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L – Log Horizon

  • Posted on April 14, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Another entry in this list that started out as light novels and got turned into an amazing anime series, Log Horizon is one of my favorites. Technically a Sci-fi, it manages to seem almost high fantasy, if only because of the premise. Suddenly transported to the world of an MMORPG, the main characters must not only survive. They must also rebuild society as a whole, to make the life they have in this world worth living again.

Why I recommend it to Writers: The intricacies of the plot is only outpaced by the characters’ growth throughout the story. Each arc has a definitive character arc as well, and it makes me so happy to watch.

Warnings: Brief child slavery, perverted humor.

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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Examples of Diversity in Writing

  • Posted on December 10, 2016 at 8:31 am

With the advent of recent shows in diversity, and to combat the fear of that diversity leaving in the face of certain leaders, let’s rehash some recent boons in Diverse writing! I’ll be linking to several good articles on each section, as well as writing up my own experiences with it.

We can learn something from these giants, and we absolutely should!

Hamilton – Race in Theatre

Ever since Hamilton received a record 16 nominations for Tony Awards, it’s been clear that the diverse cast had something to do with it. Telling a story about white individuals using black individuals as the actors has turned out to be an outstanding way to support people of color and impoverished communities as well. It proves that no matter what the source material, ability should dictate who gets a part, not race or body shape or anything else.

  1. Hamilton Fans Flock
  2. Hamilton Cast – “We are the Diverse America”
  3. What does Hamilton tell us about Race in Casting?
  4. No, Hamilton’s casting call is not Reverse Racism.

Legend of Korra – Bisexuality

Legend of Korra is the hit sequel to Avatar the Last Airbender, and boy howdy, did it hit hard on the radar of all the sites I frequent. In fact, the final couple, Korrasami (Korra+Asami), seems to be a warning for conservative television. That is, your days of heteronormative television are over. Now, I personally didn’t make it tot he end of that series (Mako made me want to throw something at my television in the hopes it would hit him) but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. It’s a masterpiece of writing, and I think you should absolutely watch it, if you want to be an author.

  1. Korra goes beyond bisexual representation
  2. Thinking of watching Korra?
  3. And the Korra Wiki

Undertale – Gender Diversity

(Spoilers ahead)
In Undertale, the main character, Frisk, is always referred to as They. Not only that but all of the children are referred to as they as well, except the Prince, Asriel. The ghosts are referred to as They. This use of the third pronoun, They/Them, is very unique, in that it was clearly a premeditated choice on the part of the writer, and yet it appears as easy as breathing air to the main characters and their cohorts. This sort of gender inclusivity is rare. Not only that, but there is a character that clearly represents the transgender struggle. If you’re familiar with Mettaton, try looking up the Meta (Get it?!) around his creation. Beyond even that, you have Undyne, who slays gender roles, Papyrus, who shows us it’s okay to be effeminate and cook and still be a badass bone brother.

  1. Undertale Science Lays it out for us
  2. An interview with Toby Fox
  3. Gender Identity in Undertale via Reddit

Yuri on Ice – Homophobia and the Lack thereof

One of the greatest shows in the Fall 2016 lineup, Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime about figure skaters. Yuri, Victor and Yurio are the three main characters, but even Yurio falls away when compared to the wonderful love story unfolding before us. Victuri (Victor+Yuri) is a healthy romance for the years ahead, and one for the storybooks, in my opinion. But what is incredibly vibrant about the show isn’t just the love between it’s two leads, but the fact that NO ONE IS SHAMED FOR IT. There is no homophobia in sight! It’s proof that one CAN write a healthy, happy romance, without having to include the icky awfulness that our everyday reality pushes onto it.

  1. Yuri!!! On Ice! is the Skating Anime for Everyone
  2. Yes, Yuri!!! On Ice is as Gay as you Think
  3. Gender in YOI

 

In conclusion, go educate yourself, and have fun writing your diverse cast! There’s no reason to stick to straight white protagonists anymore, and certainly no reason to limit yourself. Dream big!

