What To Write?

Being a writer sometimes means that you have to juggle your different ideas. I recently asked my fellow writers on Twitter how they decide which idea to work on;

I currently have around 9 ideas that are in various stages of development. Some are just a very basic idea, some have a number of notes written for them, and others have several chapters done.

I tend to flit between ideas often. If I have a new idea that I want to develop, I will spend some time working on that before continuing with previous ideas. Some stories come easier than others. For example, I got a bit stuck with my story It’s All in the Eyes, and then I had the idea for Blindsighted. I found the latter flowed smoother and quicker, and I could fully develop that into a release.

At the moment, I’m working on, And Then I Killed Her, which for now is coming freely. However, if I get stuck, I may move on to one of my other ideas.

Having said that, if I come up with a new idea – for example, I came up with an idea for a new story the other day that involves a homeless wizard – I may spend a few minutes writing a few sentences or jotting down the basic premise, but I won’t spend a great deal of time working on it.

Some books, like The Next Stage 2 and Creatures 2, are coming off the back of a previous entry, so I have a few ideas bouncing around of where I can take the story, but because – in my mind – they have to live up to the book that came before I spend a bit more time figuring things out. Creatures 2 is around halfway written, but I got a little stuck and decided that I would move on to something else rather than struggling with it.

It can be a blessing and a curse to have a lot of ideas bouncing around. On the one hand, it’s great because you’ve always got something to work on if you have issues with a current WIP. But on the other, it can be a pain because I want to work on several at a time. For example, I’m really excited about my wizard story, but my current serial killer WIP is going so well that I don’t want to stop writing it if I lose my flow.

As I’ve found from asking folks on Twitter, everyone has a different way of figuring out which story they will work on at any given time. As with many things, what works for one, might not work for you, so find your own method.

Dreams and Writing

Dreams are weird. In our dreams, we can do and be anything. They’re thought to be the brain’s way of processing emotions, stimuli, memories, and other information that’s been absorbed throughout the day. Many of the people that appear in your dreams may be people you know, perhaps in different roles; but they are people you recognise, only a small percentage are people you don’t, and maybe you’ve seen out and about.

Within dreams, we can fulfil fantasies and play out scenarios that wouldn’t necessarily happen in the real world. For me, dreams can be extremely lucid. Many of my dreams feel so real that waking from them can be confusing, and it takes my brain a few minutes to adjust and realise I was asleep.

I’ve had odd and unsettling dreams that have woken me during the night, I’ve had pleasant dreams that leave me feeling good, I’ve also had dreams that have had credits and “Previously on…” moments – this might just be due to the amount of TV I watch though. I’ve also had dreams that continue night on night or ones that I go back to after a few nights, and even ones that link to others in some way, either by character or occurrences.

Some dreams I have, disappear into the ether as soon as I open my eyes, others stay with me for hours, and some – like the ones I’m going to talk about – stay with me for years.

The dreams that stay with me for years can do so for a few reasons. This can be because they were so good/bad that they linger in my mind, or because I think it’s a good idea that I can develop.

Creatures was one such story that I developed from a dream.

I remember the basic premise from the dream was that there was a scientist (someone I didn’t recognise played this character) who was in a lab. Something went wrong in this lab, the accident spawning mutant rats that caused an apocalyptic event.

Something with this dream stuck with me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I kept remembering extra details to the point where I had to write it down, hoping that this would stop it from being at the forefront of my thoughts. The more I wrote and added to the story, the more I remembered from my dream. It was an odd process, but it worked and allowed me to get the story down on paper and organised into what became my first novel.

I’ve had several other dreams of this type that I’m attempting to develop into a coherent story. These include; It’s All in the Eyes and Blindsighted – but ironically not my story based around dreams.

It’s All in the Eyes is a story that’s been in my head for around 17 years and one that I’ve tried to write down on multiple occasions without much success, but it’s still in there, rattling around trying to escape. Recently – as I’ve said in a previous post – I’ve started working on this again. There are few new details that I’ve added to make the story flow and read better, but the basic idea is from a dream that I had nearly 2 decades ago.

I find it odd that dreams like this stick with me. This dream isn’t special. It’s not one that I’ve actively tried to remember but it just lingers in my mind. I wonder if – once I written and released it into the world – whether the dream itself will made into memory or whether it will continue to be at the forefront of my brain. Creatures did this. I’m working on a sequel to it, but the dream that the first book was developed from has faded away. It still crops up now and then when I think about it, but otherwise, it’s like most other dreams I’ve had and had been relegated to the back of my mind.

As I work on my latest story idea, I’m doing research into dreams, what they are, what causes them, and why some of them feel more real than others. This may help me understand why dreams like the one that spawned Creatures are difficult to shake, or it might just confuse me further. Whatever dreams are, I stand by my previous utterance; dreams are weird.

An Author’s Holiday

As I’ve previously said, in May of this year I quit my job in IT, because I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore and it was affecting my mental health…blah, blah, blah, but this blog isn’t about that, it’s about holidays.

