Posts tagged ‘fiction’

Burnt out Writer: Hating your Love

This might seem ridiculous, but I haven’t had the urge to write for a while. I’ve thought about it, to be sure; I’ve never stopped brainstorming. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to write ever since I poured myself into my last major project: my senior portfolio in college. It’s been a few months since then, but I still haven’t been able to creatively put words on a page–and enjoy it.

Maybe I’m the only one experiencing this, but it seems that if I push myself so hard on a writing project, when it’s all said and done, even if I’m happy with it, I’ll just be burnt out. Out of fuel. And I begin to hate what I love. I’ve been working towards forcing myself to write, but when I don’t have the desire, the result ends up being less than satisfactory.

I’ve heard that this should wear off this fall, when I would have been starting classes if I were still in school. I’m just not sure I want to wait that long. Have you ever been burnt out to the point of hating to do what you used to love? Was there any way to fix it, besides waiting for it to go away? And when I don’t care, you won’t get much of anything good on here, either. And that’s rather annoying for you all, I suppose.

Any suggestions? I am really tired of hating what I love.

Pretty much sums it up right now.

Looking to Be Awed

It’s been a while since I’ve read any fiction novel worth raving about. Sure, I put up a post about the Hunger Games, and while I recommend it still, it’s more for the social commentary in it (particularly the parallels between the Capitol and America now) than any particular craft or beauty of wording. I do believe it was a book worth reading, and it has its moments, yet it had nothing of extreme beauty that made me fall in love with it.

The last book I read that led me to rave about story and craft was Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy (the original three, the real three, as in, not including Green). Black in particular was my absolute favorite… a rereading might be in order. Yet there’s something missing in my mind, I think, when I don’t have a book that I can read for the first time and be awed by it.

I am sorry to report that I just finished reading a book by C.S. Lewis that I only kind of enjoyed. I know, it makes me sad too. And while I did like Till We Have Faces, I can’t say I’m in love. Not enough to rave. Which is a new thing between Lewis and me. And I don’t think I like it. That’s what let me know that I need to start looking to be awed.

So I’m wondering: Have you come across any books lately that you absolutely love? Not something that is merely recommendable, but one that you can rave about. Fiction is preferable. I just graduated, and I am going to read for FUN.

Thanks, all.

P.S. I’ll hopefully be putting up some new posts about writing soon, but I’m also looking for inspiration–and a little rest to jumpstart my drive to write again after finishing senior project. A little burnt out from that yet. There hasn’t been much time for musing, let alone wardrobe-sitting. Thanks for your patience and comments. I appreciate you all!

Priorities: The Place of Fiction

Just read a really neat post recommended by a friend about reading Christian fiction and how it is important to keep it balanced with reading God’s Word. I especially like her analogy about different media types comparing with different sugary drinks. Really thoughtful. I am now recommending this blog to you.

Check it out, ponder on it, come back and discuss! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, as I’m sure she would in her comments as well.

Read the post in Steph’ Sound Off blog here.

Musings on Writer’s Block

Sorry for the long silence in the past week or so. Finals. What else can I say? But thankfully, summer is now here, and I finally have time to

Kind of what writer's block feels like, huh? La Brea Tar Pit, courtesy of http://www.justabovesunset.com.

process some of my thoughts more fully.

Only to find… I don’t have many thoughts at all. Maybe my mind is burnt out. I have thinker’s block. Like writer’s block, only for my brain. Which (contradictory enough) brings up a thought: What are some of the most effective ways to escape writer’s block?

The way I see it, there pretty much isn’t one guaranteed way for every writer to pull themselves out of the tar pit. Just like there isn’t “one way” to write that works for every author. Sorry to anyone out there who has written a “The One Way to Writing” type book. But since there are many ways in which to get stuck on your work, there are probably many ways of getting out. Here are a couple that I’ve found to be helpful.

1.) Go back to previous work and start editing. Not much will give you a better perspective on what you want to write than by going back and fixing what comes before it.

2.) Pick a character upon which the following scenes will focus and pull into focus their motivations and goals. Usually, a character will try to bring his/her plans to fruition. Unless (s)he’s a dead fish. Then you might want to fix your character before you try to continue your plot.

3.) Ask for help. This has been of immeasurable value to me to have friends and fellow writers who can fire ideas back to me after reading my work. Sometimes it takes an outsider to really suggest changes or ideas that would make your story come alive again.

4.) Don’t be afraid to cut. Let’s face it; a plot can change as you’re writing it. And if/when that happens, you need to be ready to cut out something that was truly great, but doesn’t fit anymore. Save it for later, perhaps. But if it doesn’t fit with the new direction your story is headed, it needs to be laid to rest. At least for a while. Hopefully it won’t become a zombie if you resurrect it, though.

