The Best Fictional Friends | Books, TV and Film

HarryPotterFriends

There have been countless posts about fictional crushes, but what about fictional BFFs? You know, the kind of friends who will literally help you defeat evil, save the world, and forgive you after you let spiders crawl over their faces. This post is an homage to them, the fictional friends you wish were real (and yours):

Ron Weasley, (Harry Potter). Ron stuck with Harry from the beginning, sacrificing himself so that Harry could get to the Sorcerer’s stone and facing his fear of spiders for him. Not only did he join Harry on his many (mis)adventures, but he also stuck by him in his moody moments, even welcoming the Boy Who Lived into his own family. On top of all this, Ron is a goofy, fun guy at heart, and Harry and he would still be friends even if the world didn’t depend on it.

Hermione Granger, (Harry Potter). Where there’s a Ron, there’s a Hermione. Hermione stuck with Harry through it all, and never once abandoned him on the Horcrux Hunt. She even picked her friend (and the cause) over her love interest. Not to mention she’s clearly the smartest one in the group.

Hassan, (The Kite Runner). Those of you who have read or seen The Kite Runner know that Hassan is about the best best friend you could ever hope to have. He believes in Amir, loves him, sticks with him and defends him no matter how Amir treats him. If that’s not a great friend, I don’t know what is.

Team Dracula, (Dracula). This is what I’m collectively calling Quincey Morris, Arthur Holmwood, John Seward, Jonathan Harker, and Abraham van Helsing. These five were initially bonded by their mutual love of Lucy Westenra and hatred of the evil Count Dracula, but that bond deepens as they hunt for the Count in an attempt to save Mina. The strength of their friendship is underscored by the fact that Mina and Jonathan name their son after all the male members of Team Dracula, but call him Quincey, after the one member who died. It takes a special kind of friend to risk his life for you, and that’s the kind of friends Mina and Lucy had in Team Dracula.

Horatio, (Hamlet). Horatio not only sticks with Hamlet through all his depression and moodiness, he’s also the only one who calls him on the things he’s done that were less-than-moral. A real friend isn’t afraid to tell you when you’re wrong, and that’s the kind of friend Horatio is.

Sydney Carton, (A Tale of Two Cities). Lucie should have chosen Sydney. Beyond that, Sydney managed to put aside his own feelings for the sake of Lucie’s happiness over and over again. I mean, how many of you could genuinely be happy for your crush when he fell for someone else if you still had feelings for him?

Berton “Gus” Guster, (Psych). Gus has more book smarts and common sense than Shawn, not to mention a stable job. He keeps Shawn grounded with his own particular brand of uptightness. He’s stuck with Shawn ever since they were kids; not even college or vastly different careers could break up their friendship. And, despite everything, he really believes in Shawn (well, not the psychic part).

Morgan Grimes, (Chuck). The quintessential sidekick, Morgan is part wingman, part support system, all comic relief. Not many friends would stick by you once they find out you’ve been lying to them for months, but Morgan does. And he knows when to give Chuck space – a sure sign of a true friend.

Forrest Gump, (Forrest Gump). Forrest is ready to be friends with anyone and everyone he meets, even if they aren’t interested in being friends with him. Despite being in love with Jenny, Forrest contents himself with being her friend until she decides otherwise; he’s even ready to welcome her into his home knowing she only came because she was out of options. He runs back into the jungle towards gunfire and death to rescue Bubba, and no matter how snippy Lieutenant Dan gets, Forrest is always ready to work on a shrimp boat with him.

Dr. Wilson, (House). Does he enable the heck out of House? Yes. Is that a good thing? Probably not. But he’s also the one who let House stay with him after he was released from the mental hospital, who encouraged his relationship with Cuddy, who always makes sure he doesn’t kill himself, and who explains to him exactly why he did whatever particularly jerky thing he’s done in any given episode. Let’s face it, no matter how much House acts like he doesn’t need anyone, he’d be lost without Wilson.

