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Conspiracy Theories and You

  • Posted on March 23, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Something writers, myself included, often forget is the fact that humankind is adept at fooling themselves. Constantly. As this video proves, monsters, conspiracy theories, major religions, all sorts of things we tell ourselves in order to make the world make sense, are in fact, just that, stories. Even the creation of the world is just that. A story, told to make sense of what we don’t understand. Horror stories are meant, not to teach us how to survive the things in the dark, but that there are in fact, things in the dark.

So what does that translate to as a writer? Well, what sort of conspiracy theories populate your world? What do people believe? If people here believe the moon landing was faked, is it possible for the denizens of your world to believe that all the stories of godly behavior are really just coverups for some shady government conspiracy.

In the world of Nightvale, from the podcast Welcome to Nightvale, mountains are in fact, not real. Despite there being one just outside of town.

Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘That’s never going to affect my story. Why do I care what the people of the world believe? Why do I care if some group of idiots thinks that stonehenge is a satellite built by aliens, when in my story it’s a secret fairy-ring!’

Well, they do say that 90% of what goes into a story is never seen by the reader. The sort of depth the world is given when you know what each NPC believes is the sort of depth that people look for. No one wants a story with cardboard for the background.

In the story, ‘The Time Machine’, all we hear about the Time Traveller are rumours, theories, until we meet him. So what theories or rumours surround your own characters? What do they believe about the famous people they’re about to meet? What do they know about the world around them?

Your main characters surely have heard some rumours. And one of the best ways to add conflict to a story is for a rumour like this to be taken seriously, and then, suddenly, to pan out at the worst possible time. Or worse, for a rumour to actually be true! Imagine the looks on your characters faces when it’s not the evil stepmother, but actually the spirit-infested tree growing out of the cursed ground in the back yard?

As an example, in my own series, The Kurylian Saga, the main character , Dirk, has heard rumours about the Priest-Queen and her Knight Templar. Namely, that the father of her children, rather than the God she serves, was in fact, the knight. When he meets the Princess Eamon, he can tell by her hair and her face, that the rumours are in fact, true. The realism of it adds to the depth of the story, even if it doesn’t actually DO much for the plot.

I will leave it here with a simple quote:

Dream ideas into reality.

  • Posted on March 15, 2016 at 2:35 pm

A question I don’t get asked very often is how I get my ideas for my various books and short stories. In this case, I’m going to walk you through the process, as I just had a strike of inspiration. You see, I get my ideas from Dreams. My dreams, often, are more creative than the ideas I come up with in reality. Then, I take a bit of real life intuition, awake logic, and turn it into something worth putting to page.

The dream I just had was a bit of a mess. It started out with me interviewing for a job, failing to get that job, demanding that I actually SEE the supervisor who wasn’t going to hire me, despite it being very late at night and the children needing sleep. Then, I wandered around the mall in which the job was located, and found a huge gym that wasn’t there before, and stairs leading up. The mall in my area is only one floor, so I was confused, and followed the stairs up, and they led to a room in which a famous band was playing.

Beyond the band, I could see a massive stadium filled with people. It was like reality had decided to fold in on itself, creating pockets of reality inside this mall. I wanted to find out why, but I was so very lost. Then, a bald man with dark skin found me, security, and I apologized so much, and he lead me in the direction that I had came. I saw a boy walk by, reading a book that I had read before, and I told him he was going to love it.

The dream then segwayed into what I assume was a scene from that book. A man was standing in a circle of people, facing off against a God, the god of his world. The God sneered, and gave him a chance to win. He would grant one single wish. The man used this wish to bind the God away “Until I have been loved enough.” The god sneered again, and did something that turned the people of the world odd shades of green and brown and yellow (I assume this indicated various shades of disgust, hate and disillusionment.), and it was like resetting the emotional counter on characters in a massive game.

In fact, with the god gone, the whole world was like a game. He separated an entire continent (in my dream there was this lovely sort of effect where a blue fire fox swirled around a peninsula/island chain that connected the two continents, and it was absolutely amazing.), and started putting the world the way he wanted. But the only people who cared for his works were his parents and the woman he loved.

Now the whole thing ended when the new god started getting credit cards in the mail. He realized it was a trap, that the God had been planning this all along. Had enjoyed his freedom for a while, messing up the world, and then passed off the mess and debt to another. It had ALL been a TRAP!

And that was my dream. Fragmented and disjointed, isn’t it? A little bit odd too. BUT! With the proper logic, it can be turned into a pretty good short story. Let’s break it down into parts.

  1. The job – Clearly this is anxiety about my status as jobless. So for now, we’re going to cast it aside. We might use it as some kind of motivation for the main character later.
  2. The mall being weird – This we can use, but from the perspective, rather than mine, of the main character, I.E. The one who takes over for God. Let’s call him Bruce for now (in tribute to Bruce Almighty, a really good movie.)
  3. The God handing over his powers – This scene is important. It’s going to be the actual meat of our story, and the conflict the main character will face.
  4. The scenes where Bruce parts the sea-I MEAN- gets rid of the continent – These are clearly filler, the perks of the job, so to speak. It’s just basically the fun things
  5. The Trap – Now here’s where it gets exsistential. Because I woke up before the dream could really finish, I have to kind of mentally elaborate. The credit cards mean that there is in fact a higher power than the god that he’d bound away. These powers, in fact, are the worst sort. CREDITORS. So now he has to find a way out of this situation.

With those points, we now have an actual outline. After that, it’s a pretty simple thing to write the first draft, edit and edit and edit some more, and then have a workable short story. Now I’m going to do the SMART thing, post this up and then wait a few days to see if the idea still seems viable. A lot of people tell you to wait weeks, or even months, but honestly, I never know what my life is going to be like a few months down the road, so I rarely wait that long.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is how I take one of my dreams, and turn it into a work of fiction. I did the same with the dream that spawned the Kurylian Saga. Now go out and make your dreams come true! On paper, that is.

IWSG – 03/02/16

  • Posted on March 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

A lot of writers will discuss ‘finding your niche’ as if this is some magical journey. As if that mythical ‘niche’ for which you search will set you on the track for results. As if that long-awaited niche will answer all your questions, and make it easier to understand yourself. A lot of authors attribute their success to finding their niche, and sticking to it, learning the trade entirely and devoting themselves to that long-awaited god named Niche.

I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. It’s a lot like in real life. A lot of the problems that people have is that we’re all pressured to find that one thing we’re good at. That one ‘passion’ we have, that one great joy in our lives, is what we’re expected to cultivate and then unleash upon the world like an unholy tide of pleasantness. The thing is, and a lot of people are beginning to learn that now, that’s all a crock of horseshit.

There is no one end all, be all, of your creativity. You may never find that one job that you love forever. You may never find that one calling that you were ‘put on this earth for’. Your calling might be sitting in your pjs and making diagrams of buildings out of toothpicks. No one is really going to recognise you for your ability to eat an entire bag of potato chips without having to take a sip of something because of how salty they are. And I know for a fact that my odd ability to find and then binge watch anime and manga is not even remotely going to earn me money.

Or is it?

See that’s another thing a lot of people don’t tell you. Often times, niches, callings, and that one great passion, come out of a lot of practice and thought. It comes from writing those BILLION articles that mean almost nothing, and sound like an incoherent child’s scrawlings. It comes with time, and effort and energy. And yeah, you may never realize what your niche is. You may never realize that when you put those words to paper and out comes YET ANOTHER STUPID FAIRY TALE, that that is in fact your niche.

I recently had a sort of revelation. You see, ever since middle school, I had the uncanny ability to pick out interesting things to read out of the school library. And then, in highschool, I managed to find one interesting manga, or anime, or book, after another. I had, for a long while, lapsed in that talent. I focused on work, on trying to maintain school, on trying to focus. I focused on everything but this one talent that makes me happy. This consumption of stories. This absorption of plots and characters.

Recently, however, I have found a way to turn that odd talent, into something that motivates me to write here on this blog. That motivates me to do more with my life. I started my Writing Anime series. I meant it just to explore some of the lessons of writing that Anime have taught ME over the years. I meant it as a way to make use of the hundreds of hours I spend watching cartoons as a grown adult.

So it’s not an instantaneous thing, realizing that you’ve found your one thing. It’s not something that comes immediately. It’s honestly not even something I can see coming with thought or contemplation. I can only see the finding of your niche happening with massive work and effort. With a natural move that you barely even think about, that pushes you to work harder. So keep writing. You’ll find it eventually.

And when you do, it’ll feel like coming home, changing into sweats and putting on fuzzy socks after a long hard day. Difficult to do, but oh, so, worth it.

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