Down the Rabbit Hole!!!

Watercolor, Alice In Wonderland, Alice, Fantasy
Image by AnnaliseArt at Pixaby

While thanking a writing buddy of mine for his critique on my latest chapter, I ranted about how the story behind the book was a deeply personal one. He was very much aware of this already so it wasn’t a surprise how deep this particular story goes for me. 

He responded with “The only thing better than writing a song for revenge is writing a book.” I burst out laughing thinking that now I’m a literary Taylor Swift writing about the people I felt hurt me in life. “Trouble” came to mind. 

But it also felt like a compliment to my creativity in that I could use these experiences to write a potentially great book. When I started the book, I wasn’t in the best place. I’d fallen down a rabbit hole and got lost in Wonderland expect it was less like a fantastical adventure in a pretty world of technicolour and more like a nightmarish realm of darkness. More like “Return to Oz,” with flying monkeys attacking me and a witch with a hundred different heads. 

story book on gray surface
Photo by Annie Spratt

Funnily enough, Wonderland and Oz hold a lot of memories from reading about Alice and Dorothy as a child. They are two of my favourite series. These characters get dragged from their happy world down holes or spinning tornadoes and dropped in these magical places with evil queens and witches and wizards who end up tricking and using them. Alice should have chopped off the Queen’s head, and Dorothy did Oz a favour dropping the house on the wicked witch. 

I get it. Life is sometimes unrecognisable and scary. So I decided to lay it all out in words hoping others might read and relate. But also, it came from a dream (surprise) that I used as the inspiration for the fantasy aspects of the story.

I’m throwing everything I can into this, and it feels great to release it all like therapy. I’m not sure what the people I based the characters on will think of the final story. Honestly, I don’t care. This is my story, my interpretation of events, my adaptation of when I fell down my rabbit hole to make into fantasy fiction. The work of a true fantasist.

Funny how I found my truest voice in the depths of my emotional pain. Where will you find yours?

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Writing!

opened music sheet book on top of upright piano
Photo by Louis Smith

I’ve already talked about Fantastic Inspiration for your writing, but what about when you’re actually writing. 

My Inspiration playlist.

There are lots of conflicting ideas and opinions when it comes to sounds around you while writing. Music, TV, low coffee shop muttering, nature, or silence. Either way, we all need the right background noise, or lack thereof, to help us focus. They set the right ambience to let our creativity flow and boost our inspiration while we in the “zone”.

I find music is the best when I’m writing. Empowering, emotional, raging. Whatever I need to get the right feeling for the scene. I prefer instrumental when I need to concentrate on the writing itself, but anything goes when I’m brainstorming. I have playlists for each book/series plus a general “inspiration” playlist. I have YouTube and Spotify playlists, but I sometimes like to take a pause and watch one of the videos to the music on YT. Each chapter has a link to the music I felt most inspired it as I was writing. I even name my chapters based on said music.

But I get the appeal of other sounds, too. 

Coffee shops are fun to get that feeling of a “writer” based on what many people think we do all day. Writing and coffee tend to be strongly associated. So why lose yourself in the puffs of steaming coffee machines and casual humming of conversation. 

TV might just create that sense of distant sound without setting any kind of mood. I have the TV on right now for background sound, but my main focus is on this post. 

Silence. I can’t do silence. I can switch off the artificial noise and just listen to the world outside. Birds tweeting makes me feel in touch with nature and is great for when I’m writing about connections to magic just like how I feel with nature sometimes. 

Don’t forget the soundtrack to your writing, whatever that entails.

Golden Liquid

A little poem from my random Bursts of Words collection.

I drink of your sweetness 

Rapture in a glass

Glowing and decadent, you dare to tame me

I pour truths under your spell

I slumber by your compulsion

And awake none the wiser to your wises

If only I could break the spell 

Alas, there is no cure, only a battle I am not ready to fight

So you claim me nightly

Soothe my wild thoughts until they are too hazy to see

I lose myself in your golden light

And I drown in the moment of peace you offer from the war in my mind

The golden liquid tames me, calms me, steers me from the truth.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

Why Zombies and not Dinosaurs?

Many of you may know the joke about using the passive “by zombies”.

Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? Here… 

Okay, you get the point. But why zombies? Why not werewolves or vampires or dinosaurs? Who knows? It’s still funny and can make for a fun game when editing your work with writing buddies. How many zombies can you find? I’ve recently changed it to dinosaurs. Why? Because it felt appropriate for my writing buddy. But yeah, why not dinosaurs?

Dinosaur Riders WIP

I actually made a Halloween grammar and vocabulary game for my ESL students where I have sentences like…

The villagers were chased by…

I was bitten by…

I was scared off by… 

Then I have various monsters which the students can make the sentences with and then make them active. It’s a great and fun game for teenagers and adults learning English. It was both fun and educational and just an interesting way to teach grammar. 

But it has a point in literature, too. If your characters know who did an action, then they should use an appropriate subject. But if not, then sure, let people think it’s zombies. Just keep the flamethrowers on hand.

A Series of Harry Potter Events!

opened book surrounded with maple leaves on brown surface
Photo by Jessica Fadel

It started with films based on books. 

This term, I’ve been teaching my pre-teens about films and cinema. Half of them are Harry Potter fans so, of course, they thought of Harry Potter. We didn’t compare the books vs the films because they just don’t have the vocabulary in English, but they enjoyed seeing the many films they didn’t know were based on books. 

And moving on…

The next week, we were talking about animals in films, mainly animatronic or CGI animals. It made sense to start with the great oldies of my generation like Jaws and Aliens, then the major leap to Jurassic Park, and finish with the amazing evolution in Harry Potter. This made it more fun for the students since they loved talking about the animals in Harry Potter. 

Another group were doing mythological creatures which actually included many creatures from Harry Potter. Again, thank you, Harry.

And then… I was on Reddit and saw an amazing photograph of the Livraria Lello, where, I recently learned, J.K Rowling spent a lot of time. Harry Potter seemed to be everywhere last month.

library with stairs and shelves
Photo by Ivo Rainha

These great kids and beautiful bookshop inspired me to watch a different Harry Potter film every night for a week. But also read the first two chapters of each book before the film. I thought… sounds fun. I’ve seen the Harry Potter films before, albeit a good few years ago since the last one, but I’ve never read the books. 

It was a treat to immerse myself in this imaginative and fantastical world each night. I found myself enjoying every minute of it. I’m sorry to any book purists who just can’t handle the films. But that conversation is for another day.Sometimes, inspiration leads us to one definitive conclusion, and last month, inspiration led me to Harry Potter.