Thursday, March 9, 2017

From Anna



Hullo, hullo!  As you’ve probably guessed, I’m Anna Groover, from Girl with the Binder (girlwiththebinder.blogspot.com), my blog where I write overly long posts about reading, writing, and eating pokeberries (spoiler: don’t do it).




Clara approached me in February (I think, but who knows?) with the idea of doing this blog swap, and you have no idea how excited I am to be here.  She’s always been an awesome friend to me, since years ago when she came up to me sporting a cheek-splitting grin, shook my hand enthusiastically, and said, “Hi, I’m Clara!!!”  And you know what’s even better than doing a blog swap with an awesome writer?  Doing a blog swap with an awesome friend.  Fortunately for me, she happens to be both.



My topic is officially writing and inspiration.  If you’ve read my blog, you know that I have trouble staying on one topic, and I tend to ramble, but for y’all’s sakes, I will try to keep it as trimmed and succinct as possible (ha!).



I’ll probably put in little clips of my writing whenever I feel like it, but the first, and main, piece is here; Rivenbark, one of my favorite things I’ve ever written.  I was actually unsure about using this piece, because it’s over a year old, and I have newer stuff, but in the end it came down to inspiration, and Rivenbark is a great example of inspiration.  Below you see the first two scenes of the book.

 . . . . . . . . .



Theodore was reading the morning newspaper as he did every day when his mother entered.  He had originally started doing it only to imitate his father, but it soon developed into a habit.  Mother placed a kiss on his cheek and glanced over his shoulder.  “Oh, Theodore, do you see that?  The water situation just seems to get worse and worse every day over there.” 


He folded the newspaper, following his father’s example.  “Women should not read the news.  It ruins their disposition.”  “Don’t worry, Mother.  I’m sure the drought will be over soon.”  He attempted to kiss her cheek, hit her ear instead, and focused on the wall clock behind her, a little ashamed of himself for being too distracted to give his mother proper affection.


“And how’s my son today?” Father bellowed as he stormed his way over the stairs, seeming as always as if his very presence would tear the house apart in an instant.  His grey beard was neatly trimmed, with not a hair out of place, and his suit was flat and perfectly fitted.  Theodore would never expect differently.


Still, he mused, perhaps a surprise would be welcome just once.  Perhaps Mother would neglect to put her hair up before coming downstairs, or Father would dress in a t-shirt and overalls.  At the thought, he smiled.  The image was just too ridiculous.


“I’m well, Father.”  He took a sip of his black coffee and straightened his tie.  “And yourself?”


“Grand!”


And there.  That was it.  The Norwood family had accomplished its daily morning interaction, and they were set until dinner.  Theodore returned to his newspaper, feeling a strange combination of disappointment and relief.


Father cleared his throat.  “Actually, Theodore, there’s something we’d like to discuss with you.”  He waited for his son to look up, a long pause taking place, during which Mother could be heard pouring milk into her tea, adding sugar, and stirring.  She sounded nervous, Theodore thought, listening with rapt attention, though he seemed utterly fascinated with the paper in his hands.  At last, as she sat down next to him at the table, he looked up, fully meeting both of their eyes before speaking a word.


“Oh?”


“I’m going to see a client in Norway in two weeks.  We--your mother and I--due to several complications in this case, are going to be staying there for four weeks, which means you will be staying here alone.”


They looked at him for a reaction.  Theodore didn’t give them one.  It was obvious they expected some kind of response: fear, irritation, happiness, et cetera.  However, he didn’t see how them going to Norway for four weeks would be that dramatic of a change.  He was sixteen years old and could take care of himself.  The servants would prepare food, and his time would be spent with Sebastian.  The only things he would be losing were distantly affectionate greetings in the morning and sober candle-lit dinners in the evening that never amounted to much.


“Theodore?” his mother prompted, and he responded with a smile.  The kind, charming smile he forced on his face when confronted with irritating but important strangers. 


“I wish you well on your journey and thank you for your trust in me.”  Father frowned.  Mother’s face fell.  Theodore picked up his coffee cup and took a sip, the dark liquid tasting like guilt in his mouth.


