Category Archive: Inspiration

4 Visual Tricks for Writers Who Want To Rock NaNoWriMo

Are you entering National Novel Writing Month in November?

If you answered yes, the odds are 50/50 you’re doing some planning this month. If not hardcore plotting, at least making notes and brainstorming your story. I’ve done NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo many times and I’ve won my fair share. For me, planning is the best recipe for success, but that doesn’t mean my stories haven’t gone down a rabbit hole, because they have.

The one strategy that has never failed me is doing some pre-NaNo visual brainstorming. I’ve put together four tricks that I like to think of as my NaNoWriMo secret weapons, but they will work for any writing project. 4-tricks-for-nano

1. Organize Visuals Cues:

I love Pinterest for letting my story creativity run wild. When I start a project, I pin everything! Eye colors, hair styles, outfits, you name it. I tend to keep these boards in secret mode; that way only I can see them and I don’t need to worry about giving away too many surprises.

While my Pinterest vision boards help me see the big picture, most of these pinned items will never make it into the story. Pinterest lacks the flexibility to take my visuals to the next level. Once I’ve narrow down the images, I create visual timelines in Canva. I like to use the free infographic templates to make these. This is the perfect tool to quickly create compact photo references and character studies. These visual guides help me plan each character’s changing physical look and track setting shifts. I like knowing both of these sources of visual candy are a click away, but it’s taking the extra step to organize my images in Canva that really helps keep my creative motor running.

2. Map It:

I’m an artistically challenged human. If you were to ask me to draw a map free-hand, it would look like blobs of Jello with sticks jutting out of it, in other words something completely un-map-like would emerge. However, I still need to see and understand how my characters will move in my virtual space, so that’s why I use tools. And graph paper, lots of graph paper.

My go-to trick for room mapping is the interior designer’s friend: a furniture template. This is not a cheap item, but you will only need to buy it once.

If you like your rooms more fleshed out, or just wouldn’t dream of putting pencil to paper, try the online tool from Pottery Barn. This tool is amazing! You set the room dimensions and drop in and arrange items until you have your room just the way you want it.

Looking for something with more scope, say you want to create a full town? Or perhaps you need a whole continent for your characters to explore? There are online tools for this too, but most of them are costly and challenging to master.

For this I use old maps. I simply can’t pass a sale of beat up and outdated maps without grabbing a handful. I’ve got a real passion for the historical maps, Havana, Cuba in the 1930s, Chicago, Illinois in the 1890s — I just never know what layout will inspire me.

You can make the most familiar landscape look fresh by rotating the ordination. Or stick a few different maps together to create a brand new world. Give the landmarks new names and boom the map is ready for characters to populate in no time.

3. Mind Map it:

This is another organizational brainstorming tool that many writers swear by. Scrivener makes their own version called Scapple. A free trial version is available here. Or you can use index cards and the kitchen table. Either way, this technique gives me a way to scaffold complicated ideas into relationship trees.

This is the perfect method for visual thinkers to lay out any series of events and work out how these events interrelate to the different plots and subplots. It’s also fantastic to use when you just don’t know where the story should go next. You can set down all your ideas and work them in different patterns until the right sequence of events jumps out at you.

4. Gather Brain Trigger Items:

When I get stuck, I always go for my brain triggers. These are special items that help me activate the creative part of my brain. This is not my idea. It’s based on highly detailed neuroscience most of which I don’t even understand, but it works.

The theory is your mind stores all unnecessary data in dormant sectors and you need something to re-prime those sleeping cells before you can access those memories. Almost anything can help reactivate memories: a smell, a picture, a sound, or a taste.

Putting together a box of items you want to use for triggers is highly personal. The triggers that will work best should relate to the emotions you want to transmit with your writing. If you want to write sad, you might want to revisit your worst breakup. You could also find something that reminds you of the death of a loved one. Want to write scary? Try fueling each writing session with mood setting sounds of a storm. I pack my box with old letters and photos. By looking these items over I can recall the mood of a summer beach outing, or trigger memories of childhood camping trips. Try to use your triggers just when writing. Overexposure to triggers weakens their best effect.

When the dark days of November strike and I feel my creativity tank running on empty, I take great comfort in knowing these sources of inspiration are ready to save me.

