The Novelry Blog

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How To Use Dreams To Create Stories Feb 11, 2018

 

Where to find wonderland? In your dreams, babe.

A few weeks ago, I dreamt that my legs were covered in thick, lupine hair. A pelt of fur. Then I dreamt a few days later of being in a clinic on a table with a cold steel blade tracing the bones of my legs shaving them. A few nights later, in another dream, the hairs on my legs were long, thick and golden stalks of hair like wheat in a field, with the wind blowing through them.

On Saturday evening, last week, I was talking about the notion of our 'shadowlands' (the secondary world in speculative fiction) with a fellow writer who had some very interesting mythological references to offer on the matter. That night I dreamt that I was reaching down to my nether regions pulling out single hairs that came out individually as black quills, like the spikes of a porcupine filled with black ink.

I woke and thought about the fur coats in the wardrobe in Narnia. Suddenly the single philosophical theme of my...

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Never Grow Up. Feb 04, 2018

'Growing up' is not to be taken lightly. It's the source of horror in the horror story. 

The great Classics show younger readers how to maintain the wonder of childhood and the rest of us how to get back there in a hurry. The authors of the Classics - such as JM Barrie, CS Lewis and E.Nesbit -  were particularly able to tap the well of their childhood. 

I'd like to offer you a road home with some simple directions in this week's blog and next.

Yesterday I was leaving the supermarket fairly jacked off, as always, superficially aware that I am 'lucky' but also just jacked off; drizzle, duty etc. Just like you do too.

I drove past a man in a car who had a look on his face which matched my thoughts.

I thought - Jesus, once you were this:

Each and every one of us goes through transformations so gradually we don't notice them happening but the cumulative effect is one of devastation. We wear the cliffside we have fallen off.

This is the same...

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Creating Wonderment in Fiction. Jan 21, 2018

'It is wonder that infuses Narnia, the land where trees and animals talk and a mighty lion is always liable to irrupt when least expected.'

Colin Duriez and David Porter 'The Inklings'

The Inklings was a group of literary friends meeting in Oxford from 1933 to 1949 which included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien who wrote the world-famous bestselling classics of literary fantasy. It was their belief that we win truth by metaphor, using highly imaginative models such as their worlds of Narnia and Middle-earth.

The creation of a work of wonder, a classic, is far more important more than a matter of life and death.

Wonder or the feeling of wonderment goes beyond the spectacle, or carnival, the pageant or festival, beyond feasting and fêting, beyond human celebrations and the things we enjoy thanks to the suspension of normal routine.

It goes FAR beyond those. Don’t mistake it for misrule or mayhem. Don’t confuse it with surrealism, romantic love or engrossment.

'I am not...

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Stories are easy. Life's hard. Dec 31, 2017

The God of New Beginnings.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. Janus held the key because he was the gateway to any passage: birth, death, travels, change.

As writers we work between two worlds, with one face set to the actuality, the reality, the individual and particular day to day stuff and the other turned to peer into deeper, darker dreams, the unknown, the common myth, the universal.

We work the Janus method, with a 'back and forth' motion.

‘As I reflect on the process of writing and ask myself how themes enter that process, it seems to me that a certain back-and-forth motion takes place. First you give yourself to (or throw yourself into) the writing, and go where it takes you. Then you step back and ask yourself where you are, whether you...

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How to Start Writing a Book for Beginners. Dec 17, 2017

Hello. You're Not Dead!

But, you feel stale.

You keep tidying stuff, chucking out crap, or wiping down the kitchen counters.

You toss books aside as ‘too easy’ or too hard’.

You turn about your life, like a cat trying to find a way to settle.

You’re sentimental. About old memories, old things. Objects which have no value suddenly seem vital. Images of loneliness or reunion, scenes at the airport move you to tears. You miss people you haven’t thought of in ages. You feel like you learnt a lot last year, but you’re worn out.

Something’s wrong.

You need to shake the snow dome of your life. Hard. Watch where it all settles, and maybe let a snowflake or two land on your tongue. You need to recover the child you once were.

You can keep trudging through the snow that’s gone grey or you can take the sled into the New Year.

You have all you need to be the person you want to be. Apart from a sled.

Here's Your Sled.

Make an idea a...

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