Tag Archive: story


The Hardest Part

I’m a writer. If my past posts haven’t already drilled the hell out of that point, then it’s time to drive it home yet again. As a writer, that means I write, obviously. Now I try to start doing work with a  plot outline and all that, characters sketched out and everything so that there’s nothing to lose track of, so that the story will keep a good, consistent plot line and won’t lose track of itself. I don’t know about other writers, but usually I start out with a plot outline in my head, or at least a theme or other sort of event that can trigger a story. If not that, then usually I start out with an image of a character or multiple characters that will generally turn into an important bit of the  story. On occasion I am lucky enough to start out with both of these, and that’s just awesome. Probably because I never seem to have much trouble with those two, I have been cursed with the problem of the third.

I start with a good image of the character and an understanding of the character’s mentality, opinions, past, life, all that good stuff; what do I not start out with? A name. Nothing. This character is completely nameless person, and so are all the other characters, more often than not. I try to do what I can to dig up a name that fits the character in personality and appearance, their perfect name, but usually that doesn’t work out. And when I find a perfect character match, if they end up reminding me too much of another character from other stories, they instantly get scrapped. Sure, it might be unintentionally done that they are so similar, but I can’t accidentally borrow someone else’s character.

Unfortunately, even that isn’t the case for my current main character. He’s a guy who starts out as an underdog in an abusive home where his family treats him like garbage. Insert stereotypical twist that he is not the biological son and a terrible accident that overcomes his village, typical of fantasy, and you have him out on his own, growing to become a hero. A man who is blunt and generous, simple yet true, brave and noble, faithful, pretty much everything that you’d want to be. Sounds like a Mary Sue, but he’s growing into this man and even after his growth he isn’t perfect. His name? No idea. None at all. So in my lack of knowledge, I put it to you: do you have any names that I should use for him? Any name that is conjured up by these descriptions?

For the other ten or so characters that he encounters after leaving home, a group known as the Freedom Fighters, I shall struggle to come up with more fitting names though I have already found apt names for a few and will admit to borrowing something of the character of Locksley from Sir Walter Scott, though he is not such a noble and heroic, virtuous man as portrayed in the past. Fitting to the character, he is a master archer. Am I the only writer who agonizes over names like this? When I read I don’t pay so much attention to them as I do when I write, I’ve noticed, but writing it seems so essential; probably because while writing I can twist and turn the narrative to my fitting to some degree while with reading, it is not yours to interpret usually.

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Free As A Bird

Great song by the Beatles, just to start; lyrics are insanely haunting and it just really conjures up good feelings of freedom. Unlike Neil Gaiman who is quite possibly   the greatest living author around right now, I wouldn’t say, “Fat Charlie wasn’t sure he liked freedom… There was too much open air involved.” Now, applying this to myself, I wouldn’t quite agree with it; I can’t get enough of freedom, probably because of how irritatingly imposing I’ve always found everything in life. Can’t do one thing right without getting screamed at for doing another wrong and all that.

But I digress, as is quite usual for these sorts of things. Today, I got back the results for an AP test that I took at my school. For those of you who don’t know, AP stands for Advanced Placement and in essence is taking a college class in high school  and then participating in an end of the year test for potential college credit. As the first available AP course, I jumped on this one. Today,  after  waiting for a few months for the results, I, along with the others in my school who took the  test, received my results. Alright, I wasn’t waiting, I forgot about the test about two days after I took it, but no biggie.

These tests are scored on a scale of 1-5, 1 meaning ‘why did you bother to enroll yourself in this class?’ and 5 being ‘good work, now it’s time to stop studying and learn some social skills.’ I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had gotten a…. (Drum roll, please)….

2!

No, I’m just pulling your leg. It was actually 2 squared, for those of you who like a good math insert. For those of us who are more simple minded, I actually achieved a 4. On the scale, that would be somewhere around a, ‘you’re above average in intelligence, but chances are talking to you is social suicide.’ So, all in all a good call; I’m happy to say I have avoided the pitfall of being social suicide to be seen with, so not too bad. Especially considering that a 4 is above average and that I didn’t study.

Reflecting on the test, it’s actually a little shocking I did so well. The test is pretty simple: 60 minutes, I believe, for 70 multiple choice questions and then about 2 hours to write three different essays; one document based, one change over time and one comparing and contrasting. I might be a little wrong in terms of the time given, but I believe that’s it. Multiple choice questions are taken on what is essentially a scantron sheet and the essays are written in a nice little booklet. Anything written in the essays and crossed out is not graded.

