Friday, June 22, 2007

Psychological Writing Habits

I have been thinking about writing habits and how it may affect writing. I have noticed that when I get in the habit of doing something, then I react when I do it different, or something happens to me that reminds of me of something. It doesn't make sense now, but it will once I explain it.
For instance: we drive a long way to church. About an hour and a half up. Several years ago, we would always stop at a gas station along the way, (though now we do not do that) and I would always get one or two cookies and eat them on the last stretch. I noticed that, on the days that we didn't' stop, my stomach would react by growling, because it was used to having those two extra snacks before church.
Another example: Last Christmas, my brother and his wife gave me a CD. I got to where I listened to it all the time; after listening to it a couple times, I had developed favorite songs. Every day, the last school subject I do is science. I was studying about bugs. I remember that I put my favorite song on repeat, and now, even though I no longer listen to that CD when doing science, even though I am no longer studying bugs, every time I hear that song, it reminds me of praying mantises, learning about how bugs have five eyes sometimes instead of two, how they sense and feel things, and just that area of time this year, and my room, where I studied. It is because it was a habit, a habit I broke and because psychologically, that song is to me, associated with bugs.
I got to thinking. If we are writing a certain book, article, or story, then there are several ways to help us get into it. We can listen to a certain song, or wear certain kinds of clothes, or drink our favorite drink, wear a certain kind of will make us think about that thing, and it will help us writers get in the writing mode. I mean that if writers develop writing habits, it may be that their minds and bodies will adjust to it, and at that certain time of day, when they are wearing that particular outfit, when they drink that particular beverage, their mind will react by wanting to write and getting into the writing mode. Habits really help. Many people eat breakfast every morning. If they skip it, their stomach growls. Many people don't eat breakfast, so they don't get hungry until lunch time. If they eat breakfast, the might be full at lunch and not as hungry. I depends on each person. There are even ways to get out of the writing mode. I know that writers reward themselves when they are done with their writing time. They might kick back and watch a movie, go for a walk, eat some very expensive chocolate imported from France, or take a nap. It becomes routine, and our minds and bodies adjust to routines. That's all I have time for now, but thanks for reading! TTFN.
Anna Elizabeth Hedges

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New and Improved Thoughts on the Word, 'Lady.'

For those of you who have been reading my blog since I started it, you may recall my first word of the day entry.
Lady is a word which I have formed some slightly negative opinions on.Now, however, those opinions have been pushed further in the positive direction.
I have not been called a 'lady' very much. Only older people have called me 'young lady:' in truth, I don't like it very much. It sounds nice, that is given, but for me, I prefer to be called 'young woman,' or simply teenager, even 'geek,' will do. (yes, as strange as it seems, I enjoy being called a geek.)
If my brothers called me a lady, I would be pleased. 'Lady.' not 'young lady.' I only remember one time when I was called a 'lady' by somebody my age, and at first, I didn't' like it, but after thinking it over, I was thrilled.
I have thus revised my opinion on the word 'lady.' I don't think one should pepper their sentences with it, but I think that if used correctly, it sounds great. If used incorrectly or too often, it sounds awkward and even a bit ugly.
If used delicately, casually, carefully, and even jokingly to someone your own age, it sounds good. I like being called a lady. Not young lady, lady. I like it, even though I have never thought of myself as one. When a friend of mine jokingly called me a lady, it made me think. It sounded nice! I still don't necessarily consider it a cut of poetry, but shall we a say, a gem in everyday words; a diamond in the crown of feminine synonyms and colloquies.
Anna Elizabeth Hedges

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Pirates, arg!