Two weeks later, he sat in that very spot right after his parents left for the airport.  He found himself looking at the clock, at its habitually swinging pendulum.  The tick tock reminded him of the passing of time, and he almost growled in frustration, but instead formed his features into a cynical smile.  Clocks were prone to habit.  How typical.  And how very depressing.



“It’s inexcusable,” Theodore announced.  “Absolutely inexcusable, Sebastian.  I find myself bored.”
Sebastian looked over at his friend, noticing the way Theodore’s eyes were narrowed in frustration, his lips pressed in a straight, firm line.  Every feature of him spoke rigidity.  Though only sixteen years old, Theodore Richard Norwood IV was more imposing a picture than most adults.

“How about a trip to Arrowood?” he suggested. 

“I have been to Arrowood,” the boy said, his voice dripping with disapproval.  “I like it.  It belongs to me.  But I have been there, and there is a whole world outside of mine that I have not explored.”

“And?”

“I want to explore it.  I’ve come to realize that there is something that appeals to me about always taking the hardest way.”  Theodore’s gaze was unreadable, his face bathed in evening light as he stared out across the river.  A face like stone, Sebastian thought.  A wall more impenetrable than any ancient civilization had ever built.  “If you’re trying to make things as difficult as possible, you’ll never be disappointed.  Life will be regretless.”  A hint of a smile cracked the stone wall.  “Of course, it’s hope that gets in the way.  It’s hard to prepare for despair when there’s a nagging expectation that something good will happen.”

            Sebastian didn’t say a word.  He knew that whatever Theodore said next, it would be important.  Really, things that his best friend said were almost always important.  But Theodore was evidently restless, and that meant anything could happen.

A bird called out as it dipped low over the water, and Theodore’s eyes followed it, he evidently lost in thought.  Sebastian tore a piece of grass apart, waiting for his companion to speak.

“Pack your bags,” Theodore said suddenly.  “We leave tomorrow.”

Sebastian was used to surprises, so he merely nodded.  “Where to?”

Theodore looked calmly over at him.  “Somewhere far away.  Somewhere very, very different.”

                          .........
 
  It’s not fantastic writing, of course.  Some would call it rubbish (by “some” I mean British authors, of course).  There are parts of it that I almost cringe at, and would if they didn’t make me laugh.  But that’s the thing about this little excerpt, that actually holds true for the entire book, in my case at least: it makes me laugh.  Why?  Because it makes me excited.  It draws me in.  And when it stumbles in places, I like it enough that I feel comfortable laughing at it and loving it still.  You know, like how I do with my friends.


Now, I said something very important back there that you may or may not have missed.  I said, “It makes me excited.”



Rule #1: Never write something that you’re not excited about.

So in case you’re wondering, yes, that “1” right there means there will be more rules.  I know, I know, this is a post about inspiration!  It’s supposed to be wild and free, unencumbered by all the rules and regs of structured life!



I’ll tell you right now, and don’t you forget this, that without rules, without structure, inspiration has no place to thrive.



Now onward!  Let’s see about applying Rule #1 to our excerpt.  I was fantastically excited about Rivenbark, because of Theodore.  What inspired Theodore was actually Anthony Lockwood from Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co.  Not Anthony himself, though he is a beautiful character, but how he was described.  Because he WASN’T.  Before Rivenbark, my character development was awful, no doubt about it.  I just didn’t know how to make a believable character.  My books have always been very character-inspired (I write for the people, through their stories), but I never actually loved my characters after I’d started writing them.  At least not with the passion with which I love Theodore, or with which I loved the characters I was reading.  I didn’t understand a fairly simple, but profound, rule of CD: more is less.



And so, when I began plotting Rivenbark in the months before NaNoWriMo, I went in with these guidelines: Theodore is mysterious.  This is good.  We do not EVER need to feel like we know him completely.  We will not even know his thoughts, except for at the beginning and end of the book.  Everything in between will be third person subjective to the people around him.  That being said, the book is about him. 



I was excited by this, excited to try out an experiment, excited to go all in writing a character that even I wouldn’t understand.  I mean, why do you think I wouldn’t write from his perspective?  I couldn’t!



