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Writing When It Just Doesn't Work [Writer's Block] -- [E]

Lady Asphyxia

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[font=Verdana][size=1]Well, some of you might know [and some of you might not] that every year, the [url=http://www.rcsint.org/essay]Royal Commonwealth Society Essay Competition[/url] runs. It's a chance for students from all Commonwealth Countries to compete in a writing competition. It can be an essay or a story. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Anyway, I entered last year and managed to place 4th in my division, which meant I won a hundred pounds [or $240 dollars Australian]. I decided to enter again this year, and I finally finished [the deadline is tomorrow!] my essay. However, I had a [i]heck[/i] of a time. The version I'm submitting is the [i]sixth[/i] full change I made. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]So anyway, I decided to bring discussion and critiquing together, heh. First of all, talk to me about writer's block. Have you ever forced yourself to write through block? How do you deal with it? Does it often strike you? [/size][/font]


[left][font=Verdana][size=1]Secondly, I'll post the early copies -- which I wrote through writer's block --, for you guys to tell me your thoughts on them. After you tell me, I'll explain to you what I thought was wrong with it. [/size][/font][/left]

[left][font=Verdana][size=1]If you wish to do the same with your work [b][which must have been written when you had writer's block!][/b], please go ahead. [/size][/font][/left]


[left][b][font=Verdana][size=1]THE FIRST TRY[/size][/font][/b][/left]

[font=Verdana][size=1]One thing that never ceases to amaze me is my brother?s complete inability to walk and talk at the same time. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]This quirk of his may not seem like a big deal, but living in a small town like we do, it?s impossible to go anywhere without meeting someone we know. Meeting a person we know will always turn into chatting with [/size][/font]


[left][font=Verdana][b][size=1]THE SECOND TRY[/size][/b][/font][/left]

[font=Verdana][size=1]?Wow,? I say, ?the grass has grown.? [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]And it?s true. The grass surrounding the graves has shot up since the last time visited the cemetery. The recent rains have probably caused this massive growth. Out here in a small, but quickly growing, country community, it can be parched for months on end, and one slight shower will send the grass shooting up to knee length. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]I look around the burial ground, noting the new graves adorned with fresh flowers, the slightly older graves with plastic flowers, and then the oldest graves that have been there for longer than I can remember. The ground has moved in the fifty years (or more) that they?ve been there, and the cement and marble tombstones are cracking.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]For most people, the sight of a cemetery brings an automatic reaction in them. For some of them, the reaction is superstitious; they hold their breath until they?ve passed the graveyard. Some people ? usually the ones who have never lost someone they hold dear ? don?t react much at all. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][font=Verdana]I think perhaps I?m the third kind. I pass by a cemetery and remember the voices, smells, and memories of loved ones. How they looked, their mannerisms, and the type of person they were.[/font][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][font=Verdana]?Yeah. Probably the rain.? As if echoing my previous thoughts, my brother interrupts my musings. His feet stomp through the grass; we can never remember if stomping scares snakes away, or if it attracts them. I sincerely hope it?s the former. [/font][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][font=Verdana]The sun beats down on my neck and shoulders. I can feel it?s warmth on the top of my head, and my hair feels slightly scorched. If it gets any hotter, I expect my hair would burst into flames. [/font][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][font=Verdana]I?ve been coming to this cemetery at recent intervals since I was six. My father died unexpectedly in a car accident, and was buried in the town cemetery. At the time, it was the most convenient place to bury him; it was a short walk?s distance, as it was just around the corner. We?ve moved since then, and no one in my family would be crazy enough to try to walk here in this heat, so now we drive over here every birthday and father?s day. Sometimes we come at Christmas, but we never know how visiting the cemetery will make us feel. We might be happy to relive the memories, or we might be sad for what we?ve lost. At Christmas we try not to upset ourselves, so we aren?t often here then. We come on Boxing Day, though. [/font][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][font=Verdana]Mum and Mike reach Dad?s grave. We always bring water and beer. My father used to love beer, so it?s a kind of dedication to him that we pour some on his grave. Silly, perhaps, but it?s a tradition of a sort. [/font][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][font=Verdana]The water is for the plants. We planted them when Dad was put into the ground. There are three of them; two bottlebrushes and a gum tree. The bottlebrushes are green with red flowers sticking out. The flowers look slightly like an overly large toothbrush, which I suppose is where their name comes from. [/font][/size][/font]


[left][font=Verdana][size=1]I'll leave it there for now, because otherwise the post will be too long for people to want to read, heh.[/size][/font][/left]
[left][/font] [/left]
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Well, I often get struck with writer's block, but I don't try and force myself through it...usually, when I do, I get stuck with crap that I don't like lol. I've been known to shelve stories for months (even years in a couple of occasions) at a time, because I didn't know how I wanted to continue it and I didn't want to force anything out.

As for dealing with writer's block...I just let it go. Usually, all my inspiration comes from watching or hearing something (whether it be a TV show, a book or a song) and everything else just flows from there. With me, I start out with one little idea and the rest of it just develops into whatever it's going to be. Most of my writing is based on improvisation, because I almost never know what I'm going to be writing once I start. I may have one or two ideas in the back of my mind but I almost never have a clear picture of what's going to come out.

Of course, the downside to my writing style is that it can lead to [i]major[/i] writer's block. If I have no inspiration, I can't do a damn thing about it, basically lol. I just learn to deal with it, heh - my mind is always working on getting inspired by something else most of the time, anyway :p
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[quote name='Lady Asphyxia][font=Verdana][size=1]First of all, talk to me about writer's block. Have you ever forced yourself to write through block? How do you deal with it? Does it often strike you? [/size'][/font][/quote]

[size=1]I can't stand writer's block, which I'm sure is no surprise to anybody's ears. It doesn't seem to happen to me too incredibly often, but enough to make me want to strangle something. Usually, like you, something is due so I [i]have[/i] to force myself through it and continue to write. In those cases, I usually listen to music. If I'm writing an essay or a research paper for class, then it'll be classical music. Even if it doesn't actually stimulate the brain like everyone says it does, it kind of has a placebo effect of it's own and can sometimes get the gears turning. That, and it's calming. Usually when I find myself stuck behind the wall it's because I've stressed myself out to the point where my nerves are nonexistant and I can't think straight.

If I'm writing something fictional, then I'll try and play some music that fits the general mood of the story and hope I inspire myself that way. I try and think about what the point of the story will be, what sort of ideas I want to get across, how I want the reader to feel after he or she is done reading, etc etc. Although I don't always like planning things out, I always at least have a general theme in my mind. And that always helps during writer's block - since you don't have that divine sense of direction thing going, you'll just have to use a map instead.

[b]The First Try[/b]
Whenever you start off something making fun of your brother or family or friends in general in that good-natured way, it's always going to be funny. But more than that, it'll be easy as hell to relate to because it's something that [i]everybody[/i] does.

