a story in this.  You’d be surprise how people like that can dry up your will to be imaginative or to share your ideas.

Some people who have very little imagination tell me that they wished they had more of an imagination and they start to tinker with my story ideas themselves (which I don’t mind) but then they start demanding that they must change my concept on my fantasy worlds because things are just not plausible and that readers are real people who live in the real world and they want something believable, so they start pulling at the threads of my fantasy infrastructure and start literally pulling my fantasy communities apart by the seams.  It turns out that even my perfect all powerful fantasy God is not infallible, that he has other beings that will cause problems he can’t deal with and that even this God ponders who created him and so forth.  I told the person, you are going too deep here buddy, I don’t want to go that way in my story, but they insist that I must.

I became a fantasy writer because I find the real world too boring and predictable for me to want to think about and write, the idea of making a fantasy based novel plausible, to me, is laughable, because fantasy is supposed to be anything BUT normal. 

To cut myself off from such people will almost completely isolate me again, which I don’t want.  But can I really sit through another conversation where my worlds are being shattered write before my eyes?  I often feel like screaming at the top of my voice “Of course this fantasy God has a creator you dumbass, it is me, I am their goddess, I made them, but I am not egotistical enough to put myself in the book as the all-power”, does any other writer go through this?  Or is this situation totally unique to me?

So I am currently on a journey to find “My tribe” as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it and to find my playful imaginative self again and to have the confidence and focus of not listening to those who are dismantling my worlds and to continue with what I had always planned instead.  Which is a shame because these people used to feed me ideas, used to support me, but these days it is just soul destroying.  I have to ignore the world destroyers.

I wanted to join a writers group, but not sure what is involved with those and I am scared to find more people who are like that, once they’ve heard my stories.  I am trying to forget the people who are making me focus on writing purely for financial reasons and try to focus once again on writing for me, for fun, for release and for pleasure; the way it should be for all writers.

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A writer’s thoughts

I have read somewhere in the past, that you are what you read and I believe that. The more I read the more defined my tastes have become, my skills, my genre leanings and this influences my writing and art.
With each good book I learn how I want to write and what I want to write about.
With each bad book I read, I learn how I do not want to write and what I dislike.
I do not believe that as a writer you must write things outside of your comfort zone, I believe you should be comfortable with what you are writing – although on an emotional matter, that’s quite different. You must write outside of your emotional comfort zone if you wish to write fear, pain and heartbreak effectively, unfortunately that means opening up your old wounds.
A lot of the time, I like to write about horror, trauma etc. and each time I do, I open up real and old wounds, this is why I often become quiet as a writer and have prolonged periods of not writing, whilst I emotionally recuperate.
I was once told that writers and artists generally go mad after a time and I believe it, we send ourselves mad for our art and stories because we are constantly reliving the horrors of our past for your entertainment and as a collective, we seldom are known or recognized for it.
I am not moaning about my lack of recognition as a writer and artist, because personally I think that’s my own fault. I think I am generally a lazy person and have not bothered to find myself a publisher or to advertise my work very much over the years at all. On the one occasion I did contact a publisher to see whether or not they liked an idea of mine, I was lucky enough to get a letter back within three weeks, but this terrified me, because they loved what I sent them and praised me highly for it; I never contacted them again, I was worried about becoming famous and at the time I was young and didn’t know about pseudonyms.
These days I am more prepared for whatever life throws at me because I will be totally blatant about what I can and cannot do and what I will and will not allow.
Other than twitter, my blog and magazines are there any other steps I should take to get myself known?
Please comment below.

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Rigorous planning

I have been going through some rigorous planning of a rather complicated storyline for the last couple of weeks and it has almost consumed me; I’ve drawn up maps and personality profiles of the places and people involved and I’ve never been so thorough and I’ve never enjoyed myself so much either.

If I ever finish this story it would probably have to be published in a multitude of volumes for its sheer size, this is all thanks to the inspiring fourteen books I’ve been reading of the Land of Oz written by L Frank Baum, The Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling and the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis; not to forget also the Dragonlance series of books and the immortal highlander, all of these things are meshing within my mind and are giving me great ideas.

