Tag Archive | Writing

Words

Who knew words were so difficult to work with right? I’m pretty good at writing… spontaneously. Free writing. It’s so easy. Just allow the thoughts to flow into words. But writing papers for Humanities classes is so much harder. Even if you have good content, the style can trip you- passive voice and weak verbs and all that good stuff. I don’t think I would mind nearly so much about those details if it weren’t for the page minimum.

I’m rewriting my art analysis. It was really hard to get a lot of content for my essay, because the artist we looked at had a very simple style. It was hard to pick at the details, because he didn’t include a lot of detail. After I picked apart line, color, scale, form, and style as best I could, I still needed more to make the four page minimum. The only thing I could think up to do was fluff up the words. Which is not good writing. I could probably write a better paper if I disregarded the page minimum. But I can’t stand to do that. I very much like to do things right, and that includes getting the page minimum. Now we’re editing, and I’m trying to take the fluff out of the words while keeping the page length. It’s not fun.

This is why I admire people who are so good with words, like Shakespeare and poets. I like the way comedians play with words. Or those famous quotes; the ones where people say a lot in few words. This again is Shakespeare: “How well he’s read, to reason against reading!” or “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”

I wonder if coming up with those things were painstaking. It’s painstaking for me to chose exactly the way I will word things in papers and such. Journaling is easy. I have often wondered of ‘journalling’ would be considered a talent. It wouldn’t seem so to me, since it is rather easy for me. But some people say they aren’t really good at journaling, so maybe it is. But I can’t believe that being able to free-write is nearly so great a talent as what it takes to write a good paper for a Humanities class.

Creative people rattle my mind

I wrote to my brother about my art, how I was feeling good about it until last Saturday. You may recall the mood I was in when I wrote that day. And Ben, like the awesome guy that he is, wrote back regaurding my artwork. He said that “art standing by itself is almost invariably of less value than art applied to something.” After illustrating this point, he gave this advice; “If I were to give you a suggestion it would be to see what you can do by way of combining your ability to create images with your desire to create a faerie tale feel, probably aming for an effective child’s story. Keep the story/writing simple and short and remember that it does not have to make sense completely to use your images to tell much of it.”

My first reaction was, “Oh my goodness, he thinks I should write children’s books.” Anybody who has actually been keeping up with my blog posts may recall that I have ranted about this before. Teachers and other people have told me that I could write and illustrate children’s books. I don’t quite remember what I said in that earlier blog post, but it was probably something on the lines of “Have you guys loooked at any children’s books lately?” Maybe I grew up to Dad reading The Eleventh Hour as a bedtime story. Have you guys read any Greame Base books? You should. They are gorgeous. But anyway, my mental reaction to the claim that I could write and illustrate children’s books has always been, “Don’t be rediculous.”

But I tend to give my brother a bit more credibility than my teachers or the ladies at my church. Because he’s seen the process. As I’ve said before, the experience that the creater has is way different than the one on the recieving end of things. Maybe I also give him more credibilty because he didn’t outright say ‘you could write children’s books.’ He always has an interesting way of wording things. And maybe it is also because he doesn’t imply that what I do could or should be published. It makes the suggestion less of a ‘don’t be rediculous’ kind of thing.

 

Well, I pondered what he said, and seeing as I’m having a bit of an artist block (featured guys are not nearly as easy to work with as featured females), I decided to look up Greame Base. This is so me. If all else fails, do a google search. So I googled him. And it turned out to be really interesting. Something you must know about me is that I love ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. I love watching special features and commentaries on movies, I love looking at all the background information that they give you on your program when you go to see a performance, and I like interviews and documentaries that talk about the creative process. I love, love, love it. I just eat it up. And I found an interview with Greame Base.

Such a neat experience. I mean, when you’re a kid (well actually, I think I was an early teen when I read some Greame Base books other than The Eleventh Hour) and you are looking at all these beautiful pictures (and they are gorgeous) it doesn’t usually occur to you that, “Hey, I could just hop on youtube and actually see this guy’s face and hear him describe to us who he is and how is work is created.” It just brings things a little closer. And the interview ended with a certain website (www.authormagazine.org) and there I listened to two more interviews; Tamora Pierce- who’s books I haven’t read, but I remember seeing her name as I walk through the selves of the library, and Louis Sachar- who wrote the Wayside School stories and will always have a place in my heart for that reason. And that was especially interesting, because not only have I read those books, but I’ve heard his voice reading those books on the book on C.D that I was listening to a few weeks ago. So I read his books, then heard his voice, and the interview was a video, so I could see his face. Also while I was at this site, I read an artical titled; Writing Sucks, Don’t Do It. Or something like that.

Facinating. Especially these people who make a living off of their creative works. That is crazy. It takes… faith, for lack of a better term than ‘crazy.’ Like Louis Sachar, when he was talking about being torn between law and writing and how he kept thinking, “I should get a job, I should get a job.” And then he said, “And I kept telling myself that for four years.” Then he realized that he had already made his decision, so he should stop kicking himself about it. Wow.