What about you? Do you have any unusual ways to brainstorm before writing? Please share in the comments. Also share your NaNoWriMo handle so we can all become writing pals this November and cheer each other on.

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/writers-life/4-tricks-for-nanowrimo/

The Influence of Books on YAs

Have you heard of The Unslut Project? It began with Emily Linden sharing her middle school diaries online in a Tumblr page. It’s now a memoir and a documentary. Unslut is the all-too-common story of a preteen girl who was slut shamed and bullied. Lindin shared her story to reassure other girls suffering from sexual bullying that they’re not alone and this time will pass and their lives will get better. Definitely a message that needs to be heard.

BookCover-Unslut

The experiences in UNSLUT: A DIARY AND A MEMOIR are familiar to me, probably because like most women I experienced sexual bullying myself and witnessed it happen to my friends as well. But I was particularly struck by a sentence in a footnote on page 61 in regards to Lindin’s eleven-year-old self wanting to commit suicide: “So many different factors go into a child’s decision to end her own life, but one common thread is that, as children, we lack the understanding that life can get better.”

I stopped and read that sentence over, puzzled. Do children not understand life can get better? I don’t remember that. When I was young, I always daydreamed about the future and how it would be better than the present. My friends and I talked about what we’d be when we grew up and what we’d do. Well, admittedly, not all of us – some were bigger daydreamers than others. But I personally had the outlook that the BS I was dealing with in my youth would not last forever.

Where did I get that idea?

It certainly didn’t come from the small town where I lived, a place steeped in sexism. And like a lot of young people, I didn’t feel comfortable talking to my parents about any of this. So where did I get the notion that things would get better?

The only answer I can come up with: books. My two favourite books as a child were Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. Both novel series feature spirited, independent heroines who overcome hardships and grow up to follow their dreams. These stories gave me hope that I could do the same. The other important thing these stories imparted is that boys are not the be-all-and-end-all of a young woman’s life. Both Anne and Jo turn down marriage proposals to pursue personal goals. Young me was sooooo impressed with this! And I carried that message, that boys don’t give girls worth, with me all through my childhood, into my teens, and throughout adulthood.

Books are powerful, and studies have shown that the benefits of reading include emotional intelligence, knowledge of self, and empathy, all things that help people navigate life’s challenges.

I know the stories I read gave me the strength and hope I needed to survive sexual bullying. This is not to say that if bullied young people read books they will never consider ending their lives (the problem is much more complicated than that), but I believe books can help kids feel less alone and provide the hope necessary to continue on. Books that tackle issues (either directly or indirectly) of gender, sexuality, race, class, etc, in a realistic yet hopeful way help everyone, young and old alike, understand that life can get better.

Influence of Books

What books influenced your life? Do stories help you get through tough times? Please share in the comments.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/friday-inspiration/the-influence-of-books-on-yas/

The 12 Days of Writers’ Christmas

This is a little something I whipped up for all our writer friends to sing around the tree.
Happy Holidays!

 

12 Days post

The 12 Days of Writers’ Christmas

On the first day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the second day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the third day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Five critique partners,
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Six hours crying,
Five critique partners,
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Seven pots of coffee,
Six hours crying,
Five critique partners,
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Eight weeks revising,
Seven pots of coffee,
Six hours crying,
Five critique partners,
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Nine beta readers,
Eight weeks revising,
Seven pots of coffee,
Six hours crying,
Five critique partners,
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Ten last draft typos,
Nine beta readers,
Eight weeks revising,
Seven pots of coffee,
Six hours crying,
Five critique partners,
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Eleven months of querying,
Ten last draft typos,
Nine beta readers,
Eight weeks revising,
Seven pots of coffee,
Six hours crying,
Five critique partners,
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true muse sent to me
Twelve agents calling,
Eleven months of querying,
Ten last draft typos,
Nine beta readers,
Eight weeks revising,
Seven pots of coffee,
Six hours crying,
Five critique partners,
Four brave heroes,
Three act structure,
Two ruthless villains, and
An idea with a wicked plot twist!

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/friday-inspiration/christmas-song/

Deja Vu Blogfest: “Compassion”

We’re taking part in the Deja Vu Blogfest this weekend. This hop is the brainchild of DL Hammons, who also runs Blog Blitz. The rules of this hop are simple, pick a post from the last 12 months and reblog it.

