Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One-syllable story

It has been ages since I've written anything remotely creative - once the quarter started, I had absolutely no time to write! So I figured now that finals are over, I should try my hand at a writing exercise or two.

I found an interesting prompt, which was to write a story using only one-syllable words. This was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, and eventually it got to the point where I could not take my story where it needed to go without breaking the rule. So I did.

I figured an exercise is just a way to get your creative juices flowing anyway, so once you have an idea, why not just run with it?

Due to the limitations of the prompt, this is more of a sketch than a story, but here it is. I have discovered that I often have a single moment in time but keep shifting the context to it as I write the story. This one started out as fantasy, actually, with a prophetic gift and life depending on the continuous playing of music on some unknown magical planet. And well, look at how it ended up.

            The last of the notes swelled and waned, and the room was still once more. The girl's hands shook. She brushed a tear from her face and bit back a scream as the salt from her tears sent a blade of pain through the cuts on her hands. The strings of the harp had not been kind to her.

            "Please," she croaked.

            "Once more," the man said, voice firm.

            "I can't. My hands..." She held them up for him to see the drops of blood.

            "You must! There is more at stake here than your hands!"

Friday, September 13, 2013


I finally got around to writing the prologue of the novel I'm attempting to write. It took a while to sort out my ideas and rethink a lot of my initial ideas about this world, but I think I finally understand what I need to do.

This story is set in a world where women are surgically/genetically enhanced and sold as "wives" to the upper class (but are pretty much servants/slaves). But rebellion is stirring and a threat that can destroy everyone is lurking in the shadows...

Does that sound interesting? I hope it does. Have a look at the prologue and let me know what you think. I need critical readers to knock some sense into me - too much (unnecessary) information being thrown at you? Did I get carried away with metaphors (I tend to do that...it's either all or nothing haha)? Does my dialogue read like plastic people talking about a cardboard world?

If some genius person can help me come up with a title for this thing, I will be eternally grateful.

And please do let me know if you enjoy it :)

*sidenote: I just discovered the program yWriter, and I love it! It's so useful :)


20 years ago, Stockholm, Sweden

The room was still. Not a whisper of movement as fifteen pairs of eyes stared at the glowing screen in front of them, unblinking. In a few seconds, the world would be altered forever, and these men and women would either dissolve along with the ashes of the earth or be left to mourn and pick up the pieces. It was hard to tell which was worse.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Deep breaths...

During my junior year in high school, I decided that I was going to write a chapter a week and finish a novel within a year. It took an extra month, but I did manage to pull it off. That was my first and only attempt at writing a full novel, so as you can imagine, it was pretty terrible. Plot holes, character inconsistencies, problems with pacing, random facts thrown for no reason...you get the picture. I have since decided that the aforementioned novel is never going to see the light of day.


The idea has been haunting me. I think I had an idea I could really work with and turn into a much better story. Now that I've read more and written more, I have a much better idea of what it takes to write a novel - properly. So I've taken a deep breath and I'm about to start rewriting.

Yes, rewriting. I'm not editing, because I'm not even going to look at the old manuscript. I am changing characters' nationalities and relationships and changing the mechanics behind the world I created, but I'm essentially keeping the story line the same.

I'm still working out the details, especially with respect to worldbuilding, but I am almost ready to start writing again.

Wish me good luck!

(I realize that I'm pretty much writing to no one here, but that's okay. As long as I imagine that someone out there is going to see this, I have sufficient motivation to keep going)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The language of colors

I haven't had much time to write lately, and although I've had a couple of ideas, I haven't really had the time or the motivation to sit down and do anything with them.

The thing about writing is that it requires a lot more than just thinking of an idea and spilling it out into words. I am not one to labor over the precise words to use; generally, I just write in whatever voice is natural to me. Still, it often takes me so much effort to even put ideas into coherent sentences. Half the time I have a concept but not a plot, or a character but no driving force or flaw.

