Envisaging your World

Recently I wrote a post for a Daily Prompt exercise named ‘Roy G. Biv’. It dug up old memories of a story I wrote at primary school – a desert island story which, as I remember, I held very dear and worked on for months. Before I continue, I will be recapping on the story however if you wish to read what I wrote before click here.

I have some news for you. I will be taking up my original idea in this story and rewriting it in a more mature way (in other words, not in childish ramblings!), introducing more adult concepts and making it more interesting. So I began writing today, just with a pen and blank A4 paper. My main principle in this project is to carefully recreate what I had written before in my primary years. It’s a great shame that I don’t have the original copy of the story, and that I’m totally relying on what I remember from back when I wrote it. However it’s giving me huge amounts of enjoyment and that, I suppose, is a good enough reason to continue rewriting it!

So to remind you what my story is about:

It’s about a man who is on an island in the middle of nowhere, striving to survive in the jungle and trying to search for a mythical beast. During his exploration of the island he finds the beast, a giant jungle lion man type affair (more details if you click herewho changes form between night and day. The beast tries to hunt him down and a large amount of the story is about him trying to evade this beast. That’s the basis of it.

Three pages into rewriting the story today and I had a problem – I couldn’t envisage the place the character was in. It’s a scene on a beach after he’s come out of the forest, and he’s looking at the sunrise. Recently I found a set of really nice, good quality watercolour pencils that I didn’t know I had. Watercolour pencils are my favourite way to create a colour picture by a long shot, so I took up my sketchbook and with my amateur “skills” I began to paint what I thought this particular scene would look like.

What you need to do is gather your thoughts into one place, and if you can’t do that in your head do it another way. Here is my head before I started painting:

(Psst! Sorry about the poor lighting - phone cameras are the worst!)
(Psst! Sorry about the poor lighting – phone cameras are the worst!)

And here’s what it looked like after I had gathered my thoughts (it does look a whole lot more vibrant in real life):

Gathered Head

That managed to let me carry on writing! It’s fantastic, and now I have something to look at and think ‘Wow! Did I managed even that?!’.

I am notorious for writing as I go along. That is to say I don’t plan what I write in great detail – I know where I start and where I finish, how I get there is up to me at the time. That means I’m also pretty bad at gathering my thoughts when I’m not really trying. It takes just that little bit more effort for me to gather my thoughts than perhaps you do. Literally painting a certain scene is just one of the ways I gather my thoughts, even if it does take half an hour to an hour to do so.

As I think about this, I realise how important it is to envisage the world you’re writing about, whether that’s in your head or as I’ve done and made it a physical object. Usually I find it no problem to envisage a scene in my head, however today I’m feeling particularly unwell and I think that has a lot to do with it. That’s interesting too, learning about what affects how you think and perform. If you have any experiences relating to this, be my guest to share in the comments too! It’s interesting how this works, and would be interesting to see how others do the same.

I will also be posting up the rewritten story in sections of around a thousand words at a time, hopefully reaching around twenty posts in total so I have a good 20,000-word story, so stick around!

Daily Prompt: Roy G. Biv

Robinson CrusoeWrite about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word of image.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us COLORS.

 When I read Roy G. Biv and then the colours of the rainbow, I immediately thought of one of the books set on an island in the middle of nowhere – Robinson Crusoe, etc. I think that the abbreviation, Roy G. Biv, sounds a bit like a name of a stranded Englishman in the middle of the sea.

The book I’m reading at the moment, after finishing two others this week of a very different genre, is the classic ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding, which tells the tale of a group of young boys stranded on an island after their plane crashes. Over time the boys turn from the children they once were, and realise just how childish they actually are, to “murderous savages”. Although this is the first time I’ve ever read this book (I know, some of you may gasp), and I’m only a handful of chapters into the book, I’m no stranger of this kind of story.

At primary school we would often be asked, as a creative writing exercise, to use the desert island scenario to practice describing things as best we could and as over-the-top as we could. This gave birth to some very funny passages with the overuse of words like ‘iridescent’ and phrases such as ‘a splendid array of fantastical colours’, or something like that. It’s quite funny that I should read the Daily Prompt in such a way that I associated Roy G. Biv with the desert island scenario, because you will almost certainly find plants, fruits and animals that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

After writing these funny descriptive passages, our teacher would ask us to then write a desert island story in the two hours of the next creative writing lesson. Naturally, these two-hour sessions were the highlights of my primary school experience. I was often that person who wrote twenty to thirty pages in my jotter, as opposed to others who would manage no more than ten. It was also the centre focus for bullies to pick away at funnily enough – nowadays I can see how the children (without sounding any more than protective of myself) lacking in the faith of their own abilities, which were often very fine indeed, tended to find comfort in then making sure everyone else also lacked faith in their own abilities to compensate.

My favourite story that I wrote, I seem to remember, was one about a hero (‘hero’ was my general term for the ‘protagonist’) who was striving to survive in a desert island jungle whilst searching for a mythical beast. I remember the drawings of this beast – this story was a passion of mine for months! It was a giant lion-man with big, emerald-green, exoskeletal wings like a dragonfly’s, and whose mane was made out of healthy, green and, strangely, blue or blue-green leaves. It had the same orange-yellow skin of a normal lion, however the areas around the shoulder blades, where the wings came out, were covered with the same colour of leaves. This lion-man also had dark purple-blue eyes (so for the sake of this post, let’s call that indigo), with a silver slit so that it looked feline.

However the most wonderful thing was about this story was that at night the giant lionman would look up at the moon and, as the moonlight struck his body, would metamorphose into a far more evil-looking creature of the night. This version of the lion man had more of a look of a panther, with black fur and silver eyes, and silver dragonfly wings, however there was no flesh on these wings – only the beautiful framework of the bones. The creature would stalk the forest and “protect it”, as I put it. The same transformation would recur in the daytime, so that the cycle could restart  – it would look towards the sunrise and, as the sunlight hit the skin this time, it would burn in a mystic flame of red, orange and yellow (I think this idea arose from the idea that to create, sometimes you must destroy, something I had read about around that time) and turn back into the slightly fonder if not strange-looking form of the day.

The creature eventually hunted down the hero in the ‘night form’, although several days later when the hero had investigated further, however the hero made peace with it by giving it a hug(!) – a very childish thing to write in I think!

It’s strange to be thinking about that story – I had almost forgotten it! In my head now it actually seems both colourful in terms of imagery, but also in terms of ideas. Something that was so close to my heart is also, perhaps, something I shouldn’t have forgotten about.