WriterWoes #10 – Tug-o-warring

This post is partly, if not entirely, inspired by my roommate. She got me thinking, you see, during one of our bullshit trade-offs. You know, those trade-offs between friends that have nothing left of interest to talk about after years of breathing the same stale air and then have to kill that stale air with enough hot air that the staleness is pushed to the floor, subjugated by physics?

Anyway, this particular time, my roomie provided me with an image that I needed to get down on paper and share with others – now.

Without further ado, I present to you……….

*drum roll*

…..… the Tug-o-war between Missus Writer and Sire Brain!

 

Mode 1 – Missus Writer vs. Sire Brain

MS: “Sooo… anything good happening over there? Hm? Hmhmhmhm?”

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Mode 2 – “Sire Brain vs. Missus Writer”

SB: “Hey! You! Heeeeeyyee…. balabalabalabala—”

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They say that miscommunication is part and parcel in a relationship, which leads me to believe that I’m in a relationship with my own brain. If I dare peek at it, it cowers in a corner, and if I leave it alone to fend for itself, it springs on me when I least expect it. Or, god forbid, when I have no time for it. Now, this doesn’t just happen with writing, I know. This is just how a brain works, I suppose, with a lot of things.

But, but, but, but— when my brain decides to spring on me with a plot twist that demands I change the last fifty chapters of my novel…. or when it decides to shut the door on me and my deadline… weeeellll……..

My brain never stops working with words and stories.

Rather, it alternates between modes of working with words and stories.

Tug-o-warring.

I do wonder how this will look on a brain scan…

I’d ask Sire Brain, but that might undermine my argument, so let’s leave it at that, shall we?

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Liebster (Discover New Blogs) Award!

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Ah, so I got nominated for the Liebster Award. Which I had no idea existed. Whatsoever. At all. So, yes, that took me by surprise. But by nice surprise, of course! And it’s all thanks to the lovely, talented Storyspiller! Make sure to give the blog a peek. If it counts for anything, it has my stamp of approval. Anyway, on with the (award)show!

The rules of this award:
1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs.
5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer

My answers:

1. What is the first moment you remember from your life?

I honestly don’t know if this is a true memory or not, but I have a very vivid memory of crying in my stroller, staring up at the sky, having lost my pacifier, supposed to sleep, but now upset that nobody can hear me and haven’t picked me up…. Like I said; I have no idea if this is fabricated or not, but regardless, it’s there in my memory.

2. What was your last milestone?

… Paying my bills, feeling real good at adulting.

3. What is your favorite cuisine?

Danish traditional cuisine, particularly fish.

4. If you could give a speech to the whole world what would you talk about?

Not myself. For the love of god, not myself.

5. Do you like fried or baked?

I just… love food… both fried and baked.

6. Brown or white rice?

White for Asian dishes, definitely. And for fish. Brown for, well, meats?

7. Favorite disney movie?

Beauty and the Beast – no other contender for the spot. Also, I’m a feminist by nature, so no, don’t get me started on the Stockholm Syndrome debate here.

8. Who’s your favorite author?

Hmmm. Maybe if I had a starting letter, I could choose from the dozens of authors that I wholeheartedly love? No? Let’s see… Stephen King for horror, Diana Gabaldon for historical romance/drama/sci-fi, Neil Gaiman for whatever the hell his core genre is, Laurell Hamilton for supernatural, Charlotte Brönte and William Faulkner and Ray Bradbury for classical lit, Lisa See for historical with Asian focus, Jay Kristoff for YA (the only YA author I’ll read nowadays), Ai Yazawa for manga…… erm… yeah, I better stop now…

9. What kind of magazines do you read? 

Online literary ones. But I was never that great of a magazine reader, truth be told. Do comics count as books or magazines? Or, wait, they’d be a genre on their own, wouldn’t they?

10. If you could go anywhere where would you go?

Into a book. Or computer game. Or a movie. Anything with a good, fantastical narrative.

11. If you had your own mythical animal which one would it be? (Animals from books count)

Don’t know if this counts as a mythical “animal”, per se, but here goes: the specific yōkai from Japanese folklore that floats around and licks ceilings. I’d like to float around and lick the ceilings of my enemies.