I can also easily see a person being continually stopped by neighbors and friends who want to talk. I may not live in a small town like that, but I know that whenever I walk my dog around the neighborhood, there's going to be at least one person out there who sees me and asks me about college.

That's about all I can say for that, since it's so short. :p

[b]The Second Try[/b]
Another good start. I especially like how the descriptions all flow into each other; it doesn't come off as choppy or broken and each thought presents a new idea without it being too much. We also have an idea as to why they're in the cemetary and what they're doing there and all that.

I really liked the different types of reactions you wrote about, as well, because that holds true for most people. I'd classify myself as the fourth type, I guess - somebody who likes to expore a cemetary for it's historical and emotional significance. I like to see how old some of the graves are, what people wrote on them, how well the graves are kept, as well as just the overall mysterious quality that's always present. It's like walking directly into the past or something.

The part about bringing the water and beer was nice, as well - it made the dad a real person, allowing us to imagine that he was once a living and breathing human with specific likes and dislikes (and an affinity for alcohol), instead of just another name on a tombstone.

All in all, it looks to be quite a lovely piece, as I'm sure the other four will be, as well. I don't have any real complaints about them, other than the fact that they aren't completed. :p But despite that, I love your writing style and I look forward to seeing more of it. And good luck with that essay competition![/size]
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[size=1][color=red] Shin and I seem to be writers of the same breed.

I often get inspiration from songs. Many--oh-so-many--of my poems came from songs. But it's not always like that.

I find that ideas for stories often hit me when I least expect it. . .and then I lose them. You know, I'll just be sitting and then wham! a story idea will hit me smack in the face, and I'll say to myself, "That sounds like a good story," and then I'll forget the idea. This has happened many times lately. I remember I was sitting at a computer in Journalism class, and an idea hit me, I could see it [i]lucidly[/i] in my mind, but now I can't even remember what this idea was, or what I was seeing in my mind's eye.

I find that a lot of my stories--the better ones--come from the combination of multiple ideas. Now, I'm a weird guy that likes weird stories (as is evident by many of my stories), and so, three ideas that are totally different and total other extrapolations of one another will sometimes form together (much like a simile does things) and become whatever they become.

Now, plot, I think, is one of the worst things to use while writing. Don't sit there and tell yourself, "I'm going to have Nancy try to kill herself with a noose, then a gun, then a knife, then a can opener, at the climax. And then I'm going to have her put in an asylum. And then I'm going to have her try to kill herself again in that asylum. And then I'm going to have her. . ."

Don't do it like that. Rather, improvise, and let [i]the character[/i] tell you what to do.

I'm kind of off subject. But anyway.

I don't get writer's block often, because when I don't write I don't classify it as writer's block, I just classify it as a lack of wanting to write. It's easy for me to write, and I don't think, in my place of writing, writer's block exists very often, if not at all.

I never come to a story thinking, "I have to make this story just [i]perfect[/i] in its first draft. I have to make sure my word choices are [i]perfect[/i], and I characterize my character [i]perfectly[/i], and I do it all so [i]perfect[/i]," and I honestly think this is where many writers get their "writer's block." They just don't think what they're writing down is coming down good enough at all, and so they stop, and they try to think around a way to make it work out, so their writing is so perfect.

Writing isn't about perfection. . .at least not in the first draft of something. The first draft is like making a road, a very dirty road full of many potholes, ruts, water puddles, and obstacles. The first draft gives you your way through a story, it gives you your rough vantage. And then you have to take it and make it even better, and sharpen what needs to be sharpened.

You know, when Stephen King was writing [i]Carrie[/i], he threw it away after the first few pages or so. He thought the writing was terrible on it. But his wife took it out of the garbage can and told him to keep going.

King didn't think what he was writing in [i]Carrie[/i] was good still. But he wrote it with his wife's enthusiasm and encouragement.

And of course, [i]Carrie[/i] was the book that propelled King to where he is now; if not for it, he might not be known at all, and may be working some humdrum job someplace. But instead, he kept going with something even though he didn't think it was perfect--even though he didn't think it was good--even though his instincts told him to stop.

I just think sometimes you have to say the hell with it, and just write to write, even if you don't want to. You can salvage [i]something[/i] from it. Just because you're telling yourself you have a writer's block doesn't mean you can't write. The question is will you? Anyone can write easily enough. Especially with practice.

Writing's a muscle. You have to work on it each day, and allow it to strengthen. You have to write even when you think you have writer's block, or whatever else excuse; because that's what writer's block is (most of the time)--it's an excuse.

There are geniune times where you're stuck in a story.

When Stephen King was writing [i]The Stand[/i], such a thing like that happened: he was geniunely stuck. He had written about half of his story--400-600 pages (somewhere in there). Now, [i]The Stand[/i] is an epic 1,000 page monster. It has so many characters in it that all they were looking to Stephen was like a tangled mess. He didn't know what he was going to do to keep his story going along.

He'd often go on walks to clear his mind. It was on one of those he got his answer to his writer's block.

Now, that's something of a geniune writer's block. But just because you have a geniune writer's block doesn't mean you can't write [i]something[/i]. This something you write may not be good, but that's just for you to know. You can press the DELETE key on your computer easily, can you not? You can also use an eraser easily as well, can't you?

So that's how I try to deal with writer's block. I write things even if they may be terrible.

Now, to your essay, shall we?

[quote] I can feel it?s warmth on the top of my head, and my hair feels slightly scorched. If it gets any hotter, I expect my hair would burst into flames. [/quote]

Its use of an apostrophe is incorrect, no?

The transition from your character's dialogue:

[quote]?Wow,? I say, ?the grass has grown.? [/quote]

And the brother's reply is way too out of nowhere in the narrative. Let me see what I can do.

[quote][b]My brother interrupts my thoughts.[/b] ?Yeah. Probably the rain.? [strike]As if echoing my previous thoughts, my brother interrupts my musings.[/strike] [b]He stomps his feet on the grass[/b][strike]; we can never remember if stomping scares snakes away, or if it attracts them. I sincerely hope it?s the former. [/strike] [b](What does scaring away snakes have to do with it? First narrate into it, then say he stomped his feet, then say he did it to scare the snakes. The way it is, I have no clue why he's stomping his feet to scare away the snakes. Tell why he's stomping his feet to scare the snakes? Until then, if you don't want to go off on this longer, just delete the sentence altogether. It's kind of beside the point of narrative at this point and gets in the way.[/b][/quote]

What you need to remember here is keep it simple. Avoid needless words and delete them. Kill your beauties. You don't need to use big words to look good at all. Just simple sentences are so much more effective for this piece, I think. Instead of, "As if echoing my previous thoughts, my brother interrupts my musings," just say, "My brother interrupts my thoughts." Thoughts is a better word here than musings I think. It's more concrete and just looks better [i]to me[/i].

