All considered, but not all chosen

I’ve been reading and my reading cast a thought. That music is significant in the lives of others. It could equally apply to movies. I’ve heard it before, and I considered it again and it became more inspirational this time. That if movies are a significant reality in people’s lives, then I as a reviewer and writer of film must relate to this reality and do so genuinely. Hence, I have changed my review category to be called “review mix” in that various films, music and books are considered. However, although I may consider all movies, in the end I do not choose every single one.

Preparing devotional books in my mind’s eye

I have enough devotions for the equivalent of a book’s worth of devotions, one month’s worth, but with the second book, another month’s worth, there is still some editing and additional writing to be done. I am writing and editing at this stage. I am thinking of publishing though.

The word with those connotations: ‘sly’

The Word for Today is ‘sly’. It means having a nature that is cunning and deceitful. The key here is in the nature, otherwise the meaning of the word would fall. Without cunning and deceitful emanating from a nature, sly would just be cunning and deceitful but that can’t exist by itself. Somone is cunning and deceitful. Someone is sly. Sly is an adjective so it describes an inner nature. Someone exists or lives in that nature. He is sly.

I always have a reservation about this word because it implies a bad or wrong centered nature. But is describes a reality. Sometimes there are people we may come across that are sly which is scary. But sly is a word I keep at a distance and use it rarely as the word must fit the character, the story, the sentence, etc.

Children reviewing films

Can a child review entertainment? We were asked to review Gandhi. Gandhi is a “mature” film, but the kids wanted to watch E.T. and The Dark Crystal. But could we have reviewed those fantasy films let alone Gandhi and reviewed them effectively? It can be done, by some. Continue reading

Update: devotional writing

Eventually got around to writing a devotional this week, and am thinking about how to publish the devotions I have, as one publisher cannot work with me due to their way of doing things (i.e. delivery of renumeration), so have thought of self-publishing e-books. But I will check out traditional publishers first to see if there are any others that are suitable.

Actuate

Writers actuate. They cause a character to act in a particular way which is the meaning of actuate. In real life, there are people who would like to actuate. They would like to have you act in a particular way. Sometimes, they succeed. Actuate is one of those action-orientated words that describes the way of the writer on a character and the way of a person on somebody else. These can fuse to produce a story that is realistic–the actual manipulation of a human being as a character in a story. These can make for disturbing unpleasant stories or ones where we can detach.

It’s quite easy really

A Christian perspective is quite easy really when it comes to it. Sure, one can think of theological and sociological things to bring up, while the ordinary, everyday filmgoer bites into an ice cream, and popcorn flows all over the place, but a Christian perspective is just this: it is reacting or responding to a film as someone who is a Christian. It is just reacting to the material and if faith is important to a Christian then there is a reaction or response that kind of way.

A nice place to post

This week I have been starting to post my pieces of writing through blogger as the other place was not technically working for me. Another place, Substack, requires a lot of work to get subscriptions to your blog, so I find blogger just a lovely place to post my older and newer work and get an audience where there are no hassles. Here’s my latest piece, here.

Deep red

Crimson is a rich sounding word. It means rich as well, as in a “rich, deep red” inclining to purple (but not exactly purple). I asked myself, how would you use this word? When would you use this word? Crimson is an adjective so describes something. The word sounds so rich it could be used to describe the inner state of someone, as a metaphor. His heart bled crimson. One would have to know what a deep red would signify if using crimson as a metaphor. His heart bled crimson, but what does it mean?

New venture

My experience at Vocal has been good thus far though there are some teething problems which are being sorted but nothing major as in major. I found my first article, before I submitted to the editors, prompted me to write to a certain word count and I found this good as it enabled me to try a little harder, think a little harder, and improve the article overall. If they accept the piece, I will be submitting more, until there comes a point that I should stop writing there for some reason, but for now, all is good. Continue reading

This one is spelt with a ‘h’

There are some words one knows but doesn’t really. I know what whisked means instinctively, but would I know how to articulate what it means? If this is a question I ask, I add the word to my notebook of words I got to learn.

