ReidaBookman

ReidaBookman

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    13
    Published

    How travel can inspire writing (Both fiction and non-fiction)

    When suddenly placed in a new location our brains tend to do funny things. We inhale air we have never tasted, brush our fingers along foreign rock, and bath our eyes in completely new sights. Something about travel bungles our minds. It’s as if we’ve received an electric shock and our neurons have gone nutty, rearranging themselves to create new thought patterns. Of course this doesn’t literally happen but change in environment and routine can cause us to think differently, making new synapses in our brains. Travel can introduce a new perspective, one we’ve never thought of before, or provide fascinating characters that we never would have found from our couches. When we find ourselves somewhere new we tend to pay more attention to everything around us. Our heightened sense of awareness reveals things we might not have noticed if we lived there. Travel can perhaps be described as shock therapy. Removing oneself from an everyday routine can be utterly refreshing, especially for a writer.

    • This is a really cool topic. Maybe to make it a more focused discussion, give some examples of authors who were inspired by places. It is a little broad so giving an example of a book that was inspired by a place or by travel will help. – birdienumnum17 3 years ago
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    • I can relate to this. Every time I travel I make sure to bring a fresh notepad and a good stack of pens. Being in a new environment is great for making you feel inspired. – TheK3 3 years ago
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    • Without travel, we are prisoners to our own lives. Trapped within our schedules, just another pawn of society. Travel provides an escape to the systematic mundanities of life. – finmb99 3 years ago
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    • This sounds like a very fascinating topic. I know from personal experience that travelling has enabled me to think of many ideas for plot, historical settings and character development, and can assist in painting more accurate context for works that are set in other countries and/or time periods. – SophIsticated 3 years ago
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    • Yes, travelling can make for more interesting stories because you are able to relate to the place better after visiting it. Also if you are creating a fictional place you can still that place as the backdrop to you fictional place. – Sazadore 3 years ago
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    • Writing freed the mind from the burden of memory, led to development of more rational, and reflective thought, and allowed for communication beyond the limitations of space and time. Next level is accessible due to the development of the Internet: we can combine writing with pictures, animations and sound. – seadspuzic 3 years ago
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    • I love the idea of this topic. Every time I travel to new places, I scramble to put down notes of everything I encounter - sights, sounds, tastes... There's nothing like being in a new country immersed in another culture to get the creativity flowing, especially when you dig a little deeper and research the history of the places you're going to as this can lead to more interesting stories. – CandiceLocklee 3 years ago
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    • excellent topic choice, I find travelling has a similar effect on me. Dreams become far more vivid and memorable; due to the amount of new experiences had in the daytime. The constant refreshing of ones surroundings provides a writer with inspiration for creative thought, giving a writer the basis for; a new storey, character or setting. Travelling distorts the senses in a really fascinating way, our eyes see unusual things, we hear different languages constantly, our pallet processes new flavours whilst whiffing pungent odours. I think it often parallels psychedelic drug experiences like LSD, explaining why the effects are known as: 'tripping'. – Iliasbakalla 3 years ago
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    • Agree traveling allows you to experience other cultures. If you're an Artist, writer etc. Bringing knowledge outside of where one lives helps expand our minds and become more in tune with other people in the world. – rghtin2be 3 years ago
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    • In the 19th century in Britain there was a rise of what was known as the travelogue - a travel novella that was aimed at capturing both the exotic wider lands of the world, but also reinforces the superiority of the British citizen. One of the first spoofs of this is HG Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau. I think when we talk about the travel novel we also need to comment on the issue of the author lens - the interpretation of experiences and culture through the contextual background of the author's own background. Looking at post-colonial literature theory in relation to travel novels can be both enlightening and depressing for this reason, but I think it is still an area that needs careful consideration. Just a thought. – SaraiMW 3 years ago
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    Word Count: How much of it really counts?

