Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Retreat and Bill Cosby

The Retreat was awesome! The cabins weren't in true wilderness, a grocery could be found twenty minutes away and you could see houses on the opposite hill, but it was still pretty remote. Quiet, lovely six hours a day dedicated to silent writing, evenings filled with laughter and friends, twice a day lectures, delicious meals, the whole package made the retreat the most relaxing and rewarding experiences I'd ever been on. Better than a spa. I was able to rework some old ideas and come up with some new ones so over all I am very satisfied. Side note, this week I had a creative spark. I've had this long standing theory that no one believes that they're the bad guy. Usually anyway. I was at work when I came up with an insight into the mind of someone who is the complete opposite of me. ..... Someone may feel that it is just to put religion down because they would not subject themselves to what they believed was a right and good and just power which power was their own. “Religious fanatics are blinded by their faith. They believe, fight for, and die for something they’ve never seen. All conflict would cease if these people would just see past their God and accept everyone and follow the laws of the government. Though they are corrupt and sometimes someone may be wrongly put to death, it is still something all people can unite under. Not this God that most thinking beings don't subject themselves to. Of course, by accepting us and our values we know that we will not be satisfied until they are doing as we are doing or else they shall be forever different, and therefore, always a problem to the peace of society.” ..... Ok, for a fully realized idea its not great, but for a creative spark brainstorm it's excellent. I'm excited to meditate on this topic and see what other gems I can come up with. Bill Cosby came to our school. He's older and most of his jokes relate better to older people. I'd repeat some of it but anyone who know Bill Cosby jokes know that at least 65% of the funny comes directly from his voice inflections. So I refuse to butcher a legends jokes online. I'll just say that it was mostly worth the fifteen bucks I paid to go and see him. He got mixed reviews from a lot of people. But the reviews are complete opposites so I guess it just depended on who listened to him on whether it was good or not. Personally I enjoyed it so I guess that's all that matters. Randomly, the tickets were assigned and my roommate and I didn't know until we sat down that our other roommate had the seat right next to ours. It felt as though it was fate to sit together.


I don't know what it is about this semester, but I keep wanting to write poetry. Here's the first and second draft of one of my poems. Inspiring images : Angles, Magnifying Glass, Romance Version 1 A girl may go depressed through life Thinking that a lack of dates, means that fate has it in for her. What she doesn’t realize, Is the angels by her side, Guard her from love’s Fast and quick flurries That never last too long. The heartless passersby See her through eye magnified By guardian glass that show to them The blemish and bag of an old hag Until the day the angels guide The worthy man of fair seeing eye By the fair God daughters side They’ll continue their vigilance And wipe every tear she cries Version 2 A girl may go depressed through life Thinking that a lack of dates, means that fate has it in for her. But there must be a compromise! Possibly the angels by her side, Guard her from love’s Fast and quick flurries That never last long. In favor for eternity Perhaps the heartless passersby Can only see her through eye magnified By guardian glass that show to them The blemish and bag of an old hag With this consoling thought she smiles And continues to walk with gentle whiles A nose proudly unblemished in the air Considering and then rejecting Confident of her virtue Continuing to hope Seeing all as little Minor regrets Until the day the angels guide The worthy man of fair seeing eye By the fair God daughters side A man of virtue and noble face Instead she turns her head To the other man instead He whose godly form sees another He, the one who would never come Never call Never talk Never see Her And so the Singles Ward saga continues And the angels shrug and sigh Still, they’ll continue their vigilance And wipe every tear she cries Truly I've been inspired by recent experiences. For example, I've been having this light-bulb moment all week and it's finally culminated into a poem. Chronologically it started on a Sunday. I was talking to this guy I usually talk to and he mentioned a girl he wanted to ask out. He showed me her facebook page which displayed six beautiful, blond, straight nosed, tanned, black eyed girls. I asked him to point out THE girl and he froze. He couldn't do it. As a girl I saw the subtle differences between them, he didn't. Later this week my roommate was distressed. She told me that she never felt uglier than at this school because everyone's expectations were so high. PS: She's beautiful, she just has really wide hips. Men were either afraid of her or wanted to change her. Anywhere else she's lived they just wanted to date her. She told me that if she took me to this one state both she and I would get dates at the drop of a hate. "Ok, let's forget school and go there right now!" I said, possibly with some seriousness because just like her I haven't had a date in a long time. And I'm not bad looking either I just don't look like a cookie cut model. It's hard to practice social skills or even feel like you have options when the guys aren't asking. We read this story call "The Birth-Mark" by Nathaniel Hawthrone. It's basically about this practically perfect woman who has all the looks and manners anyone could want. Her only fault is a tiny handprint shaped birthmark on her cheek that some have called blessed and others cursed. She sided with the blessed. Her husband sided with the cursed and changed her opinion over to his. He wanted her absolutely perfect so they removed it. Only once it was removed she became far too perfect for the world and died. Read it sometime, it's a good story. So this whole idea began to marinate in my brain. I realized that the men here have too many options to choose from so simpler, curvier, and plainer girls like myself and my roommate don't really stand much chance to attract them. Further, I was ok with that. Here's my poem that pretty much explains my feelings A Confession on Love As much as I think I love you As much as I know you’re wonderful As much as we seem to get along We both know You cannot love what you secretly despise You have an ideal You have an ambition You have too many options We both know That one beauty will meet your expectations Do not feel sorry for me Do not turn your hand to mine Do not regret what never was We both know We’d rather be alone than to be only loved almost Enjoy your quest Enjoy your straight nose Enjoy your slim hips and black eyes We both know That I sincerely wish you well with your dream. I am content I am glad of your goals I am glad of my own We both know That it’s not in me to dwell on things that never were Someday, there’ll be another Someday, I’ll be the Queen Someday, I’ll be the ideal We both know True love is always beautiful in the beholders eyes Isn't fun how the world can be your inspiration? I'm a novelist, but dabbling in poetry can be fun too and a quick way to exercise your creative juices if you're short on time.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Vibe Kill to Retreat to Sad Choices to Bill Cosby

So last years editing classes have totally killed my creative vibe. For a while anyway. Last week they announced the semesterly Creative Writing Retreat. A contest that lets English majors leave campus for a weekend and go write in the woods. I've always wanted to go but was never brave enough to do it. This time I'm going for it. I only have so many semesters left. If I'm going to do it, it's now or never. When I get back I'll be sure to post about it. Oh, and ps, The writer is back. Today (wish it wasn't during science class) I had my first original creative story thought in a long time. I'll flush it out later. Also, I have the strangest urge to read the Scarlet Pimpernel. Don't know why, never read it but have seen several movie versions. I just want to read it for once. Weird. A good friend of mind called me up the other day. Prayers her direction would be welcome as she's made some life altering choices that aren't exactly in her best interest. She keeps telling me she'll stay away from people who facilitate these decisions...anyway, prayers are good. In happier news. A famous comedic icon is coming to my little corner of the world. In fact I've mentioned him on this blog before. Will I go see him next month. Duh. It's Bill Cosby. Who would miss him? Seriously, I'm so excited that I've written the ticket date down on my calendar (In BIG letters) and buying the ticket is going to be the first thing I do that particular school day. I've saved up for it. $15 dollars for studens, $25 for everyone else. So glad I'm a student. I wouldn't miss this for the world.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Writer's Block Update

K, so my practice writing actually worked. Worked in the sense that I actually got a creative line or two in, but I only lasted about twenty minutes before getting lazy again.

But the point is that it DID work.

Fun thought for today. I love the piano guys and recently came across a video of theirs on YouTube called Beethoven's 5 Secrets. They like to rewrite popular songs by mixing them with other popular songs.

This is the quote at the beginning.

"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into it's secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine." - Ludwig Van Beethoven

So it's going to be tough, but the more I practice, the easier it'll get....maybe...I guess I'll just have to find out.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Now Know Why You Should Work on 5 Books at Once

The reason?

Because if your baby of a manuscript suddenly becomes un-writable you find yourself stranded in a no man's land of repetitive thought and daydreams that only change in the details.

It's even worse when you know you cannot use these thoughts because they border-line on plagiarism or fan-fiction due to the influence of the number of t.v. shows you watch to fill the empty chasm that used to be your creative cauldron.

Music and socializing used to be my muses. I'm trying a new one to get my brain out of the gutter of "well-that's-dumb-idea" thought. I think a year of editors brain has nearly killed my creative vine. But, as I've learned recently from a collapsed grape arbor and an afternoon of pruning, vines are hard to kill. So long as they have a root, a "trunk" and maybe a few shoots, it'll always grow back. All it needs is time, patience, guidance, and a sturdy support.

So anyway, my new idea. I've discovered the perfect formula for dreams. Sleep, wake up early, preferably after maybe five or six hours. Do something productive, go back to sleep. THEN when you wake up, instantly recall and write down what you were dreaming. I'm getting some pretty crazy dreams from this exercise. But at least they're fresh ideas instead of the stagnant ones that have been plaguing my waking hours. How did I discover this formula? Newspapers, my friends, delivering newspapers in the cold, wet, morning to grumpy people who haven't had their coffee yet. Oh the things we put up with to earn money for college.

It's weird to not have a book to work on during my "summer" time. I've always had some kind of project since middle school. This break I have nothing. It could be that I need time from the shock of my last effort. But three months should be enough time right?

Maybe the scariest part of anything we do happens in the moment before. The uncertainty of success, the fear of the plunge, the desperation to know that you are doing the right thing and the hope that you're not the only one who believes in your dreams.

I think I get too caught up in the dream of my own freshly printed, wonderfully covered novel when I hit on a good idea that I instantly kill it. I wonder if it's possible for me to just write for fun anymore. That's how I used to do it. I came up with such wonderful adventure stories to. And it all started in a backyard with my sisters and my neighbors playing orphans, heroes, cat-creatures, and wolves. No one was critiquing us. We just wanted to act out a fun story.

Maybe I should just do Brother Babcocks method of closing my eyes and writing none stop until I run out of time. Scrape that document, and then write again. Just to get out of this block.

The adventure music I'm listening too right now makes this feel like an epic idea.

Here's the plunge.


Incidentally, here are my recent favorite works. The ones that made my eyes pop and mouth call out, "Brilliant!"


Doctor Who
Dororo (2007)


Bridge to Terabithia
The Obsidian Trilogy
Pride and Predjudice (Ok, not all of it, but some things are pretty remarkable)
Agatha Cristie's books
Patricia C. Wrede's novels

...and that's about all I can come up with off the top of my head. Basically I liked all these for their plot twists, unexpected endings, feelings heroism, and really brilliant characters. To me, anything that makes my soul sing is a good work no matter what any other critic says.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

MM Shelved

MM is officially shelved. There are some fundamental problems with the plot that make it impossible for me to feel comfortable working with. It's not the creepy factor. I love the creepy factor. It's the unhealthy relationship coupled with the creepy factor that bothers me. No matter how I hammer at it, it's not going to get fixed with this kind of issue.

So until I feel like pulling it apart and mostly starting over. MM is shelved.

Random Notes That are Mostly about Dialogue

Ok, so I haven't posted in a while because my notes become more jumbled from the seven rules on. I've been trying to decide whether to post everything in the rambling confusing way of my current notes or just post the things that are clear and make sense. Honestly, it would be less of a headache for me to keep it clear.

But there's too many bulleted gems to ignore. So this post is entirely dedicated to them with some edits to help with clarity.

What is style?

Words/Diction/Limited Vocabulary (be precise to your character)
Prose/Sentence Construction/Linguistic Patterns (For an example compare Faulkner to Hemmingway)

Above all don't use your own voice in a narrative. Create one for your character that lends authenticity to the piece.

What Makes Up Characterization?

Dialogue (All chatter must advance the plot)

Concerning Dialogue

Dialogue must advance the plot and actively move it forward. Reveal characters, plot, or symbols (note that in First Novel book that ONLY advancing characters is strongly discouraged or at least should be limited.) That being said dialogue should always do more than one thing.

Example: "You're the most ideal item yet spawned." - William Shakespeare. My teacher had challenged a past class to tell a perfect stranger this line. One guy who was taking the class for the second time had taken up the challenged and was proud to announce that he was now engaged to the girl. Impressive, huh?

Subtlety is Key

It is a higher form of writing to have your characters suggest rather than blatantly express how they feel about others and themselves.

Example, say you have a boy going on a mission. His girl-friend wants them to get matching tattoos before he leaves. Moral taboos aside, what she's really saying is, you better marry me when you get back. This idea of characters telling each other something (like no) over and over again without actually saying it is called No Dialogue

Narration Practice Example

Narrations are the parts that surround the dialogue. Using narration you can create completely different characters that say the exact same things but display different intentions. This is also another form of no dialogue. Bare in mind that my examples are not the best, but they do the job.

Here's the the dialogue "I'm going to get you baby. No doubt about it, you will be mine"

A) Flirty

"I'm going to get you baby," Jake whispered as he held her in his arms, "No doubt about it, you will be mine."

B) Creepy
(Two versions here because I just remembered on that my classmate wrote one that made every girl in the room shiver.)

(mine) I'm going to get you baby," He picked up a photograph from his collection and lightly stroked it with a rough finger, "No doubt about it, you will be mine."

(his as best as I can remember) "I'm going to get you baby," he said. Then moving closer her ran a finger down over her chest, "No doubt about it, you will be mine.)

C) Serial Killer

"I'm going to get you baby," He said as he shaved the last dobs of cream off with his razor blade. "No doubt about it, you will be mine."

Real Dialogue vs Good Dialogue

There should be verisimilitude to dialogue. Or similar to truth, reality. Don't right down every um, well, so on, but cut to the chase with the dialogue and make each line matter significantly.

Don'e over-use tags

He said, he yelled, he cried, he yelped, he screamed, he sang, he sobbed, he.....yeah

Avoid slang fads and phonetic spellings

Why? Dude, you should try understanding ripping it whirling it and tucking it when you live miles from the ocean. Or gag me with a spoon, why would you even say that? Some is ok, but over doing it would kill your piece simply because your readers would be less concerned with your story and more concerned with if they understood it.

Avoid Informational Dialogue

It's unnatural chatter to talk about things the characters naturally already know about. And it's boring to read real time information through speech that can be more quickly obtained through a single paragraph reflective summary.

Let the words and actions communicate how something is said

OK, so this turned more into a dialogue post. But at least I finally got through that tangled mess of notes. Until next time.