 

This post was originally run in February 2015 as part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion.  You can learn more about this movement on the founder’s website:  http://yvonnespence.com/.

Compassion. How can we expect a single word to sum up everything that’s admirable about humanity? And yet, this one does. It transcends age, gender, religion, nationality and race. When we strive to live lives rich with compassion, it forces us to reach deep inside ourselves and tap the brightest parts of our souls.

Writers use words as tools. We heat them with our enthusiasm, and we hammer them together with our zeal, and in the end we craft them into prose. The product of our handiwork often becomes more valuable to us than gold.

For the best of us, the writers that will go down in history and remain relevant and read for decades to come, pounding out words produces something remarkable. These special writers use ink to explore the human condition, and they do it with the precision of surgeons. They root out the social cancers and expose bigotry and hate. They whittle on a government’s carcass until the corrupt skeleton is bare for all to see. They carve a path into our hearts, forcing us to reflect on the painful and the profound. Then with more words, these writers mend and reconstruct our hearts, leaving us empowered, enlightened and hopeful.

In the safety of a gifted writer’s embrace, I learned to care about people I will never meet. I found the strength to forgive people who judged me by my gender and ethnicity. I became a better mother, wife and person, with more love, respect and compassion to give others as the legacy of another writer’s words. And I am grateful.

I don’t think every writer is meant to create world-changing literary magic. I suspect I’m not, but I sleep better each night knowing that members of my brethren are up to the challenge. I have faith a new writer somewhere is gathering their tools and forging a message so powerful, that my children’s children will treasure it more than gold. That faith fills me with joy, and makes me proud to be a writer.

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/friday-inspiration/deja-vu-blogfest/

Chipping Away at Writer’s Block

Writer's BlockI spend a lot of time around writers, and we all share one commonality, we occasionally get stuck. However, why we run face first into the brick wall of writer’s block often differs. I believe there are three main types of writer’s block, they are: Courage Collapse, Story Cave In and Content Vacuum. And I believe you need to know which kind of writer’s block you have if you want to find a cure.

Courage Collapse:
Every writer has bad days. There are negative critiques and bad feedback. These experiences can trigger some self-confidence issues. I’m routinely blindsided by my aggressive internal editor. It gives me an unhealthy relationship with the delete key.

To ease this kind of block try these tips:

  • Walk away from the computer for a few hours.

  • Pamper yourself, take a hot bath, enjoy a glass of wine with friends.

  • Get some fresh air and exercise, maybe take a walk in the woods.

  • Find your writing cheerleaders and load up on positive comments.

  • Laugh so hard you hold your sides and cry!

  • Do anything that helps put you in a great mood. Dealing with your inner demons is easier when you’re in a happy, relaxed emotional state.

I think this one is the hardest type of writer block to cure. Be kind to yourself, but never give in to that little voice.

Story Cave In:
Every writer has had a story start to fall apart. The characters are too much alike and seem dull. There are too many subplots. All the sentences start sounding alike. All of a sudden it hits, you have a block and no flipping clue what comes next in the story.

For a derailed story leaving you blocked, try these tips:

  • Reread old outlines and project notes.

  •  Talk with a friend about the story to try to rekindle the old passion.

  • Back track to the place the story took a left turn and reassess.

  • Decide if you want to go back to the first idea, or if you want to replot your story to include the new material.

  • Switch to a different project for a while. This is my go-to solution, and one of the reasons I always have at least two projects going at once.

  • Freewrite or do some story prompts.

  • Sleep on it. If you go to sleep thinking about your story just before falling asleep, your brain will often supply a solution, or some inspiration.

Content Vacuum:
There will be a day in every writer’s life when it seems like all the ideas are gone. If you can’t start anything new, it’s likely a form of exhaustion block. Watching a blank screen flicker at you for hours on end is not going to help. You must recharge your brain bank to cure this block.

To refuel your creativity try these tips:

  • Read everything you can get your hands on. Read outside your comfort zone.

  • Reread favorites and think about how they could be retold from another perspective.

  • Listen to music, go to concerts, take up an instrument.

  • Watch a movies, TV and go see plays.

  • Visit museums, take trips, enroll in a class.

  • Do things with your hands: cooking, sewing or drawing.

  • Play with your kids, join a board game group, or just play with toys at a store.