11 Random facts ’bout me:
  1. I paint as a secondary hobby.
  2. I’m a master of lies.
  3. I decided to learn Japanese recently… I now live to regret it.
  4. I’m a longtime lover of K-pop and K-drama. (And J. And Chinese.)
  5. I love writing to the flicker and flame of candlelight.
  6. I wish I dared taking singing lessons.
  7. I also wish I knew how to ride a horse.
  8. I have weird, soft nails that grows in curves rather than straight.
  9. I recently chopped off half of my hair, including every last bit of dye. I now carry my own hair color for the first time since thirteen years old. And the color is not at all what I spent the last fourteen years thinking it was, meaning boring and bland. What a waste of money, right?
  10. I began my writing career as a writer of fanfiction.
  11. I prefer craft beer to white wine, but I prefer red wine to white wine.
Blogs I nominate:

https://rltierney.com/

https://simplesoulsister.com/

https://piecesandpapers.wordpress.com/

https://sawritingsblog.wordpress.com/

https://fictioncafe.net/

https://lowfrequenciesatnight.wordpress.com/

https://orchidslantern.wordpress.com/

https://aplikestowrite.wordpress.com/

https://jccauthon.wordpress.com/

https://weedstoash.wordpress.com/

https://randomroamings.wordpress.com/

My questions:
  1. What is your favorite type of weather?
  2. Do you like licorice – as in, real black licorice?
  3. What other language(s) do you wish to learn?
  4. What is the most comforting sound you can think of right now?
  5. Have you ever considered a name change for whatever reason?
  6. Which book do you hate the most?
  7. Who’s your favorite author?
  8. Christmas or New Years?
  9. Travel by plane or by ferry?
  10. What color highlighting pen do you prefer?
  11. If you could live a day of no consequences, what misdeed would you do first?

That’s it! I’ve not been very active lately, but this nomination finally seemed to set things into gear once more. It was super fun, too! And as for the blogs I’ve nominated, I’m crossing my fingers that you choose to participate in this bit of innocent fun. Promoting each other, especially fledgling and growing bloggers, is an honorable thing to spend one’s time on, is it not? As far as I understood, the blogs that I nominate has to have less than 1000 followers, so even if they aren’t actually new in terms of time, they are new in terms of deserved recognition. And new to me, as well, and hopefully now new to you!

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LivelyLightbulbs #1

“Don’t rely on the bulb to light up on its own; power it yourself!”

I longed for a series that was less about my writings and more about what drives the creative process behind it.

Thus, lo and behold, LivelyLightbulbs came into sweet cyberspace existence!

Now, where to start – authors, music, painters, sculptors… food… ferrets?

Well, this is a writing blog, so it would be proper to focus on authors at first, but, in all honesty, I’d rather focus on what inspires me at this very moment.

And at this very moment, my inspiration comes from watercolors!

Or, more precisely, my first ever foray into watercolors (sans childhood dabbling)!

Having painted with acrylics all my life, developing an abstract and impressionistic style, I’ve felt attracted to watercolors for some time. Despite the difference in texture and feel, they have some of the same characteristics that abstract acrylics do, so I guess that my interest in them should not be a surprise.

With acrylics, I paint wet-on-wet.

As such, with watercolors, I decided on doing the same…

… after doing a bit of research on watercolor techniques.

At first, before doing research, I tried to wing it, just for fun, figuring that after a lifetime of acrylics I had to at least be able to make something of worth. Please look at the result below:


Now, please look at the result after I did a bit of research:

Needless to say, I was severely disappointed in myself with the first result, which then resulted in the second result… and then my disappointment was washed away – so yay!

Anyway, I’ve always worked best with warm and earthy tones, something that obviously also comes into play this time around – and something that will likely never change.

What does painting, be it watercolor or acrylics, do for me, then, in regards to writing?

Painting makes my brain go creatively blank in a way that writing does not.

Painting, for me, is centered on color-play and less on motifs.

Also, for me, impressionism and abstract art rely heavily on emotion.

With emotion, I can let my brain go completely blank in a way that I can’t when I write – for obvious reasons, of course, with plot structure being a main reason for that.

