Monday, August 8, 2011

Writing/English Homework Assignments

Here’s a few things I did as a kid that made things a little more fun.  I’m showing my nerd here!

Elementary mini-book

In fifth grade, our class was required to write a mini-book, and our teacher told us to write about spring.  I did…sort of.  I wrote about a character whose name meant spring, and the story took place during the season.  It was much more fun than writing why I liked spring, hehe.

Free-write journal entries

Some teachers give more free-write time than others.  If you have one of these, why not write a story?  My ninth grade journal was almost completely a single story.  It was actually easier to me than trying to think of a new topic every day.

Vocabulary Sentences

These things are way more fun in story form.  If you have to make up a sentence for each word anyway, then it’s not any harder to put those sentences together.  For me, it was entertaining to see what I could create around that vocabulary list, and I’m pretty sure they were fun for my teacher to read.   

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Something in a name

Okay, I’m sort of odd when it comes to names in a story.  Once upon a time, I was forced to read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.  In the first few pages, I knew what the ending of the book would be and only finished it under protest.  Throughout this whole novel, I loathed Darnay.  He irritated me to no end, and as I pondered why—besides his incredibly stupid actions—I realized that only once does the reader ever see Darnay’s first name.  He’s only called Charles once.  One time.  Now I know there are others who are not referred to by first names, but those gentlemen had titles.  Doctor, Mister, always something before the last name.  Yet, Darnay was just Darnay, and there was little else to him besides the fact that he bore a striking resemblance to Sydney Carton.  My brain in its infinite quirkiness came to the answer that perhaps I was not supposed to like Darnay.  That the use of his last name without title and the lack of insight into his personality was an act of subliminal messaging enacted by Mr. Dickens to turn my thoughts against the man.

On the other hand, I love secret names, such as Ged in Ursula K. LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea.  For me, knowing Ged by his true name as I read his story was like I was one of the people trusted to know his name.  After all, he could have been called Sparrowhawk through the whole story and his true name only mentioned when in conversation with his closest friends.  Then I would have known it, but it wouldn’t have been the same.  Quirky brain.      

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Putting Linguistics Classes to Good Use

One day, I had a wandering brain moment and decided I needed my own language for my stories. I knew right away that it wasn't an elven language, but it was something ancient, forgotten, and tied to magic.  I wanted something I could use across various stories in different ways.  For example, I have a character who speaks it when he's upset, but in another story, the main character uses it only when performing a spell. It's not the words themselves that are magic; there must be talent and intent behind them or they're just words.

I needed a language that was different, so I used loosely the rules I learned from the linguistics classes I took in college.  (Love linguistics, btw.  It's algebra for words!)  I selected sentence structure, created tense markers, negative markers, placed vowel restrictions on myself, and went to work.

I've got around a dozen phrases and two hundred words, some of which I've yet to designate a meaning.  It's good to have extras.  I never know what a character's going to say until they say it, so it's nice to have something on hand if I don't already have a translation.  And I have a translation!   I forget sometimes what they mean myself.

While building my base vocabulary, I discovered another use for my new language:  to make my cousin's head hurt.  Hehehe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Music and Muses

There's nothing better to me than to sit down with my laptop, plug in my speakers, and open iTunes while I write.  Sometimes I just let it run through all my music on iTunes DJ, but for some projects I create lists of music that to me fit the mood of the story. 

It's amazing to me how music affects the way I write.  It doesn't even have to be the entire song that moves me either, but a chorus or one line that makes my brain start firing.  For example, the opening lines of "Turn My Head" by Live inspired the beginning of a story for me.  Right now, 10 Years' song "Silhouette of Life" has little brainstorm clouds brewing in my mind.  Music inspires in me images for scenes,  character emotions, storyline undertones, and sometimes just the desire to put fingers to keyboard and fly. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The First (and probably) Worst Blog

Well since this is the attic for my brain clutter, I guess I should start unpacking the mess.  So, to start:

I am a fantasy fiend.  Ever since I was a kid, I've loved magic and castles, knights and dragons.  I'm not really sure where the obsession began, but I think it might have had something to do with the millions of times I watched The Last Unicorn as a kid.  From there, I moved to novels that swept me away into worlds that fascinated me and characters that I couldn't get enough of.   

I loved to watch it and read fantasy, but it wasn't until I was ten that I knew I wanted to write it.  My brain has always been full of stories, of what-ifs and characters to enact those scenarios, but the best part is:

I get to make stuff up.  Simple, yet true.  In fantasy, nothing is impossible or improbable because it's my world and I can do whatever I want to, haha!