We get stronger.

Life is cruel, unkind, mean. Sometimes life likes to knock us down, and then kick us a few good times, just to make sure we’ve fallen low enough. Life looks at our plans, and no matter how well we’ve made them, how sure we are, life shreds them to pieces until there is nothing left.

And then again, life is measured not by the times we fall down, but by the times we rise up. By the times we dust the dirt off our clothes, by the times we try again and again.

Because we get stronger every time we fall down. We get more resilient. We can stand a little taller every time we have to stand up. We learn with each unkindness and cruelty. We learn and we move on and somehow we get to our destination. A bit roughed up, but wiser, stronger, more capable.

And getting up again is worth it. No matter how hard it is, how heart-broken we are, getting up is worth it. Because staying down means not trying, and we can change nothing if we never try. But standing up means that we get another chance to try, another chance for things to change.

Another chance for things to get better.

For our dreams to be within our grasp.

And that’s worth it.

WordBound: Wed, Jan 11

Azreth, 

I’m sorry. 

That’s one sad message to leave, isn’t it? But I’m sorry. Don’t give up. I wish I could be there for you, help you, ease you. You have so much ahead, so many things planned, and the fates are cruel and  unkind. 

You have the world to carry on your shoulders.

Have faith. 

Everything will be as it should in the end.

Love, 

Mom

 

Word bound Challenge #1

First post! #wordbound starts on Jan 4. Get excited!

A post shared by #wordbound (@_wordbound) on

I came across an Instagram account not long ago, called wordbound. I’m a little late on the train, I realise, but it’s better late than never, right? I have a lot of catching up to do, to be on track. So here goes nothing.

2017 writing goals and I’m already three months behind. Oh well. At least they haven’t been idle months, and that has to count for something.

So, here is my list of goals for 2017:

  1. I have been outlining, world-building and plotting a story. I want to write that story, get through the first draft.
  2. I have four stories ready, and I want to finish one round of edits on all of them. On “Descent”, “Fool’s Errand”, “Tarnished Gold”, and “The Duchess”.
  3. Hopefully, I can go on round 2 of edits on each story, if I am productive enough, if I use the ‘butt to chair’ technique.

I know it doesn’t make for an impressive list of writing goals, but I’m currently struggling to finish university. If I manage to fulfill 2/3 of the goals, I’ll be more than happy and satisfied.

~Harris

Writing is hard. It takes dedication. You only do this if you love it.

The only way you really do this, is if you love it. It takes dedication. ~ Andrew Smith

Writing is hard.

Writing is something we do alone. Most of it happens in our minds, and it takes so long to see concrete results, that it is easy to lose sight of what we want and where we are going.

Writing is hard.

It’s not something you do for the money, it’s not something you do to get popular and famous. Most authors aren’t. It’s something you do because you love it. Because you have a story buzzing inside your skull and you can’t catch a break unless you put that story out in the world. Because you have characters in your head fighting for your attention, demanding they be heard.

Authors love their worlds, their characters, and their stories. They have spent hours agonising over fictional problems and conflicts. You can’t do that unless you love storytelling. Unless this is what you want to do. You don’t spend hours upon hours crafting every detail of a world, unless writing is ingrained in your soul.

It takes dedication.

It takes love for the craft, patience, courage. It takes learning to ignore that nagging sensation that everything you’ve been doing is wrong and there is no fixing it. You should just quit and let the real authors do the writing.

It takes a lot of dedication.

Not only to write, but to be yourself. You need to believe in yourself more than anyone else does, you need to see and recognise your mistakes and learn from them. You need hours in front of a screen or a notebook, writing.

And at the end of the day, you can’t put in the hours, unless you are doing something you love.

~Harris

Narration: Time

or When a Story is Told

PAST:

The Past Tense is the most common in storytelling. It describes the story and the events from a point in the past.

The past tense is simple yet complicated. It can cause problems with writers that can’t use all the past tenses.

On the other hand, it is something the reader expects to see in a story, which makes it invisible. Sometimes when a story has a format that is too weird, it can take the reader out of it. So Past Tense Narration is a safe bet, because it is what readers are used to, what they have seen time and time again.

Great with character backstories and building tension and conflict, the past tense is an easy go-to for most writers, no matter the Point of View or the Voice.

PRESENT:

The second most common tense in storytelling, the Present Tense is simple and uncomplicated. Everything that happens, happens now, in the moment and the Narrator is the vessel through which the reader experiences everything. It is spontaneous, and most times it’s used with the First Person PoV. It is intimate and can be fast-paced.

