Lucky Seven

I have been tagged by Bryna from Everyday Epic for the Lucky Seven Meme.

Here’s how it works:

1. Go to page 77 of your current manuscript or work in progress

2. Go to line 7

3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs as they are written.  No cheating!

4. Tag 7 authors and let them know.

The problem is that all I have currently are scraps of writing instead of something that can be considered as a whole, so I don’t actually have a proper manuscript or even a longer work-in-progress (um… yes, I should really start focusing on one single project). I do not have anything close to page 77 yet, although I do have a story of which I have some material, even if they are not all sequential and are contained within different notebooks. So I have to improvise. This is ‘more or less’ starting from line 7 from page 7 (instead of 77) of the notebook I am most recently working in, and it falls in the middle of a semi-long monologue. Enjoy (hopefully)! And for the non-writers among you, please understand that this is still very unpolished 🙂

———-

“But there is a different type of man who possess the fortitude to withstand the winds of fate. Men who are not content of drifting wherever these winds blow. Men who have the ability to change the directions of these winds so that they create their own fate, as well as of those around them. Men like Lord Robert. Men like Sir Bruce. Men like me.

“You realize that I could have easily have you executed if I wished. You may think you are behaving like a great knight when you decided to defy me, to remain angry and to contemplate vengeance for the sake of your companions. But all that bravado would have amounted to nothing with a single command from my side.

———-

Well, that’s it! Thanks to Bryna for tagging me!

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The sense of writing nonsense (aka Time to start again)

Even as I am writing this, I still have no clear idea what it is I’m going to write. Everything I can think of to write about seems futile and banal. These thoughts and words swirling inside my mind do not seem to make sense at all. I truly do not know what I want to write about.

However, what I do know is that I just have to write something… anything at all. It has been more than 3 months since I’ve last updated my blog. Since then it has been languishing away in a remote corner within cyberspace while I purposely avert my gaze and try my best not to think about it. But for days — weeks even — I can sense it calling out to me, gnawing slowly upon my guilty conscience until I could ignore it no longer.

“Come back to me,” it whispers. “Feed me with your thoughts. Nurture me with your words so that I may prosper once again.”

“How? How can my words and thoughts possibly do you justice?” I respond.

“How can your silence and negligence possibly do me justice?” it replies.

So I finally concede. This is why I am here once again typing these silly words on my keyboard. This is why I am here once again to reveal my foolish thoughts to the world (or more specifically the few people who read my blog).

“See, this doesn’t make any sense at all!” I cry out in a last-ditch attempt to stop writing this.

“It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to make sense. Sometimes the only way to make sense is to stop worrying about making sense.”

“Argh! I give up! I can’t argue with you any longer. There! I just published this stupid post. Happy now?”

“Yes.”

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A Thought Most Curious

I was working on a scene in my short story this past weekend when a very strange thought struck me. Do I really want to use this scene in my short story already? I mused to myself. Perhaps I should save it for the future, when I finally start writing my novel. Ok ok, so it was a particular passage that I liked because it reveals a lot about myself, but come on, it wasn’t even that good to begin with. Isn’t that weird? And this wasn’t even the first time that the thought had occurred to me.

I wonder which part of my perfectly flawed personality is responsible for this most curious thought. Is it the part of me which is so delusional and detached from reality that it borders on megalomania? I’ve never written anything more than a few pages when it comes to a novel, which is why I even switched to short stories in the first place. At this stage I’m just learning to be productive and gaining experience in my craft and I’m really just happy to write anything at all. I have absolutely no right or any logical basis to want to ‘save’ a particular piece of writing which I may or may not use in a novel which I may or may not write in a future which may or may not occur and imagine how delightful it will sound to my readers which may or may not exist.

Or perhaps it is the part of me that is constantly insecure and which has very little faith in my own abilities? This is the best that I can do! Oh my god, I suck! And so I feel like I need to hoard every single piece of writing which I even remotely consider to be any good at all, and in the hope that one day I will end up with enough good material to piece together a novel. Come to think of it, this part of me is also pretty delusional, but mostly out of fear. There’s no need to fear of course. If there’s one thing I should know by now is that I am constantly improving as a writer. There’s no reason to believe that I won’t become a better writer in the future as long as I keep practicing.

Whatever the reason, can I agree with myself that this line of thinking is complete and utter nonsense? It not only hinders my progress, but it is also detrimental to the quality of my writing if I start worrying about whether I should use a certain passage not because I worry if it fits within the story but whether I should save it for the future. Besides, it implies that the story I am working on right now is somehow less important than this non-existent novel I am yet to write (or not). If the story I’m working on is really that unimportant, then why do even I work on it in the first place? And why do I think about it every day?

Now, let us ignore these absurd thoughts and just write the damn thing, shall we?

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Writing Advice to Myself: Rules on Becoming a More Prolific Writer

2011 is slowly drawing to a close and since it is never too early to start thinking about resolutions, I have decided to make up my own list of rules that I need to adhere if I want to become a more prolific writer. This short list is mainly based on other pieces of writing advice as well as observations on my own writing habits. After some thought, I believe these are the rules that make the most sense for me personally. Some of these may be painfully obvious when you read it, but just because something is obvious doesn’t mean that I will necessarily do it, so it’s always good to write them down as a reminder. Speaking of obvious… Continue reading

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Writing short stories during NaNoWriMo

It’s November, and for a lot of writers it means it’s time for NaNoWriMo again. After weeks of inaction due to the busy schedule at work, I have decided to make use of this occasion to seriously start writing again, albeit with a different purpose than other Wrimo’s all around the world. No 50,000 word novel for me. Instead I will try my hand at a couple of short stories.

There are several story ideas swirling around in my head for quite some time now, and they are all desperately pleading to be given form and substance so that they can become something more than mere figments of my imagination. For now, I’ve picked two of them to work on. The first one is based on an exercise for the Writers Studio from about a year ago. It is a piece largely inspired by T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, and its challenge of the concept of ‘Might is right’. Ever since I wrote that piece I’ve been thinking about Sam and his relationship with Sir Bruce, and how it would evolve further. The other idea is something I thought up of just a few weeks ago about a writer who gets somewhat caught up by his own imagination. I chose that one because it was supposed to be a very short story in a very simple setting, something I can work on just to get myself into the rhythm again. However I found out today that the idea wants to be something more than a mere warm-up for the other stories. Not that it will evolve into a groundbreaking concept or anything like that — it’s still a relatively simple concept — but I believe now that it has the potential to grow into a story in its own right.

I’ve actually been working on these ideas since the end of October. Unfortunately I’ve found that I have become quite rusty, as I have trouble writing freely and let my imagination do the work for now. I find myself constantly falling back into my old habit of mulling over each individual word before putting it down on paper (before proceeding to cross it out again), so that’s something I need to work on the coming weeks. Well, at least I am putting in the effort again, even if the amount of time and effort spent is still largely concentrated around the weekends and therefore relatively limited. So to be honest, I do not believe I will end up with enough material at the end of the month to reach the 50,000 word goal, but that’s not my personal goal anyway. I will be thrilled if I can finish a couple of first drafts and use November mainly to gain momentum to start writing more in 2012 and beyond.

And to everyone who has taken up the NaNoWriMo challenge, or just the challenge to write anything at all, I wish you all lots of luck!

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How ‘Seoul’ becomes ‘Seoel’ in Dutch

About a year ago I read an article about Seoul in a magazine. I already forgot what the article was about, but I can still vividly remember my annoyance when I noticed that the author spelled Seoul as ‘Seoel’. As first I thought this was just an error on the author’s part which had somehow escaped the editor’s attention. When I decided to Google it however, I realized that Seoel has in fact become a valid spelling in Dutch. Apparently Seoul is also still valid as well, but it seems that most Dutch language sites, including the Dutch version of Wikipedia and the KLM website, use Seoel as its spelling. I find this to be rather baffling, because I believe that this change in spelling is actually the result of the erroneous pronunciation of Seoul in Dutch instead of there being a well thought out reason behind it. Let me try to explain.

The official English spelling of Seoul is based on the Revised Romanization of Korean (RR), and it is broken up into these two parts: Seo(서) and Ul(울). The way you pronounce Seo is like the first part of sock (or sok in Dutch), so eo is pronounced as a short o, which may be a bit counter-intuitive at first. The way you pronounce Ul is like ool as in pool (or oel as in poel in Dutch). So Seoul would sound somewhat alike to soul (hence the ‘Korea’s got Seoul’ pun you might have come across), albeit with a short o instead of a long o. Continue reading

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The Pendulum Swings

An emotion is like a pendulum
The harder you push it in the other direction
The faster it swings back at you without discretion
So no matter how wildly your emotions swing
Just let them be and stop pushing
Only then will you achieve equilibrium

Ugh… I seem to keep churning out self-motivational stuff like these lately. I promise I’ll try something different again soon! 🙂

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