I also like it better with the, "My brother interrupts my thoughts," coming first. And then him saying what he said. It just seems logical. . .first he'd interrupt your thoughts, then he'd talk. Putting what he said, and then, "He interrupted my thoughts," is sort of redundant. It's obvious he's getting in the way of what the character is thinking. I like it the way I made it, but you might want to consider just putting what he said, and then saying he stomped his feet, and keeping the part about interruption of thoughts out.

Otherwise, I think what you have here is pretty good. Although, to be brutally honest (which is the way I am), I don't care much at all for the story. It's too mundane and humdrum for me. But that's just me. I'm sure some other people will enjoy it; but I didn't enjoy it much. What can I say. I like weird stories, supernatural and things like that, and stories of murderers and how they think. . .and so on. Yeah.

Good luck on the essay, hope you win higher this year, eh?[/size][/color]
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[font=Verdana][size=1]I?m sorry Mitch, but I don?t agree with quite a lot of what you?ve said. With what you?ve stated here, your ideas about writing seem to be sort of...odd. I agree with very little of what you?ve said, quite honestly. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]First of all, I [i]do[/i] agree that some really good stories come a combination of things; one of my best stories only came about because of three things that happened simultaneously. That?s not really the same thing you were getting at, but it?s the same train of thought.[/size][/font]

[size=1][font=Verdana][i]However[/i], I think your ideas about plotting are quite frankly flawed. The story is about the plot. I mean, you can have the best descriptions on [i]earth[/i], but if nothing happens, people won?t finish it ? or if they do, they?ll leave the story feeling unhappy with it. Plotting in advance is not a bad thing to do, because then you?re never lacking in direction. You never have to plot everything, you just need to know where you want to go. In a longer story, you have ideas and scenes that you want to write ? that?s a form of plotting, and it also motivates you. It?s like keeping a cookie tucked under your belt so that when you get sick of the normal things, you write a scene you really want to write.[/font][/size]

[font=Verdana][size=1]You seem to have confused [i]plotting[/i] with [i]dictating[/i]. You can come up with a plot that you love, and then you create a character to fit. However, if you have a character and you come up with a plot for that character, and it just doesn?t [i]fit[/i], you can?t force the character to do something that the character wouldn?t do. [i]That[/i] is dictating, and it isn?t good. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Plotting, however, [i]is[/i]. It?s often the driving force in a story. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Of course, you [i]may[/i] be the type of writer who prefers not to plot, and that?s fine. I find that that method often leaves a person hanging and without a direction to go, but some writers honestly prefer it, and find they loose enthusiasm if they plot anything.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]As for your opinion on writer?s block. I wasn?t talking about not writing, I was talking about the [i]inability[/i] to write when you want to write. When what you write isn?t going anywhere, or when the words don?t come out, or they don?t sound or work like you want them to ? throughout the entire story. Perhaps you?re one of the lucky ones to whom that has never happened, but most writers aren?t. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]And you went off on a rather large tangent on perfection. I don?t really see what perfection ? or the lack thereof ? has to do with it. People don?t write to be perfect, they write to tell a story. And when a person can?t get the story out, [i]then[/i] I see them as having Writer?s Block [Capitals included.]. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]I do agree with you that writing isn?t about perfection. As I previously stated, people write to tell a story. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]However, seeing as you like to pull out examples and such, I?ll draw your attention to Harper Lee. Now, as some [or most] of you may know, Harper Lee wrote [i]To Kill A Mocking Bird[/i]. It was her first and only book, and it is taught in schools all over the world. It?s considered a classic. However, she worked for [i]years[/i] to achieve what she thought was the book?s perfection ? or as close to it as it was possible. Originally, writing is about the story. Editing is about making the story better, or rather, as good as it can be.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Stephen King may have continued with something that he didn?t think was good. However [i]we[/i] aren?t Stephen King. The man is practically a literary legend. Almost everyone has heard of him, even if they haven?t read his books. Just because [i]he[/i] did it and produced something that made him famous doesn?t mean we should continue with something that we [i]know[/i] is bad just because there may be the chance ? however 1-in-a-million-esque it may be ? that the same could happen to us. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]At the same time, I would [i]never[/i], [i]ever[/i] recommend anyone delete something they wrote just because it isn?t good. I feel extremely strongly about that. Even if the piece is consigned to a folder labeled, ?Discards? or ?Crappy Things I?ll Never Even Try To Improve Because They?re That Bad?, it is my belief that we all need to keep [i]everything[/i] we write. It?s like keeping a photo album so that you can remember your childhood ? you keep your old stories so that you can see yourself improve with time. [I also recommend you date the stories, to some extent. That way you can see your age and compare the things you were writing.][/size][/font]

[size=1][font=Verdana][i][color=black]?I just think sometimes you have to say the hell with it, and just write to write, even if you don't want to. You can salvage [/color][/i][color=black]something[i] from it. Just because you're telling yourself you have a writer's block doesn't mean you can't write. The question is will you? Anyone can write easily enough. Especially with practice.?[/i][/color][/font][/size]

[color=black][font=Verdana][size=1]I?m sorry, but with the above paragraph, you seemed to have missed my point entirely. I mean, [i]what[/i] did you think I was writing those essays for? A walk in the park? I was writing them because I needed to write the essay, but was completely stumped as to [i]what[/i] to write. I had no characters, no plots, no ideas or settings. And anyone may be able to write easily enough, but it doesn?t mean it will be good. And it wasn?t that I didn?t want to write, it was that I had no stories in my head ? a fact that was compounded by the need to fulfill a topic. [/size][/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Verdana][size=1]One thing that really got me was the implication that what we ? those of us who talk about writer?s block ? get [i]isn?t[/i] writer?s block at all, and that [i]genuine[/i] writer?s block is only applicable in those situations, and we?re just labeling laziness as an inability to write. [/size][/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Verdana][size=1]And as I said before, I don?t ever recommending deleting your work. Phrases and sentences are fine, but deleting big chunks of things you?ve written just doesn?t seem like a good idea to me. [/size][/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Verdana][size=1]Quite frankly, Mitch, the post annoyed me, because you were [i]preaching[/i], with a holier-than-thou sort of attitude that felt directed at me. But some of the things you?re saying are [i]exactly[/i] what I was doing, so there was no one to preach to. So be careful where you place your soap-box. ^.~[/size][/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Verdana][size=1]Anyway, with your critique of the stories; first of all, these stories never even made it to a completed rough draft, which means ? they aren?t perfect, and they aren?t supposed to be. I don?t even try to check for punctuation until 2nd draft/editing...so a few mistakes are excusable. [/size][/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Verdana][size=1]As for the scaring away snakes ? you seem to be a city boy, so perhaps you haven?t had much contact with the country. In Australia it?s all sort of merged, so most people know basic country rules. Snakes live in long grass, and the first line in my story was commenting on the length of the grass, which really [i]does[/i] shoot up to about knee length after rain. I suppose that paragraph was directed to the discourse of people who live in the country, which would mean that a city boy wouldn?t understand it. [/size][/font][/color]

