Channeling My Muse
On June 24 last year I spoke at Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction In Your Write Mind alumni retreat on the topic, “Alternative Methods of Idea and Story Generation.” I talked about being open to receiving story ideas and writing assistance from higher consciousness.
I also work as a Spiritualist medium. My metaphysical musings are posted on my other blog, Building the Bridge, which you might want to subscribe to. I’ve channeled through writing since 1989. (Channeling means to open yourself spiritually to communicate the thoughts and voice of discarnate intelligences.)
Here’s something my guides spoke to me the other night concerning my fiction writing. I was concerned that the idea I was working on was too big to handle, something beyond my abilities. They told me to take it one step at a time. (I know, not really profound, but I found it comforting.)
As we continue to prompt you concerning your writing endeavors, continue and be faithful to respond, and we will lead you to the next step. Do not fear that you cannot construct a masterpiece quickly in one sitting. These things take time. Be faithful to follow the process, and you will see your productivity increase, and you will grow to become more prolific.
Fear not about the future, for we have a design and a plan laid out for you. If you will but follow and yield yourself to the gifts we have placed within you, they will make a way even before kings. Step by step, day by day, follow the way, and we will lead you onward.
If you feel called to write, I hope you also will find this encouraging.
As always, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
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About two weeks ago, I got the idea to revise my Seton Hill University thesis novel, DEATH PERCEPTION. But that created a dilemma for me: revise an old project, or work on a new one? Here’s how I came to my final decision.
Since graduating from the Writing Popular Fiction masters program in 2006, I had made several rounds of revisions on the book, a supernatural crime story. I would go through it and make a lot of changes, then I’d bury it again. I never felt it was complete. Certainly not good enough to be published. And frankly I was so sick of it I couldn’t gain any perspective. Am I improving it, or am I making it worse? I could never tell. After its mouldering in the grave for a good three years, I unearthed the manuscript once more, scraped off the decay, and decided to take another look.
I was suprised. Sure, there were a couple chapters that were clinkers, churned out under the pressure of a term deadline nearly a decade ago. But most of it was good. Really good. At one point, I thought, I can’t believe I wrote this…
Perhaps my skills and judgment have matured. More so, I think I’ve gained confidence in my abilities. Somewhere during my continuing studies and coming out process, I gained that perspective I needed to be able to judge my own work with a more objective eye.
And I discovered something uncanny. Those frustrating holes in my manuscript that I didn’t know how to fill in past revisions were suddenly waiting like placeholders for knowledge I now possessed. Someday I plan to blog about the prescient and prophetic aspects of fiction writing, but for now I’ll say that not only with THE SIXTH SEED, but also with DEATH PERCEPTION, plot situations that I wrote about years ago have come to pass in my personal life. Let me explain.
DEATH PERCEPTION is about a young man who operates the crematory at the local funeral home. He discovers he has a gift for discerning the cause of death of those he cremates. Not a big deal since they’re already dead. However, when what he discerns differs from what’s on the death certificate, he finds himself in the midst of murderers.
Have I started to cremate the deceased in my spare time? No. (But the onsite research was fascinating!) Yet the abilities my protagonist Kennet Singleton develops—powers I wrote about from pure imagination a decade ago—I am now experiencing in my own life.
My study of spiritualism, mediumship, and healing through the Morris Pratt Institute is providing me with the knowledge I need to fill those holes in my manuscript. And having since experienced psychic phenomena for myself, I’m able to add realism to Kennet’s otherwordly perceptions. (For more about this, see “Visitation from the Summerland” at my other blog, Building the Bridge.)
So how did this create a dilemma for me?
I’ve been planning a new novel, DEAD CEMETERY, working on setting, plot, and characterization in my spare moments the past few months. I’m itching to spend more time on it, but am constrained by my spiritualism schoolwork. When I received the idea (actually, an intuitive prompting) to revise DEATH PERCEPTION, I felt it would only further postpone my work on the new book (which, of course, it is). But once I got into DEATH PERCEPTION, I realized that I might be able to finalize revisions and actually get it published.
So that’s what I decided to do: revise and publish DEATH PERCEPTION so that I will have something to market while I work on DEAD CEMETERY.
With the help of Spirit, I’m learning to spin plates like a real writer. I’ll let you know how it goes.
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Why am I a horror writer? Because I can’t be anything but.
Well, I can write dark fantasy, dark crime, dark suspense, and dark erotica. And technical manuals. All horrifying. You can see the general theme here…
Writing horror began for me at a young age: I wrote my first story on ruled tablet paper in second grade. My teacher passed it on to the elementary school principal. He read it at a meeting of the local Lions Club, of which my father was a member. As president of the chapter, Principal Sprunger fined my father a dime because the preacher’s son had written such a sordid tale full of skeletons, witches and blood.
What does horror do for me, that I’m so attracted to it as a genre? Steeping myself in horror may seem toxic for someone who has struggled with depression for most of his years. Yet when I read a dark book or watch a chilling movie, I get charged up. (Perhaps I’ve developed an addiction to my own adrenalin—there’s a story idea!) Or maybe it’s because, when I consider characters with such awful problems, my concerns seem piddling, and this brings me hope.
Somehow, a horrifying story—one that creeps me out, makes my mouth drop open or my hair stand on end—has always filled me, strangely enough, with life.
What I read, I write.
Reading and writing horror not only stimulates me, it makes me laugh. I don’t understand this, but often when something particularly horrible happens to a character, I’ll LOL it up. Among other horror writers, we share a good chuckle. But in the wrong crowd, busting a gut when a character bursts into flames in their hospital bed (à la Let Me In) does nothing for their already dubious opinion about my sanity. But I don’t take it too seriously. Horror is fun. If you don’t think so, go find the pliers and pull all your teeth. Hahaha! See?
I write horror because I have always seen things from a dark perspective. But I have a spiritual side, too, as revealed on my blog, Building the Bridge). A masters in biblical studies came in handy when I edited an anthology of dark crime and horror based on the Ten Commandments: THOU SHALT NOT… .
My latest dark novel is THE SIXTH SEED for Kindle, Nook, and PDF readers, a dark paranormal fantasy fraught with suburban Pittsburgh horror. And SEVERED RELATIONS, a duo of deadly stories featuring blood an cutlery is just released.
These aren’t the only reasons why I’m a horror writer. The best way to find out more is to read and discover. 🙂
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