Writing Exercises

Okay, well, honestly I find writing, regularly, purposefully a struggle. I figured that perhaps adding some writing exercises to my routine may help. Then I figured if I do start the exercises, perhaps putting them on here wouldn’t do too much harm. After all the harmless fun of weightlifting words could be amusing for not only myself but if anyone crosses the page here.

Suggestions and prompts will be welcomed within reason.

The first task or exercise is to work on openings, fast paced or memorable, so perhaps the first few chapters of something. So I will be going wild… or not. This is perhaps moderation or restriction but I have a general idea of how I want the first one to look, the construction of the character, the shortness, the pace the productivity. It is about the tests I suppose of introduction, realism in an unrealistic world.

While I am here, I have to ask, as a reader it can be easy to fall in love with a character, as a writer it can be hard, you can write a character you don’t love but you need, when it comes to the time when you kill them off, has that love grown?

Personally, I had the experience recently of writing a character who had a purpose but had he been aside of the story and not a catalyst through choices, would I have loved him no? By the time it came to working it out hashing his death, I honestly shed a few tears. Possibly the result of characters I did love being devastated and partly because he had grown from acquaintance and insignificant to the bringer of the most radical changes to the characters. Through the path that took me as a writer from looking at this character as a useful being to help where I could not, to make the circumstance that bit better or that bit worse, when it comes to the death of such a character it became more then just a love for his usefulness. Like all characters he had taken a life of his own, he lived for a period of time in my head, and will do if I choose to unwind time to before “the incident” but as you finish a story, like when a character finishes his or her own journey there is a sense of loss and morning.

There will always be that moment or that day where things just seem sadder, at the closing lines to a moment you can let it all sink in and devour you. But there will be moments that make you so happy; unexpected moments or scenes of pure inspiration, those words you have heard time and time again in the recesses of your mind making an escape. Those moments where passion and inspiration takes over and the words that you write, are not just words they are this image inside your head, the colour of the sky, the setting sun, that moment of bliss when you can feel that same rush of joy or heartache as the character, you share in them completely, dissolving from being seperated by the unseen barrier and just being one with them. That moment that wonderful moment of complete understanding, that is what grew my passion for writing, that is where it all began.

Writing to me is so much more then just telling a story, it is deeply personal, especially in “Breathing Smog” it is the most personal honest thing I have written in my life. It has been the catalyst for everything, all the writing I currently do, the passion and excitement that gets poured into writing.

But writing has also been the most damaging thing in my life; as much joy and passion and excitement it has brought, it has also brought great pain, sorrow and heartache. Without mentioning the sleepless nights to their true extent, writing has helped me endure more pain then I thought possible. It has made me relive moments of pure hell and hatred, it has plagued my sleep, encouraged my darkest ideas and created the uncontrolled imagination just before bed when everything is quiet, there are two options; one being the spark of a brilliant idea for fixing something or making something completely new, or two that there is a monster or something in the darkness that I cannot see waiting to destroy me. Sometimes I think that monster is me. Writing is consuming, it takes your soul, it destroys your search engine, because you search the strangest of things, and it destroys how you see people at times.

What is their motivation? What is it they want or want to achieve? Why are they being kind? Is this really them or a pretense? Who are they? Who am I? Who am I when I am with them? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to be? What about them? What is their journey?

The perfect moments we write in the stories never happen to us, they are the dreams of our perfect moments, some of those tiny things we wish someone would say to us. While we ruin our readers expectations, we ruin our own, we can love unrealistically and live in the same way. Our hearts yearn for the impossible because the impossible is something we don’t understand or have never had but perfection is impossible.

Through writing, I have discovered the thing I love most about real life, its imperfections, our character flaws, the things that stop us from living in a world where we are the best we can be, perfection is failure. The great love I have is the things that stop us getting what we really want in life, love, and everything else. Through writing I learnt to analyse and read characters, their flaws and what will stop them getting what they want, I have learned to look through the writers eyes at my friends, I see their flaws and they are beautiful. Their beauty comes from their flaws and their mistakes, the things that hold them back, their challenges. Although sometimes I forget this, I judge them too harshly or I live in my own head too much and expect too much, I can fail to remind myself of what is stopping them from giving into what they want or what I think they want. Because I will always want to know more. I pry into my friends lives, a lot, I want to know everything about them, their perspectives, everything literally. It is what drives them mad, and me mad, but it also what helps them understand I care, I want to know how I can help them, or just a stranger who feels the same way. I want to do everything I can to help those I love but I want to extend that and help others.

