Sunday, April 29, 2012

30 Days of Writing, Day 3

Explain your Point of View and Writing Style Used

Two things:

  1. That list that I copied and pasted is really badly phrased. Must go and fix that.
  2. Yeah, I felt guilty, and this one was an easy one.
So I'm a huge fan of first person POV. I think in stories like this, it's much easier and it allows you to see more of the character. As this story charts Carmen's self-discovery and journey (wow, that sounds so douchey, but I hope there isn't too much judgement being passed), it only makes sense for her to personally narrate. It also allows me to show her to any readers in a more subtle way - so, for instance, I don't have to blurt it out that she does xyz, I can just sort of show it through the way she tells things, through what she says and doesn't say, whatnot.
It's also fun, because I'm toying with the idea of Carmen being a slightly unreliable narrator. She's a book-child. She gets swept away in fantasy and in what the best way of telling this story would be. So first person unreliable narration would very simple.

Writing style.
I get told that most of my stories are stream-of-consciousness style. Apparently this is just a nice way of saying I blather on and should edit. 
I can't quite explain how it is in one word, but basically I try and write things that are colourful and that are realistic. If I'm writing scenery, which I hate doing (Romanticism ruined me), I don't want it to be full of cliche and metaphor. I want it to be vibrant and realistic, so you shut your eyes and can see the balcony I refer to. You can see Carmen's hair, you can see Lorena's skin, you can see the party. I personally never described things with huge amounts of metaphor consciously when I spoke as a teenager, and I write as though the words are being spoken. (I am a huge fan of onomatopoeia as a result.) Dialogue is something I love doing, because I come from a family where I am the quiet one (anyone who knows me is choking on their spit right now) and words were something we always had. It's also extremely fun working out someone from the way they speak, and why it frustrates me no end trying to work out people who say very little. 

  • First person POV.
  • Little consciously-used metaphor.
  • Onomatopoeia is fun.
  • Writing as realistically as possible.
  • Writing as though it's being spoken.
  • I'm wearing a hat.

I didn't post for two days.

Okay, okay, hate me.
Or not, I'm really not sure how you guys feel towards my lack of posting.
I assume apathy is heavily involved.

Anyway, because I haven't posted for two days and I can't remember what I'm meant to have posted, I am on a dialogue-ish roll that I intend to share with you.
Yes, it'll probably read like a script. This is me on an unedited dialogue-ish roll (repeating words gah) and...
Also, the Spanish will be bad. I haven't spoken it in two years. Don't judge me.


I say what.
She glares at me. "Porque tu no hablas como una niña..."
"Una niña linda, proper, what?"
"Because," I say, knowing full well how it sets her off when I start with because, "I am not linda, proper nor polite."
"You could be," she insists. "Ay, mi Carmenita, you'll never be married."
I reach for the cheese she's been carefully cubing, and get my hand slapped instead. "Maybe I don't want to be married."
"Don't be ridiculous," she says. "What will you do otherwise?"
"Travel. Read. Wake up at noon and go back to bed at 8."
She exhales.
"There's more to life than being married."
"For men, yes." She puts the fly net over the cheese, then begins to roll out the dough. "For you, no. Do you think that you'll be able to work?"
"It's not 1953, Nana, I can work if I want to."
"I only worked until I married your grandfather. He provided enough for me, and I never went without. Yet you and Ana, ay, both of you! Your hermana knows what's best. Why do you think she is marrying David?"
"Because Magdalena," I say, "is a gold digger and for some reason found a man who was stupid enough to not figure that out, and realised how rare a find that was."
"Your sister is clever," Nana says.
"She doesn't love him," I say, though I'm not entirely sure if it's true. "She saw lawyer and ran towards it, eyelashes fluttering."
"Cristian would be a good boy for you."
"Cristian? Nana, are you crazy?"
"He's studying medicine, niña, and he's a good boy. He thinks you're pretty enough."
Pretty enough, the compliment to last me through the fortnight and back to Melbourne.
"And your mother likes him, and his mother seems to like you. Well, no wonder, you're just like her."
I wonder if Nana sees my life playing out as Tia Camila's has. Spontaneously married, unhappily allowing affair after affair, reluctantly divorced and then probably dying bitter and alone.
"And do you know why she got the way she is?" She looks around the otherwise empty kitchen, as though suspecting Tia Camila is hiding in the pantry, and whispers, "Why she's divorced?"
"Because she married a horrible pile of idiocy who didn't understand til death do us part meant not banging every woman he came across?"
"Don't use that language!"
I can't actually tell which part of my sentence most appalled her.
"She got that way, niña, because she was too fussy. She thought he would be perfect, because she had been with so many other fools." She leans towards me and gestures with her rolling pin. "Don't be a fool like her, Carmenita. There's no prince until you make him your prince, he won't ride in and save you, and the sooner you stop being foolish and thinking that you can exist by yourself and that a husband is only a maybe, the sooner you'll be married."
I remember now why I avoid visiting my grandmother.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