[color=black][size=1][font=Verdana]And Mitch, that was rather brutally honest. [i]I[/i] can understand it and accept it, however, I see this forum as a community place, meant to encourage other people who are writing. I feel that as a reviewer, we are [i]editors[/i], not [i]publishers.[/i] Editor being the type that we know personally, who looks at all the writer?s works. An editor will improve, and is there to encourage and reassure. A publisher is not personal, and as such, can say that something is completely crap. And believe me, in this type of community, a publisher-mentality won?t work for long.[/font][/size][/color]


[font=Verdana][size=1]I agree with Shin and Arcadia in quite a bit, actually; there are often times that I can?t write, and it does lead to major writer?s block. I prefer to be inspired by things like music or characters or the story. I think perhaps one of the best things for my inspirations is [i]challenges[/i], or rather, implied challenges. For instance, my friends and I had to write a short story for school last year. At the top of their page, they all put ?Past Tense? in big letters, to remind them to write in past tense. For a while I had trouble with a story, then I decided I wanted to write a story that was actually called past tense, and so I wrote a story that fit. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Writer?s block doesn?t often strike me, but when it does, it does hard. I usually try to deal with it by sitting back and working on another story ? usually fanfiction ? that I?m enthusiastic about. That?s quite easy for me ? I have a list of about 14 fanfiction pieces I want to write in the near future, and they all vary in length, pairings, plot and time-frame. If I can?t write anything, I usually try to mellow out and listen to some music. When I can?t write, I can get very stressed about it, which isn?t very good for me, because my stress is very...[i]extreme[/i]. It usually ends up with me screaming, or crying, or shaking for a long, long time. I suppose it?s because most stressful situations aren?t really a problem for me ? I thrive on normal stress ? it?s just silly things like block that really stress me out, heh.[/size][/font]


[font=Verdana][size=1]Anyway, the first try I discontinued because it wasn?t going anywhere. My topic was [b]Around The Corner[/b], and not much interesting could have happened in the story that could have been resolved in 1,500 words. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]The second try I stopped was because I realized that whatever I wrote, my family would eventually see it. And that piece was far too personal ? and it would have gone far too close to my family [that is, in observations of their motives and actions]. That might not seem like a big deal, but my brother, for one, is still sensitive about my father?s death 10 years ago, and that story was actually going to become an almost exact recount of the ritual we go through every father?s day. At some point in the future I may continue it, but at the point I can?t see it happening. [/size][/font]

[font='Times New Roman'][font=Verdana][size=1]Wow, heh, long post. I hope it didn?t put anyone off from reading it. I?ll post some other versions soon.[/size][/font][/font]
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[size=1][color=red] Hey, Kat, you can think what you want about writing. Writing is whatever you want it to be.

I didn't mean to come off as holier-than-thou. That's not me.

You know that's not me, I hope. The written word is limiting in this aspect, though. I cannot convey how I said things in my post.

Mostly, it was me stating opinions. And yes, a lot of it was quite off the point, but I was in a rambly mood.

We just differ as writers. And you honestly took a few of my things too personally, and as too much. As I said, I'm more like Shin: improvisation.

I was using the Stephen King example as an example to inspire people. Not much else.

If I came off as snobby in my post, I ddin't mean to.

I don't think anyone's better than me at all. I just write down my opinions, and if you don't agree with them, that's well and fine. I didn't come here and post because what I say is correct. I came here and posted and told you what [i]I[/i] think of writer's block.

What I meant by my whole tangent on writer's block was that most of the time, writers who say they have writer's block just need to space it out a bit Write more of something else. Then come back to what they're writing and it'll work.

Heh. No hard feelings at all, Kat.

As for perfection. . .I basically said what you did. Writing's not about perfection. . .in the first draft, anyway.

Yes, you have people like Harper Lee. What I really wonder is, did she just stop writing after [i]TKM[/i]? Or is she just too much of a perfectionist that she doesn't want to have readers read her writing?

Whatever the case, it comes down to personal preferance. Writing isn't the same to everyone. Even though we disagree, that's fine, I can still see where you're coming from and what you're saying. And you can do the same for me. Disagreeing is fine. It shows we're different people.

Edit: I think I should add I didn't even really explain what I meant by deleting things. I'm mostly talking about when you just get ready to write. I constantly erase thigs I've written until I get something I want to use.

I wasn't talking about deleting whole blocks of text. I wasn't talking about just trashing older stories because they're lame.

I was just saying you can write, even if you say you've got writer's block. You can. You can make something up, even though it might not be good in the story. You can. As much as you want to tell me you can't, you can. It's just asking if there's the will, as I said. Will you.

There is geniune writer's block, like I said. Which may be the case with what you have here. . .but I don't start writing something until I at least have a grasp on it. Maybe that would be called writer's block? Who knows. Writer's block is such an informal term, that doesn't give much explanation as to what it means. It means being stuck in a story. . .but then again, it could be more than that.

And you don't recommend deleting whole blocks of text?

What about a second draft, third draft, [i]et cetera[/i]? :p

And yes, I'm a city boy. It's another thing to think about. Will all of your readers know there's snakes in long grass by funerals? No. I found it was hard to pick out of there.

And if you don't want me to critique whatever you've posted, then that kind of gets rid of the reason for this. If you didn't want that, you could've explicitly said, "Don't critique this, either." But I did anyway.

It's not terrible that you made a few mistakes in the story. I make mistakes [i]all the time[/i]. It's human Kat. It's something to work on. It's not like you're a terrible writer just because you made a few mistakes and I showed them, or because I said I didn't enjoy your story.

It's not that at all.

You should know you're a good writer in your heart. You should know that. Derermination and will and finesse and being able to know it will make you a better writer than someone who may just be gifted. To be cliche about it, where there's a will, there's a way.

If you work at it hard enough, and put heart in it, you're bound to see results, no matter what I say or someone else says.

You're a good writer. You know it. I just said it. I may be better as a writer than you and I might not. Whatever the case, you have the same potential to be good at this game as I do.

Does this sound holier-than-thou? I hope not. Heh.

I'm just trying to encourage you. I didn't mean to discourage in my past post at all. But I guess I did. For that I apologize. I want you to know that I meant well. It's just that with written language, I can't tell you well how I said something.

