Writing about creating good company

This is a passage I read today:

Most people read fiction not so much for plot as for company. In a good piece of fiction, you can meet someone and get to know her in-depth, or you can meet yourself, in disguise, and imaginatively live out and understand your passions. –Josip Novakovich

So, for a reader, characters are important. What about their importance for writers?

I’m struggling with a character in one of my stories. The plot needs to go one way, and he is going the other. How far would you let your character dictate your plot, and when would you rein him/her in?

Writing about Blood Splatter

Writing has taken off again.

Word count : 29th Jan – 500 words, 30th Jan – 600 words. Not very good, but not 0 or 100 either.

One of the first things that sent me writing was a dream I had last night (or should I say this morning?). I did a spate of free-writing. I do this from time to time, leave a notebook and pencil beside my bed for just such occasions.

I saw a strange mixture of my friends, some from kindergarten, some from school, college and my institute, some of my friends in Malaysia and Singapore. The ones from kindergarten were still small, and the ones from school had school uniforms on, it was a group of all ages, and we were on a picnic.

A picnic near an old rolling mansion, and we soon fell to exploring, all my friends broken into mixed groups, the children holding adult hands.

And then, a girl I was friends with in school and had not thought of in the longest time, came shrieking, “There’s blood, blood!”

We all shuffled together, children and adults, and went to the next room, where the wall was indeed covered in blood spatters, and pitted with holes, where the plaster had fallen off.

To me they looked like splashes of rusty old paint, but even though the splatters were dried, and looked old, there was that unmistakable, nauseating, sweet-salt smell of blood.

We all wanted out, but suddenly there was no door. No windows either. Only us, the rusted splatters on dusty, riddled, dirty walls—the child friends crying, the school friends in shock and the adult friends perplexed, trying to find their way out.

I woke up then, with the weirdest feeling of being cut, on my arms and legs, and all over my body. Though I could feel the cuts, the throbbing that usually sets in after a few seconds of painlessness, I could not see the cuts. I was pristine, whole, just the way I went to bed. No blood splatters anywhere either. No pitted walls.

I tried to get up and check myself in the mirror, and this is when I realized I was still asleep and only waking up now for real. No cuts, no blood, no strange group of friends old and new, no room painted in blood splatter. Just a dream. Well, a nightmare.

Wall, blood splatter, holes and nightmares

Writing about Hard Work

Writing does seem to have opened up yesterday, I managed 1300 words and counting, but it was laborious, hard work.

Someone I was talking to yesterday mentioned that I should include my blogging efforts within the said word count, but I disagree. When I said 1000 words a day, I meant fiction. If I can’t manage that, too bad, but I can’t possibly fill up the gap with all the stuff I write otherwise, my blogs, e-mails and so on.

It is a daily struggle, one I intend to win, irrespective of the cost. I have finally got a book I wanted as research material for one of my projects, so things should go better from here on out.

It is a gloomy, fuzzy day here in KL, and all the greenery surrounding my apartment looks dull and uninspiring. But it is sunnier inside my heart than it has been in a long time, and for that I’m thankful.

Writing about horror and self-loathing

As I’ve been moaning in the last few posts, I’m not getting much writing done.

Determined to reverse this situation, I sat my butt down this morning to write. But of course, I had to check out the mail and the news before I stared at the blank page. (ggggrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..)

I saw this piece , and it was not the incident that shocked me as much as my reaction: This would make a compelling story, was my first thought. Here were people who were committing suicides and killing their own children because they lost jobs, and here I was, mining for a story. Disgusting. For a moment, I really, really hated myself. And despite all the excuses I’m giving myself, (writers borrow from fact to write fiction, and other such crap), I can’t feel good about myself.

Hah. So much for a great start to a writing day. Maybe I can write all about self-loathing? See you all at the other end of 1000 words (hopefully) of utter crap (of this I’m sure)!

Sorry to be spreading negative energy guys, now for some mind calming exercises, and back to my notebook!

Writing Blahs and Writing

The writing blahs are here in force.

Word counts for the last few days:

20 Jan – 100

21 Jan – 500

22 Jan – 450

23 Jan -200

24 Jan – 100

25 Jan – 600

Not that anyone wants to know my word counts, I’m sure. But I need to put it up, because it shows to me how much work I need to put in to keep up my resolution of 1000 words a day. I’m hoping that flood will follow drought, and that I shall make up the numbers soon.

I know being obsessed with numbers seems like the wrong attitude, but at least in this way writing remains in my mind, and if I can get writing to be a daily habit (anything can be made into a habit, I’m convinced), I shall have a much easier time of it in the long run.

Writing a writing exercise

Darc was talking the other day about a lack of inspiration. When I face such times, I write. In an attempt to kick-start my writing after being unwell the last two days, I took recourse to writing exercises. They output is mostly crap, but I guess I need to let the crap come out first before I write anything meaningful.

Writing through the Blahs

Writing through the Blahs

Here’s the first exercise:

In the half sleep and half waking of the morning Martha wrote a page, a page full of dreams, of anxieties, of things she was supposed to do on that day, of people she had met while asleep, of the strange and awesome journeys she had taken. For Martha believed she was two people, one on the inside and one on the outside. Or possibly one person, with different lives. Her inner travel, her inner existence mattered to her just as much as her everyday one and though there was no chronology in the inner life, where one day from her future might as well have followed one day from her past, or the be a twisted representation of her existence or desires, Martha was unfazed. Because each world has its own rhythm, she told herself, has it not?

And she would let it spill out of her, letters, punctuations, words paragraphs, pages, without bothering to look back, afraid if she did it would stop, the gushing flow of words would stop, where would that leave her?

She wanted to hold on to a connection with the otherness, just as a newborn might be longing for the placental connection with its mother’ s womb, long to go back to its security for months. And subconsciously, even years. She knew somehow it was this inner world from which she had come that mattered, the outer world was merely its dream projection, and what sometimes came to her in dreams might indeed be the reality, and her everyday life full of work, of household chores, of petty bickerings, of fights with her husband, of the annoyances at her children, of her rage at other drivers while driving, might be someone dreaming. None of it had its own logic, merely the whims of a dreamer dreaming in another world.

And so she went about her life, asking her husband for things, telling her boss what she had done and warning her children what they should not do, at each occasion painfully aware that none of us were doing anything, that none of us were there at all, that we were each following what had been dreamt of in another world, by another entity, who was creating us as it slept and killing us as it slept, our world was its creation.

Writing about more word count

Yesterday, I did some writing at the workshop, (600 words), but none when I got back. Life got the better of me.

Today, through a splitting headache, I managed about 1500 words. My writing resolution is up in the air…I need to get some consistency here.

Time for bed, I really do no want my head in two pieces tomorrow….that is what it feels like right now.

(Word count: 1500 words)