Tag Archives: short stories

Words, NaNoWriMo and more…

A pixabay image

Despite what I had promised myself last year, I am trying to do NaNoWriMo again this year – why did I make this decision?  Simple, in the past six weeks I have been consistently writing daily my 750 words along with a random two thousand other words (mostly not towards a novel). 

To those who are not in the know, you may be thinking “What are 750 words”?  Well, 750 words should be daily written and is an idea based on Julia Cameron’s activities for helping your inner creativity to flow.  This idea can be found in a book she wrote called “The Artist Way”.  There is a website to help you track these daily words, Julia doesn’t specify 750 words, she specifies three pages of long hand written work to be done in the morning, I don’t do long hand so I decided to join this website called 750words.com which worked out that three pages of long hand writing averages to around 750 words per day.

So every day I try to accomplish 750 words from the website, plus adding to my novel and doing poetry, writing songs and research papers for my novels and short stories.  All in all I average around three to four thousand words a day, not really focused in one area – NaNoWriMo is trying to teach me to focus my efforts on one particular thing – I may be successful this year, who knows?

I have heard of a method which kind of makes wrimo easier for people during the flu season, which is reversed NaNoWriMo, where you do three thousand and odd words on the first day and condense it down every day so that on the last day you only write one word, which I think is a brilliant idea because most people are pumped up for NaNoWriMo in the first ten days and then they kind of get fed up, a bit like a diet.  Not to mention a lot of people quit halfway through wrimo because of the flu, as I said it is flu season, so, do a lot now whilst you’re healthy and you can lose a day or two without affecting your goal.

Anyway, daily updates on NaNoWriMo and other writing activities will be posted on here.  There may be fewer poems this month, who knows?

The words for NaNoWriMo yesterday were 1672 (I know, not the three thousand I said I wanted to do – that’s for today) along with 1711 words for my 750words.com account (sometimes I get carried away ranting about life) and another 495 words elsewhere. 

Today so far I have done 1784 words for 750words.com and nothing towards wrimo and around 500 words with this post and I do have an urge to write a poem right now.

So I am going to get going with that and I shall do my wrimo words when my son is in bed tonight.

Fingers crossed I will accomplish wrimo this month and this year, just for the feel good factor, I am writing about my vampires in a new story, as I said many times before, I am very possessive of my vampires so it is unlikely I will get that book published by the end of it.

Ciao for now.

 

 

 

 

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My fantasy knowledge

My to read list is huge on Goodreads.com, and I have one book left from the library that I must read before the 4th of July, it hasn’t been read thoroughly yet because I tend to borrow the maximum each time I visit the library, note bibliophile present. The last book I have from the library that’s half read at present is “H.P Lovecraft’s book of horror” an anthology of 21 classic short horror stories which includes with my personal rating;

Supernatural horror in literature essay/introduction by H.P Lovecraft 9/10
The signalman by Charles Dickens 8/10
The house and the brain by Edward Bulwer-Lytton 8/10
The body snatcher by Robert Louis-Stevenson 2/10 (low rating yes, shock horror)
The spider by Hanns Heinz Ewers 10/10
The foot of the mummy by Theophile Gautier 9/10
The horla by Guy De Maupassant 8/10

The rest have yet to be read and they will include;

The fall of the house of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
The dammed thing by Ambrose Bierce
The upper berth by F. Marion Crawford
The yellow sign by Robert W. Chambers
The shadows on the wall by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman
The dead valley by Ralph Adams Cram
Fish head by Irvin S. Cobb
Lukundoo by Edward Lucas White
The double shadow by Clark Ashton Smith
The mark of the beast by Rudyard Kipling
Negotium Perambulans by E.F Benson
Mrs. Lunt by Hugh Walpole
The Hog by William Hope Hodgson
The great god Pan by Arthur Machen
Count Magnus by M.R James
Followed by the afterword by Lovecraft and the literature of cosmic fear:

Yesterday I finished Coraline by Neil Gaiman and other stories. Which were very compelling reads and I am what a readers quiz calls a polygamous reader, therefore I started reading H.P Lovecraft’s anthology before Coraline’s anthology, but I was so much more taken with Neil Gaiman than I was with H.P Lovecraft’s compilation, that I literally abandoned H.P Lovecraft until there was no more Neil Gaiman to read.

If I am having a good day with my health on the days I visit my work advisor I usually treat myself to a book or three at the local charity shops on the way home, it’s a habit I can’t get out of; unfortunately yesterday there were quite a few I liked, in fact, I would have by choice bought home five books, but I only had enough money for two. The ones I found and bought home were books three and four of the Eragon series (the inheritance cycle) by Christopher Paolini. I have never watched the movie Eragon and nor have I ever read the books. I had the first two books at home, never read and abandoned on the shelves until I could get the complete set and now I have them I am thrilled. Unfortunately, knowing me, it will probably be 3+ months before I start reading them, because I am currently reading 26 books according to my goodreads.com currently reading list.

