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Prophecy Six Blog

Sharing My Unedited Writing Experiences & Life Experiences.

Month

February 2016

Tonight Leonard-NO Becomes Leonard-Won

To start this off, I am not an Oscar fan. In the 25 years I’ve been on this earth the Oscars have been low on my priority list but for some reason as I sit here in my hotel room between Thunder Bay and London, Ontario heading to start a new part of my life, I find myself enraptured in the frivolous display put on by the Oscars. This is one night where people who we idolize on screen fight for a chance to gain a gold statue of a naked person that we have given purpose to as the greatest award an actor can receive. Now, I am not one to enjoy people thanking their parents or dog or their favourite role model while holding back their tears on how thankful they are for what has happened – it feels fake to me – but, asides from all this frivolous, fake, idolization of others I do have to watch this year’s Oscars to see if one person finally gets this rewarded for all his hard work.

I’ve been #TeamLeo since I first watched him as Jack in BearActingSkillthe 1997 release of Titanic, so when I heard that Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for Best Actor for his role in ‘The Revenant’ I had to watch. Now, I’m being bias when I say that this is his year – as I’m wearing my DIY #TeamLeo shirt – but after all the challenges he had to face with this role this has to be his year.  Sure sub-zero temperatures are nothing – live in Thunder Bay and you’ll understand – but even us Northerner’s run screaming like little girls when faced with a bear. Leonardo faces them head on… well fake bears head on… but it sure seemed real to those watching because “acting”. So, for the sake of his own safety it may be in the film industry’s best interest to give him the bloody gold statue before he actually takes on a real bear in his next role.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE:

HECK YES! I am so happy he finally got that Oscar. Although I do not approve of his lifestyle I do respect his ability on screen. I’m proud Leo finally got what he deserved – regarding this award.

Old Word Friday: Rawgabbit

For this Friday’s old word I’ll introduce you to the word rawgabbit. Rawgabbit is a person that gossips in secret about things they have no knowledge about. Everyone knows someone who’s like this, at least I know I’ve know a few people that have done this… and I’ll admit when I was a teenager I had moments of being a rawgabbit – something I’m not proud of.

To give you an example of a rawgabbit – they are a person that will pull you aside and speak about other people doing things that are utterly untrue. They are starters of rumours and they can cause problems for other people if those they gossip to end up spreading these untruths about.

Examples of rawgabbit in a sentence:

Sally knew that Frank was a rawgabbit after he spoke about Miss. Alison’s relationship with the gym teacher.

Or…

“Stop being such a rawgabbit!” My mother ordered, silencing my muttering the moment her glare caught my eye.

 

Now, I find this word very useful in character development. If you don’t know how to describe a gossipy character this word pretty-much sums them up. You can also use it as an insult as no one likes to be called a liar and a gossip.

 

Update: Moving Forward

All right, so I haven’t been posting as much as I usually do these passed couple of weeks due to one reason.

I’m moving!

Mr. Canuck and I are moving out of Northern Ontario to head down to Southern Ontario. It is closer to my family and full of better job opportunities for the both of us.

The problem with moving is that it takes a lot of time to get organized and of course packing… so I won’t be posting until Wednesday at the earliest. We hope to have everything up and running by then – meaning internet – but we shall have to wait and see.

There will be an Old Word Friday tonight – like usual. So, stay tuned for that. 🙂

Until we meet again.

Toodles,

Deanna

Wonderful Word Wednesday: Chockablock

Yes, as weird as this word looks it is a word. Although it appears to be a compound word I assure you it is not… it is a word that stands alone and is actually a fun word to use.

Chockablock’s first unknown use was during 1850 as a nautical term/ rhyming phrase meaning the two blocks and tactical found on the vessels seaman were work on. [Definition Found HERE]

Now-a-days the word has taken a completely different turn. Chockablock means full, jammed, or overly crowded. This is also believed to be the word that led to the formation of the word chockful (like chockful of information).

Here are some ways of using the word:

I am chockablock of information on weird words.

Or…

This room is chockablock of people.

 

 

Problems & Solutions to Creating a Strong Female Character

Oh, Gods – it’s the dreaded cliché of strong female protagonists.

I’m sorry, if this doesn’t interest you there are other posts for you to read. If this does interest you – welcome to my post. 🙂

There are plenty of issues surrounding strong female characters and everyone will have their opinion on this matter. Mine – I decided – would be written in this post to share with the world. The biggest issue I have with the modern ‘strong female character’ is the unrealistic characteristics that are placed on them. They aren’t real women in emotion, intelligence, abilities… and that’s a problem for me. These female characters can easily have been made into better characters with very few changes… unfortunately that will never be the case.

