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O – Okami to Koshinryo (Spice and Wolf)

  • Posted on April 18, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Okami to Koshinryo, Spice and Wolf, or as my friends call it, “Moe Economics” is proof that you can make any hobby into something interesting. So don’t hesitate to give your weird, questionable ideas the room they need to grow! A series about a spice merchant and his companion, the wolf Goddess Holo, the story basically follows their travels through a world fraught with trade and stories.

Why I recommend it to Writers: The story revolves entirely around the world around Holo and Vincent. The two of them are players on a massive stage, and that teaches a great love for the way money and trade works.

Warnings: Nudity.

For the rest of the articles in this series, please visit this page.

Have you seen this anime? What about it made you want to be a better writer? Do you intend to go shotgun this anime now that I’ve shown it to you? Comment below and tell me what you think!

IWSG – 03/01/17

  • Posted on March 1, 2017 at 12:15 am

There’s a lovely group of people who listen to my woes and comfort me every month, and this month I have the honor of giving back by co-hosting the lovely Insecure Writer’s Support Group. If you don’t know about this group or are relatively new, here’s how it works:

  1. Click on the picture
  2. Sign up
  3. Post a post every first Wednesday about your struggles as a writer, your triumphs as an author, and any encouragement you have to give others. (prompts are provided, most times.)
  4. Go and read about other’s struggles and comment with support!

When I was fourteen years old, I had a dream. To this day the only thing I can remember about the dream was that there was a sorcerer and a swordsman, and the swordsman ran the sorcerer through with his sword. He caught the dying sorcerer, and the sorcerer said to him, “You never could save me.”

That’s how two of the main characters of the Kurylian Saga were born. Others came afterward, but Yumil and Dirk were the ones who stuck around the most. I drew comics of them, I wrote short stories to myself. I even considered making a full-blown manga out of their adventure.

In the end, I settled on a book, and with the encouragement of my then-boyfriend, in 2013, I wrote the first draft of the Kurylian saga. The characters were wonky, the settings were forgettable, and the action was… well… inactive. I met my mentor, Chris Votey, and began work on the second draft. And then the third. And then I put it away for almost a full year, while I was homeless and running around my town trying to get my feet back under me.

Most recently, I’ve been struggling with a feeling of dejection. That the story I was telling was either not good enough, or that I, as a writer, didn’t have the skill to tell it. I absolutely drove myself mad over it to the point where I considered whether or not to scrap the book entirely and just move on.

I tried to do just that. I opened rough draft after rough draft. I tried different genres. I tried everything. But I always came back to Dirk and Yumil. The two of them needed their story told, and my fourteen-year-old-self was still in love with the way their world worked.

So I went to Chris and I asked him for help. As always, he gave me lovely lessons on world building, and how to use what I was learning in college in my writing. Then he set me the challenge of writing short fiction. Just real quick 500-750 word drabbles centered around one of the other characters in the story named Eamon.

Doing this unlocked something in me, and I found myself starting to get excited about the book again.

However, those doubts started niggling again. I couldn’t possibly be writing this right. I was obviously doing something wrong. Why was Eamon acting this way, when I had thought she was a more simple character?!

Chris came to me again and offered me the chance to analyze Dirk and Eamon, to see how they really ticked. I jumped on it, thinking that, as always, Chris must have some kind of reasoning behind it. And to be honest, I’m not the greatest at Character Profiling. Or world building. Or prose. Or, well you get the drift.

The first thing we did was sit down over voice chat, and he started asking me questions. I was instructed to answer the question three times. Once for Dirk, Once for Eamon, and Once for myself. I recognized the questions as being similar to an MBTI test I took and abandoned halfway through a long time ago.

For those who don’t know, MBTI stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is a psychological profiling system. It’s become very fashionable lately to know what your MBTI is on Tumblr, so I’ve kind of been rolling my eyes at it as any kind of diagnostic tool. However, Chris is on the verge of something wonderful, so I went along with it.

Going through the questions made me think about things I’d never considered before. Was Eamon organized? Did Dirk like being in the center of crowds? Did either of them enjoy spending time outdoors or indoors more? The questions were thorough and difficult to answer.