5.) Work on a different project. Take a step back, reevaluate, leave it be to simmer while you stir another concoction. Take a breath. You’d be surprised what kinds of ideas can bubble to the surface in your absence.

What are some ways that you have pulled yourself out of writer’s block? Any suggestions?

Profanity: Does it have its uses?

I went out for lunch and coffee with some close friends today, and the topic of movies came up on the drive. We first started out talking about how this year was kind of the Year of Animated Film, coming with some of our new favorites including “Toy Story 3,” “Tangled,” and “How to Train your Dragon.” Then we started talking about movies we hadn’t seen yet. Take “The King’s Speech,” for example. It was rated the best film of 2010, but it was also rated R, nearly entirely for profanity. We happened to bring up how we didn’t think that it deserved that rating, seeing as lots of other films rated PG-13 often showed content that was much worse and shouldn’t even be watched by adult audiences. Then I started thinking about some books that I’ve read where I can tell that a character, had (s)he been in a film, should have sworn, just due to continuity of character. That’s when I can really tell when an author is censoring his/her work.

As of right now, I have not been able to make any of my characters swear. I know these words would never come out of my own mouth, so I can’t make them come out of my own creations. Usually, when I reach that point where I know a character would swear, I stop. But I don’t want to hinder my characters by censoring them completely.

So what do you think about profanity in literature? I don’t believe that when an author writes a character as swearing that it means that the author is condoning the use of profanity; I think that swearing can be used as an effective tool to build character. When used in moderation, is a swear word more shocking to a reader than the overused (s)he-spouted-off-a-stream-of-expletives-that-would-make-a-sailor’s-ears-burn type sentence? Is it appropriate for characters to swear in stories by Christian authors? Even big-name Christian authors have gotten a lot of flack for this type of thing; have you run across anything like this?

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

I love writing fantasy fiction. I can’t say that I’m necessarily a junkie; I tend to avoid anything that seems to hit it big in the literary world (i.e. Twilight, Harry Potter, fill in the blank as far as you like). So why the draw for me? Fantasy offers me the chance to create something absolutely new, in a world completely unlike our own.

I also tend to populate my worlds with medieval characters. The draw? Lost honor. It is uncommon to see respectable men nowadays. Ladies are not nearly as modest. The world is slowly becoming cruder, both in how it talks and acts. And I feel like the appreciation for beauty is slipping away.

So how to fix this? The first thing, I believe, is for the inheritors of tomorrow—today’s teens—to step up and face the challenge of being more than we are expected to be. This should translate into your life, not just your writing. I’m not going to try to write what’s popular—plus, I hate vampires with a burning passion. (* greatly disliked vampires long before Twilight; I just hate them more now because of how many girls they have deceived. Creepy, pale guys looking in at a girl while she sleeps is not being protective; that’s stalking. Vampires are creatures from the pit. End of story.)

The Rebelution: check it out. Image courtesy of http://www.reformationtheology.com.

So here’s my throwing down of the gauntlet, so to speak. Enough of this ridiculous fiction that’s been coming out. Enough being satisfied with it. Let’s create something completely new, mind-blowing. Something that brings beauty and breath back into fiction. And let that carry on into your own life. Don’t let it sit and fester; that’s not beautiful. Let’s take this world by storm.

Want to see better how to do that? My best suggestion is to check out Alex and Brett Harris’s website, Do Hard Things (http://www.therebelution.com/about/rebelution.htm). It’s life changing, beyond a doubt.

And then write your heart out. And don’t you dare let our world stand in the way. Make it realistic, but create it anew. Share your thoughts. Share your heart.

Why So Cliché?

Photo from homepage.mac.com

Why does Christian fiction tend to be so cliché?  Yes, you know what I’m talking about. Cheesy love stories where the only thing that grows in the character is a forced love. Young adult fiction that neither challenges nor teaches, building off fads from secular authors. And they always end happily, with the main character becoming a Christian, or at least beginning the first shaky steps of living out a newborn faith. And by Christian fiction I mean novels with God as a central character or theme, written by authors claiming to be Christian, as a broad definition. There are definitely different views on this definition, but that is neither the point I’m trying to make nor the discussion I want to start here.  

Why do Christian authors tend to lean toward overused plot and cardboard cutouts for characters? I have seen it too many times to count. There is no excitement. The protagonist always has the same issues, and they’re stuck to their destinies, which the reader can always predict.

It’s the way fiction is written, right? I disagree. I think there is a way to write clean romance without making it cliché. Teens need to be challenged by characters with whom they identify; they are the leaders of tomorrow, and the last things they need as models are crayon drawings.

So are Christian authors afraid to write branch out for fear that they won’t get published? That should not be our main reason for writing; it should bring a message that needs to be spoken. What are the themes and messages that need to be brought out in Christian literature? What do authors need to implement in their writing to make it more intriguing, interesting, and different?