Posts Tagged ‘questions’

Every time I hear any promise of alleviation when it comes to writer’s block, I am immediately overcome with excitement, determined I have found the cure. Each and every time this happens, I am disappointed to find that I have not, in fact, discovered a groundbreaking tactic for overcoming the dreaded writer’s block. Some are more helpful than others, but when you find a technique that improves your writing or motivation, that’s a win in my book.

In a recent post, I explained the dynamics of writer’s block and other struggles that we, as writers, face. Well, I’m here to offer you a solution. Okay, there is no solution for writer’s block… But sitting around waiting for inspiration is for the weak! Go find inspiration, don’t wait for it to come to you. This post will help you learn to generate your own inspiration; it will give you new ideas, improve the ones you have, and eliminate the ones you don’t need.

The technique I am going to share with you all is inspired by two parts. One is a great post I stumbled upon called Squirrels and Killing My Inner Editor. Give this post a read, because it’s awesome. The writer of this post shared a tool that she found to be useful.

This wonderful tool is called Scrawl. Once you open Scrawl, you’ll be faced with a message telling you to “write something!” Scrawl encourages unfiltered writing; it allows you to set a writing timer, and if you stop typing for ___ amount of seconds, Scrawl will, ahem, redirect your attention back to your writing (read: make sure your volume is set to a level that won’t burst your eardrums.) You can also instruct Scrawl to keep you from deleting anything you’ve written. Explore the options, see what is most helpful to you.

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In writing my morning pages as Julia Cameron instructs, I have discovered how helpful unfiltered writing can be. Essentially as I’m writing, I’m just thinking out loud. I was facing a bad case of writer’s block working while working on my novel, so I turned to my morning pages. I had a conversation with the journal. I bounced ideas off of the journal. It was a huge help. Sometimes just thinking about it isn’t enough, but trying to formally organize your plot is a little too overwhelming. As you’re writing it, you will probably feel as if you’re accomplishing nothing, but give it time.

I find it most beneficial to begin with the absolute basics of your story. Start with a less details. As you ease into the part of the story that you’re stuck on, start giving more details. Every possible path the story could take, write it down. For example: your main character has just been offered a job in New York City to work for a fashion magazine. Does she give in to her controlling boyfriend’s urging and stay in rural Oklahoma? Does she break up with him and accept her dream job? If she stays in Oklahoma, will their relationship even last? If she moves to New York, will she find love in the city? Will her dream job turn out to be a nightmare, leaving her wondering why she ever left her hometown? How would each of these outcomes play out? How would they affect your story? Write it all down. It may seem redundant, but you never know what will inspire you, so try not to take shortcuts. If it would be more beneficial for you to draw instead of, or in addition to writing, I don’t see any reason why you can’t. Doodle away! Finish out your 3 daily morning pages, and then look back over them. It should look a little bit like this:

So I’m stuck figuring out where my main character, Peter Parker, is going to turn now. Now that he’s been bitten by a mutated turtle, he might not be able to run as fast as before. Maybe I should change it to a more lethal, intimidating animal. What about a raccoon? That could work. Peter gets rabies and turns into a raccoon. Hmm.. There has to be something better. If I was Mary Jane Watson, I totally wouldn’t be cool with my boyfriend turning into a raccoon. What about a spider? A radioactive spider. That’s it! Peter Parker by day, Spider-Man by night!

It doesn’t have to be neat. It doesn’t have to have correct spelling or proper punctuation. I encourage you to write in pen, so you’re not tempted to erase. Don’t over-think this! My reason for incorporating Scrawl into this post, is for those of you who would prefer to type your morning pages, as opposed to writing them in a journal. It’s up to you. Scrawl is a really useful resource regardless, don’t limit yourself to using it only for this exercise.

Side note: The website where you can find Scrawl has some other helpful tools. Know Thyself is a character building exercise; the computer asks you a series of rapid fire questions about your characters; answer as fast as you can. When you complete the questions, the website compiles a character profile from your answers. Even if you think you know your characters inside and out, it really makes you think. Try it out!


