December 7, 2010

Poetry writing made simple

Writing poetry seems so simple when you first start. Take a strong feeling that you are experiencing and throw it out there. Maybe try to incorporate some rhymes (often awkwardly) and make it sound pretty and obscure.

 However, pretty and obscure is not typically the type of poetry that you can write if you want others to read and enjoy it. Putting personal touch into your writing is always a good idea, but you can’t force your thoughts on others, either with poetry or regular writing.

Try to leave details open to interpretation, and you will have more people interested as they will find their own way to add details based on their own lives and perspectives. That way, your emotion is expressed, and the readers feel that they also have input because it will mean something more to each of them.

You also really want to make sure that there is a main, or primary, image that you are trying to show and put into peoples memories. This image should be the centre point and the main focus when using descriptors and metaphors. The more obscure you make your image the harder it becomes for people to be able to actually see it in their minds. If people can’t see your image, they will not appreciate the words you use or the rhythm of the rhymes.

Carry a small notebook around with you, and jot down any little situation that you notice when you have a moment. Sit at a park bench and write in detail about the scene before you. How the sky looks, and how the sun shines its light on the trees/equipment. Everything. Use every descriptive word you can think of. Practice your writing descriptions with this, and you will have a much easier time when it comes to imagining situations where you have to describe a situation or image in detail for your work.

Whatever you do, keep writing. Keep in mind that you are allowed to write bad poetry, it will give you something to go off of, get the excess thoughts out of your mind, and keep you writing. But when it comes to finishing and publishing (either in a book or on a website) remember to only keep the best lines, and don’t insert irrelevant filler just to make it look bigger. A small but meaningful poem will attract more positive results that a large and redundant one.

Now get writing!

December 2, 2010

Two key reminders when writing

Writing as a craft can be challenging. You need to be able to express your thoughts effectively in two primary ways.

Firstly, you want to feel that the message you are putting out is congruent with the message you intended when you started writing that article/post/story/etc. the words you write should satisfy you own creative nature in some way. Your works should contain some personal expression or personal touch that allows your bias and opinion on the subject to show through. Having this will not only allow you to feel as though you’ have expressed something, but it also makes your writing unique. Only you can have your specific thoughts, beliefs and perspectives.

When inserting your personal bias or opinion, try not to overwhelm the information. Having an overload of one person’s perspective may turn a reader away because they feel that they are being told how to think. Leave it open ended with your opinion sprinkled throughout. If you are trying to prove why your opinion is strong and valid, use facts and information to back it up. Use positive intonations to emphasize important points as opposed to degrading differences in opinion with negativity. Point out why your perspective is positive and avoid pointing out negativities, the reader can determine these for themselves.

Secondly, you want to ensure that your reader will understand the underlying message that you are trying to express. If you are writing about how coffee affects the brain, for example, you want to keep the information on topic and relevant to the effects of coffee on the brain. Going off topic can be very easy to do, but needs to be stopped before it gets too far. The person who is reading your article/post/story/etc. needs to feel as though they can relate and associate with the content, it has to have enough of an open personal touch. Pull people in with words that open up possibilities and create imaginative thoughts and pictures.

By providing open ended thoughts and ideas, you are creating the opportunity for conversation and debate. With the personal touch, you can show that you have thought on this topic as well as researched it.  Be open to constructive criticism and remember that each person will have their own individual view on the information and opinion you have presented. Work with your readers to provide a full spectrum of information and maximize your abilities.

Your writing should satisfy you and your readers at the same time. If you are not satisfied with your writing, take a break and try writing from a different angle or perspective. This can facilitate your brainstorming as well as causing you to look at a subject or issue with new light. By staying open-minded you will create the potential for reader relationship which will only help to improve your own writing abilities.

November 30, 2010

Flash Fiction: 100 words and 3 keywords

So part of last week’s Just Write blog carnival, Nick Daws submitted a Prize Flash Fiction Contest on MyWritersCircle.com

This flash fiction involves writing a defined story, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words. Not only that, but you have to smoothly integrate the words luminous, anniversary and papaya.

