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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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I do write a lot actually… honest!

Quite a lot of the things I write day to day are in my mind, rubbish and unpublishable, however, by maintaining that stance on the things I do write, it has made my blog seem inactive and me as a writer inactive.  I actually do on average blow out more than 700 words per day just ranting at myself or brainstorming, some of the things are actually rather interesting to a few people apparently.  The things I generally write about are things I have researched in books or on programs etcetera, how they play in my mind and little quirks I think up.  Sometimes I write lazy and incredibly short stories under 500 words which will never be seen unless I put them on the blog – so I decided, well what is the harm?  Why not share this rubbish with people?  I have heard that what a creator thinks is rubbish turns out to be their best work by and large.

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1000 words

Upon reading many websites this week I have noticed that some of them are absolutely right about one thing and that is, when you first initially write anything it is terrible, in fact so terrible you need to actually write about 600 – 1000 words before you do your actual writing; this can be done via journal, morning pages or whatever, but whatever you do you have to expect that the first 1000 words you produce each day will be crap, jargon and simply nothing but babble, much like this post.

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1st draft vs 2nd draft

I would like to know as a reader which of the two opening paragraphs below makes you want to read more?

1.            The explosion could be heard for miles and the scent of smoke from the fading buildings tainted the air for days afterwards.  Maud, a nine year old little girl was found in the nearby cemetery, huddled by the cemetery wall shortly after it happened, she was discovered to be the daughter of the local priest, Father O’Hara and his wife Mildred O’Hara, they were killed in the blast and half the church had gone too. 

2.            Smoke and dust filled the air and sirens deafened all around.  Her eyes filled with tears as she saw her home being bombed by the unknown attackers of her city; a little girl no younger than nine was holding onto her ears with her eyes closed crouching by a tombstone in the local cemetery nearby.  It was an awful sight; it was an awful noise, much more awful for a little girl like Maud.  After a while somebody found her crouching there all alone.  They asked her name, they asked where she lived but all she could do was cry and point at the pile of smoking rubble that was her home.

This is based on the novel I was writing for NaNoWriMo, the first paragraph is the absolute first draft of this story, and the second paragraph is the revised second draft.

Would you keep either of the paragraphs or revise again?

A little information here, I never completed NaNoWriMo or this novel, the story is on hold until after Christmas.  I managed to write approximately 37,000 words towards this and I didn’t consider it to be a half way point. 

 

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Vampire Loyalty

I have been watching Vampire Diaries season one this week, I have just finished episode fourteen and I have to say, I am a little disappointed with the lack of vampire loyalty in the plot.  Vampires seem to kill more vampires than they do people in this show and I have to ask, what is that all about?  From what I know of vampires if they are not solitary creatures they are pack animals and I think that the writers here had a hard time trying to decide which type of vampire they wanted to write about.  It is like they cannot decide whether they want a solitary vampire, a vampire twosome that has run away from the pack, or a pack style vampire story.

That’s my observation so far with the series.

Another observation is this, when are we going to get a TV series that concentrates purely on vampires rather than mortal/vampire romances and also throwing in werewolves, witches and other things into the equation too?  When is this going to happen?  When are we going to get a TV series where vampires have vampire relationships and there are no other supernatural beings but them?

I am waiting on that…

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Rediscovering Vampires

I love fantasy and yes, there are many popular fantasy TV series and books I have never ever experienced in any format; they include ‘The Game of Thrones’, ‘Season two of Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Shannara Chronicles’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and episode four and beyond of ‘The 100’ to name but a few of those missed experiences.

Along with those television series there are several books I have never read too and they are; all the above that have novelizations.  Book four and beyond of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ series of books, the third book and beyond of Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, ‘The DragonLance Series’ and ‘Goosebumps’ to name but a few there too.

Now, I am currently trying to make amends for all of that.  I am currently re-reading the first book of ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ by Anne Rice with the aim to read right through all the chronicles by this time next year – next week this will be put on hold right after I have finished ‘Interview with a vampire’ because I have ordered from my local library a trilogy from Michael Moorcock ‘The Eternal Champion’ because I am curious about a symbol I am rather fond of which apparently originates from these novels.

