Is Creativity Dead? A question that all writers must ask themselves right? Written by Daniel Stubbings

Recently I attended a creative writing course, and one of the questions which was raised in our weekly debate was is creativity dead? Arguments were thrown back and forth some saying of course not, new and interesting stories and programs are being created everyday. However, on the other hand there were others who said we seen it all. Every possible storyline which could be bought forward had been done in some form or other.

 

I just sat back and listened taking everything in, and it got me thinking what do you think Dan? Is creativity dead? As the conversation ended, I found myself sitting in both camps. As I do think in some regards that us as readers and viewers as well as writers, have seen, read, and written several stories over the years that have had very similar vibes.

I mean just take the release of Lord of the Rings, for example by the godfather of epic fantasy J.R.R Tolkien. Due to its large popularity editors and publishers, began buying and releasing so many stories with the same storyline. I mean I have lost count the number of fantasy books I have read that involve a quest to destroy something evil whether it be a ring or sword.

The market has been flooded with them. Then again is this purely down to a lack of creativity or people simply writing to a trend or phenomena. I mean a perfect example is the Fast and Furious franchise. To be honest I was fed up after number three. There is only so much you can take of fast cars, street races, and going against some government agency, but because people continue to go and watch it we are now onto number 8.

So maybe as an audience we are to blame for the lack of creativity, that could be afforded to writers, directors, publishers, and studios because we demand a certain type of story. Have we become so fixated that writers are saying to themselves well if I want to be successful, I must produce this type of story. I mean yes, you always hear write what you would want to read, or take your own path but is that what people want.

Speaking from my point of view I hope so because to me creativity isn’t dead. Okay you may hear well there only seven plots which a story can go down, and that may be true. However that doesn’t mean that because you’re writing a crime thriller you will end up just rewriting Jack Reacher.

The beauty of storytelling is that everything is personal. Your unique you have your own voice, and ideas that you want to get out into the world. I know that everytime I pick up a pen, or sit at a keyboard I want to get something down. Whether it be a character who has materialise out of the fog which I like to call the writers haze, or simply creating your own world for your story to take place. You are in control. Yes, as a writer and self-confessed bookworm. Of course, I have my influences, writers I look up to, characters I adore, and worlds I quite simply wish I could go and live in. My personal favourite been Harry Potter. I mean who doesn’t want to go to Hogwarts or play Quidditch I so want to be a beater but I digress.

So back to the original question is creativity dead? Well as I exited the room after the debate I must say I was in doubt. However, I am now pleased to say absolutely not, because if I thought that I wouldn’t have started this blog or started writing my stories. Like it says at the top of this article creativity takes courage. So, if you want to write, paint, or make movies what stopping you. Just remember only you has your voice so get on creating.

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Rice’s Influence on the Vampire genre Where Would we be Without Interview With the Vampire ? Written by Daniel

When Interview with the vampire was first published in May 1976, and later adapted for film in 1994. Were we as an audience really to know what this story would do to the culture of vampires. How it would shape our narratives, and change everything we had come to know about these creatures of myth and legend.

Now some may disagree with this statement, and that is perfectly fine. However my question to you would be? When you next pick up the next so called groundbreaking vampire story. Won’t your first thought be I hope the lead character is as good as Louis or Lestat because I know for a fact it is mine.

Interview with the vampire gave us something fresh. Something we had not seen in the vast catalog that is the house of vampire. I still remember the first time I read it. Those first couple of pages furiously turning as the horror of Louis face was revealed to the lonely reporter whom he decided to tell his life story. Thinking to myself I am not going to bed tonight till I finish this. Interview with the vampire totally changed my perception on what a vampire could and should be.

Up until then I saw vampires as soulless, bloodsucking, remorseless creatures who stalked the night.  What draws you in as a reader and watcher more than anything else is the way in which Anne made you see these two characters Louis and Lestat. You wanted to know who they were, where they came from, how they had become the stuff of nightmares. Each page giving you a new insight into the pairs relationship from how Lestat turned Louis to the present day.

How no matter how hard they fight it they end up been connected to each other. What made them so different from the other vampire novels I had read. Was that they won’t lone wolves giving into the impulses of the beasts within them. They were conflicted between wanting to remain human but knowing that they will forever be different.

Louis encompasses this element throughout trying to cling to his former life, trying to fight the demon within as he struggles to admit who and what he has become. That is what this book makes us think about. Because lets be honest when have we as a human not wondered where we fit in or want to change who we really are but cant.

