Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Writing Critiques

I'm not which is easier for people: having someone you know and like critique your story, or someone that is a total stranger.
With a friend or family member, you trust and respect them, and their opinion means more to you than a stranger's opinion does. The impact of their opinion can be both a blessing and curse. If they like it, it means more than if a stranger says they like it. If they dislike it, it means more than if a stranger says they dislike it.

The odd thing about writing is that you feel unconfident about one story, but you feel more confident about another. I'm not sure how dependable those feelings are, though.
For example, I write four hundred drafts of my manuscript and always feel that I need to edit and polish it more before it's good enough for anyone else to see it. Sometimes I pluck up my courage and send a draft to my friend through e-mail to read. Five seconds later, I decide I need to change several aspects of the story, rewrite things, edit things, etc. Then when I see my friend later, I tell her to forget the draft I sent her, because it's way different now.
On the other hand, there was a short story I wrote a while back that I felt fairly confident about. Someone I know read it, and said they didn't really enjoy it and that it had a poor ending. Now that I think about it, I realize that it is a rather crummy storyline. I feel that I didn't execute it very well, and I don't know where my mind was when I ended the story. Was I in a hurry to complete the story, or couldn't think of a good ending? Either way, the ending isn't very good, and isn't really an ending at all. Nothing really changes for the better or the worse.
Sometimes when I look back at things I wrote or drew a long time ago, it seems like I see it in the same way I saw it then, rather than bringing any sort of present-day opinion into it. Does anyone else have this issue?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Staple Remover

The stapler. A fantastic device which allows one to fasten papers together, attach a poster to the wall, and many other helpful tasks.
Then there's the staple remover. Many of these staple removers look quite similar to the regular staplers. But there is one difference between the stapler and the staple remover. The staple remover, it seems, has rather large, dangerous-looking fangs. It uses these powerful metal canines to take down its favorite prey: rogue staples. Properly tamed, the staple remover can be used by people to help them remove these stubborn staples.
Today, the staple remover is bred to come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Many people own these helpful and loyal creatures. So don't be intimidated by those big, sharp teeth; the staple remover is, in fact, your friend.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Night of the Jolly Ranchers

There is a night which some people would wish to forget. It was a night of games, of eating junk food, of childhood fun, of a birthday celebration. It was also a sleepless night, a contrasting mixture of the exhausted and hyper. Come closer, everyone, and I shall tell you the tale.
I was probably in first or second grade. I went to my friend's birthday party. One of my other friends had brought something wonderful to the party. It was a huge bag of Jolly Ranchers, an amazing hard candy in various fruit flavors. Throughout the night, I ate many of these marvelous sweets.
Then it came time for bed. Like kids always do at sleepovers, we stayed up a while longer, talking and giggling despite adults telling us to be quiet and go to sleep. But even after everyone finally became drowsy and begin to fall asleep, I remained wide awake. I wanted to keep talking. I wanted to play some more. I was full of energy; how could they be wanting to rest? I kept trying to wake them, wanting to stay up, not wanting the fun to end. They were annoyed, and wanted me to go away and let them sleep. Even when I finally gave up, I stayed up a while longer, unwilling, unable, to fall asleep.
Since that fateful night, my friend no longer brings enormous bags of candy to any sleepover or other such event that I'll be at. And everyone who was present at that sleepover is still haunted by nightmares of the infamous night of the Jolly Ranchers.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Characters

People often invent characters in their heads. Whether it's a writer creating a protagonist for their novel, whether it's a character in a reverie we create in our heads, whether it's a child giving their stuffed animal a personality, we create characters in our minds all the time.

But when you stop and think about it, what do these characters really represent? They are the friends or enemies in a made-up scenario about your life. They are the protagonists and antagonists in a fictional story of your creation. They are the imaginary friends of your childhood.

When you delve deeper into it, characters are really so much more. The terrible villain in your fantasy world represents something of your own mind. It represents traits you would not want to possess, someone you would not want to be. The hero of your story has traits you would like to have, in some ways is better than you are. Perhaps they are brave while you are cowardly, patient when you would be short-tempered.