Write Now! 3 – Grimm Art of Fairy Tales

  • Posted on June 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Kate Bernheimer’s article on The Grimm Art of Fairy Tales  intrigues me in ways I can’t describe. Since I was a little girl, fairy tales have always been a big part of my life. I found comfort in the idea that, like Vassilissa the Fair, my mother would never leave me wanting, and like Snow White, my kindness and general likability would gain me safety. These small morals were the cornerstone to my personality. So of course, I’m obsessed with them now! However, after getting in touch with my love of horror and suspense, I find that the sweet, normal fairy tales of my childhood don’t quite… do it for me anymore.

And after reading Miss Bernheimer’s article, I figured out why. All of them lack something. They lack the original source. They lack the social commentary, the deep, terrifying moral of all fairy tales. Baba Yaga was a warning against disobeying your elders’ wisdom and, at the same time, a celebration of how that wisdom can, at times, be dangerous. Sleeping Beauty was a warning about how sometimes, not inviting the right people can ruin your entire life. The little mermaid did what Romeo and Juliet could not, and warned me away from stupid, single-minded love.

Intuitive logic, Flatness, and Happy endings, the article describes, are the three fundamentals of a fairy tale. to quote:

Intuitive Logic. The fairy tale world does not conform to the rules of this world, outside of a book, but it does have rules. They will not be explained with insistence. A teapot will sing. A path will appear just when children need to escape terrible danger. A girl will outsmart a witch. Your chopped off hands will turn into silver and save your life later. In my early fiction, my characters often argued with those around them that they were misunderstood; when I removed all efforts to justify logic (try removing transitions like “Therefore” and “Because”), my readers stopped arguing the stories were illogical.

Flatness. In many old fairy tales, characters are not very deep, psychologically speaking. Snow White, the target of murderous impulses by relatives (sisters or mother) does not suffer depression as a result. She does have responses however: fear, sadness, etc. They are logical and not lingered on deeply. There is nothing wrong with stories that explore ideas about psychological depth; I like many of these stories. Yet flat characters leave room for the reader. In the space left behind, one can think in new ways – Imagine new planes of existence. By flattening characters out, fairy tales exceed limitations of individuality, uniqueness, and self.

Happy Endings. Happy endings are underrated and misunderstood. In lots of old fairy tales, terrible things precede the beautiful images that begin and end most fairy tales; besides what’s wrong with a little consolation in a world teeming with senseless violence, poverty, grief? J.R.R Tolkien once defended happy endings as a vital technique in literature – reflecting, “Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” If I want to end a story about death with an image of a white horse running down a beach, as men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns wander drunkenly into the sea, leaving a pretty girl on the beach, counting pennies in the moonlight – if I can create poetic joy in the words – this is okay. […]

Fairy tales are storybook worlds. You can cast the spell.

The Grimm Art of Fairy Tales,  Kate Bernheimer

Her exercise then is to find a very short, very old fairytale, and break it down into these three instances. I chose Vassilissa the Fair, as it’s my favorite tale. It’s the story of a girl who’s mother, on her deathbed, gives her a doll and tells her if she runs into any trouble, to feed the doll and ask it’s advice. Since this is a fairy tale, Vassilissa of course runs into trouble.

Now, the intuitive logic here, is that the doll will in fact come alive. No one asks how. Or why. Just that the doll, when fed, comes alive and helps the one that fed it. And this help, invariably, always, helps her. When Baba Yaga tells her to clean her house, the doll has it done by the time Vassilissa wakes from a short nap. When Vassilissa runs from the witch, the doll tells her not to speak to the three riders on the white, red and black horses (morning, noon and night respectively.). And when Vassilissa at the first is sent out of her home to get a flower in the middle of winter, the doll is the one that tells her about the clearing in which she finds the 12 men (the months in order.).

Flatness is easy to find, since all we know about Vassilissa is that she is ‘fair’, meaning most likely blonde and pale.  We know she loved her mother very much. But we don’t hear Vassilissa’s thoughts. We don’t find out if she feels responsible for her mother’s death, or if she hates her stepmother and sister for sending her out into the forest each day. We never find out her feelings on Baba Yaga at all. And she’s wholly unaffected by the world around her. Vassilissa is little but a vessel for us to pour our own thoughts and feelings into.

The Happy Ending changes, based on who’s telling the story, of course, but my favorite is the one where the wicked sister goes out to get a blessing from Baba Yaga the way Vassilissa did, and never comes back, and the mother goes out to demand the men in the clearing give her flowers too, and never comes back. Vassilissa is left alone in her family home, to live her life. It’s not as surreal, perhaps as Miss Bernheimer would ask for, but it suited the story.