Content Vacuum is disheartening, but it’s also normal. Writing is a long and involved evolution, it takes massive amounts of brain power. Hitting a wall once in a while is all part of the process.

When the words are not flowing every writer feels like garbage. Instead of chucking your story and your laptop into the nearest trash bin, consider trying some of these ideas.

What about you? Do you have a great tip for banishing writer’s block?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/writers-life/chipping-away-at-writers-block/

Watch Writers Talk Writing

Watch Writers  Talk Writing

 Watch            Writers            Talk            Writing

September is always a busy month for me, and this year is no exception. Today I’m doing a super fast and fun YouTube post. I got the idea from a guest post I did last week for Comparative Geeks. For those of you that don’t know, YouTube is positively bursting with great stuff for writers.

I want to alert everyone’s attention to a fantastic and lightly tapped resource. There is a set of videos generated from author panels that took place in July at the 2015 Comic-Con in San Diego, CA. If you’re like  me and didn’t get the chance to attend, watching these videos is the next best thing.

They brought together some top veteran authors for these panels. Names like Lev Grossman, Ernest Cline and Naomi Novik. Plus some of the hottest newer names in publishing like Pierce Brown, Jason M. Hough and Victoria Aveyard. This is just a sample of what you can find in these informative videos.

One panel near and dear to my heart was Modern Fairytales with Reneé Ahdieh, Naomi Novik, Laura Bickle, Tonya Hurley and Julie Kagawa. This one is all about how classic myth, legends and stories are re-imaged in fresh and innovative ways to entertain a new audience.

Or check out Science Fiction and Sex with Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Gini Koch, Camilla D’Errico, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Nick Cole, Wesley Chu and Gwendolyn Womack. This one is also about strong female protagonists, something science fiction novels have been needing more of for a long time.

I also enjoyed No Cape Required: Modern Day Superheroes with Pierce Brown, James Dashner, Marie Lu, Lexie Dunn, Noelle Stevenson, Robert Venditti and Sarah Kuhn. As we continue to embrace the standard superhero form, it turns out the public is willing to love some updated variations.

These talented authors took the time out of their lives to appear in these panels and there is much to be learned. These are only my top picks; there are many more videos in this series. Although I highly recommended you watch them all, I’m giving a bonus shout out to The Buffy Effect: Teen Heroines Past and Present panel.

If watching writers talk about writing is not your thing, you should at least watch Sci-Fi authors Vs. Fantasy authors Family Feud. It’s quite amusing.

If you have a favorite YouTube writing show, please let everyone know in the comments.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/friday-inspiration/watch-writers-talk-writing/

Compassion: The Writer’s Gift

1535545_768962449855452_8650617504481872844_n1Today Write On Sisters is taking part in 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, a movement intended to flood the internet with 1000 blog posts on this important topic. You can learn more about the movement on the founder’s website:  http://yvonnespence.com/. And onTwitter at the hashtag #1000speak.  

Compassion. How can we expect a single word to sum up everything that’s most admirable about humanity? And yet, this one does. It transcends age, gender, religion, nationality and race. When we strive to live lives rich with compassion, it forces us to reach deep inside ourselves and tap the best and brightest parts of our souls.

Writers use words as tools. We heat them with our enthusiasm, and we hammer them together with our zeal, and in the end we craft them into prose. The product of our handiwork often becomes more valuable to us than gold.

For the best of us, the writers that will go down in history and remain relevant and read for decades to come, pounding out words produces something remarkable. These special writers use ink to explore the human condition, and they do it with the precision of surgeons. They root out the social cancers and expose bigotry and hate. They whittle on a government’s carcass until the corrupt skeleton is bare for all to see. They carve a path to our hearts, forcing us to reflect on the painful and the profound. And then with more words, these writers mend and reconstruct our hearts, leaving us empowered, enlightened and hopeful.

In the safety of a gifted writer’s literary embrace, I learned to care about people I will never meet. I found the strength to forgive people who judged me by my gender or ethnicity. I became a better mother, wife and person, with more love, respect and compassion to give others as the legacy of another writer’s words. And I am grateful.

I don’t think every writer is meant to create world-changing literary magic. I know I’m not. But I sleep better each night knowing that members of my brethren are up to the challenge. I have faith a new writer somewhere is gathering their tools and forging a message so powerful, that my children’s children will treasure it as more valuable than gold. And that faith fills me with joy, and makes me proud to be a writer.

