Want to be a good writer? Read this journal.http://gapingvoid.com/2012/05/29/bacon/
Read that article. I think Hugh (a major, MAJOR influence of mine) put the words in my mouth that I have been unable to find:
Where people are soooooooo fixated on the desired RESULT, that they have lost all genuine, intellectual interest in the actual STEPS that will actually get them there. Even if it's precisely BECAUSE you're interested in the steps, in the PROCESS, is what allows you to get any kind of result in the first place. These people are hard to work with. Because they can't see anything but the mythological result they're chasing. Even if, yes, the result doesn't actually exist yet.
I see a LOT in the lit community, especially in the forums (and sometimes in the chats), a lot of new writers who are obsessed with their stories. So obsessed with what could be that they are afraid to take, like he
is it in the air? the water? your butt?i'm pissed. i'm about to go HAM on you all so get ready or get out. you're warned.
no one is "listening" to anything anyone is saying (not just to me but to my sisters and brothers around here). there are so many people missing the point in the lit forum threads right now i think folks need to get a CT-scan to make sure their brain is still up in their head. what the hell is going on.
i say something, someone takes it totally sideways and looks for things i'm not saying. same with my other homies over there. too much butthurt, too much projection, too much defense, and all from people who are simply not ready for the bright lights.
look, motherfuckers -- shut up for a second and "listen" to the words that are being said. stop looking for a way to be offended by it. stop being mad because the "wrong words" are being used. good LORD! i can't help what stupid-ass baggage you have and frankly, it's insulting and incredibly
i like this one + and new video“Screenwriting students and others often ignore or avoid a character’s most potent, familiar and confronting potentialities, which are always those parts of themselves that they want to push away or rationalize into an explanation that keeps the emotion at bay. They fear the shadows they carry inside themselves, their own anxieties and vulnerabilities. They dance around them, employing seemingly endless sleights-of-hand in order to distract their audience, hoping that an approximate facsimile will suffice - superstition in place of truth - and that the audience will comply, accepting the counterfeit instead of the genuine article. They ‘direct’ the film in their heads as they are writing it, so that they can SEE (and understand) what they mean, what they are wanting to show, without ever having to mean it, or show it in what they write. There is no confession, only an imitation of an imitation. It is the most natural of unnatural behaviors in which the human bei
Workshopping with Rasp: Part 1 of 3Here it is, as promised. Keep in mind that even though I do not have formal training as a writer, these are the things I keep in mind when writing my characters. I have had varying levels of success here at dA and you are free to use my ideas or not. I'm not claiming to know it all, the below is not gospel and it's not guaranteed. But you never know.
Comments are appreciated, haters are welcome.
How to Create Compelling Characters
I can't speak for everyone but I read for compelling characters. If the characters really move me, the plot can be as thin as it wants; though it's not always easy to have characters carry the whole thing if nothing is happening.
Where do we find compelling characters? In books, of course, but they're obviously not confined to books. Compelling characters in movies are just as important. Unless you're doing improv, plays and movie
Dialogue WorkshopI want this workshop to be somewhat different from other workshops -- I'm going to break this down into two categories: technical elements and personal advice.
And I hate to say this, but the following information in this workshop only works if applied. Osmosis and good intentions do not work. Sorry.
PRE-EMPTIVE TLDR NUTSHELL
To write effective dialogue, there has to be a basic understanding of what communication is. Wikipedia sums it up nicely: the meaningful exchange of information between two or more people. It's easy but not at the same time.
This has to do with actual concepts for crafting effective dialogue. For the most part, I had to research the details but you'll be able to pick out what I added on my own. You know how I get and if you don't, you soon will. No apologies for that.
Links to the websites I used will follow.
Some of the worst advice I've seen and that I'm s
Workshopping with Rasp: Part 2 of 3In the first part of this workshop, I talked about how to create compelling characters. This part will be about what drives them and how to royally ruin their day so you can entertain your readers. compelling characters are useless without a story. This is where motivation and conflict come in.
What is it? A state of being that exists when needs or wants are not being fulfilled and the desire to have those needs or wants satisfied.
On a basic level, humans have needs. I hope we are familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs because that is what I'm about to draw from. If not, here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs . On the bottom rung, we have physiological needs that must be met for basic survival: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, h
Workshopping with Rasp: Part 3 of 3Congratulations for sticking with me so far if you're reading this, you're pretty awesome. Thanks for your attention. I hope the first and second parts were of benefit to you; this third part is where you tie it all together.
Part 1: Creating Compelling Characters http://raspil.deviantart.com/journal/Workshopping-with-Rasp-Part-1-of-3-306397871
Part 2: Motivation and Conflict http://raspil.deviantart.com/journal/Workshopping-with-Rasp-Part-2-of-3-308633192
The following is something I have shared with only a few deviants here at this site who wanted help on plotting out their stories. I used to be hesitant about sharing it with more than the few I sent it to but you know what - any bit of help we can give each other is worth it in the end. Other folks have been generous enough to share their secrets, I should return the favor.
This sheet, the Plot Arc for Short Stories, is a original creation of mine
Super Duper Happy Anniversary DD-Fest!Hi. I'm Raspil and I run ScreamPrompts, a prose-only prompt group at dA. Today is the second anniversary of my little group being in existence and I believe I've had a pretty successful run thus far. It's easy to overlook the lit here at dA as taking too long to read or no good but I wanted to showcase the writers who have been awarded Daily Deviations since the group has been live. In the past two years, 14 people have earned 17 DDs! I think that is fantastic.
A special shout-out goes to Alizabith with her stunning three DDs. I personally was awarded two but didn't link them here because that might have been construed as tacky. This is about my members, not about me.
Anyway, some of these you may have seen, some you may have missed. Give my lovely, talented members another bit of love. They deserve it, I don't pull any punches with the prompts I give them and I am proud of ever
The World's Greatest ActorThe World’s Greatest Actor, now a father, prepared lunch for his three children. Humming to himself happily, he slathered pieces of bread with peanut butter and jelly. He put them each into individual plastic containers, then the containers into brightly coloured cloth bags along with plums and juice boxes. He wanted to make sure they ate healthy but enjoyed what they ate. He was rewarded with their smiles when his three children came running in. An elder girl in grade two, followed by a twin boy and girl who were in kindergarten, greeted him. He said good morning and picked them all up in a bear hug, kissing them each on the forehead. They laughed and ran to eat their breakfasts, cereal which he had poured for them. When they were done, he followed them up the stairs to make sure each one of them brushed their teeth, washed their hands, and picked up their school bags. He watched them shove their carefully packed lunches into their bags and run out the front door. He stood with
You can't have it allbut you can have the glazed heat bursting from the blacktop like a broken
fire hydrant. You can have the jangle of keys
swinging from your hip with each stride.
You can have the tactility of leather and the graze of
bathroom mosaic tiles under a cold shower pelting
bullets and when the water cuts off
you can have dry book pages. You can have happiness,
though it will often be bitter, like finding a stranger’s
wallet full of pictures of smiling children until you
return it to find that the couple is barren.
You can have the scratches on the back of his knuckles,
faded, yet raw. You can have the translucency of sheets
in the sun, silhouettes but no details,
never revealing anything more than a fringe of hair
and frayed laces tripping over themselves.
You can drop obscenities like bombs until
they don’t mean anything anymore. You can pull out the Monopoly board
that broke your family. You can’t put it back together,
but you can pretend the thimble is your mother and the
It Had To Be FrogsSunday, October 13th, 2013. Helwan's Circle. It rained frogs.
Of course, it had to be frogs. Serena stepped over them as best she could, but they were everywhere. It wasn't the kind of thing you expected to see in smallish town America. One or two, maybe. Any more than that and you're wading into witch burning territory.
Serena really didn't want to wade into witch burning territory.
“What seems to be the problem?” Serena asked, “Aside from the frogs.”
Mrs. Caprica wrung her hands---Serena had never actually seen anyone do that. Truth be told, she'd rather not see it again. The woman had probably been wound too tightly even before any of this happened.
“We just wanted a baby,” she said.
“And you tried to invoke...”
“Heqet,” she said, “She's Egyptian. Ancient Egyptian, I mean.”
“I know who she is,” Serena said, as gently as she could. The frogs were staring a little too intently.