Whisked is easily remembered by me by recalling the word ‘suddenly’, as in a person or thing was suddenly taken away or “whisked” away. I took a second glance on how to spell it, not ‘wisked’, but with a ‘h’, as in whisked.

Reviewing the list of words in the notebook

One of the things I have been recommended to do is to keep a notebook of words. So, I have, as this helps me learn novel words. I write down the word with a memory jogger as to its definition. But I got to review these words every so often as some will slip through the memory and be forgotten. I recommend keeping a notebook of words that one can learn and to review them every so often so one won’t forget. It can only make one understand that much better.

 

Feeling right

I spent a few spare hours of writing a couple of interesting posts (if I must say) on my new ventures with Medium and Substack, but my initial feeling was to not start out with it. To leave it be and not do it. The initial feeling was confirmed when the response to my posts and marketing of them were minimal. It’s not encouraging going ahead. Yet I forced myself to think harder about what other kinds of material I could produce so this material may come to fruition someplace else or closer to home base.

On new posts

This blog has been various shapes and forms of which I think it has been a matter of experimenting with shape and form and content until coming to something satisfactory or a composite of all those. I trust that Talking Writing or peteswritingnotes.com is this, which brings back my notes on the writing life more to the forefront as well as keeping with positing old articles, etc, and new pieces when possible.

My aim, in the long-term, is to produce e-books (or some variation thereof) of articles and reviews, the kind of things I have been posting here for the last six months as well as include the material that did not get published here.

So, I am pleased to present Talking Writing…And Posting Writings which I trust is more in the form I find manageable. It means I can write freely about the writing life and publish writings when I like. A lot easier to produce and in turn brings more variety.

Saying it without having to explain

There can be a difference between writing a review and giving a view. A review stays within the parameters of review: explain your reasons for accepting or rejecting a piece. But a view can state the view without necessarily having to explain things in detail.

Although there are two kinds of views: one which can be explained and the other is like being asked a question about what you thought and answering without explaining why. You just say it. So, I intend to write more of that kind, where it is like someone asks me, what I thought, and I say it. These are typically short.

A vow of poverty to write

Do you give enough? I feel I don’t whenever I read the passage in the gospel of Matthew about the rich young man as if I am rich, which I am not.

Saint Francis of Assisi took the passage literally and lived a life of poverty. Isn’t the writer’s life the same? A vow of poverty to write. Not that I am in that boat at all… Continue reading

One or two in the mist

Had a flurry of writing over the Easter period and beyond for some devotions I was trying to get through and published. Those ones were safely rejected I think all of them, but I am not counting, so I have an idea there is one or two that are on their list to publish at some stage. Wait for the cheque in the post. The rejections when they come don’t hurt as much as they used to. I am not counting.

A genre filled with life

When is the abundant genre appropriate to write today? Perhaps not these days. But what about past days? Future days? Sometime ago in a person’s life? What was the narrative? Somehow, what is it? The abundant genre is about blessings, full of blessings, over filled with blessings. Even those blessings in disguise…hidden ones, silent ones, quiet ones. Still filled ones. Even goodness.

Powerful poems

Reading poetry is what I’ve been doing more of recently as a writer of poetry must read it to see how published poetry is done. One poem I read reminded me that poets choose subjects and write a poem on that subject. Choosing subjects is what poets do, but it is not the only basis for a poem. It is one of the ways to write a poem.

This poet obviously choose ‘freedom of expression’ as her subject and wrote an effective, even convincing argument for it. I was compelled by the subject because it was well done and made the point effectively. It even made me think about freedom of expression and asked how many of us are really good at it. I mean some people just dominate the argument…As you can see poems have power.

Writing in anger

A reviewer assumed a screenwriter/director was driven by anger to make a work, but being driven by this emotion seems a stretch too far. How does one manage that emotion while working with it? Wouldn’t anger get out of control and interfere with the person doing the work, effectively disabling the person from thinking straight?

I guess anger in writing can smolder underneath, under layers one has built up to protect oneself from exposing the driving, motivating force behind a work or works.

