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Sassy Saras – Serial #2

  • Posted on February 11, 2017 at 4:05 pm

“You’re in my light, sissy,” Saras declared with all the disdain an eleven-year-old could muster. “I have but an hour to finish this chapter before I return to my lessons.”

“So you don’t wanna hear my good news, then?” she baited, quivering her lip and fluttering her eyelids.

The preteen huffed and closed his book, turning their father’s piercing green eyes onto her. “Fine. Speak,” he barked.

“I’m going to be taking the trial.”

Wrinkles appeared on the bridge of his nose, as he blinked rapidly. “Aren’t you a little young to be going through the trials?”

“Well ya, but Sir Harrod said himself,” she admitted, crossing her arms. “That I’m one of the best fighters in the pitch. No one can match me with the sword, and my use of strategy and tactics is second to none.”

“You should be proud. I’m sure none of this has anything to do with you being the daughter of the Priest-Queen, and the Paladin himself.”

Her face turned red, and she felt a boiling inside her. How could he say such a thing? She worked hard for what she obtained, she spent nights in pain and days bandaged up. This isn’t the life she chose for herself, but one thrust upon her by the Lord of the Moon, who deemed her unworthy to be a priestess. She knew she was worthy.

“Don’t be dramatic,” he warned her, as he sat back and opened the book. “I’m certain of your skill, but even you must acknowledge there is a level of nepotism at work here. Have you ever heard of someone being promoted from squire to knighthood at such a young age? Really now.”

“No…” She admitted and hated the fact that he was starting to make sense.

“Ever seen a knight-to-be squire who hadn’t seen a few battles?” he sneered.

This time she didn’t respond, feeling her face scrunched up in annoyance. She hated that Saras gloated, no matter how right he was. She couldn’t help but think it was true, that maybe her hard work meant nothing compared to her pedigree. She chided herself immediately for thinking that. She did the work, and now it was her time to be a Knight. Noble-birth or not, she earned this.

“You don’t have to respond,” he interjected. “We both know it to be true. Just don’t let it get you down, we both know you don’t handle your emotions well. Would hate for you to do something… regretful. Father would be disappointed that you won’t be under his tutelage. Someone has to replace him as Paladin.”

Saras turned back to his book, as his indication that his sister was to dismiss herself from the conversation. She turned and went towards the hallway, but right at the door, she stopped. “Just so you know, the Princess doesn’t marry the Prince in the end, but the Pirate Lord instead, dear brother.”

As she walked out, he slammed the book shut.

My 20 Favorite Youtube Channels

  • Posted on January 19, 2017 at 10:25 am

Here’s a list of my favorite youtubers, organized by what they blog about:

 

Gaming Youtubers:

