[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

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The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Malia on March 27th, 2011, 7:10 pm

Words Are Not The World


Life is good. Sometimes I get inspiration boosts that are so strong that it’s almost magic. I do some random stuff and get ideas from the random stuff I’m doing. I go to bed and get ideas. I wake up and stay in bed for a while in the morning and get ideas. I’ve been keeping a journal next to my bed for a long time, but in the last few days more pages have been filled than in the last few months. I don’t know where it comes from. My brain is probably making up for the last weeks that I’ve been spending without writing anything of significance. Well, I wrote a few poems which is probably more significant than I think it is. I never write poems. But I felt I should try because my emotions were a mess which is a very good start for writing poems.

Anyway, I’m currently on the wave of inspiration. I enjoy writing for multiple characters. Unfortunately those characters I currently enjoy are more others and less Mizahar characters. Hm. I’ve also been looking for pictures and found some amazing stuff on Deviantart and one or two other sites. It’s amazing how inspiring pictures can be, even if they don’t depict your characters. Sometimes I feel the saying is true: A picture tells more than a thousand words.

I’ve also written a few short stories over the last few weeks and I hope to send them to various competitions after having shown them to my personal critics. A girl I haven’t spoken with forever has emerged out of university a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to restart her old RPG website and forum, but couldn’t find enough people who were still interested in it. Well, since I was a part of that forum back then we talked and we still talk. I see her on MSN regularly. She’s such a nice and friendly girl ... and she gives excellent criticism. We exchange stories and critique them which is neat because I haven’t practiced dealing with criticism for quite some time. I’ve been focusing on writing and defeating writer’s block. It seems that writing is going well enough, so I can try to focus on improving my writing style and the way I tell stories now. I really want to grow as a writer and with her reading my stories I can probably improve a great deal until I’ll have to take that entrance exam for Creative Writing in June (or was it July?).

On another note, there are two options for Austrians who want to study in a city that’s not their home location. They can either rent an apartment which I imagine is difficult for someone who has never done that before and doesn’t even live close to the city one wants to move to. The other option is a dormitory. The word doesn’t seem fitting, because I feel that it’s so much more than a place where you can sleep. It’s the place where you live, where your friends live, it has a kitchen and living rooms and I think it even has a sports room. Of course, there will be parties too. Well, thing is that you have to apply to various dormitories and hope one of them takes you. Thursday I got a letter saying that I was accepted. Great relief! I don’t have to worry about where I sleep anymore! And the dormitory is in the heart of the city, only a few minutes away from the university. By foot! I can even walk to uni and don’t have to spend an hour of commuting per day like I do now. That’s awesome. I plan to take my bike with me so I can cycle to uni and back and be flexible and cool and stuff. I also got a room I have to share with some random other person, but I don’t mind. Not yet. Besides, students in their first semester rarely ever get single rooms. Yup.

If there’s anything else I wanted to talk about, I forgot it. I’m actually procrastinating right now because I should study for the Ancient Greek exam that is tomorrow. But I don’t want to. I’ll only take a look at the grammar and read through all my notes once again and be done with it. I know that I can’t fail in Greek anymore, so who cares...? Really, it’s the last high school exam of my life.

Another thing that has been delighting me lately is playing the violin. I’ve been playing since I was 7, then I took a break of four years when 13. Now I’ve started again which means I’m in my seventh year total. Seventh or eighth, I’m not sure. So that means I’m quite good at it. Last week my teacher and I have started working on a piece by Vivaldi. It’s from Winter of the Four Seasons, a Largo. It sounds very easy if you just listen to it, but it’s actually very difficult... and I greatly enjoy mastering the technical part and putting emotions into the melody. I love it. I love music. How could I ever stop playing the violin? I really want to find a new teacher in Vienna, and a good one, no music composition student or something like that. No, I want a teacher who’s at least as good as my current one. I’m even willing to pay for it, and I hope I can afford it.

Anyway, here’s the piece I’ve been playing:

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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Malia on March 28th, 2011, 6:35 pm

What Is Important


I want to scrapbook more. I’ve been told by two people that they like reading my scrapbook (or scrapbooks in general), so I’ll write more about my life and my opinions. In fact, I don’t even feel bad for writing scrapbook rather than posting.