And it's how someone says something that can make it sound completely different to you. Can make it seem what they didn't intend.[/size][/color]
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[font=Verdana][size=1]Mitch, believe me, you are [i]welcome[/i] to critique any of my stuff whenever I post it, unless I have a huge disclaimer at the top saying "[b]Don't criticise this[/b]", heh. ^.~ However, I was trying to warn you that some people aren't always as happy to hear the honest truth, especially if it comes out as discouraging. Because we aren't all confident in our abilities as a writer or a poet, and so negative things can sometimes hit very hard without the reviewer realising it. As for me, I don't mind. Some people may, however.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=black]I didn't really take much that you said personally. A few things came across as personal, but as you said, the written word is so much harder to convey tone with. I myself may have come across harsher than I intended.[/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]I usually try not to think of opinons as 'right' or 'wrong'. A very, very wise and good friend of mine said "The only way to enlightenment is by sharing contradicting opinions, really." And I can fully understand your opinions. If I don't agree with someone's opinions, that's my problem to deal with, heh.[/size][/font]

[i][font=Verdana][size=1][color=red]What I meant by my whole tangent on writer's block was that most of the time, writers who say they have writer's block just need to space it out a bit; write more of something else. Then come back to what they're writing and it'll work.[/color][/size][/font][/i]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=black]I agree completely, heh. Like I said, it's one of the methods I use when I end up with writer's block. Sometimes you need to let things lie for a while before tackling them again.[/color][/size][/font]

[i][font=Verdana][size=1][color=red]I wasn't talking about deleting whole blocks of text. I wasn't talking about just trashing older stories because they're lame.[/color][/size][/font][/i]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=black]That part of my post wasn't really referring to you, sorry. I was speaking in general. I've met quite a few people who have deleted their first stories because they were bad, and I honestly think it's a horrible idea. It's like deleting your past, in my opinion.[/color]

[/size][/font][i][font=Verdana][size=1][color=red]And you don't recommend deleting whole blocks of text?

What about a second draft, third draft, et cetera? [img]http://otakuboards.com/images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img][/color][/size][/font][/i]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=black]The problem I have with deleting text is that I often find the paragraphs and chunks coming back to me subconsciously, and I write them into another story -- and I then have to edit them out of that story. So I keep my deleted blocks in a file named 'discards', and if, when I'm writing, something sounds familiar, I'll check it to see if I'm writing the same thing. It's worked before, for me. [/color]

[i][font=Verdana][size=1][color=red]It's not terrible that you made a few mistakes in the story. I make mistakes all the time. It's human Kat. It's something to work on. It's not like you're a terrible writer just because you made a few mistakes and I showed them.[/color][/size][/font][/i]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=black]Heh. I was just saying that it was a first draft. I wouldn't have bothered checking for the mistakes yet.[/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=red][i]And it's how someone says something that can make it sound completely different to you. Can make it seem what they didn't intend.[/i][/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=black]*grins* As my english teacher would say, there's the intended reading, and the actual reading. And sometimes, they don't always match.[/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Anyway, I think we can consign anything non-writer's block-related to the PM box, before we get really off topic.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Anyway, onto the next attempt. This piece was the low point in the entire thing. I got to this point, re-read what I'd written, and burst out crying, heh. You guys read it and see why. We'll see if our estimations of the story differ much.[/size][/font]


[center][b][u][font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]C Flat[/size][/font][/font][/u][/b]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]?Can anyone tell me why a C Flat is considered odd?? [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]The class groans as our music teacher fires off another question. It?s the last period of the week, and it?s a hot summer?s day; you?d think that she?d give us a break to clear our heads. The heat has made us drowsy and lethargic. This summer has brought the kind of heat that makes your hair curl, and while we might be used to it, we still can?t deal with it.[/size][/font][/font]

[color=black][font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]?The term ?C Flat? is an anomaly, because it is actually the enharmonic equivalent of B natural.? I repeat the definition that has been drilled into me since I took up violin, and, later, piano.[/size][/font][/font][/color]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]?Very good, Maxine,? the teacher replies, then continues on with her lesson. I tune her out, once again returning to dreaming up characters for my stories. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]I, Maxine Chandler, am a C Flat. I?m not quite normal, rarely used, and often misinterpreted by other people. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]My parents, young and foolish, and without a decent income to support themselves, had a child, not realising that the reality of parenthood was much less realistic than the reality. Our family stayed together long enough for my brother to be born. After that, Charlotte and Jack, my parents, realised exactly what their mistake was, and did probably the best thing they could for us: they allowed my grandparents to adopt us.[/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]When I tell people that, they think that I must harbour a lot of anger and resentment for my parents, but I don?t really. They were very young, and didn?t know any better. I sometimes think that my parents just weren?t supposed to be parents. I rarely think of them as that, too. They?re more like an adorable aunt and uncle who call by every few months.[/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]So my brother and I live with our grandparents. They?re quite strict, and very firm, but they?re fair, and they?re sweet, and they love us dearly. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]I?ve been playing violin since Year Three, when I first picked up the instrument during our weekly music class. I fell in love with its sound. It resonates through the room, smooth and mellow like a warm winter?s day.[/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]I respect my teachers, and I love my classes. I don?t get annoyed with people very easily, and I try to participate, even if it?s just to put the teacher at ease. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]However, all these factors combined seem to make me somehow different from the other students my age. She got on well with most people, but never seemed to get close ? or have much in common with ? anyone. It could be to do with the lack of patience I have for people my age. Most of the time, all they do is complain about things that don?t even matter, and misinterpret everything a teacher or parent says.[/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]The bell rings. I don?t bother to go back to the lockers. Dragging my bag behind me, I wonder if the teachers just got sick of us and decided they?d pile on the homework so that we?d have to stay home because of severe back pains caused from carrying our bags.[/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]The school bus is overcrowded, but mine is the first stop on the way home. All around me, people are chattering about the upcoming dance, or the homework that has been set. The bus shudders to a stop in front of my house, and I step off, dragging her bag behind her. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]My house is the kind of place that I used to dream about. The front of the house is hidden from view by the tangle of mulberry trees and tall hedges that someone planted years ago. Once you get inside the yard, everything blooms into colour. There are flowers all over the place; in hanging baskets, in flowerbeds, in pots and even in an old shoe that we found over the summer holidays. The house itself is painted lemon yellow, with green trimmings, and a red roof. It looks old ? it hasn?t really aged very well ? but I love it all the same. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]My grandparents come out of the house to welcome me. It?s a foolish and slightly embarrassing tradition, but I don?t really mind. Grandma Morgan?s face is wrinkled into a smile that reaches for ear to ear. Her hair is wisp thin and curled into ringlets. She has plump cheeks and a gorgeous smile, and she cooks the best food this side of Australia.[/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]Grandpa Perce is wearing his old cap, his face red and sweaty. He?s obviously been out tending to the garden, but he doesn?t look winded or puffed. My grandparents are in great health. I like to think that they?ll live forever. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]James is already home; he comes tearing out of the house as if there?s a dog on his heels. I grin at him. He?s just turned nine, and tends to get overexcited for no reason. His hair is mussed and his tie has disappeared to the mysterious realms of the washing basket. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]When he doesn?t smile back, I know something?s wrong. ?What did you do?? I ask in my most threatening tone of voice. He doesn?t seem too scared, just sorry. I guess intimidation doesn?t work when your face looks like a pixie and your nose is upturned just enough to make you look like you?re six years old. [/size][/font][/font]

[font='Book Antiqua'][font=Verdana][size=1]?I broke your E string.? He holds out the string. [/size][/font][/font]

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[quote]However, I was trying to warn you that some people aren't always as happy to hear the honest truth, especially if it comes out as discouraging. Because we aren't all confident in our abilities as a writer or a poet, and so negative things can sometimes hit very hard without the reviewer realising it. As for me, I don't mind. Some people may, however.