Here’s what I submitted:

Timely Reunion

A woman peered out the window and smiled at the luminous aura the moon created. She emitted a gentle sigh and soft smile as the trees nearby began to rustle. After waiting months, she watched hopefully as a strong horse carrying a man to the door. She lifted her dress and ran to the door. Throwing it open, the man looked her in the eyes and said, “Happy Anniversary my love.” She pulled him down to her and kissed him passionately. “Just in time, dinner is ready. Papaya casserole, your favourite.” He smiled and walked into the kitchen with her.

November 29, 2010

Writing as a skill

An important part of writing is skill. By skill, I mean spelling and grammar primarily. Syntax also helps, but if you can’t spell the words properly, and you aren’t setting up your sentences to make sense, your message will not go through. No matter how many big, fancy, or obscure words you use, the message needs to be clear enough to understand.

If you find it challenging to correct your spelling or grammar, the easiest way to improve them is to read. But don’t just read fiction, or magazines, or newspapers. Read a large variety of texts from a large variety of sources. Each writer has their own method of expression, and they may break grammar rules intentionally. Read the words out loud to yourself, and organize the sentence the way that it is set up in the book/newspaper/magazine/etc.

You also need to find your own rhythm when it comes to writing. Some people, such as myself, prefer to use longer and more descriptive sentences while incorporating lots of commas. Some people prefer shorter, more blunt and to the point sentences. Some people even manage to make a fairly even blend of the two, and make it work. So find what works for you, and sounds nice when you say it out loud. Use punctuation to emphasize points, try to avoid bolds and italics for the most part as they can be distracting. Typically, you should really only use bolds when introducing a new title or subject. When you need to fragment your message a little bit by breaking it into smaller sub-subjects.

Writing should be an expression, and if there’s no feeling in the words you are creating, it will be apparent to most readers. Write what you love, and love what you write.

November 27, 2010

Opinion piece: Peace and Pacifism

continuation of this post on my other site

In a world that seems divided and overwhelmed with misery and violence, is it possible to find the source of it all? In terms of determining what is important and what isn’t, people get so caught up in the need to be right. But in knowing that each person has their own unique and different perspective on any given situation, can any one person be right? Each person’s view on a subject will be that their opinion is right, but does that mean that everyone else’s view and interpretation is wrong? I don’t think so.

If it were possible to take a step back, for everyone to take a step back, and look at the fact that everyone is right then would there still be anger and violence? Maybe, but I think it would be less. Less because others would be more accepting of different views, less because the different views would be taken as what they are instead of taken as a personal attack. If you have faith in your own views and opinions, then you would not feel attacked or put off by someone with a difference in views and opinions. Taking the defensive indicates lack of confidence in yourself, is that the message you are trying to send out?

Believing in your own opinion and your own thoughts is tantamount. Using your beliefs to attack others will only cause unrest and malcontentment. Listen to opinions with an open mind, keeping in your own mind that you can disregard the opinion if you don’t find it valid. But don’t attack others based on their opinion, differences is what make us unique and add to the depth that is humanity.

Caring for others even if you do not believe or have faith in the same things and carry the same thoughts as they do creates compassion. Compassion breeds caring and understanding. A world that is full of compassion and understanding can flourish and be sustained. Less focus on differences being negative, and create more focus on how differences can help us move forward as a species and increase our own level of humanity. Always remember that others are always open to compassion and understanding as long as they feel that they themselves are being treated with compassion and understanding.

November 26, 2010

NaNo Novel: Page 2

 Eliana eventually sat on the chair by the entrance of her hut, and began to meditate. She brought back the memories of the draft of fear and danger she felt in the field, and attempted to amplify them. Trying to make sense of it all, she focuses her thoughts towards that first instance that caught her attention; that first wave of unease that took her, even before the fear stepped in. She caught a brief flicker of something, something that she had not felt before her meditation, and she grabbed it with her mind. Pulling the thought closer, she found that it started with a person, a man; a man who had deep, dark hair like hers, and bright blue eyes like hers. This person permeated an evilness that she had never known, and it intrigued her and scared her at the same time.

