Food For The Soul

28 Dec

Books, books, books, books, books. For a writer books are pivotal if you want your soul to survive and stay weird and writer-y, as opposed to normal. I mean, think about it, what if our souls could survive on thoughts and feelings regarding the household, shopping, and whether or not our neighbour likes us.

No, our soul needs to swim in the energy of the worlds that we read about, the beautiful words that are constructed like an intricate sculpture. Energy we need every day or our souls will slowly dwindle down to Normal.

There are so many things good for us. So many things we should do daily, like walking/exercising, meditate, hug someone, drink water, and all that kind of nonsense. Well, I’m here to tell you that reading should be on that list too. Because if reading is on there, writing will surely follow. Trust me, I know. I’ve had the writing itch for a long time but my fingertips don’t bleed ink anymore, they’re dry. I know why. It’s because I can hardly remember the last time that I read anything other than the tests my students make. This year has been so hectic and stressful that I SHOULD have been writing my ass off, diving into other worlds and lives than my own, but the thing you really do when you get home is fall down on the sofa and find that you’re stuck to it. An invisible person has glued you to it, and that invisible person is called Stress.

Now it’s the Christmas holiday and I have a moment to breathe. More importantly, I get to read! And wow, have I missed it. Also, now the writing muscle needs training again. Why not start with a blog post? (I have missed you, Bloggy.) And after that, work on a story, no matter how rubbish I may have gotten with all that slacking off.

Then again, it really does help to remind myself, that writers don’t need to write in order to write. And any time my mind has wondered off (and it has done so often) conjuring up images of tough chicks, lonely detectives, murders, unusual people, and unexplained situations, I have been writing. I HAVE BEEN WRITING.

Magical Realism Writing Prompts

6 Aug

What reality doesn’t need some magic? I know all the ones in my head do, so here are some writing prompts to jazz up your imagination with some magic…

#1 The Jar
Your main character has moved into a new home on a plot of land and discovers a mysterious jar under the porch. The jar lights up when touched. What is it? And what does it do to the character?

#2 Flower Girl
Your MaC’s car trouble land him/her in a field of flowers where a girl is picking them. She claims the flowers sing and talk to her and she can make your MaC hear it too. Does your MaC accept that offer? Oops, too late. The little girl has touched your MaC, causing them to hear the flowers and a bunch of other side effects…

#3 Black Cat
Your MaC has a heap of personal problems and on top of that hits a black cat. It is seriously injured and your MaC takes the cat home to take care of it. As soon as it starts to heal it transforms into a person of the opposite sex. What happens with this new friendship?

Have fun writing. Magic is everywhere! *quill turns into an owl and flies away* Hey!

Love Is In The Air

26 May

A good love story is not that hard to find. An original love story, well, that’s a whole other story. Pun intended but really not that funny, I’m sorry.

All my stories contain a love story even if they are not the centre of my character-driven novels. Usually the main plot contains some sort of mystery, preferably one involving the involuntary death of a character. Or, like in my current WIP, the finding of one’s place as an unusual person in a world that promotes The Normal.

I’m a romantic at heart and the characters that visit my mind are interesting and fun, so of course characters are going to fall in love. How could I stop them, even if I wanted to? So yes, love. And since I’m a romantic, it would have to be romantic, wouldn’t it? Preferably even beautiful. This seems a tall order since love is a theme that will never bleed out. The key, like with any topic, is to keep it fresh and original. Like all my novels, I want this part to also be special. Again, tall order, I know. It’s really hard to that, even if you’ve read a lot, watched a lot, KNOW a lot about what is out there.

My latest WIP for instance, has a couple that you root for. Two characters that you feel  should be together. That’s already a triumph. There’s also enough tension and cute moments, as well as enough obstacles that mess with their happiness. Also good. But the ending is the cherry on top. The moment where all the swirls of different colours create the rainbow. Of course they will get a happy ending, but what kind? A kiss in the rain? Done before. A kiss on a dragon while the world around them is on fire? Not done before, but my story is magical realism, not fantasy. (Although maybe that has also been done before…I haven’t read that much fantasy. If it hasn’t been done before and you write fantasy, DO IT.)

The ending is the part I struggle the most with and to be honest, it’s why I had trouble getting back to writing. I put too much pressure to have a perfect, original ending for them. I decided to do what one always does when wanting to finish a story. I WROTE. Characters usually know what to do, they know themselves better than I do sometimes and I have to trust them. I just watch them and write it down. If I’m not happy with it afterwards, I’ll edit that one scene, but at least I’ll have something to edit. Also, it doesn’t hurt that in the meantime I can brainstorm, which really is like a storm when I do it. Chairs flying around and everything. This is why I work with snacks.

There will always be snacks.

Like a River

26 Apr

Like a river let it flow. And so it should be when it comes to the writing flow. It should be a continuous stream of words, metaphors, phrases, and other wordy contraptions that lock in the reader’s imagination.

The more time you spend away from your loyal, slightly panicked characters the more your head starts to fill (and get clogged) with utter nonsense such as: Where did I put my keys? (If you don’t think about it, usually they magically appear in the last place you put them.) What should I have for dinner? (Cookies. The answer is always cookies.) If I stare directly into the sun for a minute, would I really go blind? (The answer is yes. Don’t try it. It has to do with the huge amount of light that your eye is not capable of filtering. Or something.) Was that a deer I hit, or a person? (Okay, just took a major dark turn.) But who needs these silly questions when you can be wondering about the colour of your main character’s hair, or the deep rooted childhood issues they have. Why is Susie planning on killing her hubby when all he seems to do is dote on her? Far more important than any other questions, don’t you think?

Let’s just write first, think later. Because before you know it, the water has slipped through your fingers and all your words with it. They’ll break on the hard rocks of reality and that would be such a waste, because you’re the reason they existed in the first place. If you find yourself out of the flow, grab a motorboat and head back out there. Do the time and the words will come once again, like hungry fish. Blup blup.

river

Themes Make the Story Go Around

19 Feb

Like a carousel with haunting horses and dark chariots.

Some people might think that themes are unnecessary creativity stifling monsters that force you to actually think about your story and go deep, but since when are those bad things? There’s something to be said for just writing, and thinking can sometimes block you. However, there will be moments, especially at the start of a story, that your mind will block because you HAVEN’T thought about your story. Every character needs a main reason to do what they do and be who they are. It’s the same for the story itself. What drives the story? Including all its characters combined. It’s the base, the centre. Without that, the story won’t spin around.

I’ll give an example. At some point a writing bug caught me and I started working on a story involving a weird circus. I was inspired by an image and really wanted to create something wondrous to do that image justice. However, I was stuck after four pages. Why? Because of the theme. What was this story about? What did I want the characters to learn? To achieve? What was the point of it all? I’d put the curious girl and her fearful friend in the circus. They’d seen exotic animals without leashes, a mirror hall that showed strange reflections, and circus people that could give Lady Gaga a run for her money. But what was I going to do with them afterwards? I had just thrown them in there without instructions. Poor characters.

I find it difficult to think of a theme. I find it extremely difficult to think of where they are going. Yet, if I want to do my story justice (and I do), then I have to brainstorm on this. I have to figure them out. I have to put the story and its characters on that sofa and ask them psychologist-y questions, travel deep into their minds with pickaxes because that is kind of what writers do. And isn’t it wonderful?

Writing Prompt: Time

10 Jan

1. Your character is running late for an important job interview. On his way he sees a woman being harassed. What does he do and what are the consequences?

 

2. Someone shows up in your character’s living room claiming to be from the future and he warns her that she’s in danger.

 

3. Your character finds a device that can rewind time up to 24 hours. How does he or she start using this? Write that scene.

giphy watch

 

Resolutions

3 Jan

The end of every year is always the beginning of a new one. For many people that means they dust off those old resolutions, or produce new ones.

Personally I don’t really feel for resolutions. I promise myself things throughout the year depending on what happens. For instance, I still haven’t gotten around to finishing all my drafts. Some are more finished than others, but the wish still stands. Moving into my apartment kind of threw a wrench into it, so the first ‘resolution’ is to finish my office. I still need a desk, desk chair and desk lamp. Other than that, I’m all set.

Next is of course finishing all my drafts and starting a new WIP. I also plan on querying my magical realism novel. I’m also getting extra ninja readers to reread my earlier drafts to see if there is some major remodelling to be done. The longer it has been since you’ve last read it, the better to spot the improvements.

After not having written in what feels like forever, these will be fun. So, what will yours be?

 

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