One of the main things that I love about writing is its unpredictability. You might have a set plan, and you may be productive in your routine for a while, but in the world of writing it doesn’t always work out that way.
I mainly write horror shorts when I sit down at my desk. However, this year I branched out a little and began to write a young adult fantasy novel. I was inspired by the writing community on social media, and had a few ideas about my own little bunch of budding heroes, traversing adolescence whilst dealing with their new powers. It was fun. It was exciting and, being someone who struggled through my own childhood with the X-Men permanently reminding me that it was okay to be different, it was relevant. So, 60,000 words in with only a few lingering chapter inserts, fillers, and a final edit remaining, it should be ready to roll on to the next stage. Only, it’s not happened that way. I’ve completely shelved it. I think about it often. I occasionally make an insert or an edit here and there, but I have lost that spark of inspired joy that I usually need to complete a project. This has left me with two options. One; slog on and finish it anyway. Or, two; leave it and move on to a new book. For me, these are both equally impossible without the right kind of inspiration. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
Then, this morning as I was walking to the supermarket in the sunshine, a song came on my iPod that I hadn’t heard in ages. It was Coheed and Cambria’s The Suffering, and I loved it. I stuck it on repeat, and pretty much listened to it constantly as I walked the length of St George’s Quay to town. A thought popped into my head: “The Suffering. That would be a cool title for a horror short.” As I walked the rest of the way, the story ideas began to flow. Once I had the title (thanks Coheed and Cambria!), the plot followed, and I knew that the story will be perfect to submit to the upcoming Horroraddicts.net ‘Dark Divinations’ Victorian horror submission call. And that wasn’t all, my friends! I realised that the short story would make a cool origins tale for a full-length horror story set in modern times. So, that’s what I’m going to do next. Get the Victorian short story locked down, then use it as the origins tale for a modern full length horror.
That’s not to say I’ll never return to my fantasy wip. I’ve put many hours into it after all, and I love the characters. But right now I guess it’s important to work on what feels right. Two beautiful things about writing, then. It’s ever-changing. Never set in stone. The possibilities are endless. And you can find sudden inspiration anywhere – even when you’re walking to the shops.