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What is the appeal of time travel stories?

Time travel is a frequently revisited topic in both popular and literary fiction. What is the philosophical appeal of time travel? Does it simply speak to our personal regrets or to large global/political/social issues that we wish to undo? Is it egotistical to think that ‘hight sight is twenty-twenty’; that to know the negative outcome of one event/one decision would allow us to course correct and thereby find success? Can humanity (globally or personally) only learn or develop compassion through disaster?

  • I personally think that the appeal of time travel stories lies in our flawed nature as humans. The possibility of reversing/changing the outcome of our own mistakes and/or the wider worlds' is very appealing, as well as egotistical (we get to play the hero). However, the appeal also lies in the unknown i.e., what will the alternative outcome be if I go back in time and ensure Hitler wasn't born? Will there be a better outcome or a worse one? That's just my opinion on the topic though! – Ness 1 week ago
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  • I think it is a case of regret. Everyone has defining moments in their lives that determined the course of their life trajectory. In those vulnerable moments of self-doubt, it is only human to wonder about the road less travelled.A few suggestions for revisions:Perhaps "hightsight" could be fixed to read "hindsight." I think this is a great topic but would narrow the focus to an individual's life. Most people may not have the clout to decide world events, with all due respect to our readership.Also, examples like the Arrow and Flash and even Quantico have employed the flashback sequence. Would you want to include the examples you have in mind so the writer of this topic can understand your meaning more clearly? – Munjeera 20 hours ago
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  • I've always loved time-travel stories. The appeal for me is the idea of not being tied down to any one place and not missing out.The ability to travel anywhere, during any time is the superpower that I've always wanted. There are moments in history that I would love to be apart of. And I have this unquenchable thirst to see space, and other planets and their civilisations.Not to mention, time travel means shirking responsibilities. Not being tied down to anything or anyone.For me, it's simple wanderlust to the extreme extent. – KintaW 6 hours ago
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Fanfictions - Delusions or Expressions of Admiration?

Although fanfiction has had a bad reputation in the past (for being strange or ‘weird’), fanfiction allows fans to write stories involving their favourite characters and dwell into their psyche. This article can dwell on the popularity of fanfiction, and express the opinion on whether fanfiction is good or bad.

  • One function of fanfiction that gets overlooked often is that it allows young writers to develop their skills in a community where they can get a lot of feedback - especially with regards to character development. It's a really good way for writers to take an already existing character and write them in an entirely different story while still trying to keep everyone in character (Not everybody succeeds here of course, but it's a good learning exercise). – Grace Maich 2 years ago
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  • While it's true that fanfiction can help young writers to develop, it can also lead to a hindrance of creativity. I never did engage in fanfiction communities myself, but several of my friends did and our characters are markedly different. It used to surprise me when I would find their original characters infused with traits, attitudes, actions, etc. of their fanfiction characters, many of which I knew from reading their fanfiction pieces and more often the original novel. I have often wondered if our characters are so radically different in design because my friends who spent large quantities of time with other writers' characters began to...call it absorb...the basic traits, gestures, tones, actions, and ways of thinking from characters they did not create while I (and some of our other creatives) have only my own powers of observation to draw upon as I watch the people I encounter in everyday life. Whether my notion is correct or not is anyone's guess, but it does beg thought. – jennewymore 2 years ago
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  • I enjoy reading and writing fan fiction. That being said I often find it troubling when fan fiction delves into the territory of real people. The amount of fan fiction written for One Direction is frightening. These are real people with real personalities that don't become altered due to your wishful thinking. I know I would not want to read a fanfic about myself. It is those types of fan fictions that come across as delusional and slightly creepy.Writing fan fiction based on fictional works is an interesting way to to keep engaged in a fandom. It is also interesting to see how different people interpret different characters since there is no right or wrong way to interpret a fictional being. Certain fandoms have collaborative role playing in the fan fiction realm as well; It keeps people engaged in the fandom. I believe that is an expression of admiration. People are inspired by a world or a character that they want to invest time and energy in exploring that world or character further. I think that is a great compliment to the creators.There is a lot of badly written fan fiction, but there is also a lot of fan fiction that is written with care to the characters or world that they are exploring. Those fan fictions add to a fandom.– LexzieRulz 2 years ago
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  • I think something this article could explore is the stereotypes that surround fanfiction. Some people are embarrassed to admit that they write fanfiction because they're afraid that people wil automatically assume that everything they write is like Fifty Shades of Grey. Another thing to consider is that some fanfictions have been successfully published as original work (with some modifications of course). Examples: Fifty Shades of Grey, The Sidhe, Cinder, etc. – VelvetRose 2 years ago
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  • Take a look at all the different versions of Harry Potter fanfiction. There's so much! – JennyCardinal 2 weeks ago
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  • For most, it seems to function as a way to explore already developed characters in new scenarios. It can help to be transferred into original fiction through the way that fan fiction writers have to consider what operations or actions live within the boundaries of the already functioning character. Of course some intentionally take the character outside of written or implied canon, but it acts as a way to structure actions around the believability within diameters already set. – talorelien 1 week ago
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Taken by talorelien (PM) 7 days ago.
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I watched you Nae Nae, now what? - Is the lack of lyrics a reflection on the attitudes of today's popular music listeners as a whole?