I am also watching some of the above mentioned television series, back to back, one to three per night – the ones I have started with is the box-set I have bought of ‘The Vampire Diaries’.  You are probably wondering why I have bought something that expensive if I have never watched one of the episodes first.  Well, it’s about vampires; I know I will love it.  Its touch and go in regards to Twilight but I guess because it has vampires I might find it tolerable, who knows… Twilight is another vampire movie I have never watched and I am a die-hard vampire fan, go figure.  Well I was too busy to keep up to date with my vampires for about a decade, so I am forgiven right?

The vampire Diaries has me hooked by the way; I have watched five episodes this week so far.  I am scrutinising the whole thing because I specialise in vampires in my novels and I don’t want to clash too much with anyone and I was nervous at first because something in the vampire diaries has clashed with my novels (the corvid) and the fact that a few of my vampires have the ability to roam the day too.

I am also hooked because Damon gets my hormones going… but let’s not talk about that, we’re talking about vampires in general and fantasy, not my hormones on some women’s health site. 

So, yes, I am happy to find that this series hasn’t brutalised vampires too much for me like True Blood has, I feel True Blood went too far in de-romanticising vampires.  I was distraught about that.  In the True Blood series you couldn’t tell the vampires apart from anything you see in a normal human to human slasher movie, werewolf movie or zombie movie, vampires in my opinion are much more far removed than those other movie types and I found it hard to chew.

Although being a horror fan I did love the brutality, but I was too angry that it was caused by vampires drunk on blood, dripping with blood and acting like psychotic corpses.  A lot of people will argue with me that vampires are just that ‘psychotic corpses’ but I will deny that is what vampires are, vampires to me, love very deeply and have a gentle demeanour about them, they are not rabid animals.

So, yes, I am returning to vampires.  I am returning to my love for them and with this reunion come rediscovering my hidden identity again.  I feel like I am filling up the hollowness in me and I am feeling more like who I was meant to be, rather than some obscure faint shadow.

I don’t do short stories of vampires unfortunately.  I linger too much on my vampire novels that I am ashamed to say they are epic sized.  I can’t stop adding things to them.  I think ‘War and Peace’ will have nothing on one of my vampire stories.

So that’s it for today, more to come tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading and do post a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NaNo No No No DON’T DO IT!

I do not recommend NaNoWriMo to any writer who has been writing for a while, whether published or unpublished to partake in NaNoWriMo unless they are used to writing more than 1700 words per day under pressure.  In fact I would even stretch to say, unless you are used to writing at least 2000 words per day, because when you do NaNoWriMo you become obsessed with having certain amount of words rather than good quality work.  This can be especially true for those writers out there (and I am one of those writers) who are highly competitive outside of writing in every other thing – this feeds my competitive nature far too much.

The work I have done on NaNoWriMo is shockingly awful; it is the worse stuff I have ever, EVER done.  It will take me much longer to edit the first draft than would have been usual for me.  I am dreading to re-read what I have done and for the record, no, I haven’t won NaNoWriMo and I will not by Wednesday, simply because I stopped writing the novel altogether last week at 37,504 words.  I am disgusted at myself for the quality of work I have done; I am not used to creating that kind of garbage.  With that said, the novel in itself isn’t too bad an idea; there are many wonderful things that have happened during the NaNoWriMo challenge, some of which are pleasantly surprising and helpful to enhance the richness of the plot as a whole, but in practise, the story is unemotional and I missed several key points in my plot because of the word count. 

I suppose the speed of NaNoWriMo assisted mainly in the brainstorming phase of my writing; I certainly had a brainstorm for something interesting to happen in the novel outside of my key elements as often as once every ten paragraphs approximately.  However, simply sitting back and doing my daily journal does that if I concentrate purely on the current novel I am working on; something of which I hadn’t had the energy to do throughout the challenge.  I had no energy to do any other form of work in writing or art; it was starting to burn me out.  I had no energy to read books or even update my personal diary and morning pages. 

The entire challenge zapped me; it absorbed me and ultimately slowed me down.  I wrote less per day than I would normally, ironic because of the word count obsession, but it did indeed; slow me down by 800 words per day.

I think I could have kept with the challenge despite the shoddiness of work, if there was more support.  However, my region seems to be a ghost town, hardly anyone has been seen on any of the forums or the chatrooms provided, the only support I had got were from people who were not doing the challenge and were writers who look at the challenge with a sympathetic eye.  I spent ages sitting around waiting for someone to talk to from the NaNoWriMo site, even trying to seek out NaNoWriMo writers from twitter and other places to come up against a social brick wall.

