Creativity Workshop – Reading Themes Review

Okay, so my mission last week was to read fairytales and see how their themes are written.  Some were obvious, some weren’t, and some had that many interpretations it really spun the mind.

Fairytales were originally cautionary tales that were passed down verbally from generation to generation.  It was in the late middle  ages that they were finally written down and grouped together to form collections.

I have learnt a lot about themes this week, and it was a refreshing change to writing (sorry Merilee, I think I am suffering burnout!)  So I will work on this again next week, with something a little closer to my heart, looking up Swedish / Norwegian stories to see what themes they had and see how similar they are to their European counterparts.


Creativity Workshop – Reading Themes

I am really struggling with this one, so I have decided to take a minibreak from my novel idea, and instead look at something different instead.

I have long enjoyed the idea of re-writing a fairytale, and had a crack at it based on a modern version of red riding hood, but something about it isn’t quite coming together for me, so I have decided to focus on another one.

Having visited wikipedia yesterday, I was blown away by the amount of stories there are from around the world that is based on fairytales.  I had a look through a couple, but I think this week, I will have a closer look at some of them, and see what the THEME of the fairytale is, to see how they have woven it within the story.

Why am I doing this?  a) its the school holidays, my beautiful boy wants my full attention everytime I sit down at the computer.  I can be sitting in the lounge reading, but as soon as he thinks I am going near the computer… he is up and running!  and b) I am curious to see what really makes a fairytale tick and c) Fairytales were originally ways of conveying messages of morals, hence, heavily themed.

So this week, instead of writing, I will be reading and taking notes.  Will be interesting to see just what I discover.

Creativity Workshop – Themes review

OK, I failed this week, because it was the school holidays and I ended up with kids coming out my ears… well okay, maybe not quite so many, but it is hard to entertain a 13yo, a 5 yo and his friends… so instead I have been playing dice games with them, yahtzee, farkle, and you know what, it is great fun sitting around in the lounge, laughing and carrying on, and all of them enjoyed it!

As a result of the extra kids and kids at home, I only managed about 1000 words this week, and to be honest, I am not expecting miracles next week either, but anyway, I know that spending time with my boys is more important than my writing… right?  Instead, I had to do beading this week, because by Thursday, I was feeling rather fractious!

Roll on the end of the school holidays!

Creativity Workshop – Themes Week III

OK, so we are onto the third week of the Themes based short stories, and I am really getting into this.  Apart from the glitch where I have been telling the story rather than having it as a short story, I think I am over that now, and have some ideas of where I want to go.

So this week, as well as re-writing the stories I have already done, I also want to focus on two more stories – Stop trying to control the uncontrollable and you will be free and In all that you do, give generously.  These are two very important life lessons for me, because it took me a while to cotton on to them, but once I did, I have never felt more blessed than I am now!  Giving of my time, my resources, my money has really allowed me to feel more generous and the upshot is that I have more to give back when I do give generously!  Also learning to stop trying to control things, I have more time and effort to spend on those little things like reading to my son, listening to him talk about his favourite subjects (dinosaurs, whales or trains) or just sitting in the sunshine with my eyes closed and feeling the warmth on my skin.  Once upon a time, I didn’t allow myself time to do that because I didn’t have enough time.  Now I do!

So writing this week is going to be another fun week, provided I get work done!  With the school holidays it is going to be a challenge.

Weekly Review – Themes

Okay, so I wrote two stories, one about Only take on board which is yours and Laughing will lighten the darkest day.  I actually got them finished too, but then I realised that I haven’t written them how I originally intended, for them to be complete stories on their own.  But that’s OK, I have a basis on which to base a short story.  I have started reworking my first story – Love is everchanging – into a piece where we see Margaret and George discuss the decline in their marriage, which is actually quite nice.

I have also found that these stories are therapeutic – I have had some of these issues, and to write about them makes me either understand the issue better or have a better understanding of what I was thinking during that issue.  All in all, I like where this set of stories is going, if only I can get my head around writing them as short stories and stop telling the story!

This week will be a challenge as it is the school holidays and I have oldest son here too, and it sounds like middle son is coming out at some stage, which is OK, but we really don’t get along, and three kids in the house, just isn’t going to work!  I might have to say no Playstation out here, otherwise they will shut themselves in their room all day, which isn’t a bad thing, but the weather has been nice and I want them outside making the most of the sunshine while they can!  Oh well, that is one battle I will have to cope with when I get to it…

Creativity Workshop – Themes

Okay, so for the final 6 weeks, I am going to work on themes.  Why 6 weeks?  I will explain later.  First, let’s explore themes.

So theme – I have often written a story and wondered what the theme of it was, and it wasn’t until looking back over it, that I have found my theme.  So for this exercise, I wanted to be more conscious of my theme.  Therefore, I found an interesting website that clearly explained what theme was:

The theme of a literary work is its underlying central idea or the generalization it communicates about life. The theme expresses the author’s opinion or raises a question about human nature or the meaning of human experience. At times the author’s theme may not confirm or agree with your own beliefs. Even then, if skillfully written, the work will still have a theme that illuminates some aspects of true human experience

OK, so the theme is really what the entire story is about (as opposed to plot, which is how your story moves along).  So does one identify a theme in their (or anyone elses) story?

Sometimes the theme may be clearly stated. More often, the theme is implied or suggested through other elements. In fact, you can determine the theme by looking closely at other literary elements involved, such as, characterization, setting, events, point of view, tone, irony, imagery, etc. In other words, theme is illuminated through these literary elements.

Courtesy of

So to find a theme, keep reading.  Sometimes it isn’t until you get the end of the story that you find it, sometimes it runs throughout the story.  Some themes that are common are love, friendship, family values, morals, death, sacrifice.

Okay, so I had this dream a couple of weeks ago, about this hallway, that spirits channelled down, sort of like a grand central station.  But they stopped to tell tales of their lives or to provide lessons they had learnt and wanted to pass on.  The more I thought about the idea, the more it grew on me, and a novel has just about sprang out of it.  So, I have a title – Life Lessons from the Dead and the overall story is about Sarah Wilkinson (an old family name that just seemed to lend itself to this story) who is grieving for her mother who was killed by a drunk driver.  So the overall theme of the story will be about forgiveness.

The brief of the story is this:  Sarah has to move into the house, and finds a book – the book of truths which is blank, but each time she meets a spirit person and listens to their tale, she finds a new truth added to her book.  I have a list of 8 subthemes which will be the basis of eight characters that visit with her, although no doubt I will think of more.   To give you an idea, of the truths she learns, love is everchanging, have something to believe in… these are simple things that people should live their lives by.

I am quite excited about this whole concept, as each story will be a complete short story on their own, but will be linked together by Sarah’s own battle to accept her mothers death and to learn forgiveness.

This weeks story will be setting up the tragedy and meeting Sarah Wilkinson, and to make this story different, I think I will try writing it in first person and see what happens.

And of Course, who could forget the words for the week – I wish I could!

vernacular \ver-NAK-yuh-ler\, noun:

1. The plain variety of language in everyday use.
2. The language or vocabulary peculiar to a class or profession.
3. The native speech or language of a place.
4. Any medium or mode of expression that reflects popular taste or indigenous styles.

1. (of language) Native or indigenous.
2. Using the native language of a place.
3. Using plain, everyday language.

quintessential \kwin-te-SEN-shel\, adjective:

Being the most typical manifestation of a quality or a thing

festoon \fe-STOON\, verb:

1. To adorn with hanging chains or strands of any material.
2. Dentistry. To reproduce natural gum patterns around the teeth or a denture.

1. A string or chain of flowers, foliage, ribbon, etc., suspended in a curve between two points.
2. A decorative representation of this, as in architectural work or on pottery.
3. A fabric suspended, draped, and bound at intervals to form graceful loops or scalloped folds.
4. Dentistry. The garlandlike area of the gums surrounding the necks of the teeth.

indemnity \in-DEM-ni-tee\, noun:

1. Protection or security against damage or loss.
2. Compensation for damage or loss sustained.
3. Something paid by way of such compensation.
4. Legal exemption from penalties attaching to unconstitutional or illegal actions, granted to public officers and other persons.

oscitant \OS-i-tuhnt\, adjective:

1. Yawning, as with drowsiness; gaping.
2. Drowsy or inattentive.
3. Dull, lazy, or negligent.

hegira \he-JAY-ruh\, noun:

1. A journey to a more desirable or congenial place.
2. The flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina to escape persecution a.d. 622: regarded as the beginning of the Muslim Era.

amok \uh-MUHK\, adjective:

1. In or into a jumbled or confused state.
2. In or into an uncontrolled state or a state of extreme activity.
3. In a frenzy to do violence or kill.

1. A psychic disturbance characterized by depression followed by a manic urge to murder.

One of them I use for work anyway (indemnity), and there are a few there that I know, so perhaps it won’t be too hard this week… yeah right!

Creativity Workshop – Relational Conflict

This week, my goal is to write a short story about relational conflict whereby the character is struggling with someone else.  Last week I focused on Medusa and her inner conflict, and she was having a lovely little pity party, when Poseidon came up and told her that he would offer her goodies in return for sexual favours.  This has thrown my once naive heroine into a tailspin and further moral dilemmas, and more internal conflict, and it was actually a lovely twist.

This week, I want to focus on the relationship that Medusa had with Athena, which at the start was an adoring mortal looking up to a deity, then once she is cursed, the anger and hatred that she feels, and the sense of betrayal, the abandonment and resentment.  This week is going to be another week of searching within myself for those issues and writing about them.  The relationship that Athena had with Medusa was one of mutual respect until the lies of others brought about her downfall.  I think I will explore both parts of the relationship, the adoration before and the hurt afterwards.

Not only do I have this to write, but I also start my SoCNoC novel on Tuesday and I am really excited about writing it.  I have a game plan, I have my spot on the dining room table all picked out (it pretty much gets all day sun) and if it is raining, I have a spot beside the fire, so I am all set to go!

Words for  the Week

I have some interesting words this week, oh boy!

adumbrate \a-DUHM-breyt\, verb:

1. To foreshadow; prefigure.
2. To produce a faint image or resemblance of; to outline or sketch.
3. To darken or conceal partially; overshadow.

shivaree \SHIV-uh-ree\, noun:

1. A mock serenade with kettles, pans, horns, and other noisemakers given for a newly married couple.
2. An elaborate, noisy celebration.

1. To serenade with a shivaree.

regnant \REG-nuhnt\, adjective:

1. Prevalent; widespread.
2. Reigning; ruling (usually used following the noun it modifies): a queen regnant.
3. Exercising authority, rule, or influence.

waxing \WAK-sing\, verb:

1. To increase in extent, quantity, intensity or power.
2. (Of the moon) to increase in the extent of its illuminated portion before the full moon.
3. To grow or become.

ethereal \ih-THEER-ee-uhl\, adjective:

1. Light, airy, or tenuous.
2. Extremely delicate or refined.
3. Heavenly or celestial.
4. Pertaining to the upper regions of space.
5. Chemistry. Pertaining to, containing, or resembling ethyl ether.

epoch \EP-uhk\, noun:

1. The beginning of a distinctive period in the history of anything.
2. A particular period of time marked by distinctive features or events.
3. A memorable date.
4. Geology. Any of several divisions of a geologic period during which a geologic series is formed. Compare age.
5. Astronomy. An arbitrarily fixed instant of time or date, usually the beginning of a century or half century, used as a reference in giving the elements of a planetary orbit or the like. b.The mean longitude of a planet as seen from the sun at such an instant or date.
6. Physics. The displacement from zero at zero time of a body undergoing simple harmonic motion.

scuttle \SKUHT-l\, verb:

1. To run with quick, hasty steps; scurry.

1. A deep bucket for carrying coal.
2. A small hatch or port in the deck, side, or bottom of a vessel.
3. A small hatchlike opening in a roof or ceiling.

1. To sink (a vessel) deliberately by opening seacocks or making openings in the bottom.
2. To abandon, withdraw from, or cause to be abandoned or destroyed.

1. A short, hurried run.

So here is to an interesting week in writing.