Monday 27 August 2012

Jumping On the Bandwagon

What do you type into google when you’re looking for something? The whole thing, or just what you consider to be the key words of whatever it is you’re searching for?

Take Twilight. Yes, I’ve read it and if I’m completely honest, I did rather enjoy it. That’s my guilty secret for the day. I even wrote a blog about it a while back. So if you were looking for all things Twilight online (films, books, T shirts, fake tan, anti-sparkle powder, vegetarian meals for vampires, central heating for werewolves made easy  – I’ll stop now, shall I?), you’d probably just type Twilight into a search engine, wouldn’t you? Or Hunger Games or whatever you’re into.

What else might you get?

How about Fifty Shades of Twilight? Lots of – well, you’ll have to go see for yourself. Or Twilight 2 New Moon parody (What if Edward Hooked Up With Jacob...?) which kind of speaks for itself.

Or maybe Fifty Shades Of Sparkling Vampires With Dragon Tattoos That Play Starvation Games, which defines itself as “a short parody of a spoof wrapped in a wet blanket of irreverence”. I’m not entirely sure how typing Twilight into amazon’s search engine produces that one, but there you go.

Clearly there’s a market for something that instantly captures the zeitgeist and provides alternative viewpoints or satirises the original. Sometimes I wonder how close to the line these authors walk – there are dozens of of Potter parodies and spoofs: Harry Putter and the Chamber of Cheesecakes anyone? And yet JK Rowling’s lawyers are quick to jump onto anything illegal concerning the HP brand, so parodies are presumably perfectly OK, if somewhat dubious in taste at times. To be fair, the blurb for Cheesecakes suggests an innocent romp through Potter-land and it all looks completely tasteful and rather a good read.

If Fifty Shades of Grey began life as Twilight fan fiction, then maybe trying to be original isn’t the way to sell lots of books. Clearly the more raunchy you can make your parody, the more books you are going to sell, which makes me wonder if erotica really is the next Big Thing. 

Maybe that’s where I'm going wrong. I should be exploring Katniss’ sex life instead, or working out what kind of creature a vampire-and-werewolf liaison would produce.

Ho hum.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Hello Followers!

Somehow I seem to have 82 followers. I don't know where you've all come from recently as I'm sure I only had about 20 last month. I'm really not that interesting, you know. But you are all very welcome here. So tell me what made you visit my little corner of cyberspace. Are you fellow-writers, readers or both? Are you (gulp) fans of my writing? And if so - are you more interested in my dark and nasty thrillers or my YA fantasy series? I'm working on a follow-up to my thriller Hamelin's Child at the moment, called Paying the Piper, but if there are people interested in fantasy Edge of Dreams, I'll also get moving on the sequel Flashpoint, which is nearing completion.

And here? What do you want me to write about? Snippets from works-in-progress? Thoughts on how/what/where/when I write? Or general musings on my weird and wonderful life?

Do let me know! Or just say hello.

Sunday 5 August 2012

Dreaming (is free)

Have you ever listened to somebody tell you about the amazing dream they had last night? No matter how exciting and vivid it was to them, it's utterly boring to everybody else. How do you capture that elusive quality of a dream that made it so compelling while you were living it?

I remember my daughter - aged about three or four - who used to delight in telling me about her dreams. She once spent an entire car journey of over half an hour relating the adventures she and her friends had inside a vacuum cleaner (or Noo-Noo as I believe she called it at the time, in homage to the Teletubbies). More than thirty minutes without repeating herself - I was rather impressed!

But what do your dreams tell you? There are many books and websites that claim to help you interpret your dreams and decipher what it is your subconscious is trying to tell you. I'm not entirely convinced. For example, dreaming of teeth is supposed to signify concerns about your appearance to others, particularly in the case of menopausal women. I dream about teeth a lot (and I'm coming up on the dreaded 5-0 rather too rapidly for my liking), but I strongly suspect my dreams are the result of a childhood accident, and my dental hygienist actually went so far as to say she thought I might be suffering from a mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder!

I dream about "escape" a great deal. I'm always in the middle of some all-action adventure, usually involving bad guys. Being chased is supposed to mean I'm running away from something in my life, rather than confronting it and I should face up to my fears. Maybe - I don't know. But they are exciting dreams, if sometimes scary. Perhaps that's why my writing generally has a theme running through it - as I discussed in an Authors Electric blog last year, there's a dark thread that pervades all of my writing, whether it's fantasy or mainstream thriller, there's always an edge: by accident or design, people are never where they are supposed to be.

The first novel I ever wrote was as a result of a dream. Back in my early teenage years, I was able to lucid-dream, to be dreaming and yet be aware of the fact. I got into the habit of stage-managing my dreams, being both director and actor, and playing out different scenarios in an environment that was as good as real. Sadly, I've lost this ability, but I can sometimes still re-enter the same dream and carry on where I left off.

I think all writers do this to some extent. Certainly many of my writer friends write out their dreams or are at least inspired by an event or character in a dream - whether they are exorcising ghosts in the process, I don't know. It'd be nice to think that the act of writing in some way promotes a better state of mental health. In fact writing is recommended as a method of stress-release by many psychologists. Maybe that's why we dream? And that's why we write?