Using a blog as my creative fiction outlet has been an amazing journey. Tale Spinning (www.stuartnager.wordpress.com/), my experiment in creative fiction blog, began in February 2011. This was an offshoot of my other blog, BornStoryteller (www.bornstoryteller.wordpress.com/), where I had been, well, bored. I decided to do a little writing, asking people for some prompts to write a short piece, while I was figuring out the whole blog thing. The creative writing part got to be tremendous fun, and very fulfilling, that it became its own entity.
I use Tale Spinning to write when and what I feel like, at any time. I don’t outline my work, don’t write and edit it and then paste it into the blog. What you read on Tale Spinning is what comes out in (normally) one sitting. I might go back to fix glaring grammatical errors, edit and whittle a bit, but…when it is done, it’s done. I come from a background of Improvisational performing, and that seems to fit me well even in writing (which might be why I flit around the three novels I SHOULD be writing).
A few of my stories-normally one and done in my mind-garner enough reader reaction that gives me that gentle “push” to write more in that world. So far, I have about five series that I write about, in between the sonnets and one-offs. The two that have struck home for many of my readers are The Tales of the Abysmal Dollhouse (horror/paranormal) and Kitsune-Mochi, the Fox Witch ( “new” Japanese mythology). Both have a hold on me, as I return to craft stories in those two worlds. Both could not be more different.
How did I begin to write two very different series? Partly it is because I’m a pop culture and (semi) history/mythology junkie. I have eclectic tastes in literature, movies and TV: I find that my internal referencing covers a lot of ground, and I am very inquisitive. My writing styles reflect this, as I try on new literary voices when I tread new ground.
The Abysmal Dollhouse came because…well, I had just ended a six week program where two…Ahem…Individuals made most of it very, very difficult. I needed to vent. Disposing of the two of them, in the form of a character, was the easiest thing to do. It was very satisfying and very cathartic. The idea of the dollhouses came about as I had recently been talking about that subject (I dislike dollhouses and dolls in general). From there, each story has its own jumping off point: that I should save for “the collection” (hint hint to agents).
Kitsune-Mochi, The Fox Witch, was prompted by a tattoo I found on the arm of a bartender. I took a picture of her arm with my cell phone, came home and did a short burst of research on Japanese Oni (demons) and the Nine-Tailed Fox. From there, it just flowed. What was gratifying here were many of the comments from readers: they said it felt like a traditional tale, and to me that was a true compliment.
The Abysmal Dollhouse is the more marketable of the two series. I know that, and have been told that, but the key thing is: what I write is not to comply with any market or to follow any formula. What comes out is the love of these characters, the stories I get to set them into. What my readers get is what I enjoy and have an affinity for. What I love is both series, and a few others I haven’t touched in awhile.
Would I like to take both series and have them sold as books? Yes, of course. Isn’t that a goal of any good writer, to hold a book in your hand with your name on it? At this point in my life, I still hope to have that happen. As I explore each of these worlds, I am finding the lay of the land, discovering the hidden doors and opening them, creating new paths in details, backgrounds and more. It is exciting, sharing this exploratory process with a group of readers and receiving comments.
There are larger stories in both series that I am “saving” for the future. My hope would be to take what I’ve already written, expand, enfold, and emerge with a larger work that can be enjoyed in its entirety.
(ps: I also love alliteration).
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