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NEWT: Faking a Smile

Posted by Kragghle , in BZPower Dec 11 2012 · 383 views

writing
:kaukau: I will do a few more "vs" entries before the end of the month, but in December I will start something new. The project is to be called Normal Everyday Writing Themes (NEWT). This is being advertised now on Tanksgiving (thanks to Lhikevikk, I realize my typo here, but because he's right about how epic it is I won't correct it) because today is a day for being thankful for all the things that we take for granted. Hence, the theme and style of this idea: every day for the next few months, starting in December, I will repost this entry with a new theme.

This is for writers. These themes will apply to writing. Although not an official event, I do this in hopes of encouraging writers on BZPower subject material to write about, and often times the greatest writing material is right underneath our noses, hidden in plane site among the activities of everyday life. So will it be that most of these themes will focus around everyday things, from family to school to work.

I encourage writers to look at the headline for this entry every day and think of writing something about it. It doesn't matter if it's a short story, a chapter to an epic, a poem, or an essay (for the bloggers out there). I would be proud to see someone post artork on these themes. The point is, this is a daily exercise, and it is distinct from Ambage activities such as the Fortnightly Flash Fiction Contest and the Skype Write-Offs because it's daily, has no time limit (unless you want to get done with one theme before the next one comes around in 24 hours), and isn't a competition. This is meant to encourage regular writing.

Allow me to speak in the second person. I will word these headlines in such ways that I hope they speak to you. Think about it. What do some of these everyday things sound like to you? These won't be vague, poetic themes like "Pathfinding", but a little more specific in their application toward life. So imagine seeing the headline "Being the only girl". Yes, you can make a great adventure story out of that, I'm sure, but my advise to all writers is to stop and reflect and forget for just a moment about being creative and original. What's the truth behind the theme? How does it speak to you? These are just some things for you to consider as you grow and develop as a writer to discover the meaning of art.

Also, if you feel like it, you can post a link to your work here to help establish a sense of community and let other writers know of your participation, as well as give people the opportunity to see what interpretations of the themes have already been covered.

That's it. That's all I have to say for now. I hope you all are interested!
 
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Eudaimonia
 
 
A Greek word for happiness, this is actually fairly specific and means "the good life".  This is to say that eudaimonia doesn't apply to happiness at any specific moment, but happiness over a lifetime and an ultimate sense of peace with someone has done with what they had allotted to them.  it's a big concept, and when I took a college class called "The Roots of Western Culture and Worldview" (aka Western Civ), I chose this as the subject of my semester paper, which I wrote largely overnight.  Specifically, I had to explain Aristotle's views on happiness as described in the Nicomachean Ethics (while at the same time using at least five sources).  It was something I did all at the last minute, and surprisingly I got a near perfect grade, save for the deductions made for turning it in late.  I wish I still had that paper, because it was a really good essay, and there's a lot to say about it, especially when I had a very powerful thesis.
 
This is a broad subject for something that's supposed to be normal and everyday, but I figured that I wanted to start off with a big question that ought to challenge the reader, and that is: "What is the good life?"  That's what I naturally begin to ponder when I look at the theme.  Who knows, though.  Someone might look at the theme and see it in a much simpler light.  On the whole, though, if anyone's out there who's interested in participating in NEWT, I guess that the nature of this theme still entails stories with a bigger narrative at hand, and hopefully these thoughts will bring about some of our finer literature to date.
 
Well, that's enough of me being a philosophy nerd.  I will see you all tomorrow.
 
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Moving
 
Most, if not all who read this should have some familiarity with the proces of moving away from and old home and into a new one, saying goodbye to friends in the process.  Either that, or a friend has moved away.  Saying goodbye to home and making that transition, taking away the constants in your life, can be tough.  I would imagine that we all have our stories to share, or through our experience be able to create another story that has that sincere sense of being true to life.
 
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Story Behind a Photograph
 
I got part of the inspiration for this project and wrote down a list of themes long enough to last months while my grandmother was going through an old photo album and telling some cousins of mine the stories of their father and their uncles.  As she went through that sacred oral tradition of sharing her family stories with the next generation, I wrote down those little moments of life that I take for granted.  Meanwhile, it also makes for a good theme that's certainly open for interpretation from the author.
 
 
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What is a nerd?
 