30 Days of Writing, Day 2

Genre of your story, explained in detail

Another difficult one, so I'm going to be lazy and basically copy from my Reflection Statement of 2009. I did more research then that I'm unwilling to do now.
(You got me, I want a nap.)
Or not. Stupid Reflection Statement had to focus more on Romanticism.

Basically, this is YA fiction, fuelled by multiculturalism and the feelings that are involved when you're a kid with a foot in two countries. As I've probably said, my father's Chilean. He came over here when he was 18, and he hasn't been back since. My grandparents never went back either. My grandfather and father decided to cut the cords suddenly and to not look back. My uncle went back (and goes back yearly; he's currently there now with my cousins and aunt for two months), and I think my grandmother never went again because my grandfather refused to go. 
My mother is Australian, and is possibly as stereotypically Aussie as they come. She was raised on a farm in Tallimba, a 16 hour drive from Brisbane.
Because these two sides are as different as they come, I find it interesting to explore this, and I find it interesting to explore this in different age groups. I've written this story - or variations of it - for a long time now, probably since I was 13 and beginning to freak out about what it meant to be Chilean Australian. I myself was known as the White Girl in the family (in comparison, my cousin Daniela is referred to as Black Girl). To my father's side of the family, Daniela's perceived Black Girl status is good. The White Girl to them is an alien, one who has crossed the border from mid-80s Chile to modern Australia. I have never liked being touched, I chose to study French instead of Spanish, and I can't dance. Three inconsequential things, but my family is good at making a big deal of nothing.

To summarise:
  • Young adult fiction.
  • About a uni student.
  • South American culture.
"This just sounds like your life!" I hear you say.
And yes, it basically is. It's the memoir in novel form, and I've chosen to do this so I can create situations that I want. (However, when I was 13 and first wrote Carmen (she was 18 turning 19), I wrote her as exactly who I wanted to be when I grew up. I sent one of those drafts to Joshua a year ago and he said, "What? Are you just writing yourself? Is this memoir?"
So at least I've accomplished one life goal.)
Read Looking for Alibrandi and you'll understand the genre, vaguely.

30 Days of Writing, Day 1

Name of your current project and back story of the name

This doesn't work for me, really. Titles are never a good thing for me to figure out, and they usually come far down the track. As I don't actually have a title for my story as of yet, let's go with some previous titles I've used for other stories and why I used them, then I'll say what my story's about (or will be about) so you can get an idea about it.

