What I Learned in Boating School Today is: Literary Theory (Quick Read)

So I just finished up a course in Literary Theory and when I say this was my most difficult course by far, I mean it. No, really, this course had me questioning everything about my writing, my choice of authors, my purpose in life… my soul was wrung for every last drop of conviction it possessed.

But my turmoil wasn’t without reward.

I learned about the four major approaches to literary criticism:

Marxism, which is mainly looks for class struggle and social conflict in a text, and how it reflects history, Deconstruction, which loves to look for the pitfalls of language, laugh and throw it back in our faces in pieces, Feminism, which is exactly what it looks like (and damn, there’s a lot of it in classic texts) and my favorite, Psychoanalytic, formed from Freudian principles and supplemented with the ideas of Lacaniasm.

I don’t want to keep you long, seeing as though there’s a wealth of more entertaining things to read out there, but I want to just stress the importance of these theories really quick. I believe that as a writer, it would behoove you to do a bit of research on these to deepen your understanding of what makes for rich and timeless literature. If you know what the scholars look for, you’ll know what to deliver. The hardest part is figuring out how to deliver it and that’s where these theoretical approaches come in. As you all know, it’s crucial for us to read critically; the principles of these theories will help you do that. I can honestly say that the manuscript I’m currently drafting has gained a few more layers.

If you’d like me to do a mini series, diving deeper into these forms of critiques, let me know in the comments section. We’re all here to learn, grow and share and I’d love to hear your take on these critiques.

-B. Brown

I’ve Returned

and where’ve I been?

easing from under the shade
of my apple tree
whose roots have broken concrete,
whose fruits have fallen
too soon
from the faintest winds,

where have I been?

cowering amongst rotten cores
and tics disguised as seeds
hailing Mary
every time I thought
I heard my mirror speak…

but my reflection wasn’t my own
not that I could even recognize
myself without a tight scarf of smoke

my reflection wasn’t own
I learned that my demons
could shape-shift at will
and they will

where I’ve been
is seeking sanctuary
in the calloused hands of hope
savoring grains of salt
praying that the price I paid
to uproot everything I know
will return to me
seven-fold
and glimmering
with the honest of golds

and truth be told
where I’ve been
now seems eons away
and dozens of crates of mold
I was cheaply sold ago
before I chose to make
that harassing Holy Ghost
my home

home,
here, amongst potential
around the influential
facing a promising venue
of what I could do
what I should do
and will do

I’m here,
found again
never to be lost again…

– B. Brown

[image courtesy of Pinterest]

Scenes

their wics flickered

like cautious stars

and her moving mind,

the heaviest hole

– B. Brown

(image courtesy of Pinterest)

5 Things I’ve Learned (So Far) While Writing My First Novel

1. Freewriting is fun but when you’re creating a long, complex novel, outlining is your bestfriend. I started writing this novel with just a few basic plot points and as I wrote, I sort of just winged it. The story has since revealed itself to be more complex and longer than I anticipated. I thought it’d be just a novella but this baby is well over 30,000 words and I’m not even halfway done and I’ve taken down notes of more stuff I want to add during the revision process. I believe my writing process wouldn’t be as tedious if I’d created a well thought out outline before hand.

2. It’s best to have more than just a few characters. I’ve fallen in love with my main characters but my main characters need some help conveying the whole story. Since the start of my rough draft, I’ve added about ten new characters to my story. Not every one has a huge role but they are extremely important because they help populate my fictional world, one that I am trying to make as vivid as possible. Not only that, they help with the cohesion of my scenes.

3. Research your supernatural elements. Magic is a prominent theme in my story yet I only knew a few things about the metaphysical details I wanted to apply. If your magic system is closely related to real world practices, do yourself a favor and research as much as you can. Watch Youtube videos, read some books and talk to people. We want our work to be as authentic as necessary.

4. Find a well-seasoned author of your chosen genre and analyze the crap out of their writing. Pay attention to how they set up their fictional world, how they set tone and which literary devices they utilize. I suggest your author of choice be especially inspiring to you.

5. Know your literary conventions. And to know your conventions, you have to identify what genre(s) you’re work best fits into. Romance novels have different attributes than horror or crime novels. These attributes are what define romance and readers buy them expecting some romantic stuff to pop off. My readers will have certain expectations of my supernatural thriller so I have to make sure I deliver (just have to make sure it’s not too predictable or cliche).

I hope these tips have helped. Thank you for reading 🙂

– B. Brown

Dance With Me

I skip to the rustle

of emerald leaves,

dandelions

riverfronts

in the bustleing breeze

kicking to the sun

and it’s holy choir

singing to my skin

and humming

within the safety

of serrated mountains

keeping tempo

above the earths momento

a trail of tears and hopes

worn in by my foregoers

can’t you hear it?

quiet and listen

this symphony

is our only theme

hold my hand, please

pull me close

careen with me

please

will you

dance with me?

B. Brown

(image courtesy of Pinterest)

1000 Followers!!! 😁❤️🌹

I cant believe I made it to 1k followers! This is truly a blessing for me and I want to thank you guys for your love, support and feedback. You’ve helped me grow and maintain the confidence to keep growing. Thank you thank you thank yous!

Update: I finished my Story and Concept class with an A! It was so stressful but my hard work certainly paid off.

I got a new kitten! His name is Alfred and he always likes to help me edit on the computer

I’m moving to Atlanta this year! I’m terrified but excited to expand my horizons

A publishing company contacted me! This could be the beginning of my career guys! Wish me luck!

Estranged

how comfortable I was

giving everything

I thought I was

before I knew

what or who I was

conforming

performing how a hidden

witness does

how solicitous

with barely a soul to offer

if it’d give me a chance

a place

a body to harbor

– B. Brown

(image courtesy of Pinterest)

Untimely Wisdom

like a flower who bloomed too soon,

I witnessed the harshes of winters, alone

pelted with acidic rain

no chance to glisten with dew,

only frost, fragrance diffused

I welt before decaying leaves,  

my flush foreign

amongst fraying faculties,

couldn’t fathom following through

as a phantom into the spring

– B. Brown

Where is the Balance?

when I have to convince myself
that maybe you too
could have a penny for me
a coppery cent to fund
my stimulation organization

that you’ll help me grow
keep my vines thriving
bearing fruit from our labor
oh, I can just taste it now
a candied poison berry flavor

but I have to hope and pray steadfastly
that you’ll come through for me
through the ache, my anger
to wager through to me to love me

and I have to demand
that you see me clearly
wash your hands
before you handle me
understand
that you’re becoming part of me
for you to know
I’m not taking you lightly

when I have to plead for you
to forgive me
for simply acting on my tailored beliefs
for splitting myself to drip heavily, feeding
where is the balance
if you won’t feel for me?

– B. Brown

(art courtesy of Pinterest)

Premeditated

two bullet wounds
one puddle
of gleaming rose
petals
too many tracks
not enough prints
her lipstick
a good bye letter
tacked to his collar

-B. Brown