Monthly Archives: October 2010

Final Thoughts on Prophecy before NaNoWriMo kicks off

I finally uploaded a synopsis for my novel ‘Prophecy’ for NaNoWriMo. The name ‘Prophecy’ is a working title, and I’ll come up with a better one later.

You can read the synopsis either on my blog page, or in my NaNoWriMo profile:

Blog Page

NaNoWriMo profile

Apart from my synopsis, I really don’t have too much else yet. I have a few scenes in my head which may not even make it into the story eventually. I also haven’t worked out the ‘turning points’ yet, like I mentioned on a previous post, apart from the Inciting Incident, which obviously is the moment when they hear about the prophecy.

Before deciding on the turning points however, I need to establish the different personalities of Davos and Corban, the two protagonists of the stories. Continue reading

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Let’s be realistic about NaNoWriMo

Just one more day before NaNoWriMo kicks off! Exciting!

But let’s be realistic for a minute. There is at best a microscopic chance that I will reach the 50,000 words by the end of November. As I already mentioned recently, things at work are only going to get more hectic the next couple of months, and I’m already exhausted when I get back from home as it is. And when it comes to writing, my homework for the Writer’s Studio workshop, which ends at November 29th, just has a higher priority than anything I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo.

Not achieving the 50,000 words is not necessarily a bad thing though. Continue reading

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Comparing Story Structures

Last year I read a book written by Christopher Booker called the Seven Basic Plots. As the name implies, the book revolves around the seven plots which all storytelling is based upon. It is really a quite interesting read. Even if you don’t agree with everything he says (he seems particularly negative about modern storytelling for instance), it will still get you thinking about how stories are structured and how they work.

Regardless of the type of story though, he describes five stages that every story goes through (though shorter stories may focus on one particular stage):

  1. 1. Anticipation Stage
  2. 2. Dream Stage
  3. 3. Frustration Stage
  4. 4. Nightmare Stage
  5. 5. Resolution Stage

I believe that this structure has a lot in common with the three act structure, as illustrated below. In reality, the fit may not be as perfect as I depicted it, but it’s close enough.

Continue reading

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Writing Workshop – Week 5

This week’s exercise based on Dickhead by Tony Hoagland:

http://www.viewaskew.com/newboard/messages515/523.html

Create a colloquial, witty, but vulnerable older narrator who’s remembering a painful situation from when he was young. Although the situation is painful, he presents it with in a playful way, with a lot of humour (and again the love for language!). The overall tone is light-hearted. The voice is quite intimate, and speaks more directly to the reader (as compared to the Duncker piece).

Click here to read the story.

Yikes, this was a tough one. Normally I would have some ideas swirling in my head during the week, playing around with them in my mind. By the time Saturday rolls around, I would just sit down and work on it during the weekend. This week however, I still had several ideas open on Saturday, one even involving a stray cat as the narrator, but I didn’t know how to proceed with any of them. I started writing, stopped writing, started again etc. but for some reason it just didn’t feel right. I was missing the crucial element, an object or word which signifies hope for the narrator, like the word ‘dickhead’ in Tony Hoagland’s piece.

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Writing Workshop – Week 5 Exercise

This week’s exercise based on Dickhead by Tony Hoagland:

http://www.viewaskew.com/newboard/messages515/523.html

Create a colloquial, witty, but vulnerable older narrator who’s remembering a painful situation from when he was young. Although the situation is painful, he presents it with in a playful way, with a lot of humour (and again the love for language!). The overall tone is light-hearted. The voice is quite intimate, and speaks more directly to the reader (as compared to the Duncker piece).

To the guy who threw me the basketball that afternoon, while I was watching from the sidelines, I owe a debt of thanks. Finding my way on the basketball court helped me to find my way in this world, at a time when I was feeling lost.

Continue reading

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Writing Workshop – Week 4 Exercise

This week’s exercise based on Betrayal by Patricia Duncker:

Think about a group or sub-culture the narrator belongs to. Put a couple of those people in one room and create a scene where some tension exists between the characters. However, the narrator is not part of the tension, and is mainly an observer. Focus on the use of language. The narrator obviously has a love for language and injects a lot of humour and colourful descriptions into the scenes.

The other students were stomping and shouting loudly as they entered the classroom, and I tagged behind them slowly even though we were already late, not wanting to interrupt their boisterous behavior, fearing the possible repercussions. The fat one was called G’romm whose hobby was to smash things. The fatter one was called K’romm who loved nothing more than to bash things. And the fattest one was called Q’romm whose favorite activity was to trash things. Amidst all the smashing, bashing and trashing, you have yours truly who is dashing. And all this while our teacher Tom’s teeth were gnashing. He loathed tardiness, and he gave us all the evil eye, but he did not dare reproach us, as his physique was rather unimpressive, feeble even for an orc. He had nothing to fear from me obviously, but if the others were to fully unleash their barely suppressed violent tendencies and to come smashing, bashing and trashing towards him, we would be in immediate need of a replacement teacher, of which there is none.

Tom was not his real name. His real name was in fact T’Gromm Orkenstein III, and he hailed from a noble family of distinguished marauders, but he changed his name to Tom when he ventured out into the human world. Continue reading

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Writing Workshop – Week 4

This week’s exercise based on Betrayal by Patricia Duncker:

Think about a group or sub-culture the narrator belongs to. Put a couple of those people in one room and create a scene where some tension exists between the characters. However, the narrator is not part of the tension, and is mainly an observer. Focus on the use of language. The narrator obviously has a love for language and injects a lot of humour and colourful descriptions into the scenes.

Click here to read the story

This week’s assignment sure was a lot of fun. The exercise clearly brought out a lot of creativity from everyone. It’s amazing to see all the characters, scenes and settings everyone came up with, and it was fun to read them all.

More importantly, I also had a lot of fun writing my story and I allowed myself to indulge in my love for fantasy. At first I was afraid that it wouldn’t work out too well, but the others enjoyed the story. The only thing I should think about is how I should have the narrator connect more with the audience. Go a little deeper and bring in an element which the reader can relate to. For example, in the part about ‘reciting poetry’, I can work that out a little bit more to convey the feeling that the narrator feels like an outsider in this society (which he is!). Again I completely agree. That would make the story more interesting. But all in all it was pretty good.

I’m also particularly interested in the opinions of people who read a lot of fantasy. So for you fantasy lovers are there, and I know there are a few, let me know what you think!

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