Breathing smog was more then just the story of a couple of girls life, it was more then a story with an over-active opinionated narrator, it was more then a story about a rape, to me it was a story of survival, and challenge and it repeatedly made me ask myself, “who are you?”  and “what is it you hope to achieve?” The answer could be as simple as, everyone has a struggle even if things look perfect to the outside world, or it could be infinitely complicated.

That’s the thing, with writing there is the simple motivation and the complex which branches out into every world, every tiny detail or insignificant thing a connection with ourselves and our reality translated into our faults, failings, desires.

Exploring all of this using writing exercises and prompts is going to be the challenge, its a way of determining different echos of a voice and styles and characters and adventures that we love.

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Breathing Smog

So here’s some bonus information for Breathing Smog.

This was the first time I had taken the time to write, really write, sit down and type up something, it was the first time I had finished something. Complete follow through.

During this time I experienced and discovered a lot about myself I struggled honestly to write with clarity and understanding. It was a struggle to maintain an impartial narrative, at which point I must make it clear that the idea of being impartial failed. I used this as my first experience to experiment with the voice of an author.

It was a sincere struggle throughout to deliver the sensitivity of the subject with tact.

The characters however were hard to accomplish with integrity or lack of. The hidden unseen possibilities and motivations were a struggle to understand the complexity but it was the first true piece that I could be proud of.

My author page.

The truth of unemployment

Unemployment. So many youths face it. It is depressing and demoralizing. It appears that it is assumed that people who are unemployed are too lazy to look for work. For some that is clearly untrue, there are some (myself included) who have regularly applied for over 50 or more jobs each week, rarely do we hear back, get called to interview or even for a trial shift or two.

There are some who have explored avenues such as temp work and the falsely advertised apprenticeships which in reality are little more than a slave labor with such a low wage it is almost impossible to support living.  But for some, the unheard, they face tough choices between existing  responsibilities for caring for relatives or children and working, or a career. There is little support for those stuck in a loose loose situation, if they work full time to be able to support themselves and grow a career they carry the burden of guilt that they are unable to help loved ones. Yet if they do not work they feel the guilt and shame of being unemployed struggling to support themselves.

The government is raging a war here. It has become for them something the next person in power can deal with, no action just talk. However, voting has taken a nose dive. Voters and those soon to be eligible to vote have lost confidence in the system. Who can blame them?  Politicians, MPs and so on are voted as representatives and leaders but often it seems, they are unwilling to really make the difference and help the next generations of voters. Those leaving school, those in their homes or libraries applying for days on end to endless jobs, those that the government fails on a daily basis, it is concerning.

There is a widespread issue that covers across every board and every age group that requires incredible balancing, but it seems, that the rich are becoming richer while those that are suffering at their hands, their own ignorance and blind-shortsightedness are barely living.

There is a knock on effect of unemployment, depression, which takes many forms and behaviors.

I read…

… The Daily Mail.

Wait wait wait wait! Before you dismiss me completely, or worse, let me explain.

I read it for amusement, the non-stories that seem to be plastered all over their index page.  The blindingly obvious sexism that plagues the site.  But most of all, I read the Daily Mail because it is shocking. Not for good reasons, the most obvious is the lack of editing and proofing articles receive before being posted, spelling mistakes, word errors and misuse and abominable grammar. Occasionally I scroll through the comments articles receive and wonder two things: one- do they care what they sound like as they often appear ignorant or at best lazy? Two- Some of those people should have been the ones to write those articles.

It makes me wonder why it has become acceptable for the Daily Mail to become the mouthpiece of non-celebrities trying to get 15 minutes of fame. Put it this way, no one cares about the boob-job girls latest stupid idea.

It amazes me that people such as Katie Whats-her-name and such the likes as her are given all the air time to cause a stir in a pot of little gratification. After all fat shaming should not be an encouraged behavior. That being said neither should  chauvinism, bigotry and racism.

Surely the Daily Mail has starved itself over time of credible, original stories and become the mouthpiece of the ignorant. Perhaps in order for the Daily Mail to gain readers who are not just interested in laughing at the so called quality stories it publishes it needs to find a creative and inclusive way to distribute honesty and fresh ideas without coming across as moronic.