First, let me just say I LOVE Jenna. Someone shared one of her videos on Tumblr and I just fell in love with the way she broke down her writing tips. She’s very frank and incredibly open-minded. I like watching a video from her or other authortubers before I jump into my own novel to get my head in the game. Enjoy!

Also, please consider checking out her book The Savior’s Champion and her other book Eve: The Awakening. I’ve added both to my reading list on Amazon. I’m ready to see her work for myself. FYI if you have Kindle Unlimited, Eve: The Awakening is free to read.

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Foregrounding: “Calling attention to something–a word, a rhythm, a character, an idea, a viewpoint–by placing it in the foreground against a background. Taken from painting and the study of visual perspective, the term is used more broadly to mean setting anything off from its context or creating something that stands out from the ordinary…Interpreting a novel as if it were being read by a woman foregrounds the woman’s viewpoint,” – NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms (1991)

My Take On Foregrounding

I know this term is basically the writer doing their best to make sure a certain word or statement stands out from the present context, but I’d like to add a quote from The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms (2006) by Peter Childs and Roger Fowler:

“In literature, foregrounding may be most readily identified with linguistic deviation: the violation of rules and conventions, by which a poet transcends the normal communicative resources of the language, and awakens the reader, by freeing him from the grooves of cliché expression, to a new perceptivity. Poetic metaphor, a type of semantic deviation, is the most important instance of this type of foregrounding.”

Peter Childs and Roger Fowler – Quote found from thoughtco.com

As I’m studying this term, I feel like I’m overthinking how it’s used. Metaphors are common nowadays and there are other types of linguistic deviations where the writer aims for something to stand out, but I think if you’re going to break certain literary rules, you should make sure there’s solid coherence. In other words, it better be damn good because many audiences are used to this and a poor attempt at foregrounding could either blow the mind of your audience or underwhelm them. Perhaps I’m worrying more about the negative results. I’d hate for my audience to be underwhelmed. I’m not objecting to chaos, surrealism, or randomness in literature, I just think it could go from symbolic to senseless real quick depending on the intention. But whatever…here’s to the rule breakers and those who become icons as a result of their rebellion.

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Why does this literary term give me anxiety in a way where I’m laughing about it to?

You know what? I think it’s because I found a new challenge in my writing. I like it ’cause it terrifies me.

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Poetic Justice: “Rewarding the good and punishing the bad. The term was first used by Thomas Rhymer in 1678 to express the idea that in literature, if not always in life, rewards and punishments should be carefully distributed so that readers may be inspired to goodness and discouraged from evil.” NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms

My View On Poetic Justice

After reading the definition, I immediately thought about how often this technique was done in old films. There are audiences that still find it satisfying probably because it satisfies the dualistic status quo our cultures often reinforce: goodness is praised, evil is punished. But things aren’t always that black and white are they? Especially when you’re developing a plot or character, you need to mix things up.

In fact, I’ve seen poetic justice used quite sarcastically or ironically to address that the way we want a clear cut picture of good and bad doesn’t always exist. But poetic justice, I feel, isn’t just about defining a dualistic morality. It’s satisfying when the character the audience roots for reaches success and when the character they can’t stand deals with struggle or suffers. The foundation of poetic justice is ethical satisfaction, confirmation in the legitimacy of the status quo, even in fictional worlds. It’s a great tool to help audiences attach to the story. Personally, I find that art has its greatest impact when it’s a moral challenge and encourages ethical relativity rather than be purely pleasing, but that’s just me.

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…because that’s what I know. That’s what I and I’m sure many other American kids grew up in. We had authoritarian Christian parents and it’s basically a mini-theocracy. I recently wrote an article about the bad habits someone can develop when living in a household like this, but I wrote as respectfully as possible. My novel and the way my protagonist responds to being raised will definitely be more raw because I’m channeling a lot through her. Isn’t that what all of us writers do? Isn’t that what makes worldbuilding in scifi and fantasy so thrilling?

It’s good to reflect upon our past with the raw/probably biased view and then take a step back and see the big picture. You have to be real with yourself when it comes to facing your past because deeming it a delusion is just so damning to your psyche. I value all the growth I’ve attained too much to turn a blind eye to what I’ve been through, what my family’s been through, what my friend’s have been through and more. When we review what had happened to us, the fortune, the misfortune, and the awkward moments that challenge our moral compass, we gain so much power from the truth threaded in those memories. I just value the truth so much and even though I’m a fiction writer who wants to make sure their story is interesting to my audience, I’ll still be diving into the truth with every chapter, with every description of the setting, and especially with every figure of authority in my world.

Theocracy…it’s just a flat out oppressive amongst the many we’ve created.

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While writing my novel, today I realized that I’ve been working on my first draft for almost a year now (April 11th is my anniversary…write-iversary? I don’t know…). I feel I’m near the end of my second act, hopefully getting closer to the climax and resolution (but it’s like pulling teeth, I swear!). I ended up wondering about some of the professional novelists right now who bust out novels every year or two years, which put me in a weird, hypothetical shock. What if I publish my novel, it turns out to have decent feedback with expectancy, and I can’t finish the second novel within a certain time frame?

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Again I’m doing that stupid “reach these expectations” thing. I would’ve hoped I learned by now, but it still eats at me. It’s a trait of perfectionism I wish I could kill. At the moment, I can’t kill it, but I did counter attack by googling some authors I look up to and wondered how long it took them to finish some of their work.

  • Neil Gaiman started thinking up ideas for American Gods in the early 1990s, starting actually writing it in 1998, then had it published in 2001.
  • It took J.K. Rowling six years to write the first Harry Potter book. (I know she’s going through a lot of heat right now, but she was a mom and had many other things going on back then and that’s still admirable)
  • Donna Tartt has a ten-year span between her novels The Secret History and The Goldfinch .
  • George R.R. Martin takes about five to six years for each installation of his Game of Thrones series too and I’ve heard his fandom is very impatient.

