Monday, January 31, 2011

बंद करो. साँस.-- Stop. Breathe.

There are moments that can literally make your heart stop beating. Whether it be from beauty, shock, surprise, terror, or unadulterated awe. Each of us experiences these moments at some part of our lives. Times where we just stop for a brief moment, and reflect, thinking "oh my this real?".

Like I've said before, I've had an obsession with Bollywood films of late. My favorite one at this point is titled Devdas (the 2002 film, not 1950's). If you want an authentic look at Indian culture at the turn of the century, then this is the movie for you. It literally shows all of the hair, dress, architecture, and traditions that this culture is known for.

The plot line consists of two childhood friends, Devdas and Paro, who are meeting for the first time in 10 years--after Devdas' father sent him to London to straighten him out. All this time, they have been in love with one another from afar. When they meet, a spark happens and the talk of marriage immediately ensues in their families. However, if you are familiar with the Indian culture, they have different social classes, from which they may never move from. Devdas and Paro are members of seperate castes, and his family will not allow this union. In anger, Paro is sold to an aristocrat to be his young bride and take care of his older children.

The two are heartbroken, especially Devdas. He uses every attempt to kill himself from the pain, and eventually turns to the drink. This upsets Paro, who is still madly in love with him, even though she is now stuck in her loveless marriage.

I don't want to ruin the rest of the story for you. I truly recommend you watch it at some point (you can rent it from Amazon on Demand for just 3 bucks, or download it from for $5 to keep--English subtitles included).

But what does any of this have to do with my opening about heart-stopping moments?

The cinematography from Devdas is spectacular (until Slumdog Millionaire, it was the most expensive Bollywood project in history). The second scene is absolutely no exception.

Devdas is coming to see Paro for the first time. When he knocks, Paro runs throughout her exquisite home and hides in her bedroom. A wasp begins to attack her, and she uses a sheet to scare it away. As the music climaxes, the door opens wide. The sheet falls around Paro. And suddenly we see Devdas for the first time.

The moment is silent. When I first watched it, I was in complete awe over it. It is something absolutely beautiful to watch.

In fact, you can watch it here. Be forewarned that there are no subtitles in this clip (if you need a translation for any part, I'll be happy to assist):

I know this is a long post, hang in here with me, folks.

When I began to think about that moment in the film, and applied it to my everyday life, I realized that those are among some of the best moments in our lives.

Although I don't have the music to put to it, the moments that I met some of my closest friends stick out in my mind such as this. When I was told of my grandmother's death, everything seemed to stop for just a second. I suppose if and when I meet "Mr. Right" (more on that for another post) there will be a moment like that.

Directors and screenwriters have the upper hand in these types of moments, because they are able to use a mix of music, dialogue, and visuals (all meticulously edited) that they know will get the audiences blood pumping. But us "black and white" writers must rely on using real human emotions.

When I write, I go for the same effect as these moments provide. My current book relates very well to this scene in Devdas when my own childhood lovers meet again. Hearts stop, sparks kindle... It provides a brief release of all these emotions that we're feeling, whether in a good or bad way. I suppose this is a very human feeling, something that many of us need to have at some point in our lives in order to stop and think "Hey, this is important. This is one of those reasons for living".

Many times, this is what makes the most popular books as popular as they are. They are able to get the reader's blood pumping, fully bring them into the emotions of this story. And then BAM...give them something that makes readers go "wow".

I'm off to do some more writing, my friends. If you need more Bollywood recommendations, leave a comment. :)


Friday, January 28, 2011

Literary Contractions

It's quite funny how when you're in the writing mode, inspiration can come from the strangest of places.

Three years ago, when thinking up ideas for a project I wanted to create for my best friend, all it took was a piano player, who was so dedicated to his work that it was positively moving.

Before that, when recreating the idea of Cinderella, it took a documentary of women of the Medieval court.

And even earlier, for my very first full length pet project, a simple line came from the top of my head while I was daydreaming. That one line became the basis for an entire story.

So my current project...the one that has caused me so much joy and grief over the past few years...where did the inspiration come from that?

Cracker Barrel.

Here me out, now. It wasn't the comfort food restaurant itself that provided the inspiration. Rather, it was while I was staring out the window by the table I was sitting at with my parents. A shooting star fell across the sky and it seemed as if something in my mind clicked. I gave a meaning, a name, to that star. And soon an entire story came.

