A Pattern Emerging In My Writing

I put the suicide story away for now.  I’ll come back to it in a few weeks and do the final revision.  I started the editing process on the other short story I wrote about a woman who donates her deceased son’s heart to a little girl.  I ended up lengthening the memory/flashback in the beginning to give more insight into both the mom and the son.  That’s when I realized a pattern was emerging.  Both of these short stories are employing flashbacks and death.

My huge fanfic novel also relied on flashbacks and death.  I didn’t plan for it to turn out like that, but it just did XD  Two out of my next three stories don’t have any flashbacks or death, and only one of the short stories isn’t angst.  I don’t want my writing to all be flashbacks and death, but for some reason I naturally gravitate towards it.  I’ll show you what I mean. . .

Future Short Stories

1.  A soldier with PTSD adopts an abused cat and they heal each other (Angst/Flashbacks and death)

2. A little girl copes with an abusive father and ends up blaming herself for it (Angst/No flashbacks or death)

3. A Japanese man comes across a katana in America and tries to give the spirit peace (Not angst/No flashbacks or death)

Already Written

4. A mother donates her son’s organs after he dies and keeps in contact with the girl that gets his heart (Angst/Flashbacks and Death)

5.  A man kills himself after a long spiral downwards with depression and substance abuse due to his fiancee’s death (Angst/Flashbacks and Death)

See a pattern?  XD  Story #3 is actually based on something that happened to my husband.  The details will be changed to make it different, but I was humbled by his devotion and respect to the fallen Japanese warriors in WW II.  I love reading and writing angst, but I already knew that.  It was my preoccupation with death I didn’t realize till now.  Part of the reason I love angst so much is the potential for emotive and poetic prose.  I’m not sure why I am writing about death.  Maybe it will come to me later.

I guess this post is more of an observation because it’s hard to change the subject matter you want to write.  McCarthy writes angst almost exclusively.  It’s just who he is as a writer.  A friend of mine pointed out that just because I’m writing depressing stories now doesn’t condemn me to the same thing in the future.  Perhaps, but I think I will always gravitate towards angst.  I have written humor in the past, but I haven’t been inspired to do that in a while.

Anyway, my job starts tomorrow, and I’m excited 😀  The first month will be tough, so I may not get much writing or reading in.  But once I’m settled I’ll be in a better place to write.  I’ll try to keep up my reading though or my technique will deteriorate a bit :/

22 thoughts on “A Pattern Emerging In My Writing

    • Sorry that was unclear :$ So what happened in reality is my grandma had gotten hold of a katana. She was pretty sure it was authentic. She wanted to give it to my husband, who I’ll call Hiro. Hiro told me that if it truly was an authentic katana, an American took it from a Japanese warrior after killing them during WWII (I think? If not WWII it was WWI). The thing about Japanese culture, or what I have learned, is that Shintoism plays a huge part in their lives. From Wikipedia, “Shinto today is a term that applies to the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of gods (kami), suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, and applies as well to various sectarian organizations.”

      Shintoism is pervasive in their culture and society. So my husband believed that the Japanese warrior that was killed is not able to rest until the sword is brought back to Japan and destroyed. But it’s illegal to ship them or bring them with you. So my husband refused the katana. I could use some clarification on whether he thought the katana was actually imbued with the spirit or the spirit was still in Japan and unable to rest. From what I remember (this was over a year ago) is that the katana possessed negative spiritual energy from the fallen warrior, and he wouldn’t rest until he was brought back to Japan. But because that wasn’t possible, my husband didn’t want the sword.

      That’s why I didn’t get into it XD It’s a long explanation. My husband is a Japanese citizen, so I want him to read over it to check for cultural and historic accuracy. The couple in the story will also be mixed race, and their cultural differences will cause some conflict. In the story, the husband will find a way to get it over, and the wife is freaking out because it’s illegal, so they fight about it. She doesn’t understand why it matters, like my grandma. I think she kind of laughed and brushed him off about it. My husband wants to be cremated after death and brought back to Japan for his final resting place. Their culture is different in many ways than ours. My husband has a lot of pride in Japan, and he will be Japanese even after death.

