Little Changes in Art

Have you ever noticed the subtler things we do with our art? The little changes we make that hold a bigger impact?

When creating art, be it writing, photography, or anything else, it can often be improved with little touches. That doesn’t mean to say that big changes can’t help, perhaps you’re working with a photograph that really has no merit, perhaps your story has gone on a bit of a tangent or you need to kill your darlings, but lets discuss the little changes.

These are the kinds of things that, when done correctly, nobody may notice, but when done wrong/not done at all, they can often stand out. They’re also the kind of things that people without the ‘eye’ for them might not see, but may feel. People who aren’t writers, may not be able to say why they prefer one writing style over another, just like people who aren’t musicians, like myself, can’t necessarily grasp what makes one song better than another. We may feel it inside, we may naturally pick one cover of a song over another, or favour one photograph despite it’s subject matter being same to its kin. Sometimes the artist has tweaked something, and it’s made a big difference, and sometimes it goes without notice.

And doesn’t this make art amazing? It’s something I truly love, the ability to affect someone without them realising why, and I believe its partly to blame for arts subjectivity. In my photography work, I often make little changes to photos that I like to think really helps the overall image. However, these are changes that someone might not even realise are there to begin with. They can be something as simple as cropping a photo, realigning it, changing its colour, to something a little more complex like adding grain, or playing with the tone. Greg came to me the other day to change a photo because there was some fluff on the shoulder of a groom. It was my photo, I’d taken it, and I hadn’t even noticed this; upon changing it though it felt like a huge difference to me... I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before.

Now you might think this is me being too much of a perfectionist, perhaps it wouldn’t affect someone else. Then again, there’s no way to know whether it would without you seeing both and a comparison defeats the objective of a subconscious affect. I strongly believe, though, that there’s these little details in art that slip into your subconscious before you can register them. It’s the same with writing, the difference between a good writer and a great one is often these little aspects that set them apart. It’s also something I see a lot in films, where over time I’ve come to understand more about camera work, cinematography, and directing decisions. Having this understanding, this lens, helps me to articulate what I think makes or breaks a piece.

Just like some people don’t notice the changes, I think sometimes we don’t even really notice we do it either. We might change a few words round in a sentence and find it flows that bit better. Did the sentence work before? Certainly! But it might not have held the same impact. I think by being conscious of these changes though, we begin to understand what we aim to do with our art. We can develop a deeper appreciation for what we’re all trying to achieve.

What do you think? Are there subtleties you enjoy weaving in your work? Do you think there are hidden layers in art we don’t necessarily pick up on, but that impact us none the less? Let me know in the comments below!

The Furnace: A 3LT

 

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The flames licked up through the sockets, dancing between teeth and flashing behind nostrils.
The rest had already burnt away; turned to ash in the intense furnace heat.
Finally, he was gone, she thought, but still… she didn’t trust the flames.

*****

This one took a fair few iterations… but here we are. Thanks to Sonya and to her prompt. My last 3LT can be seen here,  Tower White: A 3LT.

The Last Jellyfish: A 3LT and The Trooper: A 3LT, were also previous entries!

 

 

Ritu’s WIP – WIPW Guest Post

Welcome to Work in Progress Wednesday! Where we discuss your work that’s in progress!

As I mentioned back on Monday, the future of the Clouds is one that’s bright, positive and all about sharing creativity… With that in mind, we’ve got a Guest Blogger who embodies all those traits and more! If you’ve been around the blogosphere at all, she probably needs no introduction, but for the rest of you let me introduce… Ritu!

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Hi, my name is Ritu, of www.butismileanyway.com. I am a wife, mother, teacher, blogger, poet and wannabe author!