You can use this technique on any story really, and every story can benefit from these three instances of fairy tale progression. Remove attempts to describe the logic of your world. Let the readers just accept the premise of your story, and if they have questions? Well, that’s what Tumblr is for. Simplify or eliminate Character depth. It can always be added back in later. But for now, see how you can make room for the reader too. Don’t erase the tragedy, but afterwards, give the reader some odd bit of hope, like a pearl found lodged between an old man’s gums, which can then be used to buy passage onto a boat headed for a better life.

Genre Shift – IWSG 06/01/16

  • Posted on June 1, 2016 at 4:51 pm

We're here for you. It’s that time again, the time when we put ourselves out there, all our worries, fears and anxieties so that others may comfort us, and we, in turn, can comfort them. Theres nothing wrong with seeking comfort. In fact, it can be exceedingly useful, especially when one needs it.

In this case, however, the cause of my anxieties and fears come from within my own mind, and as my therapist continues to tell me, what FEELS true, often isn’t. Speaking words outloud, or in this case typing them down, often helps to change that mental and emotional lock.

So here goes.

I’m going to change genres. That’s it. That’s the source of my issue. You see, there’s quite a bit built up behind it, but that decision alone is what is causing a lot of my anxieties as a writer right now. It, of course, comes with a lot of caveats and changes and reprisals on all thoughts and functions of my mind, but in the most basic of senses, that’s it.

I’ll attempt to break it down for you, and for myself, so that I can work through the various issues I’m having. You see, I’ve always been a fantasy writer. My best works have always been fantasy. I’ve tried my hand at writing short horror stories, and found myself wanting. I’ve tried my hand at writing teen fiction, which kind of fell flat. The only thing other than straight, epic fantasy that I’ve written is fanfiction. And even that, well… Let’s just put it this way, I’m never going to give those accounts up. Over my dead body!

So when I say that I want to break out into Regency Era romance of the Asexual variety… Well, it’s a bit like saying, “Oh, I’m a fish and now I want to fly.” Technically it can be done. However, can it be done well?

Lookit this little guy. He tries so hard…

First of all, there’s the issue of the fact that I’m leaving a huge project, my nearly finished Kurylian Knight novel in the lurch by devoting time and energy to this other work instead. Then, on top of that, there’s the energy that will be taken away from managing this blog as well, and making sure it’s up and running. With my recent bouts of anxiety and depression, I’ve been having trouble with getting the basic energy just to apply to cleaning the house and caring for the children in my care. How am I ever supposed to split my energy even further to give this idea the time and care it needs to flourish?

Secondly, all of MY romances have fallen flat on their face and died, usually due to a disconnect over sex. So what am I supposed to do when writing it? What kind of romance author has literally NO successful relationships? Surely there’s someone more qualified out there to write these stories, right? But then again, this particular project has a tinge to it that’s entirely self serving that I can’t just leave to someone else. I plan on basing the first one off of myself, specifically, my life story. I can hear you now, “Really? You’re going to write self-insert fiction? Ugh. Those are the worst.” Yeah, I know. But… honestly, there’s just something about the idea that makes me want to do it. That and I watched Vanity Fair one too many times.

My third issue stems from the research required in order to try and even come close to tackling this particular genre with any sort of class or joy. Recently, it has come to my attention that I might have undiagnosed Adult ADHD. I came to this conclusion due to a sudden, and quite annoying, inability to focus on a book long enough to actually READ it. It’s part of why I’ve been having so much trouble in the first place. But the only way I’ve found to actually be able to WRITE a genre, is to READ said genre. It’s painful, but necessary. Which means reading a lot of really torrid romance novels for me. Again, where am I supposed to get the energy and time to devote to this?

The fourth problem stems from my inability to find a narrative link throughout this new project. All I really want to do is tell my biography, except set in the 1800s england that stood out so much when I watched Vanity Fair and Downton Abbey. Is that so much to ask? To set my ill-fated story in somewhere beautiful and tawdry? Possibly. But worse still, how do I break down 27 years of experiences into a novel, and have a point to it, a conclusion, when there ISN’T a conclusion to my life yet? There isn’t a narrative focus in my life, really, except perhaps finding balance where there is none, but even that’s speculation brought on by fortune telling. I could risk taking it aside, and just using bits and peices of my personal story, and not having it based entirely in my life, but then, I feel, it would lose it’s meaning to me. However, I fear that if I don’t, it won’t hold any meaning to anyone else, either. What to do, what to do…?