Comparison between songs that are more recent and ones that are older throw up a large number of differences in terms of lyrics. One prime difference is that newer songs have an increasingly decreasing (heh, see what I did there?) number of lyrics.
Examples –
‘You a Stupid Hoe’, ‘Turn Down For What’, ‘Now watch me whip, now watch me nae nae’, ‘I know you want me, you know I wan’cha’

Is this constant reduction in the number of words in a song a reflection on
a) Our memory – we can’t remember words to songs anymore, or it seems like a waste of time to do so.
b) Our attention span has dropped so low, that we can’t be bothered to listen to music that isn’t composed of repititive phrases, we can’t be bothered to exert the effort to figure out what longer, more extensive lyrics say.
c) Just bad taste.

Is it a combination of all three?
Is it a different reason altogether?
Is there a more complex reasoning behind this?

  • I think the simplicity of minimal and shallow lyrics isn't exactly a reflection of our intelligence more so that it's necessary for certain moments. There are several music genres that thrive with complex, poetic lyrics such as Hip-Hop, Alternative and arguably some Pop music and they are highly praised. Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean and Kanye West are insanely successful rappers if for nothing else then for the complexity of their wordplay. All of the songs you listed weren't created with the intention of making people come to profound revelations; they are simply dance songs. The only job they have is to get you to shake what your momma gave you and they do it well. – sastephens 7 months ago
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  • I agree with sastephens. I think different genres of music are meant to satisfy different drives and relate to different moods. That's why if someone has an eclectic taste in music, he or she can more easily adapt and access a range of different personas than someone with a more limited musical palette. There are certain songs that are meant to be shallow, but incredibly catchy and there are deeply meaningful songs that aren't designed to get burned into listeners' brains via radio overkill. Obviously, there are those instances where songs are both catchy and deep (and it's really terrific when that happens, but not every song has to do that to be a good song). I do agree that there's a trend recently of repetitive, catchphrase-type songs. It may be an attention-span thing as you mention since our tech-obsessed world is dealing with that problem as a whole. I've heard this trend's been happening with movie titles for that very reason. – aprosaicpintofpisces 7 months ago
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  • I think its a combination of bad taste and the fact that it will simply make millions of dollars. Those songs are what dominates the charts. They aren't groundbreaking; they are just meant for a night out. And that's fine, but it would be great to get back to songs with more substance. That's just how our culture is right now. The attention span is decreasing. I like to believe that there are still a lot of people who respect and identify with great lyrics. Right now it's the trend but I think people want more depth in a song. – joshmccann 6 months ago
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Is Fanfiction for Real Writers Too?