  1. Commander Holly – She does lovely let’s plays, and some of the best dating sim games played on youtube are of her and her friends. My favorite part is when she and her friends take turns voicing parts! Here are a few of my favorite let’s plays of hers:
    1. ABZU – underwater sleepy therapy time
    2. Hustle Cats – a Dating Sim where you date… CATS?!
    3. INSIDE – a surreal videogame where you play as a little boy
  2. Cryaotic –  A sonorous master, whose voice has lulled me to sleep on many a night. I adore all of his lets plays, but the horror games are the best!
    1. Rule of Rose – a horror game about an orphaned girl
    2. Bioshock Infinite – Another horror game, but one more widely known.
    3. Beyond Two Souls – A mediocre game turned amazing by Cry’s voice. About a psychic girl and the source of her powers.
  3. DanAndPhil Games – A combination of a taciturn and fun, these two have such cute lets plays I can’t help but adore them!
    1. Their Scary Games Playlist makes for a great night in!
    2. I never miss one of their Sims 4 Let’s plays. Dil Howlter is one of my favorite Sims!
  4. The Sim Supply – Does wonderful work with the Sims 4 and has a lovely voice to boot!
    1. His Rags to Riches challenges are great!!
    2. Especially anything labelled Bigwallet!
  5. JackSepticEye – An over-the-top cheerful blogger from Ireland (I’m a quarter Irish too!) who does let’s plays of the greatest stuff!
    1. His Last Guardian let’s play is so gleeful I adore it!
    2. But it was his Undertale let’s play that brought him to my attention! NYEH HEHEHE!
  6. Markiplier – His numbers speak for themselves, but beyond that he’s sweet, generous, and plays some of the best games I’ve ever seen!
    1. Among the Sleep is one of them, where you play as a frightened toddler!
    2. OctoDad is just hilarious no matter who’s playing it, but Markiplier just puts it over the top!
  7. NicoB – Generally plays JRPGs and other amazing games, so of course he’s one of my favorites!
    1. His Dangan Ronpa series is utterly amazing. He voices ALL THE CHARACTERS.
    2. He recently started a let’s play of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch!
  8. PressHeartToContinue – plays tons of different games and also has a little news show she does that is VERY informative. <3 her!
    1. Another HustleCat Let’s play, but this one with OCTOPIMP, who is a GOD among voice actors.
    2. She also does an amazing series with the dating sim Dandelion with CRY of all people. <3 Love these two together.
  9. Yandere Dev – Because I adore Yanderes as a trope, it’s only natural I would love the man who was actually putting together a simulation game where we can ACTUALLY PLAY a yandere girl.
  10. Kubz Scouts – Related to Yandere dev above, this guy is THAT DUDE, who plays yandere sim and a few other good games too. I love his bright and cheery voice.
    1. His Yandere adventures are just amazing!
    2. His let’s play of Fran Bow was also touching.
  11. Ana Mardoll – One of the sweetest let’s players I’ve ever seen.
    1. I love her “Long Live the Queen” series.
    2. And her let’s play of the Royal Trap was thorough and so sweet!

The Random Stuff

  1. Cinema Sins – A useful channel full of great videos that teach a lot about what NOT to do when writing screenplays!
  2. DigiBro – An amazing critiquer of anime and manga. This man knows EVERYTHING about what to do and what not to do when writing.
  3. How to ADHD – She is amazing, and really helped me get a handle on my ADHD brain.
  4. Life of Tom – A hella awesome youtuber for school hacks and tips.
  5. M. Kirin – A great writing show that stretches into some game play too. His accent is a bit difficult for me to parse sometimes, but other than that, he’s a great writer!
  6. National Novel Writing Month – Also a great writing show. Plenty of prompts and tips!
  7. Simply Nailogical – Taught me everything I need to know about how to do my nails. <3
  8. Something Witty Entertainment – The home of the greatest Abridged show in existance. It took Sword Art Online from somethng Awful to something Awfully Funny.
    1. SAO Abridged
  9. Trae Crowder – The Liberal Redneck! He’s great. Listen to him.

 

And that’s all! These are my 20 favorite youtube channels. Enjoy them with me, alright?

Ungrounded

  • Posted on January 14, 2017 at 6:24 pm

I find sometimes that going back to the days when our autonomy was not our own, but directed by our parents and guardians, can sometimes help out with a mental state. Now, I’m not advocating anything kinky here, I’m talking about being grounded. You see, for the last 27 days, I have been grounded from writing. Yes, you read that correctly. I, a grown woman, allowed myself to be grounded from something I love doing.

However, the reason behind the ‘punishment’ is the important part. You see, I was grounded from writing because I had a very special sort of writer’s block. The kind where you hate everything you write. The kind where you believe it all to be pointless tripe and terrible dribble. The kind where you start to wonder if you’re meant to be a writer in the first place, or if you should just give up and run away to join the circus.

My best friend came up with a solution. “You’re grounded from writing for a month.” She said to me one day after I almost burst into tears for the billionth time over my works-in-progress. Of course, I tried to negotiate. Can I collect prompts? No. Can I blog? No. Can I write down my dreams? No. Damn, that one was hard because most of my story ideas come from dreams I’ve had. I was cut off entirely. No writing, except in a journal.