Today has started out as a bad day, but has turned into a very beautiful and relaxed day. I didn’t sleep enough last night, so I drank a coffee in the morning before the exam (Ancient Greek, and the last high school exam I’ll ever write!). Then I wrote the exam, managed to do fairly well (I think) and returned to the coffee dispenser and then went out into the yard and watched my three classmates playing around with the football. I was laughing and trembling at the same time ... because it was cold and caffeine apparently causes me to tremble and doesn’t really wake me up in a positive way.

I believe from that time onward the day gradually got better. When I got home, I suddenly thought it’d be nice to go jogging. That’s funny because the sun wasn’t even shining. The sky was covered in white clouds, but it had some natural light to it which made me think that it was beautiful weather for jogging. So I did. Then I took a shower, ate dinner (which was actually leftover lunch from yesterday) and read the last chapter of the book I was reading. In that book the Dalai Lama talks about how one can achieve happiness. It’s not a book for Buddhists only, but rather a guide of how to understand emotions and focus on positive ones for everyday use. To make a long story short, I’m currently reading a lot of stuff on Buddhism and find it extremely interesting.

Anyway, a mixture of what I experienced and read today made me think about how happiness and writing and sports are related to one another. A writer who apparently is very popular in the US (Julia Cameron, I didn’t know the name until I read her book on writing) said that going for a walk is like writing and can teach us a lot about it. When you’re writing, not thinking about how others will find it, what you have to include and what you have to avoid is best. Not thinking about anything is best. You just have to let it flow – you don’t even have to worry where it comes from as long as you keep enjoying life and doing enjoyable and interesting things to refill your inspiration pool. When you’re going for a walk outside, you practice the mentality of ‘not thinking’ in a very natural and effective way. You just take one step, then another, then another and so on. You don’t have to think about which foot comes next, you just do it. That’s also how writing works best. Just Do It. You can think about grammar or writing style or consistency or originality later, when you read over it a second time and make corrections. If you even make corrections, that is! I feel that due to the nature of RPG posts, it’s not really necessary to make corrections. Of course, that might not be the right way for you, but nobody has complained about my posts so far, so I don't feel guilty about it.

What I want to say is that writing can be as easy as going for a walk. You go and experience. Writing is a natural process that can come without any effort. Of course, it doesn’t always come effortlessly. There will probably be days when a strong wind is blowing or you’re exhausted or tired and don’t want to go for a walk. But it’s nevertheless refreshing. And it keeps your body healthy. Writing keeps your mind healthy in a similar way.

And what does that have to do with happiness?

Well, the way writing and walking works can also be seen as a metaphor for how achieving happiness works. Many spiritual leaders and philosophers have defined the search for happiness as constant struggle, something you have to work for. You have to form habits, for example eliminate thoughts and actions that make you unhappy and focus on thoughts and actions that make you happy. You have to know the difference between true happiness and pleasure. Pleasure is transitory and sometimes doesn’t lead to happiness in the long run. (For example, you probably feel it gives you pleasure to eat chocolate today, but tomorrow or after a week you’ll most likely be unhappy about your weight. You say you won’t? Well, it’s just an example.) That means like writing and walking achieving happiness can be done in small steps, a little bit every day. One day you’ll feel the change you have made during the last few months and years. You’ll look back and see how much happiness you’ve managed to fill your life with. And since you’ve gotten used to it by now, it’ll become more and more or at least not go away anymore.

I truly believe that’s how one can be happy in this world. There’s no easy way. You have to work hard, but the reward will be worth it a thousand times.
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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Stitch on March 28th, 2011, 8:24 pm

I really like this. It sums up my ideals on both writing and happiness in one nice little blurb.

It can be really hard to write sometimes, especially in this setting. When you are writing alone, the only person you have to please is yourself. You can just write, and not worry about what comes after. All there is, is the writing, and you. When you come to a site like this, and you write... there has to be a certain length. You want to look good. you want to write well. You want to impress your partner, match up to the standards people have for you, and so many other things. It can really drain you, at times. I am sure you have felt this a million times before. I write you a really long post, and even though there isn't much to reply back to... you feel obliged to write a long post yourself.

But, how can you, when there isn't that much to write? You have to force it!

Well, sometimes, you just need to write. You need to find that thing that made you enjoy writing in the first place, and focus on that. People who write are GOOD writers. I have never seen a really really bad writer. Sure, there is "good" on different levels... but anyone who has the talent to spin their imagination into a beautiful series of written words... well, that is a talent to be admired. And it is something good, imho.