Fifty Shades of Grey originated as a fanfiction online of the Twilight series in an alternate universe. It’s escalated into its own franchise. Other online writers have the same hopes for their fanfictions. But is this kind of writing appropriate and is it right that authors get to literally take other characters and rename them to make it into an entire new series, sometimes not as well-written?

  • Who is a "real writer?" In this day and age, isn't it anyone who writes and publishes something, whether traditionally, through self-publishing, or online? – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
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  • You can tie this into how English majors or people who go to college for this craft are for or against it as well. I am a fellow English Major and I think all writing is good writing, across all mediums. But, I am sure people out there things the opposite of that. Such as people who write Fanfiction don't and have no gone to school for the craft and etc., not sure if that would work but something to think about on the con side of things. – S C 4 months ago
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  • George RR Martin touched on this topic too, on his LiveJournal (he links to Diana Gabaldon's thoughts on the matter as well: http://grrm.livejournal.com/151914.html) There are many sides to this issue -- most professional writers (like GRRM) seem to be less supportive of fanfiction as a concept, whereas others are more sympathetic (like Cassandra Clare). I suppose one's relationship to fanfiction boils down to one's intent: is it better to spend your precious writing hours on someone's pre-established work, or breaking something original? – bloom 4 months ago
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  • I would say that fan fiction is just as much real writing as anything. Why? Because there are several ways for one to write, to be inspired, and to create a world. Sometimes it takes one's own version of the story to birth and even greater tale, however until we try, nothing is for certain.Articles: https://www.bustle.com/articles/71438-13-things-fan-fiction-writers-are-very-tired-of-explaininghttps://psmag.com/fan-fiction-the-next-great-literature-15c99a34d49c#.bq4yb2jb9 – Autumn Edwards 3 months ago
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  • I definitely agree with Autumn Edwards on this topic. I would say fan fic is for real writers because in its most basic form, it is a story. Who says that one can't take some aspects from a different story and create something new, or even add on to a story? Writing is writing (as long as it is not infringing on copyright/publishing/plagiarism issues) but fan fic is for real writers and I think that if it IS good enough that it could have some literary merit. – AlbusBloodworthe 3 months ago
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  • I agree with Stephanie's comment: it's about quality, not genre. Regarding bloom's comment, professional writers have a conflict of interest, so their weigh-in begs a grain of salt. I would disagree with S C that all writing is good, but, again, wholeheartedly agree that form/genre does not determine quality. – Tigey 3 months ago
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  • The issue isn't whether fanfiction is 'real' or not; the issue is that it's wrong to profit off of someone else's work. That's worse than bad writing; that's plagiarism, that's theft. – Sarai 3 months ago
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  • As a former fanfic lover, I say that writing is writing. Yes, most fanfics are empty writing fueled by obsessions and fantasies, but fanfiction has the same potential to be good writing. It just depends on who's writing it and with what purpose because think about it, a good story started out as an idea from the writer's imagination... Fanfiction starts out the same way but with already existing background information. A perfect example is the One Direction fanfiction "After" that started out as a wattpad favorite, and is now published and successful. – ValentinaRueda 3 months ago
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  • Funnily enough, I actually wrote a blog post discussing this very topic with Fantasy author M.E.Vaughan. While the blog post provides a more in-depth discussion, the long and short of it is that every writer is different. Some see fan-fiction as a helpful tool, whilst others see it as a distraction or, worse, an insult to an original creators work. Whomever decides to write this must keep on mind that, really, there is no such thing as a "Real Writer." There is only the expectation of what I writer should be doing which, when you look at it, is a very subjective and heavily debated topic. Here's a link to the post, if you're interested in the more in-depth view: https://whywordswork.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/fan-fiction-creative-practice-or-creative-procrastination-featuring-m-e-vaughan/ – ERHollands 1 month ago
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Taken by OldxSoul (PM) 2 days 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?

