Sharing Some Winter Cheer!

Inspiration comes from all kinds of places for me. There isn’t one single source that I can draw from. Seasonal things are inspirational too, like renewing things in spring, relaxing in the summer heat, or enjoying the beautiful colours of autumn.

Winter cheer isn’t so different from Christmas cheer for me, but in the spirit of holiday equality, there are lots of ways to brighten up the darkest months of the year that aren’t obvious Christmas decorations. Also, this means you can put them up early and leave them up well after Christmas and have the excuse, “They’re not Christmas decorations. They’re winter decorations.” 🤣

Lights in a bowl. I have plug-in lights mixed with Christmas baubles, but just the lights would look really pretty and brighten up a dark hallway in winter. Or you could use battery LED lights in a glass or a small vase. 

LED candles.😍 I love them soooo much. They’re safe and pretty, and you can move them around if you want them in different rooms. I have a few candle holders about the flat, so LED tea lights look fantastic in them.

Or try coloured candles for decoration. I have some scented ones in sparkly glasses. I never light them because I don’t trust my cats with candles, but they look and smell really nice.

Light-up wall art. This beautiful winter picture acts like a night light in my hallway. It’s just as beautiful without the lights.

Add sparkly and shiny things to normal things. The candle normally has potpourri around it, but in winter, I swap it for some beads and painted pinecones. I swap my fake flowers for wintery twigs and add glittered twigs or flowers to them. You can’t see very well in the photo, but the glittery twigs have LED lights on them. They broke a while ago, but I still like the glitter in the vase.

My ten-month-old kitten, Tinkerbell, very helpfully pointed out my practical peg lights. They’re just on my desk organiser right now, but sometimes I string them up and peg photos or Christmas cards on them.

I’m like a flower. I need light and warmth and pretty things. Hah, that last one makes me sound awfully materialistic. I can’t help it if I like shiny and sparkly things. Maybe that’s what makes me a cat person. 

Anyway, don’t le the darkest months drain your cheer and inspiration. 

And here’s my Christmas playlist again. There are some wintery songs on there, too. Enjoy…

Title image by Larisa-K at Pixabay.com 

Little Snowflake!

Winter’s coming, lol. Had to. It’s been a long few months since I started back at work after the lockdown, and I’m about ready for a nice Christmas. This year things are weird but good and I have two weeks off work to write, play music, and spend time with my parents. 

My musical creativity has already been flowing with my violin practice and more piano practice. I’ve dipped into playing my flute, but I’ve had this weird cold for like a month, so I don’t have the breath for the flute right now. Don’t worry, it’s not Covid, I got tested to be sure and was negative. Anyway, back to winter and music.

It’s this just the cutest little winter/Christmas song ever. I love to play it for my little students, and we spin around like snowflakes.

Anyway, I decided to make a score of it just from fun. It took me a few hours to get the right notes along with a more-or-less ok-ish left hand. But I’m proud of being able to take a simple song and translate it into notes musicians can read. 

Here it is on Musescore where you can hear the synthesizer.

Or download it below. It was just for funsies, but it made me feel super creative.

Feature image by Jill Wellington at pixabay.com

Creative Dissociation!

My wonderful instruments.

I can lose myself in writing so much that time vanishes and, suddenly, it’s lunchtime or time to go to my day job. I’ve been very in and out with my writing pages of fun new revisions or crickets on my WIPs depending on the day or week. 

After a mostly calm summer, things have been escalating in my life again. With COVID issues affecting my family and my job, it’s been a rough autumn and not a great start to winter. My family have all been ill, and my mum tested positive for COVID, which is weird since my dad and I are negative. Luckily, she’s doing well compared to what we feared if either of my parents got COVID. So that’s a fantastic silver lining, and she hopes to be better in a week or so.

This is when I need creative outlets like writing, music, blogs. They help me zone out for even a short time a bit like meditation.

I rediscovered this in music, too. I’ve had my keyboard for a year now and love playing it. I still play my flute and try to learn new tunes occasionally, but last month, I got a violin. 

My MC from Out of Ashes plays violin, and I figured it would be fun to learn. I’ve only learned a little from YouTube videos, but I’m doing ok-ish, and playing some simple things that sound a little like tunes. 

With all the busy days and extra work, I’ve found it hard to get into writing on weekdays, but music, I can play for fifteen minutes to an hour and just let myself go. It’s also useful from a writing perspective to actually do what my MC does. I’m now a huge fan of classical string instruments, and The Piano Guys are on my car playlist. I found them a few years ago, but have been listening to them more to inspire my piano and violin, even though the string instrument is cello. I found some fun tunes that I’m working on. 

This is something I struggle with on the flute because of the top notes, but I can play the basic (and I mean basic) version on piano just fine and can play a little on the violin. But it’s still super inspiring to try and play beyond that simple version. It’s slow going, but practice makes perfect.

