Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Life in the Books

If one does not read, then one does not live.  Ok, that's dramatic.  Though it's dramatic, it has a point.  Reading books allows you to venture to places you may never go.  I don't know about you, but I don't have a magical wardrobe that transports me to Narnia, nor do I have a satyr knocking on my door that is willing to guide me to Camp Half-Blood.  Not only does reading transport me to fantastical new worlds, but it allows readers to take on a new perspective, such as reading from the point of view of another person who identifies as a different gender identity.  In this sense, those brittle pages you turn in the library act as transferrable caps and shoes of diverse lives. 

Books are windows into the past.  They define cultures in the time in which it was written and after the authors are long rested in their graves.  The ideas presented in between the covers of a book are born through the author's own experiences with life, whether indirectly or directly.  Because of this, books will always remain as an important historic study and entertainment.

Now for the actual prompt: What role does reading play in your writing process?

Since I was an avid reader when I was a child, I have learned the basics of writing.  I noticed a pattern for proper dialogue formatting, structuring stories, and pacing.  My vocab expanded, and I grew to be a storage of random knowledge that came about from my tower of books.  What I write stems from all the words authors string together to create the wonderful stories that spun through my youth.  Obviously, my English teachers had an impact on my grammar and studies as well, but my skills were strengthened through repeated exposure to reading. 

My love of reading is what lead me to wanting to write my own stories down.  I wanted to recreate the magic that I saw through books.  I mean, how cool is it that people stare at dead trees and somehow pick out understanding from the wonky symbols on a page?  Boom!  Even better, some books force you head on into problems you otherwise ignore.  Stories are sneaky and can shake up what is considered normal.  They influence people in ways that excite me.  Most people don't expect to change their views when they pick up a book, but it's possible for it to happen. 

In conclusion, reading is an awesome power all it's own.  I recommend indulging in it. 
*Image courtesy of Google ;)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Deviating From the Prompt

Hello.  Good day.  Good night?  When do people read blogs?  I don't know.  Whatever time it is you are reading this, good whatever.  Today's prompt is literary parents.  I don't really have any, so I'm going to deviate a smidgeon.  Instead, I'm going to talk about something that helps my writing: conversations.

People are interesting.  The conversations I eavesdrop on are always entertaining and sometimes find their way into my stories.  Even better are the talks I hold with friends--the best writing material.  When people don't filter what they say, the randomest topics pop up and create sore sides from laughter.  I guess I'm well known for that too, at least according to my roommate.  She says I never fail to surprise her with the words that pop out of my mouth when we're doing homework or just sitting on our couch, both of us overwhelmed with the dragon of college and adulthood.  Some of our conversations go like this:

Me: I can't think of myself outside of myself. 
Roommate: (*bursts out laughing*) You know, that doesn't make sense to other people.
Me: In some instances, I do.
Roommate: You are so you.
Me: (*laughing*)  What does that even mean?
Roommate: You just are.  You're random and funny.  Like, you just sit there, with a straight face, and say the weirdest things.
Me: Like what?
Roommate: (*teasing*) "I can't think of myself outside of myself," for instance.
Me: (*pause*)  Today, someone said I was like an elf.
Roommate: (*throws up hands*) Exactly!
What can I say?  My brain is funny.  But seriously, what does it mean when your name becomes an adjective?  When people constantly say, "Oh that is so Tasha," what does that really imply?  Obviously, something interesting.  I feel like that falls under an existential question.  What does it mean to be yourself?  Does your name really fit you?  What is in a name?  Do you grow into it?  Bum bum buuuum!
Existential headaches aside, the back and forth between people is always my favorite part about interacting with people.  The best way to truly learn about a person is to ask questions and see how they respond.  What's your favorite kind of music?  Your answer immediately reveals something telling about your character, the person you talk to.  Because of my daily brush with people, whether at work, school, or adventures outside my dorm room's four walls, I am taught about others and how they view the world, what they say, and how they think.  I keep my ears open, and even if I'm not saying anything, I'm learning something about those around me.  From these unorthodox teachings, I learn how humans act and how to capture them on the page.  If anything, it's a great source of entertainment and an excuse for me to wander.  The best places to hear weird conversations are the cafeteria, because no one thinks that they can be heard, and restaurants. 
Dialogue is a fantastic way to help guide your story along and provide flavor to a story.  If the dialogue is floppy, then the whole piece falls flat too.  Listening to people also helps me figure out how to read emotion by voice and figure out how to phrase it in a written work.  When a person cries, their voice pinches, tightens, warbles, and typically climbs an octave.  When people are happy, their voices become breathy and quicker while flying in volume and pitch.  Normal conversation is a happy medium with calm timbre and average pacing, depending on the person.  The knowledge you come across out and about is amazing.  I wouldn't want to give it up for the world.
If you see me sitting alone in places with a blank look on my ace, don't be surprised if I'm catching up on someone's conversation nearby.  I promise, whatever I find that is secret, I won't use under your name or appearance, especially if I know you.  See you around!