Thank you so much to Shaun for inviting me over to his blog today, to have a chat about what I am up to, creatively at the moment.
WIP
Work In Progress.
It’s a phrase I wasn’t familiar with until I started blogging.
And as I learned more about them, I realised that I had one of those… I had a WIP that needed more progress!
Seventeen (yes, really, seventeen!) years ago, before I got married, I felt a story bubbling inside me, and it was bursting to come out.
I wrote with full gusto and managed to get a few thousand words down, but then after marriage, life kinda took over, and my poor WIP languished in a folder on the PC, and in a printed copy in a binder, packed away.
As I began blogging, that creative outlet woke my passion for stories again, and I was writing fresh pieces on a regular basis, but that poor WIP was still sitting there, unattended, lonely, hurt that it was being given no attention.
I wished for time to give to it. I tested the existing chapters on my poor unsuspecting blog followers and was rewarded with some amazing feedback. I really needed to do this.
The hashtag #NaNoWriMo featured a lot during the weeks coming up to November, and following that, hearing of people publishing books that they had given birth to during #NaNoWriMo made me jealous. Oh to have a month that I could dedicate to just writing…
A dream that was just that.
A dream.
In November, teaching, my day job, is in full flow. There isn’t a spare moment in the day, after being teacher, wife and mother.
I started to get certain blog pals of mine giving me all sorts of advice:
Just do it – I would, but when?
Write whenever you have the timeBy the time I finish my necessary jobs, any extra moments left, are used being lazy.
Forget your blog for a whileWhat? Are you crazy? I tried that before, and lasted one day, or maybe two!
I figured I needed a set time to do this, to really get back in the saddle and ride this story to the finish line.
And that’s when it dawned on me. I couldn’t do #NaNoWrMo due to when that month was, but surely, if I could find time in the year when life for me was less crazy, I could do my own mini month long writing challenge.
August was the best time.
It was the only full month where I wouldn’t be at school. There would be no festivities, like Diwali, Christmas, Easter or Vaisakhi to worry about, just keeping the kids occupied. Hubby Dearest would be at work too, so there would be relative peace.
And so #RiNoWriMo was born! Ritu’s Novel Writing Month.

#RiNoWriMo

I took the first step, which was to make my intentions public, to my followers, that I had summer writing plans. Then, I told my family. If I didn’t have them on side, it would be a hard task. They needed to know how serious I was about writing.
Then I needed to decide what I actually wanted from this month of writing. #NaNoWriMo has a very specific word count that they expect participants to reach daily, as a minimum, so they can reach a respectable 50,000 words in a month.
I would love to be able to say that I managed that amount, but I also had to be realistic. Although I was free that month, I also had responsibilities, in the shape of children, who were not always going to keep themselves occupied!
So I decided that I would not expect to write on the weekends. If I managed some, it would be a bonus. On the weekdays, when I was at home with nothing else planned, I would attempt 2,500 words. On other days, such as the week I was back home visiting my parents, I would try at least 1,000 words, first thing in the morning.
And I made myself a visual storyboard.

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Characters, timelines, locations and photos all helped my story to come alive again.
And it is week two so far.
As you can imagine, after starting a story seventeen years ago, there were going to be issues, with remembering what you actually wanted to do with your story. Rereading my original manuscript meant that the story was fresh in my mind.
I sketched out a plan of what I was hoping would happen in the story, added a few new characters to be introduced, and then I just went for it.
The best time for me has been first thing in the morning when I have packed the husband off to work, the children are still asleep, and my cuppa is warm. I sit at the table, or sometimes on my bed, with my furry muse, Sonu Singh, as company, and we write…

And I am pleased to say that, as I write this, nine days into August, my originally 13,000-word long manuscript is nearly 30,000 words!
My WIP is finally back to being a real Work In Progress, not a once started, then forgotten piece!
And I hope this is a little bit of inspiration for anyone else out there hoping to finish writing something they started a while back. If you feel it was worth starting, then it’s sure and heck worth finishing too! (Just don’t leave it seventeen years!)
If you want to find me anywhere… seriously, I am everywhere… here are my links!
Social Media Profiles
Website: http://www.butismileanyway.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhantomGiggler
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phantom_giggler/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/bhathalpadhaal/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56854412-ritu-bhathal
Flipboard: https://flipboard.com/@Phantom_Giggler
Stumbleupon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/ritubhathal75
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ritusmiles
Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@ritubhathalpadhaal
And by clicking the following link, you get to my author profile on Amazon, where you can find the link to my poetry book, Poetic RITUals, which I actually did manage to publish, in less than seventeen years!
Author.to/RituBhathal

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*****

An enormous thank you to Ritu for being brave enough to kick off this Work in Progress Wednesday with a 17 year wait for #RiNoWriMo to begin! Have you got a project you’ve been sitting on? Or a question for Ritu on hers? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’d like to share yours, don’t hesitate to let me know and you could be featured on Work In Progress Wednesday!

