Writer’s Quote Wednesday: Bethany Hamilton

 

 

 

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Here’s my post for Writer’s Quote Wednesday, if you’d like to participate too, here’s the link to Colleen’s blog: http://silverthreading.com/2015/05/27/writers-quote-wednesday-j-k-rowling/

I love the sea, and I would have loved to surf, so the story of Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton really touched me.  On the 31st October 31, 2003, thirteen year old Bethany Hamilton was enjoying the waves  on Tunnels Beach, Kauai, with best friend Alana Blanchard, Alana’s father, Holt, and brother Byron. A tiger shark attacked Bethany severing her left arm just below the shoulder.  This terrible tragedy rather than curtailing her surfing career led her to inspiring surfing fans from all over the world. The first thing she asked after the surgery was “When can I surf again?” and just three weeks after this life threatening incident she returned to her board.

I learnt of her amazing story just this week whilst watching Soul Surfer on Netflix. This wonderfully inspiring film features an all-star cast, including Anna Sophia Robb and Helen Hunt, with Carrie Underwood in her film debut, and Dennis Quaid.

Here’s just one of many wonderful quotes from this remarkable woman:

“Life is a lot like surfing… When you get caught in the impact zone, you’ve got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.”

Taken from her autobiography:
Bethany Hamilton, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board    

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Goodreads synopsis:

They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? How else could one explain that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: “Get to the beach….” And when the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was “When can I surf again?” it became clear that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of courage and faith that this soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.

Soul Surfer is a moving account of Bethany’s life as a young surfer, her recovery after the attack, the adjustments she’s made to her unique surfing style, her unprecedented bid for a top showing in the World Surfing Championships, and, most fundamentally, her belief in God. It is a story of girl power and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing—perhaps even less so—than the soul.

 

 

And because I couldn’t just stick to one quote I had to include this one too:

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In 2004 Bethany won the ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete[7] and also received the Courage Teen Choice Award.

 

To finish off this heart-warming post what could be more wonderful that this:  on February 9, 2015, Bethany Hamilton and her husband announced that they were expecting their first child, a baby boy due in early June. Many congratulations to her, such an amazing role model, and a wonderful human being.

http://bethanyhamilton.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethany_Hamilton

https://www.facebook.com/SurferBethanyHamilton?ref=br_rs

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Writers Quote Wednesday: Anton Chekhov

 

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Well I enjoyed participating in Silver Threading’s writer’s quote Wednesday so much last week that I decided to take part again. Here’s the link if you’d like to join in: http://silverthreading.com/2015/05/20/writers-quote-wednesday-g-k-chesterton/#respond

There is something quite surreal about this picture of the moon seen on the edge of some broken glass. It’s almost as if the moon has been captured in an imperfect cut glass triangle. It reminded me of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album cover too!

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Somehow it seems to be a perfect tribute to one of my favourite writer’s quotes, which sums up the Show don’t Tell rule perfectly:

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Anton Chekhov.

Well Mr. Chekhov that might be a short succinct quote, but it captures the pure essence of one of the important rules of writing oh so eloquently.

 

Anton Chekhov Biography below –  taken from Encyclopaedia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/108392/Anton-Chekhov

Anton Chekhov, in full Anton Pavlovich Chekhov   (born Jan. 29 [Jan. 17, Old Style], 1860, Taganrog, Russia—died July 14/15 [July 1/2], 1904, Badenweiler, Ger.), major Russian playwright and master of the modern short story. He was a literary artist of laconic precision who probed below the surface of life, laying bare the secret motives of his characters. Chekhov’s best plays and short stories lack complex plots and neat solutions. Concentrating on apparent trivialities, they create a special kind of atmosphere, sometimes termed haunting or lyrical. Chekhov described the Russian life of his time using a deceptively simple technique devoid of obtrusive literary devices, and he is regarded as the outstanding representative of the late 19th-century Russian realist school.

 

 

A Fully Loaded Balloon of a Character

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In the Futurelearn Start Writing Fiction course we’ve now moved on to Finding and Developing Fictional Characters, so I thought I would share with you some writing nuggets of wisdom.

We have been studying Josip Novakovitch’s methods of finding and developing fictional characters.

Of course there are numerous ways to develop characters. This is not rocket science, but the following gem of wisdom is.

Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an UNTOLD story INSIDE you.”

Maya Angelou is right. If there is a story inside of you, don’t keep it to yourself! Share it with the world, draw upon your own life as a starting point. Why not? Everybody has a story inside of them, reach in and you’ll find it.

Then look around you. What about your family and friends? Delicately mould these starting blocks into something new, but don’t just produce carbon copies of the originals. Blend and mix on tap resources of inspiration, use your observational skills, listen to the way people talk, and the way they interact with other people, refer to a wide range of readily available information, such as internet search engines, books, and don’t turn your nose up at strange sources of inspiration, embrace them all.

The key is to use your imagination. You need a tree load of inspiration.

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Without this your characters may disappoint and burst like an overblown balloon. Or else they will fall flat onto deaf ears. Just make sure they aren’t full of hot air!

Let your imagination soar, and your characters will be fully rounded, developed and ready to lift off like a released balloon, or even a hot air balloon, soaring to the highest heights.

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Success!

Allow your writing to evolve spontaneously.

Novakovich quotes Mel Brookes, Somerset Maugham, Erskine Caldwell, and Graham Greene.

Mel Brookes: “Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities, and have them relate to other characters living with him.”

Erskine Caldwell: “I have no influence over them. I’m only an observer, recording. The story is always being told by the characters themselves.”

Graham Greene, “One gets started and then, suddenly, one cannot remember what toothpaste they use…”

Graham Greene’s quote is spot on, when things just start to happen spontaneously and the story carries the author along, then you know that you’re on the right track.

Somerset Maugham: “People are hard to know. It is a slow business to induce them to tell you the particular thing about themselves that can be of use to you.”

That’s the key and that’s why imagination is so important.

Somerset Maugham, also gave us these humorous gems of wisdom:

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I especially like this one, there’s hope for me yet! There’s no age bias in writing, as long as my mind stays fresh, what is there to stop me writing when I’m older?

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Getting back to my own writing experiences. I didn’t set out to follow any particular method. To be honest I stumbled along, and discovered my characters in quite a haphazard way, but in general I used a variety of approaches, which seemed to work for me.

In fact when I finished my novel I was struck by the realisation that I could see my own anxieties interwoven into my plot. This was obvious to me but might not be quite so obvious to other people reading it. I don’t have a sister or a twin so I can’t say that I write about siblings. I do have a brother but I don’t think that he influenced my writing, certainly not in this novel. Maybe who knows, he might do in future projects to come. To a certain extent I do write about my experiences, I have two teenage daughters, so it’s not surprising that the main protagonist in my novel is a teenage girl. There are male characters too. I have re-invented the main love interest for a modern audience. Is he based on anyone I know? Maybe there are elements of him in men that I have met! I’m a Scorpio and I do like to be secretive, so I’m not saying anymore. I think that we draw on all sorts of influences and this shapes our writing and the characters that we discover along the way, some of these influences may be conscious and some may be less conscious, and more exciting!

Images – via google search.