Author Archives: Oren

Poetry Assignment: A Blog?

This is one of my assignments this week: There are too many forms of poetry for us to begin to address them all here. Though we are looking at a few forms for experience, many more exist. Some forms can be found here. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the forms. Choose one or two that seem to draw you to write in that form. In your blog, identify the poetic form and explain what it is about the form that is especially interesting.

This is my response to the professor:

I have no prior experience with poetry before this course beyond casual encounters, and I don’t recall what I had to do in High School so long ago. The limerick and haiku, sonnet and ballad seem to be the most familiar to me. The haiku especially is intriguing, because I think the trick with that is not the simplicity of the poem, but the intensity and word choice.

However, the haiku, and the others, were not the forms that spoke to me. There were many rigid poem structures I looked at, like the villanelle (Dylan Thomas’ poem I have heard before, and our discussion topic “One Art”), and that rigidity intimidates me. I have an analytical mind, and I like to approach dissection of a piece of work with that analytical approach. I don’t think I could create a piece of art with that rigid of a form, however. Well, I think I am capable, but I’m not sure I would enjoy it. So, I avoided any styles of poetry with a strict structure.

There were two types of poems that piqued my interest: the prose poem, and the dramatic monologue. I think I could attempt to write the first with some success. I liked that I could focus on word choice, meter, rhythm, but not limited by line breaks. I think I would enjoy that. I am going to try to write something and keep to a poetic style, but not worry about making it look like a poem. I bought a cheap college rule notebook from Target to try to do this on my own. I think I can write something poetic with a pen better than I could on a screen. I type much faster than I write, and I think I can focus on the words and what I am trying to say in a poem if I write by hand. I’ve never done this before, poems or writing-by-hand, so this is unfamiliar territory!

The dramatic monologue didn’t interest me as much until I read “Falling” by James Dickey. It’s not in first person but the poem was amazing, I was captivated by it. It was very freeing, and I really liked that. It was a very unique style, and I noticed the extra spaces the poet used to help accent the poem. I don’t presume to understand poetry or the reasons why a poet would do something, but the way he laid the poem out as I read it was very intense. I don’t know if I can be that brilliant, but I am adding the dramatic monologue to this because I think a poem pushing the reader into a character they may not necessarily like is really intriguing.

I have developed an interest in poetry, but I’m still sure it’s not for me to do professionally. I think if I can break up my short story writing with some poetry that interests me, then maybe I can be more flexible as a writer. Who knows, maybe the poetry I write will mean something to someone. I definitely have read more poetry in the last week than I can recall from my life, and it’s not as scary as I originally thought.

Oren

 


The new year.

Been a busy month, ole December. I saw my last post was November 30th, right after my midterm. December was certainly a long month with the holidays.

So, I finished off Psychology 108. Finishing with a 97 and getting my first A, in my first class back into college. It’s a great feeling. I wasn’t particularly challenged by the class, content-wise, and I think my main complications at any time were from time management. I felt I learned a lot, both about Psychology in general, and college as well. Hopefully I can keep up this GPA!

So, next term starts two 8-week classes, Introduction to Creative Writing, and Introduction to Information Technology. I anticipate no problems with the IT class; I’ve spent a lot of my life fiddling around with computers and software. While I am certainly not anything other than amateur, I look forward to an actual college-level refresher to fill in any gaps in my own experiences.

Intro to Creative Writing, however…

It’s my first course of my Major, and according to the syllabus posted, it’s just a broad class on creative writing as a whole, so easy enough. The first two weeks, however, seem to jump right into Poetry. Now, I’m not doggin’ poetry at all, however I have little interest in poetry in any form. There are certain aspects to poetry like form and imagery that I’m going to try hard to master, and anything I learn is going to help me as a whole. I need to look at the entire picture of my education, and not just the little pieces I don’t like.

I’m not going to lie, I’m intimidated by the workload. Oh, I’ll do just fine, I know, but I’m just putting it out there. Wish me luck!