 

Creative people are crazy, but I have the highest respect for them. Moreso when I realize how crazy they are. It makes me wonder about the stuff I do. Maybe if I’m to actually do something with this, I’m going to have to be a bit more passionate.

I just remembered something from National Treasure.

Ben: “Go one step short of crazy, what do you get?”

Wriley: “…. Obsessed?”

Ben: “Passionate.”

Yep. So here I am knocked in to a contemplative stupor. Again. Human beings amaze me. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio” and all that. And this was all put into motion by something my brother said in an e-mail. It’s all so very… interesting.

 

Scheherazade

Last night I was thinking about how I would like to write a story. Not so much because I like writing, but I like stories- and I would like to have one to play around with. I would really like to write a fairy tale, or a fairy tale retelling, or a story that took place in a world that combined fairy tales.

Well, a lot of my freethinking happens at night, when I’m laying in bed before I go to sleep. And for some reason I was thinking about Scheherazade. It’s not as random as you think. The other day I did a wikipedia search on ‘folklore.’ I just wanted to know what constitutes ‘folklore,’ and if I could find some examples of stories or something. And it had a list of links, to help you understand the differences between fairy tales, fables, myths, ledgends, anecdotes, etc. And somewhere in one of those links, I saw a link to Scheherazade. I knew, of course, that she was she told a thousand stories over a thousand and one nights, so that she wouldn’t be killed by her husband who killed all of his wives the morning after he married. ‘Well that’s pleasent,’ I thought. But I couldn’t quite remember why he had the urge to have all of these beheadings, so I looked it up. Apparently, he was upset because one day he discovered his wife had not been faithful to him. So then he would marry a virgin, and kill her the next day before she could be unfaithful to him.

Apparently, the guy takes the Queen of Hearts solution to his anger management problems.

Anyway, I was thinking about this last night, and I thought that the way you would turn the story into something more kid-friendly was to say that the reason Scheherazade had to tell a thousand tales was not so that she could save her life, but she had to do it to save his life. Save his life from what, you may ask. Well, in my kid-friendly story, the King is just so weighed down with the burden of being king, that he is resolved to run away and join the circus the next day. His wife isn’t too happy when she hears this. They had an arranged marriage, and they didn’t really know eachother beforehand, but the queen- Scheherazade, really likes the King and she doesn’t want him to leave her (the king is totally oblivious to the fact that his wife has a crush on him). So she tells him the stories, and then stops in the middle, so that he doesn’t run away to join the circus the next day so that he can hear the rest of the story. She keeps doing this, and by the time the silly fool catches on, he has started to love his wife too and doesn’t want to leave her.

Yeah, I know. The things I come up with just before dropping off to sleep. Hey, I never claimed stories were my forte. But I typed it up nevertheless. I actually set it up as a sort of frame story. A girl asks her Dad to tell her the story of Scheherazade, and her Dad tells her this story- which he considers more appropriate for a six-year-old than the original. If I ever did come up with more stories, or modified versions of stories, then I figure they would also be told as bedtime stories to her. If the style of the story is different (for instance, I can play one fairy tale retelling straight or do a parody- with a more comic spin to it) then the reason why they are different is because she asked someone else to tell her a story.

I figure if I keep this up… it may be another fifty years before I can create a story (or enough short stories) that’s actually any good. It may only be thirty years before I create some artwork that is really good.

The problem with love triangles

Just a note of caution: I’m sorry if this sounds really opinionated when I don’t have a lot of credibility. I have no experience writing, I’m just expressing an opnion based off of what I read and have read.

I have this thing about love triangles. They can work- but you have to be really skilled in order to get them to work for me.  Usually the love trinagle is with two guys and one girl. So, being a girl myself, my first question is “Okay, what is it about her that gets her two guys when some of us are still trying to get one.” But then there is also the idea that in a love triangle, there is always somebody who loses. One of the guys will not get the girl. So what if she doesn’t get the guy you would have preferred to get? I always find it rather irking when that happens. It’s slightly less irritating when she does get the guy you’re chearing for. But that’s still tricky ground. I don’t want the triumph of getting the couple together ruined by having me pitying or sympathising with the loser. If we don’t like the loser, why on earth was the main character girl entertaining his affections? (Also, if she’s two-timing, I lose respect for the character). If the main character isn’t drawn to both of the guys, it not exactly a love triangle.

I suppose there are ways to do it right. But as I’ve said, it takes skill and I think it’s too easy for love triangles to be used as a cheap trick to create tension in a love story (that’s the part I thought might sound a bit opinionated when I have no credibility). I personally like there to be one guy, one guy I get to chear for and will end up with the girl in the end. If you want to keep me interested without using the ‘tension’ of a love triangle, then make the characters fun. I have a special fondness for witty banter. Whatever works in the given situation. My understanding is that the characters sort of work things out themselves. I wouldn’t know entirely, I don’t write. But when it comes to reading, there is much I prefer to  love triangles.