In the Novel Trenches (3): More Dandy Advice

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is a follow-up to GOT TIPS? where I shared some creativity lessons picked up along way of writing my novel. Which is nearly done, by the way. I would be done much faster if it wasn’t for school and… oh, never mind. If you want to hear some tips that I’ve come up with myself click here.

So there’s no need to elaborate further; let’s get down to it.

1. Jocelyn Hughes says, “Treat all of your secondary characters like they think the book is about them.”

 

2. Amanda Patterson said a good scene includes the following:

* A sense of time and place.

* Meaningful conflict.

* Plenty of action and dialogue.

* A goal where the hero or villain wants something.

* An ending that makes you want to turn the page.

 

3. About describing the setting, this is what I advised to a friend of mine:

* Weave in action with setting description in order to maintain the flow of the story. Mere description will slow it down.

* It helps showing how the character(s) feels in the environment.

* Personally, I sometimes like to start with a sound, smell or color, which sets the mood.

* If you don’t know how to make the description “pretty,” then tell it how it is, keep it simple, move on with the plot and edit later.

 

4. Jessica Page Morrell says these are the essentials you’ll need for a novel:

* A knowable protagonist who will fascinate readers.

* A problem that needs solving or a goal that needs reaching.

* An understanding of your protagonist’s inner and outer desires. (I like to add that you also need their materialistic and psychological fears.)

* An interesting workable locale.

* A menace or threat hanging over the protagonist.

* An antagonist (preferably a sympathetic one).

* An idea how the story will turn out.

 

 

 

 

I hope you found this helpful. Happy typing!

Speak Your Mind

Tags

, , , , , , ,

“This isn’t a good time for journalism. Journalists are being murdered all over the world for stating their opinion,” our professor said on the first day of class.

It was on a chill Tuesday evening in the middle of January, shortly two weeks after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. During the months before then, we had received report after report about ISIS capturing journalists and killing them on camera. And now, recently, another attack has taken place in Copenhagen, Denmark; there was debate about free speech in a cafe and someone drove by, spraying bullets and murdering two people. Since then a university in Sweden has canceled a lecture with an artist who caricatured the Prophet Mohammed, because they fear a terrorist attack as well. Yes, these are nasty, dark times for journalists and citizens alike. God forbid you have a unique point of view. That point of view might kill you.

If you ask me, this series of unfortunate events has caused a shiver among the masses. Not to echo what some folks, such as the clever British author Neil Gaiman, have said already, however, I must state that what these ISIS henchmen are doing is utterly pointless. You cannot kill an idea. You cannot force your idea on someone. The only way for them to have all men and women agreeing with their ideals is to eliminate everyone else in the world. How do you think that’s going to work out?

Earlier this week, I posted this on the Writer’s Corner’s Facebook: “No matter what opinion you hold, there’s always someone who will disagree. So you might as well voice it because you can’t please everyone. Speaking your mind isn’t about pleasing others in the first place. Freedom of speech is about expressing yourself without fear of being hurt or killed, and being able to exchange ideas with other people. Having these intelligent discussions is part of your learning experience as a human being.”

I decided to state this belief not only because of ISIS and their push to silence anyone who opposes them. I believe this fully, I want to spite anyone who asks for censorship and I want to encourage others to become more outspoken. I understand that carrying out this belief of free speech is more difficult, nearly to impossible, in places like Iraq and Syria, but it needs to be said: Speak your mind. Stay true to who you are. You don’t have to be rude about it, of course, and you can stumble across people who can inspire you and influence you and even change your opinion. Nonetheless, speak your mind.

I have to state this – loudly and clearly – at least for once, because if people start being scared of expressing themselves, fear and terror will defeat us.

Poetry Tuesday with Audre Lorde

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

“When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed, but when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it’s better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.” ~Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

Atlantic Center for the Arts

 

Coping by Audre Lorde

It has rained for five days

running

the world is

a round puddle

of sunless water

where small islands

are only beginning

to cope

a young boy

in my garden

is bailing out water

from his flower patch

when I ask him why

he tells me

young seeds that have not seen sun

forget

and drown easily.

