Posted in Deep Thoughts, literature

The enchantment of Storytelling: A magic charm to move hearts

The links to the resources mentioned in this post are available at the end of the page.

Some stories are born when someone sincerely pours his/her heart out, and some others are craftfully edited to manipulate.

Some months ago, as I was on the job hunt, I made some peculiar findings. I was looking for vacancies related to translation, content writing and copywriting. Then I came across an interesting term called “storytelling”. Let’s look at it from these two aspects: its use and its purpose as well as its functions.

1- Use

In a certain way, it is a writing technique used to make a story sound sensational and more stirring than it originally is (or should be). With a great dose  of embellishment and a touch of exaggeration, the purpose is that the said narrative should be able to shake the most unmovable rocky heart.

Fine! That’s great stuff. I should apply it to my novels to make them more exciting”, I said to myself. I did some further research to know more about the methods applied. In the course of that, I discovered that not everyone has candid goals as I do. I somewhat knew that storytelling is utilized a lot in marketing and advertising (if you noticed, some ads just don’t make any sense); however, I was horrified to learn that it is widely used in politics to create effective electoral campaigns. My excitement immediately melted away like butter. Funny enough, the opposite word for “story” is “truth”…

This is dangerous”, I thought. “If we fall for a well-written scenario and we vote for its candidate, we might actually put that person into power based on a convincing show.” No wonder the world is at it is. If the candidate is a good person, what a relief. If not, the country is doomed…

People are not people… It’s recommended to not believe everything that we hear or that we think we see. We don’t know what happens inside their homes, in their private lives. We only see what TV and the Internet grace us with. And if they are corrupt but powerful enough to cover things up, we might only get to find out about their evil deeds a hundred years later when journalists record a documentary about it (or reveal the innocent ones who had been framed.) . Some writers and movie producers also try to warn us through books, series and TV shows when they cannot warn us directly. One of my favorite quotes is from Virginia Woolf: “Fiction here is likely to contain more truth than fact”. It represents so well the main characteristic of our modern era, where it’s hard to distinguish genuineness from manipulation. Our world’s characteristic has always been “a bit of truth, a bit of fiction”. It’s hard to tell what’s what.

The laws that rule our countries and daily lives are passed by a small group of people in a small room, and they come out to tell us what was decided. The only power that we have is to choose who goes inside that small room (for those who don’t live under a dictatorship, of course). We elect them after meticulously scanning their words, lives and portfolios through their campaigns and speeches. We put faith in their promises, hoping they’ll improve our countries and therefore make our lives better. Electoral campaigns have now become like courtship between lovers: “If you marry me, I promise I’ll make you happy. I will never make you cry.”(Well, experienced people know that nothing is more unsure).

Frankly speaking, we can’t really choose wisely even if we’d like to. It would be convenient if there could exist an instrument to measure sincerity… A sincerometer? (Goodness… I said that word randomly, but I googled and it does exist, though that machine hasn’t been invented yet).

2- Purpose and functions

The main intent for storytelling is to exert an influence on and / or to suscite a certain reaction in the reader (interestingly, the word “influence” etymologically means a power or a flow that can change someone’s behaviour or destiny). Of course, there are other goals as well. Let’s look at each one.

  • On this earth, human beings are not eternal. Be it through literature, music or graphic art, we pass down the legacy of our lives from generation to generation. Coming to think of it, we are able to create a certain sense or eternity by remaining in history.

Remembrance. It might be faint in comparison, but it is the ultimate form of immortality that we humans have reached. When we pass away, we will not be present to witness how well-remembered we are or if we are not forgotten. Nonetheless, we don’t want to leave this earth without at least having the comforting feeling that someone we left behind will think about. As many people as possible, the better. It’s one of the reasons why we perpetuate stories. And the best of all the stories we leave behind is the story of how we lived.

  • Another reason is that we tell stories to leave traces of things we cannot or do not want to say openly.
  • Lastly, elaborate brainpowers use stories to subtly change people’s minds. While some have good intentions, some of them can be dangerous…  I was reminded of Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf”. We all know the disastrous consequences that it provoked. Just the thought of it made me shiver… And wonder: did he change people’s minds, or did his writings make stronger the secret convictions they already had in their hearts unconsciously? Both he and his followers had the firm conviction that they were in the right, even though their beliefs brought a bloodshed. Ironically, when I searched the book on Google just this week, 80% of those who read it like it… which implies that after all that happened, there are still people who agree with him today. 80%… By the way, why is his book still being sold freely up till now?

