Author Archives: alexlaybourne

V is for Virgin Blood

Today the letter V is up for the A to Z challenge and for today I want to get a little silly with you all… or do I?

The first topic that came to mind is virgin blood. As a horror writer, I am fully licensed to have such thoughts, it’s fine.

But has anybody else noticed that there is a considerable lack of Virgin’s blood used in movies and series, and even books these days.

I can remember when a drop of the old crimson purity was exactly what the (witch) doctor ordered when looking to brew up a potion or concoct some sort of supernatural antidote. But not more.

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I’ve watched Supernatural from the beginning, but cannot recall anything involving virgin’s blood, not in recent series. The same for the books and blogs I read.

This makes me think, as I am sure it does you too. Is this lack of any requirement not so much due to the progression of witchcraft in the modern age, but due to a dwindling supply of purity?

I mean, let’s be honest, it is a sad fact that the concept of virginity is hardly held as sacred as it once was, and the idea of needing blood of a slut just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Not to mention that is the author’s handwriting is bad and blood of a slug gets used instead, then we all know the potion is not going to give you the results you want.

It is quite possible that our own loose morals will be our undoing, because when the time comes for us to fight back against the forces of darkness, we will find ourselves drastically underprepared, and understocked.

I am going to assume that virgin blood is something that must be brewed. It needs time to age in its cask before it can be syphoned off. So we could not even go drawing vials from new born babies or anything like that, and the blood of those religious zealots must be tainted by their belief, therefore less effective.

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We really should start to think about a contingency place, because even lab engineered virgin blood, is only going to get us so far. That fully synthetic stuff just doesn’t have the same substance or consistency as the real deal.

Remember, this is important for you impending defilers, before you cross that barrier, stop and think a while. Save a life before popping that cherry, drain a little blood from first time friends, we will all thank you for it in the long run.

U is for Undervaluing Our Product #AtoZChallenge

Today is day 21 of the 2015 A to Z challenge and the letter up at the oche today is ‘U’.

As writers, it is very easy to sell ourselves short, to undervalue our product. How often do you pick up a book, read it and think. Holy shit! That was so well written. It makes my stuff seem amateurish. It may not even be the entire book, or it may not take until the end of the book for this thought to first hit you.

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We are all very self-critical, especially when it comes to the work we produce. We continually undervalue our product and view other people’s work through rose tinted glasses. Because they wrote it, and I didn’t, it is going to be better than mine.

It is only natural, at least that is what I believe. When we write our own work, we are writing it for others (I’ve not forgotten that the first draft is for us, but you get the point). When we read our own work, we are doing so with a critical eye. We are looking for mistakes, for spelling errors, and plot holes, however large or small. When we pick up the book of a fellow author, friend or anybody, we are not looking at their work from such a level.

We read it to be entertained. Sure, we gleam things from their work. We get ideas, and notice how fluidly some scenes are put together or transitions are made, but we do not have that same critical eye that we give our own work.

about-being-consistent

Authors, myself included, are too quick to play down out own writing, to become obsessed with how we should be improving, that at times we lose sight of not only why we write, but our own sense of artistic style.

We should be critical of our work, and I think if we ever get to the point where we look at something we wrote and cannot find fault with it, then we are either lying to ourselves, or we simply no longer care to the same level as we should.

We should always look to learn from every book we write, look back and think about how we could tweak things to make them better. We should take something away from every book we read, even if it is just a new word that you see and like. That is how we develop. What we should shy away from however, is forgetting who we are, changing our style to mimic that of others, because we allow ourselves to become convinced of that authors superiority.

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It is a tough game to play, but we cannot continue to undersell ourselves. To undermine our own creations because we allow ourselves to believe the negativity of our own subconscious.

In the modern writing world, it is more imperative than ever that we stand tall and proud behind our work. To know that what we are selling was the best product we could produce. Be proud of what you create, and believe in yourself and your writing. Understand that you are you, and I am me. We are all unique, and as such our styles are unique, and to lose sight of that would be the biggest travesty of them all.

T is for Time on the #AtoZChallenge

For today posts I wanted to touch briefly on the topic of time. If there is one thing we all claim not to have enough of, it is time.

I don’t have time to go to the gym, I don’t have time to do this, that, or the other. Yet, if you think about it, time is the one thing we have in abundance. Time is the one thing we have in our lives from the moment we are born until the moment we die. Because the latter is something none of us can see coming, time becomes something even larger. In my mind at least.

Perhaps, when we talk about time, what we really mean is, I don’t really want to.

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I know I should go to the gym, but I don’t really want to. There is a movie I want to watch, or, I missed that episode of The Worlds Next Top Singing Plus Sized Postman, or something of the like.

Time is a convenient scapegoat that we can all use. It is universal. Everybody knows about time. Everybody understands how it guides us through the day, and everybody has, as a collective, become so convinced that we don’t have enough time, that using it as an excuse has become a truth.

We really don’t have enough time. I wonder, how many are thinking that right now?

Don’t get me wrong, I too fall into this trap, more often than I care to think. But it is dangerous, and it is unhealthy.

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If we were to take a look at everything we do in the day. Write it all down, everything, from waking up to going to bed. You will be amazed at how many things it is we get done.

Now take a step back. Take a look at all of the things are of no real use, all of the things that could be removed, or at the very least significantly reduced in you day.

Think now about how much you could get done. How much more you could accomplish. That workout we have been putting off just found itself a window. No more excuses. Writing, well, I found about 45 minutes in my day to write; while sitting on the train to work. Now I can never use the excuse of not having the time to write. I just don’t.

Blaming time is an easy and convenient way to cover up the fact that we are, all of us at times, prone to bouts of laziness, or procrastination. Call it what you will.

It is easy to put the burden of our fallacies on time, or the lack thereof, because time is voiceless. It cannot stand up and defend itself. We are the only ones who can do that, and we don’t. It’s too easy to keep time down, to keep it on the side of excuses and blame.

Infinity-Time

We have all the time in the world, we are just more often than not irresponsible with it. Time is vast, and it is precious. To throw it away is the ultimate waste.

How often have you thought about doing something, from going to the gym to going back to school or taking a course in something, only to stop and think, blimey, it will be [xx] late by then or, crap, I will be [xx] years old by the time I am done.

Here is the trick. That time will come, that age will come, regardless of what we do with the period that separates our now, from then.

So let’s stop blaming time for being such a bastard, and in turn think about all of the things we can do because of its magical presence in our lives.