September is the time when we in the US start preparing for the new school year. So each Monday I’ll be posting a piece of reference and a resource I use (have used) for developing my writing.
This is a book I was recommended to read in college by a friend. It takes Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and puts it into the context of using it for writing. There are a lot of references used from pop culture to really help you understand the concept. While it’s presented as a “formula” I found it more of an inspirational/insightful reference that helped me more as an editor and when I analyzed things I read than it did my writing.
Now if you haven’t heard of this site it’s a site that is designed to be your never-ending cork board for everything you could possibly imagine. I have used this a lot for my other hobbies, sewing/costuming etc. but I’ve also found it a great tool for inspiration, vocabulary charts, and even reference images for things like characters, costumes, settings etc.
If you’re not one for sharing you can even make your boards private so only you can see them. Again it’s a great place to just get ideas and find some fun ways to inspire yourself.
You can follow my writing pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/jeanineoloughli/
Many of you have probably seen these movies or at least heard of them as they’ve taken the teenage and young adult market by storm. I read these books when the first movie came out after hearing several friends and family raving about them. After the first book I found it a charming, fast-paced action/adventure story with dystopian flare. However, as I progressed through the second and third books I found that there was much more to these stories than an action flick.
One short coming I think a lot of young adult novels have is that they put teenagers into these extreme situations who come out triumphant at the end. Some of these experiences are quite traumatic and include death and grief or other strong emotions which are often glossed over in the attempt to move the story forward. I found this very issue addressed in this trilogy of books, showing just what kind of trauma and damage can happen to these young people from being thrown in these situations. There is PTSD, depression, mental programming and much more.
Then there’s the controversial ending. I, like many, were rooting for a good happy ending, and was given something unexpected instead. At first I was angry and bitter, but after given time to think and analyze through the stories I found the ending to be quite fitting and really made me absorb the overall theme and message I felt the books were trying to convey. Now as with all literary analysis I can’t say for certain that this was the author’s intent but it’s how I was able to really take a lot away from the books beyond “wow Katniss is a badass.”
So even if you’re sick of hearing about these books and movies if you haven’t had the chance to read them I would suggest you do, but look for the psychological story beyond that of the adventure and war.
“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Issac Asimov
I grew up in a liberal area but with very conservative parents and family, so growing up I never discussed identity crisis or transgender issues until I was in college. It just wasn’t something I was made aware of or that was talked about. However, this topic has been extremely prevalent in very recent events. I thought it would be interesting to add some of that discussion from my perspective here.
Now I haven’t written about transgender characters myself, but very recently I read a few stories that include them, unbeknownst to me initially, and played a video-game that has a transgender character. I was worried these characters would not be treated well but was pleasantly surprised. The authors/creators treated these characters with the respect and genuine care for those who do not identify as their biological gender. They were real, believable and while the subject of their gender came up the discussion was presented in a constructive manner that built sympathy and depth to the characters rather than demeaning them or pushing these character to change their identity to fit a societal type. I think that as our society evolves and we are introduced to the multitude of facets that humanity is made of our literature needs to also evolve to include stories and characters that portray these facets. I have a very narrow comfort zone with my writing right now and of late I have been pushing my boundaries in a lot of different ways. I haven’t completed any pieces due to these bouts of experimentation; how I’m writing it, what I’m writing and who I’m writing about.
Finding one’s own identity and becoming comfortable with that identity is something that everyone struggles with, but when that identity is in contrast to your own physiology I can’t imagine how hard it must be to come to terms with that. I hope that as we move forward to a more accepting and less judgmental society that our writing and our literature also reflects that and we will see more of these interesting characters and we can reach out to those with these life experiences and maybe help them find their own self and know they will be loved.