A loud noise snapped her out of her focus, and she opened her eyes quickly. Too quickly, as her eyes attempted to refocus she got dizzy and nauseous. “Eliana,” a stern voice spoke firmly, “Is it true that you spoke without respect to one of the militia men?” Eliana realized before she could focus that her mother had come home. She decided to close her eyes again before answering, “Yes mother, I did.” Her mother just sighed deeply, and walked away. Eliana jumped up off the stool, having finally regained her balance and stability, and went to walk out the door. Her mother turned and looked at her, a strange look that she had never seen before, then turned back and walked further into the hut.

Eliana thought on that look for a moment, but decided that speaking to Elder Garande was pressing, and she could discuss matters with her mother later. She continued to head out the door, and walked briskly back to the Elder’s hut. She did not even look around to see who she was passing and not acknowledging. Part of her worried that she would be spoken of behind her back, but the majority of her mind was focused on getting this information to the Elder.

She slowed down just as she approached the hut she was aiming for, and slowed down to a confident stroll just a few meters away from the entrance. Leonin was still standing out in front of the door, and nodded to her as she approached. “She is free and she is expecting you,” he said in a warm voice, despite the harsh tone she had used on him only an hour or so before. “Thank you Leonin, I appreciate you passing on the message for me.” She smiled as warmly as she could at him. With that, she walked through the door, and put her left knee on the ground, leaned her forehead to her right knee and waited for acknowledgement.

“Eliana, my child, what brings you here in such a pressing manner that you would near barge in on a council sitting?” asked a deceptively frail sounding voice that held respect, contempt and frustration all at once. Eliana stayed in her kneeling position and waited the respectful three breaths before answering. “I have Seen and it was a danger,” she said calmly, “Great danger to our village, and great danger to all those alive.” The Elder was silent for a moment and then replied, “Rise, my child, and sit with me.”

Slowly and smoothly, Eliana first raised her head, keeping her eyes downcast. She then put her foot parallel to the other that was already flat on the ground, and straightened her spine upwards. Once her whole spine was straightened, she also straightened her neck and lifted her eyes to finally meet with the Elder’s. She walked confidently towards the benches, and took a seat across from Elder Garande. Maintaining eye contact was essential to earning and keeping respect among the Elders, and she had worked too hard at earning that respect to risk losing it now. She looked Elder Garande in the eyes, and kept a soft look to her eyes so as not to give away too much of the thoughts she was carrying. She did not want to worry the Elder unnecessarily and hoped that her Vision had just been her imagination. She sorely doubted it, but she continued to hope.

“Now, Eliana, tell me of this Sighting you experienced. Include every detail, and I will not interrupt,” she said quickly, and then closed her eyes to listen completely and immerse herself in the words which would come from Eliana’s mouth. So Eliana collected her thoughts quickly, closed her eyes and focused on what she had seen and felt. Then she began, “I was outside the village, about half a mile, picking wildflowers. We had not had wildflowers in our hut for so long, as the weather has not been warm enough to sustain them. I found one that was perfect, it was white with pale pink accents, and a soft yellow centre. It smelled like heaven on earth, and so I picked it and was going to put it in my hair for safe keeping.

November 25, 2010

Writing Exerpt: The Field

A dry blue haze floats inches above the ground. Small paths is the smog could be seen where an animal has walked through, oblivious to the surreality. Bright city lights could be seen from adjacent blocks, yet this field lay in the dark. People could be seen walking by, visibly avoiding the smoky field despite the fact that it would shorten their trip. There was someting about this field, so innocuous by day, that repelled visitors by night. Was there some unseen force that had taken up house? Or was it simply a trick of the eyes due to the field being completely immersed in dark? None were daring enough to find out.

It had been nearly three years since anyone had stepped foot onto that field after sunset. Three years during which that patch of grass became slowly overgrown. The number of people passing through it, even during the brightest daylight hours, had dwindled in number. Even those responsible for it’s maintenance no longer visited it. Superstitions had begun to surface, some said even looking at the field was an omen of bad luck. Only the bravest, or the most disobediant, children dared step foot on that field into the overgrown weeds and wildflowers.

November 24, 2010

Fanfiction Artwork Request: The Crow

Here is a commissioned work that I did with a friend. He made an amateur fanfiction with an original script based on the movies The Crow.