As you can see, genre switches, and starting new projects in general, are not fun, nor do they come lightly. It’s something I still have to muddle over and make a decision on. It’s something that will probably haunt me for the entirety of the time I write the book. I know that worries like this still plague me for my kurylian saga too. But what are we supposed to do with these worries?

Write through them. Push them to the side and tell the story that needs telling. Of course, that’s easier said than done, most often. Some writers I know have six or seven projects all open at once, and I find that if I so much as consider it, I become paralyzed with indecision. Which should I work on, which should I wait on, what should I be doing? But at the same time, the ideas come like a waterfall, no matter what. My therapist says that often times, what we can handle is more than we think it is, and then, even a little more than that. He’s encouraging me to take on more, emotionally and mentally, so that maybe, just maybe, I can grow stronger under the weight. So I think that’s what I’ll do here as well.

After all, if I don’t write the asexual regency era romance novel, who will?

Monthly Writing Update – Feb 2016

  • Posted on February 7, 2016 at 11:19 am

So, I’ve decided that, since I have trouble keeping up with one post a week, much less two, I’m going to switch to a Monthly Writing Update, which will generally be published on the 5th or so of every month. As always, this will include my writing progress, writing goals, reading goals, and various other goals that I feel like sharing with you guys. I hope you don’t mind the change in format, but honestly, I feel like this is a bit more… uh. Honest.

Writing Progress:

The Knight of Kuryle – Rewrite – 5,605 words – five chapters re-written

All other writing projects are on hold until I can get this done.

Posts written:

Weekly Writing Update – 1/11/16

Ab Ovo – A Review of a Literary Term

Writing Anime: Colorful – About POV changes mid-story

Writing Anime: Land of Gods and Monsters – About Magic Systems

IWSG – 2/3/16 – About Giving yourself a break.

Books Read:

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

February Goals:

Do Taxes

File Fafsa

Four more Blogposts this month

Rewrite 5k more words on book

Read another book – Not sure which one yet.

Writing Anime: Land of Gods and Monsters

  • Posted on January 31, 2016 at 10:50 am

Noragami is a sensational series that gives whole new definition to Gods and Demons. Or rather, in this case, Kami and Ayakashi (Phantoms). The series follows Yato, a down-on-his-luck god, who in general seems to have no real power. In fact, he’s honestly a god-for-hire, who will “Grant any wish for just 5 yen!” as he so cheerfully exclaims all over media networks. Seriously, this guy has a TWITTER.

Poor guy only has two followers though.

Along with him are Yukine, a spirit that he has allowed second life to serve him as a Regalia (a system that will be explained later), and Yatori, a human girl whom made a wish, and Yato is having trouble granting it. All in all a beautiful story with great characters and a lovely, multi-faceted protagonist.

So why is it so interesting? Well, because of the fact that the WORLD in which it is built is so very interesting. As normal humans, this world isn’t something WE would be able to see, but none the less, might exist along side us anyway.

Today, we’ll be exploring that world in detail, as well as the various ways we could use these details in our own writing.

In the world of Noragami, there are approximately four types of spirits. Gods known as Kami, Humans from the Near Shore, which are just regular people like you and me, Spirits which can be either human shaped or corrupted into Ayakashi, and Regalia (or Shinki) which are used by gods to cleanse and purify Ayakashi.

Of the various classes, Kami are perhaps the oddly vulnerable powerhouses of the series. One of the major arc-words of the series is “A god can do no wrong.” An article by Martin Wisse explains why this might not be such a good thing. Gods are unchangeable, eternal beings. So much so in fact that when one dies, if they have followers, they are immediately reborn, sans memories and in a childlike form. If they do not have followers… Well.