 

So, here’s the problems and (my) solutions to creating a strong female character:

Note: some of these touch upon issues found in general character creation and not just in creating strong female characters. 

 

Real Women Don’t Cry:

I understand you wanted to show a tumblr_inline_my9btlWTk91sub342.gifstrong female character but that doesn’t mean void of
all emotion. Women have feelings – despite what some people may believe. We are happy, sad, angry, overly emotional when given a reason, protective, defensive… we cry, we shout, we break down, we laugh. Yet, for whatever the reason strong female characters have problems with this. They don’t cry or force back their tears. If someone dies they get angry not sad. They seek vengeance and don’t grieve…

Crying isn’t a form of weakness. Sadness, depression, grief aren’t signs of being weak. They are signs of being human. Not everyone starts a revolutions when a loved one dies. Not everyone goes on a killing spree to honour their dead family. Most people breakdown, curl up in a ball and cry out their problems until they force themselves to pick up their feet and try to start again.

Real people hold a grudge. Real people cry years later at the mention of a sad event in their life. Real people – women – don’t react emotionally like strong female protagonists appear to do.

tumblr_inline_nkhg86Q84q1t8i7jp.jpgAnd, it isn’t just with sadness or grief that they have issue with. Depending on the character they may have no issue being a pile of depressive mush. Their issues may lay with all emotions and be a walking ball of nothingness held together by a love triangle between two supernatural stud muffins that hate each other.

*cough* Bella Swan. *cough**cough* -.-

That was one reason why I didn’t draw from any of these characters when creating Liora. I instead drew from what I like to call ‘real sources’. Real women in my life that I consider strong female role models. They were teachers, my mother, my mother in-law, my grandmother, my friends, strangers I’ve met in passing, or news stories I’ve read online. Also it helps being a woman and therefore could think of things like, ‘how would I approach this situation?’ or ‘what would I be feeling if this happened to me?’

Yes, I know you aren’t supposed to put yourself in your writing or in your main character but if you are exploring ways of making your characters reactions be more realist… then I don’t see a problem with it. Emotions are important in characters; they are what drives them and shows the reader a deeper level of the story. A character’s emotions can tell more about a situation than the environment around them. It connects the reader to the character and helps them to relate to the situation.

 

I Like a Girl With Brains:

Intelligence is important but that doesn’t just mean book smarts. Intelligence can be people smart, street smart, book smart. Just like there are many different people in the world there are many different types of intelligence. You can be street smart but can’t read a book to save your life. You can be book smart but can’t read another persons facial expressions.

There is also a balance of intelligence needed. Most characters have the problem of being experts or instant geniuses; they need to learn and grow. They need to make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. Unless your character has a doctorate or has trained for years to become a master in what they know they don’t have the right to know everything.

No one knows everything…

 

Combat (Couldn’t Think of a Witty Title):

Mostly in fantasy/sci-fi fiction strong female characters are portrayed as these combat ready military experts. Within five chapters they go from ‘what’s a weapon’ to ‘I performed a expert ninja technique I just learnt that normally takes years to master’. What annoys me the most is when the author chooses to explain their amazing fighting ability away by saying it was genetic or a magical power.

I see what they are trying to do but maybe add in some problem like they swing and their sword gets stuck or they attempt a back flip and don’t stick the landing. Even expert combatants aren’t perfect in executing their techniques all the time, so realistically neither should your character. Have them miss their target with the first shot. Have them forget to block because they are too busy trying to remember how to counter an attack. Have their foot slip because they didn’t pay attention to the terrain.

If they have magic powers give them trouble with using them.

Tobey_Maguire_SpiderMan_3Remember how many tries it took Peter Parker to figure out how to shoot his webbing? No super hero knows their powers right off the bat and definitely doesn’t know how to masterfully use them right away. They may not work or maybe even miss the target completely because your character couldn’t aim it right… or maybe even have them try to use one power but their other power works instead (if they are set up like that).

Problems, complications, mishaps happen in fighting and way too often they are forgotten in writing. Maybe that’s due to flow but I think if written right even these issues would work into any fight scene well.