It’s always great to have multiple creative pastimes if you’re that way inclined, even if some are just for fun. Creativity is what you need it to be. For me, it’s fun, a distraction, a future career, a little self-validation, and mostly a necessity because I just can’t live without it.

Death Is Only the Beginning!

It’s an old Egyptian saying, which makes sense if you believe in an afterlife. Life is fleeting, but an afterlife is infinite.

Okay, ideology aside, I’m referring to fantasy or Sci-Fi stories where death is either an evolved state or temporary. It happens with people dying and getting turned into cyborgs, fighting their way back to the real world, or long dead voices who can speak to the living. 

It’s not only fun from a magic perspective, but also helpful in the plot. Voices from beyond can guide the MC to do something they can’t do themselves. Death can be reversed with magical spells or some life transferring power. Either way, death is not always the end. 

This is both good and bad for your fantasy or Sci-Fi story. You have to set limits on the revivals or contact with the living otherwise it just comes across as a deus ex machina. They can work in rare cases, but it’s best to set up the possibilities during the story.

Without spoiling too much, I have distinct differences between my versions of heaven, hell and purgatory across my WIPs. And some characters have the capability of returning to the land of the living, while others can only whisper to it or barely touch it. Of course, there are limits to when, where and how to all of it.

So how many ways can death be undone? Here are just a few ways death is only the beginning.

Faking a Death

This works in many genres and doesn’t require any kind of resurrection or special science or magic to bring the person back to life. The reader doesn’t have to know the MC’s boyfriend faked his death to protect her from the mob men who were going to kill her too. In fact, it works best when the MC has no idea until they really need to know. Keeping it a secret is the whole point of faking a death. Sure, you could have the MC fake their death which would make for an interesting story, but the point of this post is the ways the reader will think someone is dead but they’re not gone. 

Unfinished Business

Ghosts, spectres, voices of loved ones. These are people trying to complete something important to them or those they left behind. It could be something personal that they convince someone to do for them. Or they could have been waiting for a “chosen one” to put things right in a bigger sense. Either way, these are nothing more than guides who can’t physically interact, or if they can, they can only manipulate natural elements or signals in the air.

Reincarnation

A character is reborn from centuries ago and has the chance to complete a quest their past self didn’t. They may know they are reincarnated from a young age or they may find out when they’re older and have to figure out where their past self failed so they can avoid making the same mistake. Obviously, their past self died, but why?

Resurrection

Bringing people back to life has to have serious consequences or a very unique or lost spell otherwise everyone would be doing it. My favourite way to do this is some form of special energy like a rare planetary alignment or a hidden relic that is just as dangerous to find as it is to use. That’s the idea of resurrection that it may or will require a sacrifice. You have to balance the energy of your world. Whatever your parameters for this, make them hard as hell to put off even the bravest of souls from trying to bring back a loved one.

Suspended Animation

This mostly works in Sci-Fi like someone in a cryogenic chamber who gets surgery in the future to fix previously fatal wounds.So they were more on the verge of death rather than dead. This also works in fantasy where someone’s magical energy is still alive, but their body has been destroyed. This would leave their character requiring a physical form to be fully alive, which might be magically possible. So again, they’re not completely dead.

However you use death in your story, there are always possibilities.

Featured image by Dieterich01 at Pixabay.

New Logo!

I know I’m a long way off publishing and branding. But it doesn’t hurt to ponder these things as I work up to the whole marketing stuff.

I keep dipping into my lapsed graphic design skills and thinking about the general look I want to go for. I’m still deciding, but I have a possible logo to share.

It’s purely experimental and just for my own purposes. But here… enjoy…

And…

I have more ideas that might lead to something completely different. But the whole point of this site is to log my progress. This is my latest progress.

It’s never too early to start thinking about these things. But don’t forget to put your writing first. Logos and websites mean very little without the writing to showcase.

Pearlescent

A little poem from my random Bursts of Words collection.

I once had a collection of pearls in an iridescent shell. Each one contained a piece of my heart. Some I wore on a necklace when I needed them while others were safe away from the cruel world.

They shimmered in the sunlight and brought me strength when I doubted myself. With so many, I occasionally gifted one to the people I cared deeply for. Sometimes, they gifted one back.

One day, a man came into my life and shared his heart’s pearls with me, so I shared mine with him. A woman soon joined us, and our pearls glimmered as if from the same shell. They were beautiful together.

That was until I stumbled, and my pearls rolled away. My friends did not reach out to catch them. Instead, they stomped and crushed them to dust until my heart had no joy, no laughter, only emptiness. Once there were no more pearls, the pair left me to pick up the pieces.

I collected all the dust I could and placed it back in the shell. For weeks, months, I stared at that shell with my broken heart, occasionally peeking at the destruction inside. 

Each time I did, I cried until I was out of tears for the day. Begging my friends did nothing, only left more anger and pain within me.

Those who broke my pearls did not take responsibility but blamed me until I blamed myself. 

Eventually, I stopped looking in the shell, but the memory of the cracking pearls haunted my days and nights. I was adrift in this fog with no strength or solace. 