Originally drawn by hand with pencil, then edited and cleaned up using Microsoft Paint.

November 23, 2010

Page 1: NaNo Novel

A place where insanity steps towards reality spans across the world. The sky is filled with dark purple clouds, and almost appears like smog. A taller than average girl walks slowly, peacefully though a field, and stops to pick a wildflower. She brings it to her nose and pulls in a small, deep breath; a small smile crosses her lips as she inhales the pleasant aroma. Just then, appearing to be unprovoked, her eyes flash side to side and narrow. Her hair blows harshly across her face, creating a scarf effect in the wind. Her stance becomes defensive, and she looks as though she’s seen a ghost or something worse. She looks quickly around her, and realizes that there’s nothing there. The feeling of danger and worry does not dissipate, and begins to escalate. She begins to run towards her village, and glances behind her at regular intervals as she does, despite her knowledge that nothing lays behind her within the distance her vision can see.

Back at her village, she seeks out the elder. She must inform the Elders of the feeling that overtook her, and ensure that it is nothing to fret. She makes it to the Elder’s hut, and greets the men standing outside. “Is Elder Garande in?” she asks politely but briskly. “Yes, Eliana, but she is currently speaking with your mother. They must not be disturbed” said the man stationed outside, which Eliana recognized as one of the village’s militia men named Leonin. “I must speak with her, and soon. Let her know that when you can.” Eliana said quickly, and walked away without waiting for a response. Most of the young women of her village would not be permitted to speak to anyone, especially not a member of the militia, like that. But she had been known to See things before they happen, and so they tolerated her sharp way of speaking. Most of them did, that is, but not all of them. She did not much care for those who did not appreciate her difference; she had become accustomed to being looked down on.

Eliana looked different from the other members of the tribe, and she had come to accept that she was different. Her eyes shone a bright blue where others were a deep brown. Her hair was straight and pitch black, giving the appearance of absorbing any darkness and yet shining almost blindingly in the light, where others was shades of brown. Her skin was also very pale, and almost glowed in the moonlight, where the others had a deep golden tone. Even her height, which stood at 5’11”, she towered over all the women and a large majority of the men. Even her mother and father did not have the same physical aspects as her, both of them having the same physicality of the other Shroughans. Growing up, she felt very outcasted, but now she felt as though it was her purpose to be different and to help her tribe through whatever difficulties lay ahead despite being shunned and almost despised.

Being sent off by Leonin had made her skin itch, and she did not particularly appreciate being looked at with the longing eyes that she knew were following her. She felt a very strong need, almost a compulsion, to speak with Elder Garande immediately. She felt that any delays could mean devastation, but attempted to calm herself down by thinking that it could not matter that much to wait a few hours. She knew that when the Elder did not want disruptions, she did not want disruptions. So she returned to her hut, and set about tidying the already clean floor, and arranging and rearranging the furniture, just to keep her hands and mind occupied.

Elder Garande was the main Elder in her village, and she was a fierce woman at that. Having grown up in various states of civil unrest and war, she knew how to deal with all types of people from all types of background. She was a shorter woman, with age having worn away slightly at her bones, but when she spoke she may as well have been seven feet tall. Her presence was immense, and she commanded herself and the other Elders in such a way that ensured that no miscommunications could occur. Her eyes were a bright and insightful light brown, and her hair was mainly white but still maintained the dark brown wisps here and there. Her skin was surprisingly smooth for her age, and she ensured that her demeanor and speech would consistently leave people guessing at her true age.

November 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo

Ever heard of National Novel Writing Month?

I only just found out about it this past September, browsed upon it just by accident. Read up on what it’s for, and decided to go for it.

What is it? Basically, it’s a creative writing frenzy, designed to get you out of your comfort zone and into some smooth writing without editing.

Without editing? That’s right! Save the editing and the grammatical corrections for December, your main goal for November is output and word count.

You can write the worst stuff that has ever come to your mind, but it causes you to write and write and write. Makes it easier to allow ideas to come to your mind if you aren’t constantly going back over every sentence to make sure it’s grammatically correct. Get your ideas out onto paper (or the computer screen) before you worry about fixing it.

It’s a great idea.

So I’m trying it. Still a work in progress.