The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

“Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul.” -Walt Whitman


“Lilac and star and 

bird twined with 

the chant of my soul. 

There in the fragrant 

pines and the cedars

dusk and dim.”

-Walt Whitman


The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

Writing Playlist Spotlight: Hayao Miyazaki Film Soundtracks



Lately, some of the major inspirations and influences on my writing have stemmed from anime, especially movies by the famous Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. The stunning visuals of his films combined with his trademark unique and touching storytelling not only stretches the imagination but the accompanying soundtracks also provide great music to write to. Below, I thought I would list some of my favorite songs among Miyazaki’s well-known films you might like to use in your own writing. Hope you enjoy!

  1. Merry Go Round-Joe Hisaishi (Howl’s Moving Castle) 
  2. Summer’s Day-Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away) 
  3. Arriety’s Song-Cecil Corbel (The Secret World of Arriety) 
  4. The Legend of Ashitaka-Joe Hisaishi (Princess Mononoke) 
  5. The Boy Who Swallowed a Star-Joe Hisaishi (Howl’s Moving Castle) 
  6. The Flower Garden-Joe Hisaishi (Howl’s Moving Castle) 
  7. Promise of the World (Piano Cover)-Joe Hisaishi (Howl’s Moving Castle) 


The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” -Henry David Thoreau


“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” 

-Henry David Thoreau

Ingredients for Storytelling: Tension

Hello, everyone! I hope your holidays were well and relaxing! To start off this new year of 2018, I decided to create a writing-centered series called Ingredients for Storytelling! In each of these posts, I will discuss an element I find makes a story all the more intriguing and why.

As you can see from the title, today’s spotlight will be on tension and how creating this between characters can further enrich an already great plot.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 9.51.40 PM

First of all, what exactly does tension mean in literary and storytelling terms? According to the Oxford Living Dictionaries, tension may be defined as “A strained state or condition resulting from forces acting in opposition to each another”. In the context of storytelling, this comes about as a result of two or more characters being forced to interact, and many times, even cooperate while maintaining opposing goals. Because of this, nearly every conversation or action shared between these characters is laced with mental or emotional strain that we label “tension”. Another way we can think of tension is a “potential for conflict”. This isn’t to say the presence of tension always necessarily leads to conflict, but rather, that the potential for conflict constantly remains just beneath the surface of the characters’ interactions, influencing their dynamic and chemistry until their opposing goals are either met or adjusted to lessen the already existing tension.

A prime example of tension can be seen in the classical hate-to-love trope—one of the most notable cases being acted out by Han and Leia from George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy. As a princess and politician, Leia is the exact opposite of Han, who is a smuggler and relative loner, in nearly every way. While initially their personality differences cause a certain level of discomfort and strain, what ultimately creates tension and eventually conflict between them is the fact they retain not only different but opposing goals. Leia wants to save people’s lives and freedom by fighting against the oppressive empire. In other words, she believes in a greater cause. Han only wants to preserve his own life and freedom, and thus, has no interest in joining any cause at all…initially. However, circumstances force them to work together in order to survive, and thus, their encounters, while not violent, are rife with simultaneous conflict as well as attraction, and therein tension.

Why I love itLike in life, in literature, TV, and movies, you can’t ever physically see tension, but you can feel it. If tension is written into a novel or script and written well, we, the audience and readers, can practically feel the strained dynamic between characters oozing off the screen and page as vividly as if we were standing next to them. And isn’t one of the main purposes of stories to draw you into the characters’ lives—to see what they see and feel what they feel—in the first place? While incorporating tension isn’t a requirement for every story, as a viewer and reader as well as a writer, I find this element often makes the characters and the world they inhabit infinitely more life-like and relatable.

What do you think? Do you like tension in the stories you read and watch? If so, what are some of your favorite examples? Please feel free to leave your comments below!


The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

Happy Holidays and Hiatus Alert!

Hello, everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting as frequently for awhile, but this will serve as both a Christmas aesthetic and announcement that I will be a taking a hiatus until the new year. In the meantime have a wonderful holiday, and I wish you all an awesome incoming year full of reading and writing!