This “creative blankness” of my painting brain offers me a respite from intellectual thinking that thus reinvigorates my writing brain, inspiring me to return to my writing with renewed energy!

That, I feel, is grand inspiration, even if it isn’t the kind where I can step forward and say “painting this *insert-blank* inspired a sad mood within me that inspired a scene within my novel!” Now, this is the kind of inspiration that I want viewers of my art to have, but not necessarily the kind of inspiration that I myself get from crafting the piece of art. Not that there’s anything wrong with that kind of inspiration. I myself also experience that kind. Just not when I write, that is.

And… I think that’s it?

Yup – that’s it.

I’m outta words.

For now.

underskrift

 

 

 

WriterWoes #8 – On writing fanfiction…

I recently read an article by Cara Diaconoff, in The Writer’s Chronicle, in which Diaconoff speaks for the inclusion of fanfiction into professional creative writing workshops.

As you’ve probably guessed… that’s what this post will be about…

So, now, let your eyes feast upon Diaconoff’s words as cited below!

“Taking fanfiction seriously leads to a productive interrogation of the concepts of originality, influence and intertextuality (…) Fanfiction writers are, in a sense, super-readers. To write successful fanfiction requires not only the traditional creative writing skills of crafting compelling characters and effectively deploying point of view and voice, but also a high degree of critical and rhetorical sophistication.”

“[Fanfiction writers must have] a complex sense of how texts operate in the world – a deep understanding of how literary and cinematic works construct, teach and manipulate their audiences.”  

(p. 66-67, 2016, The Writer’s Chronicle 49 (1))

So, yes, Diaconoff’s support of fanfiction prompted me to address this matter myself.

Or, that is to say, the matter has been on my mind for years, but Diaconoff’s article prompted me to add my own two cents, here, on my blog.

Now, be justly warned, my two cents are strongly biased!

I grew up in the online fanfiction/fandom community as both an avid consumer and contributor.

You can say, I suppose, that while I always had an interest in writing, fanfiction was where my interest in English writing truly began to flourish. It became my outlet where I could develop my English writing skills and understanding beyond that of my formal schooling. Indeed, as a self-taught writer of my foreign language, the fanfiction community was my primary English teacher aside from what kinda-sparse schooling that I had.

I’ve been a part of that world for about ten years now.

I know everything that there is to know – quiz me, if you want – and I am overjoyed to see that fanfiction is, at last, gaining the recognition that it deserves by professionals and academics.

Now – yes – I am fully aware that the Fifty Shades trilogy is based on Twilight fanfiction.

And – yes – I have read both.

It is my personal opinion that while the Fifty Shades series has done extremely well commercially – possibly thanks to the fanfiction community back when the series was self-published and not yet backed by major publishing houses and media outlets – it is not necessarily the best indicator of what you may find, out there, in the vast world of fanfiction. Not in regards to the erotica element – don’t get me wrong; nothing is “wrong” with that – but in regards to quality, style and voice.

With no professional editors at hand (beta-readers notwithstanding), there is admittedly a lot of Subpar Fanfiction on the internet…

… but there is also a lot of Good Fanfiction ready for reading.

Good Fanfiction has quality, style and a voice of its own. Most importantly, it requires literary intelligence and a deep understanding of intertextuality. As Diaconoff says in her article, it is not an easy task to take something made by someone else and make it your own, but that is exactly what Good Fanfiction does.

I myself started out writing Subpar Fanfiction.

Then I progressed to Good Fanfiction with the help of a supportive community (some of which have now become dear longtime friends to me). This, of course, also included a lot of “learning-by-doing” and “trial-and-error” cases, but, embarrassing as those were, they also made me the writer that I am today, ten years down the line.

So, tell me, please, is that not enough reason to start accrediting fanfiction for what it does – for the fledgling writers that it nurtures – rather than for what it, as some people argue, doesn’t do?

Besides, imitation is the best form of flattery – and, really, when is anything ever fully original in this day and age?

 

WriterWoes #6 – Flash Fiction: a fear of formats?