Please take the time today to read some of the wonderful writers participating in this blog hop. You can start here with Just Gene’O and his message on Compassion and Nonviolence.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/friday-inspiration/1000-voices-writers-gift/

DeJa Vu Blogfest 2014

deja_vu_2014Much thanks to DL Hammons for setting up this blogfest.

Once a year it’s nice to reflect and take stock. In accordance with the blogfest rules we give you a post that didn’t receive as much blog love as we thought it deserved.

We hope you enjoy it.

 


 

Every family has some honored holiday traditions, and pulling out a dusty copy of a favorite Christmas film often numbers among them. In my house, we watch that movie snuggled under blankets, with big bowls of popcorn and mugs of frothy hot chocolate. My kids will likely choose It’s a Wonderful Life to be our film; they usually do.

This enduring holiday classic stars Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful lifethe type of role that defined him, the ordinary man who is profoundly extraordinary in every way that matters.

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love this film and its uplifting story, but few know how close it came to never seeing the bright lights of Hollywood or the adoration of millions. For this story, with all it’s big heart, memorable characters and a message of unerring love, is a 1943 self-publishing success story.

Greatest gift

Philip Van Doren Stern dreamed the bones of this tale one winter night, and crafted it into an inspirational short story. After finishing it, he did what every other author does, he sent the project to publishers, all of whom quickly rejected it. Stern took his own money and printed 200 copies. He called his book The Greatest Gift and it numbered under 50 pages. Stern wanted to share his story and hoped its message of redemption and community would resonate with others. He decided to send out all two hundred copies to his family and friends as a Christmas card.

A few years later, one of those two hundred copies landed in the hands of filmmaker Frank Capra and he loved the little unknown book’s story. It sparked a deep passion inside Capra, and he quickly bought the rights, and adapted a script and filmed it.

Capra finished the movie just in time for release at 1949 Christmas season.

It’s A Wonderful Life captured five Academy Award nominations, including one for the Best Picture category and still ranks on many fans’ favorite movie lists. Plus, it holds the American Film Institute’s number one spot for most inspirational American film of all time.

Not bad for a story no one in the publishing industry wanted.

So in honor of Christmas, I give the world back Philip Van Doren Stern, an author with a story no one wanted to buy, who somehow, even after bitter rejection, found the faith to send his story out into the world, and watched as it changed lives.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/friday-inspiration/deja-vu-blogfest-2014/

The Post-NaNoWriMo Blues

keep-calm-and-keep-on-writing-20Right about now many writers are feeling a touch disappointed. They attempted a feat of greatness in the eyes of the writing community and they didn’t measure up to the recommended level of success.

To every below 50,000-words writers I say:

Congratulations!

If you tried your best and wrote as much as you could, stand tall. I am so proud of you and you should have nothing to feel sad about. Take a moment and be thankful for all the words you did write and then consider this goal objectively.

Writing 50,000 words of anything is no small feat. The NaNoWriMo challenge also expects your brain (and fingers) to create a compelling storyline and craft memorable characters. All the while, you hold down a job and maybe care for a few kids or an elderly parent. And you must do it all in 30 days. It’s pretty much a Herculean task, and one many writers can only accomplish by sacrificing something else equally important to them, such as spending time with their family.

Of course, the world is full of lightning-fast writers. We always hear about these literary hares, the people who jotted down a bestseller on the back of a napkin while waiting for their coffee to cool. The hares are some of those people basking in the glow of their NaNo victory, empowered by their page counts and feeling ready to take the publishing world by storm. This month if you found yourself shaking your head as your friends piled up the words, or if you heard little voices inside your head telling you to slow down, it might be time to embrace the idea that you’re just a slow writer. You could be the literary tortoise in the NaNo meadow of jubilant hares.

Grandville 1855 IllustrationWe don’t often hear praise for slower writers, but we should. Please don’t despair if you’re a tortoise, you’re entering the illustrious domain of the word count under achievers, a literary hall of glory inhabited by some of publishing’s finest artists.

Don’t believe me?
Stuart Little (18 years)
Gone With the Wind (10 years)
The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao (10 years)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (5 years)
The Time Traveler’s Wife (5 years)

There are countless other slow masterpieces and it’s a group any new author should be thrilled to join.

