My struggles with writing

Warning: this post may not be for over the age of 16/18. Do with it what you want.

A few days ago I learned a humble lesson. I’m nowhere near as good as I thought. Sure, I have talent. I can emphatize with my characters without trying to hard. It doesn’t take long for me to find out their thoughtproces, even if they are different from me. Or so I’d like to think. I do know I am a peopleperson in the sense that I quickly have a grasp of what someone is like within meeting them at first. I’d like to think this reflects my writing. I also have some pretty cool aspects of ideas. That’s right. I said aspects.

My problem is that even though I have been writing stories since I was nine, I’ve never actually finished one. Except for three short stories, but I’m not counting those. Actually I always start my stories blank. I have a lot of free writing sessions and in the middle I just stop. Because I’ve lost interest, but also because I have no idea of how it will unravel. I’ve never actually planned out a story, which may be the reason I’ve started so much and finished so few. Sure, I’ve had my core ideas. Sometimes I did know where I was going, like my NaNoWriMo 2013 project. I just didn’t know how to fill the gaps.

I can’t afford this. In four days I have to pitch my story as an assignment for my Creative Writing class. A story that I thought of to challenge myself, unable to realize that even a basic thing as thinking of an idea for every single scene is a challenge for me. I have to get over this. If I’m completely honest with myself I’m studying Journalism to become a writer. But how can I ever be a writer if I can’t create a synopsis that describes every scene that happens in my story?

Amy says I just have a different way of working. She’s probably right. If I were to have it my way I would have started the story, get guided by the flow and write the synopsis after I’m done. This wouldn’t have been a problem if they didn’t change the assignment. Or wouldn’t it have been a problem? Perhaps I would write a couple of scenes and leave it be again, because I couldn’t figure out where it was going anymore.

ik wil nietThis is the cover for the synopsis that I have to turn in. The title roughly translates to I don’t want to!

My synopsis is now done. I don’t know if it’s written to my best extend. The story I’m writing is a story I want to tell, but it doesn’t feel like my story. It’s about a student named Matthijs that seems to have it all. A beautiful girlfriend, a nice group of friends and a good future ahead of him. He’s a normal boy for his age, but there’s one thing that doesn’t work for him: sex. This is because he’s carrying a deep secret from his past that may just destroy everything he holds dear.

Spoiler alert: it’s about sexual abuse. I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into. I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and person to write about sex. When people think of me sex isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I’m not living the typical student lifestyle. I regret that sometimes, but something holds me back from doing it. I guess it must be my fear of commitment. Don’t worry, thank god I never had to go through what Matthijs has to go through. I just don’t know if my story is any good. I’m so insecure about it. I don’t know if the synopsis is any good and I have to sell this like I’m presenting it to a publishing company.

Don’t get me wrong. I have an urge to tell this story. I was intruiged by the boys mind and how they always seem to think about some form of sex. I thought it was interesting to write about a student boy that very much is part of the student life, but has trouble with sex. Even if he does think about it. Sexual abuse and rape are a terrible thing. You don’t have to read this blogpost to know that. It does get coverage in the media. However, it is never about men. There seems to be an ever bigger taboo about men being sexually abused. This interested me. I was greatly inspired by this post on 9gag, which still gives me a lump in my throat.

I think I need all the luck in the world to present this story in front of my whole class. But I’m going to do it and it’s all going to work out. And it’s going to be an achievement for me, because I’ve looked past my boundaries and anxiety and presented a brave story that does need to be told. Again, it’s not my story, but it’s the story of Matthijs and how he struggles with being normal and doing what society tells him to do. I think I can at least relate to that. I hope I will do it justice.

Favorites of the year: books

This year I’ve read more books than I planned to do at the start. I’ve read 24 books in total. To some this may not seem like a lot, to others it’s more than they will read in 10 years.
I’ve read books that I wanted to read for a long time, books that I discovered this year and books that I was ‘forced’ to read. Some books I’ve liked, some books I hated and some books I respected, even though I didn’t like them that much. All in all every book I’ve read this year has learned me something to an extend. This post will only feature my favorite books of 2013.

Note: these books are some that I read in 2013. This does not have to mean that they have been published in that year.

1. Philip Pullman – The Northern Lights/The Golden Compass

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This book by Philip Pullman was quite a ride. I instantely fell in love with the fierce Lyra. The worldbuilding and twists were very strong in this one. It is a children’s book, but one that is a little darker and makes you think about some aspects of life. Is it really better to do what your surperiors say even if it’s in the way of your own gut feeling? This book made me doubt that. The golden compass had a movie adaption, but really deserved much more recognition. It is a refreshing and thought provoking example in the genre.

2. Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus 

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The Night Circus starts of very mysterious. The plot doesn’t really begin to unravel until halfwaythrough, but I didn’t even mind. This is because of the wonderful world that Morgenstern builds. She greatly teases the reader, who is left wanting more and more. Erin Morgenstern did a wonderful job of breathing the circus to life. The mysterious suspense kept me longing for the truth about the circus. This is not a book for everyone. For some it may be too detailed. It takes a while for all the details to fall into place.  Yet I was able to cope with that through the magnificant world building. It has some very interesting scenery and some very interesting characters. I’m especially in love with the Murray twins and Tsukiko.

3. Thomas Verbogt – Perfecte Stilte

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First of all I should mention that this is a Dutch book. It’s one of the novels that I had to read for my Creative Writing classes at school. The last years I would almost resent Dutch books. I often read English books, because I thought them to be better. This book proved that, that was silly. I haven’t read a lot of books that can convey a message in just the right amount of words. Verbogt wrote about topics that were hard to cover, but he did it in a very chill way. This is a story that has touched my heart. It is one without much cliches. I’ll definately read this again, even if it is just to have an example of how to write a book that is very masterful in keeping the suspension.

4. Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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It’s been a while since I touched a book that I couldn’t put down. I felt an urge to keep reading this from start to end. I love that! I love to read, but usually I read books in a lot of different sittings. It only took me about three to finish this one. I think it’s due to the simple writing style. Everything is told through letters of Charlie, the main character. Chbosky gets away with writing some dramatic and hard topics through these letters. It’s no wonder this has become such an iconic book. Look out for a review about this one.

Some books that I didn’t like this year were:
– Lauren Weisberger – Revenge Wears Prada
– Jan Wolkers – Roos van Vlees