**

In the shadow of Lorde’s birthday, which was on February 18, I’ve decided to talk about one of her poems. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at any of them – boy am I glad that the Park library has copies of her books – but I’m ready to get into it. By the way, if you don’t know anything about her, look her up. She had a fascinating life (a lot of poets seem to have unique lives, don’t they?) and she was a pretty outspoken, strong woman who wouldn’t take anyone’s shit. It’s people like her that makes me think I was born in the wrong decade, because I would have loved having a conversation with Lorde about the power of language, civil rights, feminism, sexuality and so forth. That would have been awesome!

Anyway, back to the poem “Coping” which I find quite difficult to decipher, but I’m going to try my best.

I believe it’s a personification of the five stages of grief, except they’re not in chronological order. For the record, the stages are denial and isolation, then anger, then bargaining, then depression and finally acceptance. Lorde begins the tale on the first stage by saying, “It has rained for five days/ running/ the world…” Normally when it rains a lot, people spend time indoors so the speaker or whomever is grieving in this situation have kept themselves away from others. The rain isn’t factual but serves as a metaphor for isolation.

Side note: Since the poem lacks punctuation until the end, the audience can more or less decide where one ‘sentence’ ends and where the next one begins; it largely depends on where you pause.

The next stage is depression – “a round puddle/ of sunless water” – and just as the person in question begins to move on to acceptance – “where small islands/ are only beginning/ to cope…” – they are dragged back to anger and bargaining. The anger may be subtle since it shows through the action of the young boy, but imagine how it looks to anyone who has accepted their grief and their loss when someone else is trying to deny the rain and frantically tries to empty his flower patch. It’s a pathetic and hopeless state considering that the rain won’t end and how difficult it might actually be to drain the ground. This action and the fact that Lorde uses the urging word ‘bail’ hint to the anger, which also ties back to denial.

Then the speaker touches upon bargaining: “… he tells me/ young seeds that have not seen sun/ forget/ and drown easily.” Now this has a double-meaning, I think, because bailing out the water isn’t only for himself, but it’s for people he cares about. He is attempting to soften the blow and protect other young folks who may be overwhelmed by this loss. Bargaining is one of the roughest stages of grief, if you ask me, because you flip-flop from self-blame to distraction to asking ‘what-if’ or ‘how’ to whatever else can possibly hold off the pain that the depression will bring.

Cleverly enough, these lines additionally hint that if one never finds acceptance of their loss, the rain will never stop, thus destroying a person within. Depression does have the tendency to really make a person forget who they are and what they live for. So you can say that the message is that if you don’t go through the stages of grief, it will drown you before you get a chance to live your life to the fullest.

 

So what do you think about “Coping”? Am I alone in this analysis? Please let me know your thoughts on this poem in the comments.

 

How to Write Women

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Let’s make something crystal clear: Creating a female character is not different than creating a male character. It shouldn’t be hard for anyone – anyone – to create a GOOD female character, but many seem to tell themselves that it is, men and women alike. These kind of writers tell themselves that women are two-dimensional, daft, weak, emotional, good for only one thing (sex, motherhood, secretary, the goofy sister, the reliable flawless girlfriend, etc.) and if she somehow juggles several things at once, it’s a matter of time before she falls apart. It’s strange how no one worries about the same thing for men.

They tell themselves women are too mysterious so they write them as mysterious creatures. Maybe some of us are, maybe some are mysterious (for personal reasons), but keep in mind, there are a lot of us and we’re all different from one another. For instance, once you start looking at the women you got in your life, do you find them mysterious? Does anyone fit any of the stereotypical archetypes you’ve read or seen or even created? Some might. To a degree. But what about those who don’t? What do you think about them? How do you think these women would appear to a reader if you decided to write a book with them as characters? How would you portray the women in your life?

Writing “strong women” doesn’t cut it. What does it even mean? “Strong women.” I always picture a muscle-chick who handles a huge machine gun as though she goes to bed with it and who has few other personality traits. I know many strong women myself; none of them looks like that. If you think acting like a (hyper-masculine) man, talking like a man, dressing like a man, capable of beating the shit out of anybody, then you fail to see what makes a human being strong.

