Writing Craft

Inspiration, where does it come from?

Inspiration in Strange Places

Today I am writing to you to make you aware of the wonderful Stephen Fry’s Podcast, Stephen Fry Inside your mind.

I’m currently plotting out a novel that will make up a part of my PhD, and I’m also listening to this podcast at night in bed (I’m one of those people who need noise to sleep, thank heaven for podcasts). I have had a rough, very rough, idea of what I want my thesis novel to be. I want it to be a horror genre (obviously) story and I want it to feature disabled characters.

My PhD is after all about how disability is portrayed in horror literature and how this reflects society etc.

But beyond this vague idea, I’ve struggled to pin down anything more solid.

Until I listened to this podcast.

I was so inspired by some of the topics Stephen talked about that I got out of bed to write myself a note and put it on my desk. Listen to this podcast while fully awake and with a mind to your novel.

I love it when inspiration comes at me in unexpected ways.

It usually hits when I’m out travelling, I see places that make me think “What if…” sometimes I hear music that twists in my brain. Sometimes I see a picture or have a conversation. Rarely do these sources of inspiration give me the whole story, they give me a character or a concept or a location.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Blog News

Whats on the Cards for 2023?

2023 is here and I am ready to get started!

As I said in an earlier blog, December is the month of reflection and planning.

I’ve already reflected on 2022 and found it to be a major success of the year. The only part I wish I’d done better at is the physical fitness side, for while I started attending the gym and going for walks my consistency at these tasks has been … well inconsistent. But coming away from a year with one partial failure is still pretty damn good.

So what’s on the horizon for 2023?

On the writing and horror side…

I’m going to work hard to sell more short stories this year, I’m hoping to get at least six if not more sold. I’ll achieve this by increasing my output, streamlining my editing process and increasing my submission rate. I want to be submitting at least once a week, but ideally more.

Walk in the Woods will be going out to agents in June/July 2023 if I can stay on track, hopefully, one of them will love it enough to pick it up.

I’m also going to be getting the first draft of The Grey House (Working title, hopefully, a better one will present itself) done by July 2023.

I want to keep increasing traffic to the website and beat last year’s figures. I’m hoping to achieve this by improving the quality of my content. I’d also like to keep doing podcasts and blog tours and become more involved in the Horror and Writing communities. The experience I’ve had so far has been very welcoming and supportive and I’d like to put back what I take out.

On the personal side…

As I said in the reflections blog, one of my goals last year was to get out and do things more, which I did. But I stayed close to home, trying to both get out more but still be responsible given the situation.

This year I want to go further afield. We are planning a trip to Rome in late spring/early summer, and we are planning an autumn trip to Cornwall to celebrate Mr Sherlock and I’s tenth anniversary. Cornwall was the place we took our first holidays a couple and we’ve been back many times since, so we are picking our favourite places and effectively doing a tour of them. Most of my favourite places are pubs.

I want to continue to explore different restaurants and will be making an effort whenever the opportunity presents itself to go out to new places rather than keep returning to old favourites all the time. I also want to keep up the habit of going to the theatre, which is a hobby I’ve had for years and unless something unforeseen happens I doubt it will stop anytime soon.

I have also signed up for alerts from the little independent cinema so we can keep going there and seeing new and interesting films that might not always make it to the local Odeon.

Regarding the day job, I had a glowing end-of-year report so my main goal is to keep up the standard of work. Though I have requested a nine-day fortnight which is when I get to work nine days over two weeks rather than ten. I still do the usual 40hr week but work longer days with the bonus of having an extra day off every other week. It’ll help a lot with all of the other work I’m doing.

Concerning the house, we’ve got a lot of projects lined up for this year. The main ones are to redecorate the office and insulate the conservatory. We also have further plans for the garden which in a nutshell will be us putting down as many wildflower seeds as possible in the flower beds and using the planters for veggies. This way we hope to make the garden nicer for insects, so they can have an easier time of it. Hopefully, this will help balance out the damage the cats do to the local insect population.

Lastly, in the miscellaneous category, I can’t wait to get my half-sleeve tattoo, which will incorporate my existing small tattoos and turn my right arm, at least the the lower half, into a horror tribute worthy of the writers it reflects.

I need to get my fitness habit on a better track, to that effect I’ve been gifted a Fitbit for Christmas as a way of monitoring my already existing efforts and triggering my internal desire to see my numbers improve.

I sincerely hope that I manage to get onto the PhD course I’m applying for and that I can secure funding for it. I want to do this and have done everything I can think of to get on but the nerves, are increasing!

I became carbon neutral by contributing to Wren last year, this year depending on finances I want to become carbon positive, which means I help get rid of more carbon than I put out. I’m hoping to increase my donations and am investigating more carbon-friendly ways of heating the house and lastly, and most painfully I am looking at changing my car into a hybrid, though it will be heart-breaking to see Dante go away, he was my first car and I love him.

So that’s the current plan for 2023, let’s hit it head-on.

Blog News

Coming in 2022

Last year was an interesting year.

I’d like to discuss the previous year and the upcoming year.

On the positive side, I started a YouTube channel, sold a manuscript, finished a draft of my current WIP and managed to publish several short stories.

On the neutral side, I started seriously working towards my PhD in English literature, though sadly that ended up on the backburner yet again when offline-life got in the way.

On the bummer side, a project I was working on, a videogame, ran into one-to-many problems and ended up being shelved. Though this may turn out to be for the best.

As far as offline life is concerned, last year was pretty monumental. My partner and I bought our first house together in February and almost immediately got a ton of plants and a couple of cats to live in it. Finnegan and Mimi, look how “cute” they are!

Yes, I am deliberately shaming my cats with embarrassing/unflattering pictures because it amuses me to do so.

Continue reading “Coming in 2022”
Real World Horror

Real World Horror: The Haunted Cane

Last week I made a decision

I made a decision!

I decided that as I was enjoying the increased writing schedule for our letters I would increase it further. Lol, who needs sleep!

However, I wanted to try something a bit different. The majority of my letters are about writing, in particular, writing horror. Although, I do talk regularly about consuming horror in its many forms and mediums, such as through the internet in the form of Creepypastas and through video games and films.

I have decided as I said above to try something a bit different on Saturdays. Being that I am deeply attached to most things ghoulish and creepy I decided to implement this into my letters more by talking each and every Saturday about horror in the real world. I will be covering topics such as Haunted objects, creepy places and ancient creepy folk stories that might just be true (or that people thought were true at some point or another).

So, prepare for Real-World Horror letters on Saturdays!

Continue reading “Real World Horror: The Haunted Cane”
Horror Writing

Why I Write

Back in October 2016 I was lucky enough to write a guest post on the wonderful blog of Kathy Cecala! A fantastic blog full of wit, wisdom and humour.

I think that it is safe to say that today there are more writers than at any other time in history. Between free blogging sites, and self-publishing sites it seems that you can’t swing a cat these days without hitting a writer of some kind and that is wonderful.

The sharing of ideas and opinions helps us all grow as people and as a society. Whether you write stories, opinion pieces or factual ‘how to’ manuals there has never been a better time to get your words out to such a wide and varied audience.

The only thing that hasn’t gotten easier has been finding motivation or inclination to write.

Continue reading “Why I Write”