Tower White: A 3LT

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The stairs coiled round, cold, frictionless, making the ascent a harder task than they had ever predicted.

Tower White had been their destination for too long; they had celebrated when they’d reached its carved, crystal base.

Never once had they considered the climb.

*****

Well, would you look at that! Two Three Line Tale’s in two weeks… Two for two! Thanks to Sonya and to her prompt. My last 3LT can be seen here, The Last Jellyfish: A 3LT and the previous was The Trooper: A 3LT.

Unexpected Appreciation

Don’t you just love it when someone appreciates something you do? When it wasn’t your intention but receive it anyway?

At the weekend I had some downtime, I had no plans for an afternoon besides the usual household chores and tidying. So, I got to editing some photos. It’s been awhile since I’ve edited anything without it having a work related purpose. When you’re sat on around 600 photos for a client, I can’t bring myself to take some time out editing personal photos, it just feels like time wasted. Now, with the little lull of freedom I have between gigs, I took to editing some photos of my friends Dog, Odin. You can see the finished results here: Level Up Photography: Wordless Wednesday #17

I had the photos for awhile now, many of them from over a year ago back when he was a puppy, and some more recently of him at a friends BBQ. I always thought it would be nice for my friends to have the photos, but I can’t bare to let anything go uneditted so they’ve sat on my computer gathering virtual dust. With my free time, however, I suddenly felt inspired to edit them up, and I can’t describe how glad I am I did.

After sending the photos I expected a “Thank you”, I expected the “These are great” lip service a couple of friends will give you. I received so much more though. They both sent me messages saying how much they loved the photos, they want to get them printed onto a canvas to put up in their home, and they said it made them miss their dog (as they were currently on their way back from a holiday). My one friend messaged me to say I should do professional pet photography… These were the kinds of comments I just wasn’t expected, I wasn’t braced for. Their gratitude was heartwarming. Their gratitude was inspirational.

I love photography. I love all aspects of it, from taking a more thought-provoking artistic piece, to capturing a memory on film. Hearing their comments about my work made me swell with confidence that this is what I want to do with my life. Not just photography-wise, but with my writing and with all my pursuits. I want to make people smile, I want to connect with people. I don’t necessarily want to impress people, though that would certainly be nice, but I would like to bring out a positive reaction from them, I’d like to do something that has an impact, albeit a small and fleeting one.

I’m lucky enough to have received these messages on the same week my last client text me to say how happy they were with their wedding photos. A text message which, when I read to my Mom, made her cry. Those prideful tears, which I’ve felt myself this week, are further assurance that I am going in the right direction.

This week I’m feeling confident in my work. This week I’m feeling assured of my goals.

How has your week been? Let me know in the comments below!

The Last Jellyfish: A 3LT

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One bright light beneath the waves, piercing the crests, a star in a blank sky.
Within the currents, her fluorescent tentacles wind and curl; vortexes left in their wake.
The last jellyfish yearns for adventure.

*****

Been awhile since I’ve took part in a Three Line tale, hopefully the sea water doesn’t add to the rust my writing skills are already gathering. Thanks to Sonya and to her prompt. I’d like to say the cliche “hopefully this is the start of me partaking more often“, but the proof will be in the doing! My last 3LT can be seen here, The Trooper: A 3LT.

Aspirations, Influences, and Imitations

 

When I was younger I was a big fan of Terry Pratchett, I still am, I just was when I was younger too. When I was around 13 to 15 Terry Pratchett was the only author I wanted to read and I made it through every book he had released at that point. To this day Discworld books will forever be some of my favourites and I still point to Mr Pratchett as my main inspiration for becoming a writer. When he sadly passed away in 2015 it really hit home to me just how important he had been in my life, how he had helped me define my future aspirations; goals that I would have for over 10 years, and never forsee myself losing. Terry convinced me that it was possible to create these incredibly complex and fully functioning worlds. Places that behaved like a Fantasy made real. He convinced be you could make a story funny, adventurous, and carry a real moral message or social statement too.