Now that I don’t have a “real” job and I’m writing full time, you’d think I could pretty much do what I want to, write? (Haha, see what I did there? Urgh) I’ve been trying to give my days a bit more structure because, 1) It helps my mental health and 2) it means I’m more likely actually to get something done. But, just like in a 9-5 job, I need time off. This year more than ever, time off is essential, to not only look after my mental health but also recover some from physical injury.

One plus for not working a 9-5 is that if I decide to take some time off, I only need to clear with my own brain. There’s none of this, trying to find out what other people have booked off, and trying to get it approved by some manager who you never see. The only obstacle I face is actually making myself take the time, and not deciding I will just write this little bit – and then realising it’s 4 hours later.

All I’m trying to say with this blog is that I’ve decided to take a few days off over Christmas and the new year.

Although I’m taking this time off writing, I’m putting together some blog posts and scheduling them, and I’ll probably still be around on Twitter.

As it’s Monday here’s a bit of a writing update.

I’ve shelved It’s All in the Eyes for the time being. I got a bit stuck with where I was going with it, and rather than muddling through and messing it up; I decided a break from it might help.

I’ve done some more work on the tentatively titled The Man (which may also be called Blindsighted, I haven’t decided yet.) I’ve still got a good idea where it’s going, and I’m almost at the end of creating the basic story, so I may pick this back up in the new year again to try to get the first draft finished.

This last week, however, I’ve been working on The Next Stage 2 – no that’s not going to be the final title…I just don’t know what it will be yet. I’ve got around 6000 words written, so it’s coming along. I’ve managed to put a few of my favourite ideas together, leaving some by the wayside for another time. I’m really hoping people will like it as much as the first one, but I guess time will tell.

Well, here we are again…

Friday again…

But, I’m home now and feeling better. I’m taking today to be lazy and do very little, apart from play games and watch stuff.

So this week has been another fun one. I didn’t do a blog on Wednesday because I felt so out of it on pain meds that I couldn’t concentrate on what I was writing. I was going to do one yesterday to make up for it, but then I woke up with a banging headache, which turned into the worst migraine I’ve ever had; Alex ended up calling an ambulance, and I spent most of the night in hospital. Luckily, over time it eased, and nothing scary was found, but for a time, I was terrified what it might have been. It was so bad that I couldn’t even open my eyes; I was that photophobic.

I didn’t eat or drink most of yesterday so the McDonald’s McMuffin I had this morning tasted amazing.

I’m hoping that I can get back on the writing next week as I’ve got a pile of ideas for this ghost story, as well It’s All in the Eyes.

This year has been God awful, and I can’t wait to see the back of it. I’m not going to be optimistic about the new year because, well, I did that last year and look where we ended up.

One good thing to come out of this week is that The Next Stage now has 21 reviews on Goodreads and all of them are ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. I’m blown away by the response this book has had, and I’m looking forward to more people reading it and letting me know what they think.

So for this week that’s it for me, other than probably some tweets here and there.

Just a polite reminder that The Next Stage is now available on Google and Apple Books, I’ve still got some free promo codes to give away if you’re interested too. Just drop me a message if you’d like one.

Have a good weekend!

It’s Been Another (Long) Week

As far as writing goes, this week has been a write off. From pointless hospital appointments taking up a day to new pain meds, making me spaced out, I’ve not been able to do a great deal.

One plus has come out of this week though, and that’s that both Creatures and The Next Stage are now available to those of you with Apple devices as they are now on Apple Books – links are available on the Books page of this blog.

I’ve been working on making them available on both Apple and Google Books, the Google stuff I started last week, and I’m still waiting for my account to be approved, the Apple I started on Wednesday and got them up in a few hours. Google really need to pull their fingers out. But, at least I’ve got them out there so hopefully more people can read them.

In other good news, the reviews for The Next Stage started to come in and so far has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve had 8 ratings so far, and they’ve all be 5 stars, which I think is just incredible. I never thought that something I wrote would be received so well. That’s just another reason why I want to get this book out to as many people as I can. In this challenging year, I hope it brings a little bit of respite from the chaos outside.

In addition to all the purchase options I’m working on, I’m also considering doing a competition for readers to get a signed paperback copy of The Next Stage. I’ve got a few author copies that I want to give away, I just need to iron out what I’m going to do and when, so keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram for further details.

As for today, once I’ve uploaded this blog, I’m going to try to do some actual writing. I’m torn at the minute of whether I carry on with It’s All in the Eyes, or I do some more work on my ghost-like story which as the moment is temporarily called The Man (I’m hoping a better title will come to me as I write.)

That’s it for blogs again for another week, I’ll hopefully be back next week and able to do a little more, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the side effects from these new painkillers settle down and I can concentrate more on writing and less on shiny things.

Have a good weekend all.

Skyrim, Ho!

Yesterday was a bad day for hip pain. So, not feeling like I could concentrate on writing, we played Skyrim.

Skyrim is probably up there with Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The Last of Us, and Mass Effect, for the games that I’ve played the most.

Yes, it’s buggy as hell. Yes, all the characters have 1 of 4 voices. Yes, it’s almost ten years old. But it’s a game that I can always go back to.