I can’t tell you what the story is going to be about other than it’s going to be a fantasy novel for sure with some horror thrown in for good measure, I wouldn’t suggest at all that it will be as family friendly as the books I’ve mentioned above but I can guarantee that if this gigantic story ever gets finished and published that it would be a thrilling read for generations to come; full of action, adventure, fairy-tale, romance, heartbreak, betrayal, revenge, vampires, slavery, struggles, imprisonment and steamy sex.

Why can’t I share a snippet of the storyline with you?  Well, I’ve noticed I am one of these annoying writers that when she shares her plot the plot loses its magic and I find myself unable to finish it; stories which remain a secret have ended up becoming finished so I am not taking any chances anymore and now I understand why legendary writers tend to guard their stories as top secrets until they’ve finished so fiercely… I think I might end up doing the same.  Do you know that I have started twenty seven stories in the last seven years and I’ve only finished two of them and they were short stories?  All of them were plots that were shared with others and at least eight of those plots were used to spark off other people (who also write) to write something similar to me, I don’t know, call me a snob if you like but that just loses the magic for me and I don’t do well competing with my writing, I don’t like it becoming a contest, and I think that’s why I didn’t partake in NaNoWriMo like I wanted.

I have found which market I want to write for and although I may not become as well known in that market as others who are more diverse I am happy in finding my feet amongst fantasy and horror for adults and fantasy and horror erotica.

I just promise myself I won’t be tempted to get my books published via e-readers because I want my standards to be professional, not dissing e-reader writers at all but the editing is usually sloppy I’ve found (since I’ve bought my kindle and read a few) and I find that unacceptable.

So, forgive me if my poetry has gone on the back bench a bit and please understand I am involved in something a little more exciting, though I will endeavor to try and post at least two poems a week as I don’t want my blog to falter.

I’ll post soon xx

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Old to new fairytale

I think I have finally lost my marbles, given the idea I’ve had about a fairy-tale; I’ve though up my own dark fantasy version of Jack and the Beanstalk and this idea is so great and exciting for me that I am leaving all my other projects aside so I can write this, I suspect it will be a novella size – but whatever, I think it will be hilarious.

Unfortunately I won’t be posting the story on my blog when I’ve finished because I don’t know how that will affect me in regards to getting it published or winning a competition.  I’ve got great faith that this story will be popular and if I win it via competition before getting it published, I will post it here… but before then, I can’t.

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Prosy fiction

I like writing very prosy descriptions from time to time and I was wondering if there was a market for prose fiction novels where there is a storyline but it’s mostly prose, such as;

The sand was warm to walk upon, like a heated blanket, she felt wrapped in a blanket of light.  She looked into the blue skies of noon and smiled to herself, for her love was far away on the ocean pirating his life for her wealth, so she could maintain her velvety fashions.

Her red hair blew in front of her eyes, giving the world a rusty tinge, the ocean seemed like melted copper when it did that, and her thoughts drifted into memories of the last time she was with Timothy.

I like writing like this sometimes, but I sometimes worry that there’s no market for it and that publishers will simply ask me to not to describe things so much, when over description was my intention.

I like reading things like this but not all the time and I was wondering if there’s a market that’s not been touched yet and the reason behind it is because publishers and agents are becoming afraid of new forms of writing (in my opinion).

As a fantasy reader I prefer prose like fantasy books than those traditional types of books.  Who agrees with me?  Please comment…

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Anthologies

If an unpublished writer sent an anthology of short stories to either a publisher or an authors agent, would that be too presumptuous?

I am thinking about compiling about twenty short stories in my own anthology and then giving the whole thing to an authors agent, but I am a little worried that could be writing career suicide, what’s your thoughts please?

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Duotrope

If you’ve sent work through duotrope.com could you please let me know whether the site worked for you or not?  Thanks.

I’ve noticed there’s about five publishers that could potentially be interested in one of my stories as I meet their requirements according to duotrope.com and I am a little worried about whether or not they accept stories and poems that have been previously posted on my blog.  Is that usually problematic?

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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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