[color=red][size=1]I just have a short thing to say.

"Tell where there is dignity without honesty."

I need to be honest. I'm not going to lie just so you feel better. (Just in general here now, not pointing fingers at you.)

But here's what I would ask, were you going to say you didn't like a story, or some aspects: take the good with the bad. There [i]has[/i] to be something good in a story you can complement on, to balance off the negative things you said.

That's what I attempted in my post.

So. . .being honest isn't bad at all. I told you I was being brutally honest, and I said that it's just that I don't like stories like that--I like weird ones. But I still said other people would like it. . .that it was just my personal opinion.

I should've went through and said some postive aspects to your story, but I'll do it with this next one I do.

I don't have the time to critique it right now, but I'll get back to you on it. I just wanted to add the little part I wrote here.[/size][/color]
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[font=Verdana][size=1]Put basically, Mitch, I agree with you. However, if you do wish to discuss this any further with me, please PM me. We've gotten extremely off topic. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]The last story I discontinued because it was absolutely horrid. On re-reading it, I realised how flat the characters were -- they weren't real, or didn't even seem real. The person was forced, because I had made myself write through writer's block. So I decided that I'd sit down and wait. If somehting got written over the weekend, I'd submit it. If not, then too bad. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]I wrote this next attempt on the Saturday, and this felt much more honest to me -- a feeling that I believe has always been a strong point in my writing; the fact that what I write -- though false, usually -- is based in honesty. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]I didn't complete the story, though, because I got bored. I had no where to go and I wasn't sure where I could move within the 1,500 words I'd been given. So I started again, heh. And the piece after this one was my entry.[/size][/font]

[center][b][font=Verdana][size=1][u]C Flat (Revised)[/u][/size][/font][/b][/center]

[size=1][font=Verdana]When it comes to the arts ? that is, drama, music, and visual art ? I have always been a drama student. I love drama, I always have. It?s a family legend (or, more aptly, joke) that I was a drama queen as soon as I learnt to walk and talk at the same time. It wasn?t until Year Three that I cemented that belief by taking up Drama lessons, but after that my liking blossomed into pure love. [/font][/size]

[size=1][font=Verdana]My imagination has always loved the dramatic element. A phrase, an expression, a gesture...as long as it drew the audience into the play, I would use it. I didn?t mind if it was melodramatic, or if it was underplayed. I loved watching the expressions on the faces of the audience as they became wrapped up in the story that my fellow cast and I were weaving. [/font][/size]

[size=1][font=Verdana]My interest in the dramatic arts was such that I never fully explored or understood other art forms. The Visual Arts were a mystery to me; I?d taken it as a compulsory subject in Year Eight drama and succeeded only in getting paint all over my school uniform. Music had it?s appeal, but it never seemed to shine like the bright lights that beckoned me to the stage. [/font][/size]

[size=1][font=Verdana]So when the music teacher announced that, because our teacher was ill, the drama class was to combine with the music class for the day, I accepted the situation with a mixture of feelings. The first was disappointment because I wouldn?t have drama today. The second was interest; I could experience another art form. [/font][/size]

[size=1][font=Verdana]As we filed into the classroom, I looked around with curiosity. The room seemed to be divided into to parts; classroom and performing area. There was a piano near the wall, and a large bookcase packed with booklets about music. Next to it, there was a smaller bookcase, containing textbooks on music and instruments. Shelves ran the length of one wall, brimming with instruments. Afraid to touch anything, I just stood there, taking in the atmosphere. [/font][/size]

[size=1][font=Verdana]The music class was energetic. They talked and laughed and joked around. There were plunks from a corner of the room, where a boy with curly brown hair sat tuning his cello. Next to him was a girl with short auburn hair that flicked out at th[/font][/size][size=1][font=Verdana]e back. She was fiddling with a violin. [/font][/size]

[size=1][font=Verdana]The music teacher pursed her lips at us, looking thoughtful. ?If you study the theory half of the lesson with my class, I can let you do drama prac. the other half.? [/font][/size]

[size=1][font=Verdana]For some reason, ?theory? in drama isn?t writing or theory it all; it?s practicing for the next assessment piece you have, which is usually a play. ?Prac? isn?t practicing, either. It?s theatre games and sports that are meant to lower inhibitions and create a strong working bond with each other. Most days I prefer theory, beca[/font][/size][size=1][font=Verdana]use it?s set in what happens. Prac is often synonymous with chaos. [/font][/size]

[font='Times New Roman'][font=Verdana][size=1]?Theory? in music, however, is actually theory. For about fifteen minutes, the class studied notes and scales. I haven?t ever studied an instrument, so I only know the notes by counting and using the age old ?F.A.C.E.? for the space notes, and ?All Good Boys Deserve Fruit,? for the line notes. Most of the drama class sat and watched, not having a clue what the teacher was talking about. [/size][/font][/font]

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[size=1][color=#800000]*hurries to reply* [/color][/size]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#800000]The first one felt rather flat, yes. It still had a good story, but it lacked life.[/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#800000]Second story was ornate, it felt truly dramatic (like the subject it dealt with). So you hit the feel of it quite accurately.[/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#800000]I am still curious to see the final product, though. To follow this process from beginning to end.[/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#800000]On the subject of writer's block... whenever I've been blocked, I either keep at it and approach my writing from different angles.[/color][/size][/font]
[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#800000]Or... I just leave it and engulf myself in music/tv/computer.[/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#800000]But I've never had it too bad, luckily.[/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#800000]- Mimmi[/color][/size][/font]
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I usually just sit there and stare into space, racking my brain for good ideas. If this doesn't work, I start typing the first thing that comes into my mind. This usually gets me going. T.T Okay so maybe this doesn't ALWAYS work, in which case I just either turn on some music or give up on it. :nope:
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  • 2 weeks later...
Okay, here's an odd view, I occasionally (only occasionally) enjoy a good case of writer's block.
It's like Rincewind's endless search for boredom and dullness, the patient frustration of trying to find something that works.

But at other times I hate it just as much as any writer. I only have one way of getting over it, and that's by doing something that demands that you don't.

Take my complete insanity of the last few days as an example. I specialise in Oh/Ah! My Goddess fan-fic writing, although I do poetry and take the odd swing at my novel every now and again.
I've recently finished one fic, I'm working on a second (although communications problems with the person who owns the computer I'm using to work on it mean I haven't gotten very far), and I decided to amuse myself for a while.

I challenged myself to write a fan-fiction in 10 Days or less, I based it very loosely in the AMG universe by using the main character from my other fiction as the supporting role and adding a few of the AMG rules of the universe.
I based it very *largely* on Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson and re-wrote most of the book into the modern day.

