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Creative Writing Tips and Tricks

I Steal the Silence

I steal the silence.

The light post gleams beneath the stars. The air is crisp tonight, and my lungs expand noiselessly between breaths; I feel them brush against my rib cage in soft caresses. In, out. My chest hums with a certain happiness, a broken quiet. Slowly, I bury my toes into the soil and I feel them thrum below the earth. The roots of the trees send signals across my feet, primitive neurons climbing up my ankles.

The lamp swells in a vacuum of voices, and I swallow it up, absorb it in my pores. I close my eyes and listen. The silence is a voice of its own.

 

 

Written by Hannah Butcher

©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

 

How to “Find” Time

Time is a liquid. We carry it throughout the day in our cupped hands; we slosh it around as the hours pass; we watch as droplets fall unto the ground when we stress and when we are unproductive; we watch time glide down our fingers when we procrastinate. And when the day is over, we throw our exhausted bodies onto our beds, and we realize we did nothing that day to make ourselves happy. We look down into our hands and we are surprised.

“Where did the time go?” we ask.

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Oh, but we know where it is. It disappears when we consciously use it on things that truly do not matter. Things that do not make us happy.

Time is a resource we constantly take for granted. Recently, my friend and I were having a conversation regarding this topic, and she relayed an interesting perspective to me. She said, “Time isn’t the problem. Time doesn’t stop us from doing the things we want. Energy does.”

In other words, when we say there is a “lack of time” and use it as an excuse to avoid doing the things that truly matter (such as writing, creating music, drawing, going for a run, etc.) we are using it as a scapegoat. In reality, we just don’t have enough motivation to complete the tasks we want, the ones that make us happy. As a result, we are exhausted and disappointed at the end of each day.

We are setting ourselves up for failure.

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To avoid feeling this way at the end of every day, make it a priority to set aside time for yourself. It is medicine for the soul. It is rejuvenation. You may claim to have a busy schedule, but there will always be time for anything you set your mind to; you just have to push yourself.

This piece of advice especially relates to my writers out there. We, including artists in general, make the excuse that there is not enough time in a day to complete everything we need to, let alone tend to our art. Well, the truth is that there are 12 hours in every day.  You can certainly afford to allot 20 minutes to something you love.

Can’t you?

Tomorrow, your hands will be filled with time once more. Time will fill up your cupped palms and we you will be expected to spend it. Do so wisely.

Let me know of any comments you have below! I’d love to hear from you.

April Writing Contest Winner

Happy Sunday!

I would like to congratulate Sakshi (AKA the Escapist) for being April’s prose winner of the 2B or Not 2B website! Her writing is filled with simplistic imagery and genuine emotions, and I’m so happy to be able to share her work. Her piece “Unfamiliar Contentment” effortlessly depicts a father’s love for his newborn child.

You can explore Sakshi’s blog and her other works here.

Every month there will be a new winner pertaining to all genres of writing, so keep a lookout for new artists featured on this blog!

 

Unfamiliar Contentment
by Sakshi the Escapist 

He held her for the first time in his arms and her tiny hand gripped his finger. The touch was soft. Tender. He could already feel the walls around his heart crumbling under its power. The walls he had built for years, brick by brick. While looking at her beautiful face, he was feeling an unfamiliar contentment.

“What did I tell you?” his wife asked him. He could hear the smugness in her voice.

He raised his eyes and looked towards his wife who was smirking and looking at the tiny bundle of happiness in his arms. He got up from the chair and sat beside his wife on the hospital bed. He felt his face split into a wide smile.

“Yeah,” he said. “She’s perfect.”

Just then their daughter yawned with her baby mouth and opened her small eyes, and in that moment, he felt he had conquered the world.

 

 

 

*If you would like to participate in the April writing contest, simply fill out a form on this website’s Submissions Page. You may send me an email or comment below if you have any questions or concerns.*

I’m looking forward to May’s submissions!

Piety

 

Between the crevices in the syntax, the sentence, the subject,

punctuation serves as an altar

to ideas that cannot be connected by splinters or nails.

