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Tag Archive | inspiration

No more boring sentences

write well, fiction, how to write, writer

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like we, as writers, do get so wrapped up in the actions, thoughts and relationships of our characters that we completely forget to dress it up. Sentences get so long-winded in action and thought that any descriptive narrative is just left in the dust. With this tutorial, we will remedy that. Hopefully.

You may ask: What am I to do? And I shall tell you: You just need to start small, using basic descriptive words and work up to more complicated and sophisticated sentence structures.

  • Let’s start with a plain, basic sentence.

Ollie sat underneath the tree.

  • Let’s replace Ollie with a pronoun and give the tree a species.

boy sat underneath the willow tree.

  • Ask yourself this. How old is the boy? Is he very young? Or is he more of a teen? Is the tree dying? Is it a young tree? Use words like “young” or “lively” to give your character (or any other living things in the scene) an age group and a starting point to visualizing your character for the reader. We’re just going to call the boy “young” for right now.

young boy sat underneath the willow tree.

  • Now we need some sort of action the boy (or the tree) could be doing. just sitting isn’t going to cut it. when adding more action to a sentence, it would range anywhere from a single word to an entire phrase. just make sure that when you add the action that it moves with the rest of the sentence in a coherent fashion and that there is proper punctuation to accommodate it. for our little example sentence, we’re going to add a phrase.

A young boy sat underneath the willow tree, watching a breeze.

  • “Watching the breeze” sounded all nice and fluffy when we first put it, but after we’ve read it a few times it sounds sort sort of ridiculous. One can’t literally watch a breeze, right? Here we can just add an action for the breeze to be doing simultaneously with the action of the boy. The boy doesn’t even have to have any awareness of what the breeze is doing at all. So, we will just change a few words around and add something for the breeze to do.

A young boy sat underneath the willow tree, as a breeze flitted through the bulrushes.

  • Now that you are starting to get the hand of this, we can just skip a bunch of the steps and get to the end part, where we have a lovely and descriptive sentence worthy of opening your post. Below, as you can see, we added a few more choice words, replaced some things and moved some phrases around.

As a gentle breeze flitted through the bulrushes, a young boy sat contemplating underneath the ancient willow tree.

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5 Weird Things About Writing That Actually Work

by KAMAL SUCHARAN BURRI

 Being a filmmaker and writer, I’ve discovered some ridiculous but enlightening tips that increase the potential of a writer. I was totally astonished by the fact that they worked for me.

1. Use a notepad for drafting, rather than a notebooknotebook

I’ve just noticed this a few days back. I have the habit of writing scripts in notebooks and sometimes in separate pages. One day I went to the bookshop and accidentally purchased the “NOTEPAD”, the one where you flip off pages vertically. I started writing on it; to my bewilderment the writing flow of mine was awesome. It might be due to fewer distractions from the previous page as I obviously flip off to the new page every time. I don’t know why, but trust me, it works. Read More…

15 Famous Books Inspired by Dreams

One does not have to persistently study the literary canon in order to discover compelling narratives and characters. Turning inward and paying close attention to dreams and nightmares makes for an excellent way for aspirant writers to pull themselves out of creative ruts or get started on a new literary piece. Even before Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung wrote their seminal works on dream and archetype interpretation, some of the most famous and influential people (not just authors, playwrights and poets!) sought inspiration in the dreaming world. The following famous books contain elements inspired either by specific subconscious visuals or the bizarre, convoluted way in which they meander through the mind and senses.

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The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

From Stephenie Meyer’s dreams of a sparkly vampire talking to a puny human woman came the media juggernaut about sparkly vampires and the puny human women who love them. She has yet to mention whether or not the series’ glorification of emotional abuse also came from her nocturnal adventures.

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Much of H.P. Lovecraft’s Works

It probably comes as little shock to anyone even tangentially familiar with the work of horror master H.P. Lovecraft that the man pulled his inspiration from the vivid nightmares he suffered most nights. Any novel or short story featuring the Great Old Ones especially drew from the more twisted corners of his subconscious.

