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Killing My Darlings…

I watched Kill Your Darlings over the weekend – you know, the one where Harry Potter gets to kiss Dane DeHaan? Now, I wouldn’t say it’s the best film ever (it was okay) but it has officially inspired me.

I’m not sure if any other writers will identify, but for me coming up with ideas for novels takes a long time – and when I say long, I mean l-o-n-g. Usually the full concept, plot and cast of characters is a culmination of many ideas over many years. I’ll start with a basic type of story I’d like to write (eg. a vampire romance or a fantasy with Norwegian folklore) and an idea of the kind of themes I’d like to explore (eg. drug addiction, obsessive love, the love/hate dichotomy of female relationships). But that’s about it.

seize the moment

For example, I always wanted to write a vampire novel. I’ve loved vampires since forever, and although I cannot say who the first vampire was that I came across (well, unless Sesame Street counts), I do remember reading Le Fanu’s Carmilla as a young teen and being fascinated by the relationship between Laura and Carmilla. Then of course I discovered Buffy Anne Rice and Bram Stoker through film (namely Interview With The Vampire in 1994 and Dracula in 1992). Oh, and The Lost Boys! How can I forget The Lost Boys? (It came out in the 80s but I wouldn’t have seen it until the 90s, given my age). Throughout my teens I was also an avid Buffy LJ Smith and Christopher Pike fan. Have I mentioned Buffy yet?

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a vampire child of the 1990s 🙂 But they were my teen years – some of my most formative years (well, that’s my excuse anyway). 

As I was saying, I always wanted to write a vampire novel, but it took about ten years for me to come up with the right story. I guess it had something to do with the fact that I hadn’t really lived life yet. In my opinion, life is the best inspiration there is – the good stuff and the bad (maybe especially the bad). And finally at the age of 28 (after completing two degrees, having a beautiful baby boy, stepping out into the workforce, and having lots of those pesky life experiences) everything clicked into place. I had a story – and not just any story, a story that could span several centuries and several books, complete with love, loss, obsession, betrayal, and a really, really destructive ending – woohoo! Book 1 (the book I currently have on submission) is only the beginning of what will one day be an amazing series (I hope). But still it took me a long time to even get to the point where I could start writing it.

Step in Kill Your Darlings

Anyone who knows me would know from the trailer that I’d be drawn to this movie…

It’s got:
– an Ivy League college in the 1940s;
– Obsessed professors;
– Self-destructive writers and poets;
– Jazz; and
– Murder.

What an awesome combination!

It’s also got Dane DeHaan (think David Bowie meets Leonardo DiCaprio). Yes, Daniel Radcliffe is in it but in my opinion DeHaan outshines him every second of every minute – all 104 of them. But then again I am biased – I’ve always had a soft spot for the preppy blonde hell-raiser (Sebastian Flyte, h-e-l-l-o… and not to mention Dickie Greenleaf, my dah-lings).

Oh my, those blue, blue eyes…
soldier-brnes.tumblr.com

The movie itself was so-so, but — and this is a big but — it was the catalyst for the final pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, that has been slowly assembling in the recesses of my psyche for years, to fall into place. Finally – yes finally – I have the plot for the most awesome story ever – a story I was born to write (at least I like to think so).

And what story could this be, perchance? Let me explain…

The Secret DiariesMy favourite YA trilogy of all time is The Secret Diaries by Janice Harrell. I discovered the first book in the series, Temptation, back in 1995. I was living at Kangaroo Point at the time and I remember reading it of a morning while I rode the ferry to school.

It’s about a girl named Joanna who transfers to a new school and is drawn into a mysterious group of kids who have a dark secret. Just before Joanna arrived, another member of the group – a girl – mysteriously went missing. Some say she ran away. Others speculate something more sinister. As Joanna is drawn deeper into the group she gradually learns the truth.