But the Present Tense can be tricky because it doesn’t fall back on other tenses, so sometimes it can be difficult to convey conflict and tension. Many writers fall into the trap of adding trivial little details and happenings in their story, just because the Present Tense allows it.

FUTURE:

The least used tenses for Narration, are the Future Tenses. The events are happening at some point in the future and the story takes an almost prophetic tone.

~Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

Nanowrimo

What to do when the month of Nanowrimo comes around.

Nanowrimo is almost here!

It’s that time of the month again when everything is painted in the colours of the Autumn and everyone is getting cosy in their sweaters and their fuzzy shocks with a mug of hot chocolate or tea.

And then there are the crazy people who get their laptops out, lock the doors, forsake any kind of social life and buckle down for a whole month of writerly abandon.

Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is a yearly worldwide event where people commit to writing fifty thousand words in a month, or just 1.666 words per day. It doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? It doesn’t sound so difficult for one thing. And it’s not. What is difficult is setting yourself a daily habit that you have to follow through.

Why should you do Nanowrimo?

Why not? Everyone has a story to tell, then why not tell it? That aside, Nanowrimo is a great way to connect with people who are also writers, that also love stories and characters and maybe they are just a bit too invested on fictional situations.

But remember, Nanowrimo is not for everyone and that is alright. Different strokes for different folks. It’s okay if Nanowrimo isn’t for you. Maybe you can only write every few days, or you have work or school or university. Maybe your life just decided to flip upside down or the crazy pace of Nanowrimo just doesn’t float your boat. Or as I like to say, it doesn’t float your goat**.

What to do to succeed in Nanowrimo:

a. Don’t lose your sanity: You have multiple people in your head. Just make sure to safeguard whatever is left of your brain.

b. Put together a writer’s survival kit: this is the time to buy that notebook and those fancy pens you wanted. Nanowrimo gives you the perfect excuse! You need all these things just so you can survive the month. Whether it is snacks, or coffee or a USB to back up your work, everything is essential.
For more ideas, just follow the link above.

c. Warm your pet humans about November: You are invested, you’ve decided you ARE doing this. The only thing that is getting between you and your goal are all those normal people who just don’t get it. Just warn them in advance. Make sure they know what you want to do and how important this is for you.

d. Join a writing community: Nanowrimo is all about that community and the internet is full of groups that can help you and keep you motivated throughout the month. Whether that is on the official Nanowrimo site, or it’s in a facebook writing group, find people who are like you and watch your imagination grow.

e. Have fun: Last but not least, remember that this is something that had you all excited, something that should warm your insides like a sip from your favourite hot coffee. This is you expressing your creativity and giving your ideas form, this your making a story out of nothing. Having characters that hardly ever listen to you is tough enough, so do not forget to have fun!

~ Harris

**( Disclaimer: no actual goats were harmed in the writing of this sentence)

Narration: Voice

Or How The Story Is Told.

It is really no surprise that View and Voice and intertwined a lot, since voice is how the story itself is told. Apart from the similarities though, there are some different formats.

A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS:

In contrast with the other narrative formats, SoC doesn’t follow the typical style and instead it has a unique way of telling events and actions as they happen. SoC is filled with inner monologues in an attempt to replicate the thought process. SoC is full of personal desires and motivations and the occasional, inconvenient incomplete thoughts.
SoC is best expressed in First Person and it is an easy way to show the audience thoughts and motivations that the rest of characters in the story don’t hear or get to know.

A CHARACTER’S VOICE:

One of the most common formats, when the voice of the Narrator and the Voice of a character are one and the same. Either in first person or third, it creates a nice atmosphere for a relatable, realistic character/narrator that the reader can follow around.
But it can also be a biased, unreliable narrator that can lead the reader astray. Or it can be a detached narrator that is just retelling the events taking place.

AN UNRELIABLE NARRATOR:

An untrustworthy narrator aims to give a sense of mystery and suspicion to every bit of information given. There are many reasons why a narrator can be untrustworthy. Mental disorders, drugs, naivete and simple innocence.
Usually done in First Person, for that something extra.

A 3RD PERSON OMNISCIENT NARRATOR:

A narrator that is good for epics and big cast of characters, the Omniscient Narrator knows all, sees all, hears all. It is the most reliable of the Voices because of the knowledge he holds and sometimes he can offer judgement and his opinion on matters, or even foreshadow events that are to happen in a more outspoken manner.

