What to Expect: Discussions and Book Reviews

Hello!

My last semester in college has now officially started and I am thrilled to be one step away from graduating. Because my workload is pretty heavy this semester my posts may seem sparse but I will not disappear completely.

What to Expect from me by the end of January and in February,

Book Reviews:

“Writers Gone Wild” by Bill Peschel

“Imaginations” by William Carlos Williams

“Gotham Writers’ Workshop: Writing Fiction”

Discussions:

I will be emphasizing on short short stories and fiction for the next few months due to my increasing interest in writing in both styles. If anyone has any suggestions or would like me to tackle a specific topic related to these styles please leave a comment below. I would love to have an online discussion on this topic and involve as many writers as possible.

Thank you to all my followers and regular readers that continue to stick with me and read my work! I am deeply grateful for your attention and dedication.

-Alina

 

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Sun and Moon

Prose or Poetry or both? I am playing around with this short fiction piece that discusses celestial bodies which are ultimately consumed by darkness and timelessness: possibly the destiny for all of us. 


Sun and Moon

by

Alina Happy Hansen

The Sun battered down on the city below. The inhabitants wake and roll over, groaning or jumping up to live another day. Looking down below, the heart of the moon, forever lost to his lover runs across the sky. Each day as it progresses, the season’s changes, the year’s pass, the inhabitants are born, live, die, born, live die; generation after generation. The Sun does not care about the inhabitants of that blue little world that is quickly turning grey and sickly, quickly looking more and more like it did when it was born. The sun looks on trying to catch the moon who is left spinning around the little black globe, dead and dried up. Spinning away into a void, an abyss until the sun begins to dim and invert itself becoming a black hole finally sucking the sun into its darkness.


 

Thank you for reading my work! I hope you will return in the future! 

-Alina

Waiting by Alina Happy Hansen

Here is a short story I am currently working on. Consider this a somewhat polished rough draft. The story revolves around Marc, a man that has an outburst in a hospital waiting room.

Thank you for reading my work!

 


Waiting by Alina Happy Hansen

 

Marc looked solemn as he flicked through the magazines in the parlor. The nurse at the reception desk glanced over in his direction every once in awhile, her hand inches away from the phone just in case. The chairs had been put back where they belonged, papers and garbage thrown away and the entire room was now restored to its previous neatness before Marc’s outburst. A vein on his forehead was still prominently pulsing but his face was no longer flushed. He appeared to be completely calm now.

A few people trickled into the office and in a matter of minutes there was a break in the tension felt in the room between the nurse receptionist and Marc. But even as the minutes sped by he continued to revisit and shuffle through the same five magazines within his reach. The pictures meant nothing, the words a blur, Marc only went through the motions to divert attention from himself and his own irritation.

His wife was somewhere in the labyrinth of halls, somewhere far away and possibly in pain. They had grown worried about their unborn child a few days before and finally scheduled an appointment to see their doctor. But it had now been over two and half hours since they first arrived and his wife had disappeared behind a shut door. She wanted to be alone, wanted to talk the doctor privately, not in front of Marc.

Marc tried thinking about work, about the home, about all the errands he had to do this weekend as he was grinding his teeth and trying to keep his eyes away from the reception desk. His outbursts were embarrassing and rarely occurred but the mounting worry that he had felt during the first hour finally exploded when the nurse had told him that the doctor was not done evaluating his wife. His temper, his frustration, and feeling of lack of control is what drove him to throw a few things around and yell like an overgrown child.

Did she tell them? Did his wife tell the doctor about the incident that happened two weeks ago? Did she tell her parents? Her friends? The housemaid? Marc’s frustration was mounting yet again and he felt like he was going to burst. The image of his wife slipping in the bathroom, the sound of thud her body made on the tiled floor. His constant worry about his wife and child had led him to the point where he could barely sleep or eat because the loss and pain that had plagued him and his wife for the last five years was overwhelming and never-ending.

This was not the first time they had had to come to the doctor, this was not the first pregnancy but again it was possibly their first child. Marc had found himself stressed between his work and his wife where his constant worry had pushed him over the edge. Too many times had his heart suffered, to be overjoyed and elated with a pregnancy then torn up with his wife’s heartbreaking sobs and another loss. It was too much for Marc to be in that office again waiting for the news he was going to receive.

A quiet voice called to him, he looked up, the nurse was approaching him her hand now on his shoulder. They were finally done with the evaluation, the doctor was ready to talk to him, his wife was just fine. Marc’s heart jumped into his chest and he quickly followed the nurse to one of the rooms down the maze-like hallways. In one of the abrasively white and fluorescently lit rooms, his wife sat there in a chair her face no longer pale or stained with tears. It was beaming and warm. Marc felt instant relief and wrapped his arms around her. The doctor rummaging through paperwork looked up and smiled. Everything was going to be ok this time.


 

Thank you for reading my work! I hope you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

Response to Jane Eyre and Discussion on Creating Complex Characters

 

Jane Eyre
photo source: goodreads.com

I recently finished reading for nth time Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  (first published 1847) I find myself usually rereading this novel every winter out of habit. I love this novel for so many different reasons but the main one being that Jane is smart, witty and stands up for herself which should not be taken lightly. The novel is set in the early to mid 19th century and revolves around the story of Jane Eyre from her youth to adult years. Her life story is full of loneliness, pain, seclusion, and hardship. The main subject of the novel is the love story between Jane and Mr. Rochester, a man about twenty years her senior who hires Jane as a governess for a child he has taken into his home. Besides the love story, a plot which is full of drama and secrets, there are aspects of the novel that really stand out to me.

