Yesterday was the arts festival, which means that the dance section has been put to rest. Last night T. Will, in introducing the performance, laid out everything that I have done thus far. That conveyed the gravity of it all to me. I hadn’t even considered it up until that point. In my mind I was just making art. It’s what I do. Continue reading
In the dance studio on Monday, while I vigorously choreographed and drilled, I couldn’t stop thinking about next steps. I was taking in the music and thinking about movement, but at the same time, ideas for the visual piece started popping into my head. This is a huge step for me. It was the first time that I felt that I was looking holistically at my project rather than just at the facet at hand. Continue reading
For my independent project this semester, I’m looking at how artistic vision translates between media. My goal is to tell a story through the media of writing, music, dance, and visual art, and see what is lost and gained in each rendition. Continue reading
For my last blog post, I’m just going to give you guys another excerpt from my work. This isn’t the most recent writing that I have completed, but it begins where I left off in my second to last blog post. It’s been an interesting journey this year. Here it is:
I wrote a couple of pages. An excerpt from them is below. I also talked to my editor more about the direction of my story and some of the characters. We decided to make my main antagonist more nefarious and cruel, while making my protagonist more idealistic and brave in contrast. Anywho, here’s a brief sampling of last week’s work:
“Alright, time for some chow! Cooks got it back at the meeting place,” I called to them.
They both turned and looked at me confusedly.
“You heard me! Go get it! I’m here to watch the position for you while you eat.” I nudged my pack into the shadows behind me and walked forward. The two warriors looked at each other, shrugged, and began to make their way to the meeting place where Warriors converged at the start and end of the day. I walked over to the ditch in which they had been standing and pretended to be on guard. I waited a minute until I knew they were well on their way and then I darted back and grabbed my pack. I clipped my rifle into a pouch on the side of my pack and swung it onto my back. I ran forward, bounded over the ditch, and hurried through an opening in the wooden barricade Fara had pieced together around the perimeter. I kept on running through the woods, not stopping until I knew I could no longer see or hear the camp. When I had finally put enough distance between the camp and myself, I knelt and took off my pack.
I reached deep into my bag and pulled out my compass. I knew that Thane’s mission had headed southwest from the camp and that their path would be a roughly straight line. I turned and oriented myself to the southwest and tucked my compass in my back pocket. I continued forward at a light jog down the decline, knowing full well that the others would soon know that I was missing. I doubted that the Alphas would send anyone after me due to the risk of it, but I wanted to put more distance between me and them just to be safe. The trees and underbrush thankfully weren’t too thick, elsewise I’d be traveling a whole lot slower. I knew that the terrain would open up as I got closer to Thane’s objective, but until then, the woods were what I had to deal with. It was no problem. The woods are home for me. A place to run, hide, get lost, and be found. Despite the trees and ravines, I never lost sight of the path I had set out on. I knew where I was headed, and the trees weren’t so thick as to limit my view of the stars when I needed direction.
The Pack had been encamped on a small plateau. The mountainside I traveled down as I ventured away from the Pack wasn’t terribly steep, but it was long. At the bottom, the terrain switched to some gently rolling muddy hills. It was there that I picked up the tracks in the dark. Six sets of them. I had been trudging through the mud and almost immediately recognized the other depressions in it. I trained my eyes in on their shapes, their patterns, the echo of the rhythm of the steps of Thane, Garrett, Jon, Shane, Summer, and Cooper. I burned the shapes of their prints into my mind and followed them forward. I’d find them. I wouldn’t lose them now.
Following tracks at night, however, is no small task. It requires immense focus. You not only have to keep your eyes trained on the ground in front of you and the tracks you’re following, but you have to stay wary of what’s happening around you. You have to heighten your awareness of all things. Breaking branches, falling leaves, tumbling twigs, you have to know where they are and what caused them. Us warriors had done this kind of night tracking countless times on hunts and in combat, and though we excelled at it, it was slow, tedious work, especially alone. I got lucky that night, as there were few clouds and a bright moon, but I was still in a wooded area when I first began following the tracks, and the moonlight was often smothered by the brush. As I followed the tracks through those hills, I could hear the animals scamper away at my approach. I caught sight of small herds of deer in the dark, my first instinct always telling me to swing my rifle off my back, raise it to my shoulder, get some sustenance. But I never did. Of course I had food in my pack, but I sure as shit didn’t want to give away my position to anyone else out there that night, members of the Pack or others. I kept my eyes on the tracks. They were my lifeline. I’d follow them back to the camp if need be when I found them. Not if I found them, when.
Thanks for reading and here’s a book I just started: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
This week, I mostly wrote new content, some of which is below in it’s raw, unedited form. Aside from that, I planned and mapped out a slightly different story arc than what I had originally created. This was because in my last conference with my editor, we figured out that some of the plot points and their relationships to specific characters just didn’t really mesh. So, I created a different chain of events and even deleted a character or two and created a new, and hopefully better, storyline. More on that another time though. Instead, here’s some of this past week’s work: Continue reading
This week has mainly been about getting back into the swing of things after my record-long, 25 day, spring break. However, I did get a little writing and a good bit of editing done. Here’s a short excerpt of my work from this week:++ Continue reading
This past week has consisted mostly of editing with some small spurts of writing new content here and there. Since my edits aren’t terribly interesting and I have no shocking ideas or concepts to share with all of you, I’ve decided to include an excerpt of my writing. This excerpt is mostly all dialogue and takes place during a meeting of my group’s leaders. Here it is:
I was still smarting from Gormly’s words. I stared down at the table. How could a cook tell me, a warrior, how the mission should have been handled? Sure, he had some years on me, but age couldn’t teach him what we warriors had learned firsthand. The rest of Thane’s team, brothers and sisters I sent with him, were still out there, and Gormly would dare second-guess my decisions? I didn’t know where they were. I had to know where they were. But I couldn’t do that while arguing with Gormly.
I looked up. “Yeah, I’m good. Sorry,” I said. My apology was noted by a dismissive wave of Bazgal’s hand.
Sharpe looked around and said, “Anybody have any more thoughts?”
Silence abounded for a couple of moments, then Alfred spoke up, “Do we know when we’ll be able to question Thane?”
Bazgal and Sharpe both looked to Junger, representing the healers. Junger was a middle-aged, bald, and grey bearded man whose body abounded with sinewy muscle. He seldom spoke when not amongst healers. He looked around, then to Bazgal and Sharpe, and said, “Well, he’s not in good shape. That much we all know. We’re doing the best we can, but the damage from the blood loss alone is huge, not to mention the fact that he lost an eye and will lose a hand. I’d say it’ll be a couple of days at the very least until we’ve finished up our work. After that, I’d give him a couple more days before we can question him. He’ll be very weak.”
Bazgal and Sharpe both nodded solemnly.
“A couple of days? If my warriors aren’t already dead, then they’ll be dead by then! We need to talk to him before that!” I couldn’t believe Junger’s lack of concern for his brothers and sisters.
“Or maybe your warriors will find their way back to us by the time Thane is ready,” Fara said.
“And if we try anything with Thane earlier, we run the risk of making him far worse and not getting any answers anyway,” Said Junger.
I was having none of it. “If it’s his life against the lives of my warriors, I’ll take that risk! Since when were we afraid to—“
“This is the last time I warn you, Carter,” said Bazgal. “You aren’t an Alpha and you won’t tell others of the same rank as you what needs to be done. Hold your peace or leave us and we’ll find a different warrior to advise us.”
“Alright, alright, fine. Let’s just figure this out.” I didn’t want to risk being left out of any decision that was to be made. Those were my warriors out there, and I needed to know how the Alphas planned on finding them.
“Let’s get back to it,” said Bazgal, looking around the table. “We know Thane’s in no position to give us any answers right now. We know that there’s a threat out there, and we don’t know what it is.”
“The Scout’s Vanguard is also extremely vulnerable right now,” said Shane.
“I’d say we call the Scout’s Vanguard back to our position,” Sharpe said.
Gormly looked around confusedly and asked, “And why would we do that?”
“Until we can really understand what did that to Thane and made Carter’s warriors disappear, we need to regroup and be on the defensive. If Carter’s warriors don’t come in anytime soon and Thane isn’t ready to talk by the day after tomorrow, then we’ll gather our things and head out.”
“I think that sounds like the best option at the moment. There’s still a lot we don’t know,” Said Bazgal.
“But why not use the Scout’s Vanguard to find out what the threat is? They’re already out there. They should do what they’re made for,” Said Gormly.
I hope you enjoyed my most recent work at least a little bit! I just started reading a new book, In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson. Larson is a masterful storyteller who makes nonfiction material seem like a good thriller. I try to emulate his storytelling capability in my own writing.
Over this Thanksgiving vacation, I was able to find some time to work on my short writing. Although this writing is not a condensed historical account that covers every aspect of the communist society in China, it unfolds a unique perspective on viewing the history. Given the free time I had during break, I finished most of the writing. In this upcoming weekend, I plan to wrap up this short story, enrich its content and polish its language. As soon as this writing is finished, I will quickly start my study on Eastern European literature because I want to finish reading one more book for my project before this semester ends. In this blog post, I would like to share more about my writing process and talk about the challenges I have met.
Perhaps I haven’t gotten as much done this semester as I had originally wanted to, but now I realize, that little problem may not be as bad as I thought it was. I set out to discover my own skills and behaviors as a creative writer and then, with the knowledge of my habits in mind, be better prepared for the second semester (during which I’ll continue writing). I’m glad to say that I actually have figured out exactly what I needed to figure out. Now that I know my own capabilities, I’m prepared to be much more productive as we journey into the final half of our school year.
One thing that I figured out about halfway through this semester was how I create before I write. I keep a little black notebook in my backpack that serves as the encyclopedia of all the thoughts I’ve ever had about my story. Some of these thoughts have become realities on paper, while others were never added at all (crossed out or erased due to impracticality or maybe just because I changed my mind), and some have yet to be added to the story at all. This notebook has been my greatest and most valuable resource this fall, because whenever I’ve been pressed for time to work on my story, I can always refer back to what I’ve written previously in the notebook to point me in the right direction.
This is not only because of the wide array of random thoughts on my story that I’ve scrawled on the pages of the little black book but also because before I write even one page of new material, I map out the next five or so pages worth of story material in the notebook. From there, I also use the notebook to double check where these pages fit in the grand scheme of my story. Do they develop the plot in an interesting way or are they superfluous? Are the plot points action or conversation based? Once I’ve answered these questions, as well as some others, in my notebook, then I proceed with actually writing the material, which, it turns out, is quite easy when you know what you want to do with that exact page.
Anyway, I was just trying to give you a glimpse into another, and arguably the most important, part of my process. It’s where the true creation is. Thoughts flow directly from my head to paper when I use the notebook, which acting as a sort of filter, lets me keep writing new material into my story. It’s the create in creative writing that really allows me to enjoy myself and take the essence of my story further than I originally thought possible. Creative writing allows us to take a little something of our own souls and push it out into the greater world, sometimes in ways others might not understand at first, but still in ways that feel liberating for us. A writer for The New Yorker wrote a fictional piece on creative writing that expressed the power of the craft. It is called (aptly) Creative Writing.