Sometimes, we need to stop focusing on "looking like a professional RPer", or holding up an image we think others have... or holding ourselves to this high imaginary standard... and just write. Just write what flows, write what comes to mind. Spin your imagination like you did in the first place, and just let it all flow onto paper. <3

And happiness... happiness is similar. At least in my book. Don't think about being happy. The first mistake most people make when trying to "find happiness" is stopping to think if they are happy. Then, of course you will come up with a reason you aren't. You will realize you aren't pleasing this person, or you will realize you aren't living up to an image someone has for you... or even an image the world has for you.

Just be happy. Just be. You breath life, you walk in a beautiful world that God gave you, you have talents and dreams, wishes and love... there is so much to be happy for... so just be happy!

Just like your imagination easily flows to give life to words on a written piece of paper... your life easily flows to give life to happiness. There is plenty to be sad about, but even in that sadness, is something that can make you happy. The friends you have to support you, the love that surrounds you... so many many things that are there to overwhelm the sadness... but sometimes, we just don't let them.

Be. Just be. <3

That is my two cents, which only slightly differs from yours. <3333
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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Gossamer on March 28th, 2011, 8:30 pm

I loved reading your scrap, Vanessa, and Stitch's reply to it as well.
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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Malia on April 2nd, 2011, 6:29 pm

Thank you for the lovely comments, both of you! I really appreciate reading something in my scrapbook that I haven't written myself, haha.
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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Malia on April 11th, 2011, 1:19 pm

Hearing Voices


I’m sure everyone here in Mizahar knows what I mean when I say I’m hearing voices. We’re not crazy, we’re writers. Hearing voices is perfectly sane and beautiful and necessary for us. However, there’s a limit to everything, and I’m not sure how often or how long that limit can be overstepped before someone breaks down from the experience.

What if the voices you hear become louder and louder? What if all of them try to talk to you at the same time? What if you don’t know which voice is important anymore? Sometimes you know perfectly well which voice the most important one is. Of course, it’s my own voice. I should live my life, after all, not some dusty carbon copy of a ten year old book’s hero or flashy anime series sidekick. That’s not how it should be. Then why is temptation so sweet and delicious? I can’t help but get back to them again and again, only to realize that they’re not as sweet and tempting as they used to be and turn away. Goodbye, sweet dreams, hello, disappointment and real life.

I guess what bothers me the most is that I can’t keep track of change. How do I know if something is changing? We only know that it has changed if we look back. In the middle of experiencing something new, we don’t stop and think “Oh, this part of my life is changing right now/will change if I do that”. That’s not how reality works. You only notice when it’s too late.

So what’s the point of keeping track? ... Everyone wants safety, right? Everyone wants a place to settle down at, to put down their roots and feel comfortable whenever they enter that place. A good degree of stability is good in life. But there’s a natural dichotomy, because stability and change can’t work well together. Why natural? The things that are natural are often the hardest to accept. Why is that so?

Yes, I like to ask why, why, why and question things that shouldn’t be questioned, because there’s no answer. It’s one of the mysteries of the universe, I guess, one that you can’t understand. You just have to accept. And it’s in the human nature to accept without understanding – and that’s where emotions come into play. If your emotions are positive, you can accept more easily.

Well, I know all that, so I won’t delve further into any explanations. I know... but it’s still hard to accept when I have nothing to do (when I’m not in the mood for anything), when I don’t know what I want out of life and when I’m consumed by doubts. Am I really good enough? Can I step up and face the competition? I do not like conflict! Still, our world is full of potential conflict, whether we realize it or not, and we have to navigate our way through it or give in to life and suffer from the consequences. I know that too. At the moment, my mind is a wheel, spinning around and around and around endlessly and coming to the same conclusions again and again and again. Sometimes I feel like there’s no way out. Does salvation even exist? No matter how you call it, salvation or enlightenment or ecstasy or death. I suppose it’s death as well, but not only death. I strongly doubt that a constant state of happiness can be maintained by a living being, although I’m tempted to believe it’s possible.

It’s believing into things they can’t see or hear etc. that makes a human what he or she is. In the same way it’s doubting and loving and grieving and all those precious little emotions that bring chaos and change to our lives. Sometimes, though, change comes to fast for me. Sometimes I want to push the button called “still stand” and inspect the world as it stays the same for a few hours. Is there something wrong with my wish?

It will never be granted. That is what’s wrong with it... Nevertheless, I keep on wishing and making mistakes and telling the voices in my head to shut up for once. They won’t. Of course they won’t. And I’ll keep writing them out and making new characters and abandoning old characters and asking myself what is real and what isn’t. (If your mind is real, what about the content of your mind? Hmm?) And I’ll tell myself that I’m perfectly sane, at least as sane as every artist is, unless someone proves me otherwise.