      They had a Twilight Zone episode kind of similar to this. It’s about a Caucasian man that fought in WWII brought back a katana as a war trophy (at least this is how I remember it since it’s been a long time since I watched it). His Japanese gardner came up to chat during a break, and they ended up in a fight to kill each other. There was an inscription on the sword saying something in Japanese like, “My spirit will be avenged,” and the Japanese man is kind of possessed when he grabs the sword. He ends up killing the Caucasian man and running out of the house screaming. My story is different, but it’s dealing with the same spiritual essence in a Japanese katana stolen during WWII.

      • I understand now. Should be an interesting read. How long is it? If you’d be willing to take a chance on an unknown reader, I’d like to read the whole thing. I don’t steal other people’s writing. 😉 It’s just that I lived in Japan for a little while and studied the language and culture when I was in college. I had never heard of the sword/spirit connection and it sounds really interesting.

        Every culture is different from every other culture. hehe 😉 My husband (who’s from South Korea) went back to Korea to renew his student visa after we got engaged. He suggested I go with him to meet his family. I didn’t know much about the culture so I asked him what it was like over there. His idea of “preparing” me for the culture was to tell me it was just like Japanese culture. I went off all unaware that I was about to receive the biggest shock of my life up till that point. Yeah, perhaps it’s vaguely similar but it’s not the same. At all. I’m actually surprised he told me it was the same because a Korean would be the first to deny that. First time ever experiencing culture shock because it was the first time ever when I wasn’t prepared. Despite despising his country after that, I still married him. It’s taken me years to get over that shock and see the good in the country and the culture. I don’t think I’ll ever like Seoul (I can’t breathe there!) but I like my in-laws’ place. They own an orchard in the country. Soooo peaceful and pretty there! And no smog! 😀 Except it’s so quiet that we can hear the dogs from the dog farm about 2 miles away barking all the time. I was horrified at first but not anymore. Gives a new meaning to “Dog Food.” hehehe

      • Sorry it took me so long to reply :$ I recently started a new job, and it’s been exhausting. Anyway, sure I’d love your opinion on the katana story once I write it 🙂 I haven’t started it yet, lol. I wasn’t worried about you stealing my story XD You’ve got your own awesome stories, so that thought didn’t even cross my mind till you mentioned it 😛

        Ooooh, I didn’t know you were married to an Asian man. That’s cool 😀 There aren’t many American women married to Asian men. How did you meet? My husband just came over for college, but we fell in love, so he stayed, lol. He’s still a Japanese citizen. I don’t think you can have dual American and Japanese citizenship, so he chose to stay a Japanese citizen. And when he dies he wants his ashes to be scattered in Japan. It seems like Japanese people are much more proud of their identity and heritage than Americans are. I’m not really proud or ashamed to be an American. Though I realize how lucky I am to live in a wealthy country. I have a friend living in a poor Eastern European country and it’s a constant reminder of how good I have it here :$

        I went to Japan and it was very different than expected. Although prior to that visit my only glimpse into Japanese society came from anime and video games XD I think the most disconcerting part was the looks and stares I received because I’m 6’0″. I’m tall for American standards, but super tall in comparison to Japanese women. They would openly talk about me in Japanese, which my husband would then translate for me XD We weren’t holding hands but walking together, so I’m not sure why they assumed either that we weren’t together? The food was so different. I brought a bottle of Heinz ketchup with me so I could douse all of the food with it. His parents now think Americans are obsessed with ketchup XD

        I haven’t been in a few years because of my health issues. I miss his family! His parents talked about visiting us in America sometime in the near future 🙂 My husband makes an annual trip to Japan every year. I was hoping to make the trip with him this year, but we thought I might get a job before the trip, and I did, so it worked out 😛

        Oh wow, I didn’t realize Koreans ate dog meat :/ I don’t think I could ever eat it. I try not to be judgmental of others with different cultural beliefs, but I couldn’t do it. As a little girl, I cried when my mom told me some people ate bunnies. Although pigs are supposedly smarter than dogs, so I’m not sure why that seems okay to me. Japanese people eat whale meat, and that is also controversial. I couldn’t do it, but it isn’t my place to chastise others for it either.