Ah, the question as old as time, or at least as old as the 50's.  I personally think that the word is used too freely these days to describe anyone with geeky interests, but I personally feel that a lot of intelligence has to go into nerdiness as well, so I get annoyed when someone can be described as a nerd just for being a Star Wars or Harry Potter fan, when really they should just be called franchise fans because these are unrelated to academic intelligence and problem-solving.
 
There's also my grife about people applying labels to themselves and letting the nerd label define them and acting in certain ways because "that's how nerds should act".  How lame.  I hate that reasoning anywhere.  I hate it when I use it on myself, because sometimes I let my self-labelling define me and act certain ways "because I'm nerdy."  Then in hindsight, I think it's kind of less true to myself.  And really, sometimes I wonder what exactly a nerd is, once you remove all the stereotypes and unnecessary details and get straight to the core of what one is.
 
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A Christmas Carol
 
At this point my favorite Christmas carol is Silent Night, in-between the times when I'm listening to Stille Nacht instead, because everything sounds better in German.  Everything.  Bias aside, I also like O Come All Ye Faithful (probably because it also has a German counterpart).  This is to say nothing about the Hallelujah Chorus, which is amazing and one of the greatest works of music ever produced, although I wouldn't consider it a Christmas carol.  We also know Carol of the Bells is one of the most beloved, respected, and dramatic pieces of music ever written as well, which just so happens to be related to Christmas, and it can mean many things to many people, although its lyrics are only atmospheric and don't tell a particularly resonating story, which is why at the end of the day I listen to the classic carols about the meaning of Christmas, especially if they have a German or Latin equivalent, to keep my heart where it should be.
 
How I miss the days that I have gone out and Christmas Caroled.  It has been a long time.  Maybe in a couple of years I will return to the age-old practice with a few friends, or I could in fact do it this year.  It's been so long ago since I've done this that all my memories have receded into that surreal world of the past.  Those are kid memories now, but even as a kid I knew I was doing something special and rare, and for once I have memories that don't make me feel nostalgic because there were times in my life where I cherished what I had before I lost it.
 
There also happens to be a strong association with a certain story that has this title when the phrase "A Christmas Carol" is mentioned.  My favorite adaption of this tale is An American Christmas Carol, starring Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade, American industrialist-turned Scrooge of the Great Depression, which delivers his tale of rise, fall, and redemption so well that it was one of the last films that brought tears to my eyes before seeing Schindler's List, and I highly recommend it to anyone who can fish it up.
 
Yes, at the end of the day, it's a vague concept, this whole business of Christmas carols.  It doesn't mean anything in particular, but it seems to intertwined with who we are that they will always have a special place in our heart and be a strong, resonating, universal theme for any story.
 
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Being the Oldest Child
 
Either you were the oldest child or you were not.  Either way, I can certainly relate, being one myself.  Every family has one, and thus this is as everyday as you can get.
 
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Being the Only Girl
 
Statistically speaking, the majority of BZP authors are males, and we male authors tend to write stories about men.  We also know that girls tend to get relegated back to the role of romantic interest, in which case their femininity defines them.  Let's switch things around for a moment and see things from the perspective of a human being who also happens to be the only female within a group.  I remember pondering this and writing a short fictional letter, To the Guys.  It was nice to write something short for once, but even more importantly it was good to ponder seeing someone for her deepest and truest self, and trying to see how we're all the same.  Then, me just being me, I also sometimes try to walk a mile in the shoes of this other person and also try to understand that true femininity is, deep down inside once you remove all of the cultural superficialities.
 
Coming from the same strand as the last theme, this is another common thing you see everyday that makes someone unique.  Whether she's the only sister among eleven brothers or the only girl in a group of guy friends, there's always the girl who lives amid the opposite sex, doesn't think of herself as a gal, and identifies more with the thinking of guys while matter-of-factly acknowledging that on technical levels she isn't, and her femininity is something far deeper and more internal.
 
Or maybe not.  It depends on the person.
 
