On the first Friday of every month, Novelista Annie Burrows has been sharing a very personal view of what it is like to be a writer. And is dealing with themes in alphabetical order. This month, she's reached Z...and assures us it stands for zombie kittens!
If you've been following my a - z then you'll recall that last month I had to resort to looking in the dictionary to find a word beginning with "y" that I could use to talk about the writer's life. At that point, I thought I'd have as much difficulty finding a "z" word.
But then I had the nightmare about zombie kittens.
The zombie kittens got my son, my daughter, and my husband. I was left alone in a clearing, swirling a medieval mace round my head to stave them off, and began to yell - because although normal kittens are cute and fluffy, zombie kittens have glowing red eyes, and lots of sharp pointy teeth, not to mention the fact they can climb trees and then dive off branches onto your head. I yelled so loud as a particularly terrifying tortoiseshell launched itself at my face, its lethal claws flexed, that I woke myself up. I also woke up my long-suffering husband.
Next morning, when he asked what my nightmare had been about, and I told him, he couldn't stop laughing. He can never remember what he's dreamed about, let alone have a dream so vivid and terrifying it wakes him up shouting.
And that brings me round to the point. Even my nightmares aren't your average run-of-the mill ones that everyone has about finding you've gone to the shops with no clothes on, or all your teeth are falling out. (You do all have nightmares like that, right?) Because I have a rather overactive imagination. Which never switches off, not even when I'm asleep.
And that's what makes me a writer of fiction. When people ask me where I get all my ideas for stories from, I have never known what to tell them. Because ideas just come. And they come from the same place that those zombie kittens came from. The fervid depths of my imagination.
It isn't something I have studied to acquire. It's just the way I'm made. It started in childhood. On the way home from school, I'd chatter away to my imaginary friends. In the playground, I'd gallop round in an imaginary episode of The Virginian, (in which I starred) or hide from Daleks (saving the world in the process). People who have imaginations like mine look at the person sitting opposite them on a train, and instead of asking them what they do for a living, imagine a conversation in which they offer to murder someone you hate in exchange for murdering someone they hate. Or describe entire worlds that can be reached through a wardrobe in a spare room, or create a language spoken by a race of immortal beings who live in an enchanted forest.
We can't help it. We don't have to strive for plots, or characters, or scenes. They are continuously dancing about in our heads. And if we don't write them down, or act them out, then they keep on dancing, and shouting, and nagging, until we tell their story to somebody, in some way.
Even the zombie kittens.
kitten pics courtesy of pixabay
Annie's latest release is "In Bed With the Duke" which has been an Amazon UK bestseller, and reached the top 100 in the Regency charts of Amazon.com. You can still buy it, and discover what sort of stories she dreams up, when she isn't dreaming about zombie kittens.