Now that the New Year is here, it’s that time to make resolutions. I’m not going to jump on the “lose weight” bandwagon and declare a year-long campaign into combating excessive poundage,  but I do want to try to get healthier. Healthy body means healthy brain, thusly, a healthy education, right? I also would like to try to publish something, anything, doesn’t matter what. I think if I can get something paid and published, it’ll boost my self-esteem and make me work that much a harder. I’m after the respect, so I can start publishing while still going to school.

So, New Year’s Resolutions: get healthier, get published. Those are reasonable, right?

Oren

Copyright © 2013 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Still making progress…

Week five just about done in Psychology 108. Last week was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and this week is Theory of Emotion. Great stuff! As this is an accelerated course, I’ve just completed my midterm – ACED IT. Quite literally took me about two hours to complete it, despite it being open book. I thought when a test was multiple-choice and open book, it’d be easy. Well, it wasn’t horrible, but I actually had to work for my answers. The questions were phrased in such a way that I couldn’t just look for something verbatim…I had to actually process the question and make sure I comprehended what was being asked. I missed one question, but it was tricky anyways, so I’m fine with a 97.5%.

There’s been quite a few developments since my last blog post. In my personal dramatic story called life, my parents have split up after 37 years of marriage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a mutually consenting split, as my dad apparently had a girlfriend, approximately my age. Of course this is all a blow, but much more so for my mother. It’ll be alright, as I’m doing my best to help my mom out, but it is just crazy how quickly things can turn around. It’ll get resolved, these things always do, but the only thing I can really do is take notes and try to learn something from it.

It may sound callous, but I’ve been really trying hard to see how I can take any experience and apply it to writing. Since I am the oldest child of three, I have a duty to do certain things to help my mom and family in times of need; it’s like a code. Maybe I can keep track of this process and apply the emotions and reactions of the real people to future characters. I’m trying to get into the mindset of making everything a potential story, and I hope it isn’t selfish of me. I already analyze things I see on the way to work, trying to find details about yards, cars, buildings, etc and how I can use the little things I see to make settings more plausible in future stories.

I finished a short story just recently, that I’m now editing. It’s called The Seventh Lawbringer. I wrote it as a prequel to another short story I wrote earlier this year, called The Law and the Fist. I enjoyed the world and concept of the Lawbringers, and I wanted to show a little of the main character Sebastian’s history. The Law and the Fist received very positive reviews, and it won First Place in the contest it was submitted to. Both need work, but I think if you read The Seventh Lawbringer, especially after I edit it, you’ll see an improvement in my writing ability. TLATF was written in early August. Be warned, though, if you check TSL out right this instant, it’s just a rough draft! I am going to develop a plot line and develop this world much, much further, so keep your eyes out for continued adventures of Sebastian, Lin, & the Lawbringers of Lastearth.

On a related note, namely writing.com updates, I found out this morning I was voted Best New Reviewer for October in the Rising Star writing group. I’m pleased that I was considered, although I don’t think I did anything amazing besides review other Rising Star members and tell them very honestly how I felt about their story. I would make a few grammatical comments, but I’m super-leery of correcting grammar when I know I’m not perfect. Regardless, it’s still an honor, and I’m happy to be doing well on this big writing website.

Anyways, that’s it for a progress update. I think I’m do for a story posting soon, so I’ll see which story was next in my development this year and talk about it soon.

‘Til then!

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Playing God

So week two finished of Psychology 108. Very interesting stuff, indeed. I aced my paper, which pleased me greatly, as I have not written a formal paper since well, high school. I see a ‘College Composition’ on my transfer credits, but that was easily sixteen years ago, and probably MLA style anyways. This paper was APA style, and I pretty much just made sure every rule was followed and I didn’t directly plagiarize or misquote anything. Since my general grammar is pretty good, it came out amazing (at least to me).

