Can A horror Writer Write Without Offending Close Friends Or Family?

ImageWell tonight’s post is more of a question to all writers out there.

I have two genres that tend to excite me into a writing frenzy, comedy and psychological, sometimes supernatural horror.

Like many other writers Dean Koontz and Stephen King to name two of my literary heroes, I tend to write from what I know.

Things / people / situations I have experienced within my life either in the world of fiction or in “the real world” often become my initial inspiration.

Once the inspiration is set a huge element of emotive fiction is added to move a story forward or to clearly define a character I am trying to portray.

The initial inspiration is merely the seed, the starting point and once that seed begins to take form it grows into something else, a completely new living breathing entity.

Now the question….

How do other writers respond when close friends or family notice and object to similarities between fictional characters and situations you have created and themselves?

Maybe you have a character killed off, or you have taken a characteristic from someone you know and made them into a murderer or one of a million other possibilities.

I would be intrigued to hear your views and opinions on this.

Speak soon x

 

The Reason

A little nostalgia today, I was scanning my library the other day and  happened upon the first poem I had ever written, at the age of 14. It was  pressed neatly between the pages of a book. I hope you enjoy x

 

The Reason

 

There once was a man

Who became very ill,

 

He passed a virus

To a palace messenger

 

The messenger

Carried out his daily duties

 

He passed to the virus to an emperor

Who became too sick

To initiate war

 

Millions of lives were saved.

 

The Trouble With Time Travel

ImageLast week I shared some free form that led to the creation of a lead character in my latest novel The trouble with Time Travel. Today a section from the book itself. At this point Arran and Molly two children and friend to the brilliant professor Fidget are playing in a strange device they believe to be a futuristic hover craft, this is the moment they discover they are in fact sitting in a Time Machine…

As always comments and thoughts welcome x

……….

 

But wait, something was different.

The professor was sitting at her desk reading a book. ‘We’re in trouble now’ said Arran. ‘Sorry professor’ he said, ‘It was Mollys fault, I told her I wanted to go to bed but then she hit me with a teddy and so I switched on the light and now we’re in your hovercraft’.

The professor didn’t even look up from her book. ‘see what you’ve done?’ said Arran ‘the professor cant even look at us, I’ve never seen her this angry’.

The basement door opened and in walked John their father. ‘Dad’s here’ shouted Molly ‘shh’ replied Arran, he paused. ‘Wait a minute, he’s ignoring us too’.

John walked across the room, without so much as a glance toward the children and slammed his briefcase down on the professors desk, she put her book down and began speaking with their father.

‘He cant of not noticed us’ said Arran. ‘He’ll notice if we stand right between them’ snapped Molly who refused to spend too long in any situation she didn’t understand, with that she turned round and attempted to get out of the time machine ‘Ouch!’ she yelled as her head started to throb, there was an invisible wall surrounding the whole machine, soundproof and inescapable. ‘I cant get out’ Molly shouted.

Arran wasn’t paying any attention he was much more concerned with what was in the machine itself, ‘Molly look’ said Arran pointing at the dashboard. Directly under the picture was a digital display it read DESTINATION 8 HOURS 32 MINUTES INTO THE PAST HOVER MODE ENGAGED.

‘Oh my goodness’ said Arran it’s a time machine, Professor Fidget has invented a time machine!’ Molly turned to look at the display in disbelief, then turned to face her brother. ‘I mean I’d have preferred a blue police box that was bigger on the inside, but still, a time machine’. MATERIALIZATION IN 20 SECONDS appeared. ‘Twenty seconds?’ shouted Arran ‘Its counting down’

19,18

‘what do we do?’ Molly’s attention was firmly fixed on her father who was now looking right at her from the other side of the room ‘dads stretching out his arms, he’s walking this way. Arran he knows we’re here!’ Arran was still looking at the display.

13, 12

‘Molly do something’ ‘Oh yea. I’m quite the time traveller, I know exactly how these things work’ Molly shouted sarcastically as her father drew closer.

6, 5,

‘Molly now!’ Shouted Arran. Molly began randomly pressing a series of buttons.

4, 3,

‘If we end up landing in Jurassic Park your getting eaten before me!’ snapped molly as she finally came to press the same green button that had transported them there in the first place. The display changed, FLIGHT MODE, the time machine began to vibrate and the laboratory disappeared from view. Almost immediately they found themselves back where they started from.

Should Writers Read? …. A thought

You know I read a shocking statistic recently, 82% of young people in the UK don’t read for pleasure. It made me kind of sad to think that television, movies, Nintendo Wii and the PS3 are converting our future generation into couch potatoes devoid of imagination and purpose.

I have travelled quite a long and varied path before I realized I wanted to be a writer, doing seemingly unrelated jobs which usually had an artistic or writing element but through it all I have always read for fun.

As much as I enjoy computer games television and cinema (and I do) they will never be able to match the potential imagery your imagination can produce.

I read mostly fiction because that’s where my interest lies. When I pick up a book by Stephen King, James Herbert or Dean Koontz I very quickly find myself lost in the world they have created. The beauty is that once I am in that world it is no longer theirs, it is mine. They will describe the essential parts I need to know to highlight a particular character or to drive the plot forward but will leave ample breathing room so my imagination can fill in the blanks. Let’s take this section from Velocity By Dean Koontz…

Although he had the head reminiscent of a squash ball and the heavy rounded shoulders of a sumo wrestler, Ned was an athletic man only if you thought barroom jabber and grudge-holding qualified as sports. In those events, he was an Olympian.

After reading this for the first time I had a perfect complete mental image of Ned, any film or pictorial depiction of him presented to me after that point was almost guaranteed to be a disappointment. I can also guarantee to within a certain degree of accuracy that your own depiction of Ned will be equally as brilliant and completely unique to you.

Reading is to my mind essential to any writer. How many times have you wanted to describe something but couldn’t find the right words? The more I read the less that happens.

The correct grammar, how much of a character or plot to give to the reader, and at which point the many ways of depicting an emotion is delivered are all generously donated to the aspiring writer by their literary heroes.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and my morning ramblings, all thoughts and comments as always very welcome x

My New short Story ‘Seven Days’

ImageI was at a friends last night, and on the way home started thinking of a weird play around we did with the words ‘seven days’. You know from ‘The Ring’ film. An idea then jumped into my head for a short story of which the first part is below.

More to follow I hope you enjoy. As always all comments and suggestions welcome. x

……

Allow your decayed mind to wander the vast empty vacuum that your past has laid out for its own pleasure.

Clench your fists, if you feel it makes the pain more bearable. Tighten every muscle in your body and feel each one slowly contract as the electricity takes a hold like an all consuming leech using your blood stream to travel the entire length of the body, stopping at every major organ en route to hang an out of order sign.

Fatherly advice was never his strong-point but I got the message, dreaming is bad, for me more than most.

When I close my eyes for anything more than a momentary blink I am afraid to open them again. Nothing is ever the same. I see more in the sleep state, a full high definition movie viewed from all angles where people I know and love are taken from me in the most horrific ways, sometimes in graphic slow motion. I feel their torment, their pain, loss for the life they will never have, only to be shocked awake in a cold sweat and wait for the omnibus edition play out on the news for the whole of the next day.

You might say I’m a medium or a psychic. I simply see things before they happen. its a nice dream, but a load of crap. Thing is when I stay awake I know of all the tragic accidents, murders and cruel senseless deaths that occur round the world, that on that day, the day I stayed awake, none of them will involve my loved ones.

When I wake I’m weak and ready for sleep, the world becomes a blurred version of itself. My body yearns for me to place my head back on the pillow and rest but I cant, not any more.

Until I figure out how to stop this I have to stay awake, I can’t sleep.

Day One …

Questions……. Its the Answer

Today I’d like to share what was a common business practice when I ran an advertising agency and is now an irreplaceable part of my writers toolkit.

Questions…

As I once wrote ‘Without questions there can never be any answers’, they open your mind and your field of creation, they force you to remove the blinkers and write with absolute confidence.

When I start writing I am always very aware that my first draft is for me and me alone, it not written with a great emphasis on target audience I simply want to get the story out, to display the diamond in the rough.

After the first draft is complete I become a fictitious member of my potential audience and ask questions…

Is the plot line clear enough? Is there enough empathetic or emotional attachment? What unnecessary text is there? (Something that doesn’t drive plot forward or further define character and character relationships).

Questions don’t have to wait till you have finished your first draft. During my work on ‘The Trouble With Time Travel’ I was myself troubled, every one of my characters was well rounded and created with absolute precision save one, and this one was a constant irritation to me; What was his motivation? Where in fact did he come from? What exactly does he want and what will he do to get it?

It was only when I stopped writing the main story and allowed myself to answer these questions could I continue without these self imposed road blocks.

As a writer I am well aware that every time I type or pick up a pen I am potentially creating an amazing environment full of living breathing people, animals, buildings, trees, ghosts and as yet undiscovered entities.

How well defined this environment is depends entirely on the questions I ask myself.

I hope you found this helpful, As always all comments welcome x

My Other Novel not based around murder death and all things gruesome

ImageHi, Thought I’d share some free form writing that inspired my other Novel, ‘The Trouble With Time Travel’.

The book will be aimed at a slightly younger audience, think JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer (Not that I’m comparing myself with them…. yet).

Anyway what follows is a little free form writing that inspired the creation of the main character hope you enjoy.

As always comments and views welcome x

………….

You are here now on this rainy evening in the centre of Grainger street amidst the hustle and bustle of a Friday night, simply watching.

Observe the elderly couple running toward the Theatre Royal twenty minutes after the show has begun, the wife clearly the more energetic of the two, the husband if he makes it there alive will be gad of a sit down.

Across the road a group of girls emerge from a club laughing, each dressed as a French maid and all looking identical well, except from the rather ill looking lady in the front who seems to be wearing what can only be described as a giant cardboard penis on her head, I’m guessing from a cardboard man with no inferiority complex.

Look still further past them at old George standing on the street corner desperately hoping to sell the last 4 copies of his Big Issue magazine so he can afford to get drunk and moan to random strangers about being homeless.