Rivenbark was an experiment.  I was not expecting a masterpiece.  I was not expecting it to be publishing-worthy.  What I was expecting was to follow Rule #2:



Rule #2: Write what you want to write.



Sounds simple, right?  Sounds a little like Rule #1, yeah?  But whereas #1 was forbidding something, #2 is commanding something.  Yikes, that sounds harsh.  But here’s the deal: you aren’t inspired by something because of the something.  You’re inspired by something because of you.  Because something in you is wired to respond to that thing, whatever it is.



Do individuals change?  You bet.  I change all the time.  You change all the time, even in the smallest of ways.  Can we change which things we’re inspired by?  Because if what I said up there is true, it’s not about changing external things.  It’s something that starts here, in us.



Rule #3: To be an inspired writer, you must learn to control inspiration to a certain extent, rather than let it control you.



Some writers take to structure easily.  That’s Clara.  Then there are some who are disorganized, clutter-brained, and intent on plowing on anyway.  That’s me.  I love my life.  God is my Father.  My earthly parents are pretty awesome people.  I have seven siblings, each unique and talented in their own ways.  My whole life, I’ve lived in a really interesting area.  I call it the country-ghetto, because it’s pretty much a fusion of the two.  My childhood was full of conflict with my siblings, and I’ve still got scars from that, but I never doubt that we all love each other, and we can have the best times, we eight.



My point is, if I ask myself what I’m inspired by, all I have to do is look around me.  And somehow, when I wrote Rivenbark, I stopped trying to write something unique.  I stopped trying to be as good as everyone I read, and I wrote something I wanted to write.  I wrote it because I loved it, because it excited me, and I gave my inspiration exactly the skeleton it needed to grow right.



Look, I could write a whole book on this, but this post has gone on long enough.  I’ll try and wrap it up for you.



Those two scenes you read were messy, and filled with things I never followed up on.  And they accomplished exactly what I wanted them to.  I got excited.  Theodore remained mysterious.  Sebastian remained cool (not the right word, but whatevs, you know).  And I didn’t care one bit that it wasn’t my neatest piece of work!  It was glorious.  It was fun.  And it was exactly what I needed in order to keep plowing ahead without care.



Here’s one last thing for you to chew on until my next post, which will address this a lot more.



Rule #4: Never try to separate yourself from what you are writing.



I hope that was some sort of help.  That was a pretty shallow overview of Rivenbark and the inspiration behind it, so if you didn’t get all you wanted out of it, come back and you just might get it.



Thank you, Clara, for having me on your blog!  And thank you, readers, for reading this.  Please, feel free to ask any questions you might have, and do go on over to my blog, Girl with the Binder, where Clara has her first post up.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Apologies, Announcements, and Alliteration


I'm sorry that it's been quite a while since the last post. I could make up a list of excuses as to why, but I'm pretty confident that most of you wouldn't find such a list all that interesting. So I'll refrain.

We've been preparing for some awesome things on The Danger of Dreams beginning in March, but routine things have fallen by the wayside in the meantime. Well, here's to picking up the pieces and carrying on.


Thus, feast your eyes on two exciting guest post announcements for the upcoming months!


1. March--Anna Groover of Girl with the Binder! (link here: http://girlwiththebinder.blogspot.com/)
Anna is an amazing writer and a great friend of mine. She's always willing to listen to my rants and talk about anything and everything, imagined or otherwise :) She'll be addressing the topic of Inspiration and taking her own unique spin on what it means and how we as writers harness it. I'm definitely looking forward to her posts!

2.August--Yovela Ng of Matcha Melodies! (link here : http://matchamelodies.wordpress.com/)
Yovela is an equally amazing friend and writer. As an Indonesian-American who has had experience living in both the States and, presently, in Indonesia; she's got a unique perspective on life that she'll be sharing over the month of August. With Indonesian Independence Day happening on August 17, August will be an 
especially fun month on The Danger of Dreams.

I'm looking forward to our journey throughout 2017 on The Danger of Dreams; and I hope you'll join me for these fantabulous guest posts! 

 

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Calling All Writers! Looking for some method in your madness?

.........