I am a Writer, obviously, and I do like to write in short fiction. Fiction is a genre that resounds with me on a creative level whenever I may have too many words for just poems. The issue of creating characters that are not one dimensional is one of the elements that I find myself occupied with the most. I have read multiple books with advice on how to create lifelike three-dimensional characters through writing and I found myself amazed (yet again) when reading Bronte’s writing the details and layers that she uses in making Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester so complex. A reoccurring theme in most of the books on fiction writing that I read is that adding complexities to your character (for instance a character that hates liars but in fact lies constantly) is one of the ways in which your character can come to life. A key piece of advice that keeps popping up for me now is also, “Show, don’t tell.” Which is a part of my writing that I have struggled with from the beginning.

How do I show readers through words what my character is like as a person? How do I do this through dialogue, action, and narration without making my writing feel forced?

I know this is not a new question and it is a possibility that whoever reads this post may be dealing with the same obstacles in their own writing. If so, I would love to read some comments on how you, as a writer, try to create complex lifelike characters, what books have you read? what advice have you heard?

As for me, here are a few books that I have read (or am reading) that have been invaluable in my constant learning to write regardless if its fiction, prose, or poetry.

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School

 

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

 

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by [King, Stephen]
photo source: amazon.com
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

 

I am constantly searching for more books about writing, how to write, and study literature. If anyone has any suggestions please leave them in a comment below! If you would like me to respond to a question about writing please also feel free to message me or leave the question in a comment below!

Thank you so much to all my readers (new and old) for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

 

 

 

Reflection/Response: Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice

I have most recently finished Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. These two novels are classics of the western European literary tradition and question social status, class, and gender-related issues of 19th century England. I enjoyed both for different reasons and at the same time had my own complications with the two.

Pride and Prejudice (published 1813)

The characters are vibrant and possess a lot of stubborn vigor when it comes to family and gossip. The socio-cultural habits of middle-class and upper-class (somewhat royalty) families are the main subject of this book revolving around complicated marriages, friendships, and of course the tumultuous romance between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I enjoyed reading this novel again purely because the dialogue is extremely witty and the plot is full of plenty of drama. My complication, or struggle, with this book is probably the same as anyone else’s Elizabeth and Darcy’s behavior, mainly their stubbornness and arrogance which is sometimes frustrating and painful to read. I love Elizabeth for her honest and straight-forward ‘say-it-like-it-is’ style which I think is refreshing to read and comforting. Overall it is a novel I would read again at any opportunity.

Wuthering Heights (published 1847)

This is a much darker more tragic novel than Pride and Prejudice, it is not a happy romance. Lockwood rents a home from Heathcliff and what results is a long story told to  Lockwood by Nelly, a housekeeper about the complicated history of Heathcliff and Catherine’s love and the generation after. Illness, madness (mental illness), rage, and abuse are consistent throughout. There are mysterious elements in this novel such as ghost stories and apparitions, and I believe this could be considered a Gothic Novel. My complication with this story was the role of Nelly, she is the narrator and ultimately a complete meddler in people’s affairs but she has no family, few friends, and is a life-long servant to the two main households in the story making Nelly, in my opinion, an equally complex character to that of Heathcliff and Catherine. I found this novel interesting and heart-wrenching but I gradually became more curious about the possible inspiration or reasons that Emily Bronte would write such a book. Overall I am impressed by this novel and I have been struggling to think of anything I’ve ever read that could be similar to it that is from the same century.

I wanted to give brief reflections on these two novels, to keep it short and sweet. Usually, I would include a little background info on Emily Bronte and Jane Austen but I am thinking about posting a small summary of the lives of Emily and Charlotte Bronte as well as Jane Austen sometime soon. I am currently reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for the nth time (it is one of my all-time favorites) I have no idea how many times I have read this novel but it is incredible and I love it, do expect a reflection/response post to this novel as well!

Thank you for reading my reflections and writing, I hope that you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

 

 

The Note

Folded up and placed away. The note began to fade as the years went by. Moving from book to book, placed higher and higher on the shelf until it made it’s way to the attic. Now dead and gone, relatives search for valuables and vital documents. Rustling in the dark, the note waits to be picked up, to be read once again. Finally little hands grasp it, crunchy and smashing. Till the words begin to tear. “What is that in your hands? Throw that away! It’s garbage!” The note is tossed in a garbage bin full of moldy doilies and romance paper backs.


 

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

Flash Fiction #8 (Cowboy in the Desert)

Cowboy in the Desert

by

Alina Happy Hansen

 

He looks to the sky, the sun burns. The blue lake glitters in the distance. The sound of coyotes somewhere nearby. The gun is heavy on his hip, and his boots are full of sand. He takes a step then another. His chapped lips, cracked and bleeding. Hands limp and lifeless hanging in defeat. His horse dead, miles back, its black eyes shine in his mind as he shot it lying on its side dying of thirst. If he could just make it to the blue lake glittering in the distance.


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina