I have been experimenting with horror-themed tattoos for a couple of years now, I had a couple of tiny ones on my wrists with a Lovecraft theme, a tiny Cthulhu and an equally tiny Necronomicon symbol.
I later added to this with the addition of a small raven for Poe.
However, I did catch the bug (metaphorically speaking) and while I liked my tiny tattoos they felt small and disconnected from each other, like a theme but a half-arsed one. So I went to my tattooist and said
“Please use your wonderful art brain to find a way to make my existing tattoos flow, here are some of my ideas”
I handed him some terrible doodles of hearts (for Poe and Shelly equally) and filigree and booked myself in for his next available slot (which was nearly two months away, the dude is popular).
Last weekend I had my appointment.
And it went wonderfully!
My dude also had enough of a feel for me that he knew I’d be back to finish the sleeve even before I knew I was going back to finish the sleeve.
I’m thinking of something for The King in Yellow for the top half of the design.
Anyway here are some pictures, please excuse the terrible quality, I’ve removed the backgrounds as you don’t need to see my messy office, also these were taken maybe an hour or two after it was done so everything is very red and very sore at that point, also some of the smudged ink is still on my elbow lol. Everything is feeling much better now. I may even post better pictures once it’s healed fully.
Have you ever had those moments where you look at something you once thought was a great idea and suddenly hate it?
Nope? Just me? Well, I must be special then.
I am very much aware that I am not alone in this, nor am I special because of it.
My lame joke aside, don’t you just hate it? That feeling of utter betrayal? That feeling that your brain has tricked you? Something that looked so perfect, so fully formed that you couldn’t help getting excited, suddenly looks flat, unengaging and completely convoluted.
I had this happen to me recently.
I’ve been reading this fantastic book called the Science of Storytelling by Will Storr. It is a very interesting book, looking at why we, as humans, tell stories and why certain things prevail in many stories despite the tellers being continents apart. It’s part psychological look at the human condition and part writing instruction manual.
Whilst I was reading this I was also working on my next novel; one that I’m working on alongside Walk in the Woods, which I’m taking a little break from. I was working on the plot and crafting my main few characters. I was reasonably happy with what I was pulling together. My main character seemed believable, had depth and his motivations were clear. The plot was engaging, so I hoped, as well as believable and reasonably well paced.
Then I hit the latter third of The Science of Storytelling and suddenly my main character looked flat, and my plot sounded convoluted, cliché and crappy.
My motivation tanked.
When this feeling hit there were two wolves inside me, and they were fighting tooth and nail. To the victor would go the ability to dictate my actions.
One wolf was saying that this sucked, I should just give up and probably comfort eat as well, why not? This wolf was an asshole.
The other wolf was saying that wasn’t it fantastic that this happened now, at this early stage in the process? Wasn’t it great that I was learning so much from this book that I could see my mistakes? Wasn’t it great that I was making my craft better? With this new information, I could make this next book the best thing I had written to date! Wasn’t that exciting? This wolf was not an asshole but was far too excited by what felt like a failure.
Now it’s obvious, even to me, which of these wolves should win the fight. But I am not going to sit here and pretend that the ‘give up now you loser’ wolf wasn’t the more tempting option, at least for a bit.
The ‘you’re a loser’ wolf required very little effort on my part. I just had to stop and goodness me that was a temptation. When you’re tired and fed up, just stopping is a very alluring prospect. It’s why I’m a very strong advocate for taking regular breaks from projects and work in general, it makes that temptation less tempting when you’re not shattered.
I did eventually manage to tell the ‘you’re a loser’ wolf to go fuck itself and I listened to the wolf that, in my head, sounded like it had eaten far too much sugar. I didn’t scrap what I had already, instead I opened a new document and started planning again, sometimes pulling ideas from my first attempt over into the second attempt.
Anyway, why am I telling you this?
I’m writing to you about this experience to tell you that you’re not alone when you feel that sinking dread in the pit of your stomach when an idea that was once so shiny suddenly looks like it’s been covered in poop. You’re not alone when you want to listen to the ‘give up loser’ wolf and that reading books about writing craft is a truly invaluable experience.
Practice is great, it’s better than great it’s essential. But just because you’re writing regularly doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Never stop learning, there’s always something that can be made better. There’s always more work that can be done.
Who else is super excited for all the spooky shenanigans?
COMING OCTOBER 14TH FIREFLY
My name is Rachel, and I work for the Gentleman.
The Gentleman has an interest in the paranormal, the unexplained and the bizarre. He uses his influence and power to investigate strange events and collect evidence. His collection is comprised of this evidence, as well as files and reports of the events.
My job is to build files, take deliveries and keep the place free from dust and mold.
Building files involves taking all the information and evidence the Gentleman has delivered to my door, and collating and annotating it to tell the story of what happened. Sometimes, when the Gentleman has got enough evidence, I can tell an entire story.
Two months ago, I took deliveries for an event we’re calling Firefly. It’s a very detailed case, and there’s enough evidence of a threat to warrant people being warned. This is a copy of the complete Archive report.
It all started when seven-year-old Simon Thompson vanished.
I hate time. I also hate mental limitations, oh and financial ones to.
I doubt very much that I am alone in this, but I wish I had unlimited time, mental head space and money in order to indulge my passions more.
They say money doesn’t buy you happiness but if I somehow found myself in possession of a small fortune, a large bucket of money (or many small buckets) per say, my life would change for the better. I’d have a level of freedom I just don’t have at the moment.
I’d travel, I’d write, I’d bury myself in stories and learning until I was dead.
That was the basis of a rant I had at my partner the one night on the sofa. I was in an energetically grumpy mood because there simply are not enough hours in the day or pennies in my bank account to do all the things I’d like to do and, you know, work for a living, keep the house clean and us fed etc.
Once I’d worn myself out, I slumped down, and we watched some pre-bed television. But I couldn’t stop thinking about my rant. Not because it was profound, it really wasn’t, it was barely articulate. But because the likelihood of me ever finding a bucket, or multiple small buckets, of money is minimal at best. I don’t even buy lottery tickets. I couldn’t stand the idea of never being able to do the things I wanted to do simply because there’s not enough time and/or money.
So, I got to thinking how the hell can I make these things happen without winning the lottery that I don’t play.
I came up with a plan.
It’s not perfect, I can’t do all the things I want to do right now, (the toddler that lives in my brain always demands things now) but that doesn’t mean I can’t do them ever.
The basis of my plan has three steps.
Identify the stuff you want. – Be very specific, don’t just say ‘I want to travel’ say ‘I want to go to these specific places in Canada, Japan, America, Germany’ and say why. Limited resources means being brutal about what you can and cannot do. There’s got to be a reason behind the things you want to do, it’ll help you prioritize.
Identify the things you need to be able to do these things. – again, be specific. We’ve got clearly identified goals, break down how to get there and identify the things we need. Don’t just say money, say how much money, don’t just say time say how much time. Breaking things down makes them feel more manageable.
Identify how to get those things. – this was harder. Money is tight, time is limited, and we all have a lot of responsibilities. Some of the things needed might take years to get. But I’d rather take years than give up today without trying.