Category Archives: Writing Challenge

E is for Elektra

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

Remember how I said that I was obsessed with mythological creatures? Well, this combines my terrible naming abilities and that obsession to create…a character that never got any love. I was fiddling with some characters to establish my world’s mythos, and Elektra was one of them. I have a decent sized profile written for her, but it basically just says, “She’s a djinn. She got captured and is stuck in a mortal form.”

Unlike Robin Williams’ lovable Genie, she was meant to be very dismissive of mortals. So I suppose there’s some sort of cruel irony in Elektra’s position–since she’s…you know trapped in a mortal form. However, I never went anywhere with her. I don’t believe I ever even wrote a little drabble with her. She’s completely unexplored material. I do think she would work out better as a historical figure in my world’s mythos than as an actual character.

Who knows? This process has already been fairly therapeutic.

But once again…naming… Whoops.

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Meet the Wanderer: Chapter 1

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A resolution I have this year is to keep my blog on track by writing a few different series. Allow me to introduce the first.

Discovering Yourself as a Writer

I found the image linked above on one of my many Pinterest adventures which aren’t half as glorious as they sound. I like this set of prompts because they allow me to introduce myself in a series of stories. I hope answering a few of these questions makes me seem a bit more human. To most of you out there, I’m a wall of text behind a computer screen. I swear there’s a plucky young bespectacled ginger behind all these words!

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Branding: What single word describes your personality? How does it affect you as a writer? Are you whimsical, gregarious, or fierce?

You know what I’ve always hated? Word limitations. “This essay must be at least 1200 words” or “please don’t write more than 500 characters for this statement of purpose.” I know guidelines are important, but seriously…one little word to describe myself? I’m an incredibly diverse person. I’ll watch gory action films while hugging Percival (my purple unicorn pillow pet). I’ll go shopping…and then pop into the GameStop to see if Dragon Age or Assassin’s Creed is on sale. I’ll wear over-sized sweaters and slinky evening dresses in the same day!

However, recently I completed a job application for a program that allows me to teach English in Japan once I graduate from college. It has been my dream for several years now to teach in a foreign country, and I finally got the application in my hand. I filled almost all of it out in one day…except for the statement of purpose–the most important part. I didn’t write that part the next day either. Or the day after. Or the next week. You can see where this is going…

I waited until the night before I needed to mail it out to even start on it. I wrote a draft and thought I was done. But then I woke up the next day. Hated it. Trashed it. Panicked. Cried in my adviser’s office for about fifteen minutes. Finally, I proceeded to write a new statement and revise it about five times that day with the help of one of my English professors, a career counselor, and a pep-talk from my roommate.

I always say I’ll stop procrastinating, but I don’t. Why  wait? Because I hate writing about myself. (Funny…considering that this is a blog about…me. But I’m not trying to get a job or scholarship from you guys!) I’m always looking for a single word that makes me (of all the people in the world) stick out. There are hundreds of funny, creative, sarcastic, or cat-loving individuals. How can I describe myself in one word or even 500?

(Just so you know, I haven’t heard back from that job yet. They’ll be calling about in two weeks. Here’s praying.)

My writing is as diverse as my personality.

I can’t exactly describe myself as whimsical all the time. Sometimes I write incredibly…dark things. I also can’t describe myself as sarcastic. If I were witty and sarcastic all the time, my readers might not take me seriously or think that I’m not as believable as I should be. I certainly don’t want to become my own unreliable narrator. Saying I’m “creative” would be a cop-out. Writing, no matter what it is, requires a little bit of creativity.

You’re probably thinking…why not go with “diverse?” You just said it yourself about a hundred times, you silly goose!  Well…the answer to that is: even that word doesn’t seem to accurately describe myself or my writing the way I want it to. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with a single word because I’m always going to be a huge combination of words. I’m not sure anyone out there would count awkward-imaginative-sparkle-tastic as a single word. Any takers? But if someone put a gun to my head and told me that I absolutely had to choose…

Experimental. I always try new things, go on adventures, and jump into the middle of battles. My writing is still experimental. I want to try new forms, new ways of characterization, new plot devices. I want to take concepts that have been done and redo them. My personality is constantly shifting, making room for a better balance of social awkwardness and professionalism. In a way, I’m still finding myself, and maybe I’ll never be that one word.

Or maybe I’m just over-complicating things!

What about you? What’s your “branding?”

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 3

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Oh…pet peeves. I have to talk about my pet peeves. I feel as if I have a lot of them, but when I have to list them out, it’s almost impossible to think of any, but let me give this a shot anyway! (By the way, here’s Day 1 if you’re interested.)

What are your top 3 pet peeves?

