We're ending our week on a high note with a visit from Miranda Stork giving us a glimpse of her new paranormal read Vigilante of Shadows. Not only that but she's talking about the writing process as well as giving away some great prizes. So let's welcome Miranda Stork........
How to Recycle a Story........
As I’ve been searching through several cool books on Amazon in the last few days, I’ve been considering something interesting. How do we writers make our stories so different from other stories before us? Or are we simply recycling them in some way?
Don’t get me wrong, nobody is getting accused of plagiarism, don’t panic! I’m thinking of something different. I remember being told a long time ago at primary school, by a lovely English teacher, that a story I wrote was very like one she had seen somewhere in a children’s book. I was quite upset, and pretty threw a small tantrum, muttering something under my breath. She laughed and told me not to worry about it, that it was actually a good thing. By copying parts of it unconsciously, it meant I had read lots of books, the integral part of being a successful writer.
While that made me happy that I was well on the way to being the next Stephen King (I wish!), it made me worry that no-one would ever find my stories interesting if they had already read it elsewhere in a different form. Surely, I thought, the point of writing is to aim for a reach that holy grail of writing, the Original Idea?
At least it is for me, and maybe it’s a ridiculous thing to aim for. Every time I see a story that is even slightly like mine in plotline, I have to change my entire manuscript. I want to have that single book that no-one has read yet, the one that they read and gasp, “I didn’t even realise how much I wanted to read this!” But perhaps my books are always going to be a little similar to others, especially as it slips neatly into the Paranormal Fantasy/Romance genres, meaning it must have similarities to other books.
But maybe that’s a good thing? All writers and readers head towards the end of the novel with two thoughts; to find out what happens, and the unconscious desire to make the characters come to life. When a reader hits the last page, and nobody has leapt out brandishing a sword, or sweeping past the flatscreen in their crinoline dress, they need that feeling again. So they start another book with similar characters, hoping this might be the one to jumpstart them out from the pages.
Also, it’s a known fact that with all of the literature and art that has been produced in the past few hundred years, some ideas will repeat. We sometimes refer back to these ideas for inspiration; I even listen to music to inspire me as I write, and you could argue I could use an idea from the song and put it into my novel.
So perhaps we should always aim for the perfect Original Idea for our novels, but not worry too much about unconsciously using an idea from a book from several decades ago. After all, they do say that mimicking is the best of flattery!
What do you think? Or did I lose you somewhere in the waffle?
Aodhan clutched uselessly at his head, groaning. He knew it was useless, because the voice was not inside his head. It followed him, skimming across buildings and land. It had followed him since he was sixteen, and it still followed him today, like a memory too horrific to be forgotten…
Aodhan is a shadow-demon, hardened and cold after years of being alone, after his love, his Entwined, was cruelly taken away from him. He has closed his heart to the world, and now spends his life ridding the world of men like those who took his beloved away, an immortal hit-man…
Arianwen Harris is a young DCI, working for York City Police. When a known criminal is found viciously killed, she finds herself trailing a hit-man who has seemed to escape clutches again and again…but she begins to find herself drawn to his dark charms and roguish good looks…
As their two worlds collide, Aodhan and Arianwen find themselves coming together to escape a far greater enemy, one that threatens to create a world far worse than the one they live in. As they battle to hold back the oncoming forces, fate has another plan; one to draw them together and heal their broken pasts together…
Knocking his drink back, feeling the rich liquid burning his throat, Aodhan wiped his mouth off with the back of his hand, and slowly stood up from the vinyl bar stool. He waved his hand to get the attention of the barmaid, but she was far too engrossed in the attentions of her personal Adonis to notice Aodhan. Shrugging, he laid a ten-pound note down on the bar, next to his empty glass.
He turned and walked out of the bar door with long strides, feeling the cool night air on his face. The bouncer outside the doors turned and stared at Aodhan’s six foot frame, no emotion showing on his features. Aodhan returned the cool stare, and then began walking off into the night.
