Grey Skies and Tired Minds

A doodle  I did for a character from Z-List Celebrities.

So here I am, sat at the computer, going over peoples work on Scribophile, and listening to the Medieval soundtrack. I don’t know you keep your creative mind on the ball, but for me it seems to involve trying to do several things at the same time.

I have just finished the Yiddish Policeman’s Union,  my third book of the year, and i’m trying to figure out what to read next. I’ve figured out that I seem to enjoy reading more when I can balance my time between short stories and a novel, so i’m thinking something silly and light to balance out the darker themes of Y.P.U.

On the novel I have to say that it’s definitely a story worth the wait. I’ve wanted to read Chabon for a while now, and even though it was the last out of the three to be read it stood its own. The witty style, the humour in those dark moments like threadbare silver linings on the stormy horizon. A book that left me a little different, my sight a little raw and new, and searching for something new.

I’m planning on slowly integrating myself more and more into creative circles, urging myself to interact with people trying to figure things out, and generally learning more and more about my craft. Scribophile is a wonderful site for this purpose, allowing people to see behind the scenes as it were, into the world of writing. People of different backgrounds, interests, and skills in various forms of writing.

Most people involved in writing know that you should read in order to grow as a writer, unless you’re Isaac Asimov, who wrote a book a month. I think even Asimov could have benefitted from a little break from his mind once in a while, at least in the way that would allow his craft to develop in ways even he couldn’t imagine.

Sites like Scribophile are important for similar reasons, the main being that it breaks that initial fear that you’re may not be that good, and if it’s a first draft it’s probably not. Writing sites are also full of hard-working, wonderful people, who want nothing more than to help people figure out what they are capable of. You could figure all of this out by yourself, surround yourself with books and little else, while you scribble and scratch away but you would be missing out on the opportunity to create confluence with other creative minds.

Going over peoples work in various stages of completion lets me look at writing in a similar way I feel towards films. An excellent film is when the director, writer, and cast are in synch. A terrible film is the polar opposite, and most works fall in-between the two, sometimes good directors are limited by poor acting, or bad writing is often overlooked by tremendous direction.

I believe that writing a story follows the same patterns. The narrative is the director, pointing the camera this way and that, while your characters provide the acting, and the plot is the story as in the film. it’s important for a writer to understand where he wants the focus, which is important for any mis-directional twists for later, and of course getting his characters to work with the world around them.

I was watching Cinema-Sins on youtube, and it gave me an idea of how to look at my work, pointing to the tropes and silly plot mistakes casually and without remorse. It helps to avoid any unnecessary mistakes such as plot holes, and silly expositional moments filled with one-sided conversations.

Music is also for me very important when working. I learnt in A-Level psychology in my first week that listening to certain styles and artists can help re-attach that train of thought, helping with study and work. I know that genres help set the mood for creating art.

For me it depends on what i’m working on, if i’m just creating something fun i’m happy to go rogue and put on something new, such as now where i’m listening to Yawning Man, The Machine, and Monkey3. Convoluted prog and psychedelic rock help me rise and fall mentally, while maintaining that consistent creative heartbeat.

When I want to work on a scene or something significant I fall into whatever music i’ve used as a musical basis for assistance. For The Z-List Celebrities I have listened to a lot of Electric Wizard, Uncle Acid, Wax Fang, Majora’s Mask soundtracks. Mainly it’s the rekindling of those specific moments which helped me define the message of the story, and as a result I try and slip back into them when I get work on these moments.

Certain characters have their own specific soundtracks, which is interesting, especially as Mr. Mark who’s a particular nasty and cruel character seems to have Sinatra and Elvis follow him around wherever he goes. I think it’s because of his character, he’s the sort of person who has a soundtrack follow him, altering everyone that something terrible is about to happen. I’m fairly sure he decided on that idea. I don’t really remember coming up with it on my own, but characters tend to have good suggestions if you give them a chance.

As I said in yesterday’s blog post, i’m currently messing around with a few ideas involving monsters, and i’m also planning to do something with dragons, colours, werewolves, Tarot cards, in a way I haven’t seen done before, all centred around a dog named Pitch.

I wanted to play with the idea of linking a lot of my ideas together and writing a series of short stories that look deceptively like a novel. I wondered how to make it work in a way that wouldn’t just be better suited to a series of short stories, then Ray Bradbury and David Mitchell pointed the way with their works.

I am planning to merge all of these ideas together to point to the issues surrounding women in fiction, especially on the fantasy side. We all know the tropes surrounding women in literature, and i’ve slowly been planning how I can fit them all together so we can hopefully see a rise of better developed women in literature.

I also wanted to merge as many genres into a book as possible, in an effort to try and dismantle the whole genre wars, especially when concerning what’s worthy reading and what’s not. You can find good literature in any genre, and great literature bleeds across as many genres as possible, without worrying about target audiences. I think we’ve exhausted almost every trope, so it’s time to see if we can’t figure out how confluence can change peoples views on literature for the better.

If you’ve liked what you read and want to support me while I make stuff up for a living then head over to my Patreon and give me some money to buy a coffee or a pen or something. If not I hope you’ve done something creative today, and try and share it, who knows you may just encourage someone else to try something.



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