It was (and is) awesome – I’ve read it many times since. And even though the writing is simple and unadorned, the story and characters captivate me every time. It’s a shame Scholastic don’t re-release the trilogy like they re-released The Vampire Diaries and The Last Vampire series (by the way – there are no vampires in The Secret Diaries – it’s a basic contemporary girl-meets-boy-and-his-circle-of-friends, boy-and-his-circle-of-friends-have-a-deadly-secret type of story). In fact, it’s actually very similar to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History – except set in high school.

In case you are interested, there is a great review of The Secret Diaries HERE.

Anyway, why do I bring up this story? Well, ever since it touched my life I’ve wanted to write something just as riveting. Something that was a little bit The Secret Diaries, a little bit Brideshead Revisited. Something that was a little bit The Talented Mr Ripley, and a little bit Poison Ivy and Mad Love (yes, I love Drew).

And now, thanks to Kill My Darlings, I’ve finally got it!!! The final piece of my puzzle. And I’m very excited 😀

I wish I could tell you more, but at this stage it’s all gotta stay hush-hush. Unfortunately due to the intricacies of the plot, I think this novel will take me a long time to write . But it will be worth every painstaking moment of toil toiled, and every drop of blood, sweat and tears dripped.

Man, I can’t wait to get started…

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Fun! Fun! Fun!

I’ve had the most awesome week!

Last Thursday the boys and I went Trick or Treating at Sunnybank Shopping Town. On Friday for Halloween, Cole and I dined on burgers at Grill’d (Cole had the sweet chilli chicken and I had the crispy bacon and cheese) before catching Ghostbusters on the big screen. On Saturday, we met up with family at Boondall lake and watched model boat racing for the day. Then all this week, Cole and I watched Season 1 of Buffy 😀

Come Along WillowIt was the first time Cole’s actually sat down and watched Buffy episode-by-episode, and I’m very happy to report he enjoyed it! Of course, I’m not surprised – he is a Doctor Who fan after all and can appreciate great writing when he sees it 😀 Tomorrow we start Season 2 – I can’t wait.

Speaking of Doctor Who, the season 8 finale aired this morning. Cole and I will be catching it sometime this evening, once the littlies have gone to bed and we can watch without distraction. I really hope it lives up to expectations. Last week’s episode was exceptional and the massive Missy bomb was totally beyond all expectations. I found this season a little hit and miss though, but I have faith in the Doctor Who crew. They’ll make magic happen again, I just know it.

Desperate by Athena DanielsOn another note, I’m very excited to announce that a writer friend of mine was offered a publishing deal with Evernight Publishing this week, for her romantic suspense novel, Desperate. Congratulations, Athena Daniels! I can’t wait to read your masterpiece once it is released to the world 😀

Progress on my WIP is coming along nicely. I’m currently working on scene 20 (of 39) of my first draft – so I’m just past halfway. I’m taking my time with it though – balancing it with my family time and work time. It’s only one more year until Sebby starts school so I want to be available to him as much as possible and not completely lost in my work. There will be plenty of time for me-time once the boys are older. One thing I learned with Cole is how fast they grow up – I mean, gosh, he’s starting high school next year, and it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was trotting him off to prep! I’m just so glad I get to enjoy the little-kiddie years one more time with Sebby and Dom. It’s lovely (albeit crazy at times).

The law firm is going well. We have our first few clients now, and this weekend we started our marketing campaign. So, all things going well, business should start kicking off very soon.

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the FathersOn a final note, I recently finished playing the 20th anniversary remake of one of my favourite 90s games, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The soundtrack is amazing and the graphics phenomenal. It made me fall in love with New Orleans all over again, and tickled that urge inside me once again to travel. Of course, that will have to wait.

Anyways, that’s enough from me for today. I’m going to go now and tap out some more of scene 20 and then, once Dom wakes up, pick up Cole from his ong ba noi’s.

See you on the other side of the TARDIS!

PS. Only 5 weeks til Tassie! Woohoo!

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