“I followed the bo
Fragile--FFM Day 7Lindsey Stirling blared from my ear buds and I bobbed my head, furrowing my brow. My hand was shoved deep into my purse, searching for my keys. Instead, I found receipts from the Stone Age, a collection of seashells from last year's vacation, and enough pepper spray to blind at least twenty bears.
Frustrated, I dumped my portable landfill on the welcome mat; lipstick tubes and loose change bounced across the wood and disappeared, lost beneath the porch. Spreading objects out with my hands, I sighed. No keys. "Damn it all to Hell and back ag--"
Glancing up, the box near my door caught my eye. Wrapped with neon-colored paper, a large skull-and-crossbones bow held a handwritten "FRAGILE" note in place. The colors were garish, clashing with the ivory siding.
Wrinkling my nose, I pulled the package toward me, keys forgotten. The paper was slick, slipping against the pads of my fingertips like silk. Examining the box, I flipped the "FRAGILE" note over--and gasped.
Yanking the ear
Eat The Sun"Mama, can you eat the sun?" eight-year-old Hunter said in between his sloppy chewing of his sugary, morning breakfast cereal.
His mother, a tired woman with heavy, dark circles under her eyes, sighed and gave a tired and sad smile.
"Of course not, Hunter. That's impossible. It's so far away, honey." she tried to reason.
"And it would be really hot, wouldn't it?" he spat out bits of half-chewed cereal.
"Yes. Something so far away has to be really hot to keep us warm."
Hunter nodded. It made perfect sense, but that didn't stop him from being curious to the sun's taste.
"I bet it'll taste like soup fresh off the stove when I don't blow it cold." he tried to explain as his mother cleared the kitchen table of their breakfast.
"I don't know, baby. I never tried to eat the sun. When you get home maybe we can bake some sun cookies and you can eat those." his mother yawned. "Grandma will help."
Hunter grinned. He was happy that his mother was finally back to normal. Days of crying and sleeping
CarmenI met Carmen the day someone set the gym on fire. I’d known who she was before then—I’d heard the whispers of the tricks she pulled, and I’d seen her saunter up and down the clinic halls with a wicked glint in her eyes—but it wasn’t until I watched her drop an empty matchbox into a trashcan outside the smoldering gym that she let me into her incredible world.
“Mon dieu! I thought you were the nurse ready to bust me again!” she exclaimed. Then she took a moment to look me over. “Wait, I know you. Your name is Emma and you take your meds daily like a model patient. I am Carmen, by the way. Don’t believe the things you hear about me.” She smiled as though we shared a secret.
Carmen was one of those people who had an almost electric energy to her, a mixture of audacity and charm that attracted people like moths to a light. She’d barely introduced herself and I found her fascinating.
“Let’s not waste
Man Sold SeparatelyIt was one of those houses dropped on the corner of the street, squeezed so tightly by the ones on either side that it was hardly noticeable. It was one of those houses where the hot water never ran out in the winter and the air conditioner never broke down in the summer. All of the neighbours in the similarly shaped houses, although never perfectly identical, shared gossip and brought over casseroles and generally pretended to like each other until the door closed and the lock clicked and their sincere thoughts on the daughter’s new husband came to light. It was a neighbourhood with the level of superficiality one could usually find in the suburbs.
I was drawn right in.
There was something about the idea of having a comfortable little life, a quiet life where I would often be alone and always lonely, that somehow appealed to me. It’s easy to be lonely; all you do is turn on the TV or open a good book and it goes away. I could never sit around feeling sorry for myself in a
Like Only the Stars are WatchingMr. Glenn’s wife died the day before last. Of course, now all their children could talk about was what she would have wanted.
“She would want a proper burial,” Gary, the eldest, said.
“In the cemetery at Memorial Park,” Martin said.
Gary shook his head. “Much too crowded there. She wouldn’t want to knock elbows with anyone. She would prefer be buried in the Green Meadows Cemetery.”
“No,” Lisa Marie said, slapping her hand against Mr. Glenn’s antique table. “She wouldn’t want a grave. If she was here, she’d tell us to cremate her and spread her ashes across the farm.”
“I don’t think she liked this farm as much as you think,” Kurt said. “We should take the boat and spread her ashes out at sea. She would like that better.”
Lisa Marie huffed and crossed her arms. “Mom told me everything, and I can promise you that what she would want is to be here, on the farm.
