The Night at the Villa Diodati

Today, I am going to give you a history lesson. This blog post discusses a historical night in literature which produced massive works, such as Frankenstein and The Vampyre. I learnt of this piece of history in a Sensibility and Romanticism class I took in college. My professor told the class the brief tale of the stormy summer at the villa in 1816. After class, I watched a documentary she recommended, which discussed the events of that summer.

I fell in love with this piece of history, about these extraordinary, literary people and the works they produced. This post changes from my original content, from literature to history. However, this piece of history shaped our literature today. This night at the Villa Diodati shaped the horror genre into what it is today. Therefore, I want to talk about it. SO lets get into it.

In 1816, a tremendous storm rolled over Europe. Thunderstorms and rain hit the villas around the Lake Geneva in Switzerland. One of those villas was the Villa Diodati.

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Inside the Villa Diodati, a group of five people sat around a fire and told ghost stories. These people were:

Lord Byron, the famous writer and poet

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Mary Shelley, writer behind Frankenstein:

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Percy Shelley, famous poet and Mary Shelley’s lover at the time:

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John Polidori, writer of The Vampyre and Lord Byron’s doctor:

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And Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley’s step-sister:

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These five people arrived at this location, for different reasons. Each had their own secrets and scandals, they needed to avoid. The Villa Diodati was a place like no other. a place for them to escape. As told by Mary Shelley, the area around the Villa Diodati was breathtaking:

“To what a different scene are we, now arrived. To the warm sunshine, and to the humming of sun-loving insects. From the windows of our hotel, we see the lovely lake, blue as the heavens, which it reflects, sparkling with golden beams. I feel as happy as a new fledged bird, and hardly care what twig I fly to, so that I may try my new found wings.”

Each member of the group escaped to Switzerland, which was a perfect location for these literary inspired people. People looking for some sensation, they found in the Alpine mountains, the forestry and lakes of Geneva, surrounding the Villa. It was perfect for the building storm, that was about to occur.

Lord Byron was a famous English writer and poet. Whenever he published his works, they were almost as big as the release of a Beatles album. People would line up to receive their copies of his works. He was the equivalent of a Rockstar, back in the day. Moreover, he was well known for being a ladies man, and living an exciting lifestyle through drugs and alcohol. One of his lovers, Caroline Lamb stated;

Byron was “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

However, Byron’s lifestyle caught up with him, when he was accused of having an incestuous relationship with his half-sister, Augusta.

So he fled England, with his doctor, John Polidori. Polidori’s job was to keep Byron alive, as due to his lifestyle, Byron suffered from liver problems and had been diagnosised with gonorrhea. However, Polidori had his own ambitions, to become a writer and seeked Byron’s approval.

Due to Byron’s fame, he had many female admirers/groups, and Claire Clairmont was a huge example of one. She fell in love with Byron, slept with him and he had no interest in her after that. But that did not stop her from pursuing him. According to Claire;

I do assure you, your future will shall be mine. And everything that you shall do or say, I shall not question.”

She was determined to win him over, so she planned to follow him across Europe. Claire asked her half sister, Mary Shelley and her lover, Percy Shelley to accompany her on her journey. They accepted, as they were running away from their own scandal. Percy Shelley followed the expression of free love, which was frowned upon in the 1800s. Percy and Mary fled England, while Percy was still married to another woman.

The Villa Diodati was each persons place of refuge, but also a place for desires and inspiration to boil over.

The party had been at the Villa for a week, when the volcanic storm, caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora, hit Lake Geneva. The rain, thunderstorms and flooding was immense. The most terrifying storm the group had ever seen. It was a new thrilling experience for these people, who were highly literary and excitable. As Mary wrote;

An almost perpetual rain confines us, principally, to the house. The thunderstorms that visits us, are grander, and more terrific, than I have ever seen before. One night, we enjoyed a finer storm than I have ever beheld. The lake was lit up. The pines were made visible, and all the scene illuminated for an instant, when a pitchy blackness succeeded. And the thunder came in frightful bursts over our heads, amidst the darkness.