Yes, that is bait for students like me.

Naturally, there are the classic AP yearly jokes; this years was a simple, “Yo AP test grader, Imma let you finish, but this is one of the best essays of all time. ALL TIME!’ All fine and dandy, I did this in my second essay, a change over time, to lighten the mood. Essay one was mostly serious, being about the mechanization of the cotton industry in Japan and India. I know nothing about this, and  you probably don’t either; it’s good it was the DBQ, which pretty much provides all the info you need. The second essay was about how religion in Sub-Saharan Africa has stayed the same and changed throughout time; pretty straightforward. And the third was comparing and contrasting the Roman Empire and Han China.

Essay three was where I went all out. In fact, when I saw the page I had to rough draft, it was all I could do to hold back laughing; all that I had done was drawn a penis. One ball had China written in it, the other Rome, and the rod had ‘Roman Orgies!’ like I had made some grant discovery. Sad part is that I can’t post  a picture; my history teacher hangs onto these packets for examples for next year’s students. Moving on to the test, I can’t remember all that I did do, but there was plenty I do remember; references galore to the classic “Plains, Trains and Plantains” (http://www.ubersite.com/m/56674). In another section I pointed out, quite off topic, the importance of Romans inventing orgies and other similar things, before stopping to realize, “Oh, wait, that was the Greeks… Sorry.” All, of course, single-line crossed out. As far as Han China goes, it was something along the lines of how important the imperial examination system was in “squinting contests, determining who could eat the most rice and who could say, ‘Herro, prease.'” Once again, this was, of course, single-line crossed out. No offense to Chinese or Asian readers in general meant by these comments.

In closing, I was proud of passing the AP test because of passing it, but also because of all those sly little jokes I slipped in as well. I hate to be sexist, but since most of the jokes were perverted guy humor, I have to wonder if a bit of the humor was lost on my grader, who was apparently a woman according to the slip I received; hopefully she didn’t think I was just some immature sophomore… Of course, that would be entirely true, but that’s besides the point. Actually, immature junior now, so not entirely true. Anyone else here ever taken an AP test? What was your experience with the difficulty level and how did you do on it?

First blog!

I’m relatively new to this whole blogging thing. I had a few blogs briefly in the past, but mostly to try and showcase my writing. For those of you who couldn’t figure this out, that was a cataclysmic failure that I’d rather not speak on. My own tastes in terms of writing have advanced since then… Two years ago? I believe it was, at least; perhaps even more. As promised in my description, I’m already starting to ramble, so I might as well keep on!
What with this being a new blog, I’m sure you can realize that I just had to create it, username, password, etc. Going through this process, I’ve got to wonder how many other people were as irked by this as me; when you have to enter your username, it’s limited to lowercase letters and numbers. That’s all fine and dandy; except for the lowercase letters bit. Am I the only one who is borderline OCD here?
Reflecting on it, I have to admit to myself that I probably am; even in my group of friends I’m a bit anal about this. When I text, I always have proper grammar and punctuation, and the same is true for Facebook. Makes me wonder if there are people out there who are as irked by proper writing in a casual forum as I am by the lack thereof. I believe so, but off on what is hopefully my last tangent, this reminds me of a story my class and I heard from my English teacher.
In Washington, we still have senior projects that must be made and presented before a class in order to graduate. One day a year, every class in my high school, freshmen to juniors, must watch about three senior presentations. Naturally, when you have a particular affinity for some teachers you try to get them. As the story goes, my English teacher wrote to either ask about a certain students schedule, or else request that particular student. Apparently, he wrote it so well that his response can be summed up essentially as, “I cannot believe that this is an actual English teacher, I take it as my responsibility to write you back and inform you that a student is attempting to use some form of sabotage and has gotten on your computer.” Now, my English teacher is a sly guy; chagrined by this, he chose not to reveal that he had written it and instead replied with an e-mail that rolled with the story, saying that he was on the lookout for the student who had gotten on his computer for the e-mail.
Hm… Maybe not the greatest story via web, eh? In person it was a lot greater, though for the purposes of ego I have to say it doesn’t match some of mine. Now I’m REALLY rambling on, and chances are nobody’s willing to stomach this much of it. If you have, thank you for your time! Maybe next time I’ll actually have something to say, huh? One can only hope!
And of course, happy late fourth of July!