'Philosophy of Composition' on Ocean Calling
It's very hard for me to find something I like when faced with the daunting assignment of creative writing. I'm always looking for an idea to write that isn't too cliché, that it has some originality to it; but I want it to be something that I have fun writing, as well.
My first choice to write when I think of fun is fantasy. Okay, I'll write a story in it with magic and adventure. Then again, it's hard to write fantasy, because it seems that every single plotline for a fantasy story has already been done and redone. There's hardly any originality in it today. So, I decided to make my story in a fairly normal setting, with a fairly normal person, with a touch of the supernatural in it. Where's a good place for that to be possible? The ocean. The sea. Water in general has always had a special quality to it, which makes it perfect for the kind of story I had in mind.
Also, most of the stories I read include girls around my age. Most likely because they are who I can most relate to when reading. I decided to go with a young girl as my main character.
The idea for my story changed several times. I knew that I wanted to involve a body of water in it, so at first I thought I wanted to write about a normal, hip, modern, young girl with a pull to the sea, who discovers that she is, in fact, a selkie. I didn't like that idea, although I DID like the selkie plan. It was several tries before I scrapped it. So I added a grandmother who told her granddaughter stories about selkies, for she was once one herself. I felt that I couldn't write about that either... After several variations of either the theme 'selkie' or 'stories', it suddenly came to me. Yes, I'd write about a girl with a connection with the sea, but it'd be something ethereal; something that's barely there. A voice that no one except the listening will hear.
So, why would my girl be listening to something so hard? Because she's lonely. Why is she lonely? She's had a harsh and sad life.
Well, what'll her name be? To me, names are important for a story. You want to find a good one for your character that gives them a connection to their destiny. Thus, this name would be one that means some form of water. Then I thought, the entire world is covered by water. The oceans and seas belong to the world. Besides, I want to give my girl a kind of hidden magic. The ocean calls her by her name, but her name will have many manifestations.
Creirdyddlydd-Welsh-Gem of the sea; token of the sea
Merril-Gaelic-Bright as the sea
Neela-Indian-Blue, color of the sea
Pela-Greek-Of the Sea
Umiko-Japanese-Child of the sea
Maris-Latin-Of the Sea
Bahari-Swahili-Something vast, ocean, sea
The names have slightly different meanings, but they all tie back to the sea. If you'll notice (and I myself only realized this after I was done with my story), the arrangement in which I put them also works with what the ocean is currently talking about. (Ex: Bahari/something vast ocean is angry, talking of revenge; Umiko/child of sea Ocean is being loving and caring, like a mother)
The ocean views this girl with love and affection, but of course, it's also known to be a killer. I wanted to give a reason for this. Also, the girl hardly had a love for the human race either, so I wanted her to accept the ocean even though she knows that it won't be as kind to others as it is to her.
From the beginning, I knew that I'd have my girl join the sea.. I purposefully left the ending open so that you can make it whatever you want. Maybe she becomes one with it, and lives forever as part of the ocean. Maybe someone sees her and pulls her out of the water just in time... Maybe she drowns... Thus I give it a supernatural feel, which at the same time runs a chill down your spine. Whichever way, I intend to imply that the girl ends up happy. But it is not the normal, magical, happily-ever-after people usually make it. Unless you take it as such.
NOTE: If you want you can stop reading here.
This next part is not part of my actual Philosophy of Composition (it's about a scene I took out of the final draft), but I found it interesting enough, and it gives a bit more back story into who the girl was.
This is directly after the ending that is in the final copy:
"Where is she? WHERE IS SHE?"
A uniformed nurse of the Sanatorium ran through the building, frantically looking. "Which idiot left her outside?"
The nurse stopped in abrupt shock at seeing the doctor gazing out of a window facing the coast.
Those two words ran a cold trickle down the nurse's spine.
"Wh-What do you mean? How could you possibly say that?! She went down to the shore... We have to go look for her!"
Cerulean eyes turned her way. "Please do not misunderstand. My sister is no longer here, but that does not mean that she's dead. Look. Listen. I can still here her."
Even while panicking, the nurse incomprehensibly felt herself following his orders. Somehow, instinctively, unexplainably, she felt herself still. Then she smiled.
"I hear her singing."
He replied, "I came to take up this career to make up for all the times my father beat her, and my mother cut her down with her cruel and spiteful words, and I couldn't do anything. I wanted to help her and others like her. I thought that this trip would help me understand her better. Now I know what a blessing it was to bring her here. She's found her place."
She spoke with the words of one who understands.
"No own else will remember her, I think. She was like a wave, beautiful but oh-so-quickly gone. But I believe that we will be able to remember her enough for the rest of the world."
Cerulean eyes turned back to the sea once more.
"Farewell, sister. Farewell Mira. I'm so glad you've found a place to be happy."
A song answered him.
I didn't like this ending for several reasons: I found it a bit awkward after the whole "ocean talking" vibe that I'd written. Also, I found that I couldn't write the nurse's character well; she felt rushed and impromptu. The explanation the doctor told was also somewhat fuzzy and weak. And I decided that I didn't like that the girl had a name in the end. (Mira-Sanskrit-Ocean, Sea)
Reasons I did like it at first are: It gives us a chilling realization that the ocean's voice was not real, that the girl was insane (possibly Multiple-Personality Disorder, which would explain the different names) and at the beach because the Asylum where she stays was having a vacation. In this ending she drowns. I also liked that there was a bystander who understood her situation, that she was not happy living, and thus understood why she drowned herself. This bystander is her brother (Note: They both have cerulean eyes.), whose parents were the ones to abuse her. He explains why he is who he is and why he doing this for his sister.
Well, if you've read this far... I hope you liked the 'deleted scene'!
A/N: This was the second part of this assignment last year. It was to be an explanation of why we wrote our story the way we did.(I got an A+ on this part too!)
Why did I put it up here nearly a year after the actual story? Well, I just felt like it! :D