There are many other writers who punch out novels faster than them or slower than them, but doing my research gave me some peace about my own writing. Especially since I’m writing a scifi/fantasy work, I don’t just have setting, characterization, and plot to think about. I have cultural history, magical lore, old languages, futuristic weapons and probably way more to think about. I took this on so I can spend years enjoying it. Not race through it.

Why am I so goddamn hard on myself? I need to chill.

By the way, reached 300 pages today. *pats self on back*

On my welcome page, I wrote that my novel takes priority. It certainly does. It’s everything. Sometimes life circumstances try to convince you that your everything is nothing, that there are more important things to address than your fantastical ideas. Art is such a battle, though I truly believe it’s such a glorious, introspective experience where I can take the time to understand myself and be relieved from all the life circumstances that convince me to censor myself. Those circumstances that implore that ignoring them is too great of a risk, that I should be safe.

Because art is a battle, it isn’t safe and never will be. Art is pure vulnerability, which can transform into terror or freedom depending on how powerful your fear is. There’s that 50/50 tug-of-war going on: The first fifty says “What if you share your work and this happens?” and the other fifty says “What if you never share your work and this happens?” Circumstance. Consequence. Chaos. I am so torn by risk, but I am so thrilled by the challenge. I’m in a position where I must bet on myself or bet on a system that may or may not take care of me. I know for a fact that if the system doesn’t have art or doesn’t let me create art, I’ll die. I’ve idealized death too many times to go there again. That was another risk. Another circumstance. Another chaotic instance of thrill and torment, but at least in art that torment tears me to pieces that I can reassemble and make into a new creation. Art provides rebirth beyond death or circumstance or consequence. Art is one of those immortal mediums that I’ve chosen to surrender to, so why shouldn’t I just fall and see if my masterpieces catch me or blow wind under me so I can fly as high as possible, see the big picture, and remember what I’m living for?

Risk as a writer is a dive into first-person narration where your perception is limited, but choices must be made. What I should take from my current risks as a writer, as an artist, is remembering that any choice I make will make me reborn. The chaos is beyond my control, but during the rebirth the least I can do is dance in the storm since all this experience I’ve gained has made me strong enough to brace myself for the storm’s blow or flow with its currents and absorb the unknown. This is what art has taught me. It’s not a “no risk, no reward” situation; the risk is the reward.

I can do this. I am enough.

I am enough.

Insecurity is a radical notion from the most defensive and protective parts of ourselves that convince us to sacrifice so much on the basis of fear. Frankly, I get really frustrated with these internal extremes that tell me, “You don’t write like this or that so you should just stop…forever.” It’s ridiculous because when I breakdown this thought process, I always come to the conclusion that I’m just not happy with myself. There are still these bits of shame, like little, poisonous seeds hiding in really rich soil that I keep finding though I’ve been doing much more reflection and grounding to remind myself that who I am is enough.

I was overthinking my articles today and why I call it research. It is and isn’t research for my novel. Really, it’s just my interests being written out in more of a discourse. I’ve been told I write in a way that’s really informative, but other than my chakra stone list articles, I don’t really want the information I share to be so easily accepted. I want to discuss the topic and argument or theory I propose. Sure, some of my articles are a little more on the assertive side, as in addressing how twin flame experiences aren’t purely romantic or that being an empath does certainly lead to discovering your psychic or intuitive potential, but I still want to hear feedback. My article about my link to faith and Hermeticism shook me for a while (which is why it currently isn’t available since I’m working on its revision); I think it was my tone and my sources that brought on a lot of strong feedback, which I was grateful for, but I did end up watering those seeds of insecurity thinking I was just some delirious person who had no idea what Hermeticism was about, unlike those who gave me feedback and truly made Hermeticism their personal philosophy. But the thing is, that feedback was absolutely wonderful. I just have the tendency to take criticism as the chopping block for my dignity. I don’t need to be punished for seeing things differently or because I’m inexperienced with a certain topic, but still wanted to write about it. In fact, I’m not that inexperienced with Hermeticism, but I could certainly reach out to more sources than The Kyballion (and I certainly wished the feedback I got would’ve recommended some sources). I write because I am a writer and all that comes with that is experience and growth. Why does my insecurity want to cut myself short from the many benefits of taking everything in? And why haven’t I become grounded enough to face my insecurities with more gumption?

That in itself is also an experience I need to learn. It’s sort of like pulling out weeds from your driveway that keep sprouting over and over again. Besides, it’s not like I’m wanting to feed the weeds, it’s just a part of nature doing it’s thing. Yeah. It’s human nature. I mean, I almost went to a place of discouraging myself from finishing my novel simply because my use of mythology may piss of a few Greek and Egyptian mythology nerds. The intention of my writing isn’t too offend anyone (or coddle anyone’s views); I write so I can be. That’s it. And if the audience that takes a chance on my craft doesn’t align with my perspectives, they can put the book down and move on as I continue to tread forward and keep writing. Yes, I do want my work to be discussed. I really, really do want that, even when my sensitive nature shirks in my shadows and cries on my superego’s shoulder for not reaching certain standards or expectations. When I receive feedback and my sensitive nature gets triggered, in that moment, I have to decide whether I’m going to water the weeds or yank them out.

I am a writer. I am an artist. I am enough. I am.

I think affirming who you are on your own is the ultimate weed killer because sometimes yanking out weeds is a temporary fix. You gotta get those bitches at the root. No matter what anyone says, I have to believe that I am enough.

On another note, I recently remembered how much I love film and writing screenplays…I’ve had an old piece in mind, but it was a script for a video game. I could easily make it into a movie though.