That is how powerful someone’s influence can be. On how many occasions did we change opinions because TV or social media said so? Or buy something we didn’t plan to? Or come to like / dislike something we didn’t before?

Even more, we are thinking creatures and talking creatures, so it is impossible to live in society without exchanging points of view with others. Our convictions are made or broken everyday. Emotions and intentions are invisible forces imprinted in all that we see, hear, or what we say or do. And they hold a tremendous power of influence.  Our bodies are static, but thoughts and ideas are dynamic and constantly shifting, causing societies to mutate. And the more powerful someone is, the more their opinion prevails over the rest and leads them to dominate other people.

In previous centuries, we used to complain that we were subject to obscurantism and we fought hard to break free. Nowadays, artificial intelligence, advertisements and algorithms dominate our lives and dictate our behaviour. Probably, it’s just the methods that are different…

Leaving the socio-political scene and coming back to literature , I am personally not fond of works that contain a lot of gore, violence or nudity, both as a reader and now as an author myself. The amusing detail is that they are usually classified as “adult content” (seems to imply human nature gets worse as we grow old).  I’m not criticizing preferences here, but only expressing opinions.

Whether it is from sincerity or manipulation, no text is effectless. Like little magic spells, they will suscitate either hate or admiration (just to name a few emotions). Be careful of what you set your eyes on, and what you expose your heart to. And if you write, may your works bring good influence unto humanity. As an aspiring writer myself, I feel the weight of that responsibility. I hope my writings bring out good.

Forever overthinking, forever meditating,

Nuna Blomevi.

Storytelling

1- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storytelling  some of its purposes: Using narrative to manage conflicts/ Using narrative to interpret the past and shape the future/ Using narrative in the reasoning process

2- https://vilmanunez.com/que-es-storytelling/

3- 4 P’s of Storytelling: People, Place, Plot and Purpose. https://vimeo.com/blog/post/storytelling-the-stillmotion-way-part-1/

4-https://www.harvardbusiness.org/insight/telling-stories-how-leaders-can-influence-teach-and-inspire/

Commentary on Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own”.

1-  https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/roomofonesown/themes/

2-https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/811265-at-any-rate-when-a-subject-is-highly-controversial

Age of enlightenment vs obscurantism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

Etymology and origins of the word ‘influence”

1- https://www.universalis.fr/encyclopedie/influence/

2- https://dicocitations.lemonde.fr/definition_littre/14523/Influence.php

3- https://www.etymonline.com/word/influence

Posted in Daily Life, Deep Thoughts, Life Moments, literature, New book, Original Stories, psychology, Raising Awareness

Circumstances, Background and Intentions: the fine line between good and evil


Reference Book: “Unescorted”, by Nuna Blomevi. 2020 © All Rights Reserved.

Warning: This post tackles delicate issues. May cause difficult memories to resurface or triggers in people sensitive to the topic or with traumas.

Mercy… Lately I’ve been choosing very sensitive topics. Less K-drama talks, more serious content. I’m getting more ideas for the blog as I edit my books. Currently under rewriting, my novel Unescorted principally spans over two stages: the heroine’s teenage years and her beginnings as a young adult. Centered on her life in school and her interactions with other people as she grows up, I address in the plot certain issues that plague our modern society: bullying, emotional abuse, peer pressure, sexual harassment and loneliness.
Being a great fan of psychology, I like researching the possible reasons behind people’s actions. “What kind of thoughts were they having? What logic did they process to end up doing what they did”? Of course, having a background reason or a rational explanation doesn’t excuse wrong actions (between good and evil, we all have a choice to make). However, analyzing thought patterns may help in understanding or correcting certain behaviours. I’m not an expert yet, so I will leave the rest to the specialists…  For now, I am applying the knowledge acquired to build the background of my characters. Still, the social problems I mentioned above occur so often in real life. It made me reflect quite a lot…
Here are some aspects I considered while writing Unescorted (read the excerpt here). They are based on some common contexts perceived from different perspectives:

Case 1

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

“X” is a quiet person and a homebody. He/she is not into parties and loud activities. He/she’d rather read a book instead of hitting the dance floor. “Y” perceives “X”’s behaviour as “not normal”, boring, too reserved or not cool, and constantly seeks to drag him / her along when he/she goes to have fun. What is the fine line between being nosy, invasive or being  genuinely caring? Should his/her intentions be interpreted as wanting to improve “X”’s social life, or is he/she being forceful?

      “X”’s response could be:

“I should go once, maybe I’ll like it”.
“‘Y” is getting on my nerves, I’ll just go so that he/she stops bothering me”.
“I don’t want to go, but I don’t have the courage to tell “Y”. I feel intimidated.”

Case 2

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

As a guy, “W” seeks to show confidence when flirting. When making a move on a girl, he relies on the “signs” she seems to transmit to deduce if it’s a green light or a red light. (How she smiles, strokes her hair, or how she looks at him). “Should I get closer?”, “Will touching her make her feel attracted to me?”, “Is her ‘no’ a real ‘no’ or is she playing hard to get?”; “‘M’s girlfriend kept rejecting him at first but she ended up falling for him. Should I insist with this girl? Maybe she’s just being shy. I like her and I want to her to be mine.” He may get these four responses from his love interest depending on the case:

Possible reactions from Girl “Z”:

“I like this guy. How should I let him know? Maybe I should try to get closer”.
“I don’t like him… Or maybe I like him a little bit? I said no, but I actually meant yes. I don’t want him to think I’m easy.”
“Let me play with him a little and see how it goes.”
“I don’t like him at all. I’ll tell him to get lost.”

Now here come the questions. This is not about judging between right or wrong, between good and evil. Moreover, there is an infinity of variables to be taken into account. The mood, the venue, the context, the relationship between the protagonists…

Photo by The Humantra on Pexels.com

All of them probably have their own way of thinking which will determine their decision.  “X” may cede to “Y” and follow him/her to a party. Whether he continues to go or not is his/her choice. Does that make him/her a pushover? Or: he may also stand his/her grounds and not go at all. Does that make him/her antisocial, inflexible or stuck-up?

“Y” may choose to keep insisting, and become pushy or nosy. Or, he/she may choose to respect “X”’s decision and let him/her be.  

Based on his “interpretations” of those supposed “signs”, “W”’s choice to keep pursuing a girl may turn him into a pervert, a jerk or get him the girl he wants if she finally says yes. What is the limit between flirting and sexual harassment? Depending on her response, he may get slapped, leave the girl disgusted, or get himself a girlfriend. It is his responsibility to know when to stop and not impose himself if she said no.
From one scenario to another, we wonder: how will the story end? I’m sure there are various answers crossing our minds. Beyond the novel’s context, these are situations we’ve heard of or that we faced in real life. I didn’t mention more serious scenarios because they are too delicate. “Why did “XY” murder “YZ”?” or, “why did “XY” mistreat “YZ” ?” Maybe I’ll write about them in the future if I start a thriller…

Nowadays, literature, movies, art etc provide a lot of backstories to explain the reasons behind the characters’ actions. The new tendency is “why the villain became a villain”. It’s not bad. But it made me recall certain court rulings that used the same principle. You might have also thought of one that marked you… Based on how the circumstances of the crime were explained, the law was used to a certain advantage. Some assaillants were said to have had “a moment of weakness” or to suffer sequels from a troubled past. Their victims “happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time” or were said to have somewhat triggered the criminal. However, the culprits didn’t suffer from any serious pathology except that “they were not themselves” or “they lost it for a minute”. That lapse was enough to destroy someone’s life. The victim is already hurt, but also blames his/herself from not having been able to escape. The feeling is even worse if there is no sign of repentance or if justice was never made.

Understanding circumstances or intentions behind actions may be good, but too much explanation shouldn’t cloud common sense. The facts can’t be changed: someone wronged another person. The person who was wronged wants things to be corrected, not explained. No matter how many turns the story is given.

Real life isn’t a novel, so it’s important to think through. And read between the lines. “How should I react in this situation?”, “Why am I doing this?”, “Is what I am doing hurtful to me or to another person in any way?”. Tick, Tock, count to three (at least). Let the heart express loud enough the intentions behind the actions. It may be time to hold back, or time to flee. Depending on our position and circumstances, (whether we are in X, Y, W or Z’s shoes) these golden rules might be helpful while considering our next move: “Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like to be done to you” or “I don’t feel comfortable with this person, and I think this is a good time to run away”.

My original topic for this post was “Peer Pressure / Sexual Harassment: When your ‘no’ is forced to become a ‘yes’.” As I was typing, I felt like I should go deeper and deeper, and I got us into this meditation on good, evil and choices. Maybe that’s how strong the influence of intentions is.

(Image taken from http://www.thejadedmage.com/ No copyright infringements intended)
Posted in literary updates, literature, New book, Original Stories, webnovel

Chekhov’s gun, Harry Potter’s magic, Grimm’s longevity and Freud’s science

The magic literary sauce

Recently I have been researching writing techniques to spice up my novels. I’ve always said: if you want to become grand like your references who are successful, follow the steps that they took to get where they are. Apply the tips that worked for them and avoid the mistakes they commited. Our lives are too short to waste time experimenting. As I mentioned in one of the chapters of my diary “A Writer Behind The Scenes”, becoming a great author is not based only on talent, but comes by being humble to learn. (It’s also applicable in any other field). I love this quote from Cindy Trimm: “Your attitude determines your altitude”.

So far I’ve come across these great ingredients:

  • Chekhov’s gun

Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.

I discovered this concept by chance while I was watching some short writing tutorials on Youtube (links at the end of the page) so I searched it on Wikipedia (read more on Chekhov’s gun.)

It has helped me to be more selective. Sometimes as an author, there is so much one wants to say; but it’s also important to learn how to appropriately transmit the relevant information to the readers, not just a word salad we understand ourselves.  I’m learning to avoid unnecessary details, but also to maintain a certain consistency in my plots.

  • Harry Potter’s magic and Grimm’s longevity

I am a great fan of Harry Potter… I completely devoured the story, the creativity is brilliant and the concept is innovative. I also love tales, especially those written by the Grimm brothers. They’ve accompanied me throughout my childhood until now. Aside from the fantasy component that I’m greatly fond of (which turned into my favourite genre as the years went by), I started to consider their tales from a more mature point of view. What made them transcend time, overcome the blackhole of oblivion and leave a steady legacy for 200 years? Their biography is so rich, I’m just starting to learn.

Now that I intend to take writing seriously, I am evolving from being an ardent fan/ reader to becoming a disciple.  I hope my own stories (Tales of Dreamland for example) will benefit from this admirable heritage.

Check the link I read: “What made Harry Potter so successful

  • Freud’s science

I am interested in Psychology as a science, so I do a lot of research on that field. In literature, I am a great fan of psychology novels, webtoons, series, korean dramas etc, whether it’s the main component or it’s combined with other genres.… “It’s okay, that’s love”, “Dr Frost”, “Yumi’s Cells”, “It’s Ok To Not Be Okay” etc… Any story that talks about how thoughts are processed or how the mind functions is my cup of tea. Although the title may suggest so, I don’t focus on Freud only but I research on the whole field in general. I just chose his name because he’s one of the most famous pionners.

As a writer, it’s a necessary ingredient that I add to my plots (my novel Unescorted is full of psychological allusions). It helps me define the characters’ traits and therefore make the story more understandable. It also helps to engage the audience in empathizing or relating with them, therefore making the plot more captivating. More importantly, I don’t want my stories to be only for entertainment or to pass time. Through them, I wish to raise awareness, transmit healing and cause my readers to reflect.

I hope you enjoyed these tips! What were your favourites, and why? And which other ones would you suggest? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted in literature, New book, Original Stories

Book excerpts – “Unescorted” (I)

Hello CTTBies! I trust you’ve been doing great!

As I announced it some days ago, today I’ll be posting an excerpt from the books I’m currently working on. I wondered which of them to post. These days, I feel inspired to blog about self-discovery and self-acceptance (click here to read the article) so I decided to go with my novel titled “Unescorted”. For those who haven’t heard about it, I had uploaded some of the chapters before. Notwithstanding, I wasn’t satisfied with the story and I’m currently rewriting it. All my apologies; I’m not a pro yet so it’s taking me some time. I’m also doing a lot of research to upgrade it from an amateur version to something a bit more polished. The final copy will be ready in early 2021. However, I’m too excited to keep the story to myself so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite parts. Like I always insist, my focus is not only on making the completed works available, but on the process as well. I don’t have much back-up yet so I have very little feedback. I’m learning the ropes by myself so I’d like to preserve these memories and experiences as a rookie.

I hope you enjoy it!

Title: Unescorted

Author: Nuna Blomevi. Copyright © 2020, All Rights Reserved

Keywords: Friendship, Sismance, University, Psychology, Social life, Young Adult, Chick-Lit

Summary: Sometimes, a lost friendship hurts more than a break-up.

As a recent highschool graduate, Tegan is a young adult who freshly enrolled into university.  Being an only child, her top goal is to find the ultimate best friend. Her previous attempts didn’t go too well, but she is still expectant to have better chances now that she is more mature and is entering a new environnement. She would soon be aware that building a perfect friendship was more arduous than she thought… Will she be able to adapt to her new life on campus, and will she find the friend she’s looking for?

Chapter 5:

Lies and Snares

When a guy tells a girl “Come over for some Netflix and chill”, she can suspect what he’s up to. But, when it’s her best friend who says that, she knows they’re only going to watch a movie.  However… Tegan was going to realise that there can be “plans behind plans”.

***

Tegan had heard of their bad reputation, but it was already late and the house was far so she couldn’t go home. Also, she was counting on Suri’s presence, (though she had proven to be somehow biased and unreliable in backing her up) to prevent any “possible” unfortunate events from happening.

The night felt like forever and the hours were going too slow for her. She waited in torture for the first ray of dawn light to pierce the dark sky.  She couldn’t sleep at all on the bed, and finally ended up lying on the sofa in the living room.  Why? Because of Anton who kept making allusions all along and finally groped her at some point.  Thankfully, it ended up as a stupid joke, but it wasn’t funny at all for Tegan.

***

Chapter 8:

The will to move on

Tegan came to learn a great lesson from this unfortunate long term event: it’s important to treasure oneself, and not to allow oneself to be disregarded by others with the excuse of wanting to be a good person; they wouldn’t value it anyway.  On the other hand: you can also make new friends, even better than the previous ones. She couldn’t quite remember where she heard the following encouraging words but they helped her a great deal to overcome that separation: “One day, we will all meet nice people who will love us as we are and treat us well”. Who knows, maybe it was the Universe sending her support and guidance.   

Chapter 14:

Learning new parameters: I didn’t know I could also hurt someone

Being an only child and having had only one close friend for a long time, Tegan wasn’t really the best with social skills. Amber and Jazmine were the first to tell her certain hard truths.

They came to see her in her room one day, saying they wanted to chat with her. Tegan was a bit perplexed because the atmosphere was a bit weird, and also because they came as a pair. In fact, she was anxiously wondering what they wanted to tell her.

  • Hmmm… Tea, you know, we really love you and cherish you, ok? But there are some things that we weren’t really happy about so we wanted to tell you how we felt.

***

Sorry… they’re quite short, but I’d like to keep you intrigued, hehe.

Besides, I’ll be posting some chapters from my other books. It’ll probably be my psychology fantasy novel titled “Tales of Dreamland”. It’s almost finished as well; just a few chapters to add and that’s it! Since it’s a tale, I’d like it to be illustrated and very colourful. For that purpose I asked a friend to draw some of the main characters and main scenes. The full book will also be available in 2021, though I’ll upload excerpts here and provide some BTS.

Well, that’ll be all for today! It’s late but I want to watch one or two episodes of Kdrama before going to bed. Goodnight, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi.

P.S.: Don’t forget to like and share this post with your friends, and follow CTTB on social media. Thanks!  

ありがとうございます, 皆さん!

감사합니다, 여러분!

Lol, I’m not sure about the above, so let me stick to the ones I’m fluent in: Gracias a todos; Merci à tous; Vielen dank, Leute!

Posted in literature, Original Stories, Story time, Tales of My Adventures

New series: “A Writer Behind the Scenes” (AWBTS)

A periodical diary about my experiences as a rookie writer

Hi CTTBies!

It’s been long since I wrote a new post…All my apologies. I’m going through a bit of a slump so I’m looking for new ideas.

Moreover, I’ve been really busy with work these days. Aside from my normal job, I’ve been working on my novels. I’m more than eager to publish them, but I’m not satisfied yet with some versions so I’ve started rewriting them.

On the other hand, I’m doing a lot of research to improve my blogging skills and increase the quality of the website.

Concerning that, I thought it’d be interesting and useful to keep track of my experiences as a no-fame rookie, so I’ve decided to keep a diary. Season 1 “The Invisible Life” is already available, with 11 chapters so far.

I’ve titled the diary “A Writer Behind the Scenes” (AWBTS in short). I will be publishing it in a webnovel format. You can have access to it by clicking on the previous linking or by checking on the thumnail on my homepage. It is the second series I’ll be posting after “Three Expats and a Winter

Have a nice time reading, and see you in my next post! Don’t forget to like, share and follow me on social media. (@Corner_TheTalkingBrain @NunaBlomevi). XoXo!