He Lives!

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Art by Bernie Wrightson

Remember when Mary Shelley wrote one of the most well known monster tales of all time?

I sure don’t because that was 1818. But that being said, Mary Shelley created a man no one would ever forget.

Classic monster literature takes on several themes, some of which cross over into other. Most of the classic literature, like Frankenstein, Dracula, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…they all seem to carry the weight of these themes.

The biggest one is enlightenment and science. Since these works were written during the Age of Enlightenment, pretty much moving away from the influence of faith to the influence of science, the emphasis on science and how it impacted those who practiced was reflected in literature. Each of the main three works mentioned earlier each show signs of science and enlightenment.

The other themes shown in these types of works are isolation, loneliness, and duality. Most of the characters embody the feeling of being isolated, being lonely, being helpless. Duality is mainly mirrored through Dr. Jekyll when turning into Mr. Hyde and in the idea of vampires, resting during the day and running amok and causing destruction when the night comes.

Do you have a favorite monster or work of monster literature?

Emotion in Writing

Laurie Halse Anderson:

“Write about the emotions you fear the most.”

Showing, Not Telling, Pt. 2

Richard Price:

“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burning sock lying on the ground.”

The Book Blogger

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Whether you’re just the classic book blogger or an author wishing to expand your horizon from writing extensively to reading extensively, book blogging has an advantage on both sides of the screen. If you’re an author looking for some more marketing exposure, there are many benefits to taking the plunge and sending your book around to some of your favorite blogs. If you are seasoned book blogger or book blogger to-be, creating your identity  and review criteria will be key components to building your audience and its success.

Book bloggers get to pick and choose the genre they want to focus on for their blog. The broader the mind of the blogger is, the better chance you have of sneaking your book on their website for a review. By doing this, you can branch out to a new fanbase or a new demographic of readers. If you’re a newer author, going to a more established blog will help your exposure. But, if you’re more experienced, granting your presence to a smaller blog will help them as well. It never hurts to be a Good Samaritan, especially during this ‘season of giving.’ If the blogger has criteria in which they review, see if you meet them and if so, move forward with handing in the application. If not, maybe consider starting your own.

Or indie and self-published authors can really utilize the book blogger or the identity of being a book blogger. An author can become the book blogger. Some authors can take the time to review other books within the genre they feel most comfortable with, especially if their own novel is of the same genre. If you, as an author, wish to grow within your craft but need some guidance, you can always use the blog as a way to review books outside of your comfort zone.

Writing With…

Elmore Leonard:

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.”

Fanfiction for the Soul

 

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Fanfiction has been in existence since 1939; you read that right. 1939. Now, fanfiction has served as an outlet for many to read and write as they please within a world the original storyteller has already created. It can be broken down into many subcategories as well, like: angst, crossover, fluff, darkfic, fix-fic, hurt/comfort, shipping, self-insert, smut, songfic, and WAFF. We’ve discussed some places where fanfiction can be found on the internet (Wattpad, FicWad, Tumblr, etc.) but another outlet which some can profit from is Kindle Worlds – Amazon’s fanfiction service.

Are you a writer of fanfiction and don’t like to admit it? Well, E.L. James and Anna Todd are two successful fanfiction writers and some writing professionals have taken to fanfiction as well. We all know E.L. James – writer of 50 Shades of Grey, and currently rewriting her best-selling series in Christian Grey’s point of view. Everyone knows the original 50 Shades was Twilight fanfiction. If you’re just learning this now, you read that right – Twilight fanfiction. Another author on the rise is Anna Todd. We’ve talked about her previously as a Wattpad star, but her original series After is based on some fanfiction she wrote about the British boyband sensation, One Direction. Embrace your love for writing fanfiction…these ladies did and they’re bestselling authors now!

Moving on to a more touch-y subject, many authors who rose to their fame the old-fashioned way don’t necessary enjoy fanfiction, especially of their own works. Authors like Stephanie Meyer, George R.R. Martin, J.D. Salinger, and Diana Gabaldon see fanfiction in a similar way: some form of plagiarism, discrediting the author of original story, and not a good way to write if you want to make a career out of it. But let’s break down why fanfiction is good for the soul, according to AutumnMooncakes (a fanfiction writer) and another source:

  1. To clear the air, fanfiction is not technically a form of plagiarism. It isn’t a form of trademark infringement until someone decides to make profit off it. This is exactly why E.L. James drastically changed her fanfiction to become an original piece of work.
  2. The writing of fanfiction helps embrace the creativity within an individual. Not all writers have a sense of what they wish to write about, all they know is – they want to write. So by using a world already created by published authors, the writer can exercise their own writing capabilities.
  3. Fanfiction has proven to be a form of support for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The connection people have to reading LGBTQ+ type fanfiction can change a person’s life in a way. So, why wouldn’t you want to helping people not feel alone?
  4. And find a way to deal with the bumps in the road of writing. Fanfiction sets creative limits with the characters already made by the author, getting the minor details right, and there needs to be plenty of research to make the character accurate. Even when the original author has added onto the series (i.e. spin-off, prequels), it makes the writing process more interesting to revisit the fanfiction piece to include new details.

I respect any author who dislikes fanfiction; they’re entitled to their own opinion and demand respect for their work. It should always be remembered a piece of fanfiction can save a life, can serve as an outlet for their fans who are facing their own struggles and a way for writers to embark on their journey of writing.

Writing Revelation

Anton Chekhov:

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Creative Writing In School

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A few articles have surfaced recently discussing the assessment process of creative writing and how to properly do that without having an opinion. My brain started to question, why in the world would you want to be opinion-less with something that NEEDS opinion?

In a school setting, creative writing projects ultimately need to be written for its intended audience (a.k.a your professor or English teacher). Sure, people recommend grading these assignments with the intention to purely assess for structural flaws or grammatical errors but we all know that often times the graders own personal preferences could also influence their grading process. With assignments which have deadlines, writing capabilities are challenged. It’s hard to adopt your own creative process when you have another person’s personal preferences and deadlines looming out in front of you.

Instead of making every short story project (or whatever story form you are practicing at the time) mandatory in a writing class or course, what if creative writing is used as a source of extra credit? Students are always looking for options for extra credit and teachers are always looking for ways to get their students more involved with their work- seems like a win-win for everyone. It would encourage writers to come forth and own their passion for putting their fingers to a keyboard. It also encourages writers to participate and challenge themselves if they choose to; there is no pressure of a week-long deadline or need to write a particular type of story. The best part is that grading isn’t an opinion here. If a student does the extra credit assignment, then BAM…check mark next to their name –  that’s it. Of course, if the grader chooses to give detailed feedback on how to improve sentence structure, character development, setting description, etc. they can.

A class also doesn’t have to have a creative writing focus to have this extra credit option. A teacher can still grant their students this freedom to challenge their writing skills when they please and not feel pressured on the grading system. It also puts more of a focus on themes within creative writing and/or creative writing altogether, which we all know we can use a little more of in our lives.

So, maybe we should see a transition of creative writing courses into groups, sessions, and after-school activities. It also doesn’t hurt to have a concentration in creative writing with that English degree though…