Which is, naturally, a paradox.
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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Malia on April 18th, 2011, 7:04 pm

In a Frenzy


Obviously I’m even less active than I used to be these days... Let me explain a bit. First of all, I haven’t disappeared or anything, I’m just occupied with other things. In a previous post I said I wanted my writing for Mizahar to be as important to me as my writing novels and short stories and other personal projects. But no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to change my priorities like that. Writing for RPGs will always be less important. It’s a hobby, and while it has something to do with writing, it’s still a far cry from what I consider actual writing and what I find most rewarding about writing. You see, I consider writing my profession. I sense it will always be the most important part of my life. I could even say that writing IS my life. I love the process of creating characters and then seeing them come to life on the paper (or the computer screen) and act on their own and develop their own needs and wishes and fears. It’s priceless, and you can do it as often as you want, when you want and where you want. That’s something you can’t do in RPGs. The character creation and development process always depends on other people, how fast they post, what kind of adventures they design for your character. It’s simply not the same. And sometimes I’m just not patient enough to sit around and wait for posts or write 600 words and then stop. Sometimes I absolutely want to tell the story my speed, my style and with my characters.

I’ve taken on a project in April that is similar to NaNoWriMo. You have probably heard of Script Frenzy before, it’s an event centered on writing 100 pages of script in April. It can be any script, TV, movie or even graphic novel, but I decided to write a novel again and count 500 words as one page. So, I’m currently writing like crazy, but not for Mizahar. However, I do try to find a balance between Mizahar and writing, so I can reply to your threads and be there for your requests, especially as a mod. It has been hard for the last week or so, but it’s Easter Break (known as Spring Break in other parts of the world) now and I have a week and a half off from school. While I’m supposed to study, I can squeeze in some time for Mizahar every now and then, and definitely more time than during school. It’s all about finding the balance, something I haven’t quite figured out yet...

And then there’s something else. My emotions have been a chaos for a few days. I’m not sure what exactly triggered that state, although I strongly suppose it’s a combination of the recent happenings in Japan, a country I admire and love as if it was my own, and my attempts at delving into Buddhism and meditating. I felt everything, sometimes not even my own feelings, but those of others too, and felt it more intensely than usual. I don’t know how, I’ve always been more sensitive than some other people. I’ve taken everything personally for a while and I’ve been ecstatic and depressed. Still I feel that if I make a mistake, I might break down, and that’s why I’m very careful around others. It’s a defense mechanism, really, and nothing about that is anyone’s fault.

Consequently, I also have strong feelings about criticism. Of course that’s not the way it should be. Criticism is made with a perfectly valid reason, and I know that, but for the time being I find it takes a long time for me to cope with it, accept it and recognize the core of the problem. I take it personally and think: “What reason does that person have to create even more work for me? I don’t want to correct that. It’s not what I would do. I don’t want to listen to them. Why are they even bothering me with it in the first place?” For a while I didn’t know whether that was a reasonable thought or just my personal feelings. I disagreed with that person. While I didn’t tell them anything about it, I had a hard time accepting their criticism for what it was. And I’ve only just begun to slip back into my position as an impartial observer. That’s why I’m a bit slow with developing and responding to certain things. I hope YOU don’t take it personally or grow impatient or don’t like me anymore, because it’s something I can’t do anything about. I’m trying, and I know that in the near future, probably even tomorrow, I’ll be able to see the problem for what it really is and act upon it. When it’s the right time for me, I’ll make everything right, correct my mistakes and be as active and proactive as I can be.

Please wait as things clear up in my mind. Thank you.
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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Mizuriel on April 18th, 2011, 9:03 pm

I only wanted to say that i find joy in reading your scrapbook! :)
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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Ora Sa'vina on April 29th, 2011, 6:04 am

Just thought you should know:

1. I think you're amazing
2. You're beautiful
3. You're talented
4. Ich leibe dich!

<3 :)
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[Malia's Scrapbook] The Final Curtain

Postby Malia on May 5th, 2011, 8:05 pm

The Resurrection


Things are changing in my corner of the world. My life is changing – I can feel it every day. I feel it when I get up in the morning and go to school, knowing that in a month I won’t return to that place anymore, not as a pupil. I feel it when I’m doing homework or complaining about the workload the teacher gives me, knowing that in a month I won’t be required do that anymore. It makes me sad. I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time, but now is the time when it makes me sad.

