On Writing: My Writing Persona

 “I sometimes go to my own little world, but that’s okay, they know me there.”

 –  Joel Hodgson

 

Due to the fact that the internet is a large and, at times, rather terrifying place, I have—as you may have noticed—put very little information about myself on this blog. The most I’ve said is that I’m a guy in my senior year of high school, I’ve written several unpublished manuscripts, and I love the movie Super 8 (for which this blog is named).

And no, I’m not going to break that streak of silence tonight by divulging every personal detail. But I am going to tell you a bit about myself as a writer.

As I haven’t told you much about myself, I don’t know what you picture when (if) you think of the person behind this blog when they’re creating its content. Perhaps you imagine a teenager with six friends on Facebook, glasses worthy of Professor Trelawney, and a laptop on which he plays minesweeper for twenty hours of the day.

Or, maybe you picture a sketchy dude in sketchy clothes, sitting in the darkest corner of his basement, typing furiously on a laptop and staring at the WordPress stats pages waiting for views to trickle in.

In both cases you’re incorrect. Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of writing. The depth of that life is questionable, but it exists nonetheless.

Seriously. I don’t do this all the time.

But, I’m actually quite off topic. Today, I wanted to talk to you about my persona as a writer.

Regular me is pretty much average everything, with relatively few quirks other than an unhealthy obsession with the Harry Potter franchise and the need to suck the fun out of my class schedule by drowning it in AP courses.

But then, there’s my writing persona. Which is something that nobody is too familiar with, regardless of whether you know me personally or not.

Well, prepare to be enlightened.

 

The best way to describe my writing persona is to describe the person who sits down at my desk and punches out a chapter, article, blog post, revision…whatever happens to be on the agenda for the day. That person looks the same as me, but if you watch them, you’ll notice a few things.

First of all, they’re more than likely drinking a glass of Welch’s sparkling red grape juice. Nothing makes me feel fancier and more writer-esque than sitting down with a wine glass filled with non-alcoholic wine  as I work. If you’ve never tried this incredible drink, I’d highly recommend it…be sure to check it’s non-alcoholic, obviously. And make sure it’s red grape (white will do in a pinch; it tastes the same but is bright yellow rather than dark red). The taste is as implied…grape juice, but with enough fizz to make your eyes water.

Second of all, this writer is most likely listening to either a) Classical Music or b) Soundtrack.

Classical music relaxes me. I don’t listen to it for fun, or anytime except when I’m sitting down to write…but when I do, it makes me feel more intellectual. My personal favorites are Pachelbel Canon in D and the Bach Double Concerto in D Minor. Vivaldi works, too, which is my current eardrum entertainment.

As for soundtracks…

What can I say? I love movie scores. Especially when they relate to scenes I’m trying to write. For sad, emotional bits I go for “Dumbledore’s Farewell,” “Lily’s Theme” and “Harry and Hermione,” all from the last handful of Harry Potter films. Epic tracks include “The Sinking” from Titanic, “Phoenix Rises” from X-Men: The Last Stand and “Inferi in the Firestorm” from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

In addition, two especially emotional songs I’ve listened to more than a few times are “Davy Jones” from the second Pirates and “Arrival at Aslan’s How” from the incredible Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian score.

So that’s how I get myself focused, particularly when writing fiction.

Don’t get me wrong, though…I write regardless of my surroundings, and unless I can find a spare hour or two in the evening, I have to adapt. This means writing in places like a packed gymnasium, empty library, silent corner or cacophonous school bus. I’ve written battle scenes on my phone and death scenes at home while listening to “Gangnam Style.”

Those who do know me personally probably know well that I carry around a dark blue composition notebook, to school and anywhere else I go for more than an hour or two. Most people assume it’s one big story I’m writing, but in reality, it’s just a source of paper. I never have just one project (book, short story, blog post) on my “to do” list, so the pages of my writing journal are spattered with bits of all three. This is all just temporary for when I get home and have the chance to decipher my handwriting mess and type it out in its proper word document.

But, I’ll talk about writing by hand vs. typing later.

So, there you have it. You’ve been introduced to my more intellectual and expressive alter-ego who enjoys writing for fun. He thanks you for taking the time to read this.

If you wanted to follow his blog via email, I’m sure he would be very appreciative, too.

On Writing: Intro

“Only bad writers truly think that their work is really good.”

–  Annie Enright

 

It happened…”Gangnam Style” is #1 on the iTunes charts. The storm has arrived, readers.

But anyway.

So, I think the only proper way to start this off is by disclaiming every subsequent word.

I realize that listening to me about writing advice is as ironic as drawing trees on paper. Nonetheless, I need somewhere to set down all my opinions, and here seems the safest place. So consider yourself in the pit of my thoughts.

A place many people yearn to visit, I’m sure.

One key word here, though, is opinions. I certainly don’t mean for this to be any sort of instruction manual or guide…even ‘advice’ is a bit of a strong word. No, this is my take on virtually every aspect of writing. I’m not saying it’s right. In fact, the only reason I chose to talk about it is because there really isn’t a right way to write. Self-expression is always subjective.

So, now that I’ve warned you, I think I’m free to talk as much as I’d like.

This is the first of many, many articles I intend to post which will fall under the “On Writing” category. I plan to comment on each aspect of writing a novel, from the initial plotting and characterization to the last sentence on the page. If you’re here because you’re wondering what I think about anything novel related, I’ve got you covered.