But now playing it through alongside Alex I’m learning that I’ve still missed a pile of things. How, after spending what probably amounts to months of playtime, have I missed so much?

My go-to fighting style is as a mage. What? I enjoy setting people on fire, okay. So, I’ve never really done all that much with the blacksmithing and by the looks of things I’ve missed out on some truly badass armour and weapons.

With our current playthroughs, we’re going for the platinum, because why not? So, we’re spending time wandering and getting everything we can. There are so many locations and quests that I’ve missed. I feel like I’ve never truly played the game and I’m playing it for the first time.

In my game, I somehow killed Lydia, Uthgerd the Unbroken kept being set on fire so we gave up reloading and trying to keep her alive and my follower is now the Jenassa. She seems to be faring a little better, so I’m hoping that she’ll stick around for a while. I don’t know if something has changed, but I don’t remember the followers being so easy to kill before, or maybe I just didn’t set them on fire as much…who knows.

The other thing we’ve seen in this playthrough is an increase in things that try to kill you. I mean, we’ve both had groups of three bears attack us, way more sabre cats, and we’ve even had 2 dragons attack at once, I mean what the f*ck?

Hopefully someday soon we’ll also be able to playthrough the VR version without the motion sickness setting in. It’s a game that screamed out for VR and it looks amazing and definitely like you’re actually there. Maybe if we do it in small stints we’ll be okay. But for now, we’ll keep working on the normal version.

Anyway, I’m back working on It’s All in the Eyes today. Current word count is 24525, and I’m on chapter 11. I still have no idea where it’s going until I write it, this method seems to be working for me, so I’m going to stick at it.

More updates on Friday. Maybe I’ll have killed Jenassa by then, perhaps she’ll survive. Who knows? It’s the mystery of Skyrim.

Welcome to Another Week

I’ll start the week with some good news that made me happy this morning.

I woke up to my first review for The Next Stage on Goodreads, and what made it even better was that it was a 5-star review. It means so much that even just one person has read and enjoyed what I’ve written and to get that rating is just…wow.

Since then I’ve had another 2 reviews, both 5-stars. So at the moment, it stands at the highest average it can get.

I am honestly beyond chuffed with these reactions to a book I put so much into.

Today, I’m continuing to work on It’s All in the Eyes. So far I’m at a total of just over 20,000 words and the story is really coming along.

While I write, I do bits and pieces of research on various things when the plot requires it. I can’t do any before because I just write and see where my brain takes it, and so far it’s taking it to some interesting places.

I have no idea when this book will be finished and out, but as I’m getting more confident in what I’m doing I feel like it won’t take as long as The Next Stage.

I’ll continue my updates and maybe even give out a few teasers when I feel like I’m ready to.

In the meantime grab a copy of The Next Stage and let me know what you think.

It’s All in the Eyes

It’s been a long week in an exceptionally long year.

Writing has this week saved my brain from having a meltdown.

My new project-and hopefully next book-is called It’s All in the Eyes. I don’t want to give away too much at this stage, but it’s turning out to be a sci-fi/horror story. It’s set in England, mainly around Manchester, and it follows a pair of mycologists discovered a new fungus that’s spores have an-I’ll say-adverse effect-on those that breath them in.

Like Creatures before it, this story is based off a dream. One that I had probably nearly 20 years ago, which has stuck with me ever since. On multiple occasions, I’ve tried to write it, but it just never worked. But now, with two books under my belt, I feel a lot more confident that I can do this story justice.

I’m so far just over 16000 words in, and it’s flowing really well. At this point, I’m not sure how long it will be, I’m just going to see where it goes. Hopefully, it will turn out alright, and if I do release it, people will enjoy it.

As I carry on with this here is a friendly reminder that my new book, The Next Stage is now available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and in paperback format.

New Beginnings…

The Next Stage is now out, and after a few days of taking it easy, I’m back to it.

I currently have 5 or 6 things that I’ve started to write, and I was trying to think which one I wanted to continue with. But me being the really intelligent human being I am and wanting to make my life difficult, I thought it would be a good idea to start something brand new.

Well, I say something new. The story I’m working on now is something that I’ve had in my head for years. Much like Creatures, it all stemmed from a dream.

At the time, I tried to write it down, but I couldn’t make any sense of it or make it into a coherent story. I tried a few times after with the same result. But coming fresh off the back of The Next Stage I feel like I’m finally able to do the story justice.

All I can reveal at the moment is the title that I’ve had in my head since I had that dream, and that’s It’s All in the Eyes. It will be a kind of sci-fi horror-depending on where I go with it. As far as the plot goes, all I’m willing to divulge right now is that it involves fungi. No, before you asked, this isn’t in any way similar to The Last of Us

As of writing this blog, I’m at a word count of 8294, which I don’t think is too bad considering I only started it yesterday afternoon.

I’ll give more updates on my progress as I go, but for now, that’s about it.

Don’t forget that The Next Stage is now available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and also in paperback over at Amazon, so if you’ve not already grabbed a copy and let me know what you think.

Thanks to all those that have already bought a copy, I hope you enjoy reading it.