        Thanks for sharing your experiences 🙂

  1. Y’know, I’m generally not superstitious at all, but when my first husband started collecting Japanese katanas, we had nothing but horrible luck, including my husband’s death. After he died, I sold them to a dealer who specialized in selling them back to Japan. They needed to go home! Not sure how they dealt with export/import issues. It makes a fascinating basis for a story!

    • Oh, that’s interesting Christina! Yeah, my husband was firm in his beliefs that the spirit of a fallen Japanese warrior was in that sword. I’m Christian, but I do think some spirits get lost or refuse to die if they have unfinished business on Earth. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

      • I’m Christian too, but I think there are still plenty of things we don’t fully understand, or at least aren’t adequately explained in our belief system.

        I also had a strong affinity for Shinto, especially in Japan. I thought it was maybe because of my Celtic-animist German ancestry, but who knows?

        I agree about spirits with unfinished business 🙂

  2. You could try writing stories with a tragedy arc? Doesn’t have to be nothing but angst, you could kind of walk it in the direction of a character plagued by some kind of longing, and eventually their choices tear them apart. F. Scott Fitzgerald had one of the most insanely tragic and doomed love lives imaginable, and he called it “his material”, even going so far as to crack it if his wife Zelda (yes, she was totes called Zelda, how bad-ass is that?) wanted to write about the same thing as he did.

    The Great Gatsby is pretty sad and angsty, but that tragic arc gives it a satisfying conclusion. We feel as though the narrative journey is complete.

    • Sorry it took me awhile to answer this. I just started a new job, and as much as I enjoy it, it’s exhausting :$ You always have such good advice 🙂 I read that link you sent me a while ago about the tragedy arc 😀 It helped me shape my suicide story from pointless angst into a man’s quest for forgiveness and salvation. I will reread it and keep it in mind as I continue writing angst. I agree with you that pointless angst is not as effective as angst with a purpose. To be honest, I don’t think I thought that much about it before you sent me that link about the tragedy story arcs. I have so much to learn about story mechanics and writing! That’s why I’m glad I’m writing short stories, lol. Much easier to fix it :$

      On a related note, I think bittersweet angst is more powerful than angst without hope. An example of angst without hope would be, The Crossing, by Cormac McCarthy. It’s about a young boy losing his innocence (I think?). It’s part of a trilogy, and the story gets more depressing with each installment. I couldn’t read it past the first one. I don’t want to give it away in case you decide to read it later, but it’s depressing. It makes McCarthy’s, The Road, look like a trip to Disneyland D: It involved animal abuse, and it was so painful to read ;____; I don’t think I could read it again. I still don’t know how I feel about it. . . In contrast, The Road, had a bittersweet conclusion, and it was definitely more satisfying and poignant than, The Crossing.

      I read The Great Gatsby a long time ago for school, so I don’t remember how I felt about it. I should reread it because Fitzgerald is a great writer. I read one of his short stories recently and really enjoyed his prose. Yeah, the first time I heard Fitzgerald’s wife was named Zelda I immediately thought of the video game series, “Legend of Zelda.” *Queue Legend of Zelda theme* 8D Now I have to look Fitzgerald up on Wikipedia XD

      Thanks again for the advice 🙂 You’ve helped me so much 😀

  3. Pingback: Commentition: The October 2014 Version | I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

  4. Hi there my friend. Been thinking about you a lot and hope your new job is going well! I’ll stop by again sometime and “visit” when you have more time!