The problem with writing in anger is that anger may be seen in how one treats the subject they are irritated about. An exaggerated treatment may reveal a bias towards a certain institution, but it isn’t the way it is. This is when things become unfair.

I think it is best to avoid those writings that are driven by the emotion of anger. There are other emotions to write with, and these can be negative ones. For me at least, anger is detrimental to getting on doing the work properly.

In the end one may be misrepresenting something or some group entirely and perhaps regret doing so afterwards.

One word says it

As I am progressing my sentence, and stuck for the right word, I try and use two words. Why use two words when I could use one? Two words tries to expand on the meaning in my mind — but it sounds clumsy and awkward. It just does not flow well. One word may say it much better. Just got to find the right word. That’s where words with similar meanings come in (synonyms), since one of those words may just say it better than two.  I google for a synonym and  I find the right word that replaces the two words that just did not sound right.

Not widely known

I have no idea of the matter but I trust the reference book is correct. This is on the matter of who co-wrote the play Where the Rainbow Ends. The reference book cites that Reginald Owens was a co-writer which isn’t stated on Wikipedia. The reference book says he was the brain child of the play as well.

I have a good feeling the reference book is right, although I could be wrong. Clifford Mills is cited as the co-author (along with Reginald Owens) in the reference book. On Wikipedia, Clifford Mills wrote it with John Ramsey.

But where is Reginald Owen on that Wikipedia page? “It is perhaps not widely known that the famous children’s play Where the Rainbow Ends was the brain-child of Reginald Owen…” the reference book says (Page 13, Film Review 1973-74).

Abandoning one project isn’t abandoning the ship

There is a difference between abandoning something and abandoning ship. Abandoning ship means whatever you were occupying is abandoned for ever. Abandoning something means you let go of part of the whole. I may have let go of a long cherished but burdensome project without abandoning ship. I will still write of course, but I won’t be writing a certain project that I really am unmotivated to write anymore. I guess one should be motivated to write a project, but when it becomes a burden, one loathes the thought of writing it. So, I think I should stick to those writing projects, in terms of fiction, that I really have a strong motivational investment in.

When public profile does not matter

He just wanted to write. He did not want to show off. But Mrs. Humstead wanted to show every one of importance his writing. Except no one wanted to read it. The writer observed rather than get upset. He knew being such a small timer not everyone was going to have the time to read his work. But he just wanted to write. He knew there were many competitors and more over those who would pillage his work for their own ends…He was wary of those but remained calm. What did it matter? Peace of mind reigned over him before action strikes. Another piece of writing.

When the facts matter in written communication

I have been reading. Websites. And I see there is a dearth of facts. Sure, there is plenty of warble. But I want facts because I want to know. I want to learn something about the latest news or whatever it is clearly and simply. Not have to wade through tons of words to try and find the facts but I don’t find them even then. It is like finding a needle in a haystack. I know of resources in print that can take me to the facts easier.

This dearth of facts on the world wide web prompts me to change myself. Become more factual and clear. The dearth of facts makes me want to change my style of written communication, where appropriate.

Maybe this blog should start something off: a fact driven site. As well as keep writing the articles that need something more, where appropriate.

Communication style can be driven by what we have learnt at home and that can be challenging: ever listened to a family member express themselves? How would a child pick that up?

More writing to come read: articles etc.

I’ve been thinking…and there should be more writing and literature on this blog, in the future, than general writing and life talk although I will probably still include that. I would like to see more poetry and reflections and reviews of books, movies and music.

Writing reflections is, well, a reflective exercise

I’ve been working on a book of reflections based on my readings of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel is from the Bible and I am aware of being accurate to the text and not saying something myself in my writings that was not intended by the writer of the gospel. But I am writing reflections and this genre is not explaining or expounding a text academically as one would when deeply examining what the author was saying. Reflections are simply hopefully effectively relaying my thoughts about what I read…meaning it is not a thesis on the text or a critique but a reflection on the text itself. I reflect from a devotional basis so it is not a reflective critique which has a soft edge.

