Inspiration: A Ghost Story

What inspires you?

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my fellow writers over on Twitter where they get their inspiration from for their writing, and although answers varied, a number of them did come up with similar answers. Mainly TV, movies, games and music.

I’ve talked before about how some of my writing has been inspired by dreams that I’ve had. Creatures, in particular, was heavily influenced by a dream I had, and it’s what got me writing in the first place.

However, my most recent work, Blindsighted, was influenced more by my experiences of places, people, and events.

Without spoiling the story for those that have read it, I want to talk about one event in particular that happened at my junior school.

Blindsighted is a ghost story at heart, and the experience that inspired a particular scene still lingers in my mind to this day.

Back in my old junior school, there was a story about a man that haunted a certain room.

The story went that a man was fixing the room one day when he slipped and fell off. However, he wasn’t killed from the fall, but some slate slipped off the roof and struck him in the head after he landed.

After his death, he had been seen on the balcony that overlooked the main assembly hall and also in and around one of the classrooms.

The classroom in question was across the assembly hall and was next to one of the boys’ toilets. This part of the school was always dark. The classroom was used for music lessons and wasn’t always in use, so more often than not, the place was in darkness. I remember avoiding this place wherever possible and never going through there on my own. But one day I had no choice.

I was in a lesson on the light side of the assembly hall and needed to go to the bathroom. I knew that I couldn’t be too long, so I couldn’t go to the toilets that were on the other side of the school. I had no choice but to go to the ones near the music room.

I asked permission to go and started to make my way to the bathroom. I stopped at the doors to the assembly hall, which was in total darkness because it wasn’t in use. I couldn’t turn the lights on; otherwise, someone would come and tell me off, so I slowly opened the door and started across the hall.

As I walked, I kept my eyes on the opposite doors and could see a tiny sliver of light coming from one of the windows in the music room (this was never enough to light it properly.) I don’t know if it was because it was dark and I was young and impressionable, but I felt like I was being watched. As if someone was stood on the balcony above me, watching my every move.

As I pushed open the set of doors – which, of course, creaked eerily – and stopped, ready to bolt if something was there. After a minute or so, I knew I had to get moving, so I made my way into the bathroom.

Inside I used the toilet (they were all in cubicles) and laughed at myself for thinking there would be a ghost.

As I flushed the toilet, I thought I heard the doors go. I wasn’t sure if I heard right because of the sound of the flush. I remember standing there in the quiet for a bit, wondering if there were would be any other noise – if someone else had come in, there would be sounds of them moving about.

After standing there in silence and internally laughing at myself again, I turned and left the cubicle. As I washed my hands, I heard a shuffle behind me – there were no mirrors in this bathroom, so I couldn’t look up and see. Something made all the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and I cautiously turned around.

I then saw something that I can never forget.

Stood in the corner opposite me was a man. He had his back to me, but I could see he was wearing overalls and looked kind of shabby. I didn’t know what to do; I just knew that he shouldn’t have been there. I looked up at his head (I was much shorter back then) and could see something sticking up out of his head.

The door was on the opposite wall, a few feet left of the figure. As much as I didn’t want to move, I knew I had to get out and back into the light of the corridor on the other side of the assembly hall.

I ran. I don’t know how quickly I got out of there, but I was out of breath by the time I got into the hall.

I could see the lights on the other side of the door and darted for them. I didn’t turn around, but I felt like someone was walking behind me.

When I got to the other corridor, and was thankfully back in the light. I got on my tiptoes and looked through the small window in the door. I could see across to the other set of doors, but I couldn’t see the thin bit of light from the music room window. It was being blocked out by someone standing just behind the doors.

I calmed myself down some and went back to class.

I never used those toilets again and only went to the music room when I was with other people for a lesson.

Now I know there are many people out there who will dismiss this as the overactive imagination of a pre-teen child. But I know what I saw and experienced. The entire thing was terrifying and enough so that it sticks with me to this day. I’ve had other haunting experiences, but this one, because I was so young, just seems the worst by far.

When writing the scene in Blindsighted that relates to this experience, I tried to get across the feeling of fear that I felt when I was a child and saw what I saw.

There are other things in the book that I’ve pulled in from childhood memories, but nothing as scary as seeing the man with a piece of slate in his head.

I hope you enjoyed this little story, and I hope when you read Blindsighted that this will give you more insight into how I wrote that scene.

 Have you written anything about any experiences that you’ve had in life?  – not just ghostly things but anything.

What inspires your writing?

 

 

 

Blindsighted Release Day!

Well it’s that day again. The day when I get to announce that a book I’ve written is being sent out into the world.

