Music Mondays: Part XVI

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde famously says that “those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.

In writing, there is no ugly meaning — even if the meaning is to expose the ugliness of moral corruption and vanity. Exposing, revealing, and reflecting can in no way indicate an ugly purpose; in fact, by Wilde’s standards it would be considered a beautiful meaning because it is composed as art for the sake of art.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” This rings true for all art. A piece that deals with themes of depravity or devolution is not morally corrupt; it is quite noncombatant. Art serves as a narrator, a biographer of what the world might be or could be.

Allow this playlist to serve as your narrator. Find out what your writing might be.


Happy writing! 🙂

Music Mondays: Part XV

From the moody to the broody to the downright angsty, writing can come with a lot of er…darker moments. So what better way to fuel your somber tragedies than to listen to some equally somber playlists?


Ah, the apocalypse. Ash. Dust. Wandering around wastelands. Trying to build a civilization from the ground up takes a good deal of sweat, blood, and wayward emotions, and this gem of a playlist will be your righthand man the day after the end of the world.


So you think the apocalypse is bad? Ha. Ha. Ahaha. Try hell. With this playlist, the most dire fates of your most devious characters will be made fiery, fierce, and undeniably excruciating.


Happy writing!:)

 

 

Highfeather — an excerpt from my novel

I’ve never actually shared an excerpt from my novel before. It’s a little baffling to think; two years of blogging and the most I’ve ever posted about my biggest work have been angsty poems and passing mentions in writing tips.

Ah, I love the stench of first drafts in the morning. Without further ado, I present to you, in all of its unedited glory and with absolutely no context whatsoever, an excerpt from my novel.


Aleron remembered Mage saying how Highfeather looked as if it passed judgement on each traveller who crossed in its shadow. As the tower loomed high and blazing over him, he sensed its stony stare, felt it threaten to topple over and crush him for all he was.

Still ablaze. Still burning, but never fallen.

The fire crackled from the peak of the keep tower, casting the stonework of the walls in pulsing, red heat.

And that is where I must go, he thought.

It must’ve been raw instinct that rolled his joints and moved his limbs. He was mechanical in his dismounting of Dusk, systematic as he secured her behind a boulder and hitched his satchel over his shoulder. One foot met its mark on the ground in front of the other, and he carried himself to the fort.

The cold spot he had rode through left his mind numb, but as he passed under the entrance of the curtain wall he could feel the heat of the tower radiating on his skin. He was tired, so very tired, and the warmth only kneaded the worries in his brain, only made him long for sleep and forgetfulness.

He crossed an empty and overgrown bailey. In the night, the shadows cast across the yard by the fire were made long and lanky, like great arms stretching across the earth. The effect was nothing short of mystifying, but he was struck from his contemplation when a fist of thunder pounded the sky.

Up the tower, relay the spell, gather and feast, he thought.

The door that led into the main keep must’ve burned up three years ago, because all that was left was a pile of warped iron. Aleron stepped over the heap to pass under the threshold, and then he was swallowed by darkness.



He became aware of each hitching breath in his chest, and in the still black of the keep, he felt like the only living thing in the world. At first, all was silent and obscured by shadows, but then he heard something soft and fragile, like wind singing through glass. He stumbled through the dark after the sound until he saw a warm glow emitting past a crumbling wall.

He ran for the light, because he didn’t like the restlessness that set into his legs when he stood still for too long. He felt that if he were to keep to one place, then the specters from the smoke would leak into the tower after him. It was like a thousand ghosts were watching him, and he had to keep moving lest they seep into his mind.

He turned around the wall and found himself looking up a spiraling stairwell. The stone trembled in firelight, the source of which lay beyond his line of sight. But the thin music still whistled in his ears, high and begging him to hear more.

He climbed.

He climbed after the light, the warmth, the song. He climbed wondering if he was doing the right thing. He scaled the uneven steps, and he could hear everyone he ever loved warning him, fearing for him, anticipating his movements.

Be watchful, Aleron. Even I forget it sometimes, but you are still a boy.

I’m afraid of what you mean to me, Aleron. Because you’re a bird. And I’m a worm. And birds pluck worms from the dirt.

You brought me to Ferric so that I could change things. But I am in here, and you, whether you like it or not, have more power than all of us.

I’m afraid that you’ll drop off the map altogether.

Your enemy is whatever’s out there twisting people into Wraiths, making people suffer.

Run!

And then he was sprinting, tearing up the stairs, his heart leaping into his throat. And the sound, that spindly song was growing louder and shriller, and he ran with his blood coursing under his skin, threatening to shatter his veins. And he ran with his world, his only chance, clattering against his back, and ghosts were chasing after him, and heat building around him. And he hurt.

He breached the stairs and staggered onto the roof. The grating music pinched off into silence, but the heat from the rising fire engulfed him. The surrounding pinnacles stood ablaze, and the smoke was so thick that he could not see the stars.

The Three can’t save me now, he thought.


© 2016 Stellular Scribe

An Uneventful Paradox

This is a question.
I am a liar.
Did you catch on yet?

‘This is a question’
is not a question.
‘I am a liar,’
but a liar never admits.
‘Did you catch on yet?’
is the only intention.
Even my own words
fail to commit.

Is this a statement?
I don’t tell the truth.
Aren’t you listening?
F*ck being uncouth.
Why do we censor?
There’s nothing to hide for.
Is this a paradox?
No, I’m just a liar.

© 2016 Stellular Scribe

Should Great Writers Steal?

You’ve probably heard the famous quote “good artists borrow, great artists steal” (commonly attributed to Pablo Picasso, but most likely originating from T.S. Eliot).