Team Avatar, (Avatar). Aang really couldn’t have mastered all four elements without them, and their personalities compliment each other in such a way as to create a perfect team. Sokka’s the comic relief and the leader at the same time, Katara’s the parental figure and the overemotional/optimistic one, Toph’s the snarky yet insightful one, Aang’s the fun-loving glue that holds them all together, Suki’s good in a tight spot, and Zuko’s the gloomy bad boy who’s also incredibly passionate and determined. Together, they’re a heroic dream team; apart, you’d still want to hang out with all of them.

Who’s your favourite fictional BFF?

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Via http://community.sparknotes.com/the-best-fictional-best-friends

Hemingway on Writing, Ambition, the Art of Revision 

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“As a writer you should not judge. You should understand,” Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899–July 2, 1961) counseled in his 1935 Esquire compendium of writing advice, addressed to an archetypal young correspondent but based on a real-life encounter that had taken place a year earlier.

In 1934, a 22-year-old aspiring writer named Arnold Samuelson set out to meet his literary hero, hoping to steal a few moments with Hemingway to talk about writing. The son of Norwegian immigrant wheat farmers, he had just completed his coursework in journalism at the University of Minnesota, but had refused to pay the $5 diploma fee. Convinced that his literary education would be best served by apprenticing himself to Hemingway, however briefly, he hitchhiked atop a coal car from Minnesota to Key West. “It seemed a damn fool thing to do,” Samuelson later recalled, “but a twenty-two-year-old tramp during the Great Depression didn’t have to have much reason for what he did.” Unreasonable though the quest may have been, he ended up staying with Hemingway for almost an entire year, over the course of which he became the literary titan’s only true protégé.

Samuelson recorded the experience and its multitude of learnings in a manuscript that was only discovered by his daughter after his death in 1981. It was eventually published as With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba — the closest thing to a psychological profile of the great writer.

Shortly after the young man’s arrival in Key West, Hemingway got right down to granting him what he had traveled there seeking. In one of their first exchanges, he hands Samuelson a handwritten list and instructs him:

Here’s a list of books any writer should have read as a part of his education… If you haven’t read these, you just aren’t educated. They represent different types of writing. Some may bore you, others might inspire you and others are so beautifully written they’ll make you feel it’s hopeless for you to try to write.

This is the list of heartening and hopeless-making masterworks that Hemingway handed to young Samuelson:

hemingway_readinglist

  1. The Blue Hotel by Stephen Crane
  2. The Open Boat by Stephen Crane
  3. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  4. Dubliners by James Joyce
  5. The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  6. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  9. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
  10. Hail and Farewell by George Moore
  11. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  12. The Oxford Book of English Verse
  13. The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
  14. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  15. Far Away and Long Ago by W.H. Hudson
  16. The American by Henry James

Not on the handwritten list but offered in the conversation surrounding the exchange is what Hemingway considered “the best book an American ever wrote,” the one that “marks the beginning of American literature” – Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Alongside these edifying essentials, Hemingway offered young Samuelson some concrete writing advice. Advocating for staying with what psychologists now call flow, he begins with the psychological discipline of the writing process:

The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day. The main thing is to know when to stop. Don’t wait till you’ve written yourself out. When you’re still going good and you come to an interesting place and you know what’s going to happen next, that’s the time to stop. Then leave it alone and don’t think about it; let your subconscious mind do the work.

Then, echoing Lewis Carroll’s advice on overcoming creative block in problem-solving, Hemingway considers the practical tactics of this psychological strategy:

The next morning, when you’ve had a good sleep and you’re feeling fresh, rewrite what you wrote the day before. When you come to the interesting place and you know what is going to happen next, go on from there and stop at another high point of interest. That way, when you get through, your stuff is full of interesting places and when you write a novel you never get stuck and you make it interesting as you go along. Every day go back to the beginning and rewrite the whole thing and when it gets too long, read at least two or three chapters before you start to write and at least once a week go back to the start. That way you make it one piece. And when you go over it, cut out everything you can. The main thing is to know what to leave out. The way you tell whether you’re going good is by what you can throw away. If you can throw away stuff that would make a high point of interest in somebody else’s story, you know you’re going good.