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The scenery and the storms, set the scene as, Byron began to read ghost stories to the group. Surrounded by a lit fire, Byron read passages from Fantasmagoriana, and Christabel. 

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These horror stories put the group on edge and Byron called for a challenge. Can they do better? Can each of them write a better story, more vivid and more terrifying than these? From this challenge, Byron produced an unfinished vampire story called Fragment of a Novel. Polidori wrote his own vampire tale, basing his vampire character off Lord Byron. Providing this Byron-esque quality, Polidori created the first aristocratic vampire in literature. His vampire provided inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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There was nothing left of Percy Shelley’s story, however, his lover, Mary’s novel lives on. Desperate to prove her literary skills to Lord Byron, she worked at producing a story, more terrifying than any other story out there. Than one night, Mary woke from a nightmare, producing a vision that formed to idea for Frankenstein;

I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy half-vital motion.”

She had found her idea. While at the Villa Diodati, she wrote the first draft of Frankenstein. These stormy nights at the Villa Diodati, produced two influential works, The Vampyre and Frankenstein.

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These two works, spawned a new wave of thinking and revitalization of the horror genre. Mary Shelley’s work analysed the world of science at the time, through the creation of the monster and externalized the actions and mistreatment from humanity. Polidori’s The Vampyre, provided a new look at the face of evil. Changing the formula of a vampire from a mythical monster to a respected aristocrat, his novel showcased the fear of the Other, walking amongst society. It was a focused look at the higher class in the 1800s.

However, the events at the Villa Diodati lead to its own tragedies. Claire Clairmont got what she desired and ended up in Byron’s bed. At the end of the summer, Claire discovered she was pregnant with his child. This led to Claire, Mary and Percy fleeing back to England, so Claire could have her baby in secret. Claire continued to write Byron many years later, however, Byron refused to see or speak to her. He would later call her, “a damned bitch.” Claire never got over Byron and never married.

As for Byron and Polidori, Byron fired Polidori and parted ways.

Polidori died in 1821, just short of his 26th birthday, from suicide by acid. Percy Shelley drowned the following year, on a shipwreck. He was not quite 30 years old. In 1824, Byron died of an illness, when he joined the cause of the Greek nationalists in their battle against the Turks. He was 36 years old.

Mary Shelley established herself as a writer, and lived till the age of 53.

This piece of history fascinated me, due to the effects of that summer on this group of people, the literary works that came from it and how it established the literature we read today. It was a small piece of history, but significant none the less. As Neil Gaiman said,

We know where the twin pillars of horror fiction, that we stand on today, began.

I got most of my information for this blog from the documentary called, Frankenstein and the Vampyre: A Dark and Stormy Night. If you are interested, check out this documentary. Check out these amazing writers works. I hope you enjoyed this post. Its a bit different, but I have always been interested in this event. Imagine, sitting in a room with other literary inspired people, bouncing ideas off each other, surrounded by the eruption of storms and darkness. A gathering like this, doesn’t happen very often, and thats what made it spectacular. If you found this post interesting, let me know if you want me to do more literary history pieces.

Hope you are having a wonderful day and Ill see you in the next post.

 

 

 

 

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My Favourite Reads on Wattpad

In my previous blog, I spoke about my affiliation with Wattpad. I said I would make a blog post about Wattpad one day. Today is that day. Recently, I went back to my old account (WHY??!!!). But I will say, that I was pleasantly surprised to see the works I saved onto my Reading List. I didn’t read all of them, which is a shame. I did read some and it is those works I shall be talking about today.

Joking aside, I do appreciate my time spent on this website. It helped me in a time, where I felt I couldn’t share my writing to anyone. Wattpad was a fantastic outlet for me, to meet other writers and share my work with them. Moreover, they have fantastic works on there that have been traditional published as well. So, who knows, you could get published from the works you post on Wattpad (definitely not mine. My works were trash!!).

So the first on my list is:

My Wattpad Love by Ariana Godoy (cold_lady19)

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Synopsis: Julie has always been the shy type. Her world changes when she finds wattpad, a very popular ebook community. She becomes addicted to it and even starts posting her own stories. But are friends, fans and votes all she will get from this site? Or is it possible to find love as well?

I’m pretty sure that My Wattpad Love was the first story I came across on Wattpad, when I first joined. I fell in love instantly. The story was engaging and the premise was fun, due to it being based on using Wattpad. From what I can remember, the characters were delightful and funny. Because of this book, I fell more in love with Wattpad as a community. This book blew up and I think it got officially published afterwards. Following the success of My Wattpad Love, Ariana wrote its sequel, Growing Up. It was good, but nothing compared to the first book. If I was to look back at this book, I might have reviewed it differently. I dont care. The book was influential to me at the time, and well done to Ariana for making a great presence on the Wattpad community.

Disclaimer: These next two novels I never finished but I loved what I read so much, that I decided to put them on this list. If you like the sound of them, check these stories out. 

 

A Unique Kind of Love by Jasmine Rose (foreversmilin)

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Synopsis: Lena Rose Winter was the typical seventeen year old girl, or so everyone thought. She had a secret, something she hated talking about. She knew what love was, and she dreaded it. The cause was that she lost someone very close to her heart because of it.

Liam Christopher Black was far from your typical bad boy. He was a good guy, the one who would sit at the back of the class, not making a sound. They said that time healed sadness, but it was hard for him. Trauma by the news of his family dying in a car crash caused him his voice. He was mute. 

Becoming friends with someone was a risk, because you could always end up caring too much. Lena didn’t care. She fought for the boy and for his friendship. They ended up falling for each other; hard. It seemed as if the world put obstacles in their way before permitting them to truly be together. Because, of course, after rain, the sun comes out.

This may be a sappy love story, but it’s got just enough sappiness for one person. It is a story about finding love after losing all hope of being happy.

This book interested me, due to the idea of a love between two people, where one person cant talk. Similar to The Shape of Water, I was intrigued on how the writer could convey a love story with so little communication. To me, Jasmine did an amazing job. It was really well written and I fell in love with the characters. I was invested in the story and that was enough for me. However, I stopped reading due to a certain revelation, that I didn’t really appreciate. It changed the way I viewed the story. I wished I finished A Unique Kind of Love though. If I read the novel now, I would feel differently towards this particular revelation. Who knows, I may re-read again sometime. Jasmine’s work became well known and I just found out, that it was traditional published as well.

 

Paladin by Sally Slater (SallySlater)

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Synopsis: Sam is the most promising swordsman among this year’s crop of Paladin trainees…and knows it. Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam is the kingdom of Thule’s best hope against the violence wrought by demons. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.

But Sam has never held much interest in playing damsel-in-distress, and so she rescues herself from a lifetime of boredom and matrimonial drudgery.

Pity that Tristan Lyons, the Paladin assigned to train her, is none other than the hero of her childhood. He hasn’t recognized her as Lady Samantha–yet– but if he does, he’ll take away her sword and send her packing.

Sam is not the only trainee hiding secrets: Braeden is a half-demon with a dark past that might be unforgivable.

Sam, Braeden and Tristan set out for the western coast, charged with rooting out an infestation of demons that has made the West unliveable. As they travel, they uncover a deep-seated corruption of power that threatens to derail everything they stand for. Rebellion stirs, led by a rival faction of warriors who tempt Sam to join them with an irresistible offer. A war between men is coming, and Sam must pick a side. Will saving the kingdom cost her life — or just her heart?

Reminiscent of Mulan, but with a medieval fantasy twist, Paladin is a tale of adventure, action, and romance.

I adored this book. I never finished it, but from what I read of it, I adored it. A medieval fantasy tale based off Mulan…I’m sold. From what I could remember, it was brilliantly written and the story was intense. I loved the main character of Sam. She is badass but also funny. I remember a particular scene in the novel, where Sam and her comrades stopped by a brothel after a long journey. All the men were excited and having fun with the prostitutes. Whereas, Sam told her prostitute the truth and they talked for most of the night. It was a hilarious scene of her amongst men and having to explain to a prostitute that she was not a man. It was a fantastic read. I wished I had finished it. Sally is writing a sequel as well. I believe the first few chapters are up on her Wattpad account, but you can find Paladin on Amazon, where you can buy a published copy of it. (I just realised all my favourite books on Wattpad, are now published. Excellent).

 

Those were my favourite reads on Wattpad. It’s amazing that all these books I adored on Wattpad years ago, have been published. Damn, I need to step up my game. But no, I am proud of these writers I loved back in the day. But this is not the end of the blog. I have another novel you should check out. I never came across this novel, when I was on Wattpad. But I found it in my local bookshop and I bought it, to support another writer on Wattpad. It’s called:

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles (@Reekles)

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Synopsis: Meet Elle Evans. Pretty, popular – and never been kissed. Meet Noah Flynn. Badass, volatile – and a total player. And also Elle’s best friend’s older brother…
When Elle decides to run a kissing booth for the school’s Spring Carnival, she locks lips with Noah and her life is turned upside down. Her head says to keep away, but her heart wants her to draw closer – this romance seems far from fairy tale and headed for heartbreak. But will Elle get her happily ever after?

Yes, you probably have heard of it, as it recently became a Netflix movie. I havent read the book or seen the movie, but I purchased the book when it was first published. It became my sisters favourite book. She fell in love with Beth Reekles’ novel and watched the film, when it first came out. I might still read it someday but I dont know. Check it out, if you are interested. I cant give my own opinion about this novel until I read it, which I may post on this blog one day.

 

That is it for my list. I hope you found something new to read out of this list. Check these authors out. They are great. Check out Wattpad. Who knows, you may find your next favourite novel there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Started Writing

When I started planning more blog posts, I realized I never talked about the beginning of my writing journey. You have to start somewhere 😂

My first memory of writing, was when I was eleven. I wrote a fanfiction based off my favourite game series, Kingdom Hearts. It was SO BAD!!! I tried to pretend that the whole novel idea wasn’t a carbon copy of my favourite stories. The character’s names were altered slightly from the main characters in Kingdom Hearts but it was obvious that they were still those characters. Instead of meeting Disney characters, my characters met Harry Potter characters. I cringe inside, just thinking about it. I learned then, I should create my own stories (mainly because my parents told my eleven year old self, that you would be caught for plagiarizing with my Kingdom Hearts based fanfiction).

 

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However, I learned from that first fanfiction. My parents claim I started writing even earlier than eleven years old. Thats impressive.

But I seriously started writing my own novels when I was thirteen. I remember that age because it was when I was a huge fan of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books and I started my own vampire series (dont judge me!!)

But I actually feel like the story could have been interesting but I stopped writing, when I started despising the direction of my main character.

I planned and wrote many mini novels, as I didn’t know how to plot a real novel. I wrote them into my school copies which would have been around 150 pages in each. It was wonderful to have that avenue to escape. I found joy in my writing at that age.

I could make up brand new characters and place them in worlds I never dreamed of. It was wonderful, until other people got involved. My writing became a reason for people to play around and manipulate. Its really hard to explain, and I may talk about someday. But after a while, I had to hide my writing hobby from everyone. I wrote in private.

But, I hated that. I did love the privacy but I wanted people to read my stories. I wanted feedback on my work. So I set up my own Wattpad account. I know!!!

