Random Scene 1

My stories run up and bite me in the leg. I respond by writing them down – everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.

– Ray Bradbury

So, I recently has a similar experience. I was sitting doing homework and I found myself thinking: what would a drunk vampire be like? And why would he be drinking? Is there a secret to the vampire society? Just like that, I found myself hearing a monologue given by just such a character in a dingy tavern full of lowlifes. So here is a little scene I developed as a result. Please understand before reading this scene that it works under the premise that by drinking alcohol vampires can reduce the need to drink blood. I know, not common folklore, but one of the pleasures of being a writer is creating a world with its own unique rules and this is exactly what I am doing. Thus, even though I have already posted for the week, I will give you this as well. Consider it a birthday present, or even better, a special Halloween present written specially for your pleasure.

He stumbled forward, half falling onto me, and I grimaced from the strong smell of wine on his breath. He was extremely misshapen, with crooked eyes and a permanent grimace affixed to his face. His unibrow and beard were uneven in many places, indicating his failed attempts to tame them, and his beer belly flopped out underneath his shirt. His clothes were mismatched, with holes and patches, and all were so dirty it was no longer possible to discern their original color. “What’s wrong?” he slurred. “Do I not look enough like a vampire to you?” He spread his arms and leaned back, losing his balance for a moment before straightening up again. “Silly chit. Did you expect all of us to be perfectly gorgeous, with sculpted muscles and hair that never falls out of place? We’re not all flowing aristocrats with flawless manners, you know. The vampires that go into public are specially chosen by our elders to put forth our persona on the people, to make them trust us. Most of us are a lot like me.” He burped. “We drink as much as possible to keep from going on a rampage and try to ignore the weight of the elder’s boot on our neck. If we had more money, we might even be able to dress ourselves properly.” He plucked at his clothes. “Unfortunately, the elders have determined that it is more important that our representatives are properly dressed and take all our money and offer us free booze instead, though nothing of fine quality. Just the basic stuff. Even so, it still gets you drunk quick enough.” He threw his head back and downed his entire flask, banging it on the table. “Oi! How about another round here, Vern?” He yelled over at the barkeep.

“That’s all well and good, sir, but that is not why we are here.” My companion interrupted. “We came to get information on what the elders are planning and our mutual friend told us that you are the vamp to go to, that you know everything there is to know about the vampire council and could even find a way to allow us to eavesdrop on them, if we brought this.” He pulled a flask of fine red wine from under his cloak and placed it on the table.

The vamp’s eyes grew large, but he feigned nonchalance. “Not if that’s all you’ve got. I’m not some common drunkard, you know. I need better payment if you want anything from me. It’ll take at least five casks of that fine liquor if you want my help.”

 

And that’s where I end it. What happens next, you ask? How about I let you decide? If the urge to finish this scene grips you, you are more than welcome to put your addition in the comments. Or, even better, how about some feedback? Is the idea of a drunk vampire feasible? If you were to change something about this scene, what would it be? I look forward to your response.

Fiction VS Non-fiction

I’ve always liked fiction more than non-fiction. There are so many more possibilities in fiction. Nothing has to be real because no one expects it to be. The main character of a story could be a beggar turned king, a high schooler who can fly, or a centaur blacksmith that starts a rebellion after his family is senselessly slaughtered. When people read fiction, they only expect to read a good story. Sure, that story can have life lessons hidden in there for the reader to discover, some of which were unintentional by the author, but that isn’t the point. Every fiction writer has a main goal: to be a storyteller, to relate unrealistic things to an avid audience, to make the impossible possible, and to entrance a mind into thinking beyond the social norm.

It’s not that readers and writers of fiction don’t like reality, it’s more that they, or rather, we have the potential to imagine different perspectives of reality. We are the people that, while walking down a street, are creating a fantastical world around ourselves from what we see, whether it is that every human has a bonded animal and that animal determines their social status, or that squirrels rule the world and we are all their slaves. Our minds do not see the limits that many other people constrain their imagination by.