This grade was vindicated further by the long announcement the professor gave regarding the lack of grammar skills and effort from other submissions, although she didn’t phrase it that way. She provided a list of the common errors, and then limited the length of subsequent papers to speed up her grading times. Except I had made none of these errors, and a 100 of 100 on the paper. Made me feel pretty good knowing I did something well without relevant prior experience.

This most recent week required a PowerPoint presentation, although not one actually presented.  I’ve never used PowerPoint before, but it was pretty straightforward. I prepared 5 slides, with an intro slide and a reference slide, 7 total. Dark background, light easy-to-ready numbers, no fancy stuff at all except a clean and neat appearance, with some clipart for a bit of contrast. I was happy, but we’ll see when she grades it.

Already I can see development in my education. I work harder, concentrate harder, and research & read more. Next term begins the first writing class, Intro to Creative Writing. It seems to cover a broad range of creative writing, which means I will have to do poetry. I have literally zero interest in poetry, however I will dive right in, as anything creative is progress forward. I shall embarrass myself willingly by posting everything I write, both here and at Writing.com.

Following that term, I’ve registered for the first Fiction Writing Workshop. This really excites me. I will be actively writing and learning, and I can’t wait.  I’m confident I will do well, and actually I have been filling some of my free time with some grammar exercises at Owl Purdue, just to freshen up. I know HOW to do something things, but the terms themselves fail me. If I am to have any credibility, I need to know EVERYTHING. 🙂

You know, I read somewhere that writers tend to be egotistical. I’ve been trying hard not to be, as I know full well that ten whole months of writing experience puts me just about the bottom of the barrel. However, I keep getting praised, even from strangers smarter than me, sent anonymously, so it’s hard not to swell up a little. I’m dreading the inevitable negativity that will come, as of course “the harder I’ll fall” and all that. My critical reviews were still more than positive, just mainly letting me know I need grammar work.

I probably should talk about that, actually, about my writing history mainly, sparse it may be. Way back in my first iteration of college, I had a dear friend who was an English major. I was a Music major, as at the time I thought I really wanted to teach Music. We spent a lot of time together, and my love for Fantasy fiction came out to her at some point. We brainstormed a book, creating a world with characters based on people we know. The notes were not very long, but the idea and concept latched on to me and I held on to it. However, life happened, and I never wrote anything. In fact, I never wrote at all, with my total writing experience being the required papers for classes. So really, any chance I had to gain the interest or experience to write was squashed a long time ago.

However, something happened.

See, I have another friend, a very dear one (not the same from college, to clarify) since grade school that I talked to quite a bit. We had always stayed in touch, of varying amounts of the years. I had told her about that prior project so long ago and how I always wanted to write it. She informed me that I was wasting my potential, on more than one occasion. During a different discussion, she asked me, “Write me a story.”

So I did.

I used the only reference I had at the time to any sort of plan or plot, and wrote out a couple of chapters off the top of my head, based on the premise from my original pet project so long ago. She liked it so much that she encouraged me to continue the characters. 60k words and 3 months later I had Part One of this grandiose story. Admittedly, my writing was trash. It was horrid really, full of telling-not-showing, adverbs, and myriad other grammatical travesties. The CONCEPT was pretty original, the world was well defined, and the characters (at least in my head, since I knew the whole story) were memorable. It just sucked so bad.

Regardless of how bad it was, I still found a writing website, www.writing.com, and placed the first two chapters up on their free account provided to me. They got great reviews. While I plugged away at this “epic”, I noticed writing.com had some contests. I entered a few, and won. Then I kept entering…and winning. I developed a fan base, got accepted into a higher-level writing group on writing.com, and now with massive amounts of encouragement, I am plodding away at a degree.

A complete turnaround. I was going to go back to school, sure, but for engineering, or information technology. Perhaps I should have, for practical reasons, as I imagine the median salary for those degrees will blast a novelist’s paycheck out of the water. I can still write a novel while dropping six figures, right? However, I don’t really think of it like that. Why make so much money if I still hate it, why make so much money when I already do alright and getting a degree that’ll wear me out from work overload. I still get the doubts, though, of how stupid I am not going for the big bucks. Nevertheless, writing is fun. I can still do it when I retire. I can create anything, do anything, make anyone do anything I want, I just use words instead of pictures.

