Archive | June 2010

Question of the Week

So, I’m actually writing a post this Sunday. It’s amazing.

This question is coming from my recent writing challenge involving this topic.

How do you do research for your story? And how much do you think good research enhances a plot?

Is it via web, books, movies, or… something else I don’t know about?

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song lyrics

I suppose I like songs partly because they are so mystical. Not in the magical, mystical sense but more in the questions and secret stories they hold sense.  It’s like drawing a picture that echos a story but knowing nothing about the person in the picture.

So I’m walking to school today and for some reason these lyrics pop into my mind. Now, keep in mind that I was all happy and victorious because a new character finally talked to me last night and I got to learn a little bit about her life. However, as I’m walking to school and I start saying these lyrics. I’ve hardly heard this song before, actually, so it was strange that they even went through my head.

Now that I looked at them, though, they really fit my new character, so I’m wanting to figure out what it means, if anything. Anyway, here’s the song. You probably know it.

“Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I’m the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah,
Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and everything’s alright
Check my vital signs
To know I’m still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah
Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I walk alone
I walk a…

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone…

Frustrations found on yahoo answers.

I made the mistake of getting on yahoo answers to ask a question about research. Yahoo answers sucks me in, especially since I found the writing section and that I’ve been answering questions from that.

And here’s something interesting that I found there. A lot of people, and I mean a lot, posted parts of their story or something asking people to critique it. I don’t. The little bit I skim makes me think that it isn’t worth my time sifting through the mostly bad stuff to find the good points, and then I’m just going to hurt the person when I say, “This is wrong and this is bad and this you should question.”  But I find it very interesting that people actually do this.

Another thing commonly found on there is something along the lines of, “Help me with refining a plot/naming a character/naming a book/anything remotely related to rewriting.” I’d like to just get on there and smack them and say, “Dude, it’s your book. Write your own book already!” I mean, if you can’t figure out how to get a person to the ball, then either a) you don’t have a writer’s talent for plots (A writer can get anything to happen if they think long enough. Notice that last phrase. YOu have to think about it.) or b) they shouldn’t be at the ball. (Characters tell you much information that one should listen to.)

And really, do these people really think that I can help them title their book/story? Three sentences are not enough to know what the story is about, general themes, or anything. Let’s see:

An ace pilot, determined to throw off his unsavory background, tries to win the most challenging race of the galaxy.

If I were to tell you that sentence of my summary from Shad, you wouldn’t touch anything upon his discovery of himself, his realization that winning wasn’t his dream, or anything else like that. You’d go something with the race when, in reality, the race is a minor part.

It just makes me wonder sometimes how many people out there so strongly desire to be writers that they’ll try anything to do it. It’s like that book, something like, no plot, no problem, how to get you writing anyway. You need a plot to have a book.

I know. This is just one giant rant. And yes, finding people to help you in your writing path I think would be helpful. I’ve gone for so long without someone that I don’t know how to do it now. But I wish i still had someone to bounce off ideas and such. However, I don’t think that yahoo answers is the place for that kind of association.

On a side note:

SummEry vs. SummAry. Summery modifies summer, as in, the December weather was quite summery at 70º. Summary is just a brief statement about something, for example, my sentence about Shad was a summary of the book.

Help with Creative Writing.

So, I randomly stumbled across this website yesterday and found it to be rather informative. The writing prompts, if you like that, are really interesting, and although I haven’t looked around much beyond that, it might be really helpful.

Build Creative Writing Ideas

Writing takes both time and energy.

I might be a little sick right now. I’m not sure. All I know is that I didn’t sleep well early  last week, and I don’t feel like I have much of any energy. This is not good for writing.

Then, I have this little time factor. My nursing class ends tomorrow but that means a final. Meaning I (should) study for the final.  I also started roleplaying with a friend of mine again over the summer. And, on top of everything, I have a story that I submitted to be critiqued that I need to get my rating up for, meaning I need to read and critique three stories, preferably by Tuesday.

Being tired results in several negative side effects of writing. First of all, all my characters want to do is sleep. Running a marathon or fighting people sounds like too much work. Then, I don’t get any plots. Well, I do, but they don’t come spontaneously. It’s more a case of  a slow, dragged-out process for me now. And ever since I got an idea for the pirate and assassin, well, I want to ask how to do research about that on yahoo answers but even that takes too much brain power.

I used to think that I could write whenever, especially at night. And chances are that given a few days of getting up late and going to bed late would actually make me a very efficient writer, because I am a night person forced into a world of morning people. However, I’m learning how the further I get along in writing that I can’t write just whenever, nor can I drop my story wherever. I need to be alert, so I can think things through and have my characters do more than nod stupidly and sleep, and i don’t always remember what I was planning.

So, after a (I think) brilliant post yesterday, I think I basically ended with pointless rambling today. Important point that you should get out of it: Don’t write when you’re tired. It doesn’t work. (Oh, and you have to edit a bunch of it all over again too. I learned that one too.)  Second point: I can’t write until sometime next week. (Which doesn’t matter because I just realized I don’t have anything planned to write. Just a bunch of editing.)

All Writers have Some Mental Illness.

So, here’s my theory after doing nearly a whole class in psych nursing: Writers are merely a milder form of schizophrenia.

I’m not trying to be mean or insensitive. Honest! This I think is the reason why some people can be writers and others (say, my mom) can’t barely come up with a plot. I’ll show you.

  1. In general, people with schizophrenia will hear voices and/or see hallucinations. These voices can, on occasion, be their friend.
  2. Moreover, people with paranoid schizophrenia can have it all understood to themselves how one thing in another country without any electricity can control their mind. (One person in the 80s, my teacher said, was convinced a place in Chicago controlled his thoughts. Chicago is 10 hours away from here and we did not have wireless internet at this time.) They can explain it all in complex detail in fact.
  3. Lastly, it is common enough that people with schizophrenia will have another mental illness on top of the initial one. Even if they don’t, one of the problems with schizophrenia is the apathy of life they have, quite similar to depression.

So now, let’s look at writers.

  1. Writers commonly say, in more or less words, that their characters talk to them. Dean Koontz (Probably not the best example but…) said in a podcast a long time ago that he almost heard a character’s voice plain as day and started writing a book based on that. And if you read other authors’ FAQs, they’ll say that the story came basically out of nowhere.
  2. Writers need to have everything, all the little, complex impossible details, figured out just how the paranoid schizophrenic has everything figured out how the government is watching him. Good writers just make the reader go, “Wow.” when they are finished explaining everything.
  3. And finally, think about all the famous writers that you’ve heard had some kind of mental illness. The list goes on and on. Georgia O’Keeffe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald,, and George Eliot, all had depression (with the possible exception of Hemingway, who may have had bipolar.)

So although I don’t think that all writers have a full blown case of schizophrenia, or even a diagnosable case of schizophrenia, I think that most of us writers are closer to the schizophrenic side than not.