The first week was a relief. It was like something heavy had been lifted from my throat. I was free, and it was all thanks to my best friend, who had seen that writing had become something awful for me. I had hated everything that came out of my fingers, and she had seen it.

The second week, I started to get antsy. So I asked if I could read books on writing. She said that would be fine. So I downloaded a book called “Writing Magic” by Gail Carson Levine, one of my favorite authors. Listening to it give me prompts for writing ideas, I started to feel an itch in my fingers.

This third week was hell. I wanted to write so badly I was formulating ideas for the stories I have in the works without any thought whatsoever that this was technically cheating. I even wrote down one of my dreams (I broke my word, how awful!) because it makes a good story prompt. I immediately felt guilty, after all, but when I confessed to my bestie, she said she’d honestly forgotten that she’d grounded me.

Today, I asked, begged, pleaded even with her over whether I could be allowed to get back on the writing train. Because I was going insane. Nothing filled my time the way writing did. Nothing made me feel productive and happy the way writing did. I’d found out that without writing, I felt like I was nothing. Before, I’d been writing as a way of ‘beating my mother’. Now, however, I’m writing because if I don’t, I feel useless and listless and just plain droll.

Not to mention, I was starting to run out of things to read.

So if you ever find yourself loathing everything you write with every fibre of your being? Find someone to ground you from writing. It might just show you how much you love it again.

Examples of Diversity in Writing

  • Posted on December 10, 2016 at 8:31 am

With the advent of recent shows in diversity, and to combat the fear of that diversity leaving in the face of certain leaders, let’s rehash some recent boons in Diverse writing! I’ll be linking to several good articles on each section, as well as writing up my own experiences with it.

We can learn something from these giants, and we absolutely should!

Hamilton – Race in Theatre

Ever since Hamilton received a record 16 nominations for Tony Awards, it’s been clear that the diverse cast had something to do with it. Telling a story about white individuals using black individuals as the actors has turned out to be an outstanding way to support people of color and impoverished communities as well. It proves that no matter what the source material, ability should dictate who gets a part, not race or body shape or anything else.

  1. Hamilton Fans Flock
  2. Hamilton Cast – “We are the Diverse America”
  3. What does Hamilton tell us about Race in Casting?
  4. No, Hamilton’s casting call is not Reverse Racism.

Legend of Korra – Bisexuality

Legend of Korra is the hit sequel to Avatar the Last Airbender, and boy howdy, did it hit hard on the radar of all the sites I frequent. In fact, the final couple, Korrasami (Korra+Asami), seems to be a warning for conservative television. That is, your days of heteronormative television are over. Now, I personally didn’t make it tot he end of that series (Mako made me want to throw something at my television in the hopes it would hit him) but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. It’s a masterpiece of writing, and I think you should absolutely watch it, if you want to be an author.

  1. Korra goes beyond bisexual representation
  2. Thinking of watching Korra?
  3. And the Korra Wiki

Undertale – Gender Diversity

(Spoilers ahead)
In Undertale, the main character, Frisk, is always referred to as They. Not only that but all of the children are referred to as they as well, except the Prince, Asriel. The ghosts are referred to as They. This use of the third pronoun, They/Them, is very unique, in that it was clearly a premeditated choice on the part of the writer, and yet it appears as easy as breathing air to the main characters and their cohorts. This sort of gender inclusivity is rare. Not only that, but there is a character that clearly represents the transgender struggle. If you’re familiar with Mettaton, try looking up the Meta (Get it?!) around his creation. Beyond even that, you have Undyne, who slays gender roles, Papyrus, who shows us it’s okay to be effeminate and cook and still be a badass bone brother.