Not to sound pretentious, but it’s almost God-like. How’s that for egotistical? 😀

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


The first step on my new career path

The plunge taken, the ball gently pushed down the slope finally. I’ve just completed my first week of classes, and everything is going smoothly. In case an update is needed, I’m taking online classes at Southern New Hampshire University for English and Creative Writing. Two 3-credit classes per term, six terms per year, plus my transfer credits comes out to being done by Fall 2015. Not too shabby, and hopefully my prose will become a razor’s edge. I CAN’T WAIT! It’s so exciting. I don’t even care if I ever make a lot of money, I’m after the respect and accomplishments.

A few weeks ago I completed my latest story, Raven, submitted for a contest. I’m rather fond of it. The prompt was simple, create a story about a “villain”. Easy enough. I really enjoyed writing it, and it seems to have received favorable reviews so far. It’s a bit darker than my usual stuff, but of course all my WDC items have been all fighting or adventure. I really need to do something mellow.

I have some new story ideas, although I think I’m holding off on contests for a bit. I’ll have Raven’s contest result that I’ll be waiting on, then the L. Ron Hubbard entry results hopefully in December. Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, I entered a story a couple months ago to the Writers of the Future contest. Since I’m unpublished, I thought I may have a shot. I was a bit discouraged though, after my submission, as I read some previous winners’ entries…oh man, I was definitely not in their league. But, oh well, at least I developed the balls to enter. Still pretty short-sighted of me since I’ve only been writing since January this year. Still a baby in the writing world.

Since my course load seems a bit light, and I won’t have any contest deadlines, I might write some stories  just for fun. I haven’t really done anything independent (besides my crappy novel), so perhaps it’s time to start doing some with no pressure, no prompts, and no rules. I have some original ideas ( I think), so they’ll turn out decent, I hope.

Let’s see, what else…well, that’s it really. See you next time. 🙂

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


My thoughts of reviews of “Brotherhood”

Wayyyy back in July, I posted my second short story that I wrote for a WDC narrative contest, titled “Brotherhood“. So, I’m going to talk a little about that story.

“Brotherhood” was written as a parallel story to “The Cyclic Ruse“, the latter telling the story of a warrior selected to abolish an elemental evil ritualistically. Specifically, there is an orb which controls the weather of this land, pushing extreme heat or extreme cold depending on its current color/mode. Using an elaborate method of gathering, creating and forging of a weapon, and warrior-selection, this unnamed kingdom resets the orb before it becomes too extreme, eradicating life with intense cold or intense heat. I absolutely loved this base concept/plot, and with some work and practice I plan on developing it further.

Because of how excited I was at the world in my head that stemmed from The Cyclic Ruse, I used the prompt of the next round of the contest to further plunge into this world that was newly developing. Now, I still won that round, but I personally feel this story (Brotherhood) was written with too much spontaneous backstory, was unrefined, and did little to make the reader comfortable and knowledgeable of this world. It should have  been a self-sufficient piece, and not rely on The Cyclic Ruse for any sort of information. Unfortunately, I set the winter scene, mentioned the orb, and made the protagonist of Brotherhood intimately linked to The Cyclic Ruse. So, a good story, but definitely a learning experience.

Brotherhood is set in the same world as the Cyclic Ruse. Venn, a young mage, is searching for a winter dragon, along with others in the kingdom. The purpose is to extract its heart for use in creating the tool/weapon that’ll reset the next iteration of the orb. These dragons have been hunted for centuries, and lately have been becoming more rare; not only from excessive hunting, but there seems to be some sort of plague affecting the beasts, which I hinted at, for some unknown reason. Venn is on this search to show to his parents and brother that he’s worth something; his brother happened to be the warrior from The Cyclic Ruse. Venn decides that he wants his brother’s sacrifice to be worth nothing, and plans to kill the dragon if found instead of calling the other searchers to extract its heart. The dragon is found, yet Venn loses the spell that will subdue the dragon, so he follows it. It acts strangely, pops out an egg (which in my head was implied to be rare, although not sure if I mentioned that), then it promptly dies. He has a brief moment of “nice guy” syndrome and considers the value of his find, but his dastardly jealous self says “screw you” to his brother and the kingdom, and fries the egg.