Over the course of the questions, however, the two of them started to form more solidly in my head. These were real people I was talking about suddenly. Not characters in my mind, but people I knew more intimately (apparently) than I knew myself!

It got me to thinking, however, about the characters and how they were and what they were doing. I started asking myself questions about my other characters, like Yumil and Jorgan and Anelace. Were any of them wallflowers? Did any of them answer emails promptly? It made me feel more connected to the story, which suddenly made me want to write more on this behemoth that had already taken up four years of my life.

And then, a few days later, Chris said he had the results. And when we went over them, something amazing happened. It was more than just a confirmation of who the characters were. It was like Chris was reading to me a manual on the characters that I had dreamt up, loved, and written for years. They came alive on the paper, and their actions suddenly made SENSE.

Dirk adopted Jorgan because his emotions thrive on love and care, and children are love and care incarnate. Eamon feels pressure to be like her father because it’s difficult for her to be original because of her personality. Everything made sense. I wasn’t crazy. These characters really were like real live people.

More than anything, by getting to know these characters, by learning how they think, how they feel, and what their rich inner lives were like, I knew that I was doing the right thing. That I was the writer to tell their story. After all, if I could make a complex character that fit into a personality profile used by psychiatrists, how could I possibly be doing my story injustice? I hadn’t known that these profiles existed when I made Dirk. So I wasn’t copying.

I had known Chris was doing research on personality typing for character creation, and he had mentioned MBTI types as well as astrology. Now I couldn’t help but wonder if his research for that project was what he used to help me. He confirmed it, of course, when I asked him. I felt so privileged that he would share such a thing with me.

I was so giddy with elation I rushed out of our voice chat, leaving poor Chris behind,  just to write all of this down. So let me tell you, fellow writers. If you are lacking motivation, or if you feel like you aren’t good enough… Sit down with your characters. Get to know them. Learn their inner lives. Do these things, and you’ll find that you ARE a writer, you are a good one, and you can do this.

After all, they chose you to tell their story.

So get out there, and tell it.

By the way, the test Chris recommended I use to find out the other characters MBTI profiles is right HERE, so feel free to use it! I also recommend THIS WEBSITE for getting to know each MBTI type.

As an aside, next month I will be joining the Blogging A to Z Challenge, co-hosted by IWSG’s Alex Cavenaugh! Follow me now for awesome articles every day in april!

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Pet Peeves

  • Posted on July 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm

“Stop, stop stop. You’re doing it wrong.” The spoon was snatched out of his hand, and Dirk blinked, frowning up at the interloper. The silver spoon balanced from Yumil’s fingers like a cigarette from a 1950s audrey hepburn. “you stir without clanking. Otherwise it’s annoying.”

“Does it really matter?” Dirk asked, “It’s stirring. With a spoon. In coffee.” He made sure to raise an eyebrow to emphasize just how stupid Yumil was acting.

“Just… Do it right, alright. You gently scrape the bottom.” Yumil’s brows furrowed, and he gave the spoon back. “It’s one of my pet peeves.”

“A pet peeve?” Dirk demanded.

“Yeah. A pet peeve. Like when I pick at those lumpy little bits on the socks you knit.” The derision in his tone was matched by the sarcastic tilt of his body as he plopped into the other, matching, floral-print armchair they’d bought at some or other garage sale.

“That’s completely natural. It’s not nice to pick at things made for you. I work hard on those damned socks.” Dirk’s eyes strayed to the lumpy, soft yarn sitting in the bin he used to hold it while he was knitting.

“Just accept it.” Yumil sighed. “Everyone’s got their pet peeves.” He started poking off fingers as he counted their friends. “Eamon’s hair getting in her eyes. Anelace being cut off in traffic. Lette hates being interupted in conversation. Espin can’t stand the sound of a dripping faucet, and Jorgan’s always getting annoyed when he finds hair in his food.”

“That’s natural too. Your hair gets everywhere.” Dirk’s nose crinkled in annoyance. It was true. His partner’s long hair shed like a husky, and it always ended up in some form or another in the food they ate. “You really should tie it up before you cook.”

“Oh shut up.” Yumil answered, good-naturedly. He changed the channel on the tv to the home and gardening network.

“I was watching that.”

“Sure you were. Just like you were stirring your coffee properly.”

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