We all have our own reasons for stretching our imagination past what is expected, but once it is done I don’t think it’s possible to go back. When your imagination has been freed of all constraints and is allowed to drift as it wills, there is nothing that can stop it. Very often, when walking to class or when I’m eating, I often find myself creating a world around me. I’ll imagine myself pulling water out of the ground and twisting it around my fingers or that I’m fighting a bounty hunter to keep him away from a hapless child. I don’t mean to, it’s just the natural state that my mind reflects back to when I’m not concentrating on anything in particular.

For all of these reasons, I find non-fiction very hard to write. I have to take my imagination, which is always looking outward at everything around me, and turn it inward upon my memories. I have to find a memory that will catch other’s attention and then dredge up half forgotten details to make it lifelike. Very often, I can’t help but fake a little bit. I’ll put in my imagination into what is supposed to be a real story because I don’t find the memory… satisfactory. It isn’t vivid enough. So I’ll add puddles that may or may not have been there or I’ll make the sky overcast even though I don’t remember what kind of day it was.

For me, non-fiction just doesn’t have the potential of fiction. When I write non-fiction, it’s always forced and I’m often unhappy with the final product. I’m trying to evoke the same emotional response that I felt in other people, and that seems impossible to me. After all, they don’t have the same background as me, nor do they know what built up to that moment. I can’t help but admire people who can manage to write non-fiction because their mind works in a way that I can’t quite fathom. Instead I can only lightly grasp the edges of the concept.

Dream’s Creation

I am surrounded by nothingness. I am a nameless entity in a sea of possibility. I reach out and snatch tendrils of thoughts and weave them together. After some examination, I am satisfied and release it to form however it wishes. It grows in leaps and bounds until I, who was once in control, am lead into a story of its own creation. I jump from character to character, scene to scene, finding no reason in any of it and not caring. Stories are unveiled before me as I am rushed along on the tide of thought and I find myself anticipating something, though I know not what it is. I know I’m close, so that my goal is almost tangible. If I had just a moment more, I could reach it.

But then the alarm clock wakes me. I don’t remember any specifics of the dream, knowing only that it was a good one. I feel satisfied, as if I have accomplished something in my slumber, but I also feel that I have forgotten something very important, something that never should have been forgotten. No worries, though. I’m sure that I will rediscover it tonight, when I once again build a new world for myself to experience.

Evolving My Story

It has recently occurred to me that there is a general perception of what authors do that is wrong, and this realization only occurred to me because I realized that I was at a standstill with my story. I had a general idea of what the world was like, a general plot, the prologue to introduce my world, an introduction of the main character and what was going on, heck, I even drew a map of my fantasy world. But as soon as I tried to send my heroine out on her adventure, I found myself… stuck. I knew where I wanted her to go, but what would it look like? How would the people act? Were people prejudiced against a certain race there? How would her travel companions act? As all of these thoughts ran through my head, I realized that I wasn’t ready yet. I had always assumed that authors had an idea for a story, figured out a general plot and then started writing, letting the story evolve as they wrote. I was wrong; there is so much more to do before what is imagined can be put onto paper.

Since I am creating a new world, I am creating cities and societies that do not exist. Therefore, I cannot send my heroine out with only a vague idea of what those cities are like and create them on the spot. If I want my story to be more than a hodge-podge of ideas shoddily placed together, I need to do more. Her companions right now are just people who travel with her and offer conversation only pertinent to the advancement of the novel: no comedy, no companionship, just… a basic character, like someone you see every day but don’t know their name or anything else about them besides the fact that they get coffee at 8:00 in the morning at the same place you do.

