This Discrimination Is Still OK – The Sunday Re-Blog

This post came recommended by Sourcerer Blog, and Gene’O was really hoping it would be shared and move around the Blogosphere. Figured I could help!

The point? Words still matter. The things we say can help keep people in bad situations. There’s a lot of words that have just worked their way right into the lexicon that I have never really gotten into myself, and I am so happy for it. I’ll stick with my curse words, thank you!

Drifting Through

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“Pardon me while I burst into flames,

I’ve had enough of the world and people’s mindless games.

Pardon me while I burst and rise above the flame.

Pardon me, pardon me. I’ll never be the same.”

-Incubus, Pardon Me

We live in a world where discrimination still happens but it often happens in the shadows. It is done in the way cowards typically do things- when the world isn’t watching or paying attention. And it still happens far too often. Gay slurs are still spewed and racist words still are hurled. And most of us can agree that this is shameful and pathetic. And it’s only just recently that the world is starting to agree that gay-bashing as abhorrent. Still, there has to be someone for all this fury to be directed towards. There has to be someone to absorb all of the misdirected anger and venom that still seems…

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W – Writer’s Block

WAh, Writer’s Block. That scourge of writers the world over. I suppose. Is it though? What are some of the elements of Writer’s Block?

For me, the very first and major hurdle of Writer’s Block is how to start. I, like many writers I imagine, have a number of stories mapped out in my head, notes hidden around in margins, on smart phones, tablets, writing programs. When do you know enough? About your characters, your setting? Do you understand it all? Have you read enough to know that no one else has already written your story? And how do you hook your readers?

This is a hard wall to get past, for sure. As best I understand, at some point you just have to start. For me, that’s still a work in progress.

Once you’re going, maybe you started too soon! Oh no, how do you resolve this part? Describe this scene? How do you convey to your readers exactly what you feel when you think about it? Or maybe you know time needs to pass, but don’t know what might happen between where you’re coming from and where you’re going. Maybe you need to give another character some time in the sun, but aren’t sure what to have happen.

Or maybe Writer’s Block is just your excuse – your excuse for having a life, for letting time get away from you, for not being as diligent in writing as you feel like you ought to be. Because while the largest category is likely the books never written, there is still very likely a very large selection of books started but unfinished. It’s an easy trap to fall into. It’s life.

And then there’s towards the end, you have a written story! But you’re editing. Thinking it through, revising. Have you developed your voice enough? Have you used good language to convey your points and story? And is it something unique, something that hasn’t been written before? Is it something new under the sun?

At some point you have to let it go, have to decide it’s good enough. Not everyone can be J.K. Rowling or George Lucas and edit their works after they’re already published. But before you reach that point, you can likely hit the hardest road blocks, the most doubt: is it good enough? Will anyone, in their right mind – or at least the mind they bring to the table on the day they’re making the decision – publish it? Would you even self-publish it yourself? As you might be your hardest critic, after all.

I can see a lot of things we might mean by Writer’s Block. Once I get going, in a single session, I tend not to stop when writing – I tend to flow. For me, the trouble is getting started, is having the time, is taking the time. How about you? Any Writer’s Block stories or tips to share? Venture forth to the comments below! Can’t think of what to comment about? Writer’s Block strikes again!

U – Understanding

U

Okay, so on the one hand, this seems like me reaching for something that starts with U for the A to Z Challenge. On the other hand, this is one of the ones that made some of the most sense to me.

The famous quote is, of course, Write What You Know. Because in so many ways, writing is taking what you know, and making it so it’s a thing the reader knows. Maybe they won’t know all of it – maybe they’ll only take a quote away. Nonetheless, you’re adding to what they know.

However, as you may have noticed, I am a fan of science fiction and fantasy – genres that are impossible if you take a literal interpretation of “Write What You Know.” Only a handful of people would be qualified to write about travel in space. No one has been to Middle Earth (except apparently anyone who has been to New Zealand). And yet, these works can be written, and read, and understood.

So that is the crux of the matter: it’s about understanding. The writer should understand what they are including in their book: understand the language they are using, understand the grammar and words; understand the characters they are including, their psychology and experiences; understand the setting and the things that happen there, whether that’s the climate or how the people fight or what they eat for breakfast.

And maybe you don’t have to know all of those things. And certainly you don’t have to have experienced them all yourself. But the writer should have an understanding of these things – whether that comes from education, research, reading, experiences, talking to people or experts, or wild extrapolation.

Because when you understand it, and put it in such that it makes sense and is believable, your readers will get it too. Not to say all writing must be realistic in that it is only real things that happen; however, the things that happen should be internally consistent, should have a realism within the world they are in. Whether that’s how alien technologies work or magic systems or biology or computer software (No click enhance! Bad!). By understanding these things happening, you can create that consistency, make things make sense, and have their own logic. And then your readers will understand, too.

What do you think? Write What You Know? How much do you need to understand? Let me know in the comments down below!

M – Music

MI was originally going to write on the topic of Magazines with the letter M, but I think I am beating on Journalism and all a pretty decent amount, and I think I’ll be back at it tomorrow. So for now, let’s change gears, after my question yesterday about Language. I said I would talk about my favorite use of language, so here we are with Music.

I suppose I have written on this subject recently on Comparative Geeks. I love music and song lyrics. From the earlier days of Facebook, when you could put your interests as whatever you wanted to (instead of them being tied to “pages” run by other people), one of mine was “Listening to music without understanding it.” For me, music lyrics are the modern poetry; certainly the popular poetry. We applaud the musician who is also writing their own lyrics. And we’ll probably excuse a lot more because of it.

Music is about creating an emotion, a feeling, a reaction, a mood. Lyrics serve only to enhance that. To replicate that. So the same things can be said: lyrics create an emotion, a feeling, a reaction, a mood. And can tell a story. Some of the most fun is when they do. Better yet is when they tell a story that you haven’t figured out yet – just as much fun as a deep poem with hidden and layered meanings. Am I equating T.S. Elliot to Rush? Maybe. Probably.

More novels should include music in them. I have been super excited that they’ve included songs in the Hobbit movies. And in Game of Thrones! The Bear and the Maiden Fair, anyone? No? How about The Rains of Castamere?

In closing, I think I will return to the Dune quote I used over on Comparative Geeks. The music of life.

WHAT IS SURVIVAL IF YOU DO NOT SURVIVE WHOLE?… WHAT IF YOU NO LONGER HEAR THE MUSIC OF LIFE? MEMORIES ARE NOT ENOUGH UNLESS THEY CALL YOU TO NOBLE PURPOSE!

Leto II, Heretics of Dune

L – Language

LWhen I made my list of A to Z Challenge topics, I came up with things that I could largely remember, knew what I would or could talk about, and that would all be nicely thematic. However, while it’s a nice sounding topic, I cannot for the life of me remember what I was going to write about Language.

I could talk from the philosophical standpoint. About how, without language, how do we think? What do we think? What is it like? Just images? What do words “sound” like to a deaf person? Something that we will likely never be able to explain, constrained as we are by language.

There’s something often talked about – the constraints of language. About how there’s only so much we can describe with it. But how do you tell me what Red looks like? Or for that matter, what a Wine tastes like, though to be fair, those two could really just go together…

But what about the freeing aspects of language? How much more we CAN say because of it, rather than the difficult areas we lack sufficient synaesthesia to explain?

I think this calls for a reader-driven topic for the day. What are some of your favorite uses of language? Let me know in the comments section down below! I think I am going to change up my plans for tomorrow and talk about mine.

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