Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to Start Afresh - 3 Strategies

How to Start Afresh

For a while, I bathed in self pity, and managed to convince myself that my greatest passion, writing, wasn't for me. My love for the literary world seemed unrequited. 

1. Switch genres

     The fantasy genre has always been my comfort zone. In the past few months, I've fallen in love with historical fiction, and the 17th-18th centuries. After all, they compass the Golden Age of Piracy, and, in my opinion, the Golden Age of Fashion. Is it possible to dislike anything baroque or rococo? 
    Sure, historical fiction requires a ton of research. Plus, you can't use any modern-day metaphors. In one of my swashbuckling stories, I began to compare the star-speckled night sky as a mobile that hangs over a baby crib. I soon discovered the mobile is a 20th century invention. Regardless, I appreciated a break from the extensive worldbuilding associated with fantasy, and the new-found opportunity to describe the world I live in uniquely.

2. Abandon your comfort zone

     Speaking of comfort zones, there is no shortage of methods you can use to forgo yours. I, for one, decided to dabble in poetry. I normally write short stories, with the occasional novel in the works. For starters, I joined this website. Overall, I found free verse to be enlightening, and sonnets to be musical, but quite restricting. In addition, it is quite simple to insert social commentary into poetry. Below is an example that addresses an especially-controversial issue in the literary world. Further elaboration will spoil it!

The Default Race
A tired little cottage rests on a hill,
swallowed whole by a surrounding verdant sea
of grass, of scapes that roll and sway
like Latin dancers before a throng
of viewers who match the ubiquitous gray. 
A tired little woman stands outside,
her cloak on fire, her heart quite rife.
She takes her husband's hands in hers.
He kisses her knuckles; sees in her dark eyes
a million truths, a million lies.
One day he fails
to come back home. She weeps, she cries.
She's left alone.
She lolls outside, and beholds the glory
of the turbulent sea, and the flashes of light
that Zeus hurls down, to give Earth fright.
With hands spread wide, to aphotic skies,
she wills him back 
and feels alive.
What ho! He returns
on a ship with sails
that billow and tear; a phantom wails.
She judged too fast, she does admit.
She feared he'd found a better fit.
But, reader, ere you criticize this girl
look to yourself; you're not of pearls.
Not a mention of race, of color, or size, but
you still imagined her skin was white.

3. Make a list

I recently created a Google Doc titled "Author Career Guide." It consists of a spreadsheet with a list of writing contests, their respective deadlines, and a "yes/no" category to indicate whether or not I've entered each contest yet. So far, using this simple strategy, I've found the motivation to enter seven short story contests. Speaking of which, the winners for the novel writing portion of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards will be announced tomorrow. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

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