This is my school. It focuses on language learning (English, Latin, French, Ancient Greek, Italian, Spanish, Russian) and music and was built in 1873. It might mean nothing to you, and has a sentimental value to me that will probably fade as memory fades, but I still want to post it here:

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Well, to make a long and probably whiny story short, I loved it and sometimes I hated it, but I think I loved it most of the time.

To continue with my everyday-routine update-post, I’ve spent today hunched over some mathematical riddles and Latin verb charts. The written exams are next week... Well, I actually feel lucky because I only have to take three when most of my colleagues take four, and I don’t even need to study for German and English. The only subject I have to work for is the last one, maths... but even that’s more of a pleasure than it was before, because I know that when I pass the last exam, I will never be forced to use maths again. Wow! Besides, the teacher’s paranoia and forbidden ways to keep everyone from failing her exam is entertaining until the very end. She has created enough stories for a whole other scrapbook post!

Studying and putting the finishing touches on my special topics (10-page papers or whatever) has been draining for a while, but now my spirit is back! Suddenly I remembered how much I love what I’m doing. I think I already wrote a bit about this, but I love investigating Latin mythology and religion and how the Romans viewed their gods and practiced their cult. It is amazing how they incorporated foreign deities into their pantheon, but still changed them to accommodate to their needs. Romans are a special culture with a very special understanding of divinity and worshiping. Basically, what the god does is more important than, say, how the god looks or any myths concerning him as a person – which reminds me of the first sentence in the Ancient Greek Old Testament: “In the beginning there was action.” It’s fascinating, how everything correlates.

And of course, I also love the subject of Philosophy. I love feeling like a total geek when I borrow a book by Peter Sloterdijk (a modern German philosopher) from the library and demonstratively place it on my desk at school. Haha. Of course, I also love trying to understand the content of the book and what he meant when he called it ‘You must change your life.’ Such determination! I have found out what it means. I guess one of the most interesting things I’ve learned over the two years of studying Psychology/Philosophy is that I suppose I like philosophy more. Psychology is predictable if you gather enough knowledge, and it’s a science, working with scientific methods, and not a game with different mindsets and concepts of reality and the world. Yes, I definitely enjoy philosophy more. Which is funny because philosophy traditionally is a discipline of men. On a (probably unrelated) note: The planet of Virgo, Mercury, is essentially believed to be genderless.

My attitude towards Mizahar has also undergone more or less severe changes. During the first storyteller assignment phase, I’ve been emotionally... let’s call it confused, and I saw the world in a different and not necessarily beneficial way. I felt things, and knew they were wrong, but still I felt strongly. I’m afraid I’ve gotten a little bitchy, although you might not have noticed, since some members are bitchier than I could ever be and I tried to hold myself back. Haha. Eventually it faded away which was what I’ve been waiting for.

And after I got over my senseless anger over being rejected (that’s how I perceived it), I was able to see Mizahar for its beauty once again, and in even brighter colors than I saw it for a long, long while. Now I can enjoy the game and the community and the wonderful storytelling process once again. The storyteller assignments add greatly to this enjoyment, and I really can’t express my gratitude for Goss who came up with the idea and made it mandatory. I think it was a great step into the right direction, and I love to see the storytellers working for the ‘next level’ campaign together. I love to see Mizahar change, become even better. We’re already the best of the best – so getting better at this stage is an even greater achievement.

However, I also see what we, or rather, I lack when it comes to storytelling. To think big and imagine ways to affect a bigger part of the game has really triggered my inspiration. Suddenly I don’t want to write about mundane things anymore; instead I want to ‘dream big and go large’. I want to make an impact. I want people to remember me for the awesome stories I tell. I want others to enjoy my writing even more. And it’s not only about storytelling in Mizahar. I have also learned something about writing in general, about entertaining normal people like you and I. If I want to do that, go commercial with my writing, I want to be able to produce entertaining literature. Not just good literature, but thrilling literature. Producing tension is important. And the storyteller assignments have convinced me that first I need to learn how to write with tension the traditional way – before I can try and go the road nobody else dared to go before, and find my own way of weaving exciting stories.

I believe this is the right way: Going back every once in a while, learning from the great masters and their ways, and then incorporating what you’ve learned and carving your own way through the wild lands of creativity. True, things have been done before in literature. But it’s not important what you do – how you do it, that’s what counts. And then everything will flow together just nicely.
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