Jul 28, 2012

The best thing about location

Motivated by some of the posts on the Linkedin about location, I've decided to share my outlook on it, and how it affects my writing.

I use it as a way to clearly describe what I see, to use the best of it, to make the story more convincing. Of course, a convincing dialogue is what makes the story interesting, but sometimes the perfect location is often ignored, and it is a shame considering how much improvement it can bring to the story.
How many times have you walked outside, and I don't mean only some far away places, and find yourself stopped at your tracks, because you felt that the certain building or, indeed, the whole street makes you feel something deep inside of you? A certain emotion or a nudge?

I looooooove writing. It is my life. And so many times I've come to this situation where I've felt it but I couldn't decipher what it means. The nudge and the emotions were there, and I've missed it because it was gone in an instant. And so many times I failed to make the best of it, to even capture the location that could have possibly meant something so meaningful to the story. For that reason I have decided to take my camera everywhere I go. You never know what can motivate you. And sometimes at first you don't feel anything about what you're photographing, but when you come home and you look at the picture everything seems so clear to you! The ideas just come pouring out of your mind.

The good idea that comes to me, in order to work on my description and details, and I will work on it next time, is going to the center of a relatively small, peaceful street, standing somewhere in the middle of it, or somewhere on the side, and taking picture of it. And then, taking time, going door to door and describing what it looks like, and who might be behind it.

And now a question for you. How do you use the location to your favor?

Jul 7, 2012

Let's continue playing...

...with the 2nd version of the story. I must point out that the last post was not premeditated. It came as a result of seeing the picture, which is the point, of course. Here is a modified photo of a previous one. Let's see where it takes me.

Version 2:

The house stood in front of him. It was nothing like he remembered. No, wait. He couldn't have remembered it. He's heard about it from his room-mate, but he's never seen it before. It was a plain, wooden house. Actually, a cottage could cover it better. Surrounded with thick woods, the house was barely visible even when the sun was in the middle of the sky. The lavender bush that once was so lovely, so deep and rich in color, was now a sun-burned gathering of straws. There was life in the house but that life was cold and almost dead.
The people who lived there knew nothing of his presence. They were probably inside. Mother was making lunch, a child, a baby girl, was playing on her blanket, and a grandmother was reading a book. Men were not around. He knew that would be the case. All the men have gone long before he even heard his room-mate's story.
"Sometimes I feel like the destiny had her fingers in it. My grandfather went to war and never came back. My father was seduced by another woman. Me...I had a passion for gambling and easy girls, and that is what brought me here. There are no men left in this house. If someone's put a spell over it...well...the spell is too powerful. But you...my dear friend....maybe you can break it. Maybe you can remove whatever the curse is placed upon it." His room-mate breathed shallowly, lying on his prison bed. He had only hours to live.
At his death bed he promised he would look his family up and try to bring back life to the house. And now, as he stood there, fighting all his internal feelings that he should run away. Perhaps it was only the determination of woman who lived there, to take care of the house, that chased away all men who came into their lives. But he will not give in. He will break the chain of unfortunate events. He will bring back harmony. And first of all, he will do all that he can to bring the lavender bush back to life. 
Clenching his fists as if looking for support he stepped in front of the door and knocked softly. And then he waited....

Jul 5, 2012

Playing with the plot....

....or how the picture can trigger your mind. I've already written about how I'm kinaesthetic 90 percent of the time. But sometimes this type doesn't work for me. Sitting in front of a computer sometimes just won't do. And a blank page can't  exactly motivate my fingers to write, so I need an incentive. That's when pictures/photos come in really handy. Depending on the content of the picture a story can go in various directions. And the content of the picture can set the perfect mood that you've been looking for. So I want to try and play a little with a photo I've took with my iPad in my back yard. I'll play with two various possibilities of the story.