Blindsighted is a story I started writing before the release of my last book, The Next Stage. It’s a completely different type of story. Where The Next Stage was a cyberpunk thriller, Blindsighted is more a Horror/paranormal/ghost story.

Below you can find the books description:

HE CAN’T SEE YOU, BUT HE KNOWS YOU’RE THERE.

When Nathan and his mother move into their dream home, they think their days are looking up. But when Nathan starts to experience visions of a man with no eyes stalking him, their dream home soon becomes a nightmare.

Soon he starts to see a mysterious ghostly boy that seems to be guiding him towards something.

Can Nathan make sense of what the boy is trying to tell him before the sinister man gets too close, or will he disappear as others have?

As of this morning, Blindsighted is available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited. The Amazon paperback version is still sat in the pending status but it should hopefully be available very soon too if you want a physical copy. I’ll post an update when it becomes available.

Releasing a book for others to read brings up feelings of relief and terror. Relief that it’s finally finished and ready for others to read and terror because you don’t know how readers are going to react to your story.

All in all it’s a good feeling, and with this – the publishing of my third book – everything doesn’t seem as strange. I feel like this is something that I should be doing, especially after the reception that The Next Stage got.

Anyway, you’ll be able to find Blindsighted over on Amazon by searching for it, going to the books page from the Books tab at the top of this page or clicking the links below.

Thank you in advance for buying a copy of this new novel. I hope you enjoy it!

Blindsighted: A New Book on the Way

Welcome to another week

I started writing what became Blindsighted when I was trying to get back into writing after being unable to get going on anything when struggling with my mental health. Starting a new story really helped me get back into writing and calm my brain, which at the time was going a million miles a second with all the bad things I could possibly think of.

I got maybe around a third of the way into the story I wanted to write before deciding to stop and get back going with The Next Stage.

Up until that point, I’d struggled to edit TNS and the chore of going through it multiple times and editing was too much for me to handle. However, this time, I got into it, and I didn’t stop working on it until it was released back in October 2020.

When I’d released TNS, I started work on a story that I’ve had in my head for years; It’s All in the Eyes (you may have seen me mention it in other blogs.) I got a fair way into this story when, for whatever reason, I hit a wall. I felt like I was just writing for the sake of it and wasn’t really adding anything to the story. As much as I wanted to finish it, I didn’t want to rush it and mess it up – the story has been in my head for years; I don’t think it’s going anywhere. This was when I picked Blindsighted back up.

When I started on Blindsighted again, I had the story that I wanted to tell, so it didn’t take me long to finish it and once again be back to editing.

I’ve mentioned before that editing isn’t my favourite process involved in writing. It’s not that I find it hard to do – well, it is, but I find it hard mentally. Editing doesn’t engage my brain as much as concentrating on actually writing a story. The process of guiding a character around their world is much more satisfying and involved than going through something that’s already written and just needs proofreading.

But, as much as I struggle with this, and after four digital and one paperback proof readthrough, Blindsighted is finally ready for release.

I’ve set a date of 14th April 2020 – so, next Wednesday – for release. In theory, I could release it now, but I’m trying to get a little bit of buzz going beforehand.

A Goodreads page for the book has been set up, and I’ve been sharing the link on social media for those that like to add things to their TBR list. I’ll share it here, too, just in case you’ve missed it. Click the logo below to be taken there.

In between the release date and now, I’ll be working on another story. As The Next Stage has been received so well, I’ll be working on the sequel. This is provisionally titled, The Next Stage 2 – catchy, huh?

For now, though, we’re spending the day trying to do a low chaos run through of Dishonored…we can do this!

Have a good week all.

The Editing Struggle

When the week started, I was determined to get the paperback proof copy of Blindsighted edited, but it so far hasn’t happened for one reason or another. I’ve managed to get around three quarters the way through it, but the past couple of days haven’t been very productive.

I find editing a difficult thing to do when my head isn’t 100% in it. Generally, I don’t mind the process, it’s a necessary evil and is a critical process in writing a book, but when my head is having an off day, I just can’t get going with it.

Writing is something that helps me get through some bad days. The act of creating and engaging with the characters and worlds calms my brain and gives me something good on which to focus. With editing, though, I don’t get that.

As I’m going through something that I’ve already been through multiple times, nothing new is grabbing my attention and focus. I find my mind drifting and thinking about other things more often, and I end up missing things that need to be altered or corrected, which, in the end, will only harm the story.

As much as I want to get this draft completed – I think it will be the last – I don’t want to rush it, miss things and then put it out into the world only for people to pick up on my mistakes.

If I could afford to hire an editor, I would do, but as it stands, I don’t have the money available to me to do so. So, for now, I have to do the bulk of the work.