If you're wondering, I managed to finish the challenge with two days to spare after 22 chapters and an epilogue.
And you can find it [URL=http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=1760305]here.[/URL]

Anyway, as I said, it was insane for me to try it, considering that my last fic took me about six or seven months of effort, and it was also the best way of getting past writer's block.

If I have trouble with a storyline, I take one or two characters and write a completely different story with them, but I place it further on in the timeline so that I know where I need to get them to in the original fic.
Then I just work through between the two points (the now of the one and the then of the other) like connect-the-dots.

I'll possibly even put money on the fact that it might work for anyone else too.
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  • 1 month later...
[font=Verdana][size=1][b]I was talking with Arcadia, and I realised that I'd never actually posted my competition entry, after all that. So I thought I'd do that now.[/b][/size][/font]
[center][font=Verdana][size=1]______________________________[/size][/font] [/center]
[font=Verdana][size=1][b]Flat C[/b][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Jackie Bennett squinted through the pouring rain, trying to gain her bearings. After a few seconds, her shoulders ? already hunched to try to protect herself from the downpour ? slumped even further. It was no use. She might as well admit it. She was lost. She was sure that her house was just around the corner, but with the sudden rainstorm, she had absolutely no clue where that corner would be. In fact, Jackie doubted she?d be able to see anything more than four feet in front of her face. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Jackie looked around, her face scrunching as she tried to breathe through the rain streaming down her face. It had started less than a minute ago, and already she was soaked. Her hair plastered to her face, the long blonde locks straggly and dripping. Her comfortable jeans and sweatshirt now clung to her ever so uncomfortably, the denim weighing down her legs. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]At sixteen, Jackie possessed a responsible nature and maturity well beyond her years. She was practical above all things, and her only vanities were her hair and her intelligence. Neither of which could help her if she couldn?t see where she was going. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Sighing, she let her hands drop and pulled them into the sleeve of her sweatshirt in the futile hope of keeping them warm. A crack of fork lightening flashed overhead, and Jackie realized she needed to get inside, fast. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]The question was, of course,[i] where [/i]to go? She stood for a few seconds more, the problem ticking over in her mind. The rain let up for a second, and Jackie realized she was facing the opposite direction of where she had been going. However, her house was still a fifteen minute walk away, and there was no way she was going to attempt that until the rain let up. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Mr. Stuart?s hot pink house was just across the street. It shone like a beacon in the pouring rain. She couldn?t go there, though. Mr. Stuart was a crotchety old man with bad hearing and an even worse temper. An idea teased in her mind. There was an apartment block two doors down from Mr. Stuart?s house, and Flat C had been deserted for as long as she or anyone could remember. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Almost running, Jackie made her way into the apartment block, noting that the doorman had also retreated inside. He was a young guy, probably making his way through University by opening the door for strangers and not asking questions. Smiling her thanks, Jackie walked past him, at the same time trying to scrape her hair off her forehead and out of her eyes. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]She plodded up the stairs, the denim sticking uncomfortably to her legs. She felt straggly and bedraggled. It was probably how she looked, too, she thought. [/size][/font]

[size=1][font=Verdana]Every kid in the neighbourhood knew the secret of getting into Flat C; the door was a trick door. You tapped hard on the paneling near the door three times, and then at the lock twice. No one knew who found out originally, but they were all equally impressed with it. After all, not many people could be so...devious. [/font][/size]
[size=1][font=Verdana][/font][/size][font=Verdana][size=1]The door swung open, and Jackie grinned her relief. She?d be safe in here, for a while at least. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]It was odd, though. The room didn?t look uninhabited at all. In fact, if she hadn?t known better, she?d have sworn that someone was living in the flat now. The carpet was clean, as if it had been washed just a day ago, and the room had the little knick-knacks and up kept feel that lived-in houses had. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Perhaps someone had moved in word hadn?t gotten around yet?[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]?Hello?? Jackie called out cautiously. For all she knew, it could be an axe murderer, or worse, a Mr. Stuart clone. [/size][/font]

[size=1][font=Verdana]A woman bustled out of the kitchen, her lined face creased into a smile. ?Come in, come in!? She called. ?I?ve just poured some Ouzo, if you would like it?? The woman?s speech was slightly accented. To Jackie?s uncultured ears, it sounded slightly Italian. That didn?t say much, though. From what she knew, the old lady could be Greek. [/font][/size]
[size=1][font=Verdana][/font][/size][font=Verdana][size=1]Cautiously, Jackie asked, ?Ouzo?? [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]The woman nodded. ?It is one of the traditional Greek drinks.? Jackie looked closer at the woman?s clothing. She was wearing the traditional black garb of an old Greek woman, including a shawl and scarf. Jackie could understand why; her drenched clothes were freezing. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]?May I ask what?s in it?? Being as polite as possible, Jackie tried not to give anything away. The woman didn?t know yet that Jackie wasn?t here to see her, and Jackie wanted to keep that situation. She wasn?t about to let the woman know that she?d intended on breaking and entering to keep herself out of the rain. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]?It is aniseed liquor, wit coffee beans.? The barest trace of her accent sounded in the sentence. When Jackie paused, the woman?s face fell. She shuffled out of sight and returned with a towel. ?But you would not like the Greek drinks. You are young. You should not be drinking alcoholic drinks. I can get you some water, if you would like it.?[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Jackie hated the taste of water, and she didn?t want to disappoint the lady. ?Ouzo is fine, thank you, but just a little.? She wrapped the towel around herself, trying not to let the cold get to her. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]The woman beamed again, and went to the kitchen. Jackie hurried to follow her, worried about the woman?s health. She seemed to be old and, well, old-fashioned, like she should be taken care of. Jackie took the tray, carrying it carefully into the living room, trying to keep the towel on her shoulders at the same time. She managed the feat, just. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]The woman directed Jackie to sit in a lounge chair, and Jackie did so gratefully, feeling her clothes squelch. The lady seated herself, then asked, ?May I inquire as to what your name is??[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]?Jackie...Jacqueline Bennett. Miss???[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]?I?m very pleased to meet you, Jackie. You are company for a lonely old woman.? The woman grinned ruefully. Jackie was pleased to see that her age hadn?t made her bitter. ?My name is Aikaterina Christakis. You may call me Katerina, if you wish.? [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]The woman was Greek, then. Jackie smiled and nodded, then took a sip of her [i]Ouzo[/i]. It was cold and almost liquorice-like. The coffee beans floated on the top, and Jackie watched them with fascination until she saw Katerina chewing slightly. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Grinning, Jackie took a bean into her mouth and started chewing. The flavour exploded into her mouth, and she made a slight face at the strength of the flavour. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Katerina took note of the expression, smiling again. Her skin crinkled into birds? feet around her eyes, her cheeks full and round, dimples flashing quickly before disappearing again. Jackie realised this woman, while old, would stay young in spirit forever. ?Normally in restaurants, the coffee beans are set alight when the drink is served, but I am an old woman, and I am worried about fire. I could not get out in time.? [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Jackie nodded understandingly. Her own grandmother, Sybil, was forever worried about fire. ?I can understand that.? An awkward moment passed between the two women, and Jackie looked away. She could see through the window to the outside. The rain had slowed to a slight drizzle. She should have been home quite a while ago; her parents would be worried about her. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]?Thank you for your hospitality,? Jackie said politely. ?I must return home.? [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Katerina?s face fell. On impulse, Jackie kissed the lovely old woman on the top of her scarf-covered head, smiled and returned the towel. When Jackie reached the door, she turned and waved, nodded once and left, thankful that the woman had been so hospitable.[/size][/font]