So, in between reading Pratchett I did the impossible… I set about writing my own book. I still vaguely remember the premise of the book. The Hero of the story was fated to save the world through some sort of self sacrifice in some sort of big battle, but somehow he managed to find himself flung forward in time and ending up in the world where he was meant to have died and which had been saved on the back of this. What can I say? I loved, and still do love, the ideas of time travel and the ideas of ‘fate’ and how we can mess with it. In this Never-Titled Narrative, there was also side story consisted of the Pantheon of this world (Including, but not limited to, Father Time, Mistress Fate, and Death), trying to work out what had gone wrong, what had screwed up the timeline, and why he hadn’t ‘Died’ when he should have. He also had a pet pig, though the relevance of that is long since lost on me. (Perhaps it was a Black Cauldron reference?)

Looking back on it, I had a couple of OK ideas, especially for that age, and I could certainly see myself using a similar themes in future stories. I still write about Fate, for instance, and I love deconstructing its implications in stories. In hindsight however, and I even remember realising this at the time, my writing style was unmistakably Pratchett-esque. I mean, the personification of ‘Gods’ and ‘Death’ – especially Death– reeks of Discworld, and I remember writing with the aim of being funny, and with the aim of delivering the same comedic beats as Pratchett’s work. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t saying my writing in anyway paralleled the sheer brilliance of Sir Terrys work, but I found myself unable to write in any style other than this heavily-Pratchett-influenced style. I even took to writing forums about it, asking if anyone else had this and whether I’d ever shake it.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see that this was simply because of the world I’d immersed myself in. If I spent a few years only reading Terry Pratchett, I wasn’t expanding my influences, and my mind was learning that ‘this is how you write’, because it saw not contrary examples.

As I got older, I stopped writing in this style, as I got older still I stopped writing completely. Eventually when I returned to writing properly, despite dabbling over the years, I found my own voice; the voice you’re reading now in my blogs. That said, I’ve always found myself being highly emphatic to what I’m reading/watching/playing at the time. I’ve got a Noir short story I wrote coming off the back of watching/being obsessed with Brick. My friend even adapted/condensed it and turned it into a Student Film… I’ve link it below.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/4919271″>Imaginoir</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user1655258″>John Wood</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

More recent examples are of me writing grittier, darker fantasy due to a recent obsession with Mark Lawrence, or trying to write intricate and overly complex plots from watching Kirsty play through the absolutely amazing, but highly convoluted Kingdom Hearts series for the first time… It seems that if I’m into something, whatever it is, it has a powerful impact on my writing. I may not copy the style of writers as much anymore, but I’m certainly influenced by the themes of things I’m writing about. Heck, my work in progress at the moment (wow, I haven’t mentioned that in a long, long time) has influences from everything including my original love of Terry Pratchett, my more recent love of Mark Lawrence, an old love of Final Fantasy, and even a big dollop of Bioshock: Infinite thrown in (amazing game, that).

A writer will, I think, always be influenced by the things that inspire them, be it other works or other people. I think avoiding it is hard, just as I think being ‘objective’ in a Review is hard. We are always products of our influences and we can no more avoid that then we an avoid the impact of our life experiences on our mindsets. I raise the issue though, because sometimes it can feel more a hindrance than anything.

I find myself unable to work on my WiP because I’m too busy being inspired by Sci-Fi, which it isn’t. I find myself wanting to write the colourful fantasy story I’ve previously planned, but, whilst my WiP may be fantasy, it certainly isn’t ‘colourful’ as I originally favored a ‘grittier‘ tone. Most of all, it makes me question my own style/voice if I’m so easily influenced. How do I know I am writing my own work if I am currently riding a wave of the recent author that’s hooked me…. And I suppose I don’t. At the end of the day, even the best authors switch it up from time to time, they can write pieces that are very much products of their time. It’s easier to see this in Cinema, perhaps, where stylistic changes are easily more apparent due to the visuals used. Times change, people change, Messages change, styles change.

At the moment, I can only write what I want to write as I currently am and influenced by what I’m influenced by. I can’t envision what my writing will be like in future, whether it will feel consistent, or whether it’ll be ever changing. For all I know, the piece I’m (trying) to work on now will be tonally dissimilar from the rest of my future Bibliography… or it might be consistently inconsistent, I may never settle down. If that’s me, then so be it, but I do think I’m finding my voice now, I do think my writing style has settled… I’ve grown up from being a poor ‘imitation’ and started settling into merely being ‘influenced’, for better or worse, by my other passions.

Over to you. If you’re a writer (or any kind of Artist really!), do ever find yourself drawing too heavily on your inspirations? Ever find yourself wanting to jump to different styles because of a recent passion? Let me know in the comments below!