I am a lonely mama until Saturday. Leaving me with some spare time to get some University assignments out of the way and to have a go at tidying up my creative writing cupboard and my brain.
Intertexts is finished, Toolkit is sent in and my reflective piece hasn’t been written. The last one, I thought I’d share on here. Although not directly linked to being a mama with epilepsy, it is still part of me, my life and the way my head works. It is also a little reminder to everyone, that no mater what life throughs your way, always find the time to continue with what you love.
I find myself sat on the sofa in the evening, the Gremlin in bed, the man child watching rubbish on TV. My latest book is finished so I pick up a pen and paper and sit there. I wait until something comes to me. A memory, a prompt from said book, the last film I watched, a conversation with my friends, or even a name. Once that one thing comes, the rest tends to follow.
That one name will develop into someone. Someone fantastic, witty and sometimes hated. They aren’t always the protagonists that come to me first, sometimes I develop around my antagonist, but still from the good point of view. Sometime my antagonist doesn’t remain that way. I have one work in progress, possibly one of the longest I’ve done to date, called ‘The elemental priestess’ and there are a few antagonists in it, one of which turns out to be a hidden ally. I love this piece and will be going back to it without a doubt, I just need to find the time to edit the first draft. I wrote it a few years ago now and I have improved since then. My plot, descriptions, character building and even punctuation are all better. I’m still working on that fiddly dialogue business though.
I nearly chose that story, but realised how much re working it needed and a small part of me wanted to keep that one to myself. For now at least, until I’m satisfied with it.
My other choice was going to be one set in the modern day. Still my preferred genre of Fantasy, but where everything was different in the normal world. Costa coffee served lattes but with a shot of luck for an extra £1.20. At the edge of one of the biggest cities on earth, was a massive forest, full of creatures better to avoid. But this one didn’t feel right either. Maybe because it’s the not something I’m comfortable writing, real world magic? I’m not really sure. I have this cupboard in my house, full of loose scraps of paper – I really must put them all into one neater notebook, be more organised.
I tend to start with names, there are so many eccentric, unusual ones out there that I love. But, I know none could ever be the names of future children I’d want, they are too out there and wacky for the real world. It makes sense then, to create these people in a world where such a name is normal.
That leads onto the next bit I love. Creating a whole new world or sometimes just a country. I know, if I could draw, I would love to map out all my imaginations, like they do at the beginning of some books. But, I can’t. So it’s down to my writing skill to let every other imaginative, colourful mind see the same world I do, though my voice and my characters. I love the details, and I always pay extra care when I read them in a book. But not too many, and not in the way of a boring list or essay. It has to be weaved magically into the adventures. This is my strong point, I know it is and I tend to focus on that the most in my first drafts.
I’m getting much better at the character development, the dialogue is sometimes still a struggle, but I think that’s due to my need for detail. I forget, when I’m writing that we don’t naturally express ourselves the way we would as we write.
Another thing I have written in my journal, in abundance I might add, just waiting to be used, are prompts. Now, being a fantasy lover, I read and watch it, it makes sense that I write it too. So most my prompts relate to that, although maybe not directly. They quickly form something, no matter how small, in my foggy, electric brain (I’ll get back to that later).
‘You’re one insult away from starting a war’ – I love this prompt. I see a male character, perhaps the best friend of someone important, maybe important himself. It’s not a threat, but a joke with an underlying warning. He is a sarcastic, laid back, fun guy but if you mess with him or those he loves then he will not rest until you hang from the rafters. His smile lights up the sky, like a dark night suddenly set a blaze with twinkling stars. He doesn’t show it to many people though, most only see the fake one, the sarcastic smirk. He hides behind the fun and joking around, deep down he is sensitive and hurting from a loss. He is lonely.
‘Be a veterinarian for Dragons, they said. It will be fun, they said.’ – I am yet to use this prompt, but it is what gave me the initial idea for the character Dahark in ‘The Shade War’. A Dragon, but a tame one. One that has loyalties and loves, cares and is a character within himself. Not just a pet, or a vicious monster that need slaying.
‘Well, that didn’t end the way I expected, but at least nobody important died.’ – I was have a nosey on Pinterest one day and found this prompt, found it amusing so wrote it down. However after going back to it, I realised why I related to this so much. Because that is what I say to myself constantly throughout my work. I try my best to be as organised and planned as I can, but ultimately, I am not one of those authors who has everything figured out and researched before they begin writing. I’m too impatient. This is probably my biggest weakness.
I’ve improved, I have a small notebook dedicated specifically to ‘The Shade War’ and a page for each character and kingdom. Every time I write new information within the story, I add it to the relevant page. Or vice Versa. I do this so I don’t end up changing her eye colour from yellow to violet half way through. However, there is no strong plot outline yet, and even what I had figured out has already changed slightly. Nothing ever goes the way you planned, expect changes and bumps in the road. Even in your own imagination.
My final debate was, do I hand in some of my autobiographical work as well or instead of my story. I told you earlier about my electrified brain fog, well, medically it’s called Epilepsy. This is another reason I write EVERYTHING down and why I’ve improved at it too. Because of it, I am writing an autobiography currently called ‘Mama Vs Epilepsy’. My inspiration comes from all around me, in what I read and watch, for my writing, but in this it is my life. There is no hiding behind a character, or escaping to a magical world. I am stuck here and I have to live with it everyday. I have to cope and find ways around looking after a two year old, being a student and having a life, all whilst dealing with seizures daily. I decided to leave this and work on it ready for a bigger assignment next year. This is personal and important to me, so for the best it can be, I needed more time, workshopping and a bigger word count for my struggles to show through.
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If you could share aswell that would be great. Thankyou so much for reading my lovelies.