This comes from years of pent-up frustration. And ever since I began my novel, I have become increasingly more aware of my responsibility as a writer and as a woman. The reason I’m talking about this now is because I recently read a blog post talking about how there’s an obvious lack of women with good roles in books. And not just women, but blacks, Latinos, lesbians, gays… basically anyone who isn’t a white, straight man. One of the points the author Laine Cunningham makes is: “Authors first and foremost must transfer themselves into other people. They have to expand their compassion and their intellect to see, feel, hear, taste and smell the world as some other. So when men don’t write women and white people don’t write Latino characters and straight authors ignore gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning folks, they fail. They fail their stories and their readers. They fail our society, because nothing helps us reach across boundaries better than great fiction.”

In response, I wrote to Cunningham:

Some writers seem to forget that the characters in their story aren’t just “characters,” they’re people (or impressions of people). So when an author fails to successfully portray a woman or a non-white person – anyone who can be referred to as “the Other” – then we’re not getting a good sense of how this individual functions, who he or she is, ect.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you find yourself in the dark, not knowing how to write a certain character, simply become more knowledgeable about that person’s demographic, culture, possible background and so forth. Google, visit the library, talk to people, just expand your horizon.

For example: At the moment, I’m in the process of creating this lesbian couple who lives in London in the beginning of the 21st century; one of the two women grew up in England with a British mother and a Russian father. The father moved to England in the late 60’s; keeping that in mind, ask yourself, how has this man influenced this woman growing up? What kind of man is he? How does her sexuality affect the relationship? Here it doesn’t hurt to look up facts about Russian culture and family dynamics. There are several other things to consider, such as the British law prohibiting gay marriage until 2013 and the (lenient) Civil Partnership Act of 2004; how will that affect these women’s relationship? How are they treated by friends, by outsiders? Then you got the traditional stuff to figure out, of course, like personality traits, common interests, habits, pet peeves, ect etc.

You see my point, right? If you’re creating a person unlike yourself and you find yourself knowing nothing outside your norm, research, research, RESEARCH.

Like Cunningham says in the post, the reason behind the demand for women (and everyone else) in literature doesn’t stem from mere lack thereof. I believe diversity reflects real life. I believe two people with the same ethnicity background won’t be the same at heart. I believe two people from different countries can discover that they have at least three meaningful things in common. I believe we can read stories written a thousand years ago and still relate to its characters in some way. I believe we tell and read stories, because we want to enter someone else’s mind if only for a little while and see what it’s like.

So when a writer repeats the same story with the same type of characters, we learn nothing new. We don’t grow. We get stuck in our little worlds. We get stuck in our heads.

“THEY ARE ALL OKAY, and all those things could exist in THE SAME WOMAN. Women shouldn’t be valued because we are strong, or kick-ass, but because we are people. So don’t focus on writing characters who are strong. Write characters who are people.”

Writing Tip: How to Introduce a Setting

Tags

, , , , ,

AnnaJPalm:

I tend to start with a sound, smell or color when I describe a setting; it sets the mood. An action done by the protagonist or any other character can be better, though, because it somehow engages the reader more. Another way to go about setting is just telling it how you see it and work on the details later. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to weave in action, thought and/or dialogue with the setting description. It also helps showing how the character feels in the current environment.

Here’s an example to depicting a setting in quick, small way:

‘We linger near the front door to his and Isabel’s townhouse, a lean-shaped brick house standing in line with many other identical buildings along the street. The moon hangs like a fortuneteller’s globe in the empty sky. Light pollution from the city wipes out the stars. I can maybe make out one or two twinkles above us. My head feels clouded even though we switched to drinking pop after my second glass [of whiskey] and Liam after his third. I guess the warm meal and jet-lag are getting to me. At least the spirits appear to cloak me from the falling temperatures that paint our exhales in white vapors.’

 

Originally posted on Creative Talents Unleashed:

10376050_222920957918910_4274906900614552658_n

Writing Tip: How to Introduce a Setting

The important thing to remember is that you do not need to spend paragraphs in the beginning of your novel introducing your setting. Only give your readers what they need to know right away to understand the story, then you can gradually introduce the other aspects of your setting over time. Focus on where your character is, what is important about the setting at that moment, and how the setting either hinders or helps your character in that scene.