[size=1][font=Verdana]When she reached downstairs, the young man was still standing there. He saw her and grinned. ?Let me guess. You?ve been up there trying to visit the ghost.? [/font][/size]

[font=Verdana][size=1]?The ghost??[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Still grinning, he ran his hand through his hair, then reached to pull the door open for her. ?Yeah, you know, the ghost of Flat C. The one that helps weary travellers caught in the rain.? He sighed. ?That place is so deserted. The entire apartment is decaying. No one can get in to fix it up, though.? [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]He leaned in close. ?That is, unless they have the knack. Or,? he knocked on the door three times near the frame, then at the handle twice, ?the knock.? He laughed and shooed her out. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Grinning, Jackie looked up at the window of Flat C. She didn?t really believe the woman was a ghost, but if she were, Jackie would keep her secret. It was the only thing to do to repay such kindness.[/size][/font]

[size=1][font=Verdana]Hunching over again, Jackie turned and made her way back to her house, grinning now that she knew which corner it was around.[/font][/size]


[font=Verdana][size=1]I had this idea [or something like this idea] in the beginning, but I thought that it would be too close to my previous work, [u]Past Tense[/u] [which some of you have read], so I chose not to continue it. In the end, it was Sunday night, it was due on the Monday, and I still wasn't happy with what I'd written, so I chose to pursue this instead of not submitting anything.[/size][/font]
[font=Verdana][size=1]Anyway, yes, I chose to make an old lady give a teenager alcohol, lol. Mainly because I wanted something Greek -- and that was the only Greek drink I or my mother could find/remember. And also because from everything my Mum has told me [she's actually been to Greece and Italy and Germany], it isn't unusual for Greek children to drink alcohol from a young age, and the woman was traditionally greek. *nods* So, that was my reasoning, heh.[/size][/font]
[font=Verdana][size=1]Anyway, thoughts and so on would be appreciated.[/size][/font]
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[size=1]I've been to Greece as well, so I can vouch for that. They most definitely let their kids drink at a younger age. It's just not a big deal to them, and they grow up with that sentimentality.

As for the story, it's still quite lovely. You describe the storm and the usual use of the flat very well, and there's plenty of detail to get the mind engaged. My only concern is that perhaps you should mention something about the ghost aspect a little earlier.. We know that's she practical and grounded, and she probably wouldn't believe any sort of ghost story straight from the start, which would help to tie into her response at the end. It just sort of feels like the idea of the flat being haunted comes out of nowhere. That's just one opinion, though. ^.^;;

Either way, though, I think it's cool, and hopefully the people who go over all the stories think so, too. I'll keep my fingers crossed. (..until... July... yeah.)[/size]
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[color=gray]Writer's block is probably the main reason why I hardly ever join Role Playing Stories lately. That's because I never seem to be able to post in an RPS, doesn't matter how badly I want to. I just can't get anything good on paper (or the PC screen...). And it really bugs me when my hands are just itching to write (type ¬.¬ ) something, while they work against me at the same time. I write when I have the need to write. It might be just because I have this song line in my head so I must do something with it, or just because I'm reading some good writing of someone else.
It really depends on what i write ofcourse. I wrote comedy (and I mean "So Meaningless That You Can Beat It So Hard, But It Still Wont Give A Sensefull Word" if you get what I mean) and even though it's like putting every thing you even think off on paper, I can even get writer's block for that. Hmm wait, ill continue this later.[/color]
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If you think being trapped in a writer's block for sometime sucks. Try being trapped in a writer's wall or Box.

I have been for the past year now stuck on my 7th and final novel of my 6 year project. Now I am at the point where I am close to making all my characters die because I can't reach the end.
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  • 3 months later...
[font=Verdana][size=1]In that case, my suggestion is to forget about the last part at the moment. If you feel like writing, then write whatever is in your mind. If you feel like painting, or running, or just sleeping and relaxing, then do it until you know where your ending wants to go. And listen to your novel. If it wants to go one way [and often they have a mind of their own], then let it. You can't force something to be written if it doesn't want to be, basically. In my expirience, in makes the writing flat and stale.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Good luck with your block.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][b]EDIT --[/b][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]Just a little epilogue to my writer's block woes. I received a letter today which said the following:[/size][/font]

[i][font=Verdana][size=1]I am delighted to advise that you have been awarded a prize of $175.00 in Class B of the [State] section of the Commonwealth Essay Competition. Congratulations.[/size][/font][/i]

[i][font=Verdana][size=1]The chief examiner comments on your entry -- [b]This is another accomplished and well told story from last year's fourth prize winner in Class B. I liked the ambivalence in whether the old Greek woman is a ghost or not; and the probability that she isn't and the implications of this for what is really going on. I am impressed by the intelligence and skill which Kathryn brings to her writing. [/b][/size][/font][/i]

[font=Verdana][size=1]So, yes. I personally am very pleased, because I had so much trouble, because I made myself write this story, and because it turned out so well. ^_^ Obviously I didn't do as well as last year -- this is the State Division, rather than Internationally, but I'm still incredibly proud, heh. [/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]So thanks for all your encouragement, guys![/size][/font]
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I had an awful bout with writer's block. I wrote my 5th song in March and didn't write my 6th until late July. I wrote only about 4 poems inbetween the songs too. Nothing I did could stop it, I listened to my inspirational artists, my girlfriend helped me with my new love song but I only had bits and pieces then, I finally finished it now though. It was awful for me, I'd sit at the computer in Word or with a notebook with a blank page, fiddling with words in my head, hoping I'd have a few verses, but both were left blank. I'm so glad it's over for me for now.
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Asphyxia, I really liked that. It's very good, better than anything I've ever managed to pull out of the "Magical Hat of Wordyness".

I've never been to Greece, but I knew that about the culture...thank you World History...you kept my attention.

I have to say (now that I'm back on-topic), you're really good. Maybe you could check some of my work for me? (That applies to anyone here!!) I'm registered on fanfiction.net under MilenniaKaiba...or just [URL=http://wwwhfanfiction.net/~milenniakaiba]click this link here[/URL] to see the...well, my only story up right now. I've started school so I haven't updated, but please send me a PM and tell me what you think, good or bad. (Shameless plug, I'm so sorry!)

Great essay, keep it up!

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