To that end, Gods are tasked with removing Ayakashi from existence, cleansing them sometimes, or destroying them others. Ayakashi are what happens when a soul stays too long on the Near Side (I.E. Our world) and gets corrupted by negative emotion, fear, doubt, or by other Ayakashi. These spirits turn into giant monstrous beasts that cause misfortune, unrest, and negative emotions in humans. If one were strong enough, it might even cause a human to fall into such deep depression that they could decide to kill themselves, thus feeding the Ayakashi following them.

Before an Ayakashi forms, however, it is most likely a Near Side Soul, or basically, a ghost. These are spirits that linger, and these are the spirits that can be turned into Shinki, or Regalia. Regalia are the most important thing for a god to have, when dealing with Ayakashi. As gods will become corrupted and suffer blight if they touch or get near an Ayakashi for too long, Shinki allow the gods to combat and purify the phantoms. Shinki act as weapons, or sometimes objects, that are intermediaries between the gods and the world around them. In fact, Regalia are so important that THEY themselves choose what their god can strike at.

If a god can get to a Near-Side Soul before it turns into Ayakashi, they can choose to send it on to the next life, or take it on as a Regalia. Shinki, however, are not easy to maintain. They are essentially human, and so each negative emotion they have affects their God. Lying, stealing, cheating, all of it physically HURTS the god they are tied to. In fact, if it goes on long enough and the human doesn’t repent, it can actually cause the god so much illness that the god has to die to be set arights. But again, a god with followers has nothing to fear from being killed, except that they would lose their current selves and start over as a child.

What we, as writers, can take from this is that magic systems are sometimes extremely complex. If your magic system is as complex as this, it MUST impact not just the plot, but the characters entirely! Yato is entirely absorbed in his role as a God. In fact, it’s what DRIVES him as the main character, and what drives him to change. The problem is, as a Kami, Yato CANNOT change on his own. He requires external forces to enact change in him. There comes in Yukine and Hiyori. But it is the Magic System that requires such measures.

To enact this sort of magic system, however, you have to think of it as a sort of ecosystem. If there is one section of the ecosystem, it must serve another, as the Kami serve the humans to get prayers and worship, and the shinki serve the Kami as a way to gain a second life. Generally, however, your story won’t work unless this ecosystem IS the central plot, when tied into the characters. A few tips for implementing it:

  • Have one character from each section of the ecosystem, so as to show how they interact.
  • Make sure that each section has drawbacks as well as gains from the other sections.
  • Clearly delineate how this ecosystem would fall apart if one part were removed.
    • For example, if the Kami are removed, the Ayakashi overrun humanity, and if the Shinki are removed, the Gods would fall to blight.
  • Show how the ecosystem works even when one or more of the pieces is missing. Don’t just leave it to chance, work it into your plot.
  • Make it a part of the characters. Don’t SAY the character is in this part of the ecosystem, SHOW it in their actions.

If you were to adapt this to another culture, say, norse gods, it could still work on the fundamental basis. Change ‘Shinki’ to Valkyries. Change gods to Aesir. Change Ayakashi to Giants, or Aelfs, or any other number of norse nasties. You could easily tell the story of Noragami with Loki instead of Yato. Just be careful, because that could be copyright infringement.

 

Winter Spirit!

  • Posted on December 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Alright, welcome back all my lovely readers! I’m sure most of you noticed that I was pretty much completely gone this november. A few posts here and there, mostly about NaNoWriMo, which I WON!!!! *pops a champagne bottle* Alright, so for those of you who don’t know what it is, or haven’t read any of my previous posts on it, NaNoWriMo is basically a giant writing marathon!

Last year, I finished the first draft of my novel, The Sorcerer and The Swordsman, with 150,000 words.  This year, I went for a much saner goal, as my job had changed and no longer allowed me to write during work hours, and as I no longer had someone to help around the house while I spent my time manically typing at the keyboard. I broke up the words into a retelling of the first chapter-or-so of TSATS, and a short story I plan to submit to an Anthology later this year. I even had a few thousand words left over to put towards the second chapter-ish of TSATS.

Things I learned from NaNoWriMo14:

  1. You can start out ahead and still fall behind.
  2. Finding the best place/time/people to write with should be top priority.
  3. Admit your faults. Don’t let them hold you back.
  4. Sleep is for the Weak. No seriously, you can sacrifice sleep for one month, if you need to.
  5. Always, Always, Always keep someone on hand to bounce ideas off of. Loneliness sucks.
  6. No matter what you’ve done before, doing something new is always worth celebrating.