Remember that your setting also includes people and their ideologies. People interact with the setting of your story in a specific way and it should be explored.

Here are a few ways to practice introducing your setting:

Pick a place you’re familiar with and write down details you think are important.

Imagine that you need to describe that setting to someone who has…

View original 123 more words

Mathematical Poetry

Tags

, , , , ,

** Poetry Tuesday Entry #9 **

Book Lover Problems...

Book Lover Problems…

Professor Fanning once told me to keep math out of poetry, “just forget the numbers.” A few weeks ago, though, I sat through an entire trig class where I understood nada. It was the first time an entire hour went by and I understood NADA. Of course, that inspired me to compose a poem.

**

[untitled]

There I sat in trigonometry class,
strings of question marks growing
out of my ears, like roots gone wild;
the teacher’s Charlie Brown phonics
incapable and unwilling
to find a home in my mind.

 

**

This morning I wrote another one about the long hours I spend doing homework while I’d much rather sit down with The Metamorphoses of Ovid.

 

**

The Calculator Talks

Tick tick tick clack pat

Syntax Error.

Tick tick clack pat tick.

MathXL flashes a red box and explains what I already know.

The example provides little comfort,

as though the program has given up

on me. They want me to leave as much as I want to read.

Clack pat tick tick tick.

Well done! One problem completed after ten minutes.

Eleven problems to go.

I got eleven problems,

and the stories for my English class isn’t one.

Click tick tick clack pat.

My calculator laughs.

 

**

 

Writing Prompt: Interesting objects

Tags

, , , , ,

“There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.” ~Willa Cather

**

- Follow-up on “Weird Writing Prompts (more to come in the near future). -

Last week, I posted three writing prompts and today I’m going to share I’ve written based on one of those prompts: “#1 The story in the picture.”

Before I get started, though, I mentioned last time that I’d read a cool passage where one character from The Wednesday Sisters dumped all the content of her purse on the table and demanded that her friends pick one item and write something about it. Here it is:

... Linda read. Just a few paragraphs that started with the key chain, wondering what doors those keys might open, and end with a key opening a temple, and inside the temple a thousand people filing past a casket and a little girl in the front wondering why so many people she didn’t know were claiming a loss she didn’t want to share. (39, Meg Waite Clayton.)

I did that exercise, allowing myself five minutes to write about a little bag from my mom’s purse.

MADE IN KOREA – It was one of many, no, dozens upon dozens of re-produced tiny purses. Or should I call them baggies, a baggie, a little bag? No matter, they were immaculate, beautiful, made out of leather or some soft material… bearing a drawing based on South Korean history perhaps. Women with their black hair neatly tied in buns, dressed in kimonos, performed “wife work” – taking care of a child, playing the flute, preparing food, gathering food – while a wide landscape, dotted with trees and a few houses, spread behind them. I didn’t fully understand that image, and I wonder if I ever will. Even though these baggies are nice – and affordable – there’s something sad about losing touch with something that used to be rare.

20150214_124825

 

The True Beginning –  

Rionach marches in front of me, as though we haven’t walked for as long as we have (three hours). Her body is like a tower, straight and relentless, in constant motion through the thicket of the forest. I struggle to keep up, blushing angrily in response to my embarrassment; for the past few years, I’ve attended self-defense classes and trained at the gym. Why does this elderly, bone-thin woman – who looks like she belongs in a Lord of the Rings movie – travel faster than me?

I’m about to ask how much farther when a hazy-brown field opens like a book to us. Somehow the air feels cooler and fresh in this clearing. The clouds seeping down from the mountain hover on the tree crowns on the other side. Faintly, a wind brushes across the field, which sounds similar to a sigh.

Smiling, Rionach turns to me and pulls the ragged shawl tighter around her shoulders. “Pretty, isn’t it? I’m impressed it’s still standing.”

“What is?”

“The church,” she says and points.