A 3RD PERSON OBJECTIVE NARRATOR:

The Objective Narrator is very good with Drama. He is unbiased and objective and conveys only the events and the actions, while he leaves out the thoughts, the opinions and the feelings of the characters,
He is the perfect Narrator to display all sides in any story in a way that allows the audience to decide who is the good and who is the bad guy, what is right and wrong. It also gives the characters the chance to act out their feelings, instead of just keeping them in their thoughts, where the audience can’t know about them.

A 3RD PERSON SUBJECTIVE NARRATOR:

Unlike the Objective Narrator, the Subjective Narrator is all about the feelings and the thoughts and the personal, inner opinions of the characters. The Narrator can jump between characters and present all different sides in a matter. Most commonly, it is used with main characters, or the Narrator can even jump between characters.

What is your favourite Voice to use? What are you most comfortable with? What would you like to experiment with?

~Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

Guest post: How to write in a foreign language — eternal scribbler

This week’s guest poster is the wonderful M S Harris who discusses writing manuscripts in a language that is not your native one. How To Write In A Foreign Language by M.S. Harris I have been writing for a long time and I’ve been making stories in my head for as long as I can remember. Not […]

via Guest post: How to write in a foreign language — eternal scribbler

Narration: Point of View

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Point of view, simply put, is the narrator. Who is the person telling the story? Who is he in relation to the story? Is he a character? Is he some detached entity that has nothing to do with the story and does he just narrate the events and what is happening?

There are three different types of PoV: First Person, Second Person and Third. Each different type, of course, has it’s merits and it’s disadvantages.

First Person PoV :

I woke up to rain and wind howling outside my window.

One of the most common PoVs, the narrator is usually a character in the story and most times, he is the protagonist, or at least a character that has a crucial role in the story, even if he is in the sidelines.

First Person allows the reader a glimpse inside the mind of the character/narrator. It is an internal and personal PoV, where all events are filtered through the opinions and the views of the narrator.

It is also one of the PoVs that allows for easy character development as well. With this PoV though, there are three choices to keep in mind:

A) If the character doesn’t know he is narrating a story

B) If he is a conscious narrator

And

C) if they are an unreliable narrator, where his personal traits and experience might influence what he sees and how he acts and the way he colours the story.

The problem with the First Person PoV is that the reader, the audience, can only see what the narrator is seeing and experiencing. If the narrator is not included in some big event, the reader is not included either.

Second Person PoV :

You woke up to rain and wind howling outside your window.

The least common PoV of them all, it is meant to make the reader feel like he is the protagonist, like he is part of the story himself.
The problem with this PoV though is in the fact that it creates an alienation from the events and emotional distance from what is happening.

Third Person PoV :

He woke up to rain and wind howling outside his window.

The Third Person PoV is well – known and very common. It is also flexible. It allows for a variety of narrators and narrations.

Firstly, the narrator can be a character in the story, as in the First Person PoV or he can be an unspecified entity, or an uninvolved character who is simply there to tell the tale.

Subjective VS Objective

A subjective narrator is one that describes the feelings, opinions and thoughts of the protagonist, while an objective narrator only puts forth the events as they happen, untainted by the feelings and thoughts of any character.

Omniscient VS Limited

The difference between the two is simply a difference in the knowledge they have and is available to them. An Omniscient narrator knows it all, sees it all, hears it all. A Limited Narrator only knows what the character knows and sees and hears what the character sees and hears.

Alternating PoV:

Of course all different PoVs are tools and nothing more. A writer can mix and match what he likes, change between different styles of PoV and even change between PoV characters or even from First to Second to Third person PoV.

My personal favorite is Third Person Limited and Subjective but with a couple of PoV Characters to give the whole scope of the story.
What is your favorite PoV to use?

~Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

Every Artist is a Child

Life is hard. Life is difficult and as we grow up and we grow old, life likes to slap us and know us down, dedicated in teaching us important “lessons”.

Ever so slowly, we lose our fearlessness, our passion and our wonder. We no longer see the world as a child does, with pure joy at every little discovery, with the need to explore, create and satisfy our thirsty curiosity.

Life teaches us to be afraid, to stay put and mind our business. Life, experience and knowledge help bury that child inside each of us.

But an artist needs those qualities. An artist needs to be a child, to look at the world with wonder and joy, to feel no fear, or anything that can hinder or block the creativity and the curiosity that powers his work.

In his heart, every artist remains a child and every child is born an artist. It’s just a matter of whether or not he will let life and growing old and weary stop him in any way.