Anne Rice makes us care for characters that historically have been seen as the villains in stories, and that is what set this book apart from usual vampire books. This book has everything historical venues, darkness and light, conflict and cooperation. Characters and story lines that live long in the memory after you put it back on your shelf or bedside table.

I had never done that with vampires before. I had never found myself fascinated with creatures that primarily are dark within their nature. Wanting to know every aspect that made up this character Lestat. That is the brilliance of Anne’s writing making you question yourself, making you look inside yourself and think why am I drawn to this character. I mean after all he is the prince of darkness but he had me totally gripped.

But returning to the title at the top of this article. Where would we be without Interview with the Vampire. Quite simple really the vampire and fantasy genre just wouldn’t be what it is today without it. You wouldn’t have Blade, Twilight, or the red court in the Dresden files if it won’t for this book. Anne has blazed a trail that has not been extinguished, and the vampire chronicles is testament to that. So I ask you again where would we be without Interview with the Vampire? Nowhere that it. The vampire world would of died with Dracula but instead we have the prince of darkness.

If you enjoyed this please share on social media I really appreciate it, and please comment on anything I could of improved, and why don’t you tell me what your favourite Anne Rice book is I would love to know. Thank you

In an Ever Changing Digital World How Well Informed Are We? Written by Daniel

In an age of  digital communication. Where everything is yesterday news as soon as it’s printed. With millions of tweets posted every second, YouTube videos uploaded every minute, and websites refreshing quicker than the speed of sound. Is there really a reliable source of information when wanting to make an informed decision.

I think the question we have to ask ourselves is do we really trust what we read in the press? In an era of fake news and death hoaxes, is there really a chance for professional journalism to take place. Where the average reporter must get something out into the world before the next jackal comes along and tears it from their cold dead hands.  Yes that is quite a gruesome picture to paint of the current state of affairs, and I am sure that is not the case in most circles. However I think we must begin to look into what we take for gospel when it comes to information gathering.

I mean I can guarantee you, if I looked onto my Facebook or Twitter feed right now, there would be millions of articles with so called “experts” giving their opinion on topics like the state of the oval office, to something as trivial as to why Jose Mourinho didn’t smile during the EFL Cup presentation. Clouding our judgement, and making us second guess our first impulses which in some cases may be helpful, but what do you have to do to be an expert.

Just take football for example, every so called expert is an ex player, and yes you could argue that they give the best insights, but can they really be unbiased or give us an informed choice if they haven’t been in that situation themselves. I for one know that I scream at the T.V when watching games or Match of the day (MOTD), because commentators and pundits alike, are at times unable to the severe ties of old club alliances, or rivalries when giving an opinion on current club affairs so can we really trust the “experts”.

I guess my argument to this question is, how on earth are we meant to keep on top of the flood of information that is thrown at us every minute of everyday. If even the so called experts cant give us the desired answer.  I mean just take the EU Referendum for example.

We had everything from live T.V debates, Question Time, numerous newspaper articles, and even in some cases all out wars over social media. It caused the whole of Britain to choose a side, and saw more votes cast from the general public than the last two general elections combine. But you ask most people at the time and you would still hear things like I am confused I don’t know what to vote for, and can’t somebody please just give me the facts. So could there be an argument that too much information is instead of giving us a clearer picture, is in actual fact just causing us to feel overwhelmed. I for one at the end of the EU Referendum just wanted the whole thing to disappear. It seemed to dominate every minute of my waking day, everywhere you turned you couldn’t get away. Whether it was someone sticking a leaflet in your hand, or a breaking news feed on my phone by the end I was just fed up.

So your probably wondering what is my point in writing this. Well I personally think yes there is still a place for responsible journalism and creativity. I am not talking about Facebook Live or somebody’s personal YouTube Channel, even tho there are some brilliant ones out there. What I am talking about is real journalism, going out there and talking to the people involved, doing your research, checking every fact, and in some cases following your gut. Not giving up until the story is there within your grasp and every box has been ticked.

Now I am not saying that we shouldn’t enjoy the internet and social media, I mean the average person spends four hours a day cruising through the latest gossip  finding out when their favourite celebrity could be near them next.  There could be an argument there that we all need to get a life. However lets be honest you cant beat the latest angry grandma video, or kitten cuteness to brighten up your day.

But coming back to the title how well informed are we. Well if you believe Mr Trump the press are all liars, and we should follow his lead. But for me we are better informed than ever before. I guess it just our responsible to make sure we gather all the facts from a range of sources so that we can get a range of viewpoints, and move on from there.  In a ever changing digital age what possibility could happen next?