 

To anyone who has previously used these methods, or decides to try it after reading this post, let me know what you think. Is there something else that works better for you? Don’t hesitate to share! I’m sure I am not the only one who wants to collect as many tips and tricks as possible. Thanks for reading!

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What makes a horror movie? Is it a charismatic protagonist that everyone is rooting for? Is it an iconic villain like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers? Is it the suspenseful music that floods the speakers as the villain approaches? (I know you’re humming the theme for Jaws as you read this.) Are the reality based horror films that are the most frightening? Or are the supernatural monster movies the most horrifying? Is it the film’s ability to produce genuine fear in the audience? (Do you guys agree with this list? Top 50 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time.)

In my opinion, horror movies are typically a hit or miss. I usually don’t feel neutral toward horror films; I either really enjoy them or really hate them. I have a hard time identifying what it is that makes a horror movie worth watching. Obviously an interesting, well-executed plot is important. Horror movies have a reputation for being predictable and repetitive. There are only so many times we can watch a group of obnoxious teenagers get hacked up one by one, while on an overnight camping trip. However, when you get a horror movie with a never-before-seen storyline and an exciting ending, it really works. Acting is important in all films, but I think it’s somewhat difficult to give a convincing performance in a horror movie. Conveying genuine fear in a staged situation often comes off as fake and off-putting. Playing a deranged, psychotic killer can either come off as unconvincing or too exaggerated.

As horror films developed throughout the 20th century, viewers were given a bounty of horror films that have achieved status as cult classics. Films like Tod Browning‘s Dracula (1931), Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), Tobe Hooper‘s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and George A. Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead (1964) are all milestones in the evolution of the the horror film.

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Most often, it takes time before movies are considered classics. Looking back, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, at the time of its release, was probably not iconic. However, after countless remakes and global recognition of the film’s antagonist, Leatherface (a name given to the character by fans of the franchise), I think it’s safe to say that this film is a classic. While we’re only in 2014, it seems like 21st century horror does not provide us with as many films that have the potential to be, one day, considered classics. It sincerely saddens me that Sharknado (2013) is as widely recognized as it is, however I find solace in the fact that its claim to fame is just how truly terrible the film is.

There have been a few films released this century that are either well on their way to reaching the status of cult classic, or have the potential to do so. The Paranormal Activity film series has been wildly popular since its release, prompting 4 sequels (most recently Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones). From filmmaker Oren Peli, the first film in the series was made on a budget of next to nothing. Filmed with handheld cameras giving the appearance of home footage, the film was released into select theaters after generating some buzz at film festivals. Having five films with a continuing storyline in the horror genre is fairly uncommon. These films are also pretty exceptional with the fact that none of these sequels have been largely disappointing for fans.

MV5BOTE2OTk4MTQzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODUxOTM3OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_ insidious conjuring

Another horror film that I am particularly fond of is Insidious. Starring Patrick Wilson (I am mildly obsessed with him) and Rose Byrne, Insidious was released in 2010, and the second installment of the series, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released in 2013. The expected release of the 3rd film is April 2015. This film definitely had an original storyline (you can watch the trailer here) . There were just enough moments of comic relief, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the actors. The convincing performances of the actors in Insidious were precisely why I was very excited to see that Patrick Wilson had signed on to play Ed Warren, alongside Vera Farmiga (another one of my favorite actresses) in The Conjuring. This film is also one of the best that I’ve seen in a while. Here’s the trailer for it. Anyone else who also enjoyed The Conjuring will be happy to know that Wilson and Farmiga have signed on for a second installment of the film.

So I have, in this post and a few others, told you guys a few of the horror films that I really enjoy. My point for this post is that I really want to know what you all think makes a horror movie? What is it about the film that makes people want to watch it? What makes a horror cult classic? Please leave some of your insight in a comment below!

I added a poll with just a couple answers, but feel free to add your own. I want to know what you think!