Archive for the ‘ideas’ Category

17th century engraving of a bicorn and chichevache, courtesy of Wikipedia.

You ever come across something in your day-to-day life–a historical event, a movie with an interesting premise or character, a conversation that goes into weird tangents, etc.–and you think to yourself, “I want to write a story around that!” Chances are you have. And chances are you’ve sometimes struggled just to come up with that story based on whatever you’ve run into.

That happens to me all the time. I’ve got a huge list of potential bases for stories–my “idea fragments”–on my flash drive, over two-hundred bases, and only about half of them have been turned into ideas. I’ve been known to obsess over these fragments for weeks or months until I come up with something for them. And I’m obsessing over my most recent fragment quite a lot these days: the bicorn and chichevache.

Now, for those of you who don’t know much about obscure monsters from the Middle Ages (pretty much everyone), the bicorn and the chichevache are kind of the polar opposites of unicorns (the names of all three, by the way, are French in origin). They both have two horns, and are sometimes described as cow-like chimeras, though more recent depictions tend to show them as horses with two horns curved like a bull’s. The difference between the two is what they eat (and keep in mind, these creatures normally featured in satirical works. So remember, someone or their attitudes were being made fun of with these descriptions). Bicorns ate kind and devoted husbands and were often depicted as fat to the point of obese, while chichevaches went after virtuous and obedient wives and were therefore thin and starving.

Remember, this was probably meant to poke fun of someone. I’m guessing medieval views of men vs. women. This also goes against the depiction of the unicorn, a one-horned horse or goat that affirms purity, usually by letting a virtuous maiden pet or ride them. You know, instead of destroying them by eating them.

I first came across the bicorn in an anime I was watching, and was curious enough to do a little research. Thus I came across the bicorn’s counterpart, the chichevache, and then the creative fires were lit. This was back in October. And I still can’t think of a damn story for the creatures!

So far I’ve cast aside revenge stories, a story where someone uses to prove that certain people in their community aren’t as upstanding as they thought, and a few others. I’ve tweaked the myth a bit here and there to make the creatures more viable in the 21st century, and I’ve focused on just one or the other. Nothing’s clicked so far. They don’t feel original enough, or fun enough, or like the sort of story I would write. I want a story that is different from the other stuff out there. If it feels too much like another story, what’s the point of writing it in the first place?

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to come up with the story, and I’m stubborn enough to keep at it till something sticks. Immersing myself in a book or TV show or audio book; working on Toyland (or, if I need a break from that, a short story idea I have in reserve); doing some other activity; or just enjoying life. Just living my life, I come across new things everyday. Perhaps something will cross my path and make my idea fragment into a full story idea. Preferably before someone else writes a story about the creatures and makes any of my ideas pointless, that is.

In the meantime, what do you do when you can’t come up with a story for an idea fragment? And have you heard of the bicorn and the chichevache before?

And while you’re still here, are you still looking for something for the lover of the macabre and the weird in your life this holiday season? If yes, might I recommend my very own novel, Rose? When Rose Taggert wakes up in a greenhouse with no memory of how she got there, she soon finds her life, and her body, irrevocably changed. Thus begins a Kafkaesque nightmare of intrigue, magic and violence as Rose fights not just for the truth, but for her own survival. Available now in ebook and paperback from Amazon (and soon to be available from Audible in audiobook form). Links are below.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

I’ve been thinking a lot about what’ll happen after Rose comes out. Specifically, what sort of stories I’ll work on once I’m done with Rose.

I know that’s a crazy thing to think about at this point. I’m still doing revisions on Rose for the publisher, and likely they’ll have me do more revisions before we get to publication, and then there’s the publication, and then a whole ton of marketing and other work just to make sure the book is read and sold and reviewed and whatnot. Thinking about future projects should be the last thing on my mind.

But of course, being “logical” has never been one of my strong suits, and dreaming about the future has been what’s helped me get to this point anyway. So why not wax on about what might happen after Rose?

Well, there are a number of short stories I’ve been thinking about working on. I very much want to edit Hannah, the ghost story I wrote back in January, and I want to write a few stories that have been circulating in my head for a while. I also want to eventually get back to the novelette I was working on that was giving me so many challenges, and see if I can get a bit further in that, if not finish it up entirely. It may end up becoming one of those stories where I revisit it every now and then to see if time has given me a clearer vision of how to improve and/or finish it (I’ve got a few of those). And I’d like a few months to spend on all of those, just to see what I can come up with, and if any of it is publishable.

And of course, I’ve been thinking about what sort of novel I’d like to write next, when I’m ready to write a novel. Probably, that won’t be immediately: Rose has challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged by a story, and I want some time to refresh my mind before I make a commitment to a project that I could end up working on for years and years. But I have some ideas on what sort of novel I’d like to write next, when I am ready to make that sort of commitment.