Exclamation marks that yell also scream out tales.

Gentle commas swirl into periods, like silk but even softer

 and create something that serves

the crevices between the icons and the choir.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher

©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

Character Development

I haven’t written a post specifically giving advice to you writers out there in a while. Personally, I haven’t felt particularly inspired in terms of story writing and therefore didn’t feel right giving advice on something that I myself wasn’t practicing.

I did find my inspiration, though, and I am resuming to write poetry and short pieces of fiction again. So, without further adieu, I will talk about something that all writers struggle with in their pieces of work: character development.

Character development, or the evolution of characters within a written piece, can be extremely difficult to grasp. In every short story I’ve written, character development proved to be the hardest aspect for me. A writer’s goal is to make his characters as believable as possible; therefore, he has to make them as complicated as possible.

Human beings are the most complex creatures on earth, their thoughts and bodies intricate and sensitive. So how, you may ask, can you possibly create a fictional character as complex as a real person? The answer lies in your technique, your connection with your character, and your dedication to it.

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Technique

Think of your favorite book. Does the main character within it stay the same throughout? Is he/she the same at the end of the story as they are in the beginning?

The answer is, in most cases, no. A good character evolves throughout the novel.

To ensure your character’s evolution, you must illustrate your character’s flaws, virtues, vices, and beliefs through action and dialogue. A real person is not inherently perfect; therefore, your character shouldn’t be either. Think of your favorite villain. Is he/she your favorite because they are stagnant and boring? No; they are your favorite because they have three dimensional motives and relatable qualities to them. Your readers will better relate to a character who is flawed than to a character who is perfect. So, let your character make mistakes in the novel. Let them make wrong choices and let them learn from them.

Never explicitly state what a character is feeling. If the reader cannot analyze your character and contemplate his decisions, then he is not a good character. In this area, imagery is crucial. Describe your character’s actions through strong verbs, descriptive adjectives, and concrete nouns.

At a certain point, or perhaps at the climax of a story, a character may realize something crucial they haven’t before. At some critical point in the novel, your character must metamorphose. It helps to map out your character’s feelings as they change according to the events of the novel. I usually use a graphic organizer for this. Remember, your character cannot be the same as he was at the beginning of the book. Otherwise, the story isn’t worth telling.

connect-20333_1280Connection

You are not going to write a good character if you do not identify with him/her. That’s just how it is. Without a decent connection, your character will lose strength and will not feel believable to your reader. To help build your connection and understanding of your character, refer to this list which will help you sort your character’s traits through in-depth questions.

heart-1078771_1280Dedication

Revise, revise, revise. Authors go through hundreds of revisions before the final product. If you finish your novel or short story and realize that your character is not as believable as you hoped, go back and change your character’s actions or pieces of dialogue so that they better fit with their traits, or so that they are more complicated. Great character development requires a lot of your time, effort, and passion. Without these things, your character will fall flat.

A flat character does not change throughout the novel. A round character, on the other handis what you want to strive for—your character changes and evolves as the plot unfolds. If you dedicate yourself to making your character round, you will succeed in doing so.

Character development, although intimidating, is a magical thing when done correctly. I wish you luck, and never stop writing!

Tiny Bird

I pad across cobblestone streets

and my wide eyes drink in

the world around me.

I watch as the sky releases fleets

of dark grey and water-color yellow–

Big Ben punctures the clouds.

I ask him where I am and he bends his head,

exhales a gust of bells and a metallic groan:

“A world away from your own.”

 

Something swells

in my chest and tells

me to soar into grey clouds

and release my comfort zone,

fling it down like a bomb

that I usually hug close.

I am a tiny bird,

breaking bonds, youthful yellow.

I am learning to explore.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher

©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

March Poetry Contest Winner

Happy Sunday, everyone!

I would like to congratulate Ralph Alley III (AKA Connor) for being March’s poetry winner of the 2B or Not 2B website! His writing follows a narrative structure and truly transports the reader to a different world. His poem “Beyond Our Dreams” shows how poetry can easily become a device of story-telling.

Every month there will be a new winner pertaining to all genres of writing, so keep a look out for new artists featured on this blog!

 

Beyond Our Dreams

By Ralph Alley III

With a siren voice singing and exhaustion coming into my mind as a guest,
my mind and soul go into a long sleep.
I stand on a small sphere of green, solid and blue liquid
that my bare feet may crush without notice.
In my blue monk robes and white wings behind my back,
black hair falls down like a waterfall to my back
with feelings of veneration from head to toe.

Spheres of light fly in the black sky,
with the Queen of the golden sun and King of the silver moon dancing together.
Nebulas shine and galaxies sparkle
and constellations run throughout space;
Oh, what a beautiful sight it was!

A male voice came out of the void,
rich as honey, but dark as blood.
He asked me, “Little girl, what do you think of dreams?”

I answered, “Dreams are the beliefs that we believe in,
reminders that gives us strength throughout the day.”

The spirit appeared,
wearing a robe of infernos,
“Ha! Dreams are lies.
Humans make dreams to believe in the lies they make,
so how can dreams be truth?”

I replied, “I didn’t say that dreams are truth or lies.
Dreams are what our secrets and hidden desires come from.
Just like there are two sides of a coin,
dreams focus on our happiness, bravery and calmness
while nightmares tell us our worst fears, anger and depression.”

The spirit then took me to a metropolis near a sea
where things were done by free will.
But then hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and heat waves
appeared of all sudden
while other natural disasters occurred
around other parts of the world,
killing so many people and wildlife.

The spirit, with a malicious smile, said,
“You may look at the good,
but you never look at the bad.
That is the nature of being human,
but it is always your choice.”

Out of nowhere, a thunderbolt came straight down from
heavens and struck where I stood.

At that moment,
I woke with sweat on my brow
and I then remembered the dream,
which took a few seconds,
and learned an important lesson.

Many people question,
“What will the end of the world be like?”
Many answer with differently,
with or without evidence,
but the truth is that we never know,
because the answer is beyond our dreams.

 

You can view more of Connor’s pieces here.

*If you would like to participate in the April writing contest, simply fill out a form on this website’s Submissions Page. You may send me an email or comment below if you have any questions or concerns.*

Never stop writing!

Why You Need to Take More Risks [Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone]

Happy Saturday!

The differences between being alive and living are drastic. Depending upon how you analyze the word, being alive is merely existing. For instance, you are alive if your lungs expand, if your heart thumps rhythmically. You are alive if you simply function.

Truly living, on the other hand, consists of building upon experiences and memories. The more you experience and the more you make the most of the life you are given, the better you are living. There is a reason why the U.S Census Bureau calls a country’s standard of living its “standard of living” rather than its “standard of being alive.” It’s because living means satisfaction. It means happiness.

“I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

-Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

 

The character John from Brave New World outlines what it means to truly live by taking risks. He explains that he yearns for experiences in his life, even ones that he would not initially be comfortable with. The idea that the key to living is taking risks is seen through the character John and is a prime lesson to readers.

I believe wholeheartedly that taking risks is the key to truly living. Constant security will only leave you alive, and it will not make you happy.

This is why, this summer and next year, I am stepping out of my comfort zone more than ever and embracing the risks life has to offer. This summer I am traveling alone to England to study literature, and will also be traveling to Turkey and Malta the following month. Next year I will also be visiting Israel and exploring the Holy Land.

Although I am terrified beyond belief to step that far from my comfort zone, I hope these experiences will positively affect the way I live, and, in turn, will make me happy to be alive.

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I hope to write about my adventures in these places around the world and will most likely start a series on this blog about my travels, so keep a look out for those!

Do you have any thoughts on the importance of taking risks, or the meaning of truly living? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you.

Happy living!

How to Be Happy

if you

pluck a rainbow from the sky and

tie it in a bow,

offer it as a present to

a clouded heart.

soon,

the weather channel will broadcast

the weatherman’s forecast

as a pair of sunshine smiles.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher

©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

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