And if you’re here because you’re hoping to hear news about regular, non-writing related posts, I can tell you I’ll have plenty of those as well.

SO. For now, let’s talk book writing.

When you start writing a novel, it’s probably not because you actually WANT to just type up a book. I don’t think you’re sitting there going, I want to write a book…what should it be about? Let me think of a topic which I can so beautifully embellish and will have the masses kicking down the doors of bookstores everywhere.

[As a side note, if you are saying that, I would correct you by pointing out the sad but accurate fact that book stores are fading away to be replaced by Kindles. But I’ll talk about that later.]

I digress. My point is that for me—and possibly you—I didn’t just decide to write a book. Instead, I had a story in my head, and a book seemed the best place to put it.

I started writing my first manuscript when I was thirteen, but the plot had been revolving around in my head since fifth grade. At first I was sure I could make them movie screenplays—shut up; I was ten—partially because of how clearly I could see everything. But then I decided in eighth grade that not only could they be books, but that I should start making those books. And so my mindless rambling began (and still is going, I might add).

Alright, fine, so I guess I am giving advice today: if you have a plot going in your head that you truly think is unique, or just want to play around with, go ahead and write it down. Even if it goes nowhere, then it just falls into the same abyss you would send it anyway by ignoring it. And in some cases, it can develop. Then, oh mon dieu…you have a story.

 

Okay, so it isn’t quite that simple. But there’s your start and end. Everything else in between should be easy, right?

Looks like I have a lot to talk about.

Gangnam Style!

“Oppa Gangnam style.”

 

“Oh, so close,” you might have been thinking to yourself (if you’re as OCD as I am) when you read my last post. “This blog’s magic number is 8, but it was launched on September NINTH? Five points from Gryffindor.”

Believe me, I understand. It’s quite possible that in seventy years this will still be hobbling along and my writing life with it, and just before they both slip away I’ll look to the sky and shout, “IT LAUNCHED ON THE NINTH!”

But.

Probably not.

Besides, I had a good reason: I wasn’t ready on the 8th. I still hadn’t written the intro post, I was tired, and the music on the TV Guide channel was more interesting than usual. I have to prioritize.

But, anyway. Before I start talking nonstop about writing—which, I promise I will—I figured I’d throw down a post or two about things most people can relate to. In this case, a music video that you most likely haven’t heard about, but is probably going to go (more) viral in the next few days.

I’m not normally one for music videos. I take enjoyment from listening to a song, and—with a few rare exceptions—think that the audio is more than adequate. Well, my friends, I’ve found myself a rare exception.

I don’t know if I’m allowed to post the link here, so I won’t, but the song is called “Gangnam Style” by the Korean Rapper PSY. It’s currently one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time (with 146,082,566 views as of now), which is why I was so surprised I hadn’t heard of it until today. Watch it if you’d like, but I figured I would go ahead and give you the breakdown. This one deserves dissection.

The video begins with the lead singer, PSY, singing in Korean and strolling down what appears to be a horse farm. The video flashes between that and him sitting on a playground, where a kid wearing sunglasses is dancing as though it’s the end of the world. He’s pretty good, too.

Then enters the catchy beat, which I challenge you to dislodge from your brain in less than two hours. PSY continues singing in Korean, walks through an artificial snowstorm, and dances in random places including on top of a building, in a city bus, and under a highway overpass.

THEN, the hook: it cuts to PSY and around ten other dancers all executing the strangest sequence of moves I’ve ever seen (and that includes my own). I can’t really put it into words…picture holding one arm rigid in front of you, jumping up and down, and waving your free hand as though swinging a lasso. This man manages to do all of this—all while inside a horse farm, mind you, complete with a line of horses in the background—and still I’m entertained. How could you not be?

Keep in mind this is, according to the description, from PSY’s SIXTH studio album. Where has this man been before? With a beat like the one this song has, he’s destined to be a star…at least, for a little while. Though I don’t know the translation of the refrain (the epigraph at the top of this post), I do know that Gangnam is a place in South Korea. I’d be shocked if this wasn’t their new theme song.

Other highlights of the video include: him doing the move mentioned above, except this time down the street chasing two people who are backing away hastily (I would, too, if he were running towards me in such a manner). In addition, he throws down some more dancing on the seats of the city bus, which is adorned with a disco ball and sunglasses-clad passengers.

The hook repeats, with scenes flashing between another bus, a swimming pool, a boat, an elevator, what looks like the lobby of an emergency room, and finally a massive dance floor where PSY and his whole crew of backup dancers can finish off the insanely catchy tune in style.

Now, I know the music video sounds strange. Even, dare I say it, silly. But here’s the thing…

It’s ENTERTAINING.

And when it comes to music, that’s all that really matters, right? The tune is the South Korean equivalent of “Party Rock Anthem,” and the dancing is interesting enough to keep me hitting the replay button.

Just my take, anyway.

 `

On an unrelated note:

I can’t express how grateful I am to the handful of people reading this. I’d love to tell you, “Don’t worry, followers. One day, I’ll be rich and famous and I’ll have enough money to buy an island so I don’t have to pay taxes. And it’ll be because of YOU.”

Okay, that probably won’t happen. Like most people, all I can really do is say thanks. And for now, that’s more than enough.

So thank you.