NaNoWriMo although was a terrible experience for me, was still fruitful in its way.  I brainstormed through the toil and was provided with small gems to make my plot as a whole sparkle.  But I have a lot of extra unnecessary work to do, when editing comes around.  Let me put this into plainer terms… The first chapter of the novel will be completely deleted and replaced with only a nice, neat three paragraphs and that is only the first chapter.  Something I am not used to doing, I am not used to creating that amount of rubbish.

I am bored with the novel at the moment, I won’t continue with it perhaps until way after New Year.  Meanwhile I will start reviving my blog again and work on the other two novels I wanted to do during the challenge, without the panic that I shall be a failure unless I reach 50k for just one novel in 30 days.

As I said before, I wrote more outside of the challenge, than I did within it.

So, will I be taking up NaNoWriMo challenge 2017?  You must be joking?  Of course I won’t.

 

 

 

 

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Half way through the challenge

I am over the half way mark in NaNoWriMo, not much over it though I just finished for the night at 25,066 words.

I slumped behind on the words for a few days because I was worrying too much about NaNoWriMo technicalities rather than just worrying about my novel. 

For example, I wasn’t sure that I liked what I had written and didn’t want to delete it because I didn’t want to affect my word count for this challenge.  I went onto the forums tonight for the first time since taking up the challenge and found out that other people know that they have written crap on their first draft, so go back to the draft later on and write underneath the former crap that you want to change the above and here is the newer version of that event.  I didn’t know this was allowed but apparently it is.

I also didn’t know whether or not I had to stop writing my novel 50k willy nilly, I am so glad I don’t because I think my novel is going to be approximately 150k when I have finished, so again another fear has been allayed.

Now I know this, I think I will finish the challenge much, much quicker than I had originally thought and I am personally starting to write again, how I used to write before NaNo, which is an ace for me!

 

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Plotter to Pantser

Despite it being crappy as I said in my last post I have persevered with my NaNoWriMo novel.  I have now added a further two thousand and odd words to my story and that totals to 18931 words all told.

So I haven’t given up yet and hopefully I won’t.

However, my story isn’t developing how I wanted it to be, I have gone from what NaNoWriMo veterans would call a plotter that is now turning into a pantser.  The new developments however are more exciting than my original plans, I am very happily surprised at what is happening in the story, in spite of hating how badly written it is as a whole.

Wish me luck!

 

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You can survive NaNoWriMo

 

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, this is going to be my first proper attempt at NaNoWriMo this year.  I have researched this a lot and I have been preparing for it a lot in the last three weeks, so I am more than raring to go!

I have a whole novel mapped out and planned to precision, so hopefully there shouldn’t be too many blocked moments.

The aim of NaNoWriMo is that from the 1st of November to the end of November (the 30th) you aim to write 50,000 towards your first draft – it encourages you to actually complete your work.  You will receive lots of help and make lots of new friends that help encourage your on you way to completing your 50,000 words.  The concept is that this is how a successful best-selling working writer lives, they accomplish on an average around 50,000 words of something a month.  It’s to get you realising what life as a best-selling author is going to be like, if you wish to be someone as prolific as say Stephen King.  Now to accomplish 50,000 words in just one month, you will need to write 1,670 words per day.  Stephen King claims he doesn’t leave his writing den before he has finished writing six pages in any one day – that equates to about the same length we’re expected to write at NaNoWriMo and I must also say, his minimum is just six pages, it’s not what he does every day, he admits sometimes he writes more, but six pages is his daily goal.

Now for someone who is new to the idea of becoming a writer, or for someone who struggles putting pen to paper and is intimidated by that fearsome blank page, this idea can be very daunting – but hang in there!  NaNoWriMo members are there to talk you through it, give you tips on how to survive this and what’s more, it will help make you feel like you’ve achieved something.  Your first draft isn’t meant to be perfect, some authors have to redraft their work twenty times before it’s prime enough for publication – don’t be too hard on yourself, or your first draft or baby you won’t survive.

Simple tip for getting 50,000 words at NaNoWriMo, just write, forget editing, just write – it’s your first draft, it’s not meant to be perfect!

 

 

 

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