Now that NaNo is over, I can calm down a little. Post more on here, maybe get that short story done for the anthology. I do however, have a few announcements.

One: I will not be continuing the Breaking Down Nemesis series. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from NaNo, it’s that writing things that you aren’t interested in only results in shit. So, sadly, I must discontinue this. I have learned a lot, and will greatly raise my level of writing from this, but I will not continue reading a book I cannot stand.

Two: I have a deadline! I will be publishing the first Novella of TSATS by June of 2015. You can look forward to it, and it’s sequels, here on this blog! I’ll be posting little snippets here and there, to gather opinions on it! Feel free to subscribe to keep up!

Please, let me know what lessons you’ve learned from NaNo in the comments! <3

Imagine Your OC – Practice Drabbles 1

  • Posted on October 19, 2014 at 10:15 pm

In the spirit of NaNoPrep, I’m taking some time to build my characters! And in doing so, apparently, I am avoiding all responsibility by surfing tumblr. Anyway, I found this post here, entitled ‘Things to consider when making your OCs” and I realized, honestly, they’re some pretty amazing prompts! So here we go! I’ve picked random characters for each prompt, and will flesh them out some! This should be an adventure, yes it should.

~*~*~*~*~

How would they react upon accidentally walking into a glass door?

The pain was nothing to the embarrassment. Knocking into the sliding glass door only caused a slight ache in the bridge of his nose, but Dirk’s pride? Now, that was bruised beyond repair. With Yumil laughing in the background, he groaned, rubbing the sore area. Stay calm, Strausson, stay cool. No need to let the normally-unflappable idiot you hang around with take the wind out of your sails.

“I meant to do that.” Dirk stumbled, saying the first thing he could think of. This, of course, only increased the howling of laughter from Yumil.

Jorgan, sweet, innocent Jorgan, took the handle of the door, and opened it. “There you go!” Dirk knew letting Jorgan hang around his older brother was a bad idea. Look at that tiny smirk. Yumil was a bad influence. Giving up, the mahogany skinned man slid past Jorgan and out into the yard, ignoring the burning of embarrassment in his ears.

*~*~*~*~*~*~

How do they react to having their name spelled wrong on a Starbucks cup?

“…Excuse me. This…” Dirk was holding a cup, on which his name had been… well… The letters in scrawled sharpie clearly emblazoned the word “DICK” instead of Dirk. He stood at the counter, as the person behind the counter stared placidly back. Before he even finished, he realized he’d already lost this battle. However, Dirk was never one to give up.

“This is unacceptable. This kind of profanity is unprofessional.” He managed, fighting through annoyance and embarrassment. Everyone was looking at him at this point, but Dirk had to make a point here. What if this had been for some impressionable preteen? What then? “I’d like to speak to your manager.”

“Sir, I am the manager.” The employee intoned, soulless eyes staring sightlessly. “If you’d like to register a complaint, you can go online-” This was where Dirk sighed, giving up entirely. Maybe if Yumil had been here, he’d have gotten somewhere. His partner never turned down a challenge. Although that might end in the Starbucks being burnt to the ground… Best he wasn’t here at all then.

“Excuse me, sir? My name is Dick Dickerson, and I believe that’s mine.”

*~*~*~*~*~

What kind of vines do they make?

“Wait, why am I holding a pot again?” Dirk asked, possibly for the third time. He couldn’t quite remember. He honestly was trying to convince himself that what he kept hearing WASN’T incredibly stupid. But of course, this was Yumil, with his sidekick Lette he was talking about, who tended to bring out the worst in each other. He looked at the odd old-fashioned crock-pot he was holding, and wondered, again, why it was filled with fish.

“Just don’t move, alright, and keep still.” Yumil hissed, holding the phone. “Alright, go ahead Lette!”

Lette grinned into the camera, making a peace sign with her teal-painted nails. “Hi, I’m Lette, and this is jackass!” Then, she turned around, and Dirk got to see what she was holding. A bat. Oh god. He flinched back immediately, and the crock-pot went flying. Water and fish flew everywhere, and he stared at Yumil’s  laughing grimace, realizing that he, perhaps, did not have the best of friends.

*~*~*~*~*~

What would their reaction to your favorite character be?

