Tuesday 3 January 2012

The Travelling Theatrical Tour: Inspiration

I'm hosting my very first guest blogger, and I've started with a bang. I'm delighted to introduce Cate Gardner. Cate is a writer of very fine weird fiction who has been making rather a splash lately. Her chapbook 'Nowhere Hall' was a sell out, gathering excellent reviews along the way. Her short story collection Strange Men in Pinstriped Suits, and her recent novella Barbed Wire Hearts were published to similar acclaim. Her short stories have been published in lots of places that I want to be published in like Fantasy, Shock Totem, Postscripts. . . . 

And her new book Theatre of Curious Acts, is published today. And I'm the first host on her blog tour. Isn't that great? But this isn't about me, it's about Cate, who's talking about inspiration. 

(That's rather apt as my last post was about inspiration too. In my case I get inspired by random children's toys, Cate is rather more professional about the issue.)  

First off, many thanks to Deborah for inviting me onto her blog as part of a tour to celebrate the release of my book Theatre of Curious Acts. As Deborah is an inspiring individual, I thought that a post about inspiration would be apt. So here goes…

Do you have a book of words?
Or better yet a book of titles?

Do you hear marvellous things that you think would make for super titles, but then you move on and forget what you heard? Or perhaps what you saw? Write it down.

People often tell me that my story titles are good. It's a little intimidating because now I'm afraid to call a story something like THE RAT even if one of the characters is an evil, despicable rat of a person, because I feel people expect more. Intimidating and a heck of a compliment.  Of course, those folk may be mad. In fact, I know some of them very well and they are indeed… Well, let's just say they dally with fairies.

So do you have a book of words?
Or a book of titles?

If not, get one. Buy the prettiest, or the meanest, notebook and keep a note of things. Before you know it, you'll be plucking inspiration for both stories and titles with ease (okay, almost with ease). Or, you may even find yourself weaving a story to fit a fabulous title. Is that cheating? I don't care if it is as long as I'm writing.

Start scribbling in that notebook now…

And in case you're wondering, yes, that's how Theatre of Curious Acts, my tale of Great War soldiers and the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse, was born. I had a title and I had some soldiers I wanted to manipulate. You can find more about the book  at www.categardner.net


  1. Hi Cate!It's an awesome title. I look forward to reading it. (And to answer your question, I don't have a book of words. I have an untidy pile of scraps of paper upon which interesting groupings of words are written as they impinge upon what passes for my consciousness) :D

  2. Hi Deb. Thanks for introducing me to Cate and her books via your blog.

    Thanks for the ideas, Cate. And your titles are pretty great. I stink at coming up with them, but I like the Idea of a mean little title notebook! :D

  3. Hello Michael, I never note down my ideas, except when I'm writing. Yikes! I think I'm missing out. I like Cate's idea of a book of words.

    @CherylAnne, I love Cate's titles,too. CherylAnne, you could use EVERNOTE for your notebook

  4. Thanks, Michael. Scraps work too. I have a collection of those.

    Thanks, Cheryl Anne.

    And thanks for hosting my madness, Deborah

  5. Hi Cate.
    Gotta buy the new book.

    I have several notebooks of words/ideas/titles, but most are not as good as yours. Though, Book of Titles made me think a bit.


  6. Great website, Deb. And great post, Cate! I have a house made of notebooks but all my friends give me matches for Christmas. Ah, life. I agree it's important to write things down. I'm doing that constantly.

  7. Proud to say this one's on my 2012 reading list.

  8. ooh, new peeps. Hello, guys.

    And Milo, you're an old peep. But welcome of course.

  9. That IS a cool title. And a cool cover, too. I've taken to writing down titles when I think of them (in a pretty notebook :-)), even if I have no story attached. It's a good thing to do :-)

  10. Thanks, Rachel. Everyone should be doing it. :D

  11. I do keep a list of the titles I think up - but then when I write the story the titles don't quite fit so I change them. That's OK though as they've still been useful and maybe one day they'll get used for real (and then an editor will change them!)

  12. I've tried writing down my ideas before, but when I've returned to them later - sometimes years later - I've scratched my head and thought, what the hell? Coming up with good titles is a gift. I'm glad you aren't wasting it.

  13. I do write things down, but sometimes I email it to myself when there's no notepaper around.

  14. @Patsy, aha, you keep a list of titles, eh? I am missing out.

    @Rusty, you're half-way there. Just remember to open the notebooks a bit sooner.

    @Lydia, that's a good idea. I might have to do that.

  15. Cate, I have a battered, worn notebook that I stick in my back pocket in which I scribble titles, bits of dialogue, plots twists, or snatches of evocative scenes. It helps because you are right -- otherwise you will simply forget. I wish you the best of fortune with your latest book.

    I am selfish enough to like you to browse one of my titles (at least 100% of the royalties go to the Salvation Army -- so even if it is atrocious, the hungry are still fed.)

    Deborah : Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a great comment. May both you and Cate have nothing but success in the coming year, Roland

  16. I'm sure they will, Patsy :D

    Ha, I can do that the following day, Rusty.

    Excellent idea, Lydia

    Thanks, Roland. I shall check it out.

  17. Hey, Roland. Thanks for stopping by. Your post made me smile, and sending those kind thoughts right back at you.

  18. Next on my to-read list -- and all the gods bless the little notebooks.

    Also, dallying with fairies makes you mad?!

    Oh wait. Of course it does :/

  19. Groovy guest blog, I enjoyed reading it:) Is it snowing on your site;)

  20. Well spotted, Mark. I didn't think you could notice it so much with the white background. Still it's the last day of Christmas today, I really ought to take it down.

  21. I love the title of your book--and interesting cover as well!

    I don't have an official notebook for the purpose, but I'll scribble in various places with titles that come to mind.

  22. Pretty cover!

    My iphone has saved me more than once when a story idea popped into my head and I couldn't write it down. I need every idea I can get, no matter when it shows up.

  23. Hi, Kari, Hi, Eagle thank for stopping by. Every one's taking notes -- you must all be on to something.

  24. Oh excellent! Someone else who keeps a book of titles. Great post :O)

  25. You of all people should know that, Katey

    Thanks, Mark

    Thanks, Eagle. It's good to scribble.

    I love the cover, Kari. So, so lucky to have it.

    Kindred spirit, Madeleine

    Deborah, thank you so much again for allowing me to invade your blog.

  26. I don't have a book of words or titles, but I did write down "song titles" in high school - we always used to come up with the titles before we'd write the songs. Back then they were just "songs" (i.e. poems that we could see being lyrics someday). Nowadays because I DO write songs, sometimes those old titles get revived (along with their attached poems of course).

  27. I love love love that cover!! :)

  28. I love the title and the cover is great! Good interview!

  29. ...I agree, an excellent cover. Using the word "Curious" in the title, does just that...promotes intrigue.

    Well done!