A good story, I think, but definitely needed work. As my second short story, ever, I feel it was a good effort.

It received two reviews on WDC.

Review #1:

First Thoughts: Venn is a young magician who desperately wants to prove himself against his older brother Deric. When his quest for the Cyclic Orb fails, Venn volunteers to find the last winter dragon. This makes me believe that Venn is a driven man who once has been beaten will get back up and try his hand at something else. 

What I liked: I liked this description. “The dragon was not white, as he expected, but almost pitch black. It’s body was large, round and muscular, the four leathery legs driving it powerfully forward. The head was flat and broad, with frost tipped ridges lining the eyes and skull. Short spines snaked down its back to the end of its narrow rough tail, and they were all tipped with icy excrescence”. Information and creative. 

Not so good: The dragon was already dead! How could you do that?!?! I think the story would have been better if Deric was about to be killed by the dragon and Venn had to either save him or leave him. 

Final Thoughts: Venn has finally achieved his own glory and will return to his family. This could be open to a much larger story that I would definitely read. Cheers and write on!

My thoughts: I have no issues other than the reviewers “Not so good:” comment. I figure the reviewer felt that I could’ve made the story a bit more dramatic, perhaps with an appearance by Venn’s brother, and a choice to save him or let his brother die by the dragon. A much better ending, I will admit. Kudos to the reviewer for being smarter than me. 🙂

Review #2:

I like your writing style a lot. It flows well, has enough description to tell what needs to be told but is concise enough to keep the story moving. The story is good too, though I think I may be missing some backstory (I haven’t heard of the Cyclic world before and so some of the detail in here was lost on me). That said, it was still well done despite my missing knowledge.
Keep up the good work!

My thoughts: Short and sweet. Absolutely right, I should have not made this story contingent on another without any sort of independence. Lesson learned.


Finally getting…

Finally getting around to some free time. I really need to nail down a schedule for this blog.

Okay, a few updates. As mentioned before, I participate on Writing.com regularly in a fantasy group, and compete in several contests on the site. An experienced and high-ranking (for lack of a better description) user nominated me to be a “Rising Star”, which is a program designed to recognize, encourage, and mentor promising new writers. Amanda, my sponsor, co-authored a winning story with me for a group contest, and she apparently enjoyed our collaboration enough to think I have potential. Great news, and I hope to live up to her expectations. There are several projects I must work on as a Rising Star, and I plan on trying hard.

I’m not sure how to feel about a lot of the praise I’ve received. I’m really intimidated at times. I want to hide my head, strip my items from the site, and junk it all sometimes. I know I still need a lot of improvement, but some seem to think I have a future as a writer. I dearly hope so.

This semester, which I’ll remind you that I’m going to Southern New Hampshire University for English and Creative Writing, is fully paid for. Books are bought, classes scheduled. It’s exciting and intimidating. I know I can do all of it, but I still feel that urge to “turtle”. It’ll be fine, though. I have a lot of support.

Tomorrow I’ll continue my reviews from my portfolio, talking about Brotherhood, which I mentioned in an older entry.

I’ll see you tomorrow. 🙂

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Remembering 9/11/2001

Countless people today are talking about the significance of this date. I doubt there is anyone anywhere who does not know what today means.

I’m not sure what it means overall to me. I was working downtown in Oklahoma City when it happened. I heard about it from a coworker, after the first plane hit, and we went to the breakroom to watch.