  1. Undertale Science Lays it out for us
  2. An interview with Toby Fox
  3. Gender Identity in Undertale via Reddit

Yuri on Ice – Homophobia and the Lack thereof

One of the greatest shows in the Fall 2016 lineup, Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime about figure skaters. Yuri, Victor and Yurio are the three main characters, but even Yurio falls away when compared to the wonderful love story unfolding before us. Victuri (Victor+Yuri) is a healthy romance for the years ahead, and one for the storybooks, in my opinion. But what is incredibly vibrant about the show isn’t just the love between it’s two leads, but the fact that NO ONE IS SHAMED FOR IT. There is no homophobia in sight! It’s proof that one CAN write a healthy, happy romance, without having to include the icky awfulness that our everyday reality pushes onto it.

  1. Yuri!!! On Ice! is the Skating Anime for Everyone
  2. Yes, Yuri!!! On Ice is as Gay as you Think
  3. Gender in YOI

 

In conclusion, go educate yourself, and have fun writing your diverse cast! There’s no reason to stick to straight white protagonists anymore, and certainly no reason to limit yourself. Dream big!

Dream inspiration: Mechanical Beauty and the Beast

  • Posted on August 27, 2016 at 9:11 am

My muse has visited me in my dreams once more, and I’ve decided to share that with you, dear internet. Before you ask, no, I’m not worried someone will ‘steal my idea’, as, very simply, even if you did, you would write it differently in a thousand ways, and my idea isn’t the most original thing, after all. How many times has the story of the beauty and the beast been told, over and over and over again? Fairy tales are never static, and when they are, they quickly get boring.

In the dream, I was attempting to win over the favor of a mechanical gaurdian, so that he’d let me live. I think this was inspired both by the Sand dungen in Fable 3, with it’s terrifying slithery dark demon children, and the armor from Sauron’s Ring Wraiths. But basically, I failed (as I always do in my dreams) and he gutted me like a fish.

BUT! My mind wouldn’t stop there. What if I had succeeded? What if he had let me stay and study the beautiful and mysterious workings of his home? What if-! Ah, but then it’d be Beauty and the Beast, wouldn’t it?

So there it is. A clockwork Beast and the Beauty who could give him the only thing he wanted. Company. (Well, to be specific, my brain came up with the idea of ‘children’, as in tiny clockwork robots to keep him company forever, but my dreams have always had a fascination with the idea of being a mother and all the horrors contained.

Now, how to flesh out this idea. Perhaps an outline? Ah, but I’m so busy recently with school and workstudy that’s starting up soon, and my current ‘job’ as a nanny/housekeeper for my best friend. What can I do? Well, NaNoWriMo is coming up… so maybe I can make it part of that? Ah, but with the increased courses at my school, can I do NaNo without losing my goddamn mind?

It’s possible. Not likely, but possible. If I REALLY work hard at it.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

Writing Anime: An Interview

  • Posted on August 21, 2016 at 11:35 pm

Today, instead of lecturing you on what to cherry-pick from certain animes, I’ve met with and interviewed an individual who knows his stuff. Cuchallain has a long career of analysing and reviewing anime, manga and video games. So much so in fact that I greatly respect his opinions on most of the review videos I’ve watched. He also happens to have my favorite Let’s Play of Tales of Zestiria on the entirety of the internet, so let’s put that out there too.

As the first interview I ever conducted, Cu and I started with just a few questions, and while he didn’t exactly consider himself an expert to start with, it quickly became apparent to me that he was, in fact, quite knowledgeable. An avid anime fan since the age of ten years old, a convention-goer on the regular, and now the personality behind a youtube channel with over five thousand subscribers, Cu is also incredibly humble.

When asked what goes into his writing for his typical reviews, he explained that he’s actually very unscripted with them. At most, he takes a few notes, generally about the speech of the characters and the themes behind the videos. He in fact, doesn’t even script his theory videos. Then, unfortunately, we devolved into a discussion about his online name, and then that devolved into a conversation on fanfiction and the wonders of Inuyasha as a gateway drug.

IWSG – 08/03/16 – The First Story

  • Posted on August 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm

We're here for you.When one thinks of the First Story they wrote, it’s usually something embarrassing, something small and childish. Not for this girl. Nope. My first story that I actually sat down with full intention to publish was an epic. A fantasy novel written in an accounting notebook. The sort with perferated columns. I felt so amazing writing that book, too.

It had started out with a dream, as all my best ideas do. This one I was a child in a jail tower, and I wanted out. That was it, that was the dream. So I set out to write the story of this girl child in a tower, and how she got out. Well, obviously, she had to be a witch. Because magic was the only way a little kid would get out of jail. But how had she gotten IN jail in the first place? It came to me, like thunder. She was being punished by the gods for being TOO AWESOME (and also evil). I.E. She’d been an amazing sorceress, fully grown and awful, and had set the world on the path of war. So the gods struck her down and made her a child again, and had the person she was born to be put into prison.

The roommate of the person she was born to was a witch herself, though, so she taught the girl everything she knew. And then, at like, twelve, she broke out of prison, disguised herself, and arrived at the palace, just in time for the three princes to need wives. She set herself up to the be the wife of the youngest prince, planning to kill off the two pairs of royals before her. Oh, and she had an amazing tiger for a pet. Yep.

This story died pretty quickly after the notebook died during one of the stints of homelessness that happened during my teenagerhood. I never even finished it, although I had plans for her to learn to be good and to fall in love. It just never got anywhere, and looking back now, it was a massive power-fantasy. But hey, aren’t the best books?

Now, the first novel I ever FINISHED writing was a LOT weirder. I was going through my weeaboo phase, and I had an inordinate love for characters who were sexually abused. I don’t know why, but I really, REALLY want to write a character that heals from that sort of trauma over the course of a few books, while also being badass and fighting monsters. Okay? Okay.

Anyway, so this particular book was a love story between two boys, and it’s a bit difficult to describe because it was massively anime-esque. I won’t go into it, because I hope to whip it into shape as a real novel someday, but… It’s going to be a long, long time from now. Suffice to say, the finished document no longer exists, destroyed along with the horrid machine it lived on. But it lives on in my mind.

The only thing I can really say about these experiences is: HAVE MULTIPLE SAVE LOCATIONS.

Writing Anime: Pokemon Go

  • Posted on July 23, 2016 at 5:13 pm

So, like most others, my life has been taken over by Pokemon Go, an altered reality game where you catch cute as hell pokemon and run around like a crazy person. Altered Reality Games are defined as ” an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform and uses transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players’ ideas or actions.” What this means is, it’s interactive and fully user-based. In this case, it involves walking and jogging around town to different landmarks, collecting items from those landmarks, and catching cute pokemon that spawn through out town.

Now, what does this have to do with Writing? Well, it explains a lot about fandom and how interacting with it works. We’ve seen a lot of examples of fandom interactions between those of us who create, and those who consume. Often times, those that interact with their fans generally make more sales, and also have more material with which to work. After all, what better engine of creation than several hundred rabid fans all coming up with theories like breathing?

In fact, some artists interact with their fandoms solely for this reason. Others, however, have fun with it, and generally just interact with their fans for entertainment. Then there are those who fuck it up royally while interacting, and somehow get accused of being predatory towards their fanbase (here’s looking at you, John Greene).

One of my favorite examples of an author who interacts with their fanbase is Andrew Hussie, creator of modern day Illiad Homestuck and Problem Sleuth. This is a man whose work has garnered him a fanbase capable of pulling together 1.2 million dollars in TWO. WEEKS. I saw the kickstarter (and donated to it myself) go from 0 dollars to $500,000 in 24 hours, all in anticipation of a videogame.

How did he do it? In-jokes. Good writing. MASSIVE character base. He opened his twitter and several other places for questions to his fanbase. He allowed them to interact with him, and they did. It was massive. In fact, there’s an entire in-joke within the fandom (Fat Vriska, for anyone who knows it) that was started when someone on Formspring asked him about the weight of one of his characters. Eventually, he was asked about Vriska. Which concluded in this glorious manner:

In one of the most glorious fuck-you’s I’ve ever seen, he declared this, and the fandom ran with it.