I brush strands of curls behind my ear and squint in the guided direction. Yeah, partially hidden by the pine trees, stands a lonely wooden church with a bell tower. The tiniest hint of light shines above the twin doors. Looking down at my mud-caked boots and my coat dusted by leaf crumbs and spider web, I think of Mom who would be appalled by me entering a church – any church – in this condition.

“Why is it here?” I ask Rionach. “Little far for commuting.”

“I’ll tell you once we’re indoors. Let us hurry. I wouldn’t mind resting by a fire,” she says, starting to walk again.

“Why are we here?” I insist, recognizing I’ve cut this lady an awful lot of slack even though she’s been vague on our plans. That in itself is strange for me, but I admit, I do trust her.

“You will see, my dear,” Rionach says. “Hopefully they have a pot brewing. I’m in dire need for something warm to drink.”

This is the image I chose to for my prompt. I’m so glad I found it! I allowed myself 15 minutes, not counting the times I was interrupted by various family members; working at home is a challenge, because everyone wants something from you.

Found on "Things end but memories last forever" tumblr.

Found on “Things end but memories last forever” tumblr.

 

Have a great weekend.

Emily D. Speaks to Me (Part 2)

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

**Poetry Tuesday entry #7A**

Maybe I won’t analyze four poems in one entry. It might be overbearing, because once I start talking poetry, I won’t shut up. Speaking of overbearing, I apologize for cutting it short last week, but it was simply one of those days. A day to read and think and drink tea to stop yourself from saying things you’ll regret later. I gotta say, if Emily Dickinson chose to stay at home, I see why. Rough world out there. Lately I’ve had a huge work load and I’m trying to shove things off my plate so I can do fun things, like work on my novel, and go on this platform and write.

Anyway, back to the poetry. I decided to go with “The Bustle in a House,” because the motions in there still apply to my life.

tumblr_ndw580wGU51r25gxto1_1280

The Bustle in a House (#1108)

The Bustle in a House

The Morning after Death

Is the solemnest of industries

Enacted opon Earth –

 

The Sweeping up the Heat

And putting Love away

We shall not want to use again

Until Eternity –

 

— * I think Dickinson is talking about heartbreak, death being an exaggeration thereof, or perhaps it stands for depression. It appears the speaker is someone waking up early in the morning and listening to the sounds of people getting ready for the day. Those sounds are “the solemnest of industries,” something ordinary, an activity that occurs in most households all over the world. As though she performs a daily shore, like cleaning the house, she sweeps her emotions aside. She locks her heart somewhere, never to be seen or touched or used for as long as she lives. Since she uses the word “we,” I wonder if this has anything to do with her family. It sounds rather like it’s the speaker and the other people in the house who deal with some sort of heartbreak, sadness or depression that they, however, have to hide for the sake of keeping appearances. * —

Before you freak out, I’m not saying I’m depressed or anything. When I say “the motions apply to my life,” I mean this: There are so many things happening right now, it feels like I barely get a moment to feel or just react. Spewing stuff on social media is one thing, you know, but like tweets, those thoughts are so quick and then they’re easily forgotten, because you move on to the next task or appointment or whatever else. This is my last semester at college, at least as an undergrad, and I’m so busy juggling ten things at once that I feel like I can’t enjoy the ride as much. Every morning, there’s a bustle to get started for yet another day.

As cheesy as it sounds, it won’t kill me to stop and smell the roses.

Poetry Tuesday – “The Road Not Taken” by Mr. Frost

Tags

, , , , , ,

**Poetry Tuesday Entry #8**

Barely a year ago, I wrote an essay on Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” a classic and a long-time favorite. The main reason why this is one of those poems that people never shut up about is that it’s difficult – nearly impossible – to successfully conclude whether the speaker regrets choosing one path over the other or if he is glad about it. I believe it’s the latter – perhaps because I’m the type of person who sees a half full glass.

I’m happy to share sections from my essay and hope my thoughts on the poem might interest you.

the_Road_not_taken_robert_frost

**
      The Message

The speaker is not necessarily Frost himself, but probably an elderly person reminiscing over a moment in his life when a choice decided his fate. Many have found this poem to be about individuality, emphasizing on the fact that the speaker traveled the road no one else has taken before him. The tone is difficult to decipher, thereby creating a challenge in understanding whether the speaker is glad about the decision he made. The sigh shows no indication of the speaker’s feelings. The following line mentions a time long passed, which exceptionally proves that that this person acknowledges that there is no way for him to change his affected circumstances.

