When Wonder is Lost

Wonder is not an impermanent thing.

Inside each of us resides that soft, seeking light, reaching out through our senses and connecting with its brothers and sisters, emanating from all the things around us. By its guidance we seek to unfold mysteries and bring dreams to life. This light is wonder.

Wonder is not lost all at once.

Slowly it becomes less easy to see other lights. Then, one day, you reach for your own light so you can create, and find that it has gone out.

No. It hasn’t gone out. You have built a labyrinth, with your wonder at the center, and you are lost, lost, lost. You have surrounded it with a wall of shields, spearheads glinting sharp in every opening and crevice. You have mounted curtains, sheer and delicate, around it, and they are too holy to be parted. The veil must not be lifted; the bride must not be kissed; the virgin must not make love.

Wonder is something you steal from yourself.

You realize that you can’t reach it, that barriers have been made. Without it, you can’t find the ambition to weave through the maze, battle the guard, tear the veil. You are empty and dull. All you have is routine. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. You have no eyes.

Wonder will always be there.

You have no reason for existence, but you continue to exist because it is still there, somewhere deep and dark and cold. Someday you will find it again. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Still, some day.

Warming Up for Writing

Some writers (specifically, college students) don’t have time to write every day. Whether you have five papers to write, a VBS skit and three new songs to memorize in the next four hours, a house to clean before your sister’s birthday party (because no one cleans for their own birthday party… or so they say…), or working dawn to dusk, some days are made for collapsing in exhaustion instead of forcing yourself to stay up an extra half hour and write.

The above will be disputed by some writers with more steel in their adenosine receptors and less kittens than I have. They are entitled to their methods. I accept that I am lazy and overly fond of sleeping on couches and in my sister’s sleeping bag. I am also fond of air conditioning.

To return to the yet-to-be-manifested point, some of us write in waves. In between waves of words, we may fall out of touch with our characters’ voices, our narrative style, or our story in general.

Just like warming up your violin or vocal cords, sometimes you need to warm up your writing.

Lots of writers do little exercises or warm-ups to get them into their writing for the day… I just can’t remember any names. Here are a few different exercises to try.

1) Write a poem around a visual or emotional theme from your story.

2) Write a diary entry about a previous event in your story from the perspective of a minor character.

3) Write a descriptive paragraph using only adjectives that start with B.

You get the picture. In my case, I write little poems or maxims to get me in the right groove (thinking of records, here). I have a gorgeous little diary with gold sakura blossoms stamped on it, and I use it for my poems and sayings. I love journals… I use different journals for everything, and I always ask for “cute journals” for Christmas and my birthday.

How do you get in the groove for writing? Do you read through the previous scene or two? Do an exercise or warm-up? Listen to specific music? How do you find your story zone?

Cheers!

Inspiration and Story Origin

Every story is, at its core, a single thought or image. Often, this thought or image is the original inspiration of the story.

As I wade through the wisdom within Stephen King’s On Writing, I have resonated with certain ideas he puts forth. One of these, as previously states, that a story is born from a single precious piece. This piece might be an image, a thought (commonly called a “what if”), or a dream. The common factor within these, which is the spark of the story, is the wondrous excitement it causes you, the writer. The kindling which you can’t help but light.

In this sense, I suppose writers are similar to pyromaniacs. Ehehe.

I have also come to the conclusion that a story burns out when the writer loses sight of the origin which made them want to write the story in the first place. I know this is commonly the case with me. I love worldbuilding… but I get so complex that I lose sight of the magical idea I wanted to write about and get lost in the details. Details are poisoned arrows. I am highly susceptible to poison. Therefore, getting lost in the details effectively kills my stories.

In hopes of preventing this from happening, I am making a resolution. Whenever I come up with a new story, I will write down the inspiration and story origin. Whenever I sit down to write the story, I will first review the ISO. If I start to divulge in details which draw me away from the ISO, I will simplify.

What do you do to keep a story from dying? Where do you keep the original wonder?

 

Cheers!

The Aspect of Mystery

Why does a reader read a book? Why does he start it? Continue it? Plow through to the end? What is it that tantalizes him so that a unique series of words entices him to invest in perusing and understanding them?

As with most questions dealing with mental processes, there are several answers. Today I would like to focus on the aspect of mystery.

I am an avid reader, but I don’t read books just because they are popular or recommended. And while I do read successful books that don’t necessarily appeal to me as a study of my craft, I also read for pleasure. What pleasures me is the pursuit of knowledge.