I have discovered that a lot of the time I don't think in words, which is probably what makes it so hard for me to translate my ideas into them. When people ask me to give me synonyms or ask what a word means, I often know exactly what it means and I will picture it or a response to it, but I will be absolutely incapable of explaining that to the other person. A lot of what I picture is color, especially in the context of music. My itunes playlists have titles like "blue-gray" "violet," and "jellybeans." I could not for the life of me explain to anyone else why I associate certain colors with certain songs, although there are a few general trends I could point out ("blue-gray" is mostly songs in minor keys, and "jellybeans" is very upbeat), but what makes something violet as opposed to blue-gray?

When I write, I have to channel all these grays and blues and greens into something that would make sense to anyone. It's a challenge, but when I finally get across what I meant to say, it's very fulfilling. It has taken me a while to learn how to say what I want to say without being to blunt about it; when I first started writing short stories, I wrote straight out exactly what my characters were doing/thinking/feeling  (that was before I knew about the golden "Show-not-tell" rule). I'd like to think I've improved since then, but I suppose old habits die hard because a lot of the time I just spit out what is happening instead of painting pictures and leaving gaps for the reader to color in.

I think writing these blog posts is a way for me to channel my thinking juices and get out of the completely analytical calculus-physics-chemistry routine that has become my day-to-day life. So even if no one is reading, at least I am writing, and that is enough.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Idea machine!

I have a couple of ideas stewing around in my head, so please let me know if any of these sound interesting. Sometimes I need a little push to get started on a story, and someone's nod of approval can go a long way to making that happen :)

  • Ipseity - (n) selfhood, individuality
    • We often judge people and characters by their names - we don't mean to do it, but it happens. When you're naming your characters, you very rarely decide to name the gangster "Walter Beauville" or the shy new girl "Jackie Quinn". The greatest irony of all is that people don't even get to pick their own names, but they are judged for them anyway (those poor children of celebrities!).
      Where am I going with this? I'm thinking of a story that takes place in a world where children are referred to by their surname (with a 1,2,3 tacked on at the end to differentiate between siblings) until the age of 12. Then, they all go through a naming process, where they are assigned names based on their personality/potential for greatness/etc. I'm thinking that this would create jealousy of people with "better" names, disappointment if you don't get the name you think you deserve, incredulity if you are given a name you don't think you deserve, etc. This also raises questions concerning whether people are bound by their perception of themselves/others' perception of them or if they can overcome the limitations that others perceive in them (their name) and become greater than anyone expects.
  • Reflection
    • This idea is still really fuzzy right now but I'm thinking of a kingdom where there are no mirrors/shiny metal objects/etc by decree of the queen. I'm trying to work with the concept that the people in this kingdom are the dark and cruel side of humanity, but their reflections are their good sides; they don't know this good side exists because there is nowhere for them to see their reflection. The reflection is then not simply a mirror image but a mirror person if that makes sense. Also the queen and a few others don't have a reflection because they are just evil. Which implies that there are mirror people without people in the kingdom because they are only good. I don't know where I'm going with this yet, but I'll work on it.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

What I'm working on - June 2013

I've decided that at least for the summer, I will try to crank out at least 1,000 words per week. I'm not promising lovely 1,000 word short stories - in fact, this is probably going to be raw randomness that comes into my head. The point is that hopefully if I keep on writing randomness, something worth working on will come up and then I can flesh that out into an actual story.

We will see how this actually pans out.

At the moment, I am working on a story involving people from my floor at UCLA. It started out with me sleep talking, and now I'm trying to explain the gibberish that my subconscious spews when I am asleep. It's quite entertaining actually! What started out as gibberish is turning more into a tongue-in-cheek representation of our dynamic and wonderfully insane floor :) I probably won't post that story on the blog because it will have so many inside jokes that it won't make any sense to anyone else reading it.

I'm also tossing around a couple of ideas around in my head, which I will post about later.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Flash fiction: All bets are off

The prompt was to write a humorous 200 word story (or less) that involved invisible ink. Enjoy!