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Today’s technology provides innumerable new resources for hopeful writers, and one of the most powerful learning hubs is found in online video. When used appropriately, services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and the countless other online video hubs provide some of the most powerful, thorough, and affordable learning centers for up-and-coming creative writers.
Are you finding that difficult to swallow whole? Consider this: Through sites like Netflix, we get a sense of the broad story arcs through “binge watching” opportunities, are able to filter for higher-quality content, browse in an environment that promotes experimentation, and access a discovery engine that helps introduce us to new work.
Happy National Grammar Day! (No, seriously. It’s a thing.)
This holiday is relatively new (circa 2008), and comes to you from a group of enthusiastic grammar nerds. Now, I may not be quite as deep into the “should” of language as many of the most passionate members of the grammarian community, but I do take pleasure in the elegance of a well-formed sentence. Grammar lets us communicate clearly and effectively—and, just as important, it gives us a set of rules that we can intentionally violate for effect.
I wanted to fill you in on some details of the day. The rest of this article will give you information on the holiday, a few of the nerdy happenings and opportunities available for you, and some of my favorite grammar-related videos.
From Albrecht Mar of Tilyun—Royal Scribe and Royal Historian of the Court of the Castellonian Empire—writing to His Eminent Lord Cammen Castell III—Emporer of the Central Lands, King of Ten Thousand Kings, Liege Lord of the Castellonian Empire—on this, the 17th day of the Silona (17.8), in the 157th year of the Castellonian Era (157 c.e.), being 1126 years after the conclusion of the Ventian Era (1126 p.v.).
You have asked me, My Most Eminent Liege Lord, to write you concerning the journey I wish to undertake. While I hope its political and diplomatic benefits are satisfactory on their own merits, the true questions of this voyage are tied to history (as my position inclines me) and philosophy. I have spent much time researching the history of heroes, and I believe our common mistakes in discussing heroism lead to questions well worth asking.
The first great misstep we often make is believing that heroes are the foundation of the world. Often, histories are told with only the mention of great men who led movements or armies or kingdoms, while little mention is made of the things these men led. In truth, even the greatest among us are but a weak force in the creation of the world. Heroes are made of the same flesh, blood, and bone as the rest of us. They are toppled by steel and spellwork. Their mightiest plans are felled by sickness and storm and momentary lust. When they die, even kings are laid to rest and make that final descent to dust with the aid of nothing but heavy time.
Many in my generation were handed fairy tales for love stories and happy endings as the promised reward, but my favorite love story is not so happy. It comes from Baldur’s Gate II—my favorite video game of all time and one of the best stories I’ve ever encountered.
This entry will give you some contextual details and analysis, but someone recently uploaded a video that goes through all of the major romantic dialogues in the game. Checking out at least some of this video will give you an idea of how top-notch music and voice acting contributed to the story.
Recently, one of my blog readers wrote to ask me the following question (paraphrased):
I am a student of a creative writing class and my professor assigned us to write a 5-page autobiographical incident. I don’t know what to write about. I know you have your expertise on this and I’m hoping you could suggest something.
Thanks for reaching out to me! I’ve certainly written many personal narratives. Choosing which experiences to talk about is tricky to explain. For me, the stories almost feel like they choose themselves. They are stories that feel important somehow, and telling the story is often my way of coming to understand that part of my life better. The experience often feels like it’s bouncing around inside me. When I first noticed this, the stories felt like restless ghosts unwilling to let me sleep. Then I learned they were just asking to be spoken.
Several of the questions from this list were pulled from The School of Arts and Enterprise, re-posted here with edits. The majority of the questions come from my own experience and brainstorming. The hope is to make this a comprehensive and solidly available resource for those writing personal narratives.
List of Chapters
We parted at the high hour of prayer, the bells tolling mid-day all around us, the sky clear and wide. I met with each of the men alone and told him my thanks. I have made many journeys, but only three have been blood-stained, and it is no feigned gratitude that was offered. Each man was needed to hold the bandits at bay. The tides of that battle could have easily turned and swallowed my wagons whole. When I gave Lidahlia her share, she did not look inside. She simply thanked me and asked where a good stable could be found. She refused my offer to ask my merchant friend to house her horse a while longer.
I hesitated at parting in a way that felt strange then, and in a way that feels strange even now. I rested a hand upon her shoulder, and in an instance felt her tense, as if threatened, and then ease. But an instant again and she had stepped aside, offering a hand to shake my own. She gripped my hand tightly and looked me in the eyes. “Farewell, Lidahlia. And good luck on your journey,” said I. She nodded at my words. “Spine straight,” said she.
Copyright © 2014 Rob Blair Writes