I don’t know if one can do reflections from any kind of text, but I think copyright issues are the barrier to a writer taking any printed text and writing a book of reflections on it, although I don’t know. I know that there is a whole genre of devotional writing that uses the Bible but does not copy it. I know I am not doing anything wrong in using the Bible as a basis for a book of reflections, unless everyone who was writing devotions from the Bible has got it wrong. It is only wrong if copying the Bible exactly as it is for a profit, without permission; and copying it even without wanting to make a profit or commercial gain.

Copying 1000 Bible verses as they are written is okay with some Bible publishers, without seeking permission. It just depends on each Bible publication policy which is at the front of each Bible. Always check copyright notices at the front of each book you may want to copy in some way. There it will explain what one can legally do or not do with that particular book. And get a grasp of copyright law. Books are legally well protected from people trying to illegally copy them, but the copyright notice at the front of the book will inform of any leniencies, if any, and what you can do if you want to use a portion of the book in some capacity.

So far, my reflections have taken up one small exercise book, which I completed this week. For the rest of the week in terms of reflective writing, I just felt to blob, as if I have done enough for a little while in that genre or until I get my reflective writing mojo back.

The genre may choose you

I’ve been thinking. Of what use is a writer? When you reach a certain age, you look for a job or embark on a career and writing seems everywhere. When I look at this writing world, there are needs for newsletter writers, technical writers, and so on. A few will make money from creative writing and maybe even a living, be that screenwriting, novel writing and short short story writing, as well as poetry. Of what use is a writer? It seems what is missing now is the motive, the purpose, the over riding theme of why one wants to write. When I knew my reason for being it seemed to choose the genre. When the genre was “chosen” (or more likely drawn into), of what use is a writer when there are just a few publishing possibilities in that genre? What if one got in?

Thinking before writing

Am thinking is my favorite hashtag. Because when I am thinking I am thinking about how I can move forward, improve, or make something such as my writing better. A think tank can be the before writing process. Actual writing follows thinking or at other times a healthy dose of inspiration. This week I have been thinking. Thinking about what’s next to write. The devotion? Or the project? Or the devotional project? How will I write it? Would it work? We’ll see.

The writing life is fluid

Writing is never over. Even the so-called “off-seasons” have a purpose, to enjoy and do well, and to lead one into the next stage. One does not always have to be successful, as each stage has a uniqueness of its own.

At least that is how I think of it, in my experience. Live, learn, and develop (no one has ever made it) and move on to the next phase, consciously aware of the moving on or not.

The writing life can be built on stages or phases. One is in one stage then moves on to the next. Maybe this is not every writer’s experience, but I would say it has an element of truth in mine.

Sometimes, I did not know what stage or phase I was in, as the writing life takes over. But other times, one does know the phase and aims to do it like one would do a job, before moving on…

The writing life is never over.

The solitude of the writer

I have had experience on my side, publishing credits, and an eye to improve for that next piece and the one after that and the one after that…until the writer reaches stuff to his or her eye. Then there are more things the writer may need to improve on. Later he starts thinking, I can relax. He’s done his best and whatever the publisher thinks, he’s always done his best. But, who really cares? Apparently, people do. 

Writing the relatable human side of characters

How can a writer let humanity flow in their stories? How does a writer share the human touch that the readers need? If people are not relating to you humanly, there may be something missing in the relationship for them. Therefore, the “human side” must naturally flow when one is only using words in writing. It is about being real and transparent. Being human is being real to the core (not having to show that all the time). Ideally, I am not pretending to be human for the sake of getting published (it won’t work and the editor will notice), but to be honest, while sharing those relatable human traits (liking coffee at 7AM) that make the reader relate while the emotional pull makes them empathize with somebody real.

Learning from rejection of writing

My devotion was written, edited, submitted, now in process of a month’s evaluation by the editors, then I am notified of its status. Writing it was a bit of a labor, even at 300 words. It’s just getting it right that counts even with good material — I do not take for granted getting a piece rejected these days, after several set-backs where my work, which I thought was good, was rejected.

It’s in the post. Surprise!

Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com

Memory lane: Circa, 2017. Judson Press sent me a copy of the winter issue of The Secret Place which has one of my devotions in it. Yet, whatever the season, be it winter or summer, I’m pleased my article’s there, winter or summer. But it will be read in the North American winter. Why do I attract the North American winter? Surprise!

Commitment is more than ambition

One of things a publisher will want, I think, is commitment, and not serving the writer’s ambition first and foremost. This commitment, I think, must extend to a writer’s readers, so that even if a writer is posting blog pieces all the time and is not publishing the book, but shows a sincere commitment to their readers, is doing a better thing than someone who is not even making an effort with their readers, but has published the book. The book is always where the writer’s ambition lies, but the reader is the generous soul who makes an effort to connect with the writer and should at least be acknowledged if not put on a pedestal.

The mentor worth remembering

Then I am reminded, in the throes of writing a piece frantically. Remember the lesson? The one in the classroom? All those years ago? It felt like the lesson Luke Skywalker had to learn in the cave and correct his “inner demon”. What a crock. Gotta correct my inner demon? Nah. Yes, I remember that scene now. Just a movie scene. It was like Indiana Jones understanding something for the first time. But, for me, it was understanding something more than one time. I have been recalling it more often than usual. The wise words. The word that offers guidance the right way. So, when I am writing something, I remember the mentor’s words and apply it where appropriate. My affection goes out to the mentor: your guidance in writing helps, I think. Indeed, it does…

Working on yourself, not some other writer

Someone I did not know told me I was doing a great job writing for such and such a publisher. I felt chuffed by the remark and a swell of pride came. I went away from the person with a lighter step and a bigger heart.

That evening as I watched the news on television, I believed I was a better writer than the reporter I saw on the evening programme. The questions he posed were weak, I thought, and I thought of a better one. Perhaps he should use it. He could have enhanced the whole interview. Then, I recalled the comment the man made about my great reporting.

If this seems to be pride, technically it is not. I was not a better writer than the journalist on TV. It just means I thought of a better question that sounded good to me. It can add to something I am working on, not add to someone else’s work.

Persevering with the poem that’s a labor of love

Putting the much loved poem on the back burner was the logical next step. This after desperately searching for a suitable publisher for it, but realizing there isn’t one, yet. Beforehand, he was going to place it on his blog. He had, at least, decided he would work on finding a publisher for it, and would continue that search at a later date.

Persevering in the face of successful others

“I have two websites I use for information on publishing,” said the fledging writer to her inquisitive hearer. She was ashamed of being a fledging in front of this successful person, but thought that with possibility, possibility should never die and keep her going, until it reached fruition, with the possible becoming more than probable, and turning her notion into something real.

Older writers keep on going

The musing said to the aspiring novelist, the novelist was getting no younger:

Hope the younger ones do well for the traditional publishers that are still going. Depending on what they would write for them. Nothing short than…As for you, you may just find something else. Something better. So, for you, I will keep the possibility of ‘afresh’ avenues open. But keep knocking on the door, from time to time.

Compelling choices for characters

In storytelling class, the lecturer may discuss the concept of compelling choice. For these lecturers, compelling choice is the pivot on which the plot turns in the classical story structure. The main character faces dilemmas at various points and has a choice between two or, even better, more choices of action, but the character chooses one way because the choice compels more than the other possibilities.

Real life is faced with such challenges as well at all sorts of levels. I wish that in real life we would always make the best choices, but in stories a character is a character with its own personality, beliefs and ways of doing things. It’s just that some choices compel the protagonist more than others. This is good material for the writer. The character can make authentic choices because one choice was more compelling that the other possibilities. In real life this can be as difficult as choosing the most unselfish course of action.

Self-improvement for the writer

Improve! Speak for yourself, someone says! Yes, I aim to, maybe you will, too. We’re all trying…Take the opportunity to improve your work by looking at your old articles, stories, and seeing if anything could do with a tweak or major revision. Any things you learn in your revising will spill into your current work and only improve it–and at a quicker speed.

Writers communicate internationally

Wisecracker: So you read those Indian romance poems in English. They’re English romances, then.

Writer: It was a translation into English. Translation. Get it?