1.) When people apologize during a speech or any kind of performance

I’m an apologizer. I apologize when it is my fault, when it isn’t my fault, when things are out of my control, when I’m not even involved… Sometimes I apologize for other people. But I never apologize when the spotlight is on me. That’s the first rule I learned about public speaking and performing in general: never apologize during a performance. I’ve delivered many speeches in both English and Japanese. I’ve been involved with music since third grade. I’ve recently started doing theatre again. Have I been perfect? No. Not at all.

My sophomore year of college, I had a roll in Oedipus the King. During our second show, I screwed up a line I had never screwed up before. I just completely blanked. I stared Oedipus back in the face, opened my mouth a few times as if to say something, and then shrunk back down on the stage into a tiny kneeling ball, completely horrified. Apparently our Oedipus had been so intense that night that the audience assumed my character was too frightened to stand up to him.

Make something up. Anything! I’ve had to improvise Shakespeare before. I’ve completely rewritten verses to songs. As long as you don’t break character, your audience may never know. Unless you apologize. Then we all know that you messed up.

2.) Picky Eating

I love food. All food.  (Okay…maybe not ALL food, but I can probably name the food I won’t eat on one hand.) Nothing bothers me more than seeing someone leave more than half of their food on their plate, especially if I really enjoyed my meal, which I usually do. I want to know what these people taste! And I get even more anxious when I know people will only eat certain things. For the longest time, my little sister would only eat white food. White rice, white pasta with Alfredo sauce, French fries… Now she’s eating better, but for the longest time, I wanted to grab her and yell,  “ENJOY ALL THE FOOD IT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY, AND THEN YOU WON’T DIE.” Don’t get me started on people who won’t try fancy cheese because they’re Velveeta purists….

3.) When keyboard warriors pretend to be activists

I don’t mind if anyone is passionate about something (unless that something hurts others). Be passionate about your religion, your political views, etc. However, I hate it when I see people who do nothing but sit on their bums all day and share articles on FaceBook. (I call these people the Keyboard Warriors. You can usually find them in the comments section of any article with a seemingly political message.) I think if you’re truly passionate about something, you’ll get out and do something. Go teach a Sunday school class, volunteer at a campaign office, clean the park, etc. Be the “active” part of the “activist.” Tweeting hashtags, sharing “save the whale” articles, or tearing people apart in the comments section of a blog may give you some sort of personal satisfaction, but it doesn’t make the world a better place.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 2

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My Feet

Here I am getting to places with Day 2. (Day 1 is HERE if you’re interested.) I’m surprised I’ve made it this far, but I underestimated how much these prompts would make me think.

Write something that someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget.

I’m sitting in front of my computer screen, staring at those words, trying to think of anything.

I’m sure people have told me all sorts of things about myself ranging from the good to the bad to the obvious. The other day one of my friends told me, “Wow. You’re sunburned.” As if my singed flesh needed a reminder! I haven’t forgotten that yet. I’ve had people tell me I’m talented or fortunate. I’ve had bullies tell me I’m fat or ugly. But none of these moments are particularly memorable. I’ve either forgotten them or moved on. Except for the sunburn. I’m still living the sunburn right now.

But the more I think about it, I’m drawn to my first relationship. Well…”relationship.” I was in high school. We met in Robotics Club, went to the movies once, and then I asked him to prom after we broke up because I didn’t want to go alone. It wasn’t exactly a story book romance. Actually there wasn’t really any romance involved. We held hands once or twice. I blushed, maybe giggled. He was the first guy to ever find me mildly interesting or pretty. I had spent my life wishing day and night for some boy somewhere to think I’m special. And then it happened. I had a boyfriend.

I remember one time he went shopping with me as I prepared for a trip to Washington D.C. My mom wanted to see how he would live up to her expectations, and my little brother was grateful to have someone to take him to GameStop. Before we separated though, he watched me trying on candidates for a new pair of heels. I would walk around in a pair, determine the comfort level, and move on to another pair to see how they compared. He watched as if I were comparing the color of soil samples. And then he said it.

“Wow, you have ugly feet.”

Now, I’m aware I have big feet. I have my father’s feet, and my family likes to talk about it, so I’ve heard it all. “You have fingers for toes.” Or “I bet you never have to rent skis.” I’ve even been compared to Godzilla a few times, but that one was new. I know he wasn’t trying to be mean. It was a nervous, off-hand comment that slipped from his mouth. I laughed a little too loudly and ushered him off to babysit my kid brother.

But I was just as nervous. I was just as unsure. And I was beyond shocked that I didn’t say, “You too!” and limp away in my stilettos, snorting with laughter to try and fix my faux pas. I didn’t realize how young I was until that moment. I was a kid, literally trying to wear my big girl shoes and failing miserably. Did I need to jump into a relationship just because I was excited about attention?

Well, clearly I found my answer. We didn’t last long, and now we’ve both gone our separate ways. I couldn’t tell you what he’s doing now, but I do know that I’m looking forward and not looking back. As for my feet, I like to think that they fit in my stilettos a little better now.