Writing Log #2

Sat 18/01 – Mon 20/01

Tried to stay up again but only managed to get a few lines into a short story brainstorming column – even though I stayed up until late in the morning. 

I’ve thought about it and I don’t think it’s writer’s block so much as I don’t think the story’s ready to be written yet. 

Tue 21/01

I remember building up the characters the next few days, naming them (and I’m picky with names), working out their personalities and dynamic within the group – I think I’ll be able to write this story once I’ve figured out what happens in the middle. I’ve already got the end.

Submitted a short story – that’s 2/10 submissions as part of my 2020 goal. 

Had a mild crisis after talking to a friend when she asked: “Is this the environment that you need to be to get you where you want to be in the future?” 

We were talking about careers, how your 20s is the ideal time to move around – change jobs, move cities, travel – because you’re not tied down with too much debt or commitment. And because, as the last log has established, my only ambition exists in my writing, even if I was thinking about “career”, I’m not thinking about my current job, I’m thinking about what would let me write the stories I want without worries?

I think what really struck me was the question: “What’s really stopping you? Why not? All it takes is courage.”

And that’s something I rarely have. 

But, at the same time, I fear complacency and getting too comfortable in one place, one job, falling into routine and never climbing back up. 

I’ll have to figure out where I can get some of that elusive courage…

But, you know, comfort and convenience isn’t exactly a bad thing. Without it I probably won’t be able to write as much – worrying too much about expenses and money. I mean, we do live in a capitalist society as much as that sucks. 

But all I want to do is write. 

All I want to do is tell stories.

Anything’s possible with courage… right?

Wed 22/01

Friend gave me another list of songs and this time I narrowed it down to three – BTS’ “Butterfly”, AURORA’s “Under the Water” and AKMU’s “Time and Fallen Leaves”. I laid out the lyrics and found it fascinating how stories come up when I tried to connect the dots. 

You’re just like a Butterfly

if we touch hands, will I lose you?

From afar, I steal glances; 

– BTS, “Butterfly”

I’ve been trying to write a short story about a Kataw (Filipino version of a mermaid) and her human companion and so far only had a setting and a vague idea of what happened. And names! I had names for the characters and an idea of how they worked together.

I’m so picky with names – but I gave them surnames and it mirrored how they are as characters or their history (to some extent). 

Time passes like water flows

There are memories that I couldn’t hold onto

I’m building a dam called memories

– AKMU, “Time and Fallen Leaves”

The story still needs work but I think I’ll write it with the three songs in mind. The lyrics are beautiful and haunting and has this sense of longing that I wanted to write something for.

Under the water we can’t be together

Then why do we jump in?

Under the water we die

Why do we jump in?

– AURORA, “Under the Water”

I feel like there’s going to be a lot of angst in this one but I’ve still got quite a while until it feels ready to be written down. I think it might be written in the Kataw’s perspective – but at the same time, I like the idea of the story switching between the human and the Kataw. 

In my head the human doesn’t know that her companion isn’t human at all. 

I think it’ll be interesting for the reader to read how oblivious the human is and how the Kataw tries to hide her identity, if she hides it on purpose.

I also want to explore how different people might deal with immortality. The Kataw I have in mind becomes indifferent to her immortality and in extension, indifferent to the world. She’s lived too long, seen her mortal friends age and die. 

But another Kataw might handle it differently, maybe self-destructive or simply destructive to the world they inhabit – I want to explore how that might manifest…

I’m excited to write it!

Performance workshop headed by a HYPoet. We went through some theatre techniques to explore how to bring your poems to life on stage. 

Adding musicality to the poems.

What are the possibilities when we do something that scares us?

“Drama is driven by action not emotion.”

  1. What is the character’s goal?
  2. How do they achieve this goal?
  3. What’s in their way?

And every action hints at the emotion.

Even though these questions were asked in the context of how you can bring a poem to life on stage, it made me think of novel and short story writing.

If you can’t figue out the character’s over-arching goal, then start small: what do they want in this scene / chapter? What steps do they take to achieve this? And what are the obstacles on their way?

Are they closer to their objectives at the end of the chapter / short story or have they taken one step back?

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