On this blog, I frequently write about the importance of focusing and enjoying the little details in our everyday lives. Incorporating it into our writing can broaden our horizons in ways we never realize. I’ve finally found an example that captures the heart of this idea: Studio Ghibli’s 1988 film My Neighbor Totoro.
There are crones in the woods tonight, slipping frog legs into their chapped lips, cursing the villages that raised them, and cackling so loud children cry at the echoes.
That’s how witches are seen, right? Or are we missing something? Are we missing a gaping perspective from Africa and Asia, where witches are something entirely different? Where witchcraft is defined as something else?
That brings us to the matter today: defining the modern, Western witch. Why do we see her the way we do, and who are these mysterious witches?
And why aren’t we writing about them?
This March, I had the privilege of interviewing Watty award-winning author Madison Siwak about her experience writing adventure stories, such as her fantasy romantic-adventure novel As The Crow Flies. We talked theme, organisation, tropes, Agora, and more.
"Hold my attention." - Margaret Atwood
Among the myriad of other things, adventure stories are largely about pacing. When bringing a reader along on an adventure through the world, usually with a crew and some other archetypal plot devices (villain, maybe a McGuffin, time crunch) keeping the reader interested in the experiences of each character is generally one of the writer's goals. If your reader isn't reading, the adventure isn't happening.
So pacing: how do we do it?
The call to adventure is the first main plot point in an adventure story. This is when our protagonist is faced with an event, or a conflict, that is going to send them on the adventure, not to mention likely change their life. This is the understanding that they'll have to leave where they are, that everything is going to change. In Lord of the Rings, this is when Frodo realizes he'll be leaving the Shire with the Ring.
Well, if you haven't guessed yet, our theme for this month will be Adventure. Though in today's blog post, we're taking a look not at adventure stories, rather, the call to write, regardless of what you're setting off to write, as well as the call away from it. After all: with the call to adventure also comes the refusal of the call.
So how do we make time for writing? And if we already have the time, what else is stopping us? How do we overcome those? All questions we're tackling today.