Monday, October 28, 2013

Short Stories & Such: Monster Prompt

To be in tune with the festivities, I started writing the following description for a short story.

The idea was to describe the way your character looked like. You had to take a monster and describe them in as much detail as possible. Then, use that information in a short story. Go ahead and try it.

The Monster Pumpkin hatched in an open field engrossed with vines. The vines intertwined from the year’s harvest. It cracked an eye open and out oozed globs of seeds, leaving a teary-lined mess that wouldn’t wipe off. The other eye remained closed. Stitched together and crinkling to form a cyst-like mound, black as charcoal. Its lips parted in slanted crests until it could muster his name: E-lio. The sinister echo was heard throughout the pumpkin patch until it reached the groundkeeper’s legs. Shaking, his lungs filled with air, and his heart pounded with the rhythm of the monster.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Death as Metaphor 5

Writing, Poetry, and Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time
has not discovered the value of life.”
- Charles Darwin

Change is inevitable.  

Death is an inevitable change; a process of dealing with it to get an end result. Similar to a patchwork quilt in which each patch corresponds to the evolving pattern, so is the evolution of a species in which each organism works and grows in relation to others. The change we find in death has to do more with people witnessing death and dying, even how we adapt to death and cope. Though, other organisms vary in the way they mourn death.  

It was Charles Darwin’s curiosity that led him to become a Naturalist and study his theory of evolution. Just like a tinkerer who is curious about how things work, Darwin was curious about life in terms of living organisms evolving and adapting over time. The quote above explains the need to be actively engaged. This engagement goes toward all things such as in writing, research, art, etc. to feed the curiosity about nature. This directs one to think that literature writers, especially poets, must be engaged to discover new meanings.  

The quote also runs parallel to why death can be used as a metaphor. One cannot escape death--whether it comes naturally or not, but one can also create it inside of them. One can become ‘dead’ if they do not actively participate in their life.

Through comparing and contrasting, Charles Darwin analyzed his findings about variation and selection. Similarly, a reader analyzes poetry and other forms of writing by adapting to the style, form, and one’s ideas. Eventually, these ideas are influenced by what is read, and they evolve over time. Looking at an idea from different angles to try and make sense, such as Darwin did in his research, paves the way to writing as research, too.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pet News 4: Dogs vs. Cats

“Dogs come when they are called; cats take a message and get back to you.”
by Mary Bly

I ran into this quote and couldn’t help but smile. Having multiple pets myself, I could see how this came about.

Cats do tend to take their sweet time when called. It doesn’t mean they’d never get to you. It’s just that they have to get in the moment of things. They might be busy taking a nap or grooming themselves before they acknowledge you, but rest assured they will seek you out for company.

Whereas a dog usually loves the attention, they tend to live in the moment. They can’t wait for you to take them on a walk or play with them. Dogs want to please you. Of course, there are times when they are involved in barking that they forget their name… but let’s not digress.

This quote also got me to thinking about being a writer.

When I write, I am most like a cat, focused on the task in front of me. If I lose this focus, I may not get the muse back. You have to hand it to cats… they’re onto something.

When I am ready to share my work with the world, I am most like a dog, seeking approval and correction to improve my craft.

Next time you call your pet, think about what a great thing it is to be different… or having similar attributes as a cat or dog=).


Monday, October 7, 2013

Quote 3

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
by Peter Drucker

This quote got me thinking about writing details. In writing, you have to SHOW a lot of what’s going on in a scene. This way, the reader can picture the images in their head. Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard and describe everything in great detail. You have to be selective. For example,

The dog ate.

The brown dog ate.

The brown dog ate fast.

The brown dog ate carrots fast.

The chestnut brown dog ate extremely fast.

The chestnut brown dog ate carrots extremely fast.

As you can see (besides it being pretty mediocre), I begin to add way too many adjectives and adverbs that aren’t necessary to the sentence or to what’s going on.

Always add details that serve a PURPOSE to the story. If my story is about the neighbor’s dog during dinner, then I have to decide what’s important to the scene and for the reader to know.

Being selective comes in handy when editing your writing. I know I’m finding it a little difficult. You tend to love what you write, but a good friend told me: “You gotta kill your darlings.”