He walked along speedily, his hands shoved deep in his jean pockets. The sounds of the night surrounded him-distant cat song, the steady hum of far-off cars, the soft sound of wind whistling underneath people’s windows. He loved being out at night, not because it was a time when his ‘kind’ were more active, but simply because it was so much quieter than the day. The sounds of people rushing around disappeared, and left a peaceful calm with the soothing darkness.
Of course, there were the voices in his head, but that was another story.
He shrugged his shoulders up, cutting off the wind whistling around his neck. He wasn’t particularly cold, but the noise was annoying when your ears were so sensitive that a pin dropping sounded like a two-ton weight.
Aodhan’s mind went back to the girl from the bar. He hadn’t meant to be so brisk with her, but it was really best that no-one got that close. It really wasn’t his style to be the mysterious, dark, lone ranger, but it was for the best in this case. He had begun to…kill people. People who wouldn’t die if they hadn’t found out about them…
Aodhan was a demon.
A rare demon, as well, a shadow demon. He had been born to a Scottish clan just over eight-hundred years ago, to humans. Contrary to what he saw people believed in the media and books, demons were actually born to humans. There was no line of them, like vampyres or werewolves. They were simply…random.
When he had been born, there were no noticeable signs of what he was. He just looked like any of the other babies born to them, strong and healthy, but definitely human.
As he grew older, he had shown great proficiency with all weapons, learning faster than any of the other boys in the clan, becoming more powerful and stronger than most of them. Even some of the boys older than himself had a hard time keeping up with him. He was never big-headed about it though, simply fitting in with everyone else. However, the clan talked about how the strange-eyed boy was so much quicker and stronger than others twice his age, and whispered about ancient gods coming back to the earth. His looks weren’t too odd for his clan, everyone having black, brown, or auburn hair, but his eyes were odd. All others in his clan had mostly blue eyes, some of them had brown eyes. But he had startling clear green eyes, more like a cat, in the clan’s eyes, than a human.
When he was thirteen, he suddenly began developing strange growths near his temples. After going to see the clan’s wise woman about it, she simply cackled, and whispered, “Those who are given the gift of darkness, should not fear the unknown.” He had shaken off the wise women’s words, telling himself that she had finally gone crazy.
The growths had developed further, until they started to look like small dark horns, about the length of his thumb. They curled close to the curve of his head, smooth with small ridges forming at each stage of their growth. Luckily, Aodhan’s hair grew wild and long, allowing him to cover them up as much as he could.
When he became twenty, he was a well-loved member of his clan. He was kind and helpful to all, and helped to fight off their enemies more times than he could count on both hands. But he was holding a dreadful secret from his family. Since his horns had grown, he had also noticed many other things.
He had begun to...see things. Shadows.
When he was out hunting in the forest near to their home, he would think that he had seen someone moving in the trees behind him, but when he swung around to face them, nothing. Then he would hear a soft chuckle, his name being called on the wind. At night, in his bed as he tried to sleep, he would see black figures running around the walls.
He had tried to tell the wise woman of the village again, thinking them to be spirits sent to drive him mad, or something worse. She simply shook her head at him, and chuckled, rocking herself to and fro. He had got used to them by now, drawing the blanket up over his head so that he couldn’t hear their taunting murmurs....
Aodhan suddenly stopped walking, snapping out of his daydreaming. He was sure he had seen one of...them. Looking all around himself, he scanned the buildings around him with his vivid eyes. The problem with them, was that they could hide anywhere they chose-walls, buildings, floors, anywhere-especially at night.
The red brick buildings around him looked empty, the few alleyways just leading alongside the backs of houses, a few bins scattered about. No-one else was walking near him on the pavement, no sound anywhere.
Just as he was about to turn around and carry on walking, pulling his jacket up again, when he heard something behind him. Something whispery and cold.
I was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1987 and have lived in various places around Britain, including Newcastle and Glasgow.
My writing is inspired by various writers, including the vivid characters of Charles Dickens, the imagination of Stephen King, and the gothic imagery of Anne Rice.
My love of horror began at an early age, when I was only three or four. I could read proficiently at the age of three, and devoured fairy-stories, but I always had a bent towards the darker stories, such as the Brother's Grimm's tales...Red Riding Hood was always a firm favourite, although I always felt sorry for the wolf, despite him having tried to eat everyone!
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