    Taken by tysonfraleigh (PM) 1 month ago.
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    Content Vs. Style in Writing

    It seems to me that there can be said to be two primary aspects, roughly speaking, that go into any form of writing, but especially fiction writing. First, there is content, which includes everything to plot, to scenery, to dialogue and character development. Then there is style, which refers to how the language is being used in creative ways to express something. Many writers seem to have one down solidly, while the other side suffers. Who are some writers you think do one of these (or both) especially well, and how important to you think each aspect is to creating good fiction writing?

    • This one's tough. Usually people don't have acclaim for solely doing one aspect well. When I think of style I think of Hemingway and how many sought to mimic his writing for generations to come. And then there's Stephanie Meyers, who people say is a terrible writer with no style, but somehow she creates content that is wildly appealing to a huge audience. Dan Brown might be someone who has content (plot) down, but no style to speak of. – Nate Océan 2 months ago
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    • I have definitely encountered this in recent novels. The novel that I am currently reading seems to favour common tropes and lacks fluidity in the writing itself but the plot is constantly moving, hooking me in and forcing me to finish the book. It would be interesting to highlight writers that do both well and try to explain how they manage it. – ReidaBookman 2 months ago
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    • This seems to be an idea based around rhetoric. I wonder if the two can be mutually exclusive. Since style is the way a writer uses language, if literary devices such as plot, symbolism, dialogue, etc are lacking or suffering, would it not follow that the style is also suffering. If the use of language doesn't lift the plot, wouldn't both style and plot be suffering? Moreover, wouldn't plot (or whichever literary device) be suffering because of style?I wonder if the strong use of literary devices and/or style are suffering because of the pressure to publish. Does the market cause works to suffer? Does the lack of grammar being taught in schools cause these works to suffer? Is there a larger force causing this issue you've mentioned because I agree it exists. – DKWeber 2 months ago
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    Indictators of talent in creative writing

    There are many talented writers, but many people still argue whether it’s nature vs. nurture. Is being a good writer a mix of the two, or is it solely based on talent? Also, what are some signs of talent or potential in someone’s writing?

    • It can be a mix of the two or one or the other. Personally, I showed a talent in writing from an early age. I passed with flying colors on literature and writing exams, and was always nominated to participate in school spelling bees. As I entered college, I tried pursuing the sciences, but that eventually led me back to writing. This is a great topic, but I feel as if there isn't a particular answer simply because it varies from person-to-person. Some individuals don't realize their talent until much later in their lifetime, where as for others it can be during adolescence. – Marina 7 months ago
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    • Very true. It is a mix of both talent and hard work ethic. – Afanos 7 months ago
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    • The answer is fairly simple - it's is a mix of both nature and nurture. Understanding the answer is a little more difficult. Writing is a hard skill and can be taught to just about anyone. However within this hard skill are many soft skills like creativity and problem solving which can not always be taught. That's why the degrees of good writing vary so widely and why we cannot say for certain that everyone is good by nature or even that everyone can one day be good by nurture. – ashleyab 4 months ago
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    • Some is definitely nature; I've loved books and words since I was a little kid. But no writer ever reaches his or her potential without mentoring. Additionally, writers are always going to have different sub-gifts. One might be gifted at dialogue while another is better at setting, or one writer's talent might lend itself to poetry over fiction. Much of what is considered "creative writing" can't be taught strictly speaking, but can be nurtured. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
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    • Both Stephanie M. and ashleyab have very good points. I think the experience varies from writer to writer and each person contains a slightly different nature to nurture ratio. Personally, I have always been attracted to rich stories. Creating characters, scenarios, and dialogue seemed to come naturally but I had to be taught to write it down effectively. – ReidaBookman 2 months ago
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    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.

      Taken by Mariana Aramburu (PM) 2 months ago.