At first, not to sound harsh, but it was only mildly interesting. It looked like a major accident, and so I was only watching it offhandedly while joking with my coworker. However, when the second plane hit, the change and shift in everyone present was more than palpable. We saw it live, like millions of Americans. The thought of anything being an accident was shattered, and shattered violently.

Someone crashed those planes deliberately.

Growing up in a military family, and my formative years being the 1980’s, with the threat of nuclear war discussed so often, the first thoughts I had were just that: War. I actually didn’t even consider terrorism, although of course it made sense when I thought about it rationally later.

I don’t really recall what the resulting days were like. I’m sure it was full of news watching, dialogue with family and friends, and a topic of many discussions.

The second plane hitting the second building, and that emotional realization of what that meant, is my most vivid memory of that day. Much more than the collapse, although that was just as terrible. Today, watching a documentary on the events, seeing that second plane hit, live back then, still fills me with shivers.

It’s been 11 years, I have no personal ties to the event other than being an American, yet the day affected me so profoundly. It was the sense of “We are not alone.”; not in an extraterrestrial sense, but as a person living in a nation, I was not alone. There are BAD GUYS. Bad people that can hurt us, hurt our nation, hurt even me in my safe little center of the U.S.

However, even though I knew I was not alone in a negative sense, I knew that I was not alone in a good sense, as we were finally united as a nation and people against a common foe. I don’t care one whit about the political ramifications, I just know that 9/11/2001 united us into a true United States, even if not forever, but just enough to be a whole nation with a singular purpose.

I wish that we, as a nation, could keep that wholeness, but I’m know we’re still in the same pickle politically that we have always been. It’s too bad, really.

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Busy is good.

Wow. So, yeah, busy times lately! Since my last post, I have been accepted into Southern New Hampshire University to begin studies for a BA in Writing. I was able to get some previous college credits transferred, and only need 88 (approx.) to complete the degree.

I’m excited about it. I had originally considered a technical degree, like Computer Science or Engineering; money being the motivator behind those choices. After some serious consideration and discussion between my wife and I, we both decided that to avoid burnout and declining interest, perhaps a degree that I would enjoy would be preferable. I would be more inclined to finish, as well as still possessing a 4 year degree. My job opportunities will increase, although my available max salary would, of course, be much lower than a technical degree.

Another reason for pursuing an education in writing, is that this is something I can do until I die. Even after retirement age, I can still put out books/stories that I enjoy. Income without the job. One would argue that it’s still a job, but I say not really. It’s pleasurable and fun to write.

So, here’s to education. I start October 29th.

As for this site, I plan (hopefully) to continue to update regularly. I have lots of things to talk about, including my current and future personal projects, and status of my life and future career. My next entry will continue into reviewing my comments and reviews from WDC for “Brotherhood”.

See you next time!

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Back from Color…

Back from Colorado, unfortunately. Such a beautiful state. If I could have a nice place about 10000 feet with nothing but trees and a years worth of food and supplies, I would be happy.

I finished the short story I was working on, today. I had trouble with a title, but I settled on “The Law and the Fist”. Simple and direct, and probably lame. I was happy with the ending, and I’m probably a bit long-winded, as it’s roughly 5800 words. I enjoyed the world I created for it, and I may develop it into a full novel.

My wife and I have been discussing me going back to school for a degree. As my current job is pretty cruddy, getting a degree would open up tons of job opportunities, allowing me to actually get a job with progression and a future. I considered a technical degree, as of course that would get me a job with lots of money. But, is that what I really want? I could do a technical job pretty easily, but I’m not sure I would enjoy it.

What I’ve learned to enjoy recently is writing. So, why not go to school for an English or Writing-based degree. Who cares if I end up a columnist or journalist; it’s still writing and that is what I enjoy. I discussed with my wife, and she agreed she would rather have me happy than not; at any rate, a degree would still broaden my job opportunities. So, I’m not looking into schools offering Creative Writing or similar degrees, and maybe I can make something happen.

Maybe we’ll see that novel yet. I have three solid book ideas, and I bet I can cook up others. Exciting!

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved