Writing Prompt #1

I felt like trying something new today.

I’ve been lazy with posts this April, mostly because any writing at all just seemed like extra work. I figured that extra work was not something I needed when studying for exams, rehearsing for a drama performance, and dealing with the rest of life. It seemed like a decent-enough excuse to me.

This morning I awoke with the thought ‘Hey, since when did writing become work?’

Answer: When it stopped being fun. Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo vs. Camp NaNo

Commonly known fact: it’s April.

Not-so-commonly known fact: it’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo–the once-a-year crazy writing frenzy that results in a flurry of novely things (some are more novel-resembeling than others). But you may not have heard of its summer-loving sister, Camp NaNoWriMo, so here is the breakdown of these two events: Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

printable-name-tags-r0zxxuni.jpgWith possibly the most cliched title ever, this post will discuss one of my favorite things about writing–naming characters.

A character’s name can speak volumes about who they are, or it can say nothing. Sometimes the fact that the name says nothing, says everything. But that’s getting too philosophical for a Thursday.

I believe there are two general types of names: ones that someone else made up years and years ago, or ones that you make up. Continue reading

Who’s Voice is That?

IMG_20170316_165432There are a multitude of things that make up a character. Physicality, goals, fears, and looks are just a few, but there’s a big one that often gets ignored.

Voice.

Sure, maybe it’s obvious when a character has a specific way of talking, but what about when the entire book is written in the main character’s voice? Sometime’s it’s really obvious, but other times it’s so subtle that the reader barely notices. Continue reading

Bullet Journaling–New-Age Craze

The idea of keeping a journal or diary has been around since the invention of writing. Essentially, that’s why writing was invented–to catalogue information. Journaling just became a more private form of detail splurging; a place to connect with oneself on a deeper level, complain, and remember the good times.

The journal is exceptionally good at what it does. But it’s needy–it requires cultivation and it feeds off your time.

So the bullet journal (or BuJo) was invented.* Continue reading

Dream Sequence!

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“Well, I was dreaming until you woke me up…”

Dreams are weird.

On second thought, the above three words seem vague. I might as well make statements like, ‘life is weird’ (it is), so let me go into some more detail on the subject of dreams.

I would argue that our concept of fantasy, and our ability to imagine fantastical situations, comes from dreams. It’s an interesting idea–one’s database of sensual information is all that’s needed to create a myriad of bizarre situations. Perhaps that is the only difference between a creative person and someone who is ‘not creative’. The person with the greater imagination is just better able to re-combine their memories while in a lucid state; they don’t have to be unconscious to make stuff up. Continue reading

Dystopian Politics

Politics are arguably the most annoying thing in existence (if one overlooks lukewarm coffee and knee-deep mud), yet they can make or break a novel.

As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of politics: personal opinions expressed by people in their everyday lives and all types of government.

Most books steer clear of government-driven politics, but they all take advantage of the other kind. After all, it’s emotion that ties us to stories. There is, however, a whole genre of books that wouldn’t exist without warped versions of government politics: dystopian. Continue reading

The Evolution of Aza’s Character Growth

All stories must have character growth.

Growth can be subtle: the character realizes something they didn’t know before. Or profound: the character goes from ugly, wimpy nobody to strong, world-saving beauty.

Most novels go for somewhere in the middle. But whatever the case, the character in the last chapter must in some way be superior to the person we met on page one.

Basically, they must have fixed or improved upon their flaws. Continue reading

Literary Persuasion–The Hunger Games

In an age where easy-to-watch films are everywhere, what makes us continue to dedicate our time to reading books?

I was kindly invited to guest post on the blog Propaganda for Change. I tried my hand at a more scientific post that talks about the persuasive content hidden in the pages of our papery friends, using the impressive Hunger Games Trilogy as an example.

If you’re reading this, then chances are you like to read. And you almost certainly like stories.
 
From an evolutionary viewpoint, the reason for loving stories is clear; prehistoric man could listen to his friend talking about a close encounter with a wolf in a cave and then he could use that knowledge to stay alive on his search for food. Stories were sugar coated pills of important information. They were also a way of creating beauty to bond with other humans and increase one’s survival (1). Even today, it’s a well-known fact that we tend to enjoy things that lengthen our lifespans–mother nature is funny that way.
 

Granted, the ‘don’t eat those red berries, because…’ story is extremely different from the modern fictional sagas, but we’re captivated by them just the same.
However, this still doesn’t explain our love of books in particular. These days, most books have been turned into films, which require little effort or time to watch. Reading a 700-page book is an entirely different form of crazy. It requires days, and sometimes weeks, of dedicated page flipping. Why do we do this?
 
One simple answer could be ‘the book is better than the film’. But why would we say this? What powerful force would make us struggle through not just one book, but a whole series because it’s ‘better’ than anything on the screen?
 
I believe the answer is ‘persuasion’. The writer is trying, and often succeeding, to convince you that those 100,000 words are worth your time. Essentially, a book is a never-ending stream of propaganda that tells you to read more propaganda.