Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Word Prompts

Using the Random Word Generator (plus) (with the word complexity set to "obscure"), I wrote some snippets in a more flowy style. Enjoy.

--Anagasta

She was not one for butterflies. To others, they may have represented rebirth, or transformation, or light, or the soul. To her, they were simply pretty things. Something about their colorful fluttering seemed altogether too transient.

Moths, however…

They were like her, weren’t they? Unselfconsciously ugly, though some may have credited them with a rough-edged and plain handsomeness. And their determination she admired, guiding always, always to the light.

--Laniary

It was a simple fact, one that he had never even thought to question: he was made to destroy.

Specifically, to butcher.

More specifically? To butcher minds.

That one day when he was walking home with the girl he was courting – what was her name? It had been years – and a man swathed in black cloth jumped out at them, and he held out his hands and, motivated by some strange instinct, grabbed the robber’s head…that had been his awakening.

The man had fallen to the ground, screaming and begging him to stop, stop the nightmares! I want to be real! And that was all right – more than all right.

The girl ran away, sobbing in fear at the boy she had once thought to marry, but that was all right, too. He had found a new love, and its name he would never forget.

Power.

--Epeirogeny

Underneath the earth’s crust, a woman was singing. She was made of hot gases and magma, and her voice was the hissing of the settling cracks of the earth. Her song wound its way along a seam, and gently tickled the ear of a beast that had been sleeping for Always and Before.

There were no words, just a rumbling and a groaning as the beast shifted its smoking scales. Its eyes, an unbelievable color unseeable by other creatures, opened with the whisper of Eternities.

The soft sweet curve of the woman’s smile was echoed by the hard sharp curve of the beast’s back as it stretched, working out the places where its joints had melted in smooth. Fractures ran down all across the beast’s flanks, but it gave no notice as it arched and twisted and let out a sigh.

Above, the land sloshed to and fro; the towers toppled like little twigs; the ground twisted and swayed; the screams of lesser beasts filled the choking air –

And everything was Fire.

--

I've written better, but that was interesting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Quasiland

What is Quasiland?

Quasiland is a question mark-shaped country with a singular tradition: when the heir to the throne turns sixteen, he/she will take the reins of the country for one year.  Crown Princess Artemisia's "Ruling Year" is coming up - what could possibly go wrong?

--

Pictures of major characters:

Princess Artemisia



Cleric Princess Artemisia of Quasiland. A very responsible and reasonable young woman who constantly has to deal with the antics of her friends and the problems in her country. Would rather just be called Art.

Note that "cleric" is used in the Maple Story way - someone with healing/holy powers. These are represented by the wings.

Iki Midnight



Iki Midnight, keeper of dragons (in peace and war) and court jester. She excels at both, while I do not excel at perspective.

Sera



Woodcutter's daughter, very loyal, but quite violent when she needs to be. She's illiterate, but Art is working on that. She's also unemotional and oblivious to stuff that everyone else can see (namely, that the Princess Art is in no way angry about her arranged marriage to Prince Orion of Enouras), but nothing's going to change that soon.

Evan Squall


Read on to find out what his deal is.

--

Dare

Moved here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

La Vita e' Bella

Or "Life if Beautiful". A really great Italian film that combines humor and seriousness perfectly.

Premise: A hilarious but financially challenged Italian Jew named Guido goes to the town Arezzo and falls in love with a teacher who comes from a rich family. Right before WWII.

Different elements of the story intersect in surprising and funny ways.  For example, a horse painted green with the words "Achtung! Cavallo ebreo" on it (cavallo ebreo = Jewish horse) gets ridden straight through an engagement party.

Some parts are pretty sentimental, but it's highly recommended.  If you're a crier, bring tissue.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sketches

Project Utopia:



1. Silviu Mesui. A serious guy.

2. Saline. A favorite of mine. He's fun to color.

3. Otis "Oats" Studebaker. Mute genius.

4. Madge Lobolinskaya. These pictures are not from the world of ProjU.

5. Steering devices used for some boats in the story. Used to get around my lack of knowledge of seafaring vessels.

6. Jodet Sienna. Smart, pretends to be nice, really a jerk.

7. Gina della Zucca. This also isn't in the ProjU setting. Pretty, popular, perishes.

I'll feature finished pieces over winter break, when I start revising.

Other:



1. Irina Rybakova.

2. A fencer. Drawn in under a minute just for kicks. The writing says "On guard, ready, FENCE!"

3. Anastasia. A princess and warrior enjoying the breeze.  Not sure what her story is.

4. My cat.

5. Evan Squall, a Knight of the Dark Storm. I like his coloration and probably will get around to putting up the short story I wrote about him soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

An Assortment

Some things that inspire:

I can't work without music.  These are three of my current favorite songs:

-"Amour" (Rammstein)
-"E Fuori e' Buio" (Tiziano Ferro)
-"The Walk" (Imogene Heap).

The book Characters and Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card (author of Ender's Game), makes me twitchy with desire to write. It's part of a series, Elements of Fiction Writing, which fluctuates in quality from book to book.  This and the Description one are the best of the ones I've read.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Short Guide to In-Class Essays

I don't like in-class essays. I tend to pour hours into my work, and that's not possible in the 50-odd minutes we have of class.

So how to write something decent in a short time period?

Know your own writing habits. My first drafts sprawl everywhere, so when presented with a list of prompts it would make the most sense for me to choose the prompt with the narrowest focus.

Make an outline. I don't mean the kind with Roman numerals and numbers and capital letters and etc.  Those can be useful for a research report, but with a short time period it's better not to have something so unwieldy.  A more efficient method is to write down the requisite number of points you want to cover, then provide a couple of examples for each.  This step is best done beforehand, if possible.

Pace yourself. Everyone writes differently, so I'm not going to prescribe a set proportion of time you should dedicate to introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion, but I like to leave myself five to ten minutes before the end of class to read what I've written.

And that's important - read everything over at the end.  Mostly this is a psychological thing - "tying up loose ends" or what have you, but I've also caught some grammar/spelling mistakes this way.  Since my handwriting is terrible, this is also when I fix that.

I now have some pointers for essay writing in general.