Then look no further! A new opportunity awaits on The Danger of Dreams for you especially; whether you wish to

(1) start the writing process, 
(2)start blogging, 
(3)refine your written work, 
(4) find opportunities to publish your work online for free, and/or 
(5)Exchange ideas, inspiration, and guest posts with other bloggers!

Our theme for 2017 is inspiration. I am working with some friends who are writers to provide you with inspiration,advice,editing; and maybe even a mini-series on copyrights and publishing over the summer.


In September and October, we'll shift our focus slightly to poetry (September) and song-writing (October). These will help us to understand writing far better and to sharpen our skills.It takes a different sort of skill to write these, a kind of condensed language that's difficult for prose writers to convey sometimes. 

Throughout November, we'll shift again to the topic of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), applying our new skills and gauging our progress; as well as reading other writers' NaNoWriMo works.

And finally in December, we'll take a break from new content to take some surveys and evaluate how this series has helped each of us. There'll be polls and surveys where you can provide feedback for future improvements; and finally, a virtual Christmas Party at Writer's Cafe to culminate the year and promote all of our blogs.

By the end of 2017, my goal is that you will gain the confidence and resources you need as a writer to get your finished manuscripts published!

And the name of this helpful series is...

Method in My Madness: Writers' Perspective on Our Craft

Method in My Madness debuts in March with a post on Inspiration & Organization by a blogger friend of mine who will be introduced shortly...Till then, stay tuned.

 

If you'd like to contribute or would like to be updated as this series progresses; please email me at clak717@gmail.com so we can work something out.

 .........


Happy Writing!

--Clara

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Resource for Writers


Hello again, you fabulous people! Well, well, well, what a productive blogging weekend this is turning out to be for me.

I have a gift for you people out there in internet-land, from an aspiring writer to other writers....

If you're already a super-organized writer, then this gift is a little less useful; but I suspect that many of you, like me, need a way to map the contents of our messy minds so that our writing can make sense to ourselves throughout its various stages of completion. A useful combination of a bookkeeping method, a map, and a set of guidelines--preferably concise, attractive, and versatile.

This gift is a way.

Note that just before "way" in the previous sentence is "a", not "the", or heaven forbid, "the only". Every writer has their own best way of processing and organizing information. For some of you, it may even work best to purposefully disorganize your information and scatter pieces of it in many different places, if this helps you make creative connections between the pieces that you wouldn't have otherwise realized. And that's okay. And this gift is still for you anyway, just in case you want to try something new.

And here it comes: The gift is...

.....A Writer's Organizing Page!

Using it enables you to generally organize an entire work of writing on one page! That's right, one page. Only one page. 

However, here's the second disclaimer: the Writer's Organizing Page is not magic. If it were, I would sell it and make a fortune to pay for college, while instead I sit here giving it away for free.

It does not automatically organize and micromanage every little detail of your work. It is not an instant solution to a draft that is little more than a brainstormed list of phrases. It is not a solution to an essay that is little more than a few disconnected sentences with quotes in between. It will not do the thankless tasks of thinking and writing for you, as much as I wish it could.Using the page might even make you work harder as a writer, but in the process it will also make you work smarter.

A good general guideline is that the longer and more complicated your work of writing is, the less help the Writer's Organizing Page will be to organize your own thoughts, although it will still be a great help in making you look more organized to people with whom you're sharing your work. Ideally, you would use it during your pre-writing planning process, to make your future work clearer and more productive. Additionally, I find in my own writing that one planning page can effectively organize about 20 pages at most, so feel free to expand beyond one page if you need the space.

Below is the Writer's Organizing Page! If you copy-paste it with its original formatting into a word doc, omitting either section 1. or 2. as applicable, it should be one page long, in a slightly more readable size of font.If you encounter glitches, please let me know so that I can fix them.

If you'd like a pre-formatted blank version of the Writer's Organizing Page instead, fancy heading included, please email me and I'd be happy to send it to you for free as an attachment.

Thank you, and happy writing!

--Clara
.............................................................


Writer’s Organizing Page
                                                                                                    
Working Title:

Author/s:



Genre:



Date Started - Date Last Revised:             -                         



Estimated Word Count (If you are unsure about the estimated word count of your work, enter an estimated number of pages instead, designated by a “P” following the number):



Author of Original Work (For Fanfiction/Direct Response to another Source):




For a work of fiction, please complete this section only.