Ho, mates!
Just Kidding. I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3 last night, and I have been in a Captain Jack mood since. I give it a 10 for being great. That's mostly because I am a pirates freak. Ever since I saw the first one, I have always loved them! And Jack is my favorite character. Definitely. Cool!
I thought, that since I was going to bring Jack Sparrow into this entry, that I might as well take the opportunity to say something about characters. I'll use Pirates of the Caribbean for reference.
What makes a good character? Something I have asked myself, something I have tried to answer, something I have tried to do. Making a great, unusual character is a hard thing. Especially if you have a typical plot, like mine. It just suits the characters, even though it has been used countless times. In Pirates of the Caribbean, we have Jack. We have Babossa. We have Will Turner, Tia Dalma, Davy Jones, Ragetti, Pintel, Mr. Gibbs, Elizabeth, James Norrington....the list goes on and on, and each character is a good one. Jack first. Jack is unusual and so likable because he is funny, persistent, always gets into trouble, and he's a pirate. Why would we like a pirate? Why do we side with the pirates in the movie, rather than the 'good' guys? I'm not entirely sure about that. Jack's appearance is one that will for ever be classic among pirate legends. The dark hair, dreadlocks, red bandanna, the beads, the gold teeth, the eye liner, and the hat. Appearance, character. I haven't figured out yet why Jack is so likable. Maybe because of his mannerisms and the constant humor when he's around. My main character isn't quite like that. She isn't all that funny. Her appearance isn't all that unusual, except maybe for the startlingly blue eyes that communicate many of her emotions, and her character is...well, a bit like mine. I figure that, for now, Dwalyn's character needs to be like mine, so I have a reference. There are certain differences, though. Dwalyn's hair is darker, and curly. Mine is dark enough, but it has a bit of a gold tone in it. A lot of blond. Dwalyn's doesn't. Plus, I have brown eyes, not blue. I am not eighteen, but I think I can still manage her alright. I cannot talk to animals with my mind, and I can't speak their languages either. I have never found a horse in the brume fields, and I have never caressed a marron, or a talking cat either. Dwalyn has done things I haven't, and so she is slightly different. She has two good brothers, one bad, I have three great brothers. (By good and bad, two are on the good side, one on the bad side. The wrong side.) I have both my parents, but Dwalyn has never met hers. I have never even met a minstrel, Dwalyn lives with them, At least for a little while. And I can't play the flute. Jack Sparrow is completely different. Character wise. He isn't a great moral character, in fact, Jack Sparrow does a lot of immoral things. Jack Sparrow was constructed perfectly, but his actual, personal character is less than perfect. Even less perfect than Dwalyn's.
Side characters, I think, are important. Take Ragetti, Pintel, and Mr. Gibbs. They add such spice to the movie! (Actually, another note on Captain Jack: He has a lot of spice himself. That is one thing that is so great about him. He can stand by himself if he has to. He can be funny, by himself. But he is even funnier with the 'extra spice.') Mr. Gibbs is the one that does most of the pirate talk. Ragetti and Pintel are just funny. Ragetti is probably my favorite side character. One eye, and he has a wooden one. He's even handsome! He looks cool with an eye patch. Main characters and side characters are important. In Pirates of the Caribbean, there is a nice lover's triangle, even though there are four sides in the second one. Only three in the first and third. In the first, James Norrington, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann make up the triangle. In the second, I think Jack may step in for awhile. I won't say who steps out in the third movie, because many of you who are reading this may not have seen it. Fantasy and Pirate lore are cleverly intertwined into the movie, each of the characters playing a special part in it. I better go, but hopefully I can add more character thoughts soon. TTFN!
Anna Elizabeth Hedges

Monday, June 4, 2007

Yo! again.

I just wanted to say a few quick words that tie in with my last entry. More on writing, but this time, I'll put some art in.
Picturing a character completely out of your head is not easy, and there are very few in my book that I don't picture as a real person or character out of another book, even if their personality or name is completely different. As it were, my main character is one of the few that has a look all by herself. I made her up. Period.
My character, Dwalyn, has an average shade of skin, dark, dark brown hair, slightly curly, and blue eyes. Blue eyes. What? No big deal, right? But with Dwalyn, blue eyes was the only choice. Dwalyn started out as a stupid girl, the same age, named Elizabeth. Splendid name, actually stamped on my signature, but I kept imagining Elizabeth as a strawberry blond. This didn't fit her at all. It took me a long time to imagine her as I was describing her. A really long time; I even had to make some adjustments. For instance, I write Dwalyn now as with blue eyes. I used to write her with brown, like me. I expect Dwalyn to have a lot of my personality traits, except she will be a bit braver, prettier, and far more magical than I am. Dwalyn can speak to animals in a way only her kind (Maudi) can. Maudi is a human type creature I made up, out of my own head. It started out with eyes changing color, then moved on to something more practical, and a lot, interesting. I have no trouble picturing Dwalyn now. The characters I base on real people I don't' have too much trouble with either; I have already decided that only a few of these characters will be revealed for their inspirations. But not today; maybe when I am famous and rich, I will. :)
Some writers, I think, draw their characters, thus knowing what they look like. Cornelia Funke does this. I can't. I get vague pictures of what my characters look like. I don't know exactly what Dwalyn's face looks like, only that it is pretty. If their had been no movie, I don't think I would know what Frodo Baggins and Sam look like either. For other people's books, if their isn't a movie, I think I find a substitute in my head somewhere for what that character looks like. One of Cornelia Funke's characters I have imagined many actors as, and a singer too. After seeing so many movies, and reading so many books, I sometimes just pick out a character from another book and picture him or her as somebody else. Take Dustfinger in Inkheart, for instance. I have seen a movie called 'Raise Your Voice,' and I picture Kiwi as a young Dustfinger, who hasn't developed his wolf-like stealthiness yet, or established habits and self-control that a much older Dustfinger in Inkheart has. He looks the part, and if he weren't quite so outspoken and weird in raise your voice, I think he would be a Dustfinger. There is no actress model for Dwalyn. I don't know of anybody that looks like her. I just thought her up. One of my other main characters, however, is based on an actor. The third main character has still got a questionable appearance. I can't decide what he should look like; if I write and think that he has dark hair and green eyes, it doesn't fit the character. If I write and think that he has lighter hair, untidy whiskers, and glasses, then he looks more the part, and his emotions play the part better, but what about his actions? It is kind of hard, to place your character in the right place sometimes. Other characters (like Harry Potter) are easy to picture because of their easy to establish appearance and drawings on the cover. Daniel Radcliffe looks the part, and acts the part, and I think of him as Harry. I think that the glasses and messy hair make Harry easy to picture. Dwalyn, I think, might be harder for someone to draw. At least draw and please me. I will write again soon, maybe even on this subject, because it interests me right now. :) Thanks for visiting, those were my thoughts personally....
Anna Elizabeth Hedges

I just wanted to update this entry...I was just rereading it, and I have a few more thoughts on the subject.
I think that some authors probably can picture their characters very clearly. I can only do that if I have some kind of model for the character. Dwalyn, for instance, has no model, but one night, I thought of an actress that look a little like her, so I attempted to draw her without a picture, and though it doesn't actually look like her, it looks very much like Dwalyn. In fact, I didn't actually know Dwalyn's exact appearence until I drew this picture. I don't really believe in luck....I just got fortunate I guess.
It isn't entirely realistic; anybody who has noticed the drawings on Harry Potter books by Mary Grandpre will know what I mean by 'not entirely realistic.' I have seen some drawings for Lord of the Rings books....I don't like most of them unless Alan Lee did them. I mean of the characters. Once you have seen the movies than you can't get those images out of your mind. Anyway, I saw the movies before I read any of the books. I don't have that problem with the Cornelia Funke books because there aren't any drawings of the characters in it, although now I have seen the actors that will be in the movie. At first I liked the guy they got for Dustfinger, then I kind of liked him, and now I have decided that he will make a good Dustfinger. After seeing him in costume, I think he'll be alright. Maybe even brilliant. ;)
Kidding really. I think he'll be good. Dustfinger is such an original character......he is just too good for anybody to mess up. A lot of rugged blonds and redheads I see now remind me of Dustfinger. Sometimes they aren't rugged at all....Keith Urban for instance reminds me a lot of Dustfinger, even though he doesn't have red hair. He just looks the part. Whoa! I better go.
My thoughts personally on character appearence....
Anna Elizabeth Hedges

Saturday, June 2, 2007


What to write about today? hmm.
Oh, I know!
I will give the world a quick update on my book. Yes, I am ready to talk about it a little now. I am the first to admit that writing a book isn't easy. And that I have a hard time making my mind up about things. I have recently started over, and though I wish I didnt' have to, I am having fun. I have changed the plot considerably, and many characters have been added. My main character (actually she is one of three) is a young teenager, about eighteen, that is traveling with a group of minstrels. She trains animals (fantasy, so she has a 'magic' gift) walks the tightrope, and though she can sing and play the flute, she is reluctant. She has many friends among the minstrels, and she cares for two children, who are orphans. The whole thing is going pretty well. It is hard to make decisions as a young writer, because I want my book to be good, and I want my readers to like it. They say that reading is the best thing for a young writer. Let me rephrase that:
Reading is the best and worse thing for a young writer. Maybe the best thing for an experienced writer, but both to a young one.
I find that reading helps my wordplay a lot. Since reading LOTR and Eragon, even the Cornelia Funke books, my words have sounded a bit smoother and they read a bit more poetic than they did. Thicker books improve my story. And they tear it apart. I, as a young writer, analyze a book. I try to see how the plot was put together, single out my favorite character that is unusual, and I try to put a bit of that genius in my book. It isn't about copying. It is more like surrounding yourself with someone elses ideas, and possibly tearing that idea apart, looking at the pieces, and putting it back together again, in a very different order, and with pieces of your own. But sometimes I can't really put the pieces back in a different order. I want my book to be my own, and I want it to be good. Writers steal stuff from other writers all the time, but it sometimes rips at my writing heart to read a good book. How is my book ever going to be that good? It isn't like I want it to be exactly like other books. I want it to be unique, good in its own way. Whether it makes New York Times bestseller or not, well, I'm not all that worried about that. Harry Potter and Eragon did very well there, but I don't know about mine. I'm playing with something that some people may not like. Others may love it. I don't know. My friends will probably love it, because they're my friends, and they like the same things as I do. The point I am trying to make here as that writing a book is a great thing, hard, great, and....
Well, reading helps me and discourages me. But you have to read to be a writer. Some writers could be great, if only they would read more. Being a writer and never reading is like trying to build your own computer without any instruction books. Like trying to be the greatest singer without listening to other singers. Like trying to be the greatest writer without reading the greatest writers. Of this age and centuries ago; reading is important. At least I think so. I really enjoy both reading and writing. I am trying to write a book that has a pleasing flavor, a flavor that is a bit of a mix of other flavors. A touch of Harry Potter, a dash of Tolkien, and slight peppering of Funke. Maybe a whole glass full of someone else. But the rest is mine. It's like Bob Dylan and Woodie Guthrie. Woodie Guthrie influenced Bob Dylan a great deal. Now, Bob Dylan has influenced musicians around the world, and he isnt' through! Reading and writing just go togther, even if sometimes they rip at each other's hearts. As A.A. Milne's beloved character Tigger would say, "TTFN! Ta-ta for now!"
Anna Elizabeth Hedges