He Comes with the RainRain slides down Yesteryear Antiques' cheap stained-glass windows in lazy swirls and spirals. Tracking a drop with narrowed green eyes, Shay wrinkles her nose and steps around a haphazard stack of Life magazines. A sheaf of her thick auburn hair falls across the right half of her face. Pulling a hair tie from her wrist, she scoops the locks into a messy bun. The lights flicker, thunder rumbling. Shay glances again at the rain's path on the windows. Turning to a set of dresser drawers, she rifles through pens, paper clips, and crayola markers. A wad of teal tissue paper crinkles under her fingers and Shay pulls it from the drawer, unwrapping its contents. A pair of hand-carved bamboo chopsticks, topped with snarling dragons, roll onto her palm. She pokes them through her bun before diving back into the drawer.
"I could have sworn there was a--" A flashlight skips across the debris and Shay snatches it up. Grinning, she clicks the button. Clicks it again. Frustrated, her grin fading, she
Beginning We EndHim, in the very beginning:
He is eighteen when he gets his death sentence. Unlike most death sentences, this one isn't going to send him to the guillotine or maybe the noose. Instead, it's handed to him by a doctor with very clean hands in a stark white room probably very similar to the one he'll end up dying in. And it's not the type of death sentence carried out by an impassive executor. He's essentially going to kill himself. He is dying from the inside out.
He mumbles something at the doctor, and suddenly he is on the street, a white piece of paper fisted and crumped in his hands. He's grateful it has the prescription written on it in sloppy medical scrawl, because he sure as hell can't recall half or more of the conversation he just had. All that's left are words like, "terminal" and "life-expectancy" and "5-10 years". He kicks viciously at the curb, wonders how the world can be ending on a day when the sky is blue and the clouds are full and the air is sweet.
The sun plants taun
Dear Wartime WidowDear Wartime Widow;
You don't know me. Well, you do; I was your neighbour, we lived beside each other for two years and I watched your huskies while you were on duty in Afghanistan. I spoke with your husband daily and gave treats through the fence and cried a little when I woke up one morning and saw your eldest dog had passed away, the others huddled close to it as if to keep him warm. Your husband, he had the same name as my daughter and we chuckled whenever this not-so-strange occurrence came up in conversation and his hair was red like fire.
I used to watch him, a Goliath of a man, digging the garden in your backyard, rebuilding the fence line, laying down boards just underneath the surface of the earth to keep the dogs from digging in to our yard. I helped at midnight when somebody thought it was funny to launch fireworks in to your backyard at the dogs, I'd give you clippings of my climbing vines so you could plant them on your side of the fence and we could have a matching scree
AerosolIt has been a day and a half since the crash, and I have found a cabin. In some ways, this is a relief. I don’t know if I could face another night on the mountain without shelter. Outside, a fire does no good: the heat simply travels upwards. However, this place also raises some difficult questions. I estimate that I’ve put eight miles between myself and the crash site. I don’t know if this will be enough. It occurs to me that I don’t really know anything.
The survival manual recommends staying with the plane. It explains that this affords the best chance of rescue. It explains that the wreckage offers warmth and shade. It explains that seventy percent of pilots who stay are located within three days, while seventy percent of those who leave are never recovered. It does not explain what to do if the payload begins to leak.
Jenkins shouted after me as I ran, said it was our duty to defend the aircraft. I tried to warn him about the spur of wood protrudin
Flowers and RainA city full of flowers. A city full of rain.
I watch over it through the gap in the crumbling brickwork. There's a little girl wandering in the street below. God knows how she got there. I can't see properly through the scope of my rifle, but it looks like she's crying.
When I see her face I remember something I haven't remembered for years. I was her age when the evacuations happened. At least they started as evacuations. The word implies that everyone was following a plan, but it was just mass panic within a few hours. Still, we call those days the evacuations, because that was the word they gave us. That's the word my parents used.
I remember I held my mother's hand all the way through the crowds. I remember the way I slipped out of her grasp on a bridge full of violent people. I remember being jostled and crushed by the rabble as I searched for them. I remember the taste of my tears.
I brush my hair away from my eyes and watch her through my sights as she picks her way up the road.