He really didn’t understand this show. He supposed he could understand the characters. Leon, he was an officer of the law, and someone Dirk respected. Well, despite the fact that he acted like an eighties thug. But he really did want to stop people being hurt. He didn’t really understand the other character though. D, this so called-count. He was reminded of someone, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.

“God, could Leon be any more stupid? of COURSE it’s a mermaid!” Yumil shouted from an armchair, painting toenails pink again. Long black hair was piled high up on the back of a pretty head. While D was incomprehensible, it was Leon he understood perfectly.

After all, his own incomprehensible idiot sat right across the way from him, didn’t he?

*~*~*~*~*~

How would they play the Sims?

Dirk checked the meter once again, and then smiled. Good. Every single one of their meters was alright. Although, little Eamon looked like she was going to end up peeing herself if he didn’t get her away from that computer. He clicked on the toilet and got her to head that way. He intercepted little Yumil from trying to set a plant on fire, again, and sent him to the library to study next to little Dirk.

He liked it best when everything ran well. Little Yumil is a scientist, and little Dirk is an author. little Jorgan is still in school. He ended up having to make him little Yumil and little Dirk’s kid, but it was worth it. Little Eamon was a cop and Little Anelace her partner. Little Lette was a movie star, and little Espin was the chore-boy. But he seemed happy enough that way.

Dirk saved, just to be safe, and started adding on the new wing of the house. After all, pretty soon little Dirk and little Yumil would be adopting some kids. That’d certainly keep them busy, wouldn’t it?

*~*~*~*~*~*~

What would their finishing move be?

“YUMIL!” He roared, cutting through another enemy to get to the summoner. He could see the summoner trying to call down Ifrit, his favorite summon, but he knew it would be too late.  The behemoths were quick, despite their large lumbering forms.

Things seemed to slow. His feet pounded the floor. His breath slowed. He felt it, then. Something powerful. He roared, leaping. Into the air he went, his sword raised high. Down, it came.

“EXCALIBUR ARCH!” A blaze of blue light, and the behemoth threatening their summoner dashed into a thousand shimmering pieces. Once it was done, he whirled, and Yumil’s back touched his, a renewed sense of purpose washing over him. “Everyone, REGROUP!”

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group – 09/03/14

  • Posted on September 4, 2014 at 1:00 am

IWSG badgeI only recently found out about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, so forgive this post being a few minutes late.  Basically, from what I can understand of the website, it’s a group meant to bolster and support those going into writing as a career, by helping them see that others have similar insecurities, and by talking them through them.

To be completely honest, I have more insecurities than triumphs, right now, and that’s not something to shake a stick at. I’ve triumphed a lot in my life, to get where I am now, and so when I say the insecurities way me down, I mean it, truthfully.

The thing about it is, however, that you can’t let that sort of thing hold you back. Several of my fears are completely valid. Being the type of person I am, I compartmentalize, and then end up completely disorganized through out the entire process, which just leads to chaos. So, in an effort to help you through some of the things that I’m suffering through, I’m going to organize a little.

Worry one: I’m not going to make it. 

My mother is an author. My best friend is an author. My Mentor is an author. All of these people, I hold dear. But each in their own way, they struggle beyond what is possible for me to feel comfortable with. My mother has one book published, and is working on her second, and honestly, I’d give anything to be nothing like her. That’s a whole seperate story. My best friend has written five books, and none of them are published because he is waiting for one specific publishing house to recognise his works. And my mentor, possibly the most successful of all of us, has two books published, and still is not earning enough to support himself yet.

None of these are my idea of ‘making it’. Of Succeeding. My idea of succeeding is the type of fandom and fame that people like Neil Gaiman, Andrew Hussie, and J.K. Rowling have. And my fear is that I will never reach that level of success.

But that’s wrong. To worry about that so early in the game. The only way I will ever make it, is if I put my all into it now, if I give everything I have to succeeding. I can’t allow this worry to cripple me, the way I’ve allowed worries like this to do so in the past. I have done so much in my short life, and this will not be something that I don’t cross off my bucket list. So please, don’t let the high pole of your own idea of ‘making it’ hold you down.

Worry number two: The things I’m writing will perpetuate horrible things.