Whilst I cannot reveal the plot of my story (because anything can be public domain on the interwebz) what I can say is that it involves that star.

What brings me to talking about inspiration tonight? The idea actually came across my mind while toiling away at work today. In my hayday of writing, inspiration used to come every few hours, if not closer together. I like to refer to them as literary contractions. They're there for a fleeting moment, and the more you have them, the closer you get to having a baby--in this case, a story of your own making.

Alas, the inspirations were not always that great. In fact, they hardly ever were. My mind would sometimes be concentrating so hard on these, that I forgot to create the world that surrounded it. My old harddrive can attest to all the few paragraph writings that I did, with just a brief explanation or quote of what I had thought about.

A "good" idea came only once in a blue moon. But when it did, it was quite difficult for me to create anything else outside of this world. The literary contractions stopped, and the words began to push.

I started the story I'm currently working on in late 2007 (or maybe sometime in's all begun to run together). It was written concurently with the story for my very best friend, being pushed to the wayside while I concentrated on that. Obviously, a great deal of time has passed, and only a couple hundred pages (whilst a great feat) have been written so far.

And I realized today that I haven't had an inspiration since this story began its inception. To me, that makes this story of such a higher importance than I had initially thought.

So my message to all of you? Well, like it's said "anyone can write a blog"... I'm not going to try and retool that to "anyone can write a story" because, to be perfectly honest, that's not true.

What I will say, however, is that, whatever your passion is, whatever makes your heart beat a little bit faster just thinking about...look for the inspiration. If it comes frequently, play with it. And once you have something that sticks, you'll know it.

Pleasant dreams, dearest reader.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's in an Introduction?

They say that anyone can write a blog....

Considering that's how most blogs begin, I assume that it must be true. All around the world, people are using this type of forum in order to express themselves, their ideas, and connect with others around the world. And, now that it's 2011, and I'm probably a minimum of 10 years behind the crowd, I decided that it would be a good idea to start one myself.

Some of you may know me, some of you might not...

If you know me, then you know my name, my personality, and probably what makes me tick. And if you don't then...well, you don't. So I suppose I should explain a little bit about that. My name isn't important. Call me Cici, C, Homeskillz, Shawty, Banks, Tdizzle, Elanor, Bianca, Stephanie...come up with your own if you wish! Not one of these, I assure you, is my real name. Someday I may reveal it, but for now, let's leave it a mystery. If you know me, all I ask is you don't use my name if you comment.

What else...what else...?

I consider myself a funny personality. I make myself laugh at least, which could mean either 1) I really am hilarious, or 2) I'm just a tad bit insane. Or both. Don't expect much, if any, political jargon, etc on this blog. Or any "i'm so lonely, why won't the world leave me alone?" type postings. A little cynicism, perhaps, but I'm just here to be myself.

Currently, I'm in college. Where? My home town of course. But I'll hopefully be moving soon, so don't worry. I'm majoring in Creative Writing & Theatre Arts (because I like to add a little extra stress to my everyday life).

Every month or two, I find myself with a new obsession. This month, it's Bollywood. Yup, Indian (like, from India) movies are basically what makes my heart beat a little bit faster. In the past, it's been things like Victorian-era London, astronomy, the Holocaust, Titanic, airplanes, half-hour sitcoms... Pretty much anything I come across. A few obsessions that I have always had are Disney, musical theatre, and writing.

I hope to work for Disney someday...if that tells you anything about me. As for musical theatre, well, I used to want to be on Broadway (although, I suppose that Bollywood is a good alternative if I learn Hindi). I left that dream behind a few years ago, but the obsession still runs true. And then writing...

You might have noticed that the name of this thing is "Speaking Fiction, Writing Reality". Although it is for an outlet for my currently over-crowded brain, it serves another purpose. Currently, I'm writing what could quite possibly be one of the best books...well, one of the best books I've ever written (see, I've written 3 already, all unpublished). This one is special however. Right now, it's somewhere around 205 pages, 1.5 spacing and growing every time I sit down. I've been working on it for near around 3 years now, though. I'm hoping that I can use this blog to test out ideas for not just that project, but projects to come.

Why not experiment, right?

Well, I've probably used up my word count (oh, wait, blogspot doesn't have one....) or flooded your mind with too much information.

Stick around folks, more will come soon.