For one thing, it won’t be a sequel to Rose. I could write one, and I have ideas I could develop into a sequel for Rose, but I don’t want to return to the world of Rose just yet. Especially when I can’t guarantee I can make the story better or on par with the original so soon after finishing the original.

For another, I’m not yet ready to return to the world of Reborn City. Yeah, I know there are a couple of big fans of that trilogy who want the final book, Full Circle, already (I know a few of you are probably out there), but I’m just not ready to get back to that yet.

And finally, I want to do something that’s different. Think of it like houses: I don’t want to try selling Castrum on a house that’s basically the same one they bought, just on a different block and with a different coat of paint. I want to sell them a house that’s just as good as the first one, but an entirely different design, while still retaining the Rami Ungar architecture (is this metaphor getting too weird/complicated, or does it still work?).

All these books are different from one another. I want to do the same with my books as well.

I mean, look at Stephen King: he followed Carrie (a psychic girl who gets revenge on her psychotic religious mother and the bullies at her high school) with Salem’s Lot (vampires invade a small Maine town, and a writer and his allies have to stop them), and then went on to write The Shining (a family that includes a psychic four-year-old becomes the winter caretakers at an isolated hotel haunted by something dark and evil) before creating The Stand (a super-disease causes most of Earth’s population to die off, leaving the survivors to engage in an apocalyptic war between the forces of good and evil). None of those are carbon copies of the other, so I want to do something very distinct from Rose.

And I have a few novels I can choose from. I have more ideas than I know what to do with, so I have plenty of options, but there are a few stories I can think of that would make great projects. There’s one in particular I’d like to work on when the time comes, but it’ll depend on a number of factors, including if I have to pitch something to the publisher (I’m not sure if that’s something I have to do, but it’s something I’ve thought about).

Still, there’s plenty of time to think about all that. I just know that when the time does come to think about all that, I’ll have plenty of ideas to work with and consider. Hopefully whatever I choose, it’ll make for some good reading.

In the meantime, I’m off to work on Rose for a little bit. Here’s hoping I can make some good progress before I have to hit the hay tonight. Until next time, my Followers of Fear, pleasant nightmares!

first-day-first-paragraph-tag

It’s time for another tag. Only this time, I’m the one who created it! Mwa ha ha ha!

And sorry if the graphic is kind of basic. First time using Canva.com (which I think I’ll use in the future for other projects).

So as many of you know, I had to stop doing #FirstLineFriday on a weekly basis because I needed to spend more time writing. Still, I liked doing #FirstLineFriday, and I think a lot of you enjoyed it too (I certainly never got any comments or messages from anyone saying that they hated my #FirstLineFriday posts). So I decided to create a tag that I could do on a less frequent basis, but does something similar to #FirstLineFriday. Hence the creation of the “First Day, First Paragraph” Tag.*

Now that that explanation is out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty details. Here are the rules. Once tagged for “First Day, First Paragraph,” you must:

  1. Publish your own post on the first day of the month.
  2. Use the graphic above
  3. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
  4. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  5. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  6. Ask your readers for feedback.
  7. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of August, the person you tag has to do it on the first of September), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

Rules 1 and 2 are done. I’m not going to link back to me or thank me, because that’s weird. And I just did number 4, so now onto number 5. As it’s October, and that means Halloween, I’m going to do a potential opening for a story idea I have that takes place around Halloween. Anyway, enjoy:

Lanie sat in her chair, feeling like a piece of shit. It was over. Everything was over. She had had one last shot, one last chance to prove herself as an actress before the money ran out and she had to pack it up and head back home. Why couldn’t she have held it together? She had been so confident coming in, knew every line from the audition script by heart (most of it raunchy jokes and puns revolving around shoes and feet), as well as how to say each line to deliver the most punch. And she had totally fucked it up. Now she had no chance of getting the stupid part!

Thoughts? Errors? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

And now to tag someone to continue the tag. I had two people I wanted to be my first victim tag. In the end, I chose to do one person this month and the other next month, because the first person usually loves doing tags. So, Kat Impossible, you’ve been tagged! You have to do the “First Day, First Paragraph” Tag on November 1st. Have fun! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll have a Reflections post later this month, most likely, so keep an eye out for it. Until then, as always, I’ll update you if anything needs updating. Have a great October, my Followers of Fear! I know I plan to.

*This is actually the second tag I’ve created. The first, The Black Dragon Award, was back in 2013. Sadly, I don’t think it got very far after the first few nominations. Perhaps someday I’ll have to try to resurrect it. You never know. It could go much farther this time.

It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday! And since I’m reducing the number of posts I put out each month starting in September (see reasons why here), this’ll be the second to last #FirstLineFriday I do for a while.

Let that one sink in for a moment.