So, this is a problem – or maybe something less severe than a problem, but still a problem – that I’ve come across lately, both here on my own blog, but also elsewhere. Whereas story formats like the novel and the short story are as old as time, there are the newer formats which have become popular due to the rise of digitalization, the information age, and any other spiffy term that indicates the 2000s. These are the “easily digestible” formats; the ones that offer instant gratification, because for some reason, a lot of millennials know nothing of patience.

Also, I’m twenty-six years old, mind you, which makes me a millennial, and yet I am old enough to know the patience of dial-up internet.

So, what am I saying here?

Well, I’m really trying to put words to the fickleness of the newer story formats that I myself engage in.

When is it a six-word story, and when is it a writing prompt?

What makes it a drabble, and what makes it a vignette?

Can a fifty-word story be 51, or must it be 50 characters?

Also, Twitterature, people – huh?

What about fanfiction and fandoms; what part have they played in this, if any?

Working with the flash fiction format, here, on my own blog, I’ve found that when it comes to flash fiction, there are so few rules set in place, and so little guidance to find.

What’s more; do we follow the rules, or do we follow the customs?

With the flash fiction format, new and flourishing, it is indeed hard to get a good grasp on the format…

… but is that also not what makes it interesting?

Playing with flash fiction (and, really, playing with any kind of newer format within any kind of creative art) is like playing with your mother’s lipstick as a five-year-old. You don’t know what you’re doing, and you feel as if you’re not supposed to be doing it, but there’s nothing stoppin’ you— aaaaah, is that glitter lipstick?!

And, so, yes, what are your thoughts on this, readers of mine, old as new?

I’d love to hear some inputs; for all that I know, I’m simply inexperienced and could do with a wise word or two from an Exalted One – does anybody volunteer?

‘Tis I, at Your Service!

First, I’d like to throw my thanks at R. L. Tierney for tagging me to do this, providing me with a great way to spend an otherwise dreary Danish Sunday. Next, if you’re not interested in my personal perspective on writing, you probably wanna skip this post… probably, possibly… definitely…

  1. Name
    Amalie (not a misspelling; sorry!)
  2. Five words that describe your writing?
    Dialogue, subtlety, versatility, wittiness… erm, animals in armor?
  3. Literature / art / films you’d recommend?
    Literature:
    Outlander
     by Diana Gabaldon – rarely have I read such extraordinary characterization!
    Art:
    Pixcell-Red Deer (sculpture) by Kohei Nawa – something about this series of his is just so gurh for me; it’s vulnerability and force combined.
    Films:
    The Rurouni Kenshin Trilogy (Japanese) from a couple of years ago, because wow, the best manga-to-anime-to-liveaction adaption that exists on the market! Plus, the soundtrack is to die for!
  4.  Images, symbols, and settings you associate with your work?
    I’ll give you one overall image: a tightrope of brightly colored wool stretched taut between the trunks of two trees, hard rocks scattered on the ground below, water lapping gently nearby.
  5. Themes / concepts you are hesitant to write about?
    Hm, I can’t think of any. I’ve done a lot, including LGBTQ and (admittedly poor) erotica, but I suppose I haven’t done… well… fables? Ah, no, wait, I have done that, too – damn. Ah, an epic! An epic would be something that I would hesitate to write. I plan my novels as I write them, and I imagine that planning an epic only while you write it is… well… a bad idea.
  6. What would you tell someone who’s nervous about starting out?
    Writing is like getting your first tattoo; you feel afraid to mark a clean canvas, but once it’s marked, it’ll be a part of you forever (and what a fantastic thing that is!)
  7. Three of your writings you’d recommend to people who’d like to know more about you?
    Children of the Gods (drabble), Showtime (novel), Rubble (poem) —— though, honestly, I’m super versatile, and my best stuff is not accessible online, but kept on my dusty windowsill, ready for adventures in publishing!
  8. What pushes you to keep writing?
    ……… air? my lungs? ……. my roommate that pesters me for more chapters first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening?

So, this was super fun! I’ll keep the trend of tagging alive, and tag three of my favorite writing blogs below, but even if they don’t feel like doing this – which, really, is their decision and all; I’m not interested in forcing their hand – I still urge you to check them out. The content on their pages is just superb!

Flash 365
HoloVerse
Richard Ankers