Suppressing Talents: something between an open letter & a rant


There’s this TED Talk by Ken Robinson about how schools are destroying creativity. I agree with him strongly. Our educational institutions are thoroughly career-oriented because most people are under the impression that getting a job and earning a lot of money are the two main purposes of life. Sure, they’re important, but by no means are they the most important goals you have to achieve in life. We’re being forced to use just the left side of our brain when it comes to education, and our creativity, passion and imagination are being suppressed. Anywhere you go, you’ll find the arts down at the bottom of the subject hierarchy, far below languages, maths, the sciences and the humanities. Why? Because dance won’t get you anywhere. Because algebra is more important that singing. Because drama is just a pastime and cannot be considered as a real subject. Because painting does not make you the CEO of a large company.

This is a subject I feel very strongly about but a recent meeting with a doctor, who was a total stranger to me, made me feel compelled to write the following:

OPEN LETTER TO A DOCTOR I MET A FEW MONTHS AGO-

Dear Mr. My-Father’s-Incredibly-Smart-Colleague,

You asked me what I’m planning for my future, and I told you I wanted to have a future of full-time writing.

You, a total stranger, then proceeded to give me a long lecture about how writing is just a hobby and it won’t get me anywhere. You had the nerve to compare me with a relative of yours who used to want to be a flight attendant and ended up studying microbiology or genetic engineering or something, which I respect but, I am not her.

Continue reading “Suppressing Talents: something between an open letter & a rant”

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My Journey


I originally posted this on APT 18 and the Feedback Page. I just felt like posting it on YSBU too 🙂

I’ve been on Storybird for over two years now, and it’s home. It’s family. It’s life, to be honest.
On October 27 2012 (my birthday), I was flipping through a children’s magazine, b0red. In the website reviews section, something caught my eye:

storybird.com

I decided to visit it, even though most websites they reviewed were too childish for me. I typed in the URL and pressed Enter, and I was taken to another world. Storybird was very different then from what it is now: there were no mentions, reposts, notifications, longform books, poetry, or anything of the sort. The layout was totally different from what it is now. Still, I found the website intriguing and made an account on it with the username, NancyBlake – a pseudonym I liked to use often.
And then, I started to read.
Continue reading “My Journey”

How to Make Your Reader Cry – TeenInk.com


How to Make Your Reader Cry

It’s the ultimate test that your writing must pass: can you make your reader feel? That means not just feeling a little interest or pleasure or sadness — can you make your reader cry ugly tears and get the page all soggy? Some writers can, and they’re the ones succeeding these days; just look at John Green and his The Fault in Our Stars. The good news is that making your reader feel is a skill that you can learn. You’ll be making your friends sob uncontrollably in no time.

Choose a A Sympathetic Character.

While villainous or even annoying characters have their place in literature, they’re not typically the ones that make us weep. To make a reader feel, we need to feel connected emotionally to a character, as though the character is someone we could befriend or at least admire in real life. Choose an accessible character with a personality that intrigues you. The characters we connect to most strongly are often characters with desires we share or can identify with. So give your character a passion or a dream. Whether it’s a desire to find her long-lost brother or a passion for boat-building, we like folks who dream big and who want things.

Choose an Accessible, but Painful, Obstacle

Here comes the most crucial part; that character must be put in harm’s way. We need to feel that character is in eminent danger, whether that danger is emotional or physical. Oddly enough, it’s the more intangible problems that make us feel the most. We feel excited if a character is surrounded by rabid bears, but we feel emotional (and downright weepy) if the character is surrounded by cold people who don’t understand her. Give your character a problem that is clear and identifiable, but that carries real emotional risks. Look no further than John Green for that classic example of a very real problem (cancer) that carries heavy emotional baggage with it. And remind us that your characters are normal human beings, who are struggling to deal with this in normal human ways. We don’t cry when super heroes can use their laser vision to get out of a mess; we cry when ordinary humans can’t.

Give your character an impossible choice.

You’ve set us up beautifully for tears now, but you’ve got to bring it home by presenting your character (and us) with a terrible choice. There can’t be one good and one bad choice here — there have to be downsides to either decision. After all, that is what feels most real to us; in real life we often have to choose the least bad choice out of a series of bad choices. Don’t let the problem be solved too easily. If you give a character a life-threatening illness, for example, it feels like a cop-out to suddenly discover a cure. If your character finds a long-lost brother, perhaps the brother is not the person she thought he would be. There must be complications, because life is messy, and that’s why life makes us cry sometimes.

Follow these steps, and your readers will be bawling in no time!

Who’s Your Favourite?


Here’s another poll for y’all. I’m just curious. You can choose up to 3 answers: