What Makes a Writer?

What goes into a person to make them a dark horror speculative fiction writer?

I often wonder how I ended up liking the things I do; the dark, twisted, downright macabre stuff. Like vampires, necromancy, the devil, monsters, and anti-heroes. All this stuff repeatedly shows up in my writing.

Then, today, I got my answer. Dear hubby and I cleaned out our storeroom and I came across boxes of my childhood toys, books, and other mementos… and a whole damn lot of them were twisted!

Was I drawn to the weird and warped even as a child? Or did my childhood toys warp me? You be the judge…

Exhibit A – He-Man and friends

I was a MASSIVE He-Man fan, though eagle-eyed viewers will notice there are more bad guys than good guys lined up. You might also notice they’re missing their swords, cloaks and other accouterments. I had a thing about making my toys naked. Go figure.






Exhibit B – My Favourite Action Man Figure

So, I had a bunch of action figures including He-Man, She-Ra, The Sorceress… but this guy, Vampire Dude, was my favourite. I played with him so much his head came off. He was always the Big Bad in my fantasies, and curiously, he always ‘got the girl’ too (sure by kidnapping and mind control but hey, whatever works right)…





Exhibit C – The Real Batman


My brother and friends had Batman. I had the REAL Batman. I was obsessed with this dude. First, I loved any character with wings, second, he was a tragic anti-hero in my fantasies. The misunderstood villain.

Finally, he had this awesome wing flap action if you pressed a button on his back that made the wings actually move!

Exhibit D – The Riddle-man



Back in the days of my childhood, Marvel was NOT the big thing it is today.  You could buy DC toys like the Dickens, but forget Marvel toys. Sucked for me, I was a MASSIVE Spiderman fan. But do you think I could get a spidey toy? Nope.

So Dear Dad fixed that for me. With a little paint and a lot of time, he turned The Riddler into Spiderman for me. Still looks pretty awesome to me today!



Exhibit E – Rogue X-Man


Same problem with X-Men figures as with Spidey. I couldn’t get a Rogue figurine to save myself, and she was BOSS. So, at my request and using some car-bog for her hair and paint for the outfit, Dear Dad made me a Rogue.

These two examples don’t exactly prove my ‘darkness’ but they do go to show I was – at the least – weird.



Exhibit F – Barbie Torture Rack

Okay, I cannot apologise enough for this one. While my friends desperately wanted the Barbie beach house or Barbie corvette… all I wanted was the Barbie torture rack. Once again, Dear Dad obliged and made me my very own Barbie torture rack, complete with spinning wheel, blood stains and gouge marks. Yeah… this one is a bit of a tell-all!




Exhibit G – Stabbie Things


This was part of my knife collection. I don’t know where the majority of my collection ended up, these were just the few I could find. All twelve-year-old girls had a knife collection, right?






Exhibit H – Plush Toys


Yeah, so even my soft, plush toys were weird. There was Punk Pig on the left, and Spike the Skateboarding punk dog on the right. There was a Rocker Rat that went with Spike but he skipped out on the photo.





Exhibit I – Grimm Tales



There’s not so much wrong with these toys, as the mind behind them. They are very obviously The Three Bears, but unfortunately, they came without Goldilocks. I solved that by buying the doll on the end separately… then proceeded to call them Moudly-Locks and the Three Bears.





Exhibit J – The Book That Started It All

This one’s not really warped, but it did contribute to who I am as a writer today. This is THE book that got me into fantasy, anti-heroes, and writing. My original battered copy of Dargons of Autumn Twilight, from the Dragonlance Saga. I owe a LOT to this book.






Exhibit K – The Normal


This final exhibit is not a dark and twisted one – this is my first soft toy, Fat Cat. Fat Cat was an Australian children’s television show mascot, and this particular ‘Cat’ was given to me around 6 months after I was born. He’s old, flat, worn, but a beloved reminder of an awesome childhood.





So what do you think? Innocent sweet child corrupted by her toys and influences? Or twisted demon-spawn who turned her world into a reflection of her macabre mind? Either way – I’m glad for every influence – I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without this rich tapestry of history!


24 thoughts on “What Makes a Writer?

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  1. Your dad is “da bomb.” I can’t believe what a great-looking Spidey he did. I had a knife collection as a twelve-year-old girl too, but my mother made me give it up. (Moms, sheesh!) No, the toys didn’t corrupt you, and you’re not a demon spawn. You’re just an imaginative woman who doesn’t want to settle for the expected creative routes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These days, you would probably be sent for counselling. Those were some cool toys. My boys were into Thunercats so we had a lot of those figures. At least you weren’t like my brother who dressed Mr Spock in Batman’s outfit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Definitely, “twisted demon-spawn who turned her world into a reflection of her macabre mind.” You were born that way, Jess. And what an awesome dad you had! Wow. Now that is a parent who goes above and beyond nurturing a wonderful imagination. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So cool that your dad modify toys for you. I wasn’t the typical kid either, but my collections were different. I had creepy crawlers, and rocks. I also played “paper dolls” with cut-outs from magazines I remember a woman in a long black coat who I made a ghost. I wanted nothing to do with the devil or demons, but I had plenty of vampires, werewolves and creatures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How awesome your dad did that for you. I loved many of the same things you did. (Though no one in my family edited toys for me, and I never wanted a torture rack.)

    BTW, one of my “facts you don’t know about me” on my blog’s bio page is that I can still recite the opening to He-Man. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with you – I think our childhood affects our writing and maybe in ways we don’t really want! I’m not sure about my toys since I mostly played with dolls or my brother’s train set. I was in the middle and got a lot of used toys. I read a lot of Nancy Drew and wanted to write mysteries because of her.

    Liked by 1 person

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