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I’m not going to tell you the name of my Wattpad account because it is too embarrassing. I dont want you to see that. However, Wattpad gave me an opportunity to share my stories with others. Also, I met many other people who shared my passion for writing. Some wrote short stories, others wrote poetry. Everything was at my disposal on Wattpad.

It was the only place where I felt I belonged. I was accepted as a writer on this website. I followed and read so many stories, that helped with my writing. (I may actually make a blog post about my favourite stories I read on Wattpad).

However, when I entered college, I found a new home for my writing: Stanzas.

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I have talked about Stanzas in previous blog posts. It holds amazing events for writers of all ages, to come and perform. This became my new home where I met so many other writers my age and I didn’t feel alone when it came to my writing. I made lifelong friends from Stanzas and they helped develop my writing skills. Since then, I’ve gotten a couple of my works published in Stanzas chapbooks.

Since then, I have kept writing in doses. Attending an English course in college, I never found the time to write. My blog helped with that.

 

Writersblockwhat gave me further practice, outside of college.

With my blog, I am attempting to further my writing career. Along with that, I am sending my works out to different publications. I am trying to better myself in my writing and hopefully, make a career out of it someday. It may be wishful thinking, but I’m going to try.

Thats where I stand, at this present time. I hope to see you in the next blog. Talk to you later x

 

Your Voice

I feel like I havent done an advice post for writers in a while. I was watching a YouTube video of a writer I admire talking about the voice in your novel or in your work. When I started out, I didn’t really have a so-called voice in my work…

I just wanted to be like J.K Rowling or Stephan King or any other authors I admired. The first novel I ever composited was a sort of fanfiction about Kingdom Hearts but I just changed the names of the characters to pretend it wasn’t inspired by Kingdom Hearts. (Btw it was really obvious that I based that novel on Kingdom Hearts. Instead of Disney characters, I put Harry Potter characters into it. I’m so sorry J.K Rowling).

Anyway, your voice….I didn’t really know my voice until I did a creative writing module in my college. I never found I had a specific voice or style. I just wrote for fun. However, my creative writing professor said in class that, she could tell which piece of writing was whose. She said, my style of writing is very descriptive. I agree with that because I feel when I write, I make the conscious decision to ensure that my character and the people reading my stories, are immersed. I dont want to present something as fake. I want people to imagine themselves into that world. If youre in a club, I want to describe the colours used, the crowds, every little detail I want conveyed in just a few lines.

However, I dont believe I have found my voice in my writing. I have a particular style that I stand by, but I dont have a voice that is consistent. Your voice is yours. It is authentic. It is the one thing that makes you a different writer, compared to J.K Rowling or Stephan King or any other writers. It is your way of putting words to paper and how you want to make your truth on the page. Your voice evolves through the different genres you will delve into as you go along. But, it remains your voice. The way you write the words, is your unique way. I dont know if I have found my voice yet. I dont feel I am experienced enough yet, to say that I have found my voice. I havent found what I want to say or how I want to say it. I still feel like I am imitating my favourite authors throughout the years, such as:

J.K Rowling

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Maggie Stiefvater

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Stephanie Meyer

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Sylvia Plath

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Oscar Wilde

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and many, many more.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery but I need to find my own voice. What makes me stand out against the crowd? What do I stand for? Writers such as Louise O’ Neill who wrote Asking for It and Almost Love, take a feminist approach to her writing and write about difficult topics that are not addressed properly such sexual harassment and rape. I want to form my own voice and I feel Ill find it through the big novel I am working on. The thing I would say about finding your voice, is just keep writing. You will find your voice with time and experience. Keep a pen and paper on hand. Write everything down. Write your own experiences and that way, you will find your voice. If you want to know more about voice in writing, check out this article by Writers Digest.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/voice-in-writing-developing-a-unique-writing-voice

I hope you are having a fantastic day and I love you guys for sticking by with my messy upload schedule. I have more planned for this blog, so stay tuned x