The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

My Musings: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire


Synopsis in a sentence: A half-human, half-fae woman must solve the murder of a fae countess and in doing so, is pulled back into the very world of dark magic and danger she has been trying to avoid for most of her life.

As a fan of Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels series, I have been looking for another good urban fantasy world to delve into and after hearing so many interesting things about the October Daye books, I was excited to try Rosemary and Rue. The plot was relatively straightforward enough and the world building was as intriguing as it was gritty. With that being said, I struggled to connect with Toby throughout the novel. While I liked how this protagonist for once isn’t a stereotypical “chosen one” character with amazing superpowers far above those of everyone else, I couldn’t help but find her almost not capable enough. In other words, throughout especially the last half of the novel, she can’t seem solve any helpful pieces of the case and in the end her constant series of mistakes leads to innocent side characters’ deaths—characters that barely receive any development in the first place, but whose deaths seemed unnecessary to the overarching plot as well. As a result, by the end of the first book, I found myself feeling detached and disappointed by the ending rather than excited to read more about Toby’s other adventures in the following novels. With that being said, Rosemary and Rue was a fast and easy urban fantasy read for anyone looking for just that.

📚✔︎ Would recommend for fans of urban fantasy.

This book reads like a…modern fantasy noir 

Check out the official summary of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire on goodreads.

My rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★


The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

My Musings: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo


Favorite Quote: Love speaks in flowers. Truth Requires thorns.” 

This was one of my favorite reads of the whole year! While usually, I’m not a huge fan of short stories, Bardugo’s writing had me hooked from the very first page. Styled in the tradition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Language of Thorns contains six fantasy tales and retellings that spark the imagination and re-illustrate some of the most famous and beloved stories with a beautiful dark twist. Rather than a usual review, this will serve as more of spotlight in which I will emphasize my thoughts and favorite (spoiler free!)  aspects of each of the stories listed below.

Ayama and the Thorn Wood-This opening tale is loosely based on the greek mythological story of the minotaur, and it was absolutely brilliant! Rather than placing a high value on physical beauty like so many fairy tales, this story prizes the main characters’ uniqueness and compassion—an aspect that I found made it infinitely more touching and memorable.

The Too-Clever Fox-Like the title, this tale is very cleverly told. It revolves around a fox who believes he can outsmart a famed hunter. Without giving away any spoilers, his pride ends up costing him dearly in the end, and one of the things I liked about this one was that it reminded me of the countless parables and folktales I read in storybooks from when I was younger.

The Witch of Duva-This disturbing tale seems to be based loosely on Hansel and Gretel, and was every bit as dark as the comparison implies. While fantastical, this story, however, explores the horror and darkness within the ordinary and is made every bit as enthralling and disturbing because of it.

Little Knife-Like The Too-Clever Fox, this story reads more like a parable than a regular short story or fairy tale complete with a simple but powerful moral at the end. I also love the way Bardugo speaks directly to the reader as if relating an old haunting folktale while sitting by the fireside on a chilly winter night.

The Soldier Prince – I absolutely loved this retelling of the Nutcracker from the titular character’s point of view. In this tale, the “Soldier Prince” longs to be human and gain freedom over his own fate, and the way Bardugo recreates all the other well known characters such as Clara and the Mouse King while also beautifully illustrating the poignancy of time passing and life’s choices is as real and raw as it is enchanting.

When Water Sang Fire -How can I adequately describe this without giving the ending away? All I can say is that it’s a retelling of the Little Mermaid but with some dark and heartrending twists that leave you thinking about the story long after the story has ended. This is a great haunting tale to end this anthology!

📚✔︎ Would recommend for fans of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen, and dark fantasy.

If I could summarize this book in two words: darkly mesmerizing  

Check out the official summary of the Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo on goodreads.

My rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer


On we drove through the darkening storm…


On we drove through the darkening storm 

until without warning a bright light tore through 

the thick endless blanket of clouds above

revealing a…


The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

Happy Halloween!


When witches go riding 

And black cats are seen,

The moon laughs and whispers

‘Tis near Halloween. 


The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer


Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