Visual & Written Ditties For Writer's Inspiration

Discussion in 'Reading & Writing' started by Lara Moss, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Veteran Member
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    So true Tom. I'm inspired when I write poetry & paint (I don't write novels) by colorful real-life characters sometimes. Another place I find inspiration is famous literary lines that I can ponder on for awhile until my imagination takes flight and morphs into my own creation. Here are some famous line examples of what I mean:

    1. "under the scrutinizing prism of time" - Robert Penn ("Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce")

    2. "which are you drinking, the water or the wave" - John Fowles ("The Magus")

    3. "semper flamma flummo proxima" - Plautus (means: the fire is always near the smoke)

    4. "idealism is what precedes experience" - David T. Wolfe (D.Wolfe should have left out "is what")
     
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  2. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Somebody told me recently that I was a sharp observer. I thought that was interesting because that's what I try to do in my writing. I take the ordinary, everyday things and try to make something different out of them. I'm fairly quick to notice the personality traits of people that I encounter. The mundane can suddenly become less so. I think that the trick is to exaggerate, but no excessively so. You need to keep both people and situations plausible.
     
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  3. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Veteran Member
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    I like that, Tom. Do you ever use metaphors in your writing? I love love love metaphors…good ones that is. Truman Capote, "Failure is the condiment that gives success it's flavor". Or Jennifer Donnelly, "Hope is the crystal meth of emotions; it hooks you fast and kills you hard". Of course some metaphors can be really corny or overused.

    Another thing I like is personification; giving physical or human characteristics to ideas, thoughts or inanimate objects…but I don't like talking animals! :D

    A very all known example is William Wordsworth's,
    "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud". These parts:

    I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;

    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
    Ten thousand (daisies) saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in spritely dance.

    The waves beside them danced. ….
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.
     
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  4. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I like a metaphor, but because I try to make people laugh, I use similes quite a lot. A simile is a bit like a metaphor's rather pushy cousin; a bit more upfront and in-your-face. I think that similes convey the image of something absurd rather more than a metaphor. I can give an example from my own novel, if I may be allowed such self-indulgence.

    Vince, possibly seeking some inspiration from Gary Player, was dressed all in black. His paunch, and the fact the he leant forward slightly as he walked, gave him a rather waddling gait. He looked, Sean thought, somewhat like a large black duck that was attempting to do an impression of a penguin.

    Here, I'm trying to convey some of Vince's pomposity and just how ridiculous he is. I think the simile adds to the absurdity of the character.
     
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  5. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Veteran Member
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    I take it Vince was your former boss you spoke of earlier when describing your theme?
    Sounds like you succeeded in portraying him as ridiculous :D:D:D.

    I always differentiate simile from metaphor by looking for "as" or "like" in the sentence. Similes always have "as" or "like". So you were correct in saying Sean's comment was a simile. I smiled at the humorous absurdity so high5

    4c0d88551a94862a2e862b654bd7d12f.jpg.gif
     
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  6. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes, I think metaphors are more subtle, whereas similes are something of a bludgeoning implement. One could describe a political or sporting fiasco in metaphorical terms as a train crash or go for something along the lines of 'like a train that went off a cliff. '

    Like most forms of communication, a lot depends on context. I think similes work well for emphasising the ridiculous. If I used the phrase 'about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike,' there's an element of the absurd about it.
     
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  7. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Veteran Member
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    Ahh, now I see what you are saying. I never looked at it that way before….never beyond the difference by definition. You've gone a step beyond the definition to incorporate the impact it makes on the receiver/reader. I always thought it was an equal impact, just a different usage. Interesting. I get it.
     
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  8. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I studied linguistics, so I'm a bit of a language bore..

    In some ways, I look at the metaphor/simile relationship as similar to that of adjectives and adverbs. The adjective describes, but the adverb gies that bit further, giving more emphasis.
     
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  9. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  10. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Veteran Member
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    Got "writer's block"?...

    13551765.jpg
     
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  11. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Another method of emphasising, or foregrounding as the linguists like to call it, is repetition. It's a technique used more in poetry, though you see it in prose as well. So, for example, if you were wanting to establish a person's connection with a particular place, you might say, "This is the street that blah, blah, blah" and then start several subsequent sentences or lines with the same words.
     
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  12. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Veteran Member
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    Yes Tom, very effective. Here's a technique for character development…:)

    writers_mug_she-rb503262d5323460483ddf16094d5cf73_x7jgr_8byvr_324.jpg
     
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  13. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Sometimes, even a classic novel will give one a good example of things you shouldn't really do. While I would concede that Dracula is a great story, it's not actually a very good novel. Most of the characters are too one-dimensional. Stoker uses multiple narrators, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but most of their voices sound the same. The only real exception is van Helsing, but he is given a comedy Dutch accent which doesn't help at all.

    Compare Dracula with The Woman in White, for example. This is another book that uses multiple narrators, but Wilkie Collins gives his characters much more personality and individual voices. I would have love to see how Collins would have written Dracula.
     
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  14. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Entries with the category: Writing Tips From Writers
    Tips and advice from authors to help you to improve your writing.
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  15. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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