Intended Audience and Purpose:



Blurb (Do not exceed 50 words):



Main Character/s:



Major/ Recurring Character/s (if applicable):



Minor Character/s (if applicable):



Setting/s:



Works cited (if applicable):



Additional Notes:
 



For nonfiction, please complete this section only.
Intended Audience and Purpose:



Thesis Statement/Blurb (Do not exceed 50 words):



Topic Sentence/s (if applicable):



Works cited (if applicable):



Additional Notes:

                                                                                 ©2017 by Danger of Dreams 

All rights reserved. Please email the author at clak717@gmail.com to request publication permission.



Poem Sunday


I hope you all are having a great weekend!

My first series of posts on this blog is called "Poem Sunday", and it consists of my sharing at least one original poem every Sunday afternoon or evening for the month of February. If you enjoy the upcoming poetry and would like to read more, feel free to say so in the comments below.I'd be happy to extend "Poem Sunday" over March, and even April, if enough of you are interested.

To introduce it, I'll answer the obvious question many of you might have: Why is Clara writing the poem series, "Poem Sunday"?

I feel like our weekends have become so busy and cluttered sometimes that it gets hard just to breathe, relax, and enjoy the quiet for a little while; just to pause in the hectic busyness that is life. To let our hearts make new connections, to daydream and reflect without overtaxing our minds, to rest for a few minutes...

...And then to face reality again, discovering as we return that this little time wasted was time well-spent.

I hope that reading and reflecting on these first three poems gives you all some well-wasted time :)



I.

Possibility
Is not bottled up in dark,murky glass
To be carefully unstoppered and measured out
In little drips and dots called possibilities
One by one
One after another
One at a time
To be drained dry
In some mischievous hour
To the sounds of keening
And lament
No
It is not so
Not like that will the possible turn impossible
Never

Possibility
is the tide of a boundless ocean 
whose shores none living have seen
Ebbing and flowing
Chasing and fleeing
Crashing, retreating
Never close enough to grasp
And never truly gone for good
Endless and ever-changing
Never to grow dull
Never to run dry
Never to vanish for good
Or for ill 
And it bows to the impossible
Never


II.

The dream is the reality
The story is the truth
Our castles in the air
Are far more than dreams of youth 
We see our own tomorrow
Which no midnight can occlude
And even though the daylight fades
And even as the night brings storm
And even as the thunder scoffs
We listen, yet our hearts are glad
We hear and still we falter not
 Tomorrow is of silver hewn
Tomorrow comes in golden clad
Tomorrow never comes too soon
Tomorrow will arrive at last 
  And in Tomorrow from Today 
We see what will be, and what may
And in its gleaming, glinting, glow 
We see our dreams made flesh and know
Far more than ever minds can know
They beckon--and we know


III.

Where the shouting of waves fades into a whisper
 At pale forgotten shores that rim the sea
Will we strike and chip a cavern as a foundation
 To ground our castle in the air

From the mountains shall we quarry marble
Dove-white and silver-veined and strong
To raise into her towers and her ramparts
To raise our castle in the air

From moonlight shall we weave her drapes and tapestries
From diamond shall we cut her window-glass
From starlight and from pearls we fashion lanterns
To light our castle in the air

A fortress strong and certain shall this palace be
But there shall stand no grim and heavy gate
To guard against the murmur of the seashore
Outside our castle in the air

The  warm and blue-green waters shall caress the crags
And shall through many years smooth rocky shores
Till they both night and day reflect the gleam
Cast by our castle in the air





Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Introduction

T.E. Lawrence claimed that "Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

Through this blog, I hope to turn my own daydreams into something dangerous, something ready for action and raring to go, something fully realized and capable of taking the internet world by storm.

A lofty goal? Yes. Idealistic and unrealistic? Probably. Impossible? Maybe not...Won't you join me?







All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. T. E. Lawrence
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/telawren130039.html
All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. T. E. Lawrence
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/telawren130039.html
All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. T. E. Lawrence
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/telawren130039.html