Tuesday, January 26, 2016

4 Reasons Why We Need Miserable Writers

Some of the best writers were miserable. 
While I'm stuck in the middle of my book, I reflect what the new year brought us. 
Heartbreak, misery, and shock. 
But just because your life sucks doesn't mean you should give up. 
It means you have something to say.
The world hurts and our words are supposed to heal it.
What about healing the writer?
Can our own words soothe us or do we selflessly reveal our souls to help others find their own? 
Misery wants to empathize. 
We want to relate.

(Yes, this is a happy photo I took. There have been no gloomy days here so I've been extra cranky. I need my gloom or all the happy irks me. Balance, people. Works both ways.)

1. Brings Value
2. Makes You Relatable
3. Strong Emotions Produce Best Results
4. Therapy for Writer and Reader

Which writer did you relate to who had horrible experiences? Maybe you didn't relate, maybe you just felt their work was beautiful. One of my favorites is Edgar Allan Poe. If anyone read his work, they have at least one favorite. With my disturbing perspective of what's beautiful, his violent poetry speaks to me. It's dark but it's honest. He lost so many in his real life that his only outlet was writing.

Now what if he lived a happy life? Annabel Lee would not have the same impact.

When darkness veils your life, it's an opportunity to create. When Alan Rickman died, my soul broke. Didn't want to do anything that day. I got drunk and cried. My years of drawing fan art, writing fan fics, and watching his films three-fourths of my life led to a very miserable week. After I sobered up his day of death, I painted. I had to. The brushstrokes were therapeutic. I didn't hurry it up to post my tribute with everyone else, I just painted for my soul's sake. 21+ hours later, I submitted my tribute on my art page. For miserable reasons, it ended up being my best work yet. I handled every detail with perfection (as much as I could). This is one version:

Didn't sleep. Didn't eat much. Even stopped drinking. Cried a lot watching my painting become him. Skipped the Bargaining stage. Disbelief, Anger, and Sadness mostly. I shouldn't use my emotions to work, but sometimes I need to. It produces the best results. If I didn't find a way to channel my emotions, I would've kept drinking. Not good for anyone who depends on me.

Another way I coped with tragedy came more immediate, years back when my dog died. I never got serious about writing until his death. I had to write. I promised him.

It still hurts.

My first book leaks my loss of the greatest friend ever. People will find solace in their loss through acceptance of death. That's my hope, anyway. Nobody should deal with that alone.

Our darkness is what gives us value. Without miserable moments, we can't be relatable. Total misery is doom but if we find the balance to accept the light and dark, then we can find the words to make writing worth reading. I'm not saying be miserable all the time. Not saying be happy all the time either (ugh...that's the worst...so fake...hate fake, all-happy people). But we can't help what happens to us. We can help what we do about it.

Further insight to accepting our darkness: Why Our Dark Sides Make Us Better Writers

Writers who led miserable lives:

John Berryman
Virginia Woolf
Edgar Allan Poe
Tennessee Williams
Hunter S. Thompson
Ernest Hemingway
Robert E Howard
Anne Sexton
Sylvia Plath

And again, not saying misery is a good thing or that we should glorify it, but successful writers had awful lives. Certain all these committed suicide. If you think your life sucks and are not talking to someone about it, don't keep it in. Seek the light. Sometimes writing won't be enough to soothe your ache. I want you to find hope. Every aspect of your life is meaningful, even the misery. But if it hurts too much, please--please--don't keep it to yourself. Those stages to suicide are bullshit. My friend died and no one saw it coming. Wanna talk? I'm here. Seriously.

This post is a mess. No apologies. Talking about misery where spots are still sore is not my favorite, but I have to, especially if it helps you.

Tell me what you think. Tell me your feels.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Movies to Watch to Pick Apart the Story

These are movies I have watched dozens of times. Some are traditions to watch during holidays or important events. But as a writer I see them as trophies to the profession. Lots of story, strong character introductions and development. Lots of plot. Plot twists. Motivations for plot. Arcs. Everything.
 There are flaws in everything, but these I found great films to study. 
And watch. 
Go watch them. 

Character arcs and motivations are clear, concise character development, quickly attached to characters in short time.

Love Actually
Story builds from separate characters and climax is a crescendo of all character arcs woven to one fixed location. Everyone has a favorite character in this movie. Mine's the prime minister (Hugh Grant), but of course I like the author (Colin Firth) as well. Tugs at heartstrings; story never gets old no matter how many times I watch it. Christmas tradition movie.

The Fifth Element
Fast pace in caring about characters and story. 
Fun, cult classic. Never gets old.

Watch for core values in characters and how they're affected by others. Good character internal/external conflict.

The Negotiator
Motivation becomes the plot twist. I obsessed over this movie in my teens. Bought soundtrack to reenact scenes in my bedroom. Nerrrrrd.

The Usual Suspects
Speaking of plot twists and motivations...this movie.

Murder of Crows
And this one.

The Holiday
If Jude Law didn't sell you, the sweet story of internal conflict meeting external conflict will leave you in happy tears. Talk about gumption.

Rise of the Guardians
Character conflict, motivations, story. It's beautiful. Another blog mentioned the man in the moon being a horrible idea. It didn't affect me as much, but I slightly agree after reading their argument. They made "him" too omniscient. But watch this anyway if you like stories about finding meaning in circumstances.

Gawd. That swallow. All fangirls know this scene and we rewind it every time. Character dilemma. Lots of internal conflict. And a pretty blue alien.

Run Fatboy Run
Heartwarming comedy about how far characters will go to achieve their desires.

The Kid
Cute story, character conflict, fast attachment to protagonist, great character introductions and quick, powerfully shown personality traits.

The Wedding Date
I just saw this movie last night. No joke. Why didn't I see it sooner!? Clear personality traits shown on the spot, fast care for protagonist, secondary protagonists are equally strong. Motivations, plot moves smoothly. Fun, sweet. Resolution weak.

As Good As It Gets
Motivations and plot. How characters change each other. Effing Jack Nicholson, just watch it.

The Croods
My kid's favorite movie. It's fast-paced and precise with characters and story. To the point with every scene building to an explosion of emotion and you don't realize you're a part of the family until the point of no return.

The Lego Movie
A tear jerker.
Not kidding.

Happy endings for everyone. Antagonist included. Lots of motivations to drive plot. Main anta and secondary anta, with primary prot and secondary prot. Fun mayhem.

Just Go With It
Don't be sick of Adam Sandler just yet. This one's a sweet take on a French play. Internal conflict and romantic tangles with hindrances. You'll love it.

Flushed Away
K.M Weiland talks about characters who believe a lie. Prot is happy in his lie and you watch him realize the lie isn't all great.

The Patriot
I take this movie seriously. Powerful motivations in all characters. And a huge reason to despise the antagonist right away. Small intervals of humanity and humor to attach audience to prots. Watch plot driven by passion. But watch because it's the Revolutionary War.
No bigger motivation than the people dictated by a king overseas.

Hope this list helps. Leave me a comment! Also I wanna know what movies you love.

What's your favorite movie? Why should a writer watch it?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wisdom quote by Shakespeare

Writers are sloppy letterers and obviously my artist was asleep when I did this. Forgive the artist. She is ill and the writer is so excited to just get this out and posted.