If there is one thing I want more than to be the next J.K., it’s to make sure that my writing MEANS something. That it gives someone who didn’t have representation before, that representation. That it allows people to feel more comfortable being themselves.

So I worry and fuss and drive myself nuts over my books and blogposts and writing, to make sure that they don’t hurt those I’m trying to help. It’s a lot harder than one might think to avoid internalised misogyny, or misandry. To fight off homophobia that I didn’t realise slipped into the way I write. To tear away anything that might make someone feel worse about themselves than they already do. And I’m scared that I might never be able to do what needs to be done to make the world a better place.

To combat this worry, I’m trying to learn as much about the world as possible, so that I might end up helping, instead of hurting. I’m attempting to make sure that nothing is left out. That I leave no stone unturned. Honestly, there are some who would tell me not to worry about this, but it seems to me that not enough people worry. So I try my hardest.

Worry number three: I’m afraid I’ll decide this is a waste of time someday, and quit.

I have picked up a habit over my years on earth, and it’s a bad one. I start something, put a lot of work into it. Hard, fun work, that leaves me breathless and wanting more. And then suddenly, as if nothing ever happened, I just… can’t do it anymore. I can’t pick up the pen. I can’t make myself write that next reply. I can’t tell myself that I need to continue it.

Knitting, Final Fantasy Eight, Gardening, Drawing, Painting, Manga-writing, BDSM, Domme-ing, Relationships, and numerous, numerous story ideas. All thrown to the wind, on a whim. I have come to accept that I am a fickle creature. And what worries me, is that after all this effort I’ve put into working so hard on this, I’ll just… give up.

I don’t know how to combat this worry. I don’t know how to get rid of it, or change it, or make it work for me. The best I can do, the best anyone can do, is take it one day at a time, and try their hardest. That’s why I write as many blogposts as I can, that’s why I read so many blogs on my Feedly. That’s why I twitter more now than I ever have before. That’s why I search for blogs and talk to other writers, and try desperately to tie what I’m doing here into my other areas of interest.

Worry number four: I’m worried that this will take over my life, and kill my other dreams.

I want to open a Manga Cafe. The first Manga Cafe in Colorado. I want to have children. I want to travel the world. I want to be financially stable and own my own home. All of these things… None of them are mutually exclusive. But I’m afraid that all the work, all the effort, all the energy I have to put into this whole author-business, will take away from the energy I’ll have for these other dreams.

How can I run a cafe, a business, when I have to spend so much time writing, just to be a mediocre author? What will my children think when I have to tell them I can’t take them to the park because Mommy has to write? Travelling the world costs money, and since it looks like I’m going to be an indie-author, I can’t afford that kind of expense. My money, my life, my energy has to go towards my career as an author.

This is a simple fix, though. This is all just a matter of perspective. If I can wire my writing into the rest of my life, as well, then maybe, just maybe, I can have it all. Why not write while travelling? It’ll make my books more realistic! My cafe can give rise to whole new book ideas, as well as a place to sell my books, and others! My children will see me working hard towards my dreams, and gain a work ethic themselves. I can do it. I can do this, and I WILL make my dreams come true!

Worry number five: I’m worried that I’ll succeed. 

Now, bear with me here, because I know one of my worries up there was that I WOULDN’T make it. But, making it, succeeding in becoming the type of author I want to be… Well, that’s just as terrifying. The kind of fanbases that J.K. and Hussie and Gaiman have are amazing, but also, dangerous. People have Andrew Hussies’ BABY pictures online. I would have no privacy. Not only that, but these people would be hanging on my every word. I would be responsible for a part of their world view. That’s a horrid responsibility.

And there would be my close friends. What of my best friend, who is still waiting for that publisher to call him back? The jealousy there might ruin our friendship. I would rather die than lose him as a friend. And what of my mother? I love her, but what if she thinks this is some kind of contest? We barely have a tenuous relationship as it is. I’d rather not turn into Rose Lalonde, thank you.

The only balm I can soothe this worry with is that I won’t let success change me. Not really. I will still be friends with those I love. I will still be me. And I know I’ve never intentionally hurt a person. And I’ve never withheld an apology when I knew it was really needed. So I can only hope that responsibility will sit with me easily.

Does anyone else have these worries? How do you soothe yours? Please tell me, because I’d love to hear.

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