Tag Archives: Inspiration

Why Norse Mythology?

The Valkyrie Novels

This is a question I have been asked many times in the last few weeks, since my Valkyrie Novels were accepted by Evolved Publishing. The first book in the Norse Mythology based YA series is DEAD RADIANCE. Now, Western mythology is fairly popular, fairly recognizeable too – Greek, Roman, Irish, Egyptian and Norse. And seeing that I am a mythology fan I knew I wanted to write in this vein. What better way to explore the myths, to research the gods and goddess, to immerse myself in something I loved.

Egyptian Mythology and the tale of ISIS

My first instinct was to pen a tale of ancient sorcery set in Egypt- yup you guessed it, I adore Egyptian mythology. (Little known fact: When I was eleven I was a nerd and a history buff and (for the life of me I still haven’t figured this out) seemed to bear some resemblance to the girl in the old TV series ISIS. Perhaps it was the glasses that did it.. Anyhoo .. there are certain people that, to this very day, refer to me as ‘Isis’. – they know who they are 🙂

What if a girl discovers she is a Valkyrie? Cool Story!

I didn’t particularly want to do a retelling so I ended up with a ‘what-if’. What if a modern teenager discovers she is a Valkyrie, that she has the power to tell a warrior apart from your average dude (or dudette since warriors are never just boys). What does she do when her heart is broken? Does it break like a normal human’s heart, can she forgive him? And what about the wings! What must it be like to fly? And to kick major butt? ‘Cos yes, my heroines are kick-ass!

YA Readers, Angels, Vampires and Fairies

YA readers love angels and vampires. And I’m guessing it’s a lot to do with the mystery, the impossibility of it all that appeals to the reader. Paranormal/Urban Fantasy readers are interested in an escape, they crave the mystery of new worlds, the deliciously intangible super-human beings – faeries, angels, vampires.

The attraction of the Unknown

For thousands of years folk have delved into the unknown, explored the inner workings of the human mind, identified reasons for the seasons, for the sunrise and the tides, for eclipses and volcanoes and tsunami’s.

Where do humans come from, how are mountains created, how does the moon hang suspended in the sky? Every culture across the globe has their own set of stories or myths or folktales to explain the hows and the whys of human existence. Explanations that evolved over time into full-blown complex sets of mythologies, each adapted to weather, environment and social structure. It’s to do with social interaction, prejudice, politics and control. And it’s about love and hate, what we can control and what we can’t, what we can explain and what remains inexplicable to this day.

So we have Norse Mythology?

So I decided to travel for a while with Odin, perhaps I will learn a little more about the one-eyed, lightning god who is more human in his complexities than most gods in Western mythology. Perhaps I will understand the fickle nature of Loki and maybe he will tell me why he is so mercurial in nature. I would love to take a walk with Thor – he’s a hottie in anyones imagination, MARVEL or otherwise, and he could teach me to throw that hammer of his. And what of Freya and Baldur, Fenrir and Frigga? What stories will they tell me? What secrets will they reveal? Perhaps they could tell me why humanity is the way we are, as fickle in nature as the gods themselves, as stubborn and courageous, and as loyal and cruel.

What tales could the dragons and giants, the elves and dwarfs tell me? I will be sure to share their secrets with you if you are happy to listen

So perhaps you could stop by and spend some time with me within the pages of Dead Radiance. It is Bryn’s story. The tale of a girl who saw nothing in herself until she realised she had everything, a girl who is a Valkyrie but recognises that she is nothing without her humanity.

First Draft’s & Second Draft’s

Qwerty_Antique_by_somadjinn, via DeviantArt

I heard someone say recently that a novelist’s First Draft is written for himself, while the Second Draft is written for the reader. I hadn’t thought about it before, especially with this particular light on it. But, it’s so very true.

When the Muse strikes and a writer sits with either pen and paper, typewriter or computer, the words that flow are not necessarily his or her best. Some of it might be, or perhaps, for those gifted writers, most of it might be perfect, but for most writers what comes out will still need tweaking.

It’s the raw words in this First Draft that comes straight from that secret well-spring of Story. It’s the voice of the character, and of the scene. It is the raw plot without investigation or analysis. It is Story in its purest form, straight from the mind to the paper, pulled along to the end by the force of the voices and the desire of the writer to complete the novel, to find out what happens in the end.

Block_by_senkomoon via DeviantArt

The Second Draft is often described, depending on one’s temperament and tenacity, as, the dreaded, the painful, and even sometimes as the unneccessary. It is the essential step which I personally belief is the buff and shine. Some writers may need more than this second draft, some may require up to four drafts before they deem their work ready for their readers. Some writers may describe this process as fun, and others may cringe and wail beneath the burden of such torture.

In this second run-through, the writer will answer questions. Does this scene make sense? Is this the way the character would really react? The thing to be aware of is a character will develop herself through the writing of the manuscript. By the end of the book, the writer will have learned so much about her inner conflicts, her issues, her dreams and her personality. With this knowledge he can decide if scenes and chapters follow the natural progression of this character.

More importantly, a writer will want to ensure that he is getting across the correct message. Have I said this clearly enough? Will the reader understand it? Or will she be annoyed because I’ve described too much?

It’s all about engendering a trust relationship with the reader. When I read I am placing my time in the hands of the writer, I don’t appreciate my time being wasted and neither will my readers. This is why that second edit is so incredibly important. It is the difference between writing for oneself and writing for a reader…

Inspiration Part 1 – Melody Gardot

Inspiration comes in so many forms. For a creative soul like writers, artists and musicians inspiration is gathered far and wide. We garner it from the people we meet, the music we listen to, the places we visit. Sometimes even a random conversation we have overheard in a supermarket checkout line.
Personally I love to listen to music while I write. I particularly enjoy Jazz when the mood of a scene is poignant and soft. I am quite influenced by the life of the artist especially when they have struggled and overcome insurmountable odds.
It must be the human condition to seek out others who have experienced adversity. We find an affinity to those who struggle.
Melody Gardot is one such inspiration. A talented pianist from a young age, at the age of nineteen Gardot was involved in an accident which left her with serious head, spinal and neural injuries. Using music for therapy Gardot began writing her own music, mastered the guitar and began singing.
Gardot succeeded where most people would readily have given up. To this day she still suffers from light sensitivity and persistent pain. Yet she consistently rises above her personal strife and succeeds in a phenomenal way.
So when things get tough and begin to look too hard, think about the deeper strength inside you. Everyone is capable of plumbing that strength, we just need to acknowledge the difficulty of the task. Then just take the bull by the horns and go for gold!