I ached with more pain than I could handle. It drained me, stole the last of my hope. Days, weeks, months passed as my heart remained pearlescent dust. I wandered aimlessly in a fog, going through the motions as one does when they have little to live for.

I cannot recall what made me look in the shell one day. A speck of hope or desperation. But when I looked, a pearl had reformed, and a piece of my heart along with it. 

Now, I open the shell to find more reformed pearls. 

They do not shine the way they once did, but the pieces of my heart come back one by one. 

Image by Myriams-Fotos at Pixabay.com

Organised Creativity and Creative Organisation!

Image by StockSnap at Pixabay.

I bought a beautiful planner. I used to buy one at Christmas, but since I started teaching, I’ve bought one in August in time for the new academic year. It got me thinking how there is creativity in organisation. 

Madame Butterfly by Paperblanks

My computer backgrounds alternate in themes from fantasy images, character inspiration, nature and space. Every time I open my PC, there’s beauty on my screen. So why not my diary? I use it multiple times a day and even make notes at the back. I want creativity in my organisation.

But what about organisation in my creativity?

I rave about Scrivener because I genuinely love it. But there are many ways you can organise your thoughts and intentions. 

Here are some thoughts you might want to consider organising…

  • Characters – Give each character a page for a full description or make a quick-view table. I have both in my Scrivener file. Their role, goals, family, appearance, backstory, maybe even an image. Anything that applies to your characters whether they’re MCs or secondary characters. Try devianart for portraits or fantastical character inspiration.
  • Locations – Main buildings with descriptions. A map of you can draw one or make a digital map. Research structures that apply to your book and use images for consistency.
  • Worldbuilding – Reality or fantasy, your world needs history, culture, religion, lore. Whatever it takes for readers to understand the world from your MC’s perspective. You don’t need to use every aspect of the world or culture you’re writing about. But you need to know it inside and out.
  • Abilities – This is more important for fantasy or sci-fi but still applies for a real world story. Magic, integrated tech, you need to establish what your characters are capable off at the beginning and at the end of the book. Your MC needs some special skills or potential skills that make them stand out. This can be something new or something that they already have but find new uses for. Detective skills, relationships skills, magical skills, new tech. It all boils down to the same idea of character growth.
  • Speaking of Character growth – Add this to your character description. Events that push them to change for better or worse. Make a timeline of key moments that cause these changes to various characters.
  • Outline – Make a table with columns. The chapter number and title if you use them. Write a synopsis for each chapter leaving a space for each scene if you have more than one. List the characters in the scene so you can see if you’re overloading the reader with too many people. Put the POV character at the top of the list for stories with multiple POVs. Colour code character actions if you want. 

I’m probably missing some stuff here, but you get the point. Organising your creativity can help keep those inspirational thoughts together, making way for new ones.

Cleansing your Creative Palette!

Photo by Victoria_Borodinova at Pixabay.

I have multiple project disorder where I keep having too many ideas and projects on the go. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, and I struggle to focus on one project at a time. I’ll be working on one project, then suddenly get zapped with ideas for another, and I can’t concentrate with all these clashing ideas. 

It’s always good to prioritise one so that you can keep a steady momentum until the project is done. But it’s also a good idea to have something for when you need a break from said project. It’s a way of managing multiple project disorder.

I call it a creative palette cleansing. It refreshes your mind while giving you something to work on for the future. Keep the creative juices flowing. 

Right now, I’m focussing on Out of Ashes, my historical fantasy about witches and warlocks. And one or two mornings a week, I work on my Starlighters pentalogy, which is getting some serious attention in its outline along with some scene tweaks as I prepare for the next full revision. 

This gives me a chance to pour my ideas into two different projects while keeping the focus on one. Gotta have a dessert after really good meal, right? 

Here, have a fun cover track…

More Inspiration?

Yes please. 

I admit I get overloaded with inspiration. Just the other night I had an awesome dream that prompted a future novel. I didn’t spend too long on it because I didn’t want to distract myself from Out of Ashes. But Fae and Foe (working title) has been on my mind for a while now, and a full story idea hit me. So I got on Scrivener and spent a morning hashing out initial ideas and finding images.

It got me thinking about my first novel inspiring dream for Starlighters. Over time, I’ve found lots of things that inspired me further. Mostly music and images that I instantly connected with on behalf of my story and characters.

Enjoy…

I love Epic Music World’s compilations. Not only is it awesome music to write to, but the images prompted me to find an amazing comic and digital artist.

Ghostblade is a fantasy comic by Wlop.

Here’s the link to the full gallery. https://www.deviantart.com/wlop/gallery

There’s even some gaming images on there, like KDA’s League of Legends track and Final Fantasy XV images.

I can’t rave about these artists enough. The imagery and music combined just brings out the best of Starlighters, because somewhere along the way, we all have the same inspiration.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get Wlop’s work on my book covers. I know I would if I could.