Option 1:

Lilly stepped on her front porch. She breathed in deeply with her eyes closed. Lavender. The smell of this particularly beautiful lavender bush, that grew just in front of her porch, filled her nostrils and immediately took her back to her childhood. She was only a little girl then, but she remembered every detail of that most important day of her life. The sun that burned the grass beneath her bare feet. The wind that played with the flowers in her hair. And the smell....the smell was so intense, so deep inside of her that she felt as if it is a part of her blood. There was only one person who could make this fragile plant grow into a powerful evidence that nature can never be tamed.
"Grandpa! You're back!" She threw herself in his arms and he picked her up and spun her around. Back then she was a wee little girl.
"Of course I'm back! I've promised, haven't I?"
"You have."
She looked at a clean spot on the ground. Grandpa seemed to be watering it.
"What is this, grandpa?"
"This is lavender seed. One day it will grow into a big beauty, just like yourself."
"How long will it take the seed to grow?"
"A few years."
"Why so long?"
"Because nature doesn't rush. Only humans do. Nature takes her time and waits for the perfect conditions before it reveals her magic to whoever wants to see it."
"I want to see it."
"I know you do. But there is something very special about this plant, my dear child."
"Is there?"
"Oh yes...in time you will understand everything. Now, let's go inside. But you must promise me that you will water this plant every evening, and protect it from all the bad conditions."
"I promise, grandpa."
That night grandpa fell asleep and never woke up. For years she tried to unravel the secret of the plant but she couldn't. She sat in front of the ground and whispering to the little seed, begging it to say whatever it was keeping from her, and then one day she gave up. She thought that, in the end, grandpa was just playing with her, nurturing her imagination, keeping it alive.
But now, in her mid thirties, beautiful just as he promised her, with a bucket full of water and preparing to water the beloved plant a realization hit her. Every time she thought of the plant, every time she tended to it, she felt grandpa's loving presence. And she understood why. By seeding the plant with so much love, a huge part of his heart and soul merged with it, growing with it. And every time she looked at the plant she immediately thought of her grandpa. In that way he was alive for her. He was present in her every day, and enjoyed her children playing under the shades of lavender flowers.

What are your thoughts on this? How does the picture affect you? Option 2 comes in two days.

Jul 1, 2012

Pen&Paper Vs. Computer

From time to time people who are getting to know me and my passion for writing ask a very simple question. Do you prefer writing by hand or in Word processor? But the answer is never simple for me, because they each bring me something unique!

I like pens. I really do. I've got all sorts of them and I keep buying them until I find the one who is just perfect. If you've found one let me know :) And I really, really, and I mean really, loooooove papers and notebooks. All those sizes, from the smallest to the biggest, colorful, even mysterious prints...they're just waiting for me to open them and discover their lines, which I then fill with text. It's a wonderful experience. I could spend hours in a bookstore and take each notebook in my hand, turn it in my hands until I get to know it by heart. Yeah, I love notebooks *blush*. 

But what I love even more about them is the effect they're providing while I'm writing. My mind spills ideas at the speed of light and I'm not a fast writer. So the lines and the pen guide my words from the first one to the next, forcing my brain to focus on the particular line or the word. That way I can control what I write, and I can revise in an instant if that particular piece of writing is good, or if it needs some tweaking. I am not complaining, I love the feeling of slowing down, and focusing on what's right in front of me, rather than fast forwarding to the end or the middle of my writing. I am being in the moment. 

And then we have the Word, a genius idea that someone's came up with. I couldn't imagine writing without it. It is so easy to use. It is entertaining as well - I can change the background color to my liking, depending on the mood I'm in. And, let's not ignore this, there are no lead or ink stains on your hand once you stop writing :D Tony Buzan said that a blank paper, and here I mean completely blank paper, without the lines, is excellent for the free flow of ideas. And since I've finished a fast typing course I can put my ideas and words out there really quickly. Which, rarely, calls for a quick grammar check to make sure my fingers aren't too quick for the grammatically correct words. 

And, of course, the biggest advantage of the Word is that I can easily jump in between lines and words, and detract and add whatever I want. But, of course, I can't use it when I'm at the airport waiting for my plane or at a public transport. That's when a pocket-sized notebook comes in very handy. 

Are you a classic or a Word type?