  • Age 6: Two Little Girls
    We begin the creative process young. Two Little Girls was, as expected, about two little girls who went on adventures. These adventures were things like trips to the zoo and whatnot - things kids get excited about in Sydney - and were carefully handwritten with accompanying drawings. My best friend at the time, Alyssa, wrote these with me. 
  • Age 13: Pretty much any title involving Simple Plan/The Used/Good Charlotte/Blink 182 lyrics
    Oh, to be thirteen again. I had black hair, black clothes, a bleak life outlook and terrible taste in music. (My taste is still terrible, according to all of my friends, but I maintain Aqua is brilliant music to listen to when doing assignments. The Swedish get pop dance stuff right. Or are they Danish?) Anyway, these were mostly terrible fanfics where my main character, a thinly-veiled version of myself, would have shenanigans of some description with these bands. I am truly thankful I never discovered, otherwise I'd have a lot of explaining to do.
  • Age 16: Vivir Con Miedo, Es Como Vivir A Medias
    If anyone's familiar with Australian cinema, you'll know that's a Strictly Ballroom reference. I wrote this when I was in the throes of staying at home (woo panic attacks) and I basically was watching all the Baz Luhrmann, all the time. This story was an appropriation I had to do for Extension English - we had to appropriate Frankenstein. If you feel like reading the story, it lives here. I look at my old short stories and wonder where my skill in writing creepy stories went.
  • Age 17: Exotopy OR A Season Called Home
    I chose Exotopy, my tutor chose A Season Called Home. Exotopy was an interesting word I stumbled upon when researching this novella. The word literally means outsidedness. According to this website, it's also used to describe when an author 'speaks' the authentic voices of characters outside their own. This was probably my most deliberate title choice. The characters were migrants, as I've been focusing on for three years now, and for two of them, they existed by assuming identities. For Fernanda, she wanted to be a part of her family and so allowed herself to become Spanish over Australian. For Cristobal, it was the opposite. For Santiago, the outsider feeling was the dominant feeling. My tutor added the very corny Season Called Home because Extension 2 English is stupid. I had to incorporate Romanticism into it (why, why didn't I get to study life writing?) and I focused on the seasons - each character was associated with a season. Unfortunately I had to put a really obtuse reference to that in the title, because my English teacher kept nagging, my tutor became exasperated, and I let her do as she saw fit.
  • Age 18: Understanding
    Back to Chilean stories. This is the first attempt at my Novel and Memoir story, except it's a short story. The title was so chosen because the second last line was something like, "One day, mi vida, you'll understand." I'll go into more detail when I explain my novel.
  • Age 20: About the Toes
    A memoir piece relating to my father's toes. I went with a Sedarisy angle, and Sedaris uses quirky titles for his pieces. Okay, that's a lie. I literally couldn't think of anything else, and an hour before I submitted the assignment I tacked the title on, printed it off, and fled to the train.
Now, the novel.
Basically this novel is an extension of Understanding. It may have the same title when I get around to it, who knows. It'll revolve around Carmen, age 19, her mother's best friend, whose name escapes me (it's in my room somewhere) and this woman's son, Cristian. Rather than doing the whole woo teen love angle (I'm going to slightly cover that, if I can make it realistic), I'm going to focus more on the relationship between Carmen and her mother's friend. Carmen is basically an outsider, and I enjoy writing these ones. I found my closest relationships outside of my immediate family (such as for much of my teenager years, my grandfather was my surrogate father - due to my insanity, not my father's - and is now the person I love more than anyone in the world. He, too, was the black sheep in our family), and I find it interesting to explore the relationships that aren't typical. The woman and Carmen are similar, but different, but understanding life in the confines of a certain culture is the outcome.

So there you have it. I've also pretty much done an assignment in here - had to write a pitch for Novel and Memoir. Polish the last paragraph up and I'm done!
Muchas gracias, interwebs! 

30 Days of Writing//Random Filler Post//Absences Hardly Explained

Sweet biscuits, Blogger has changed.
I really should have expected this.

Now that uni's in that sweet lull where assignments are few (yes. I know. I've gone half a semester without writing), I figured I should get back to this. On my old blog, I wrote daily, did readings, and did assignments before the due date. I'm going to attribute this to only doing 4 units and also having no job.
Regardless, I'm awake now. Because I missed Blog Everyday in April, let's just go with Blog Over Two Months But For Thirty Days Straight. Mmkay?
(I realise that this doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but you're all used to me by now.)

30 Days of Writing
Tash is Being Lazy Again But Pretending She's Actually Productive

This works out well, because it's going to help sort my thoughts out for Novel and Memoir (a unit I'm doing at the moment for uni; it's the last unit in my Creative Writing minor). 

1- Name of current Project and back story of the name
2- Genre of the story explained in detail
3- Explain your PoV and Style of writing used
4- Describe your inspiration and what message you wish to bring across
5- Main Character Bio
6- Main Villain Bio
7- A third important characters Bio
8- Descriptions of all other important characters
9- Explain the main basis of the plot
10- Describe the world that the story happens in (use photos or graphics if you want)
11- All the Ships in your novel/ Story
12- Your favourite character to write about and why
13- Your least favourite character to write about and why
14- Which character you are most like
15- Your favourite part of the story
16- Describe any other books related to this one (eg. Prequel, sequel, follow up) or If it’s a stand alone, a sequel or prequel that you could write
17- Which published book it is most like
18- What stage of editing/ writing are you at?
19- Writing Playlist
20- If it were made into a movie, which Director would direct it and which band would make the soundtrack
21- Dream Cast (with pictures)
22- The Ten best things about your story
23- The ten things you could improve
24- Why are you going to do with it when it’s done?
25- What is the main twist/ plot point?
26- What is the most exciting scene/ chapter/ part
27- How often do you write it and in what environment?
28- Who else has read it? Or heard about it? Does anyone know you’re writing?
29- Pretend you’re a critic and give a fair but concise criticism of your project so far
30- Post a chapter or so for everyone to read and review 

This will gradually turn into a links list.
First post, coming up shortly!