Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Using Life As A Guide

Ever wondered what to write? I did, a few times. Sometimes, i still do, and it freaks me out.

Never fear! The Lone Dudette is here to help!

I have long overstayed in the happy bubble of childhood; people are starting to think of me as lazy. But all I do is just put a hand to my chest, take a big intake of breath, and go all, 'What? I?' and pretend to look scandalized. I mean, it isn't your fault that you have a surplus of pretending abilities in your head, too much that you forgot to do your chores. At seventeen, you're expected to already know how many chores you're going to have to do everyday.

But like I said, a surplus of imagination. There's a good thing though. You become a writer.

I use my life as a guide to picking up inspiration. Sometimes I search for it, and it results in a long afternoon spent trying to create a plot from scratch and failing. Other times, it just happens, coming from different sources. Who hasn't felt the hopelessness of a character when he has been viciously bullied? Who hasn't been jealous when watching a female protagonist in the middle of an insanely-buffmazing guy and the enigmatic bad boy, who are both equally in love with her? Seriously, I think buffmazing guys are cool and all, but if I had to pick someone, it will have to be the 1) bad guy who doesn't give a damn about Mr. Buffguy, or, 2)the best friend who's a nerd. What can I say? Chiseled flesh doesn't work on me.

One of the first places to receive the heavenly inspiration? Your dreams. Keep some scraps of paper and a pen near your bed so you can scribble something down after a horribly vivid dream. Recently, I've had one where a redheaded girl is a candy-sweet bloodsucker and I meet a werewolf who really looks date-able in an Adam Lambert-style getup. For a teenager who is totally against werewolves-cuz of the buffmazing factor; I can't stand it-and who has no time for the eternal war between these two supernatural sets, falling in love with a werewolf in a dream is pretty extraordinary, even for me. But I'm just sayin'. You never understand a dream until you're fully awake. And that's the time the idea starts to unfold.

A second source is pop culture. Yes, movies and music, and to a certain degree, books. The last is semi-pop due to the immortality of books. They're classic when they're loved to the death. But really? Music? What can I find in there? Lyrics?

My answer to that is, yes. Lyrics! The dialogue of a melody, the words of a song can be easy to pick up-I, I love you like a love song, baby-or they can be a little on the unfathomable side; have you heard Owl City folks? I swear, I've never heard songs like Adam Young's! But the magic is there, if you can find it. Say you really like Taylor Swift's new song, called Treacherous. There's a part about it going like this:

This hope is treacherous
This daydream is dangerous

You can use those two short lines to prove any point; a secret romance under your parents' noses, a kind of belief that no one else believes in, etc, etc. What matters is how you put that song into your own words. There is no limit to what you can achieve.

Movies are a little more straightforward; stories based on movies are called fanfiction. You can also combine different fanfiction to make up your own one. Let's pretend you adore the way Draco Malfoy starts to sob in HP7, in the bathroom, and you take that hopelessness and mix it together with Iron Man's cocky attitude. Now you have a vulnerable character. To top it off, you make the character act all mysterious, maybe even evil. Heck, maybe he can even be a she! All you have to do is place him, or her, in a suitable environment that will aid her in her mission. Aww, it's a she now. See? You can make a character as a tribute to another favorite character in the way he/she looks, dresses, and acts. Which brings us to the next source of inspiration: interactions.

Your memories can bring to life your character's life. You are the writer. Your experiences becomes theirs, it's that inevitable. One conversation pops up between your protagonist and his parents, um, about, a bullying encounter in school. His parents are freaking out that he doesn't want to tell them about his life anymore. He just keeps silent about it, hangs out with gangs, etc. Then they ask him, 'Did you even think of telling us about this?'

What does the boy say? This is entirely up to you. But I'm guessing it's a no, whether or not he says this out loud. It's just that intuitive, because we've been there, we've experienced those moments, and yet, we've lived to tell the tale. Kudos to all of you who are not going to be pushed down to your knees. I wish I could hug you. But yes, real-life experiences, both good and bad, have a kind of residue on you. The good news is that you can use these memories to reach out to other readers who feel the same way. Use your own memories, as well as other recounts or your own observations of others such as your friends, family members, and complete strangers as inspiration. It makes your writing more authentic and personal, much like a song.

We've reached the penultimate source of inspiration: your heart. You see, it is your life force, sustaining your physical self. It is also the one sustaining your emotions. The heart is almost always the most overused term to describe the source of love. Maybe it is true, maybe it isn't, but those feelings are the ones you use in your next big story. The matters of the heart, I call it.

Use your emotions to the max, and I mean, to the max. When you're angry, take note of the irrepressible fury that builds up inside, threatening to take over. When you're thinking of a childhood trauma, relive the cold sweats, the feeling of being alone and afraid. When you're grieving for someone, or for your pet, can you feel the sobs that shake you, the words that hide at the back of your throat? Take note of these things and the other sensations that come with it. They really, really, help. The key is to describe, describe, describe. They are extra words that can help you connect to your readers in the long run. And they work in 1200-word contest submissions too, if you know how and where to place them right. Always look into yourself for these feelings; if you try to use something you've never felt before, it would feel like a fake story, like you're trying to pretend to be somebody you're not. Most of the time, you actually are pretending to be someone you're not. But you're putting human feelings into the characters, that make them seem more real. Now that is something. And I bet that when you do something like that, your story will be spectacular.

Finally, the last part of this entry. I hope you've been listening? If you skipped, that's okay, because you might have heard this before. Last point, here we go!

Writing what you don't know is a challenging task. If you're still a teen, kid, senior citizen, dog, cat, etc, you may have encountered an instance where you have to step into someone's shoes, clothes, fur, whatever. You have no idea how to be somebody else! So what happens next?

Well, if you're like me, you won't fret too much. Instead, you take my advice, which is to stay calm. Never do something in haste. It isn't a writer thing. There are three kinds of things you don't know:

Stuff You Want To Write About to Induce Your Character to Do Something.
This kind is essential to the plot. Example: A girl gets thrown into jail, where she learns the tips and tricks of being an all-rounded criminal. This is a little too exaggerated, but it can happen, with plenty of reasons why you want her to be a criminal.

Stuff You Can't/Won't/Haven't Do
This can be a little personal. Sometimes, you just don't feel like standing up to your parents after they found you playing video games until four in the morning, but your rebellious character does. In fact, he thinks he can even spew a few swear words in front of the folks! Naughty, naughty. This is where your dark side gets a little spotlight. Let it, but don't forget to balance it out with good, noble characteristics.

Stuff You Wished You Did.
Things are getting a little interesting now. Have you ever felt like you wanted to say something at last night's party, but, surprise, surprise, you didn't? And that sweet-looking guy never got to meet you! Here's what I found at A Word A Day. In your stories, the things that you wished you had said, those clever comebacks, cool attitude, and charming, intelligent words, they can come to life. That's one reason people read, by the way, and one more reason to keep writing. And one more reason to keep coming back here, right? Right?

So folks, that's all from me for this week. I hope that you share this page with anyone you know who wants to be a writer, and I thank you for reading the ramblings of a lone dudette. Goodbye and happy writing!


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