Analyzing the poem stanza by stanza, it is possible to see that whatever decision the speaker made; it is a conflict nonetheless. Frost implicates that this traveler ‘stood and looked down’ one of the roads for a long while, attempting to predict what it held before him (line 3 and 4). However, he cannot tell much from where he is standing, because it is impossible to tell once the road turns in a bent. When he gives up his observation, he turns his attention to the other road.

The speaker thinks he might as well pick this one, because it seems grassier and unused. This detail implies some of the speaker’s character: He prefers to stand apart from the crowd and approach matters differently than other people, or maybe even do completely new things. The fact that he spends so much time contemplating proves that he sees himself as innovative in mind, perhaps as far as regarding himself a daring adventurer. Upon closely inspecting the roads, though, the speaker firmly grasps that the grass on both sides appear ‘worn really about the same’ (line 10) so then again, he cannot see the difference.

Furthermore, the speaker notices that on this autumn day, leaves fallen from the trees have fallen on the roads. They cover the grass and lay still and untouched by anyone (“no step had trodden black” [12]), meaning no one has been there. Once again, the speaker is uncertain how to go about his journey. He considers picking one of the roads for the time being, which brings me to my favorite lines (14 and 15) in the poem:

“Yet knowing how way leads on to way/ I doubted if I should ever come back.”

Without knowing what lies ahead of him on that road, Frost says that the speaker might be incapable of returning to the same spot and choose the other path. When one picks a door to go through, the other doors close and we are offered a new set of doors in order to move forward. The metaphor grows especially strong here as it is said that life is more complex than paths found within a wood. Even so, one can get lost in the wild or forget how they got to where they have arrived.

The sigh in the forth stanza carries a double-meaning. For one, the audience can feel the heavy weight of the ultimate decision. Secondly, it brings the emotion to that choice, which (as said) is ambiguous. I believe it is a sigh of fatigue as well as content, because this traveler has walked on a long journey since he picked a road to travel (“Somewhere ages and ages hence” [17]), but he still feels happy about it. The reason I find this poem optimistic is because of the very last word: difference. Since I am under the impression that this traveler likes to be unique, he took neither of the roads presented to him; he pick another path entirely, therefore, “the one less traveled by,” and that made all the difference.

Robert Frost (biography.com)

Robert Frost (biography.com)

Weird Writing Prompts

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writing is a craft… obviously, and like any craft, you need skill, ergo you have to train if you want to be any good. I decided to come up with a few writing prompts on my own and yes, I’m going to do them myself. This won’t be me just giving you guys homework. There are three different prompts here, two of which I have created. I’ll start with the one that many of you probably already know of.

1. The story in the picture.

It’s simple: Look at the image and write a story based on what you see in the picture. Now remember this is supposed to be a fun exercise. Honestly I put too much pressure on myself whenever I run into a picture prompt so if you’re like me, relax, get some tea or coffee and make things up as you go.

Side note: There’s a similar exercise where you empty your purse or backpack or whatever you carry around in your pocket, you put it all in front of you, and write a story based on the items. I recall reading something amazing in result of that exercise in The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton; it’s been over five years since I read it, though, so I’ll show it to you guys another time.

Anyway, here are some pictures for you guys:

Anna Verlet Shelton on Flickr.

Anna Verlet Shelton on Flickr.

Found on "Things end but memories last forever" tumblr.

Found on “Things end but memories last forever” tumblr.

Found on "Things end but memories last forever" tumblr.

Found on “Things end but memories last forever” tumblr.

Frances Colt (elkking tumblr).

Frances Colt (elkking tumblr).

"Distance" by Regret the Hour; Found on "Things end but memories last forever" tumblr.

“Distance” by Regret the Hour; Found on “Things end but memories last forever” tumblr.

