Welcome to our Agonist Aunt’s desk. She’s here to help out all creatives who may be struggling with getting started, finding inspiration, dealing with blocks and whatnots in the whole creative process or getting a project completed. Agonist Aunt does not currently answer career or love themed letters.
To start this column off, Agonist Aunt has accepted one letter from Leenna, and two fictitious letters from archetypes who could have written in on a whim. The letters are from an outdoor artist (or street artist), a writer working on a new serial, and a person who’s overwhelmed by the prospect of starting any creative project.
To write to Agonist Aunt, scroll to the end of the post and fill in the form. Only three letters at most will be chosen each week.
Disclaimer: Agonist Aunt is only a sounding board. Her reply is for your entertainment and enlightenment only. Follow any suggestion at your own discretion and own it for yourself. Agonist Aunt accepts no liability and no credit in any event.
Dear Agonist Aunt
Help Me Out Of This Rat Sink (ink/rink)
The world has been my canvas and this quarantine thing is gotten to me so badly that I’ve lost my m/use. I create metaphors with bats to highlight humanity’s and our planet’s plight and self-sabotaging tendencies. But being stuck at home, with no natural canvas (the outdoors), I feel my creativity and sense of self being flushed down the toilet.
And yes, I’m sick of bats and rats. Any suggestions of getting me out of this rat-sinkhole.
Dear I’m-not-B, man
How about exploring Meta-Fur?
All this indoorsy stuff is getting to most of us, but the silver-lining is it allows us to explore our inner worlds and discover new sources of inspiration. Perhaps, your blank canvas could be your world to create meta-furs and explore meta-fursics—a fusion or diffusion of images and visualisation of what you’d like the world to look like (for humans, animals, or every living thing) when you do return to the outside. Just because you’re ‘in here’, doesn’t mean your art can’t be ‘out there’, if you see what I mean.
I’ve pulled a card for you and this was the message: Inspiration reversed. I immediately thought of inverted inspiration or expectation…I take this as a clarification to ‘look within’ for your inspiration—to your imagination. Rather than reflecting back to the world your truth, shine a new vision to provide inspiration to others.
Wishing you happy and bright new visions
Dear Agonist Aunt
Which Way Do I Go With This Character?
I have this just introduced a character in a new serial I’m writing. At first, I thought she might be the hero’s love interest, and then I thought I’m writing a serial (my first) and not a novel. So, now I’m thinking she could be the secondary character who also carries part of the story. Problem is, I don’t yet have much of an idea what the story is yet, as I’ve just started the serial. My question is two-fold: Is it too early to introduce the love interest, and any suggestions on where I could go with my serial?
Any help would be much appreciated!
Character Crunch Time
Dear Character Crunch Time
Map Time, First.
I’ve not written a full serial myself, but it looks like you need a plan. Before you write much further, I suggest you get a large sheet of paper (A3 or A2) and two A4 sheets, some markers of different colours and pens of different colours. Then, I suggest you start at one end (or the top) of the first A4 and start jotting down your ideas for your series. Continue onto the second A4. Stick the A4s together (sellotape works well, this isn’t a piece of art, yet), and taking one coloured marker trace a logical (or most exciting—preferably both) path through your ideas linking characters, events and locations. Then take another marker (different colour, please) and number the plot threads in a progression building up into a grand finale. It’s okay if you don’t have a finale, only your plots must be building into something bigger. Use another page (s) to make more notes.
Then take the large sheet and beginning with your Number One plot, transcribe the basic pointers into your episodes/parts using different coloured pens for characters, locations, etc.
You should have a workable poster-sized map to work on your serial now.
As for your character question, trace their part through the series or see where they might fit in best.
It may seem like a lot of work to figure out what to do with your character, but at least you’ve got a workable map for your serial. Feel free to change it as it goes along. The best maps are always updated often.
I pulled a card for you and the message is: Control. This is what you need to exercise over your serial, and I think this map will give you that.
Wishing you and your characters find your ways in an adventurous and fun fashion
Dear Agonist Aunt
Where To Start This Creative Life?
I’m a new creative. Not new to creative thinking, per se, but to producing creative things like crafts and painted works and writing and all that good stuff. I’ve recently finally gotten some time to get into producing creative stuff, but I don’t know where to start. I’ve gotten a whole truckload of Amazon goodies from paintbrushes and canvasses to baking and decorating utensils to a brand new mug that says “I write therefore I am’, but I get intimidated just by looking it all and thinking of all the things I’d like to do.
How do you suggest I get started?
Overwhelmed and Intimidated
Dear Overwhelmed and Intimidated
Start With A Word
Some believe everything ever created was done so by the power of a word, so you may want to try that first. Write a word on a piece of paper, or paint it on a blank canvas. Don’t over-think it. Write it big or small, fancy or scribbled, untidy or super-neat. It doesn’t matter. Neither does the word. I don’t suggest supercalifragillisticexpialidocious, though. Just saying. Next, take another colour and write another word, or swirl the brush around, or draw swirls and twirls. Then take a step back and decide if you’re going to go all Jackson Pollack on it or do something intricate and dainty instead.
Most important of all—the most vital part to creating creative work—is to have fun. So, have fun!
I pulled a card for you and its message is Power. This is a card of intuition, and as well as one which I see as being esoteric in nature. If you have esoteric interests, you may want to start off by drawing/painting or engraving your favourite symbol on your canvas/a piece of wood/some clay. But most of all follow your intuition and see where it takes you. Still, don’t forget to have fun!
Wishing you lots of fun and exploration