Storytelling is a talent passed down through the generations in my family. It is a way of life in that the more you live, the better the story; the deeper the experience, the broader the plain to connect with readers. Just like life is about people so writing is about people - about their love, their loss, their triumphs, their failures, and their x ever after. I write to understand myself and make sense of life. I share my work in order to find others who can relate to my characters, or their lives, or the moral of the story.
Something had been nagging at the back of my mind for the past week.
It wasn't a task that I had to get done asap, like arranging a time for my next driving lesson, or trying to contact our new property agent again, or trying to get through to immigration to get some answers on my pile of questions on how to go about changing my name. It wasn't a small task as such, but it had that same urgency behind it. It was something that I had to do. It had to be done. Needed to be done. There was no two-ways about it. Something important demanded my attention, and it was going to keep persisting like the cold rain we've been having the past few days.
I didn't know what exactly it was. I couldn't pinpoint it. All I knew was that it was going to start driving me stark raving mad if I didn't figure out what was bothering me so much. Was it because I haven't packed my hospital bag yet? Or could it be because we still don't have a name for monkey number three? Is it because I haven't set up a proper place for the baby upstairs? What if it's the idea of spending 3-5 days practically alone in the hospital - whatnot with me wanting to write horror again, I can already see the skinny, pale woman with black eyes and hair and a bloody gown standing in the corner of my hospital room, stretching her arm out toward me...
So I decided, you know what, I need to get to the bottom of whatever is bugging me. Even if I don't figure out what exactly it is, at least I know that writing something - anything - is going to help alleviate this unsettling feeling like there's something I absolutely have to do.
I took my monkey-girl to kindy yesterday - and got lots of praise for my storyboard that I 'quickly' threw out on paper to help her transition from kindy back home. I'd been planning on stomping the town flat to find a place that will lamenate the storyboard for an affordable price, but the people at kindy were kind enough to copy it and lamenate it for me. This saved me some serious time, as you can imagine I'm probably at the 70kg mark by now and I waddle like a penguin more than I actually walk like a human being.
I went to Whitcoulls in the mall, ended up buying a 240 page writing book and a pen (which turns out to be orange!), grabbed some lunch and sat down at the foodcourt. I keep telling myself that these $10 shopping spurts I have will be all worth while when I finish my MS and get some reward for my hard work, because trust me, every page is used to full capacity.
I'd been planning on starting on a 'new' book, a YA paranormal romance novel, which is why I bought the blank book. With 'new', I mean that it occurs in an already existing fictional world with established fictional characters that I've been writing in and with since 1996, so everything is pretty much laid out and has been written in some shape or form before. Aside from sharing some of the stories with my friends when I was still in primary school, I've never again shown this specific 'series' to anyone. I never thought of getting it published until recently, because it is my world and my characters, for my reading and writing pleasure, and mine alone. I'm vague on the details because I'll be blogging about it when I start writing it. And it's not the story I ended up writing either.
Nope, not at all. I discovered that I'd brought another handwritten story with me in my bag. I wrote it from start to finish a very long time ago, and unfortunately lost it all (actually, thinking about it, it might be on one of my floppy disks. But who uses those these days?) Lucky for me, I'd written the prologue by hand. Tried to rewrite the prologue last year. So I thought, hmmm, time to procrastinate!
I opened the book and read the very first draft. Then I moved on to the second. I was barely half-way through it when a door whipped open in my head and a very loud exclamation of '&%#@ thank the gods you finally heard me, I was starting to worry you'd gone deaf!' was made. Or, that's what I'd imagine my muse would have been saying if it had an actual voice. Before I knew it, I was writing the third draft, and I got two whole pages of it done! This would have been impossible if it wasn't for my mil who had offered to stay at home with my monkey-boy - thank you mom! :) - because I'm a very slow writer. I think a snail could move faster than I write. That detail aside, I got two pages done!
And the best thing of all is that I don't have that nagging feeling anymore.
I've got something better now. The drive to write - and actually finish what I start. Which is why, although I wrote a bit on this other novel of mine yesterday, I'm going to focus my energy on writing this YA paranormal romance that's been brewing for a decade.
All I need now is a writing buddy to motivate me and crit me as I go.
Any takers? :)
The thing I always do before I start working on a story is research.
My latest endeavour is to write a ghost story. So I'm going to be reading all manner of ghost hunter fiction (and non-fiction), interviewing any paranormal investigation teams in my area, and snooping around for anyone else who might have had paranormal experiences before.
And, of course, I'm going to be watching paranormal shows.
Which is the topic I wanted to get onto. The shows I've watched most are TAPS, Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures. Entertaining and scary stuff, if you have the mind for it at 11pm at night.
I used to absolutely love TAPS because I got suckered into believing they were the real deal. They're not, as it turns out. They are very good at faking things, and the locations they've visited are places I personally would never set my foot, so they are still amusing to watch at the end of the day.
Why I believe they are fake: the camera is always on Grant and Jason. In one episode, for example, the two of them are sitting down and trying to provoke whatever entity lives in the house. A hanger is thrown across the room as 'response'. Grant picks up the hanger and puts it back in the open cupboard, emphasising that he's putting it in a certain spot. Astonishingly, the same hanger is thrown across the room once again! Just as astonishingly is that the camera was aimed at Grant and Jason sitting on couches rather than at the hanger, even though the anticipation of the hanger moving again had been created by Grant. Sure they could claim that there was no one else in the room, and the camera man was too far away to be responsible. They could claim that, but can they prove it? Nope. With editing and neat little tricks set up before filming starts, you could get away with it looking 'legit'.
Most Haunted isn't amusing or entertaining to watch. The only thing that scares me is that the lead woman investigator is going to open her eyes so wide that they might actually pop out of their sockets. Now that's as scary as Most Haunted gets. A bit disappointing, considering they visited my hometown and went to one of the only places in New Zealand that is said to be haunted; the St. James theatre. But definitely, without a doubt, fake from start to end. When you have people who 'jump' at the slightest sound and mediums who sporadically go into trance in every show, and there is some kind of footage captured or communication achieved, you just know they're fake.
Ghost Adventures I can't comment on as much. All I can say is that the main guy (I'm not 100% certain on his name) has charisma, and the kind of personality that a good TV presenter ought to have. Whether they are genuine and have caught real footage, or whether they're just as fake as all the rest, is up for debate. I don't believe that they're serious either, though.
Something most of these 'investigators' seem to have in common is that they were personally faced with a ghost of some kind. Some even multiple times. You would think that if this had been true, they wouldn't go out looking for these things, and they wouldn't be provoking them either. People who really believe that they are being haunted are contacting these guys because they're afraid. If they had similar experiences, wouldn't they want to avoid being subjected to it over and over?
Yes, there is the matter of them 'helping' people, but what are they really doing to help? They either confirm a haunting, or they don't, and usually their final result is questionable. They don't catch on camera what the families say they experience, therefore they can't say for sure whether it's haunted or not. Or they do catch something on camera and present it to the family, but then it's either an 'experience' one of the crew had on the investigation, or it's an 'orb' floating around the screen - neither of which any of the family members have personally experienced or seen themselves before.
I'd like to see the team from BS go undercover and hire these 'investigators' to a house with a fake history. They catch fake mediums out that way all the time, so why not try the same strategy on investigators to prove/disprove their credibility?