by Stephanie O’Brien When you start to create a novel, one of the first questions you have to ask yourself is, “Should I start by creating an outline, or just fly by the seat of my pants?” Both of these options have their merits. As I noted in a previous blog post, creating an […]
20 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published. Really? These books changed my life.
I remember the day perfectly when I read the first Harry Potter book. It was suggested to me by my grandma, who had read in a newspaper article that kids were going wild over these books. I’m not sure why she thought I would like the books out of all of my siblings, but I like to think it was fate. I was seven years old at the time and my mom took me to the local library, where I eagerly checked it out. I will say, I had never really read a chapter book at that point in my life, so I was rather intimidated at the number of pages and chapters (now I read 600+ page books – I was so naive at that age). But, I persisted and fell in love with all of the magic. I became a better reader, a better writer, and I truly wouldn’t be the same person that I am today if Harry Potter hadn’t come magically into my life. Thank you so much for the memories, Harry.
“Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.” ~ Pablo Neruda
Happy Summer Solstice from Scribbles and Scripts!
by Dr. Kent Gustavson When it comes to writing, publishing, and marketing a book, there are many mistakes to be made (many more than 99). The #1 most important mistake NOT to make is over-investment. I’ll give a quick anecdote about that, and then give the whole list of my 99 favorite book mistakes. […]
I’ve been finishing up some writing projects, so I’ve been a little quiet on here. However, in the midst of all of the writing, I did take some time to read a book that I’ve been meaning to read for years: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe.
It’s an old book, published in 1794. It’s a long pieces of work (over 600 pages) and is the book that is considered the start of the genre of Gothic literature. It’s been a long time since I read a book from the 18th century, so I was preparing myself to slowly read through the pages, digesting each sentence to make sense of the stilted, archaic language. However, I was wrong. Okay, the words “countenance,” “honor,” and “esteem” are heavily used in this book, but the book is way ahead of its time in sense of sentence and story structure. There are also numerous tears that fall and fainting spells that happen (I mean a lot), but there’s mystery, horror, psychological thrills, and romance all neatly packaged within its pages. These pages follow the story of Emily, an orphan cast into the hands of her evil guardian, Count Montoni. Hidden away in the mountains of Italy in the Castle of Udolopho, Emily is not only at the mercy of Montoni’s wrath as he sets out to claim ownership of her estates, but placed within psychological duress as she uncovers the many haunting secrets of the castle and tries in vain to reconnect with her lover, Valancourt.
It took awhile for this book to grow on me but now that I’ve finished the book, I feel lonely without it (and that’s a good sign). I haven’t read a good, old-fashioned thriller (and romance!) in awhile and this has all the twists, turns, and surprises that I would hope for in such a novel.
I also think this book grew on me because of the many references to nature found within it. Though a pioneering piece for Gothic literature, the book is technically part of the Romantic Era and Radcliffe wastes no time in detailing the awe inspiring Pyrenees, the turquoise Mediterranean, and bountiful forests that make up many of her descriptive paragraphs. Emily also has an appreciation of nature that offers her comfort and solace when in duress; nature is also something that she and her lover connect upon. In short, I find it beautiful and terribly romantic.
Radcliffe was one of the highest paid authors of her day for her books and there’s not a doubt as to why. If you’re looking for something different and something somewhat challenging to for your summer reading, check out The Mysteries of Udolopho.
This evening, I read a rather interesting article about writing and anger. We’re often told that writing when we’re angry will result in regret (after all, our emotions are getting the better of us and we spill our thoughts and feelings in a moment of passion to another individual). However, writing when we’re angry for only the audience of ourselves is a completely different story.
Writing is perhaps on of the most therapeutic endeavors that you can participate in. If you’re angry, hurt, and dejected, it’s a way to get your feelings out of you in a constructive manner. It’s also a way to get your emotions out of you in a mindful manner. According to the article Five Steps on Mindfully Releasing Anger by Andrea Brandt, PhD, MFT, “writing down your emotions—without judging them—is one of the quickest ways to become aware of what’s going on inside you.” I can tell you that each journal that I’ve ever written in throughout my lifetime has taken all sorts of anger from me – and has left me feeling better for purging in its pages .
This post perhaps seems a little out of character for Scribbles and Scripts, but I’ve suffered a number of frustrations over the past couple of months and I’ve noticed that writing has always allowed me to release these frustrations without ruining the relationships in my life. I’ve also been enjoying practicing yoga to release some of these frustrations as well, so perhaps that’s another reason why topics on mindfulness are so interesting to me at the moment.
So I’ll sign off on this post with a homework assignment for anyone who’s reading this – next time your angry, write out your feelings. No editing allowed. Just write. You’ll feel better afterwards.
The Five Steps to Mindfully Releasing Anger
April is National Poetry Month and April 22nd is also Earth Day. Reflecting on the day today, I can’t help but think about all of the writers that have been inspired by nature: Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, Alfred Lord Tennyson, John Keats, Robert Burns, Emily Dickinson, William Shakespeare – the list can go on and on.
I myself am a writer who is continuously inspired by nature and truly, without the beauty of the forests, meadows, oceans, and animals to reflect upon, my inspiration would be taken away. Though not everyone desires to write about the natural world, I have yet to find a writer who has not at one point been inspired by nature in some way or another throughout their writing journey.
As writers, I believe it’s important for us to continue to delve into nature; to praise it poetically, to describe it’s beauty, awesomeness, and inspiration. Our planet needs us more than ever, and we as artists have the gift to inspire and move others into action. Here’s some ways that you can help save the planet, one word at a time:
Read nature-focused fiction and non-fiction pieces. Delve into those poems on the awesomeness of nature that were written during the Romantic Era. Read Silent Spring, A Walk in the Woods, H is for Hawk, Gorillas in the Mist, etc. No better place to start then reading the same types of work that you are interested in writing.
Observe. Go to the park or your backyard. Notice the small things, the details of nature so often overlooked in the rush of life such as the intricacies of the feathers of a bird, the veins in a leaf, the spider’s web – each is a potential for inspiration and new discovery.
Take action. Plant a community garden, fight for environmental rights and legislation, fundraise, participate in clean ups, etc. It’s hard to only write about the beauty of the earth without caring for it first. Take the time to care for your living and breathing home.
Message. What’s the message of your piece? Keep the answer in mind as you craft your work.
Get your work out there! Below are a list of publications that accept nature works of various styles. Check them out!
Center for Humans and Nature: http://www.humansandnature.org/
The Goose: http://scholars.wlu.ca/thegoose/
Orion Magazine: https://orionmagazine.org/
The Fourth Rive: http://www.thefourthriver.com/