Shallow WaterIt was just a little kiddie pool in the backyard, unlovely pink-and-yellow plastic under the hot summer sun. But on those nights when Mom came home from the swing shift tired and met Daddy sitting in the kitchen angry, it was Amy’s only sanctuary.
She wasn’t a sound sleeper. Her parents still talked about how it had taken her infant self six months to sleep more than two or three hours at a time. During the school year, when her life was full of classes and friends and sports, it was easier to drop off, but summer nights were always more difficult. They were hotter, for one thing, and the long, indolent, inactive days often left her feeling too tired to sleep.
But mostly, it was because her parents had their arguments at night, right when Mom got back from the station. Daddy would send Amy to bed -- or at least her room, to pretend to sleep -- hours before. Then he would wait, sitting at the kitchen table and facing the door like a judge, hands folded in front of him
He screamed at me, his goggly eyes opened like a frog’s. His voice was funny, it made me want to laugh - but he also looked scary, so I didn't. I stopped singing and stared at him. I wasn't sure if I had to close my mouth or not so I left it half open.
“No! No! No! That was not a mi sharp!”
I thought it would be good to close my mouth now. The man looked at Papa and pointed his tiny finger at me. He was all tiny, only his head was huge, with a funny mustache and the goggly eyes.
“Why did you bring this to me? Are you trying to mock me? You’re wasting my time!”
Papa was all red by now and not looking at me. I didn't know what was going on but I think Papa wanted to be away from the huge room with the piano.
“He was in the church choir” Papa stuttered. “The choir master told us he was very good – he has a very high voice – good technique -”
“Good technique? Good techniq
Missing GirlsMissing Girls
These snippets of girls, broadsheets, ballads,
a one paragraph whisper in a smudged newspaper
beneath an ad for a pizza, two for one.
But they are singular despite their raveled tangled names.
They are still awake, a litany of how young girls die.
Delia is gone, 14 years old, cinched and muzzled with rope,
two bullets. He was pardoned. She sleeps somewhere unknown.
Her bones whisper to the unknowns. At least Delia has a song.
Johnny Cash sang about her, the Man in Black.
Did they bury her in black, a thrift store school dress
with sweat stained underarms?
They tell Delia of truck stop stores gaudy with harsh beaten light,
racks of DVDs of Country’s greatest hits. A bus stop smelling of aged urine.
He promised he would leave his wife, girlfriend, so many words.
In a church bathroom. He had a kind face.
Grainy posters stapled to telephone poles, taped to smudged windows,
small store billboards cramped with fading pleas
amidst ads for babysitting, massage and guitar le
Brain WaspsBrain Wasps
I am on the verge of tears. Why is this so hard? I think furiously, twirling the cylinder of Chapstick around in my fingers. I shut my eyes tight and try again.
I reach out to set the Chapstick on the nightstand beside my bed, but seconds after I release the tube I have to grab it again. Wrong, the brain wasps tell me, you have to get it just right.
I briefly consider hurling the thing across the room, but I know that I’ll just have to get out of bed to pick it up again. I am trapped in my own compulsions.
I know it’s stupid, and that’s part of what’s bothering me so much. Why can’t I just put the Chapstick down? It’s a simple mindless task, but as I look at the clock it’s taken me a full five minutes. As soon as I put it down, I have this need to pick it back up again and move it, almost as if two pieces of a puzzle don’t fit quite right with each other and I have to try again. And again. And again. And again until i
I Dream of CeresA sci-fi pulp.
The Cerean Anthem blared out of the speakers of the cell’s viewplate. Trandon was awake beforehand, out of habit. He wore sonic-strength ear plugs just so he wouldn’t have to listen to that fucking song. They were proscribed items for that reason and he had paid out the nose to get them, but they were SO worth it. After the jingle came the news. This was worth watching solely because of the buxom newscaster (he had heard that the reporter in the women’s cells was a hunky dude, but he didn’t know for sure). She covered the usual shit; buy Cerean, work hard, brush your fucking teeth so you don’t cost the government a pair of dentures.
The work listings came on and he stopped looking at the woman’s chest and at the numbers that crawled up the side of the screen.
“Due to mishaps in the Level 23 dry-docks,” -people died- “the completion time for the freighter Chalmar Truntz is behind schedule. Ceres Astrowerks is