Creative writing exercise #1

I just found this site in my bookmarks. I will now pick a random creative writing exercise and do it. This might actually help me to write something, anything. As you might have guessed from the lack of creativity of this title, lately I am struggling with ideas. Although I am struggling most of all with putting words on paper. I’ll start with prompt 121.

Start your story with this: “She touched the little box in her pocket and smiled.”

She touched the little box in her pocket and smiled. Soon her smile turned to a grin which left the boy wondering.
“You can see it if you want!” she shouted.
The boy bit his lip. It sounded like such a big responsibility. He stared at the ground but couldn’t find his answer there. Instead he found his shoelaces untied, again. He was sure the fairies had tricked him. If only he could see them.

She slid out her hand of her pocket. Her tiny fingers grasped around it, but could not hide the blue velvet fabric of the tiny treasure chest. Her fingers opened like a flower in bloom. What if… there was a fairy inside?
“Can I?” the boy asked with eyes that seemed as if he was looking through a magnifying glass.
She laughed. It was the sound of fairies.
“Only if you promise not to tell anyone.”

The boy pondered. He thought of the times where he never had any exciting stories to tell to his class or the time when he promised his mother he would tell her anything. His feet shuffled, kicking away the fallen leaves on which they were standing.

“You have to promise me!” she demanded and did that thing where she sucked on her cheek. He smiled shyly and reached out to grab a yellow leaf that was stuck in her red curls. Her cheeks blew up like those weird blowfish that he had read about in a book. The boy chuckled.

“Meanie!”
“Ah, sorry. I want to see it”, he quickly said.
Her huge grin was back in no time.
“I-I promise I won’t tell”, the boy whispered. He did his best version of a salute to show he really meant it. Now that he was not slouching over he felt big and important for a moment. He felt a little like his father.

Her fingers grasped the lid of the little box. Around them the leaves fell from the trees, carried by the wind. When she was about to open the box the boy felt a shudder going through him. He wasn’t sure if it was due to the cold or his excitement.

The redheaded girl slid a stroke of her hair behind her ear. She smiled at the boy, who smiled back. Both of their eyes were focused on the blue velvet. Her round green ones as well as his dark almond eyes surrounded by his glasses. She opened the box. A ray of sunshine emerged from the blue velvet.
“A pocket full of sunshine”, the boy said out of breath. He touched his glasses to see if his eyes had tricked him. That didn’t seem the case.
“Is i-it fairy magic?” he asked out loud.
The girl looked at it and seemed to consider the posibility.
“How did you come up with fairies?”
“I read about them”, he confessed.

Their eyes were locked on the ray of sunshine for a moment until it seemed too much. When the girl closed the box the boy could see colorful spots blur his vision. The girl put the little box back in her pocket and they smiled.

Lost Boy

Where the fairies dance on lights
Where the mermaids sing at night
Where it’s not about his name
Where there’s no toll on fame
Where captains serve him rum
Where the adventures have just begun
Where Waterlily and him watch the stars
Where it doesn’t matter who you are
Where Rufio waits for the return of an old friend
Where the lost boy has come home again

R.I.P Robin Williams

Of course I never knew the actor, but I knew his movies and they were great. May he now dwell in Neverland.

Hello

I guess you didn’t get the memo
That I’ve been waiting on you for years
I’ve never even met you
but I’m holding back my tears

I don’t know who invented tears
These salty useless mechanisms
They’re only fuelling my fears
I swear it’s just bugs that flew into my eyes

Why am I not good enough?
Why can’t they see I’m worth it?
I just want to be loved
But I guess I’m still asking too much

And it’s not your fault
I get it, you didn’t know
But if I may be so bold
You’re welcome anytime now

I’m really happy for her
I can say that from the truest place in my heart
I just wish I could feel like she does
Tell me where do I start

Honest reviews

I’ve noticed a thing or two about reviews in the past couple of years. On so many blogs and videos I see people apologizing for their opinion. Like they feel they have to apologize for not having the same opinion. It’s very human to feel like we have to have a certain opinion, just because we’re supposed to. But does this really make for a good review?

I think not. We should stop writing reviews where half of it is a disclaimer in which we apologize for being negative. It is a natural thing to do, because we don’t want to belittle the creators that worked so hard on the product. We also definately don’t want people to get angry because we simply don’t agree with them. I can imagine it’s even more difficult when you’re reviewing a sponsored product. Yet I’d like to go as far as to say that people who write things in their review like: I hate to be negative, I really wanted to like this product, it’s not for me but maybe it’s perfect for you just don’t give themselves enough credit.

It’s okay to dislike or even hate something. A review should be your opinion about a product. There’s no way to write an objective review, because you always write it from your perspective. Meaning you tell people what your experiences with something were. They can be fantastic and it could possible turn into your new favorite and your readers’ next favorite thing, but it’s okay if it’s not. Life is about the balance between ups and downs. It’s naïve to ignore the negativities.

