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The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

“The creation of a single world comes from a huge number of fragments and chaos.” ― Hayao Miyazaki

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“The creation of a single world comes from a huge number of fragments and chaos.”

-Hayao Miyazaki

 

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The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer
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The Power of Ambience

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Hello, everyone! Today I would like to share with you my latest discovery and obsession with soundscapes. While writing I often listen to movie soundtracks or instrumental pieces to get me focused on my story. However, this last week when I was browsing YouTube I came across some amazing and wonderful soundscapes! Now for those who aren’t sure what soundscapes are, they are basically the multiple sounds of a particular environment or location. For example, some of the most popular ones are the crackling fireplace and the sound of falling rain.

Here are the YouTube channels and their specific videos I have had fun listening to while writing, reading, and relaxing!

The Guild of Ambience-This channel really is great at creating a realistic and immersive ambience for various exotic outdoor and indoor environments. Some of its soundscapes include:

Fantasy Medieval Townsuch a relaxing video featuring sounds of nature along with    the faint strum of musical notes and the occasional clip-clop of a passing horse-drawn wagon 

Fireplace Sounds-Medieval Tavernincorporates the crackling of a fireplace accompanied by the low hum of people’s laughter and voices while the trickle of a drink being poured into a mug immediately makes any listener’s mouth start watering 

 Pirate Shipthe creak of a ship, the sound of crashing waves. What more do I have to say? 

Waterfall Sounds-Garden Pond, Bird LifeListen to the soft and steady flow of water accompanied by birds’ songs and other sounds of nature 

Potion Shop Soundsimagine yourself in Professor Snape’s classroom and this is exactly what your ears will hear! 

Check out more here!

Yet another great channel for specifically fantasy-based soundscapes is Sword Coast Soundscapes. Some of its videos include:

Small Marketplacefeatures more distinct voices bartering and chatting as well as the sound of footsteps walking down a cobblestone street

Underwaterhow it would sound if you were 20,000 leagues under the sea

Some of the less-relaxing but still fun videos on this channel are:

Jungles of Chultthe sounds of the jungle mixed with frequent roars of human-eating monsters! 

Docks at Nightthe sound of waves, the cawing of crows, the howl of the wind, and of course, in the background the rumble of thunder

Explore more from Sword Coast Soundscapes here! 

Lastly, there is The ASMR Geek channel that has a lot of cool and eerie urban soundscapes, some of which include:

A theme park, an abandoned arcade, food court ambience

This channel also has plenty of awesome dystopian soundscapes of:

underground cities, spaceship cockpit, futuristic asian tea room in the city

As well as ones from movies and TV shows such as:

Supernatural, Star Wars, and Harry Potter 

Listen to more from this channel here!

 

Thanks for checking in, and I hope these soundscapes transport you to adventures of your choosing!

onlinelogomaker-072117-1533-2952
The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

Ingredients for Storytelling: Details

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Welcome back to my Ingredients for Storytelling series where I will be talking about some of my favorite elements of great stories both on the page and onscreen. As you can see from the title, today’s post will be dedicated to discussing how details can often enrich an already strong storyline.

Why do details matter in the first place?

1. Setting: In my experience as an avid reader and viewer, details about the world characters inhabit as well as details about the characters themselves can make the story itself more relatable and believable to the audience. Take for example, the wide film genre of anime. Anime does an enchanting job of taking ordinary scenes from our everyday lives and re-illustrating them in such a way as to make them seem like beautiful landscapes (e.g. a rainy street corner, the inside of a crowded train station). Yet what makes them so fascinating is the fact that just enough small details from reality are included to make them recognizable to us.

2. Characters: Details about characters are important too. Sometimes including a small fun fact or detail about the protagonist’s habits or personality can make such a big difference in that character’s likability and the ability of the audience to relate to her or him. For example, in the TV show Supernatural, Dean, one of the main characters, loves pie. More than that, not only is the audience informed early on of Dean’s love for pie, but this small but likable and quirky detail is reiterated over and over again through scenes spanning multiple seasons of Dean eating pie. While at first glance, this may seem trivial, by including such a fun aspect of this character’s personality, the screenwriters have made him seem more real. Yes, Dean is (sadly) a fictional character. Yet by giving him mannerisms and details that most people can see mirrored in their friends, people they actually know, or more importantly themselves, the writers have essentially made him more sympathetic and relatable with just one small detail.

3. Plot: In the same way adding details to a setting or characters makes them seem more inhabitable and real, details within a plot can enrich the narrative even further. Take Christopher Nolan’s film Inception for example. Early on in the movie, the audience is told that when entering a dream each individual possesses a totem, or essentially, an object that’s design allows the owner to figure out when he or she is dreaming. While at first, this detail seems relatively minor in relation to the overall plot, by the end of the film it is presented as one of the most important and defining features that influences any viewer’s interpretation of the film as a whole. In this way seemingly minor details–if utilized cleverly–can not only often serve to foreshadow or hint at later plot twists, but also function as a point of continuity within the larger story.

Can a story have too many details?

Now, I know a lot of people are thinking “YES”, and I would definitely agree. I, as well, as most people I’m sure have had the misfortune to encounter a book, movie, or TV show that over-provided so many details that the greater plot ended up becoming lost in the flood of seemingly mundane and meaningless other factors. The main reason why I added in the parenthesis the phrase “sprinkled throughout” is because, while details can become powerful storytelling devices, a large number of them can easily be quickly overwhelming. I found that in my favorite books, movies, and TV shows, the details the writers choose to provide nearly always serve a larger purpose–whether it be to reveal more about a character’s personality or the nature of the world they inhabit or ultimately anything that enriches rather than hinders the heart of the story itself.

How do you all feel about details within a story? What kind of details do you enjoy seeing and which ones do you find annoying? Please feel free to leave your thoughts below!

onlinelogomaker-072117-1533-2952
The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

 

 

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

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“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

 

onlinelogomaker-072117-1533-2952
The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

Writing Playlist Spotlight: Hayao Miyazaki Film Soundtracks

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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) 

 

onlinelogomaker-072117-1533-2952
The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

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

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“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.

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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!

 

onlinelogomaker-072117-1533-2952
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!

 

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onlinelogomaker-072117-1533-2952
The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

My Musings: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

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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): ★★★

 

onlinelogomaker-072117-1533-2952
The Fantastic and Mundane Chronicles of an Aspiring Writer

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