Short Character Sketch

Every morning before work she carefully constructs her appearance: filling in her eyebrows for a more dramatic look, adding eye shadow and extending her lashes with 3 coats of mascara, applying concealer and foundation, finally finishing up with lipstick which is a different shade depending on her outfit for the day which in itself takes a long time to assemble.

Today she shows off her long legs with a long, tan tunic top and white short-shorts which are covered by the tunic enough to give the impression she isn’t wearing pants. Over the tunic she wears a thin, green jacket to protect against the spring breeze.  She is blinged out: 3 rings on her hands, a flower chain necklace, earrings (2 triangle shaped dangly ones, and 3 studs in her other piercings including her right tragus). When she is bored she twirls her tragus earring. She can’t wear headphones in that ear, but that’s the price she pays for style.

She carries a fanny pack (tribal style pattern) slung across her chest. Her friend makes fun of her: “Fanny pack! That’s so ‘90s!”, but she shrugs, saying it’s only uncool when you wear it like they did back then.

She spends her time on the bus to work on her phone, which is so large it can barely fit in her hand. She complains about it how it’s on the way out despite being less than 2 years old, but that might be due to the fact she watches Youtube videos on it while showering.

 

**

This was only supposed to be 200 words, but I started getting carried away.  ha

excellent

Excellent: The motivation behind writing

Writing Fiction course assignment: 

Listen to audio of different writers discussing their motivation for writing and why they write, then answer the questions

  • What were the similarities in their respective journeys towards writing?
  • How much did fact mix with fiction in the way their own life experience and personal circumstance influenced them as writers?
  • What elements of your life experience and personal circumstance do you think might influence your writing?

Most of the writers said they had grown up always doing writing of some kind, whether it was comics, journals, or short stories. A few of them said they wanted to write about things that made them angry.

Personal circumstances definitely had a big influence on them as writers. Actually, I don’t know any of the writers who were speaking ( Alex Garland, Michèle Roberts, Tim Pears, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Monique Roffey and Louis de Bernières.), but you could hear how  different their writing topics would be just based on  what they were saying.  For example, one woman talked about how going to Catholic Church every Sunday for years had a BIG impact on her and what she writes about.

I think in my writing I useda lot of personal life experiences or experiences that I have heard from others. Whenever someone tells me a crazy or a funny story, I file it away for future reference. Another thing  I really love doing is reading science and cultural articles. The more I read them, the more I think that I could use this weird fact or tidbit in a future story.

For example, I recently had a dream where doctors had to cut out my twin which had been a part of me since birth, but was starting to interfere with my body like this man. It was a horrifying dream. And yet, it had all the makings of a good movie or story!

 

excellent

 

say what

Reflections on Truths and Lies in Fiction Writing

The first class of Writing Fiction is writing about lies and truths (see previous post)

We were then supposed to read other people’s paragraphs and answer these questions:

  • Is there anything that distinguishes the fictitious elements?
  • Are there common elements that you and your fellow writers write about as ‘facts’?
  • Do any of these passages suggest stories to you?

You know, sometimes it was really hard to tell what was fictitious and what was not when I was reading other people’s paragraphs. Everyone wrote about really different things, but I thought that some people’s paragraphs felt like it could ALL  be true.

I think the line between fiction and nonfiction can be really grey depending on the topic/details.

I think what made things stand out as being fictitious is when it seemed really over the top, something that was just TOO incredible or coincidental to believe. But perhaps I’m wrong and it was the truth, and something else mundane was the lie.

I’ve had some CRAZY things happen to me in Korea that when I try to explaining to people at home, they just can’t understand or believe.

say what

Actually, the paragraphs I wrote for this assignment were about my life in Korea, but I twisted it a lot for the lying paragraphs. But had I not told you most of it was a lie, would you believe it’s true? Most people don’t know a lot about Korea, so I could tell you “this is true!” and you might believe me.

The same goes for talking to people in Korea about America. For example, as a joke I tell my students I’m friends with Obama. They always says “Teacher!! REALLY? No!! LIAR!” but then I shake my head (no smiling or laughing) and say, “Yes! Really!”

Barney, minus the drinking at school, ha

Barney, minus the drinking at school, ha

Because I look so serious, and I am from D.C., some of them actually believe me! Or, at least, they have enough doubt in their mind to ask my co-teacher if I am lying or not.

obama dancing gif

This is so epic. Whoever made this, I love you!

It seems easier to lie about things you know something about, versus something you know nothing about, at least for me.

I think this is important for fiction writing. If you want to lend more weight to your writing you should add details of “truthfulness” even if your story is entirely fictitious.

I don’t think there are many common elements that the other writers and I are using as facts because all of our paragraphs are SO different. There are so many  different topics, different points of view, and different styles. Even if you gave two writers the same 3 lies, 1 truth to work with, the paragraphs they would write would differ and I might not think they actually have the same truth.

Actually, this seems like an interesting experiment. Give a group of writers the same 3 lies, 1 truth and see what they come up with. Then ask other people unrelated to the task to figure out the truth and the lies.

experiment

A lot of these paragraphs seem like they could be short stories or  that they could even developed into longer stories. Even just writing my two paragraphs I felt like I could maybe turn it into a larger story of some kind if I gave it more thought…. We shall see!

Storyaday: Day 10 “Temptation”

I am ten days into my new yearlong project: storyaday.

Today I met with some other writers who wanted a chance to write in a fun/inspired setting.

My friend Kate has a deck of cards with a lot of random words on it. You can use it for a game, or  instead, as she likes to do, you can pick 3 cards at random and then create a few paragraphs of a story using those three words.

After we finished writing we would read what we wrote out loud. I haven’t heard feedback on my writing since Spring 2011  which was my final semester at UMW. It  was refreshing, if a little nerve wracking, to read my work  out loud and hear other people’s comments.

I found it interesting to see my friend’s different writing styles. I tend to lean towards more fantastical and magical settings, but my friend Kate has a really fluid style that I think adapts to both the surreal and also the realistic. My other friend Erica tended to write about relationships, especially that concerning the topic of family/romance drama.

One of my weaker areas of writing that I want to focus on this project is that of description. I find myself writing more action and dialogue than description.

In general when I read I like to read books with minimal description. One of the reasons why I am not the biggest fan of reading the Lord of the Rings books is because Tolkien goes on and on describing EVERY leaf and every tree in the story. I don’t need to read 50 words describing one object. I am content with something as simple as, “He walked past a tree.”

Today I made more of a conscious effort to include description in my writing.  —->

Story of the day: 

Temptation (words: lush, crest, hear)

The   crest of the hill was just with in her reach, but she was too bedazzled by the sight of the lush flowers that lined the hill’s pathway. She felt tempted by the exotic aroma that emanated from the golden flowers. They smelled like honey and strawberries. And the color of the flowers! Never in her life had she seen a color so vivid.

She vaguely remembered there was a reason she was supposed to ignore the flowers along this path. Something she had heard from her mother…? Or grandfather? She couldn’t remember.

Just one whiff she thought. I just want to hold it up to my nose and smell it. She stepped off the path and reached out with her hand to touch the closest flower.  She expected it to feel silken to the touch, but instead she felt sharp needles  sink into her flesh.

She started to scream…..