I’m really pleased with how Blindsighted has turned out; it’s very different from my last book, The Next Stage. It’s been good to write a different story genre, from something that was heavily sci-fi to this paranormal horror is a welcome change.

I don’t know what genre I want to write at the minute, or even if I want to stick to just one, I think I may end up being more of a multi-genre author. Of course, for that to happen, I need to get Blindsighted released.

I haven’t set a specific date for release as I don’t want to rush things and put more pressure on myself than I already do. I’ve said before that I’m hoping to release in the next couple of months, but if I set a date, I will probably only beat myself up if I don’t meet the deadline. There’s no rush, and it’ll be out when it’s out. My mental health is more important than publishing a book. I need to make sure that I keep my brain happy; everything else will come in time.

Reading this blog back, I can see it’s a little bit all over the place. I’m struggling even to type this, if I’m honest. So, that being said, I’ll leave things here for now and get back to trying to edit.

Have a good weekend.

When Can You Call Yourself an Author?

This is a question that bounced around my head for a while. Before I talk about how I felt and when I decided to use the word author, I asked the writing community of Twitter what their thoughts were;

This question was something that prayed on my mind quite a bit when I started writing especially after released Creatures.

Although having written and (self) published a book, I still didn’t feel like I could call myself a bona fide author. Maybe it was the self-deprecating part of my brain, but I didn’t think I was good enough to be able to use that word.

Something in my brain associated the word “author” with the likes of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, James Patterson, Steven King, Michael Crichton; the authors of books that I grew up reading and I think I was comparing my work to theirs and, honestly, it just didn’t stack up.

In May of 2020, I was struggling with my mental health to the extent that made the difficult decision to quit my day job of working in IT. With this done, I had time to focus on my mental health, and I felt like a big part of my healing was being able to write, and although I was now doing this full-time, I still didn’t feel like I was good enough.

Having these thoughts is difficult to describe, and I’m doing my best to get my thoughts and feelings down here. I suppose a part of my struggle was that I had imposter syndrome. In case you don’t know what this is; it’s a psychological pattern where an individual doubts their skills, accomplishments and talents and you have this fear that one day you’ll be discovered as a fraud. Even though I had written and published a book, I still didn’t have enough confidence in my skills to say that I was good at this and I would be able to write anything else, that Creatures was a one-off. However, then came The Next Stage.

It took me around two years to finish and get The Next Stage published. I think a big reason for this was me delaying it because I still didn’t think it was good enough. It was only when I got to the point where I couldn’t do anything further with it that I eventually released it. When writing it, I knew that this book was superior to Creatures, but there was still that part of me that couldn’t believe I had written it.

Before publishing, the only people to read it were myself and Alex. When she read it, she said it was amazing – so much so that she read it in around four hours because she couldn’t put it down. But there was still that niggly feeling in the back of my brain that it wasn’t all that good and the only way I would truly find out is getting it out so that others could read it.

Once The Next Stage was released, and I saw the reception it was getting – being likened to the Alex Cross books and Blade Runner – it was as if a switch had clicked in my head, one that went from “I’m not good enough to be doing this” to “This is what I should be doing because I’m good at it.” Overnight I was able to call myself an author. Don’t get me wrong, the imposter syndrome still creeps in occasionally – usually when I’m hitting a depressive episode, but for the most part, it’s gone.

As I stated earlier in the post, this is just my journey through this period, and others experience other things and ways they define it. If you feel like you can call yourself a writer/author, then you do it, don’t let anyone stop you from defining your work.

Ghost Writer

This past week I completed my first draft of Blindsighted, what I hope will be my next book to release. It currently stands at around 60K words. I already have ideas of what things that I want to add or alter within the main story, but I’m taking some time away from this story for a bit as it’s all I’ve worked on for a month or so.

While on this break I’m going to be working on the tentatively titled Dreams – which ironically is one of the few ideas that didn’t come to me in a dream. I started this a few months ago and didn’t get past the first chapter. When I went back to it last week, I rewrote what I had, not to alter its content, but just to make it read a little better as the initial bit that I wrote was simply just to get the idea down so I wouldn’t forget it.

Although I’m working on Dreams, last night, Alex and I started to go through the “ghost” videos that I posted on YouTube some years back.

To give a little background to this; I lived in a flat in Manchester on my own for a number of years, soon after I moved in, I started to experience some odd things. The experiences I had, ranged from doors opening and closing on their own, shadows in the shape of a person in several rooms, pots rattling near the sink, banging and other noises as well as a whole bunch of “feeling weird.” These odd occurrences prompted me to record what was happening; I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just in my head.