If you like this please leave a comment and please share on any sites you may use so that more people will see it thank you.

 

The Rise Of Fantasy in the Modern Age Written By Daniel

Why Fantasy? What has made us as readers and watchers gravitate towards this vast field of literature and screen. From the streets of Chicago filled with gangsters, werewolves, vampires, fallen angels, and a wizard that is to stupid for his own good in the Harry Dresden Series, to the Harry Potter phenomenon, we as an audience are reading and watching this material in our millions.

Yes you could argue that fantasy has always been there in some form or another. In the shape of Lord of the Rings, Dune,  Alice in Wonderland and even further back Greek mythology, and stories told around camp fires to scare children giving rise to folklore, myths, and legends, but what has caused this surge in people wanting to explore the world of fantasy.

Don’t believe me?Just check the New York Times or Sunday Times bestseller lists, and I will guarantee you there will be at least two fantasy books in the top ten. Whether it be Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, Cassandra Clare, and Jim Butcher just to name a few, the range of choice never seems to stop flowing, with new voices and ideas coming to the forefront all the time, challenging what we think we know about the world of so called fantasy. I mean you cant even stroll down a couple of channels on which ever platform your using, without seeing some kind of fantasy based drama.

Just to put in perspective the sheer scale of the popularity, Westworld a HBO series which premiered in October 2016, has recently being ranked as the most-watched first season of an HBO original series ever. Grossing an audience on average of twelve million across all of it’s platforms, with a second season already commissioned. This is just one program in a mountain of shows, movies, and books that are planned for release this year. From Game of Thrones, to Stephen Aryan’s new trilogy set in the same world as the Age of Darkness, to the new Logan movie you couldn’t ask for a better time to be a fantasy geek.

But what is causing this shift? Is  it that we wish to be taken back to our childhoods where we become  knights and fight in a deadly duel against the fire-breathing dragon. Because lets be honest, that is how most people that don’t read and watch fantasy view it. It is usually the first thing that comes out of their mouth, when you breach the topic. ” Or I am not reading or watching that, all it will be is a load of dragons burning the place down”. Yes and to be fair in some cases they may have a point, because to be frank there are way to many dragons, but you got to love them. However I am please to say the arena of fantasy is constantly changing. We have vampires falling in love with mortals, Greek demigods roaming the streets of New York City, and the devil running a night club in downtown Los Angeles. I mean what more could you possibly want.

It is no longer good enough just to have good vs evil in fantasy. Readers and watchers want something more. As a reader and watcher of both urban and epic fantasy. I know that I stay more engaged with characters and plot lines, that show a range of different emotions, and not characters that are purely one dimensional. Lets be honest which human or creature in the worlds or environments, that we have been exposed to in both literature and on screen in recent years, would of only shown one personality trait it is simply impossible.

Think of your favourite characters from both literature and on screen, would you really of loved them as much as you do if all they did was saved the girl or kill the heroes family. Of course you wouldn’t you love them because you contact with them on both an emotional and human level.  Take for example Severus Snape in Harry Potter. J.K Rowling had fans in furious debates on forums, blogs,workplaces, and classrooms over whether Snape was bad or good and in the end in my opinion he is neither. For me he is in a word human we all have flaws and demons that we must face, and it the choices that we make that define us.

Some of the most hatred villains in history have shown that they have internal struggles. Torn between wanting to do good, but to entangled within the evil to change. A perfect example being Darth Vader, as shown throughout Star Wars as he fights against his former self but evil is slowly consuming him. This is what draws me back to fantasy and SCI-FI more than any other genre. The complexity of the characters, because in one moment you go from hating someone to feeling sorry for them. This is what has bought on the rise changing our perceptions giving vampires humanity, making the devil care, but also making what we usually perceive as good, a darker side from angels to gods we are seeing them shown in a different light, keeping us as viewers and readers guessing who to trust.

Now don’t get me wrong I love a good crime thriller, romance, and murder mystery as much as the next person. But the reason why I think fantasy, has seen such a resurgence in recent years is because it allows us to escape from the mundane routines of our normal lives. It allows us to become a powerful wizard, fall in love with a mysterious stranger that glows in the sunlight, and feast like kings in castles with the undead.  It helps us look at places where we live in a different way, making us wonder is a vampire around the next corner, or is our next door neighbor a werewolf, but also lets us dream of far away galaxies and worlds that mirror our own. Its is a genre that continues to grow and shows no signs of slowing.

That for me is why we have seen a rise of fantasy in the modern age. What do you guys think?