So, I’ve sadly placed the actual writing of the story aside and I’m in the process of creating a world: basically, playing God. I’m deciding who lives where, what the customs of each city are, and what the city will look like. I’m writing a history to help give myself an idea of how the present came to be. I’m creating a character analysis for every character I have planned to place in my story as well as a back story so that it doesn’t seem like they have simply sprung out of the earth at their current age, ready to go. My plot, which was previously general, (more of a random placement of thoughts written down as I thought of them) is becoming more focused.

It’s a lot more work than I thought it would be. When I first fantasized about writing a book, I simply imagined myself spending hours on end writing this story. I didn’t think planning it was necessary. I now realize how naive I was. What I am doing is time consuming and is making me look at everything in a new light. I am reinventing my novel, evolving it into a more complex book. That way, when I finally get back to writing my novel I can do it with confidence, knowing how people will react and what places will look like as if they are placed before me.

I Close My Eyes

This week has been full of many thoughts. I’ve been thinking about this post all week, really looking forward to it, and I’ve been planning what I would write about. Each day I came up with something new, something that I thought was an interesting topic to address. I think it’s now that I finally understand when I have heard people say that coming up with a topic is not the hard part. In the end, what took me so long to actually write this post was choosing which topic I wanted to write about. Ah, but I am blabbering on and holding you back to the real meat of the matter, which is the entire point of this post anyway. So, without further ado, I give you my topic.

Friday, my school had a percussion concert and while I listened to the sounds that caressed my ears, I started to think about music and how it fuels my imaginings. I love going to symphonies and orchestras for a couple of reasons, mainly in that the music is so… sonorous, so beautiful, that being able to just sit and be enveloped by it is a great privilege. Over time, what I’ve found to be the best way to absorb the melodies that swirl around me is to close my eyes. The musicians before me, after all, are not being played so that they can be watched, but rather so that they can be heard. And when I close my eyes, I find that I can’t help but to put a story to the music.

A sonorous beat will cause me to imagine the tromp of many soldiers as they file their way to the battlefield. A flute shows me a meadow blooming with spring flowers while pixies dance in the air. A violin, played quickly, exudes the sounds of a chase through the streets of a city as a thief desperately tries to escape his pursuers. I guess it is the writer in me. I cannot help but to create stories out of the smallest situations, and melodies beg to be created into a story.

I’ve started to take advantage of this when I am writing. I’ve created a youtube, as well as a pandora, playlist that plays orchestra and symphony music for me. Then, when I am having particular trouble coming up with a particular word, phrase, or even a scene (when I am writing for fun and not an assignment), I close my eyes and the music leads me to it. It is as if my mind has been taken in hand by my Muse and, as she flits before me just out of reach, she ends up leading me to exactly what I am looking for. Then, with a soft laugh and sparkling eyes, she shows me more that I could add on that I hadn’t seen previously, something so wonderful and genius that it leaves me amazed at the wonder of it all.

So, in a way, orchestra and symphony music has become a form of my Muse, who refuses to be defined by such a paltry, human definition. I don’t really mind, though. After all, aren’t musicians and composers trying to tell us a story, in their own way? Why else would they name their works after fathers and lovers, sadness and happiness? I think that, by taking their creation and allowing it to tell me a story, I am simply taking the words they could not find and putting them down on paper. What else can I do, but humbly follow my Muse?

The Greatest Praise

When I was little, my parents would read to me. Not such an unusual circumstance, I know. My mother read all of the classic books to me, specifically Dr. Seuss. She read to me fairly often in order to help get me to fall asleep at night. My father read to me as well, but it was a rare thing and a great treat for him to do so.

I don’t remember many of the books my father read to me save one: King Arthur. He had this old book with a worn cover and the ringed binding that books just aren’t made with anymore and, every once and a while, after much begging and pleading, he would read it to my brother and I. I remember not understanding all of it but that I knew enough words to get the gist of the story: the amazing adventure of Excalibur, Merlin, the round table, all of it. I loved it when my father would read to me because there was so much more for my young mind to feast upon.

