Tuesday, May 31, 2011

But Stories Need to End

My last post discussed story endings in the perspective of a reader and fan. From a fan perspective, an ending can be sad because there will be no more moments of the characters.

From a storyteller's perspective, when does a story reach its ending? A story can have multiple drafts, but when are the edits final?

I have some fine artist friends who laugh when asked if they finished a painting. All forms of art can be revised.  If a writer or artist takes a break from his work, then he may spot a flaw or solution missed beforehand. However, if the creator seeks perfection for his work, then it will never be finished.

The novel The Loser by Thomas Bernhard is about a musical genius (real-life musician Glenn Gould) who sought perfection. He even dies at the piano (happened in the book but not in real life), which the narrator thought was fitting. Although one character is labeled as the loser, the reader is left to question if the other characters found success.

Glenn Gould

If you are interested in reading The Loser...
I have to warn you that the novel has no chapters or paragraphs. The prose is one body of work, and is a stream of consciousness on the history of three musicians who sought fame. The narrator repeats moments, and you will find that he changes his attitude about the moment according to his feelings.

For instance, he says he idolized his friend Glenn Gould, but then later the narrator mentions the same memory with dislike for the man who reached a higher level.  The shift in attitude after new information is revealed or admitted information is realistic and humorous, but the repetition and streaming prose can give you a headache.  You, the reader, have to be ready and have the will to stop.  Otherwise you will be overwhelmed. Perhaps the author Bernard intended the reader to share the feeling of no end with the characters.

The narrator also seeks perfection for a book. He is never satisfied with a draft, and he never creates a whole work. Because the draft is unaccepted, he destroys it and starts fresh.  He doesn't allow himself to improve and develop his skills. A story has to reach an ending for the creator to review the work as a whole and make edits for the good of the whole.

Authors have been embarrassed to read one of their previously published works because mistakes even in the plot were missed or the author felt that the work could have been stronger.  But these authors chose a point to stop and publish their work.  They allowed themselves to move on to other challenging projects or the next installment.  

A character from a TV show develops over a series of episodes instead of learning all the lessons from just one episode. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sadly Stories Have Endings

I just finished the second season of the TV show Community. The two part episode was a thrill to watch; I laughed, ooohed, and awwwed. However, the departure of a character made the season finale sad to accept. Thankfully the show's not over yet, but will more characters leave? =( Abed got cooler in season 2. Character growth is an amazing thing to witness.

Community: A Fistful of Paintballs

Another show I'm currently into is Lie To Me. I got into it late, and sadly, the show is canceled.  So I have just one more season to watch. Once I am done with Community and Lie to Me, will I find a show to love as much?

As for comics, I have not read past issue 1 of The Unwritten.  The first issue had so much material, and I enjoyed it on its own. I am afraid to continue though perhaps because of expectations and maybe because then I will finish the series. I really should read issue 2  though. The series is around 27 issues now.

Issue #2

During one summer in high school, I read 3 books (2 of them were The Blue Sword by Robin McKinely and one from the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card) that were each around 300 pages. When I got towards the end of each one, I stopped and started the next book. Eventually I had 3 unfinished books so I read the endings to all three.  The stories were then complete but I still had wished that some of the books were 500 pages.

Have you felt the same way about a story? I am sure people do with series (shows and books).  I do not always finish series. What do you do to deal with the need for more? Do you re-watch the series with the knowledge of future events and character development? I will do the same for Community. Also, I hope to catch the show panel at the SD Comic Con. =)

For some shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender, I get a full sense of completeness and cannot re-watch the series immediately. Years have to pass so that I remember less.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Graduation Cap

I continue to have views on this post, but ANOTHER POST describes the process more.

 I had my graduation walk last week! =)  Here's a photo of my graduation cap that I painted:

I'm going to frame the cap along with its white tassel.

After the ceremony, my friends and family were able to find me because of the design. I painted an Art Nouveau portrait before it, and I looked at some Baroque and Rococo radial designs. Because radial designs are circular symmetry, you can look at it from whichever side.

I used a circle stencil and an oval-shaped stain glass for the linework. My next art tool to purchase is the french curve tool (shown down below) for longer arcs.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Look

I'm changing my blog appearance to have more energy to it. =) Also, I finally got a potential banner. I'm happy with the logo look of the word "story" but still working on the rest.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Modern Fairy Tale Contest

Here's another interesting writing contest from Figment.  You adapt an existing fairy tale to contemporary times. Figment's promoting Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red, a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The prizes are a copy of Sisters Red, a copy of The Complete Fairy Tales of Brothers Grimm, and a spotlight in the Figment blog. The cover of Sisters Red intrigues me.

Entries must be under 1,200 words and emailed this time to fairytale@figment.com before Sunday, May 8 12am EST.  DOUBLE CHECK the deadline hour on Saturday and Sunday! For the dystopia contest, the hour shifted from 12am to 9pm EST. Plus the wrong tag was given but the fairy tale contest doesn't  require any. Just double check to make sure your entry counts.

My dystopian entry did not meet the new deadline, but click here if you are interested in reading it (Fahrenheit 451 and  Nineteen Eighty-Four were influences). It's less than 600 words. If the contest issues continue then I may delete my account. Writing prompts with a deadline are good exercises though.

I do not think I can enter the current contest, but good luck to those entering. Fairy tales are another one of my interests. In fact, I plan to blog about some research on certain tales.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

10 Words for 5 Occasions

Thanks to Madi, I heard about Tigerprint, one of the biggest card companies in UK, which has competitions.

The current competition is Word Up! Write something up to 10 words for one of the 5 following occasions: Birthday, Engagement, Wedding Day, Anniversary, New Years, and New Baby. I think multiple entries allowed, but images are not required. The deadline is Thursday, May 26 midnight (GMT).

Some of the other competitions are more for the typography. Here is one of Madi's hand-drawn entries for the last competition:

I'm not entering the Word-Up competition, but I'd like to try a hand-drawn typography one.