Did I ever mention that I am so Erudite it makes me feel guilty?

So, when I read a book for pleasure, I pick it up because I am interested in the knowledge I can accrue through it. In other words, I read a book because it is a puzzle, a mystery, for me to solve. I read it because I want to discover a new way of looking at a particular subject, or the answer to a riddle of story the author has laid out which I cannot solve simply by reading the back cover (which is possible, by the way.) I read a book because of its aspect of mystery.

What are some of your favorite books? Why did you choose to read them? What is the aspect of mystery in them which intrigued you as you read, or was the cause for your reading?

Belle’s Genre Definition List

Note: this is not ment to be a comprehensive list. XD

Contemporary–normal stuff in dramatic mode

Dystopian–future twisted societies with control issues

Fantasy–magic stuff

Historical–stuff that happened way back when…really

Mystery–smart (or dumb) people puzzling over theft, kidnapping, murder, et cetera

Romance–lots of angst and kissing

Science Fiction–techie stuff, not necessarily limited to starships and intergalactic wars

Supernatural Thriller–Angels and Demons in various forms

Young Adult–starring teen(s) with identity issues or love triangles

 

Cheers!

Akane: Warrior

Variety D. Discipline 401 in progress.

Project Kitsune

A top secret government organization producing lab specimens demonstrating particular abilities in hopes of forming stealth agents capable of tracking and observing a mysterious rising power.

Security Grade Omega-Sigma

This is really secret stuff. It even has Greek letters.

Variety D

This variety of stealth agent was developed to be a distraction. It is most highly skilled in Set 4 of the Disciplines.

Subject 1.0

First generation stealth agent. Neither parent is a stealth agent. Preferred Name: Akane. Codename: Pele.

Discipline 401

The lowest level of Set 4 of the Disciplines. Commonly called Destruct Mode. Subject is able to produce a phosphorescent substance of red and orange hues which burns like acid.

Discipline 402

The second level of Set 4 of the Disciplines. Commonly called Healing Mode. Subject is able to produce a phosphorescent substance of blue and purple hues which acts as a trigger for swift healing.

Discipline 403

The highest level of Set 4 of the Disciplines. Commonly called Creative Mode. Subject is able to produce a phosphorescent substance of green and yellow hues which replicates any inorganic object contained within it.

What Happens After June?

June is coming to an end. After the pressure and pain–which is synonymous to the joy of creation for most writers–what comes next?

For me, it will be a composting period. I will be splitting my time between Red Flower and Shining Moon, building my worlds and finding the stories within them. The reason?

I have no idea what the stories actually are.

Oh yes, I have a vague idea of a government defense project gone wrong for one, and a war with three sides for the other, but those are just the basis around which each story must be built. Therefore, Red Flower and Shining Moon (or Project Kitsune, or Operation Kitsune, or Kitsune Initiative, or whatever I decide to call it) are going into composting mode.

I believe there are three pieces to the puzzle of being a writer.

The first is enjoyment. You have to love what you are doing, and be excited about you are writing. If you don’t enjoy writing it, no one is going to enjoy reading it. Also, if you are excited about what you are writing, you will produce much faster and at a higher quality level. I discovered all this a few weeks ago, when I switched from Zuki’s POV to Sam’s POV. I was excited about writing from Zuki’s POV, and discovering the mysterious world of Yokai Academy with her. When I tried to insert Sam’s POV, though, I got majorly stuck. It’s not that his voice wasn’t interesting…I just didn’t get him. I didn’t understand him, and I didn’t really care about him.

The second piece is regularity. You have to write every day, or you’ll fall into the same trap I did, which was the I’ll-just-go-to-this-BBQ-and-catch-up-on-writing-tomorrow trap. I also went to the Avengers movie at a drive-in theater. Twice. Hey, drive-in theaters are a vanishing form of…er…movie watching. So write every day. But don’t just write whenever. Experiment, until you find the time, length of time, and place at which you are the most productive.

The third and final piece is knowledge. Know what you are doing! Take the time, before you start writing, to think about what you’re going to write for the day. Before you start your writing time, do your research and find out all the little details you need. Make a few notes about eyecolor on post-its and stick them on your computer screen. Well, that’s not exactly what I do, but I’m not a pantser, so….

In conclusion–heheh…I hate that phrase–I am going to spend the next few weeks putting together the pieces. Knowledge, regularity, enjoyment.

And character sketches. Literal character sketches.

 

Cheers!