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23 September 2017

All the Writerly Things: Subjects to Help World Build

Hello, friends! Welcome to my first installment of a new series I'm doing, called All the Writerly Things. Once a month, around the third week, I will be posting anything and everything about writing, whether it may be snippets of my pieces or some advice accumulated over seven years of engaging in the craft.

I've been in school for about a month now, while some of you are just embarking on your first week and others interact with the daily norm. Learning is an integral part of the writing process, particularly when it comes to world building-- how heavy is a guillotine? What significance do moon cycles have to various cultures? World building is an immense task to drag upon as writers, and some days, it's rough and feels like you don't know anything.

As a senior, there isn't a lot of leeway on what kinds of classes I could take, but for all of you underclassmen and learners at heart, here are five subjects to study to help with the process of world building!

This was my favorite class my junior year because of the immense feeling of empowerment to change the world, but that is not the reason I've added this to the list. Environmental studies is the study of the natural world and how humans interact with it, so topics such as human population, water cycles, and peat are all touched upon which helps with world building for two reasons. First, there is a STRONG correlation between a country's economy and the well-being of the environment which explains why some countries in novels are better off with numerous resources or faltering due to over harvesting. Secondly, environmental science delves into how biomes and it's smaller counterparts are composed, such as where certain plants are more likely to grow and thrive, so once the basis has been established, it's easy to look through and say, "Oh, I want this desert to have these plants," which cuts research time a lot.

The study of the behavior and mind. I haven't taken a class on this, but I love to read up on Myers-Briggs types frequently as well as why some behavioral patterns exist. Everything hailing as high as how personalty and development occurs down to the seemingly small topics, like cognition and how people remember things all come down to this line. This is an important subject to study more for the villian's sake, to perhaps see why their backstory and motivation has formed them into the person they are. It's almost creepy, like picking away at their brains-- but then again, it is our job as writers to do so.

Just take any history and all history, where it be ancient civilizations, world history, or United States history and government. Across all branches there are fascinating tidbits of information scattered throughout that can help give quirks to your novel's world. Like psychology, study anthropology, the study of cultures. Be warned, though: cultural appropriation, or using elements from another culture outside of their original contexts, causes a lot of backlash, so be sure to do heavy research to avoid that at all costs.

I've yet to actually take this class next semester, but the study about how the market works, how individual consumers affect it, and the role of economy are all integral to help develop a sense of currency which in term can contribute to the main dilemma of a novel without it directly being involved. Suppose characters want change because the market is fluctuating. Maybe hard times have stricken, but the government isn't helping, causing animosity to form and tensions to rise.

Friends, I have spent the past four years of my life reading in English authors dismissed as archaic from society but pose interesting ideas: Aristotle. Socrates. Thoreau. Machiavelli. Buber. Rand. Out of all these authors, most could only name the first two right off the bat. Even thinking about their ideas give me a headache because of the complexity of them. Don't just read up on Philosophy to brainstorm darling quotes: it's good to study and look at different beliefs not to necessarily agree with them, but to see their perspective of things.

What other subjects would you include? Do you agree and disagree with the list?

16 September 2017

Peek Into My Story: Cahira & the Ghosts

After many weeks of disappearing into the deep recesses of life’s demands and secret projects, I have finally resurfaced and am back to present new posts. My absence was unplanned, and the only excuse I can give besides school and college prep is writing: essays, poems, short stories, spoken word, for both the likes of enjoyment and scholarships—my attention needed to divert there for reasons remaining ambiguous and personal.

Alas, today is the day where I finally get to share one of my (unconventional) projects with you!

Isn't this such a pretty aesthetic?

“What happens when a person has an out-of-body experience?” This thought first arose while browsing many medical articles on a whim. Numerous scientific explanations came up involving the senses and neurology, but slowly this nocturnal twist festered in my mind. For some time, I just let the thought ferment in my mind, until this story about a girl with a tape recorder rolled into my mind until it could no longer stay within the breaches of my brain and joined the page in matrimony.

As the final touches are surfacing, there isn’t an official set blurb nor an official title, expect the following:

Cahira and the Ghosts. A teenaged girl has an out-of-body experience and must return to her body while evading an eminent threat of ghosts feasting on spirits to strengthen their tethers to the mortal world.

Spirits: blue and living.

Aesthetic wise, it’s a clash between Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, the Bone series by Jeff Smith, Doug TenNapel's Ghostopolis, and Ghosts by Raina Telemeger—it deals with the subject of ghosts and spirits without getting too relatively dark or sinister but still has the threats and stakes of the story still incredibly heightened.

Meet the spirited protagonist, Cahira. She’s feisty when provoked and talkative to everyone she meets, but never allows a word in edge wise when conflicting opinions strike her. Unlike past characters, silence is not a comfort. Instead, she deems it as a burden that causes her most private affairs to surface, things she’d like to avoid at all costs. She has an obsession over pears and pairs, as well as has an affinity for a certain cassette tape (the question of why shall remain a mystery for the time being). Her extroversion will pose a challenge as keeping the vigorous energy up is a difficult task (which will make sense once the story is revealed).

I love not revealing anything!

Ghosts. Notice the coloration difference?

The differentiation between spirits and ghosts are integral to understand the story. Spirits are the living who have an out-of-body experience. They can remain out of their bodies for some time and walk around, but too prolonged and consequences arise. Ghosts are those who have not accepted they are deceased and make the return to the body difficult by prowling on spirits. The only shared qualities are their resistance to light and the fact that they cannot hurt nor physically touch those in the land of the living.

Who are they? How do they play into the story? If only you knew what I'm about ready to do to them... *insert evil laugh*

Of course, there are a few side characters, but despite the small ensemble, the personalities are well-developed: the boy with the piano. The girl who always complains. The young man with clear spectacles. Each of these descriptions do not begin to envelop the essence of each character, but they will make an appearance, and they will listen.

I did make a (slightly terrible) teaser trailer, which can all be found down below.


Yes, there is a date when this will be released: November 3rd! I’ve never released a full-story for the public to hear, so this will be a first! More details can be accessed will be available on the blog once more information is solidified. If you're wondering what platform it'll be on, do not worry. If you've paid attention and heard what I've said, then the answer should be clear.

Have you ever tried to write in a different genre? Are you excited for Cahira & the Ghosts? What have you been up to recently in the blogging world? Can you guess where to access the story? (If you do, brownie points and points for your Hogwarts house!)