I pledge to all bloggers to write or talk about their honest opinions. You know what the wonderful thing about blogging is? It’s that people have created their own platform to express themselves. It’s a new form of media that doesn’t have to deal with media policies and other opinions. All journalists for traditional media are much more limited in what they can publish in the way that their articles have to align with the image that their media company wants to portray. Every written word has to fit with what they stand for as a whole. Weblogs are much more lowkey. Even though some have become their own company, it is still mostly the vision of one individual. This personal approach to media is the greatest treasure of a blog. It has created a way for everyone to share their opinions on their passion.

Bloggers can learn from traditional media. Reviews in newspapers and magazines are often known to be critical. They don’t shy away from displeasing the producers of a movie, for example. When the reviewer thinks something is bad, he or she writes about that. Why? Because journalists try to be as objective as possible. Yet they can’t be as objective as a blogger can. Journalists have to keep in mind what the readers and their colleagues will think of a movie. I once went to a workshop in reviewing for pop journalism in which a journalist told me he always tries to review the album as if he’s putting the opinion of his readers on paper. It’s not about what he thinks of an album, but it’s about what he expects his overall readers to think.

But isn’t it much more fun to write about what you think of something? Isn’t reviewing on a blog about sharing your passion for products with other readers? I want to rave about books, share my love for songs but also rant about things I don’t like. A blog, magazine or newspaper shouldn’t be associated with a company. A reviewer isn’t there to please others, but should be there to give information and his own opinion about things.

It should speak for itsself that different people like different things. Just because a review is negative it could very well be a good product for you. Bloggers shouldn’t have to mention this in their blogposts. It makes me sad that some people don’t realize that someone else having a different opinion than them is actually a good thing.

Where does The Cardigan Collection come in with all of this? I’m motivated to deliver reviews about things that interest me. I will not put up disclaimers about any different opinions you may have on books, music or other things I will review. This is my personal place on the internet where I feel like I should be able to speak my mind without having to feel guilty about it. I’ve never been called out on having a certain opinion by the few readers I have, but it sucks when I read so many blogposts that have to include all of this obvious information.

Do feel free to start a discussion with me if you don’t agree on anything that is stated in my reviews or other articles. I’m always interested in what you have to say about something. Like I said, different people have different opinions. I’m always interested in what others have to say. Just don’t hate me for disliking something you love.

I’ve got 99 problems and you are one

Stop running when things get hard
This takes me back
to the time I broke your heart
Why do I even bother?

Here I sit waiting again
Been here too many times before
This wasn’t part of my plan
You just run off without a word

Did you think I was going to hold back
We both know I’m as real as it can get
I really hope you get back on track
But stop getting offended by the truth

Yo, why are you ignoring me?
I’d rather have a fight
than to feel this lonely
But we’ll do it all again

If you really want to go
Leave me with a note
and just fucking say so
Cause I didn’t get the memo

And I still want you to come back
I know I’m crazy
but we keep each other in check
Is that the white lie you want to hear

What do you want me to say
“Your behavior is very normal
and it’s totally not getting in your way”
Just because you know, doesn’t mean I can’t mention it

Yo, why can’t I speak up to you?
You cry every time
But I just wanna get through to you
Next time this’ll happen again

And what’s up with the way you get down
when I just need something to nag about
You cry so much you just might drown
You know I’m just saying

I say too much
and you say way too less
Can we get back in touch
Cause I’m not leaving until I get a whatsapp

Needing your space isn’t pararell
to me shutting my mouth
You know this very well
Don’t we have enough problems

I’ll just sing my anthems
That are directed at a certain someone
I’ve got 99 problems
and you are one

Writing with music

Usually when I have to work I like to do it in silence. I get too distracted by music when I’m writing an essay or any other assignment. But there’s something about writing with music on that works.

A song tells a story in its own right. Every song is a little story that conveys one mood. This is why it’s no surprise that I use these songs whenever I want to get into a certain mindset. Putting on the right music can really set the tone for your story. Just a word or feeling I get from the music can pop up ideas in my mind. Whenever you’re stuck I highly recommend you listen to music. As I said, I usually like to write and work without any noises but sometimes I just have to put on some tunes to get the words flowing.

For our story Intertwined, Amy and I have created lots of playlists for (main) characters. The playlists I make are usually really long, but do have songs categorized in the mood that the character is in. It’s funny to see that all of my lists seem to feature a certain type of music that I love.

This is the longest playlist I have made thus far. I’m pretty proud of it. Shogo is a playboy that steals the hearts of all girls. Almost literally, because he has the power to suck out someone’s life energy/soul. He tries to drown his lack of love with dating girls, but as the songs get darker he gets confronted with his own fears and dark actions more and more. Seeing as most people make playlists of like 12 songs this is insane, but I still feel like every song fits so well. Not to mention Shogo is a musicjunkie, so that also fits.

If I have to mention any band that inspired me it’s Paramore. Thanks to their music I’ve thought of some crazy plottwists for Intertwined. Do you know that zone you’re in when it’s just you and the song and then it starts becoming so much more? This is what I get with making these playlists and it’s amazing. If you’re a writer and a musiclover, I highly recommend it. It’s a nice hobby healthish obsession  maintaing this inspirational helpers. If you’re ever having a writersblock, try this! You won’t regret it.
I have made these playlists using my Spotify account, but of course you can also use regular old Windows Media Player or YouTube.

Do you put on music while you write? Can you concentrate better with or without music?

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.