Author Archives: sheamolihua

About sheamolihua

I like art, music, many things Japanese (that does not include anime/manga), creative writing, gaming (console or PC - I like them both), fashion, health and general prettiness, Norse and Celtic mythology, and British television.

I was simmering, simmering, simmering!

For my American Literature class, we were assigned to read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” and one of the questions to answer afterward asked us to choose a maxim in the text and discuss it. But come on, it’s Emerson.

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The essay is full of so many that I agree with. I was simmering, like Whitman, and I too was brought to a boil when reading this. It was a kind of feeling I can only get when inspired by another’s writing to the point of using similar elements in my own works.

Not only did I find these to make sense in the realm of reality as it is, but I began thinking about how true these maxims would ring within the rules of my own world (the one I’m in the process of building in a story of mine).

ImageWorld-building. It’s serious business.

If created by a half-decent builder, a world has many different societies. A few of mine happen to be heavily influenced by Europe – especially northern Europe. Further down my world map are the less defined “Tropics,” the areas near the equator. While I was reading Emerson, all I could think about were my darling, developing island people.  The first main characters present in my story come from what I call the “Northern Lands,” and are thusly built, with their land, to a degree of familiarity at current.

In the meantime, I feel that Emerson has come to me at a time that couldn’t have been any more perfect.  My tropical inhabitants are a natural people, but I didn’t want to fall into the Pocahontas/Avatar cliché often associated with those who live in harmony with nature. Such groups are often stereotyped to emphasize the community, and I thought that that was the only way to go, really… until Emerson opened my mind to the divinity of the self. When he mentions the self, he doesn’t mean to be selfish, but to follow one’s intuition, to be oneself, to follow the actions of Jesus rather than doing what some preacher says to do. And, all this must be done while being one with nature. He spoke of the power and spirit of the landscape.

This, I thought, has to be the basis of these yet-developed people of mine.

From there, I began re-reading lines in the essay, taking notes, and furiously scribbling ideas into my notebook. I took some of Emerson and added a tinge of myself. As stated before, these people I am creating belong to a more natural and less industrialized society. This is by choice. “The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet” (36). And, rather than emphasizing community, they prefer to follow Emerson’s views on non-conformity. “Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to eat shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater” (21). They find principal, power, divinity, and spirit all within nature as well as themselves. These will be an intuition-driven people who are deeply in touch with “the self.” “Your isolation must not be mechanical, but spiritual, that is, must be elevation” (30).

All power and matter can be conjured and manipulated (through equivalent exchange) by the self and not relying on god(s) to perform miracles or preachers/priests to dictate doctrines. Because after all, we are star stuff, aren’t we? We are made up of the heavens themselves.

075-starstuff

However, there is no complete lack of group; there will be a sense of society, as there is in the world Emerson is trying to create: “I shall endeavor to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife, – but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way” (31). These people will find harmony, a goal only achieved through truly understanding the self, because if you don’t understand yourself, how could you possibly ever hope to understand anyone else? “No man can come near me but through my act” (31).

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Self-Reliance.” Self-Reliance and Other Essays. Mineola: Dover Publications, Inc., 1993. Print.

Thanks for reading my craziness,
Jasmine

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Filed under Fantasy, Writing

Pull Yourself Back

This past semester, I took a fiction workshop class – some stories were all right, some pretty good, others… god-awful. (My first draft was pretty terrible, but I was able to revamp it to such a level that turned my great in the class from a C directly to an A. Huzzah!)

In any case, there were two girls in my class who tried to write true stories. Both were pretty bad. So, my professor gave them some valuable advice: If you’re going to write about true events for a fiction class, pull yourself away from the story. Make it third person point of view if you have to.

So, I decided to try this out. In my creative writing seminar, we studied Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. The main focus was on the structure of the book, but I was more interested in the narrator’s fascination with “the Swede.”

Swede Levov – isn’t that a delightfully attractive name? And I was completely captivated by the idea of “Who was the Swede?” And so I thought, “Well, hey. I know someone sort of like that.” Now, I didn’t go into depth, trying to write a three-act novel and making up the story of my own version of Swede. But, my mind immediately fell back to someone I know. Roth used the real first name and nickname of an existing person (Seymour “Swede” – He has a wikipedia article and everything). I, out of embarrassment, changed my friend’s name to Kazuya.

At first, I had such a hard time writing the story, trying to recall events that happened, things this friend and I had actually done and said, while trying to put a fictional spin on it. But, I found it became so much easier when I released myself from the main character and when I broke Kazu from the mold of my friend. Both characters were then able to transform into different people with their own personalities. It was beautiful!

The moment I realized my characters were blossoming on their own, I had a reaction not unlike this:

And wouldn’t you know? After spending a week agonizing over how I should end the story, it ended on its own. I sat there staring at the screen, thinking, “Huh. Well, that was unexpected.” But it fits.

Point is, don’t get caught up in the details of true events. Knowing exactly what happened, some writers tend to gloss things over, and the story will seem rushed and vague. However, when you take most of yourself out of the equation, you’ll be surprised at what you can create.

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Filed under Characters

My characters are haunting me!

It’s true!

For nearly a year, I’d been working on what I thought would be a horror novel but actually ended at 35,000 words – making it only a novella. Either way, the story is finished, albeit I still have to edit and polish it. It’s done.

Or so I thought. You see, National Novel Writing Month is coming up, and because I finished my novella, I need an idea. I don’t usually try to think of ideas, though. I try to let them come to me. But, none would make themselves known. My characters keep haunting my thoughts, hovering over me, saying, “Jasmine… Use us… Use us!” And then I would say, “What do you guys want, a sequel? What could you possibly want after all that hell I put you guys through?”

Let me tell you, my poor characters are bruised, battered, spooked, and screwed up beyond belief. I think I gave them a fitting end. Still, they come, except now, they don’t just demand that I use them again. They’re throwing possible continuations of the plot at me. Well, great. I guess this means I have to write that sequel. And now I have to go back to my novella and change the ending so that it’s actually open for a sequel.

Welp, guys, looks like you won. And I hope you’re happy.

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by | October 20, 2012 · 3:38 pm