He then returns to the psychological payoff of this trying practice:

Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. There is, and you can’t get out of it. I rewrote A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times. You’ve got to work it over. The first draft of anything is shit. When you first start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none, but after you learn to work it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read but something that happened to himself. That’s the true test of writing. When you can do that, the reader gets the kick and you don’t get any. You just get hard work and the better you write the harder it is because every story has to be better than the last one. It’s the hardest work there is. I like to do and can do many things better than I can write, but when I don’t write I feel like shit. I’ve got the talent and I feel that I’m wasting it.

When Samuelson asks how one can know whether one has any talent, Hemingway replies:

You can’t. Sometimes you can go on writing for years before it shows. If a man’s got it in him, it will come out sometime. The only thing I can advise you is to keep on writing but it’s a damned tough racket. The only reason I make any money at it is I’m a sort of literary pirate. Out of every ten stories I write, only one is any good and I throw the other nine away.

Hemingway tempers this with a word of advice on ambition, self-comparison, and originality:

Never compete with living writers. You don’t know whether they’re good or not. Compete with the dead ones you know are good. Then when you can pass them up you know you’re going good. You should have read all the good stuff so that you know what has been done, because if you have a story like one somebody else has written, yours isn’t any good unless you can write a better one. In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better, but the tendency should always be upward instead of down. And don’t ever imitate anybody. All style is, is the awkwardness of a writer in stating a fact. If you have a way of your own, you are fortunate, but if you try to write like somebody else, you’ll have the awkwardness of the other writer as well as your own.

In a sentiment that calls to mind Neil Gaiman’s magnificent commencement address on the only adequate response to criticism, Hemingway cautions Samuelson about the petty jealousies that arise with success:

When you start to write everybody is wishing you luck, but when you’re going good, they try to kill you. The only way you can ever stay on top is by writing good stuff.

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Via: https://www.brainpickings.org/hemingway

Writing Prompt: Digital Assistant POV

Digital-Assistants

Most of us are aware that we now live in a modern age, where digital assistants live in our smart homes and can take all kinds of instructions.

Some of us find them amazing and couldn’t do without them, others of us wouldn’t trust them an inch and don’t want them in our house.

But have you ever wondered what it’s like on the other side of the coin?

Is Siri secretly an evil genius?

Is Alexa a dumb idiot who wonders why you’re always asking her questions she doesn’t understand?

Write a piece from the point of view of Siri or Alexa. Give them personalities and decide exactly how clever they really are.

This could get scary really fast!

Happy writing 🙂

 

 

20 Inspiring Quotes to Boost Your Confidence

Does your writing never feel not quite good enough?

You are not alone.

All writers feel like that at times.

And there is a simple reason why.

Hidden within us is the writer we are born to become. And this inner writer urges us to improve our craft.

That’s a good thing.

But the process starts unraveling when the gremlins of fear, doubt and shame start to bombard us with negative messages:

“You haven’t got what it takes!”

“You’re hopeless!”

“You can’t write!”

“Everyone else writes better!”

Are these thoughts familiar to you?

I bet they are!

The question is, would you talk so harshly to someone else?

If a new writer were to show you her or his work, how would you respond?

Most likely you respond with kindness and support.

And that’s exactly how you need to treat yourself.

Because as a writer, you’ll always have doubts about whether you are good enough. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, you’ll still feel inadequate at times.

Elisabeth George wrote the following in her journal (after publishing twelve bestsellers):

I’m reading John Le Carré’s The Constant Gardener right now. Frankly, it’s making me feel more inadequate than I’ve felt in a long time.

