Tag Archives: fiction

November – the write-a-thon month – is here!

Hullo, folks! I hope everyone’s ready for a month of furious writing! 🙂

Yes, it’s November already! Month of the Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge, NaNoWriMo, NaBloWriMo, and any other way you can think of tweaking that second syllable; it’s time to get cracking, dear fellow writers!

For anyone who is new to November’s writing fervor, I’ve given a quick introduction to the various challenges in this old post 🙂

Has everyone decided which of the challenges they’ll be taking up? I’ll be attempting the Poem-a-Day Challenge as always, but I still have till the end of the day to decide whether I want to attempt NaNoWriMo 😉 it’s a challenge as it is, and to take it up last minute…but I’m still willing to play with the idea, so let’s see!

As for other ideas, I was just thinking it’d be nice to try something like “a short story a day” challenge. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there already trying it! If I skip on NaNoWriMo, I might attempt something of this sort instead.

The point of November’s furious writing, for me at least, is to make sure you show up at your writing desk every day and get something done. Making writing a habit. It’s hard to do it all year long (though that’s the ideal), so if you can’t, start here–start now, for just one month. November. Your write-a-thon month. Take any challenge that suits you, and do your best every day. Whether you’ve got a chapbook or a novel at the end, the more important product is the daily development your writing takes!

So gear up, sharpen your words, and write away 🙂

Prompts for the Weekend

Today’s the first day of November and it also happens to be a weekend, so here are a few of prompts to get you started. Feel free to mix up/compound prompts or change words/phrases/punctuation marks as you please! There’s only one rule in November and that’s to write every day!

  • the first day

This could be about your first day at anything, like school, college, work, or your first day at your November challenge! It could also be about someone’s first day of–well, life! It could be the first day of reading something different, or writing something different, or living somewhere new, perhaps living with someone new. These are just simple examples, I’m sure your brain could churn out something much more creative than what mine’s giving me now 😉

  • “How could I have known?”

This entire line popped fresh out of my first November PAD poem 😉 there, it had something to do with communication and how we get to know things, sometimes without words. For your piece, it could even be about not knowing something had happened, but perhaps being expected to know. Whatever the line suggests to you works best 🙂

  • Dawn / Daybreak (+music prompt)

For this prompt, I won’t say too much, since it probably already has so many possibilities brimming in your mind; I shall only add that you can always change any prompt into a different part of speech if you’d like, like “dawn” to “dawning”, or just add that meaning into your piece 😉 I will also add this piece of music to the mix, so you’ll have a music prompt for this one:

(You could always make use of the novel/film association here, or interpret the piece individually!)

Happy November!

I hope everyone’s got a good start on their challenge(s)! I shall try my best to make regular posts with more prompts (I expect to have a little more time now, at least for the first half of November). Wish you all a very happy, writerly November, folks 😉

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Reflections: Perspective

The weekly Reflections post is back at last! I hope to be able to post on Fridays again next week onwards. But for now, here we have it:

Today’s topic: Perspective.

Image

This is a familiar image, I’m sure! What do you see in it? If you see both, which did you see first – the vase or the two faces?

An exercise

What’s your perspective on perspective? Take a few minutes to brainstorm all of the ideas that come to your mind about this topic, and list your ideas.

When you have time, call on one of your friends or a family member, perhaps even your neighbor. It could even be a stranger at a park, or a classmate. Ask him/her (you can, of course, ask more than one person, for more ideas) what he/she thinks of the word “perspective”. What is his/her idea of perspective? What would he/she do to, say, “gain perspective”? Jot down what everyone says.

Go back to your own list at the end of the day or week (the longer the gap between the writing of and the revising, the better) to compare and contrast the various ideas. Is there anything you’d like to add? Something that’s neither in your list nor in your friends’ lists?

Looking side-a-ways

Perspective by common definition means the way one sees something. Everyone is bound to have different perspectives, even for the very idea of “perspective” – which is what the exercise was all about.

Do look up the term (which I suggest you do only after the exercise!) sometime. It could mean quite a few things.

There are drawings, paintings and sketches done in perspective. An archaic meaning of the word referred to a glass used as a telescope. It could refer to point of view. It could mean a vista. And a whole lot more.

Here’s a comment President Lincoln made, which is all about perspective:

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln

  • What is the first definition that came to your mind when you read “perspective”?

Why, why, why?

Looking beyond just one’s perspective, I think the reason behind their perspective is also very important. Especially to fiction writers!

There’s much that contributes to the way we look at the world around us, the way we perceive what’s happening, the way we understand and assimilate things.

Social conditioning is a key factor. We’re brought up by our families, and the society in which we live, to see things in a very particular way. To accept certain things as they are. To not question or dare to subvert these views. Our understanding of social norms is one of the results of this process of socializing. We are reared to accept and comply by these standards.

You can say that this restricts our thoughts and makes us narrow-minded – or that it is necessary to maintain order in society. Or whatever else you can think of to reprove/justify the idea. The point is that it affects the way we think.

Language, preferences, morality – we acquire all of these as we grow up in society. It’s often not even a conscious process.

So we writers have to carefully set up the societies, histories, families, settings in our fiction – all in such a way that our characters and their stories are valid products of these factors.

  • What else can you think of that may contribute to one’s perspective?

Through their eyes

It’s natural that fiction writers pay a lot of attention to their character’s perspective – point of view is one of the basic tools of story-writing.

What is an angry teenager likely to observe when he storms into a room? What would he notice if he were calm and collected? Our perspective leeks into the things we see. It’s the glass-half-full or glass-half-empty question. If a mug of coffee spills over, is your character more upset that her drink is wasted, or that her newspaper is ruined?

Also, a character’s perspective must be in keeping with his/her back-story. There should be reason behind what he or she sees and does, after all. If a character’s going to be extraordinarily different from everyone around him/her, even that must have a cause. And this cause must be as great as the character’s conviction is strong.

Keep your eyes wide open

When you revise what you’ve written, take a moment to ask yourself about the perspectives and stereotypes, the ideas taken for granted in the piece.

Have you restricted yourself in any way? Do you always write poems in a particular form, thinking that’s how it’s got to be written? Do you always write stories in first-person? Do you avoid reading or writing certain genres without even trying them? Are your characters stereotypical?

It’s best not to rule out anything outright. With an open mind, we leave a lot more room for creativity!

Even stereotypes aren’t all bad – they have their uses. They are extremely useful, in fact, to create the effect of irony or to expose social follies.

Write on, folks!

There’s definitely a lot more to be said and written about perspective, and from different perspectives. I’ll leave my fellow writers to explore them. 🙂 Happy writing, and happy weekend, everyone!