That doesn’t need to get any longer does it? I am I have to start on the fifth to fourteenth book of the Wizard of Oz series before I can think of moving onto another series, also I have the last book of the Fifty Shades of Grey to read as well.
Oh the life of a bibliophile is far too short!

It’s stupid to think that I get through an average of 1 to 4 books a week and that my “to read” list is currently 4647 and that expands by no less than 20 books per week. It’s ridiculous, even if I was immortal and glued my arse to a chair and read 24/7 I would never ever catch up in reading unless there was a total ban for thousands of years of new material being published!

I hope in the future there will be a little chip inside people’s brains where you can download information immediately by the press of a button; I would opt to be a literary and historical know-all and I would also want to be proficient in all creative mediums and telepathy.

I get huge bouts of depression because I can’t do more than one thing at once. I want to read, but I have to go through a painstaking process of choosing which book gets my attention at that precise moment; but then I want to paint or write and I am sitting back thinking, well one things has to be put on hold, which will it be? What shall I do? I have so many things to write about and so many ideas, that I can never knuckle down and write them, because as I am writing I am being flooded with too much future work, that I surrender and do nothing.

I don’t suffer from writers block, I suffer from writers flood and because of that, I don’t write a majority of the time. Because it sends me mad, I write gibberish and I lack focus, because I think as I concentrate on other things, many things at once.
You can probably see this problem in my updates here.

I am a huge fantasy fan, but I don’t know much of the most commonly known fantasy books and movies because I refrain from watching or reading them if they’re popular, because they normally end up being frustrating commercialised entities that are constantly pushing out new material every few months. When I sit down to read a book and it’s a series, I like to think I have the whole series ready on my shelves before I start. If there are more books in that series coming out months later, it infuriates me, because I don’t always remember what happened in the books in great details and I do not like re-reading books if I can absolutely help it; (too many books and so little time).

The books I have not read and the movies I have not watched so far, that are popular in fantasy and family genres.

Eragon series books and movies
How to train your dragon books and movies?
The books after Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire haven’t been read yet
The movies past Harry Potter’s order of the phoenix
Once upon a time TV series
Supernatural TV series
The lion the witch and the wardrobe book
Narnia books
Final fantasy games
World of Warcraft games
Game of thrones TV series and books
Blood ties TV series
Twilight movie and books
True blood TV series and books
Nanny McPhee and the big bang
The Terminator movies
Maleficent movie

So as you can see, I have not watch nor read the biggies; but I do know a lot of fantasy that gets people scratching their heads at me and wondering what the hell I am talking about.

Those include;

The Gor series of books
Diary of a wimpy vampire books
The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman (though they are becoming popular)
The weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner
The play your own adventure books and fighting fantasies of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson
Nightmare TV series
Raven TV series
Highlander TV series
The fact there are 14 stories of OZ from the Wizard of OZ and that nobody knows the world completely, that is a complete bafflement for many
The Deptford mice books
Troll movie 1986
Critters movies
Tremors movies
The Disney movie – the gnome mobile
Shirley Temple’s movie – the blue bird
Angels in America movie
Dogma the movie

So, go feast yourself on these so-called unheard of books and movies.

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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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coincidental writing

This blog is starting to represent morning pages more than my actual work and I am trying desperately to avoid that; I am over emotional lately, a lot of my time is taken up trying to get myself back on track, but once I’ve eliminated one problem, something else wants to take its place and that’s usually either more family problems, like a death in the family or an announcement of cancer – or anything really, anything.

There’s a lot I should be doing and procrastination shouldn’t be an option.

I have noticed my 3500 word count goal is on cue every day, but it’s most certainly not creative writing it is non-fiction essays based on my life mostly.  I write an average of two and five poems a day but that’s not what I am here for, I am here to write actual stories, not just poems and rants.

I am saying that whilst writing yet another rant, I see that now.  Whilst I am ranting on there’s a question coming to mind, which I will ask in a separate post.

Meanwhile, I dislike the sleaziness that is in my blog these days when it’s short stories; I don’t want to be known for sleaze, but actual solid dark fantasy that doesn’t concentrate on sexual themes.

I don’t like reading too much fiction from other people either, because it makes me clamp up and think “Oh my God, someone is already onto my great idea”, or I think that someone has used a name for a character similar to my own and I would be the one blamed for plagiarism instead of mere coincidence.  Since I was ten years old I’ve had a character and a massive story in my head for vampires, yesterday I found a blog based on a character similar to my own with the same name – oddly enough, she isn’t copyright thieving off me because that story has never been announce publicly anywhere, it’s pure coincidence, so now I am going through the hard task of trying to think up a new name for a character I’ve known for almost seventeen years.  Believe me, when you’ve been very familiar with your character for that length of time, the idea that its name has to change is heart wrenching.

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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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