As you can see, at times even successful authors doubt their ability to write. If there is only one thing you take away from this post, let it be this:

Your feelings of inadequacy have no bearing on your talent as a writer.

The messages that the inner gremlins of fear, doubt and shame give you are the negative voices of the past. Voices of your parents, care-givers or teachers. They had a huge impact when you were little – and you still believe them, don’t you?

It’s time to free yourself from these gremlins!

It’s time for an antidote.

The antidote of inspiring quotes from writers who have gone through their fear, doubt and shame, and have come out the other side with some wisdom.

Here are some such inspiring quotes to help you on your way:

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I hope you feel inspired by these quotes and are encouraged to keep going.

Best of luck!

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Via: https://writetodone.com/boost-your-confidence-as-a-writer/

Before They Were Famous: The Oddest Jobs of 10 Literary Greats

 

Odd-Jobs

Plenty of acclaimed and successful writers began their careers working strange – and occasionally degrading – day jobs. But rather than being ground down by the work, many drew inspiration for stories and poems from even the dullest gigs. Here are 10 of the oddest odd jobs of famous authors, all of them reminders that creative fodder can be found in the most unexpected places.

1. Kurt Vonnegut managed America’s first Saab dealership in Cape Cod during the late 1950s, a job he joked about in a 2004 essay: “I now believe my failure as a dealer so long ago explains what would otherwise remain a deep mystery: Why the Swedes have never given me a Nobel Prize for Literature.”

2. John Steinbeck took on a range of odd occupations before earning enough to work as a full-time writer. Among his day jobs: apprentice painter, fruit picker, estate caretaker and Madison Square Garden construction worker.

3. Stephen King served as a janitor for a high school while struggling to get his fiction published. His time wheeling the cart through the halls inspired him to write the opening girls’ locker room scene in Carrie, which would become his breakout novel.

4. Harper Lee worked as a reservation clerk for Eastern Air Lines for more than eight years, writing stories in her spare time. This all changed when a friend offered her a Christmas gift of one year’s wages, with the note, “You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please.” She wrote the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird within the year.

5. J.D. Salinger mentioned in a rare interview in 1953 that he had served as entertainment director on the H.M.S. Kungsholm, a Swedish luxury liner. He drew on the experience for his short story “Teddy,” which takes place on a liner.

6. Before joining the likes of Jack Kerouac and Allen GinsbergWilliam S. Burroughs worked as an exterminator in Chicago. It served as a handy metaphor years later in his novel Exterminator!

7. Richard Wright worked as a letter sorter in a post office on the south side of Chicago from 1927 to 1930, while he wrote a number of short stories and poems that were published in literary journals.

8. William Faulkner also worked for the Postal Service, as postmaster at the University of Mississippi, before his writing career took off. In his resignation note, he neatly summarized the struggle of art and commerce faced by many authors: “As long as I live under the capitalist system I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp. This, sir, is my resignation.”

9. T.S. Eliot worked as a banker, serving as a clerk for Lloyds Bank of London for eight years. The job must have been a bummer – he composed passages of The Waste Land while walking to work each day.

10. Sometimes, an odd job can actually lead to opportunity. Poet Vachel Lindsay was interrupted as he dined at a hotel restaurant in Washington, D.C., by a busboy who handed him some sheets of poetry. At first irritated by the young man, Lindsay was quickly impressed by the writing. When he asked, “Who wrote this?” the busboy replied, “I did.” Langston Hughes was about to get his big break.

So, whatever you are doing now to pay the bills, take heed that dreams can come true and keep writing. You never know when your time might be!

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Via: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/before-they-were-famous-the-oddest-odd-jobs-of-10-literary-greats-2

How To Kickstart Your Writing Career

writing-career

Many of us have come to the (sad) conclusion that scoring a major book publishing deal worth millions is unrealistic, and we’ll have to settle for a regular job. But the thing about writing is that it isn’t a regular job. Copywriting, blogging, freelancing, editing, journalism, social media management – these are all occupations that require creativity and dedication, which means they’re made for those few who’ve been blessed with writing talent. But how do you get your foot in the door?

You might think that you need to have a degree to have any chance at landing your dream writing job, however this is not necessarily the case. Although university is great, many businesses are just looking for someone with experience and quality writing. The opportunities for good writers are endless, and if you can build up experience (with a degree or not) then you’re on your way.

Intern and Volunteer

The best advice I can give is to intern wherever you can and volunteer to help out at writing events. Unpaid work might not be ideal when it comes to paying the rent, but the right place can give you invaluable hands-on knowledge, and maybe even paid work at the end of it.

I’ve interned as a journalist, copywriter, blogger and social media assistant, and volunteered as a workshopper, writing prize judge, and even helped with the set up for a crime writing conference. Each job taught me something new about writing that launched me in the right direction career-wise and showed me how to be a better writer.

Many job search websites advertise for internships now, and is the best place to look. You can also try emailing organisations (writer’s centres and festivals, libraries, local creative groups) to ask if they need a hand with any activities; chances are, they need all hands on deck and would love to get to know you!

Be on the lookout for scammers, or people who want to take advantage of free labour. Internships usually last anywhere from one week to three months (usually one or two days a week) and anything more than that could be dodgy. Gain experience where you can, but don’t give your writing away.

Get Published Anywhere

Many magazines will advertise online for submissions from people, which could be one-off submissions or regular articles. These publications may also run annual competitions, or know of organisations that do, so submit your work to their writing prizes for a great way to get your work out there (and win a little cash).

Do an internet search, follow writers on Twitter, and email subscribe to writer’s centres to stay on top of current and up-coming submission deadlines.

Write for as many places as you can, because the more writing in the world with your name attached, the better it looks on your resume and in your portfolio.

Getting published is also a great way to make contacts and start networking within the writing industry, especially if you’re a regular contributor or a staff writer; it means you’ll have someone as a referee to vouch for your amazing work, and someone to introduce you around.

Stay Industry-Informed

Keeping on top of news in publishing and writing gives you a broader perspective of how your career dreams fit into the industry. It makes sense that you should know the ins-and-outs of the industry you want to be a part of.

Publishing evolves quickly, and if you’re not aware of its major changes you could be left out in the cold when it comes to finding a job or getting published. It’s also good to be informed so that you can weigh in on discussions with other writers, whether on your blog or through social media (or in real life).

Spend some time browsing the web for good writing websites and blogs that regularly post about writing and publishing. Check out Writer’s Edit writerly websites page for an idea of where to start. Many websites have a way to ‘follow’ them, whether through email or an RSS feed.

You can also subscribe to websites using a ‘feed reader’. A feed reader (‘The Old Reader‘ is my preference, Feedly is also quite popular) will put all the new posts from these sites in one place so you can scroll through at your leisure and see what’s new.

Create a LinkedIn Account

This website is ideal for writers to use as an online portfolio. You can add experience, skills, and attach documents or links to your published work and also connect with people to broaden your networking circle (though this isn’t absolutely necessary).

The best part about LinkedIn is that you can easily link your profile into emails, where potential employers can see uploads to your portfolio. It has a neat layout and you can add all sorts of information that you can download into a PDF (if you wish).

Apply Anyway

Half the battle when getting a job is determination, so don’t stop applying for jobs. It doesn’t matter that you might not tick every box on their advertisement, or that you don’t have years of experience in the field. You’ll never get more experience if you don’t put yourself out there to try new and challenging things, so believe that you can do it (because you can) and send off that application. It might take a while to get a breakthrough from someone, and it might not be exactly what you were hoping for, but try to look at everything as a learning experience.

Persevere, stay hopeful, and remember all the famous writers had to struggle through regular life before getting their big break. Most of us just want to write every day, and if we can fulfill that wish, then we’re living the dream!

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Via: https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/kickstart-writing-career/