For more of these absolutely hilarious happenings, you can, of course go to Knowyourmeme.com, and read up on all of them. Or, you can attempt to track them all down. That could be a fun scavenger hunt!

Speaking of scavenger hunts, have you heard of CipherHunt? Well, the fandom of Gravity Falls has. You see, Gravity Falls is a disney show that made it’s fandom massive through the use of ciphers, mysteries and the sorts of things that make those particular fans go crazy. That is, an omniscient Dorito demon who makes bad deals. CipherHunt is creator Alex Hirsch‘s way of making his fans happy one last time. Even though the series has ended, he’s provided them a series of clues, and told them, go on, get hunting.

At the end of each clue is a souvenir/next clue. Now, this isn’t possible for ALL authors, obviously, especially if you don’t have DISNEY backing you. But the fact that he allows it, even though his series is over, shows you what kind of person ends up with a fandom that large. Playful people who love what they’re doing.

Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, is another playful person who loves what she’s doing, and in so doing, interacts with her fandom. But she does it quite a bit less than the others on this list. Honestly, she just keeps an eye on what her fandom creates and says, and then sometimes makes nods to it in her show. This is the bare minimum, but because of the way her show works, it does wonders.

So, you might be asking, how can I become this sort of creator? What do I need to do to woo my fandom beast? Well, first of all, find the fans. If you have work out already, look at who bought it, and who likes it. Encourage these people to talk to you. Encourage them to create, whether fanfiction, fanart, or fanmusic. Encourage creation, and it’ll create itself around you.

Then, remember, no matter what you do, it’s not going to be perfect. Laugh about your mistakes with those who point them out. Or, like Hussie does, make them into injokes. Have a sense of humour, and openly enjoy the community growing around your works. Even if it’s only a few people.

And finally, be accessible. Don’t hide yourself away, because while that may work for people like Steven King, or George R.R. Martin, when you’re writing for the sort of demographic that likes Anime and Manga, you really can’t afford to.

Who knows, if you succeed, you just might end up like Ishida-sensei, the creator of Tokyo Ghoul, who got to share his joy at his new Pokemon with the fans of his work.

 

Writing Process Blog Hop

  • Posted on July 8, 2016 at 9:29 pm

Natasha Duncan-Drake has an interesting blog-hop going on which Chris Votey tagged me in. His most recent (and best, if I do say so myself) work, the Daygar Legacy, is an amazingly well-researched and well-written vampire romp through medieval europe. Definitely take a look. This is an interesting prompt as it is geared towards the how and why of the writing process, as individuals find it. The worst part of it, I think, is going to be finding two to three people to tag! Wish me luck!

Rules:

  1. Introduce who referred the blog tour to you
  2. Answer the following 4 questions:
    1. What am I working on?
    2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
    3. Why do I write what I do?
    4. How does my writing process work?
  3. Introduce the people you’re passing this on to (3 – 4 people if possible who will then post a week later)

Well, let’s get started.