It's interesting for me to write about female characters because they're not common enough and they don't get enough justice, and all to often their femininity is treated as a gimmick to the personality.  It's irrational to deny that it doesn't make them unique, of course, but I tend to treat that form of uniqueness in a similar way in how I treat the subject of being an oldest child.  There's something special about you, something that sets you apart emotionally from the rest for no real reason, if only due to outside expectations and the way you see yourself with respect to others.  Female characters are fun to write about, and when you enter outside of life fiction and enter the realm of fantasy literature, there are people who are special because they're the seventh son of a seventh son, because they have a birthmark, because they have a unique personality quirk, or any such measure that marks them as the Chosen One within the story.  Yet, I like to be much simpler.  I like to chose a girl and just give her a soul.  She is who she is, and when written in sincerity, that's enough to make a main character special.
 
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The Picture in My Locket
 
It's just a little more specific than "the story behind a picture".  But the theme doesn't necessarily have to be about the story behind the pciture.  Maybe the background is of no importance.  Maybe it just contains a picture of roses, and the main character just happens to like roses.  Maybe it has magic properties and puts a curse or blessing on the wearer of the locket.  Maybe the locket's owner is Dorian Grey.  You never know.  It's completely up to your imagination.
 
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Faking a Smile
 
I was looking at some pictures and I could totally tell times when someone was faking a smile.  Then I realized that people fake smiles in a completely different way for each other, even when cameras aren't included, and in many ways we fake happiness much of the time.  At least, as far as the cliche suggestion goes.  Maybe that doesn't apply to you.  I don't claim to have that deep of a grasp of human nature.
 
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-Toa Lhikevikk-
Nov 22 2012 07:37 PM

Tanksgiving


...

I think you just inadvertently created the best holiday. EVER.
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I don't write much fiction, but most of what I've written on BZP (A Tale of Two Paths, "Crystal Knowledge") have female protagonists, and I specifically avoid romance in almost anything I write, so I like to think my characters break the mold somewhat. Of course, in Crystal Knowledge, Roodaka was not a character I made, so that's a little different, but Kiasu and Laro from A Tale of Two Paths are both female and are pretty much alone. I did make another female character on Kiasu's side of the story, but she's an antisocial character, so you could say that Kiasu is the only girl in the bunch.

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I don't write much fiction

 

:kaukau: But when you do, you write about Dos Equis.

 

Anyway, that's really cool.  I'll make a mental note to check out your works sometime, even though it's a bit different reading a work about a female Bionicle instead of one about a female human.  I wouldn't say you're breaking the mold by avoiding romance, though, or at least, not when it comes to Bionicle.  I still like to throw in romance from time to time, when it seems natural, but about as much as I would with a male character.

 

24601

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I don't write much fiction

 

 

:kaukau: But when you do, you write about Dos Equis.

 

Anyway, that's really cool.  I'll make a mental note to check out your works sometime, even though it's a bit different reading a work about a female Bionicle instead of one about a female human.  I wouldn't say you're breaking the mold by avoiding romance, though, or at least, not when it comes to Bionicle.  I still like to throw in romance from time to time, when it seems natural, but about as much as I would with a male character.

 

24601

 

 

Unless the author is female, pretty much any fanfic with a female character seems to include romance. At least from what I've read. I shy away from it. The one exception is "Ahkmou" which was inspired by old medieval and anglo-saxon poems, and so I introduced romance for the sake giving Ahkmou a sympathetic light. I mainly got that idea from "Bonny Barbara Allen" and "Lord Randall" which both involve a tragic ending to a romance, but not quite the same as Ahkmou.

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:kaukau: I guess I haven't read enough fanfiction, then, so I'm not qualified to make that judgment.  Maybe I'm just making some assumptions based off of how naturally I see certain things, such as writing a story about a female as if i was a female author.

 

Meanwhile, in response to the theme of "Being the Oldest Child," I began a short story but then decided to turn it into the epic now entitled We Are Young, where I will indirectly cover some of these themes and slip them in.  I had an idea of working with an epic of this nature, although I finally found the characters and story through which I could explicitly limit myself to normal, everyday things, whereas other old story ideas were either somewhat surreal or science fiction.  With that being said, I hope people enjoy this and the relatively short chapters that I plan on posting there (yes, you hear right: Emperor Kraggh is actually posting something short and readable for once).

 

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Username: Emperor Kraggh
Real name: N/A
Age: 20
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, 25% Hungarian, 12.5% Swedish, 6.25% German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Smallville & Arthur the Friendly Aardvark
Favorite play: Les Miserables
Favorite color: Silver
Second favorite color: Brown
Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, politics, drawing
Political party: Republican
Religion: Christian
Language: Not English, but American.

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