How To

How to Write a Story

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A purpose or message is usually meant to be conveyed in any grouping of words that work together to purposefully mar the blank nothingness of the medium upon which they are placed. Often, however, the collection is not quite arranged in a cohesive manner. If you struggle with this common hardship–that is, the proper conveyance of meaning through written form–I am sorry. To tell the truth, I am no expert on the subject either. In fact, my word arrangements often lose their points when presented to their intended audiences, but my ineptitude has never before stopped me from telling others how to do things.

First of all, and perhaps most obviously, the author must connect the story with his or her reader. This object is most often reached through the use of characters and other plot devices that are commonly recognized. Like magic rings or mad scientists. The characters must be relatable in some way. Humorous people, confused people, blonde people, puppies, kittens, and Pop Tarts are all great objects to use. For creativity points, try combining some or all of those: a humorous, confused blonde puppy who likes Pop Tarts.  

Emotion (for some strange reason) is a powerful tool to use when writing. The goal of most authors is to make the characters’ actions believable. The story of a happy boy and his puppy will invoke pleasant feelings unless you’re a emo cat person, while the tale of an evil undead cat with an owner who murders his wife will probably disturb people. I’m looking at you, Poe.

Depending on the length of the story, background can be quite useful. A lengthy tale that contains many complex characters is much more difficult to write, but when properly executed, the end result is fantastic. Requirements: Capacity to think deeply on many levels, strong imagination, good fashion sense, and an eventful childhood in an 19th or 20th century European country.

Finally, a plot is often quite useful in the writing of a story. Whilst words can be collected and grouped without any real advancement of meaning or evolution of purpose, the abstract is generally left to lesser-known or simply crazy authors. Like me.   

So that is how you write a story; let me demonstrate with a short example:

Once upon a time, a kitten and a puppy were sitting in a field. The field is awash with all sorts of beautiful colors and wonderful things, for the scene is set inside of a portrait. As the portrait is being completed, the painter decides to add some more interesting elements. She is at a bit of a loss, but she soon resolves her dilemma.

The kitten and puppy were soon joined by a happy boy who was clad in bright colors and joyous expressions. Alongside of him ran a girl who was wearing a sun dress and a quaint hat. Everyone is eating Pop Tarts. The kitten is very fuzzy.
The End

If that didn’t make you smile, you should go see a therapist.


How To Be Underestimated

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Once again I bring you another helpful article in my inane series of how-tos.

It’s probably a natural tendency to try to present yourself as an imposing and knowledgeable person. I, however, have a different tactic to suggest; I’d like to teach you how to be underestimated and show you the benefits that follow.

  • First of all, underestimation by others is dependent upon your presentation of yourself. If you don’t want people to see your true capabilities, then don’t brag about all of your accomplishments. (I graduated first in my class… I have 17 degrees… I speak 23 languages and 34 variations of those languages and I understand ASL.)

XKCD - Toot -

  • What the underestimation tactic is not: It is not the same as under-performance or lack of confidence. You want to know that you have the ability to do something, but you don’t want to care if others know your abilities. (Knowledge is power and in this case, if you want to have the upper hand, you have to pretend that the upper hand belongs to someone else, allowing them to perceivably have control.)
  • If there’s someone who’s being very boisterous and vocal, yet you know that their opinion is wrong, let them try it. It will a) help that person by forcing upon them the realization that they are wrong and b) it will make others more open to your opinions.
  • Sit back and watch. You learn a lot about others just from watching them. Listen to others’ opinions and postulations and allow the more vocal people to work out possible scenarios to problems. Remember, as long as the people are not in a position of authority over you, it really doesn’t matter what they think about you. (Now, if those people are going to give you pop tarts for behaving a certain way, you need to humor them.)
  • Use this tactic wisely. It’s not smart to pretend like you’re an average person if you’re at a job interview or in a situation that needs resolution quickly. (Don’t hold back the info that you’re an expert on the Canis Lupus when you’re being ringed in by a pack of hungry gray wolves…)

Go ahead and give it a try the next time you’re sitting at a geek convention waiting for the  Zune and iPod representatives to finish duking it out. Let them present all of their options. Then walk up from your unnoticed little corner and say, I got you all beat – and pull out your Tape Cassette Walkman. That’ll leave ’em speechless. I promise. 😉

How to Protect Your Mental Machinations

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(The second of my inane series of hardly serious how-to’s upon the most important subjects in this life.) 

Obviously, there are many things in this world which are worth protecting. Your money, your family, your pop-tarts… There are, however, some things in this world that are harder to protect, especially those things which are difficult to define or quantify. Now, I’m not speaking of silly things like love or other such fleeting feelings. No. What I am referring to are imaginary friends or pets. (Henceforth referred to as “imaginary friends.”) Your imaginary friends need your protection. I will detail to you how best to keep them safe from the many dangers and hazards in this world. 

  • Be Aware of the pitfalls that can ensnare an imaginary friend. Logic, psychiatrists, and stern parental figures are a few of the threats that present themselves to an imaginary friend. Remember, in order for your friend to stay healthy and in good spirits, you have to believe in them. (Cue Peter Pan music.)
  • Never introduce your imaginary friend to someone whom you don’t know well. This can lead to confusions on the part of both your friend and your new acquaintance. It will most likely end up with your imaginary friend’s feelings hurt (imaginary arguments can be nasty),  and your new acquaintance will probably not understand the situation fully. It is also very possible that the new acquaintance will choose to keep their distance.
  • Remember to often tell your imaginary friend how much he or she is loved. Imaginaries can get quite lonely in the confines of an uncaring mind.
  • Be Careful when talking to your imaginary friends about their state of existence. Some friends can be quite sensitive as to their condition. Remember that your friends are quite closely tied into your own consciousness; any saddening factors that affect them may also sadden yourself.
  • Avoid talking with them in public places – at least avoid doing so aloud. Exhibiting schizophrenic symptoms in public is frowned upon, or so I’m told.
  • Make life interesting for them. Remember, these people live in your imagination. Make it interesting! Throw in some dinosaurs, pirates, or evil kittens. It will be sure to make life magical for your friends. (Give them some pop-tarts too, they’ll like that.) 
  • Finally, remember – imaginary friends are people too, they’re just… special.

Hopefully these pointers will help you in your endeavors to protect those whom you value most. At least, those non-physical entities which call your imagination home. Now, go on! Go have a nice talk with your imaginary friends, play a round of chess in your head, and go watch a movie. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy that.

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
~ Oscar Wilde