    Does setting a word count goal block the creative process or does it push us beyond our accepted limitations? Many writers will sit down and write so many words a day, all in the name of the perfect length novel. But does needing a certain amount of words create a certain amount of rubbish? How many of those words were really necessary? On the other hand, those who tend to overwrite might be cutting excess words with the help of a proper word count, using it to determine where they got a little carried away. When are word counts useful? What is their effect on progress? Who might find it troublesome or helpful and how so?

    • Very good topic. I would suggest for the writer who picks this up to look into requirements for getting published in the different genres i.e. Science Fiction and fantasy word count requirements vary from historical romance and so on. It would be worthwhile investigating this for research into the article. – mattcarlin 3 years ago
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    • You make a good point. What's the point of setting a word count, marching through it with gritted teeth, only to end up deleting half of it in editing? It's very frustrating when all that hard work goes down the drain, but I think reaching a word count target can be comforting when you're trying to convince yourself that you can do it at all. It might seem like a dream to finish a novel, but setting that concrete 50,000 word goal lets you divide that into manageable pieces. And even if the end result is not its best, at least by the end you know you can actually do it. You've proved to yourself that you're capable. As long as the word count is taken as a guideline instead of a rule, I think it can be quite useful, at least for those still gaining confidence in their endurance in the writing process. – Sohini 3 years ago
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    Genre Crossing: Do or Don't?

    Often times authors create a strong image for themselves by writing in a specific genre. When you think of Stephen King you think horror. But what about those who experiment with different genres? Are they simply stretching their creative limbs or are they lost and in need of a home? While perhaps more relevant to younger writers this also applies to giants in the industry such as Lois Lowry who’s most renowned for her novel "The Giver" (A dystopian novel) and "Number the Stars" (Historical fiction). These novels vary in setting, character, and most notably the year they take place. Despite being entirely different works they belong to the same author who was able to stretch her talent across genres. But how often does genre crossing work? There is also the question of slipstream in which writers cross genres, such as fantasy and science fiction, within a story. What does that entail? Does genre crossing enhance or sabotage one’s career as a writer?

    • it might be interesting to consider how much control the writer has in defining/confining genre - there's a lot of argument that genres are created out of reader recognition, according to current context, in the moment of consumption ... which might explain the concern of some writers about their works being read/received 'wrong'. – rosemichael 3 years ago
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    • While Stephen King is best known for horror like It and The Shining, he also wrote Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption; the latter being turned into the #1 film of all time on IMDb. – AGMacdonald 3 years ago
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    • A complex issue with no clear-cut answers. Marketing has a lot to do with genre policing of course. There are obvious commercial/publishing risks if an author creates a work that is hard to button-hole. Which shelf should it go on? But if you're writing literary fiction, rather than so-called 'popular' fiction, then genre-bending, along with all sorts of other experimentation, is fair game. – SFG 3 years ago
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    • It can be frustrating for new authors with stories that don't fit neatly into a stereotypical genre to even get published. Many of the examples given are from established authors who are given more leeway. Genre crossing within a single piece of literature is much trickier. – MB42 3 years ago
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    Theatre on screen: live vs. recording

    Theatre has been prevalent in the film industry since Dorothy skipped down a yellow brick road in 1939 and existed even before that. While traditionally theatre is preformed live in front of an audience there have been several movies made including "Into the Woods" (2014) and "Les Miserables" (2012) that seek to immortalize those performances. Do film adaptations provide the same experience or is it a mere shadow of live theatre? When preforming live things can go wrong, people will improvise, and it turns out a little differently each night. Does this enhance the piece or take away from it? Conversely, there are musicals that are based on movies like "The Waitress" (2007). Do the musical adaptations add to the movies or do they make a difference at all? And lastly, what about the live recordings of musicals like "Hairspray Live!" in 2016? Do these hybrids provide a happy medium or is there even an audience for it?