Alright, so if you don’t know what #FirstLineFriday is, let me break it down for you. On Fridays, you:

  1. Create a post on your blog entitled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential work, a work in progress, or a completed or published work.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback, and see if you can get them to try #FirstLineFriday on their own blogs (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

I had a lot of trouble figuring out which story to do this week. I ended up picking a story idea I’ve done before, but that I wanted to do a variation on and see if I could get a better response. Anyway, enjoy:

My earliest memory of them is from when I was still in the crib. I know, I’m not supposed to remember anything from that age, but I remember this, and I have no reason to believe that the memory is false or something I created on my own.

Thoughts? Critiques? Let’s discuss in the comments below?

And while you’re at it, why not try #FirstLineFriday on your own blog? It’s fun, easy, and for writers it’s great practice on openings.

That’s all for now. I’ve got work and then a busy weekend, so I’m going to get right on it. Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday!

Now, if you don’t know what #FirstLineFriday is, let me explain it to you. On Fridays, you:

  1. Create a post on your blog titled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, a story-in-progress, or a completed or published work.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback and then try to get them to do #FirstLineFriday on their own blogs (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

This week, I’m doing the beginning of a short story idea I had earlier this week, one that I think will be a ton of fun to write if I ever get around to it. It’s got a bit of Lovecraft in it, a bit of Five Night’s at Freddy’s, and a whole lot of Rami Ungar in it. Oh, plus a dash of Halloween, which I actually celebrate year round. Anyway, enjoy:

“No way,” said Jemma, her flashlight roving over the abandoned arcade and all the games left behind. “They just left all this shit here?”

Thoughts? Errors? Let’s discuss.

And while you’re at it, why not try #FirstLineFriday on your own blog? It’s fun, easy, and great practice for writers. In fact, I think I’ll tag someone. Let’s see…I choose Lorraine Ambers. Congrats, Lorraine. You either have to do #FirstLineFriday this week or next. Good luck and have fun with it!

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have a big announcement to make soon, so I’ll try to get that out by Tuesday. In the meantime, I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you soon.

It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday!

Now if you’re unfamiliar with what #FirstLineFriday is, let me break it down for you. On Fridays, you:

  1. Create a post on your blog titled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, a story in progress, or a completed or published story.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback, and try to get them to do #FirstLineFriday on their own blogs (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

As you’re well aware, I’ve been having a multitude of ideas of late, and this week’s entry is from one of those ideas, a novel that deals primarily with our idealized selves versus reality, and the side effects of being what is considered “perfect.” Enjoy:

Rochelle drove her aging Chevy down the dingy LA streets, the night clear and hot as hell as she pulled up to an intersection. I’ve gotta get out of this life, she thought as a man hobbled across the street despite the light being against him, before I get eaten by it.

Thoughts? Errors? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

And while we’re at it, why not try #FirstLineFriday yourself? It’s easy, and a ton of fun. And it’s great practice for openings. Try it. You never know if you might enjoy it.

In the meantime, how about entering a giveaway for a free book by yours truly? Enter the contest by clicking here, and see what you can win!

That’s all for now. I’ve got editing this weekend, and at some point I’ll go see Suicide Squad with my sister (I hope it’s good, because DC needs something halfway decent to most audiences). See you around, my Followers of Fear.

 

It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday!

So if you don’t know what #FirstLineFriday is, let me explain. On Fridays, you:

  • Create a post on your blog entitled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  • Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  • Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, a story-in-progress, or a completed or published work.
  • Ask your readers for feedback, and urge them to try #FirstLineFriday on their own blogs (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

This week’s entry is from a story I had earlier this week. As usual, it’s creepy and weird, which is standard Rami Ungar. Anyway, enjoy:

The locals say that the hospital, which was built about forty miles from where the government tested a couple nuclear bombs, absorbed some radiation in its bricks during construction, and that’s why so many horrible things happened in the children’s ward. My daddy disagreed; he said that evil got root in there, and then the evil festered.

Ooo-ooo-ooo!

So what did you guys think? Pretty catchy? Scary? Any errors? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

And while you’re at it, why not try #FirstLineFriday on your own blog? It’s eas, it’s fun, and for authors it’s great practice working with different openings. I’m not going to tag anyone this week (unless you want to do this, so consider yourself tagged). Hey, occasionally I need occasionally I need a break from looking through my list of followers and seeing who I haven’t tortured yet.

And if you haven’t heard already, my five year blogging anniversary is coming up, so click here to learn about how you can participate in a Q&A with yours truly, and enter for a chance to get an autographed copy of one of my books. Trust me, you do not want to miss out on that.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m going to try to get a ton of editing and whatnot done this weekend. And if you want to ask me any questions for my five-year blogging anniversary on August 2nd, click here for details on that.

Have a good weekend, everybody.