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Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Though no definitive answers exist regarding whether or not John Bunyan launched the classic Pilgrim’s Progress because of his dreams, he certainly pulled plenty of inspiration from their structure. So while nobody knows for certain, the fact that he so diligently paid attention to how they operated in order to pen his unearthly prose still earns him a place on this list.

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

As with most of H.P. Lovecraft’s terrifying tales, this horror classic also sprang into existence because of its writer’s graphic nightmares. In this case, a “fine bogey tale” tormenting him as he slept grew into one of the most famous and genuinely scary English-language novels ever penned — most especially considering its all-too-human antagonist and protagonist.

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Misery by Stephen King

Another visceral, memorable novel revolving around humanity’s ugliest tendencies unsurprisingly popped straight from respected author Stephen King’s sleeping life. While dozing off on a flight to London, he found inspiration in a chilling nightmare about a crazed woman killing and mutilating a favorite writer and binding a book in his skin. The final product, of course, came out just a little bit different.

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Following the death of her and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s daughter at only 12 days old, the heartbroken Mary Wollstonecroft Godwin dreamt of the child coming back to life after massaging her near a fire. She wrote of it in the collaborative journal she kept with her poet lover (later husband), and most literary critics believe it later grew into one of the most iconic, influential horror novels of all time.

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Stuart Little by E.B. White

One of the most memorable and beloved characters from children’s literature sauntered into E.B. White’s subconscious in the 1920s, though he didn’t transition from notes to novel until over two decades later. From there, the tiny boy with the face and fur of a mouse became a classic that continues to delight both adults and kids even today.

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Much of Edgar Allan Poe’s Works

Though separating fact from fiction when it comes to Edgar Allan Poe’s internal life remains a difficult task, most literary critics believe his legendary, hallucinatory poems and short stories stemmed from troubled nightmares. Considering how frequently dreams and dreamlike imagery and structure crop up in his oeuvre, it’s a more than safe assumption.

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Part of the eponymous character’s personal arc stems from her highly detailed dreams, both asleep and diurnal slips in and out of consciousness. Though she may not have necessarily pulled inspiration from her own personal dreams, Charlotte Bronte wielded the common literary device of prophetic, subconscious visions, carefully aping their real-life hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness structure.

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Fantasia of the Unconscious by D.H. Lawrence

Really, most of D.H. Lawrence’s more lilting, dreamlike works such as Women in Love could qualify for inclusion here. However, Fantasia of the Unconscious so perfectly maps out such experiences and explains their importance and inspiration in such great detail it edges out any other competing works.

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Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac

Everything readers need to know about this novel comes straight from the title. Beat poster boy Jack Kerouac kept and published a book comprised entirely of his dreams, spanning from 1952 to 1960 and starring characters from many of his other works.

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Considering the heavy spiritual and philosophical core of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, it probably comes as little surprise that it initially sprung from Richard Bach’s daydreams of a drifting seabird. Interestingly enough, he could only finish the original draft following another series of subconscious visions!

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The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P by Reiko Matsuura

Though available in English and enjoying cult rather than mainstream attention, the novel of a woman who wakes up with a penis for a toe became a bestseller in its native Japan. Her incredibly original premise, meant to explore gender identity and relations, came to her through a most unusual dream she eventually adapted into a favored work of fiction.

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Twelve Stories and a Dream by H.G. Wells

“A Dream of Armageddon,” specifically, though some claim that many of H.G. Wells’ other classic science-fiction works likely sprouted partially from his dream life. As the title describes, this harrowing work speculates on the dangerous directions in which mankind’s technology could ultimately lead it.

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“Kubla Khan” from Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

One of the most famous examples of dream-inspired literature, the famous poem — printed in the book Christabel – wafted into Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s brain from a combination of sleep and opium. One of his most beloved works, he described it as a “fragment” rather than a whole, though most critics these days analyze it as the latter.

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Inspirational: The Great Dictator final scene

“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white.

We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there’s room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate – has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man – cries for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say: ‘Do not despair.’ The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate, only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural!

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St Luke, it is written the kingdom of God is within man not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful – to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security.

By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason – a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us unite!

Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hannah. The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world – a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed and their brutality. Look up, Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow – into the light of hope, into the future, the glorious future that belongs to you, to me, and to all of us. Look up, Hannah… look up!”

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