Humbled wisecracker: Pretty accurate, then. I mean, extremely accurate.

Writer: You got it. You better take a class, though.

Humbled wisecracker: Yes, I should.

Writer: On translation.

Romance stories from India

Reading some of the romantic poems and literature that comes out of India, I saw a lot of heart brokenness in the stories, when one’s sweetheart leaves. It then occurred to me that these stories reveal much tender feeling towards love and romance. They way that the love wasn’t tossed into the dirt to be trampled over or thrown into the ocean with a million fishes eager to eat it up. I found the sensibility, the sense that love is treated tenderly, better than many romances that get produced in the English language.

The artist’s mind’s eye

In the throes of life, an artist happens to be picturing something in their mind, and wishes to translate that to paper. It may have arrived ‘through the ceiling’ as it was; or in the other words it just popped into their mind. It could come from observation of the real world; a landscape, a person; a thing. But like a camera the artist has a snap shot in their mind of something they want to put onto canvas or in a novel.

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The stimulus of ideas

One idea can produce two ideas, but they both take a different slant, that’s the difference. For example, take this premise, as comedy for a Hollywood blockbuster that would get one star from the critics, depending on how well it was done, the potential to be a bomb.

A man spent ten years of his life around a lot of people and got so sick of them that he decided to isolate himself from people because he enjoyed the other half of his personality better and settles down with him, but his friend tries to get him back into socializing with people and to see the good side of humanity. In the end, he comes around to see the good side. That’s a silly comedy. But I can change the ending and the whole tone of the idea to sound like an arty drama. In the end the person stays away from people for the rest of his life and there is no seeing the good side. That’s a German drama. I would write neither.

Lessons of rejection: belief

Rejection can be a task master making you try harder, be different, fit in, conform, and do what will make you feel accepted. In writing, this may make the writer try to perform. But, acceptance is another story. If your story is accepted as is, for what it is, and published just as it is, then you are blessed. You don’t have to do anything different or more to be accepted by a publisher. But what happens if some kind of work of yours gets continually rejected? Maybe you don’t know why you are writing something and even if you did and got rejected it wouldn’t matter–because you know why you are doing it.

Personally, I have found the key is to find security in why I am writing something, then any amount of rejection won’t matter. It’s the harder path to come to realize why I want to write something, but the one which says, I don’t have to write in this another way, because I know why I am writing this. Who cares about rejection!

Nebulous writing has a point

Nebulous writing is without a plan, a shape, a design. Just write. With the thought in the back of the head: think about where this piece, this novel, this screenplay is going.

Happens at some stage in a writing career. The fluid recording of thoughts, typed, or on paper, translated into something of a story, a piece, an article, a personal experience related, into a script of some important story.

In the end, nebulous writing isn’t nebulous at all, for all writing must go somewhere.

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Editing to personal satisfaction

Whatever you do do it well-

Walt Disney

I’d like to avoid the difficult editing stages of polishing a piece of writing, so I may delay doing it, even so ending up having to do it, because I just gotta. It is thinking about what I want out of the piece that motivates me to “rise up” mentally and take the bull to the horns as they say. Without a good polish, I am left with regret and sorrow over a piece that could have been so much better with a polish. Then, there’s someone saying, “it’s all good” which makes me feel better, but not reassured. To be reassured is knowing that the piece is good in my own mind–but thanks for the encouragement, very much. Keep on polishing until satisfied.

Understanding the nuances of the language

A way to be understood if someone cannot distinguish your speech. Say one is asking another person what spread she wants on her toast. One may say, “Do you want cheese?” The other person cannot distinguish the word cheese. They say, “Weeze?” To be understood, the first person says, “The mouse likes cheese.” The other person understands when you bring a context. Everyone knows mice like cheese! “Oh, you said cheese. No, I’ll have peanut butter.”

Introspective writer’s moments

They tell you to never look back. It just stifles the present. In writing, it makes one think of the negative points of one’s writing. I wish I had done it better one moans. However, I do not mind looking back at what I have written in the past if just for the curiosity of rediscovering how my older work sounded.

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