    • It would be interesting to explore this topic, but be sure to cite how in recent years TV and Broadway have become one with these live shows broadcasted on TV or in theatres such as "Newsies." – BMartin43 3 years ago
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    • The 'liveness' of theatre vs. movies/television is always an interesting topic to write about. A good book to read about this topic is "The Theatre of the Unimpressed" by Jordan Tannahill. It has some great insights on theatre in the modern world of digital entertainment. – tysonfraleigh 3 years ago
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    Recovering from rejection: A writers journey

    It’s happened to us all. We received an email from an editor that dashed our hopes and dreams against the rocks. Rejection is a fact of life and even the most successful of writers have gone through it several hundred times, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and E. E, cummings to name a few. Today’s publishing market is not as ridged as it once was. Now there are other avenues for writers to seek publication such as online-only publishing, self publishing, or paying to publish but the old publishing houses remain and rejection letters are still given out in healthy doses. An interesting topic to explore might be the sudden drop and forced recovery after receiving a rejection. You could use numerous examples of people who have survived and give helpful hints and tips for those feeling discouraged. In the words of Sylvia Plath "I love my rejection slips. They show me I try."

    • As you say, Stephen King, in his part-memoir part-creative writing course "On Writing", relates how he used to poke his rejection slips onto a nail in the wall above his desk. Eventually the nail bent under the weight. He carried on writing anyway, and with each rejection slip learned something new and to try harder and stretch his talent further. – ThomasB 3 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    ReidaBookman

    I love this idea! Expanding into the minds of the readers is an incredibly intriguing thought and I will definitely do some research into the topic.

    Fear in Fiction: The good, the bad, and the Downright Scary
    ReidaBookman

    Great article. I think one of the major problems with reality TV shows like this is that recovering from a life-long addiction/disorder cannot happen over an episode. Therapy, medication, and behavioral adjustments are not easy and take a long time to create a lasting change.

    'My 600-Lb Life': Dead Weight TLC Should Shed?
    ReidaBookman

    I agree there’s quite a few out there that focus on gore. When I first read The Shining I was actually surprised at how little deaths there are. Creepy, yes. Scary, yes. But it wasn’t simply killing people in disturbing ways. This is what I mean when I talk about the value of fear. You can make people afraid with anticipation, mystery, and empathy for the main character. Senseless violence isn’t nearly as chilling as a child muttering the word REDRUM

    Fear in Fiction: The good, the bad, and the Downright Scary
    ReidaBookman

    Steven King himself reports this bias in his book “On Writing”. Personally, I love Steven King. Fear in fiction is very difficult to master and it goes beyond horror novels. Fear can be found in adventure and fantasy novels too! I think fear can be an important element in any book and deserves discussion as it’s one of the things that can really move the reader and convince them to turn that page. You’re absolutely right, this transcends genre and when it is done correctly can be pretty impactful.

    Fear in Fiction: The good, the bad, and the Downright Scary
    ReidaBookman

    That’s an interesting concept. Desensitization is very much a cultural phenomenon and I think one’s comfort in being afraid varies depending on exposure in childhood. Perhaps what movies you were allowed to watch at a young age for example

    Fear in Fiction: The good, the bad, and the Downright Scary
    ReidaBookman

    Fahrenheit 451 is an incredibly powerful book and one that should definitely be kept in school. I remember doing projects on it and subsequent projects about the Nazi book burning in Germany. Censorship is a huge theme in the book and the ability to limit the voice of the people by declaring their literature useless or wrong. I think that is something to keep in mind as censorship is still heavily used in North America and all around the world.

    Fahrenheit 451: What’s In a Tale?
    ReidaBookman

    This is a wonderfully thought out article and I’m glad I had the pleasure to read it. After reviewing this article I realize most of my assumptions on the original “The Little Mermaid” were completely incorrect. The ending, to me, does seem satisfactory and quite appropriate now that I’ve seen it from a Christian perspective.

    In Defense of the Conclusion to "The Little Mermaid"
    ReidaBookman

    I have never seen the elements of different plot twists broken down so elegantly. As I read the article I actually began to take notes as I felt it would be useful to consider when writing. This is a splendid article.

    Plot Twists in Fiction: Making a Story Standout