Thinking about this makes me wonder what kind of books I will read to my children. Will I read them books beyond the usual children’s picture stories? Will I give their imaginations food to feast upon? My answer to that is, I hope so. I hope to read them books of daring adventure, impossible odds, and of good triumphing over evil. I even know what books I would like to read to them. I doubt that many of you know of the author David Eddings, but let me assure you that his books are full of adventure nearly the equivalent of that of King Arthur.

As a writer, I also have to look at this from another view. If/when I write a book, will it be the kind that people will read to their children? Will it have enough of a story, enough of an adventure, to be worthy of a child’s mind? I personally still crave stories of King Arthur and I find his story to be absolutely fascinating. After all, once a story is introduced to a child’s mind, it never fades but only has the potential to grow.

I want to write great books akin to that of not only David Eddings and whoever wrote in that tome about King Arthur that my father read to me, but also Tolkien or even Paolini. All of these great authors told adventure stories with twists, hidden depths, and the ultimate triumph of good, but at no point is the reader able to discern what will happen next. That is what every writer aspires to do: to have their story be unpredictable and worthy to be placed alongside great authors.

When I sit down to write, I often have to stop thinking about this, though. It is too much pressure on me to hope for my story to be as great as theirs. Instead, I find myself relinquishing my mind to my imagination and letting all thoughts of any stories I have previously read flow out of me as if they have never existed. That way me greatest potential is released and the words that I place onto the paper are the best I can possible place.

I can only hope that, one day, a parent will sit their child down with my book and say, “This, my child, is a grand story. One full of adventure, triumph, happiness and sadness, laughter, and an epic struggle between good and evil.” And then, the greatest praise of all, will be when that child grows into an adult, picks up my book once more, and, upon reading it to their child, reminisces on memories long past. I think that will be the point when I feel that I have accomplished a great work, for I have created a story that has stayed with a person throughout the stages of their life.

Procrastination’s Progress

I procrastinate to the extreme. Very often I don’t get started on my homework until after 11 o’clock. Don’t get me wrong, I am a good student and I get all of my work done and turned in on time but if I can take some time right now to do something enjoyable, I will. It is a major fault of mine.

But I’m not the only one. Many other students, as well as those who are out of school, have the same problem. It’s not easy to focus in on something when there are so many distractions. For me, any distraction will do. The worst one of all, though, is my computer. In this little piece of technology there is an infinite number of possibilities, all of which are at my disposal with the click of a mouse (or, in my case, keypad). I find myself starting on facebook and ranging out to youtube, hulu, or just google to see if I can find something new with many stops back to facebook to play games or whatnot.

When I finally tear myself away from my computer (which takes a considerable amount of time), I have found myself to have a rather humorous habit. I will start to clean. Not on purpose, of course. I’ll go to pick up my textbook and notice something looks dirty and be completely sidetracked. I usually don’t realize it’s happened until I’ve already finished cleaning and I can’t remember what my original purpose was.

I have come up with all sorts of excuses for my friends and family for my procrastination over the years, but the one that seems to work best, and is the most truthful, is that I work best at night. I am a night owl to the extreme and when it’s completely dark outside and most people are contemplating sleep, that is when I am the most energized. I am more awake after 10 o’clock than any other time of day. As such, I find that it is easier, and better, for me to do my homework then. I can zip through a two page paper as if it is a paragraph at night, whereas during the day it would take me much longer because I would keep being distracted, mainly from lack of interest.

There is another thing that I’ve found out about myself recently that makes me feel much better about how lazy I can be. My dad just recently told me that it can be hard to get me going but once I focus on something and really get to work I am one of the best workers. This really floored me at first because that isn’t something I’ve ever heard someone say about me. On reflection, though, I have to agree. Once something really grabs my attention and I want to get it done, there isn’t anything that really stops me. And I have to say, I am rather proud of that. It may be a contradiction to be lazy and a hard worker, but that is exactly what I am, and what we all are. After all, aren’t we all contradictions in one way or another?