Before you sound the alarms, there is a world of difference between creatively copying and blatantly plagiarizing. Plagiarism, at least in the context of writing, is the act of taking another person’s work, word-for-word, and passing it off as one’s own. It is never acceptable, excusable, or, in the simplest of terms, ok.

What I like to call “creatively copying” would probably make more sense if I used the analogy of walking down an art museum hallway. You’re surrounded on all sides by splendidly crafted paintings of every era, of every classical artist. Clearly, these are all masterpieces. Then, just as you think you’ve seen it all, something catches your eye, something that stands out from the rest. For you, it might be the extraordinary pointillism in Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte or that singular, swirling gold moon in Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

1024px-Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project

You find an element that speaks to you, and from there are inspired to create your own pointillistic piece or painting themed around that luminous, eternal moon.

I believe that the same principle applies to writing.

For example, I first read George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones three years ago. As I read, I kept coming across small, striking descriptions that arrested me with how vividly they popped off the page into my mental image of the story. Every time I found one of these extraordinary wordings I would dog-ear the page, and by the time I got to the middle of the book I realized that there were just too many gems to continue damaging the paper. So I started to write them down.

IMG_2515.jpg

This is just a small sample from my collection of descriptions.

What did I do with these phrases? Many remained untouched, isolated from their original sentences in the crumpled pages of my notebook. But I always kept them in the back of my mind, and as I was writing my novel I would suddenly remember the perfect pair of words for the perfect situation. I wouldn’t copy them directly, of course. “A reptile stare” became “a reptilian glare.” “Pale moon face” became “sunken, moon-shaped cheeks.” “Frog-faced” became “frog-like lips.”

I used the same technique for the rest of The Song of Ice and Fire series, and for many other books that stuck with me: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, Nicola Griffith’s Hild. They were just bite-sized, beautiful phrases, but one by one, they helped me to learn to look for remarkable qualities in simple descriptions.

I’m a firm believer that great writers must be great readers. And, by nature, a writer who reads is a writer who steals.

© 2016 Stellular Scribe

Dorian

My throat is streaked with
the age of my sins; they are older
than my friends, older than
any end that in striving for
becomes what I am dying for —
but my face is clean,
clean of the sin that boils
my heart, clean of the pride
that spoils each part of me
that could be redeemed, if
to be redeemed did not require
forgiveness, for how can I aspire
for what I don’t profess?
In the end my throat is pocked
with my offenses — but only in oil,
only in my reflection.

Music Mondays: Part XIV

Fantasy is uni-age. You can start it in the creche, and it follows you to death.

― Terry Pratchett

In honor of Terry Pratchett, I’ve hunted down some of my favorite instrumental fantasy mixes on 8tracks. These three playlists will take you from snow-capped mountains and veiled northern lights to the clink of mugs and smell of woodsmoke in a lonely tavern. As you write, follow the wise words of Mr. Pratchett: start in the creche, and strike your journey until death.


Happy writing!:)

It’s My Blog’s Anniversary!

confetti

Marvelous news! Today is the two year anniversary of Stellular Scribe! It all started in 2014 when I was an awkward teenager (a fact that has yet to change), progressed into the dark ages of 2015 (where months would go by with nary a post), and emerged bright and shiny in 2016! I would like to extend my personal thanks to anyone who has ever liked my posts, commented, followed, or even just stopped by. While Stellular Scribe is first and foremost a labor of love and the number of followers or likes I get doesn’t matter, I appreciate each and every one of you.

On that note, I do have a bit of exciting news. This past week has been incredibly busy and I’ve had to break my posting schedule to make room for everything that’s been going on. On top of training for and running a 5k, I recently finished acting in my school’s production of You Can’t Take It With You, which went off without a hitch.

My big news, however, is that my novel was awarded a Gold Key by Scholastic in the Art and Writing Awards.

What does this mean? I don’t really know. I didn’t win the ultimate grand prize or anything, but I’m still incredibly grateful and can’t help feeling undeserving. What I do know is that this award has offered me the recognition I need to motivate myself. For the first time ever, I want to go for it, and I mean really go for it: editing, querying, publishing, the whole shebang. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll self-publish. It might take a year or two, but I’m determined.

My blog’s anniversary could not have come at a better time. I look forward to another year of reading, writing, music, and mayhem!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 🙂

thanks.gif

Music Mondays: Part XIII

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

― Anaïs Nin

The process of writing is colored by perceptions and realities. We connect what we write to what we know, to faraway memories and distant possibilities. Without reading, these hidden truths remain hidden. Here are two playlists that just might help you unearth some hard truths: slavery and heresy.



If anyone is interested in these playlists and wants to know the full track list, leave a comment and I’ll let you know.

Happy writing! 🙂

Writing Kindling #7

Writer’s block may seem like a terminal illness, but sometimes the smallest of sparks can “kindle” your craft. Today I bring you a list of ten 1-2 sentence writing prompts that will help build up your white blood cells and give writer’s block a good kick in the pants. Copy them, tweak them, consider them, leave them. It’s up to you!


  1. Curiosity carved a nasty scar into her heart.

  2. Shelves covered every bit of the scientist’s walls.

  3. “There are monsters in these elevators,” the receptionist said with an unsettling smile.

  4. He raised his arms to protect his throat.

  5. I was out walking in the frozen swamp when the first boom! sounded.

  6. “That won’t be necessary,” she said, pushing her glasses up her nose.

  7. Certainly he had loved her madly, but none of that mattered anymore.

  8. Her hand was soft and composed of spindly fingers.

  9. The sound of hooves clopping on cobblestones interrupted him.

  10. Firelight danced in her eyes, and the air was warm with singing and laughter.


I’d love to hear what you come up with. Feel free to share your writing in the comments!

Happy writing!:)