Month: March 2016

Your One Good Idea


(Not representative of A Spark Ignites. At all. You can tell this was written by a teenager.)

“Everyone has at least one good story in them.” I don’t remember who it was who said that to me (and no, I’m not talking about the Hitchens quote, who might I add was not actually the first person to use it), but I remember I thought about it a lot in high school. I had been working on a webcomic which would eventually become A Spark Ignites, and I was beginning to worry that Spark was my only idea, my only story. Allow me to explain.

003PromoWhen I was seven years old, I created my own comic book character, and began writing and drawing my old comic books. Every year until I was thirteen, through one thing or another, all my comics would get destroyed or go missing. And so, I’d start it all over again every year, promising myself to outdo the years previous. Mind you, I didn’t just try comics. I wrote scripts, animated cartoons, and even programmed video games, all about Spark. By the time I was halfway through high school, I began to wonder if that one lone idea was all I had.

002PromoPieceSo I stopped. For a couple of months, I didn’t work on Spark at all. I just let my mind wander. I kept a small journal where I’d jot down whatever popped into my head. And by the end of those two months, I’d had ideas for a book, a television show, and another comic book (and not one of them involved superheroes). That’s why every year I’d allow myself a break from whatever it was I was working on, just to think. Sometimes I would revisit the journal and play with those ideas (I’ve taken the old tv series idea and used it to outline six books, which will be my next project after the third book in the Spark series), and other times I’d come up with entirely new ones, like the animated short below:

The trick is to just stop working on what you’re working on. Think about another genre. Something totally out there. Brainstorm. Read. Watch. Listen. Daydream. Just get your head out of you “one good idea.” Focusing on the one thing can be stifling to your creativity. You shouldn’t be afraid to let yourself get out there, out of your comfort zone. You cant worry about failure. Ultimately, while I decided to write my first novel based off what evolved out of what I considered my first good idea, I know it wasn’t my last, and that there will be many more to come.

The thing is, no one is uncreative. Everyone has an original thought. An original story to tell. And who knows, if you just push yourself away from your first idea, maybe you’ll find you have more. You won’t know until you try.

Indie Review: The Secret Circle of Imaginary Friends

51f-rqiw0pl-_sx310_bo1204203200_Mike Jeavons’ The Secret Circle of Imaginary Friends is an interesting children’s book, which I found reminiscent of Goosebumps, with a slight twist of Roald Dahl.

It follows a young boy named Simon, who, after hearing his little sister talking to her imaginary friends, discovers that they aren’t imaginary at all. He joins the ‘secret circle,’ a group of children who know about the imaginary friends, but he soon comes to realize there’s more to the circle than he first thought. Bad things happen to people who try to leave the circle, and the imaginary friends may not be as friendly as they seem.

The book was suitably creepy, with great atmosphere. At the same time, it very much feels like a kids book. It gets dark, but never too dark. Some twists may be predictable, but it’s still done so well that you can’t help but enjoy the ride. The only thing that really bothered me story-wise, was the fact that then ending seemed a little sudden and rushed. I think the book could have used another dozen pages or so, for pacing’s sake.

The writing style, as well as the format and spelling was a little off putting at first, though that could be because it was written in British English. It didn’t take long to get used to though, so I’m not going to take off any points for that.

All in all, this is a fine book to give a pre-teen (or pre-teen at heart) who likes scary stories. It is genuinely creepy, the ending is fun, and it’s fully appropriate for children, without too much blood or realistic violence. If this sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend you check it out.