I spent a long time filming what was happening and spent even longer going through it, discounting what I thought to be explainable. What I uploaded to YouTube were the things that I couldn’t explain. Some of the extra things I found when going through the videos included, the sound of invisible footsteps, voices and other noises, shapes moving across the screen, and even at one point, the camera itself being moved.

We’re going through these videos a little closer than I did at the time and trying to see what other things I caught, and so far the list is long and growing further. Once we’ve done this, I hope I can then put it all together in the form of a book as an account of what I experienced in the flat. It will hopefully include the experiences of friends that stayed there alongside my own.

This book is something that we’ve been talking about for some time now, and I think It’ll be something that will take quite a bit of time to put together into a readable state of the true account of what happened. It’ll probably be something that I dip in and out of, and I may end up – as I did with The Next Stage – having a corkboard with everything planned out on it.

The book will be my first non-fiction book, so It’ll be an entirely new experience writing down something that actually happened.

I know that some people will read this and immediately disbelieve everything and say it’s all nonsense, which is fair enough, people have a right to believe what they want. All I can say is that these things happened to me and others that visited the flat. I’ve done my best to explain some things away, but some things are just unexplainable; at least to me. Maybe if you watch the videos you’ll be able to explain them, perhaps not, it’s all open for interpretation. But if I can put everything together in a book that lays everything out, people can come to their own conclusions – even Alex didn’t believe me when she moved in…she does now.

If you want to watch the videos for yourself, look up GaxsGhost on YouTube or click here.

The Next Stage; 100! (Bonus Entry)

It’s been a little under two months since The Next Stage released in Kindle and paperback form. Today it an amazing milestone.

It now has over 100 ratings on Goodreads, and every single damn one of them is ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It has now overtaken Creatures with number of reviews and rating average.

This, to me, is a huge thing to happen and something that I never even thought would happen. When it 50 reviews and they were all ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I thought that was amazing, but hitting 100 is phenomenal.

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I had started work on the second book in the series. I’ve done an outline, and I’ve already started writing -so far I’m up to just over 4000 words, so it’s slowly getting up steam. I think I’ve for a pretty solid story so I’m hoping it’ll follow in the footsteps of the first one and be something that readers enjoy.

Below are all the places you can pick up a copy for yourself along with the Goodreads page.

Amazon

Google Books

Apple Books

Lulu

Kobo

Goodreads

Thank you to all who have bought it so far, especially those that have reviewed it. I hope many more people will enjoy it.

Friday Catch-Up

So today is just an end-of-the-week catch-up.

Today, to celebrate The Next Stage getting over 50 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews – 61 at the time of writing this post – the Kindle version is free over on Amazon. But, if you’d like a Google or Apple Books version, I have so promo codes to giveaway so just let me know.

I still can’t believe how The Next Stage has been received, and I’m exceptionally grateful the those that have reviewed it and especially those that have taken the time to do a text review. Reading how you enjoyed something I’ve written just makes it all worthwhile and like I’m actually good at what I’m trying to make my living doing.

In other news, I’ve decided to set myself a schedule for these blogs, so I have a vague idea of what content to post. It’s going to look something like this;

Monday: Writing update, where I’m up to with projects, and how I write, what I think about writing etc

Wednesday: Gaming, I’ll be doing reviews or retrospectives on gaming throughout my life.

Friday: Mental Health, these will be posts about how I live with bipolar, thoughts on how to deal with different situations, and general chat about it to get things out there.

I may deviate from this on occasion depending on what happens in my life, but I’ll be trying to stick to it where I can.

I’ve also decided to start Twitching again – game streaming, not the tick I get when someone mentions Twilight. My Twitch link is on the main page, but I’ll also be posting when I stream over on Twitter, it’ll probably be a weekend day, so if you want to join me, you’re more than welcome. I did a test run yesterday with Cyberpunk 2077, I’ll be playing through that, but I’m also going to be doing a try of all the months new PSNow additions – a blog about the one we’ve been playing recently will be coming on Wednesday.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been working on my ghost story, and I’m almost at 50,000 words, so it’s coming along. I’m hoping that I’ll have the story finished before Christmas and then I can polish it in the new year and hopefully release it soon after.

That’s it for today, so have a good weekend, and I’ll be back with more updates on Monday.

5 Stars! (Bonus Blog)

I just wanted to thank everyone who has so far read The Next Stage. Especially those that have rated it on Goodreads. It now stands at an average of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ with 50 ratings. I can’t believe that it has gone down this well with people and you’re actually enjoying it.

If you haven’t yet read it, you can find everywhere where it’s available over on the books page of this blog.

By way of celebration of this I’m making it available for free on Kindle on Friday 11th December. If you would like it sooner on Google or Apple Books, let me know, and I’ll send you a promo code.

Thank you again. It gives me more motivation to continue with writing.