2. Metaphors for Life.

Over a month ago, I saw this list of metaphors for life on Futility Closet. I think a friend of mine posted it on Facebook, or maybe it was one of the writing FB pages I follow. Here are some examples:

“A theater in which the worst people often have the best seats.” — Aristonymus

“A hospital in which every patient is possessed by the desire to change his bed.” — Charles Baudelaire

“Like eating artichokes — you’ve got to go through so much to get so little.” — Tad Dorgan

Pretty neat, isn’t it? I think you can create a story out of any of these metaphors. Perhaps it ends up being the foundation for a novel; who knows! You gotta try it out for yourself. At the moment, I have trouble deciding between these two:

“A foreign language: all men mispronounce it.” — Christopher Morley

“A party: one arrives long after it’s started, and one’s going to leave long before it’s over.” — Robert Morley

3. The hidden evil… The SCP Anomalies.

Saved the best for last. This week I watched this video called “Top 22 Scariest SCPS,” which introduced a range of humanoid creatures, monsters, and strange, mysterious objects. For you who don’t know, SCP is an indie horror video game series and the acronym stands for “Secure. Contain. Protect.” The idea I got from this video is that you choose any or several of these anomalies and create a story surrounding that SCP.

By the way, if you check out the game’s website, SCP Foundation accepts SCP article submissions. You can create your own alien anomaly! Man, it would be cool if they accepted your SCP and put it in a game. They ask you to include “reasonable containment procedures and a clear description” that draws in the reader immediately and apparently they look for a specific style in the writing.

In the beginning, the speaker explains that these anomalies are sectioned into three categories: safe, euclid and keter.

Safe means either that the object is “sufficiently understood that they are now completely and reliably contained on a permanent basis, or they don’t trigger their anomalous effects unless intentionally activated.” Euclid is when the object is insufficiently understood or inherently unpredictable, but don’t pose sufficient threat to qualify for Keter classification; they add that “reliable containment is not always possible.” Keter is the worst scenario: “they pose an inimical threat to the safety of the [SCP] Foundation personnel and the rest of mankind and either require extensive and complex procedures to contain, or they cannot be fully contained by the Foundation’s current technology and knowledge.”

Since there are twenty-two of these bad boys I won’t write about all of them, but the ones that stood out to me (and that I will most likely pick for my exercise) are the following:

* SCP – 1382 (Euclid) [#20 and time 7:58]: the read sea mark water buoy floating in Lake Michigan. It’s anchored to a downed airliner called Flight 441, sending out an SOS in Morse code. This airliner contains the skeletal remains of the 56 passengers and crew members who move around during the periods when the signal is active. Thermal imagining scanners have shown that these bodies also give off the natural body temperature of 37 degrees Fahrenheit. When the signal ceases, the bodies collapse. Studies have hinted that these people are stuck in a time loop, re-experiencing the moments before the airliner crashed.

SCP – 002 (Euclid) [#19 and time 9:48]: a fleshy sphere containing an apartment whose furniture are made out of biological matter such as human bone, hair and other…

SCP – 610 (Keter) [#12 and time 22:03]: contagious virus… (seriously, just watch the video for this one).

* SCP – 439 (Euclid) [#8 and time 32:43]: “an insect of unknown origin that uses the human body as a habitat for its colony…” This one creeps me out and if/when you watch the video, you’ll understand why. Actually, towards the end they say that when the doctor opened the eyes during the autopsy and shone a light in them, those eyes would follow the beam.

SCP – 895 (Euclid) [#7 and time 35:06]: an oak wood coffin… (really clever concept so I recommend watching the video; they explain it beautifully).

SCP – 087 (Euclid) (and SCP – 087-1) [#1 and 53:11]: an unlit platform staircase on a campus (name of school withheld) which appears to have no end regardless how deep down the stairs travel. A child’s pleading cries can be heard after descending the stairs for a while, but it’s impossible to find the source for the cries. Additionally there is another SCP present on the platform, described as being a floating face without eyes, mouth and nostrils. Anyone who sees the face suffers from paranoia and nausea. Some have fallen in a blind panic and disappeared.

**

Pretty images, metaphors for life and good material for horror stories. I hope you enjoyed that. Thank you!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 261 other followers