Are the tortoises a prolific crew? No, not always, but some are. Some learned to be faster. Others decided they would rather write just one book they loved passionately than ten books they only liked. Thankfully NaNoWriMo has taught you something valuable about your writing style, something you could have spent years trying to rationalize away or make excuses for when your more prolific friends pounded out yet another book. Being a slower writer isn’t the dark cave of failure you might feel trapped in right now, it’s just who you are.

True, as a tortoise you might never write two books in a single year, but who cares about that arbitrary goal besides you?  Writers know when they have a story trapped inside and perhaps some stories just take a bit more time and effort to release than others. Stop focusing on your losses, don’t compare yourself to the hares, learn to embrace what works for you and write your way. If you and your story demand more time, take it. Use every hour you need to create something you feel is worthy of bearing your name.

There are enough mediocre books, more than enough to fill a lifetime of reading. I yearn for writers who create magic. Who pen worlds that leap off the paper and come to life before our eyes. And should it take them one year or twenty years to create such magic…I don’t care! I’m just happy they’ve given the world something worth treasuring. The tortoises of the writing world might create fewer books, but if they’re writing brilliant books, books filled with interesting plots and memorable characters, they will find fans today and they will find fans in a hundred years. And every time that book finds a home in a new pair of hands, not a single reader will lament how long it took the author to write it, they will only care about how the story made them feel.

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/friday-inspiration/nanowrimo-blues/

When Life Imitates Art: Thailand Protesters Adopt the Hunger Games Salute

It’s generally accepted that art imitates life. Not that art is a carbon copy of life, but rather it epitomizes life honestly. It doesn’t matter if a writer fabricates fantasy worlds or invents sci-fi tech that doesn’t exist in our current reality; what matters is that the story embodies the truth of the human experience. That is what connects with readers.

And when that truth connects, life may start to imitate art.

It’s happening in Thailand. Back in May of this year, the military seized power from the elected government. Soon activists were organizing anti-coup protests using the three-finger salute from The Hunger Games. A photo montage circulating online paired a picture from the movie with a graphic of three fingers labeled: 1. No Coup, 2. Liberty, and 3. Democracy. Social activist Sombat Boonngam-anong, who helped organize the protests, posted an explanation of the salute on his Facebook page: “Raising three fingers has become a symbol in calling for fundamental political rights.”

In The Hunger Games the salute begins as a gesture of gratitude and farewell and evolves intMockingjayMovieo a symbol of defiance against the totalitarian government of Panem. Just like the fictional leaders of Panem, Thailand’s military rulers were quick to ban the salute and crackdown on protesters, and the initial demonstrations died out. However, this week Mockingjay Part 1 opened in theatres and created a surge of new protests, most notably at a speech by the current head of the military government where five students were arrested, and at a movie theater in Bangkok where three students were arrested. Student activists had organized a contest called “Raise Three Fingers, Bring Popcorn and Go to the Theater” and promised to hand out 160 free tickets to the movie. But the authorities got word of it and more than 100 police officers and plainclothes security forces converged on the theater. In the cinema lobby, Nachacha Kongudom, 21, posed in front of the Mockingjay movie poster while saluting with three fingers. “The Mockingjay movie reflects what’s happening in our society,” she told The Associated Press before being arrested. The theater chain has since cancelled all showings of the film.

But now Thailand has their Mockingjay.

And life imitates art.

I’m not suggesting that Suzanne Collins’ books sparked these protests. Demonstrations against the coup would have happened regardless. But I find it interesting that a fictional story’s symbol is being used to rally real protesters in a real country. The story of Katniss Everdeen clearly connects with and inspires these young activists. It’s no wonder books have historically been banned by dictatorships. But in the 21st century, with a record number of people on the planet being literate and connected, it’s no longer as simple as banning books or films. People will still find these stories and be inspired. And that, dear readers, gives me hope for the future.

News Articles

CBC News – Hunger Games screenings cancelled in Thailand after protesters use 3-finger salute

The New York Times – Thai Protesters Are Detained After Using ‘Hunger Games’ Salute

The Washington Times – Thailand protests meet ‘Hunger Games’ as demonstrators arrested for three-finger salute

CBC News – Hunger Games salute sparks warning from Thailand’s junta

 

Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/friday-inspiration/life-imitates-art-thailand-protesters-adopt-hunger-games-salute/

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