    • Thanks so much silverliningsanddustbunnies. I’m a pharmacist, and I wasn’t able to work for the past three years, so I had forgotten pretty much everything. I was given 10 days of training to learn what others had spent months to years learning. I was almost fired because I wasn’t good enough. I may still be fired. Hard to say. I’ve been doing a lot better, but I am still cramming pharmacy knowledge into my head. I also had to send out two external appeals for my last hip surgery. I finished one that was 6 months in the making.

      Also, there was a huge increase in pain when I first started working. I have a stool, but sitting hurts my spine and standing hurts my post-op hip XD It’s actually gotten better, but that first week was brutal pain wise. I’m also super anxious when I get off work because I second guess every decision I had to make, so I have no emotional energy left to do anything but watch sitcoms, lol. I also find that cleaning gets rid of my anxiety as does online shopping XD

      I miss writing and reading. I haven’t really done either. I might be able to pick up a book in the next week or two. I probably won’t be able to write till I’m more settled, like a month or so. I really enjoy working as a pharmacist, but it’s really challenging right now. Thanks for dropping by 🙂 How are you?

      • Yikes! Pharmacist = Scientist = Scary to get back into !!! I thought I had a stressful job! Thoughts and prayers for you, my friend. I know if this is something you want to do, you will conquer any and all obstacles, and do wonderfully.
        Me: just retired from the day job. Working full time with the hubby in his leather business – hands on creating stuff is so much more rewarding and less stressful than being responsible for other people! Management is hopefully forever behind me. I am making more time to read and work on flash fiction/short stories over at CCircle, and taking the first trembling steps into my novel!
        Keep at it, sweetie, and hope you get past the second guessing part. That usually just makes for bad sleep and no energy!

      • Awesome that you’ve been able to devote more time to writing 😀 I’ll go back to reading stories on CC soon ^^ I really enjoyed yours and Alex’s. I forget her exact penname, but I think it is Alexv12? Ooooh, good luck on your novel! What genre is it in? I have an idea for a literature novella. I have to do a lot of research for it though. That’s a lot of work XD I’m lazy so I’m sticking to short stories for now, lol. I have an idea for a fantasy story as well, but it doesn’t have much of a plot at this point, which is a problem XD

    • That’s really sad and scary 😦 When I first started posting stuff on the internet I had no idea that years later I would be hiding from a handful of people dedicated to destroying me because I stood up for myself and said I didn’t like my story being plagiarized. Friend B got a message from this woman the other day trying to trick her into giving up my new penname. But I had already told my friends not to share any info with anyone because this woman is creating several different profiles to do this. It’s been 5 months since I deleted everything and left, and this bully is still obsessed with me. Five freaking months!!! I let her have the fandom, and it wasn’t enough. She’s delusional, but the scary thing is that some people believe her. One of the cyberbully’s friends messaged several of my close friends trying to convince them to hate me. They are my close friends, so they didn’t believe her lies, and instead it pissed them off that someone would stoop so low to destroy me. That’s how delusional they are XD

      In the world of original fiction it doesn’t seem like incidents like this are as common, but apparently they still happen as this report illustrates. I recently saw it on CC and skimmed through it. That’s why I don’t want to use my real name to publish anything, although on the off chance I become popular it will come out anyway. I’m glad there are people standing up for the victims. Cyberbullying can destroy someone’s life, unfortunately. Seems like some people enjoy torturing others, and that’s something I can’t ever understand 😦

      • I’m glad you have managed to leave that behind (and hope and pray that she never finds you again). You’ve had a tough time, and you are a survivor. The old saying, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is little consolation, but as you have come through it, you are stronger. The irony is that she never intended that.
        I have been victimized (though not cyberbullying) and know what you’re saying. It’s more than sad, it’s horrific that some people get a kick out of the power they think they have. Truth is, they are extremely sad, despicable, and haunted people.
        I didn’t mean to stir up old feelings, I was just very impressed with the study that the lady conducted, and very glad the light of day is shining on it.
        Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and hope your holidays are safe and very happy!

  5. Pingback: Commentition: The November 2014 Version | I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

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