Sharon X Wong

Writer of words. Builder of worlds.

Category: Musings Page 1 of 2

How not to write your story out of existence

Endings are very important. You can enjoy a story all the way up to the end, but sometimes the actual ending will be so bad it retroactively makes you hate the rest of the story.
Many say that the worst ending is “And then I woke up and it was all a dream.”

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Wolf Road: Setting that doesn’t overtake plot

Wolf Road, by Beth Lewis, is a post-apocalyptic Western. It centres on Elka, a girl who was lost in a forest far from home and ended up being raised by a man who turned out to be a serial murderer. Once she finds this out, she decides to run away and seek out her parents, but she is pursued by the murderer who raised her and the sheriff who wants to catch them both.

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My Favourite Mulan

Mulan is the first Disney live-action remake I’ve actually been tempted to see. I haven’t gone near any of the others, partly because they feel more like a money-grab rather than a genuine desire to bring something new to these stories, and partly because I don’t actually have a lot of nostalgia for Disney animations. I’m sure I watched them at some point (but not all of them) but they weren’t important to my childhood.

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Unexpected Waters

I can now say that I’ve seen water in a salt lake. It’s an unusual sight, especially as you can’t really venture onto a dry salt lake because there are a whole bunch of grasses, or reeds. Large unwelcoming vegetation. But a few weeks ago, I decided to go for a walk on a fine day that had followed several rainy days, and to my surprise, found the path flooded.

A path by a salt lake that actually looks like a lake (the path, not the lake)

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Howl’s Moving Castle and John Donne’s ‘Song’

Note: this post contains spoilers for the novel Howl’s Moving Castle, which by the way is vastly different from the movie adaptation. If you’ve only seen the movie, reading this will probably confuse you.

Diana Wynne Jones was a genius.
If I were to explain all the ways her genius comes through her writing, I’d be here all day. But I’m going to focus on one thing — her use of the poem Song (by John Donne) in her novel Howl’s Moving Castle.

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Online Writing Challenges: A Free Education

There are quite a few online writing challenges floating around these days. There’s the big one everyone knows about (National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo) and there’s also similar ones for short stories (StoryaDay), scripts (WriScriVember), and more. What’s the point of these, you may ask?

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Arrival vs Story of Your Life: New Ways of Thinking

Arrival is a 2016 sci-fi film written by Eric Heisserer and directed by Dennis Villeneuve, and tells the story of Louise Banks, a linguist who helps to communicate with aliens visiting Earth. It is based on Story of Your Life, a short story by Ted Chiang. If you have neither seen this film nor read this story, I very strongly encourage you to do one or the other before reading this blog post. I’m going to spoil both of them, and they are both excellent pieces of craft that do not deserve spoiling. Go now; the blog will still be here when you get back.

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Why I dislike Prisoner of Azkaban (the movie)

I stopped watching the Harry Potter movies after the third one. Weirdly, this is the movie that others find most enjoyable, the most creative. I suppose that is kind of why I hate it.

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Ranking Mary Westmacott by Romance-ness

Mary Westmacott is the pen name Agatha Christie used for six novels which are usually referred to as romances. It may baffle some people that Agatha Christie, Queen of Crime, ever wrote romance. Actually the baffling thing is the idea that these books are romances. Perhaps the genre has changed, but one of the defining elements of the romance genre is the happy ending, the resolved issues and the blissful relationship.

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Story behind a story: Trial by Fire

Truth time: This is mostly an excuse to link to a story I wrote that was published as part of the Short Fiction Break 2018 Summer Writing Contest, which you can find here. It’s called Trial by Fire and involves a prisoner being offered a chance at freedom … as long as she can pass the trial.

On the other hand, I also have something to say about how I wrote this story, and maybe learnt a lesson from it, although I’m not sure what that lesson was.

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