  1. As I stated above, I was referred by Chris Votey, who runs the wonderful blog Madness of a Modern Writer. He and I met via twitter, after I finished my first ever NaNoWriMo and got full of myself, thinking I could be a professional writer! He’s become a mentor and a very good friend to me, although our politics differ quite a bit. He’s pushed me to great heights in my writing and in the way I look at the world, and I honestly adore him. Check out his books Terran Psychosis and Scraping By, if you really want a good can’t-put-this-down read!
  2. Four questions
    1. I’m working on a lot right now, but with my current creativity block, it’s all a bit on pause. But the major projects are:
      1. The Kurylian Saga, an epic fantasy series with a male poc main character who has to learn how to forgive his most hated foe when they’re forced to work together;
      2. A Greater Love, a regency-era-set asexual romance novel that takes a lot of it’s plot from tribulations from my own life.
      3. an unnamed short story set in the victorian era, which so far is a romance between a human serial killer and a rakshasa.
    2. To answer this question, i have to explain the very first actual story I ever wrote. You see, when I wrote it, there wasn’t really a genre for ‘the villain is the protagonist’. It just hadn’t been invented yet, really. So the fact that the first story I ever wrote featured an all powerful witch brought down to the power of a child and forced to relive her life so that she might learn the error of her ways means that I was already thinking ahead of the bell curve. I have always tried to be different, to understand other’s minds, to think outside of my own. So I think my work is different only in that I MAKE it different. I make it more inclusive, more daring, more open than others that I could name.
    3. The why of it is closely tied into who I am as a person. I’ve never really liked being me. Even in my earliest fantasies, my earliest daydreams, I was always someone else. So of course, when I get the chance, I’m going to make the main characters as different from myself as possible. Beyond that, however, is the fact that I’m always seeking the ways to see how others are JUST LIKE ME too. Perspective has always been a driving force in my life. Everyone has their own perspective, and I think that’s why I write what I do.
    4. My writing process is a bit hit and miss. Most of the time I start writing just before I have to go to bed. Procrastination at it’s finest. Of course, there’s a fine tradition of authors writing while laying down in bed, but I don’t usually lay down when I’m writing. I sit up, in my bed, on my computer, and open Scrivener. In scrivener, I pick up where I left off and start writing the next scene. I always do this, too, I always write linearly, despite having a program that lets me pick and choose. It makes it fit better in my head. I usually manage anywhere from 25 words to an entire 5000 in one sitting. During NaNoWriMo it can be even more.
  3. I tag Tunafax, who writes some of the most amazing fanfiction I’ve ever read! She’s writing a story right now called Witcher that makes some old fairy tales look tame. It’s a beautiful, gothic tale of wishes made and lives saved, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
    1. Kudalyn was recommended to me by Tunafax, and she’s got an amazing repertoire of stories! Not only that, she’s adept at writing a drabble from a picture source. One of her favorite stories, Summoning Slifer, is a very nice look into a very not-human mind.
    2. Another amazing writer, Ashe, does an amazing job with description, levels even I aim to achieve. Her story The Living Daylights is amazing.
    3. And then there’s Ariasune (Alias for short) who should absolutely join us! Her work Akhet has that lovely touch of humor and tenacity that made me love Good Omens so very, very much. Definitely give her a read!
    4. And not tagged, specifically, but in a post that I took real interest in, Nana posted her writing process in EPIC detail.
    5. The person who tagged Nana made some good points in theirs as well. Empress, as she calls herself, has some lovely insights into the writerly mind.

I hope the three I’ve tagged have as much fun writing this out as I did, and will spread the love! You can read Ashe’s response to the tag here.

Write Now! 3 – Grimm Art of Fairy Tales

  • Posted on June 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Kate Bernheimer’s article on The Grimm Art of Fairy Tales  intrigues me in ways I can’t describe. Since I was a little girl, fairy tales have always been a big part of my life. I found comfort in the idea that, like Vassilissa the Fair, my mother would never leave me wanting, and like Snow White, my kindness and general likability would gain me safety. These small morals were the cornerstone to my personality. So of course, I’m obsessed with them now! However, after getting in touch with my love of horror and suspense, I find that the sweet, normal fairy tales of my childhood don’t quite… do it for me anymore.

And after reading Miss Bernheimer’s article, I figured out why. All of them lack something. They lack the original source. They lack the social commentary, the deep, terrifying moral of all fairy tales. Baba Yaga was a warning against disobeying your elders’ wisdom and, at the same time, a celebration of how that wisdom can, at times, be dangerous. Sleeping Beauty was a warning about how sometimes, not inviting the right people can ruin your entire life. The little mermaid did what Romeo and Juliet could not, and warned me away from stupid, single-minded love.

Intuitive logic, Flatness, and Happy endings, the article describes, are the three fundamentals of a fairy tale. to quote:

Intuitive Logic. The fairy tale world does not conform to the rules of this world, outside of a book, but it does have rules. They will not be explained with insistence. A teapot will sing. A path will appear just when children need to escape terrible danger. A girl will outsmart a witch. Your chopped off hands will turn into silver and save your life later. In my early fiction, my characters often argued with those around them that they were misunderstood; when I removed all efforts to justify logic (try removing transitions like “Therefore” and “Because”), my readers stopped arguing the stories were illogical.

Flatness. In many old fairy tales, characters are not very deep, psychologically speaking. Snow White, the target of murderous impulses by relatives (sisters or mother) does not suffer depression as a result. She does have responses however: fear, sadness, etc. They are logical and not lingered on deeply. There is nothing wrong with stories that explore ideas about psychological depth; I like many of these stories. Yet flat characters leave room for the reader. In the space left behind, one can think in new ways – Imagine new planes of existence. By flattening characters out, fairy tales exceed limitations of individuality, uniqueness, and self.

Happy Endings. Happy endings are underrated and misunderstood. In lots of old fairy tales, terrible things precede the beautiful images that begin and end most fairy tales; besides what’s wrong with a little consolation in a world teeming with senseless violence, poverty, grief? J.R.R Tolkien once defended happy endings as a vital technique in literature – reflecting, “Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” If I want to end a story about death with an image of a white horse running down a beach, as men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns wander drunkenly into the sea, leaving a pretty girl on the beach, counting pennies in the moonlight – if I can create poetic joy in the words – this is okay. […]

Fairy tales are storybook worlds. You can cast the spell.

The Grimm Art of Fairy Tales,  Kate Bernheimer

Her exercise then is to find a very short, very old fairytale, and break it down into these three instances. I chose Vassilissa the Fair, as it’s my favorite tale. It’s the story of a girl who’s mother, on her deathbed, gives her a doll and tells her if she runs into any trouble, to feed the doll and ask it’s advice. Since this is a fairy tale, Vassilissa of course runs into trouble.

Now, the intuitive logic here, is that the doll will in fact come alive. No one asks how. Or why. Just that the doll, when fed, comes alive and helps the one that fed it. And this help, invariably, always, helps her. When Baba Yaga tells her to clean her house, the doll has it done by the time Vassilissa wakes from a short nap. When Vassilissa runs from the witch, the doll tells her not to speak to the three riders on the white, red and black horses (morning, noon and night respectively.). And when Vassilissa at the first is sent out of her home to get a flower in the middle of winter, the doll is the one that tells her about the clearing in which she finds the 12 men (the months in order.).

Flatness is easy to find, since all we know about Vassilissa is that she is ‘fair’, meaning most likely blonde and pale.  We know she loved her mother very much. But we don’t hear Vassilissa’s thoughts. We don’t find out if she feels responsible for her mother’s death, or if she hates her stepmother and sister for sending her out into the forest each day. We never find out her feelings on Baba Yaga at all. And she’s wholly unaffected by the world around her. Vassilissa is little but a vessel for us to pour our own thoughts and feelings into.

The Happy Ending changes, based on who’s telling the story, of course, but my favorite is the one where the wicked sister goes out to get a blessing from Baba Yaga the way Vassilissa did, and never comes back, and the mother goes out to demand the men in the clearing give her flowers too, and never comes back. Vassilissa is left alone in her family home, to live her life. It’s not as surreal, perhaps as Miss Bernheimer would ask for, but it suited the story.

You can use this technique on any story really, and every story can benefit from these three instances of fairy tale progression. Remove attempts to describe the logic of your world. Let the readers just accept the premise of your story, and if they have questions? Well, that’s what Tumblr is for. Simplify or eliminate Character depth. It can always be added back in later. But for now, see how you can make room for the reader too. Don’t erase the tragedy, but afterwards, give the reader some odd bit of hope, like a pearl found lodged between an old man’s gums, which can then be used to buy passage onto a boat headed for a better life.

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