It’s November now, which means that it’s NaNoWriMo-National Novel Writing Month. This is something I’ve participated in for the previous four years (accounts of the last three can be found in the menu above), and this year for my Independent Study project I am going to write a novel, using NaNoWriMo as a tool to finish a large amount of the initial word count, and then spending the rest of they year doing rigorous editing, and studying the processes of finalizing and publishing a novel manuscript. I don’t intend to publish the novel (at least not at this time), but it is worthwhile to learn about now. Updates on the story itself and my progress will be posted here. So far I have a plan for the main events, characters mapped out, and I’ve stayed on my goals for the first two days, and am on track for the third.
I was very inspired by what happened in the session we played of Downfall for Directing and Script writing, so even though it doesn’t really follow a story format I decided to write an internal monologue during the final scene from one of the characters who wasn’t actually present, but I imagined to be an onlooker. I twisted essentially everything that happened to make it a bit more dramatic and fit my vision more, since that’s not entirely what the game was about but in writing you have free reign.
You can read it here.
In Directing and Scriptwriting, our first project was to play a storytelling game, called Follow, and write a story inspired by it. It didn’t have to be based on what happened specifically, but there was one scene in particular that I was very inspired by, so I took on the essence of it, the main points, and rewrote it in a way that is more suited to a story format. However, its still very dialogue heavy, which is always what my writing tends towards.
My blog ruins the formatting, so you can read it here.
As part of a project for humanities, we were tasked with reading, analyzing, and writing poetry that fits a theme from the 20th century. I chose to look at pieces around the Vietnam war. Below are the three poems that I wrote for this project, as well as an explanation of the thought put into them.
To them I am a figure
And a provider of statistics
Kills to deaths
Putting a tally on destruction
They say no value can be put
On a human life
But they’re damned well trying
I may be a subordinate
Insignificant in the grand scheme
But the power I hold
Is nothing to laugh at
And I choose to use it to resist
Part of what I used to help shape this poem was a natural rhythm. Not a strict form, but I wanted everything to flow nicely until the last line, in which things change. A lot of the poetry about the war is literal. Although they use figurative language, the message is usually clear. So I wanted to use some of the same themes from these poems, and pull them together in something that seems grim with a voice that comes across as frustrated and fed up. Whether you read the poem as by a soldier who decides to leave duty, a draft dodger, or even a Vietnamese soldier fighting against the Americans, the tone is the same.
Who is it that against we are pitted
What justifies the crimes committed
There is so much we’ll never know
Going on in this awful show
My grip is tight as I hold my gun
It seems that we will stop for none
There is no rest when the objectives wicked
Perhaps you’re just too afflicted
My soul is numb for weeping so
And even still we do not go
Are kills battles really won
Each loss is replaced by another mans son
My goal here was to try and use rhyme to convey a somber tone. I was inspired by the fact that “Dance to the Music” had a rhyming pair, and there were some couplet lines in “Implosions”, and so I decided to write a poem in the form of rhyming couplets. These are questions I ask myself about war, and although it is written from the point of view of a soldier, “I hold my gun”, it is in a sense me trying to come to terms with what happened.
And I keep walking
And I keep walking
And I stop walking
In this poem, I wanted to attempt to write something that could serve to illustrate two points, by using vague adjectives. Snuffed is a term usually used for fire, but it can also be used for killing. To this end, I wanted to talk about the death of a soldier on the battlefield by comparing it to the burning of a village, and the fire eventually going out. Destructive in it’s time, both serve a purpose they may not have wanted, that they did not choose.
The use of a very simple form and a lot of repetition was part of keeping it vague, but it was also meant to give everything a rhythm, so that to some extent the last line is unexpected.