Now close your eyes, breathe slowly and wait, if you listen closely enough you can hear the far away sound of a grandfather clock ticking. Follow the pulse, as you focus further the clock seems to gain prominence as all other sounds start to fade and become a distant memory.

Now, open your eyes.

Writers Block My Solution

Writers block is awful, you sit down eager to continue with your short story, manuscript or novel and all your brain produces is the odd piece of tumble-weed within a vast deserted landscape, the building that once housed the creative life force behind your work exists only as a mirage.

My initial way of responding to writers block was to simply stop go into a Zen state and simply wait for the inspiration for me to continue with my project.

The fear being that if I continued without the inspiration, whatever words were added at that point would serve only to infect what was up to now equivalent to a work of divine creation.

Thing is, you could wait forever for the right inspiration to come along, days, weeks even months and lets face it a writer who doesn’t write, well isn’t a writer.

I came up with two solutions one was to write every day, and that starts with free form which has been covered in my earlier posts, then pick up the manuscript (you know the divine document) and write, even if its terrible drudge, just write, and keep to a word count start with 1000 words per day.

Humans are habitual creatures and you’ll find once you start doing this it will be easier to keep going.

This helped me to write every day but I found the inspiration was still a problem you see my brain is constantly ticking over and whilst one section of my creative self was interested in swimming in deep rivers of shock and horror my other half was simply wanting to make people laugh.

I came up with a project that was the counter balance to all things dark and devious.

This meant I had two projects on the go at the same time, but you can’t do that can you???

I didn’t think so, but it seems to work for me. I tend to find that every day I’m in the mood for one or the other project and I seem to find absence make the heart grow fonder, once I leave one project I can’t wait to get back to it which makes my daily word count rather large.

I’d be very interested to learn from other writers, find out what different methods work for different people so please feel free to leave a comment.

Till next time x

Melek

ImageI sometimes think as a writer I have a dual personality, Its something I learned as an actor, often observing myself as harmony and chaos collide then travel the same road together in perfect unison.

My life’s experiences both imagined and real, laid out on the page to form a new species which plays upon the red carpet that flows from my mind.

The ‘playground’ I create becomes the world in which the characters exist by amplifying true to life situations and taking them to their absolute extreme then blending them with perfect fiction with a definite idea of the emotion I want to create whilst simultaneously developing the character and moving the plot forward.

I’d like to share with you a piece from my Novel in Progress ‘Melek’ in which we take a step back and observe the serial killer as a child. Hope you enjoy, as always all comments welcome x

 

Daddy broke eye contact with her and looked at me. ‘Its my weekend, he’s my son’. He pleaded with her  ‘You cant just stop me from seeing him when you feel like it’ . ‘Well maybe next time you’ll think of this when you piss me off, now leave!’

I used to cry when this happened, but now, nothing. Mummy has taken my tears.

In the past daddy would walk out, I wouldn’t see him, and mummy, well she’d go to bed or go out into the back garden to have a cigarette, then she’d come back in and tell me what a terrible person he was. ‘I’m ten, not stupid’.

Daddy wasn’t a horrible person he just couldn’t stand up to mummy, and mummy, well she only smiled when daddy was upset.

I made her a hot chocolate when he left. I expected a violent reaction, shouting screaming, but the pills I put in her drink just made her sleep.

She never woke up.

Writing Horror

Today’s post can be a little disturbing so turn away if you’re easily shocked.

I like to study psychology, always been fascinated by how the human mind works and why we think, feel and act the way we do at any given moment, which leaves me constantly asking questions.

Now questions are great, for without them there can never be any answers. For me, the exploration and expression of those answers is what gives writing its power.

I once asked myself …….What makes a killer kill?

I read a few books on the subject then like the actor that I am tried to emotionally live the part a bit, I tried to dive inside the mind of a killer.

I began to like the idea of a novel being written from the point of view of the killer, a novel where the killer is the unwanted yet necessary protagonist whom people reluctantly follow whilst every moral fibre in their body tells them to leave.

Some free form writing followed which then inspired one of the novels I’m working on at the moment ‘Melek’.

In time I’ll share some of the novel with you; but for now, some of the free form that inspired the book, remember free form is basically to write the first thing that comes into your head ignoring all rules of grammar and expression, all you are doing is filling your pallet:

Free Form…

They say everyone has dark thoughts, you know, flashes and moments of sheer terror which they keep locked away behind the smiles, handshakes, kisses and cocktail parties.

I do.

I can be having a perfectly sensible pleasant conversation with a close friend then just for a moment as he reaches down to pick his half empty coffee cup from the table my mind wanders to that other place.

The coffee becomes a highly corrosive acid, one the likes of which have only been seen in the land of Herbert and King. I smile slowly as he takes a sip, my heart rate races in giddy excitement as he gulps another, then his eyes are shocked open at the very same moment he asks for help, at least that’s what I think is happening I wonder if I have time to grab my video camera.

His internal organs are melting which means he no longer has the power of speech…

…………….

I wrote quite a bit more that day all of which was unusable in its raw form but what it did provide was a seed of inspiration and purpose from which I produced my main character and what I hope will be a highly engaging story.

Hope you enjoyed, all comments welcome x