Another problem I find with strong female characters is the lack of using wit/intelligence as a weapon. One of my cerseifavourite sayings is ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ which can also be ‘words are mightier than the blade’.  There are a rare few that use their wit or cunning nature to dispatch their opponents. Most writers choose to use the hack-and-slash method because what woman can’t do a double back-flip over flames with twin blades? I don’t know… maybe it’s me but I enjoy a good, well written debate or cunning scheme over brute force.

 

Girls Don’t Have Issues:

People aren’t perfect. Women aren’t perfect. We have flaws – some more than others. When a character doesn’t have flaws that there is a fault of the author. Yes, we don’t want to give our creation issues. They’re perfect because we want them to be but perfection isn’t real.

So, when I read about a character that doesn’t have flaws I have issue with that character. There are a list of issues that can suit every character you create. Flaws are as diverse as the people you create so there shouldn’t be a reason for your character to not have one.

Are they awkward when talking about themselves? Maybe they are clumsy or don’t have a filter? Are they overly curious or ask inappropriate questions? Do they view themselves as perfect and believe they can do no wrong? They could be childish, overly protective, bossy, rude, have a fear of fluffy things, or don’t like people using slang.

A character can have one or many flaws but please give your character at least one. 🙂

 

She’s Beautiful (But She Doesn’t See It):

Ugh. -.-

You know how much I hate this one. I really, really hate this one.

It’s a cliché that so many writers rely on that I wish would just die.

A female character in my opinion shouldn’t rely on their looks – unless they need to because that is somehow their power or their way of working towards their end goal… which would be an interesting twist but at this point they know that their looks work for them and therefore excludes them from this section.

A woman is more than their hair, skin, hip size or bust size but if you are creating a falsecharacter don’t have the focus on physical beauty. If you do have focus on physical beauty, please don’t pull a One Direction ‘you don’t know you’re beautiful’ moment. We should be promoting
girls to be confident about their looks and not be afraid to voice that confidence. Have a female character like their flaws and flaunt their imperfections. Have them comfortable in their own skin or catch those around them off-guard with their replies to compliments.

For example:

“You know you look beautiful tonight,” he smiled as he stared into her eyes that shimmered in the moonlight like polished steel.

“Of course I do,” she tilted her head, giving him a coy smirk.

That there would throw off the reader because we are so bloody used to hearing this:

“You know you look beautiful tonight,” he smiled as he stared into her eyes that shimmered in the moonlight like polished steel.

“Really… I don’t think I do,” she blushed, turning her glance in mild embarrassment.

What’s wrong with writing a confident woman? What’s wrong with writing a woman that appreciates her looks or feels comfortable in her skin? There aren’t enough female characters like this… Girls need to read about female characters loving their body no matter what they look like rather than shying away from showing confidence in themselves. A strong female character should be a role model and what better way to be a role model than to portray body positivity, confidence, and self-worth. We may have girls with better self-esteem that way.

 

In Conclusion: Don’t write your strong female characters to be a Belle Swan – write them to be a Hermione Granger. 🙂

 

Old Word Friday: Snottor

For this Friday I choose the word snottor which from what I’ve read pertains to an old English word meaning ‘wise’. I like the potential imagery this word can give when used as a description. When I read snottor I think of someone older with their nose up in the air about the goings on around them. I don’t know… it’s a strange sounding word and has recently been added to words I want to use in my writing.

Ways to use snottor:

Caldor glared up from his book. As much as Liora didn’t want to ask him the man was snottor.

Or…

As she entered the large inner chamber of the library on the second floor of the Glass Tower, Liora couldn’t help but notice all the beady eyes from those hidden within. These men were snottors just like her mentor but she wasn’t sure if they would even consider answering her questions.

 

ACTUALLY I take it all back… I can’t take this word seriously enough to use it in my book. It makes me laugh whenever I read it. XD

Feeling Right About Rewriting

For a while I had the hardest time with rewriting. Not that I couldn’t do it or didn’t like doing it… it was more I would rewrite everything and leave nothing of my original work. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself, breathe, and reflect on the potential of what I had already written.8f82675d2eb7c20fefaf0f6bddf36d7c

This was the issue I had with my first book. When I wrote book one I first wrote it out by hand. I thought it would help me reduce my chances of rewriting too much if I forced myself with taking time physically writing each word than word vomiting like I do on the laptop. Writing out my story by hand did help slow me down and help me work through the writing process. It allowed me to critically think about my characters and the plot development. It even helped me find my voice when it came to writing my story. The sad part was, the story I had in the notebook though was nothing like the story that I eventually published.

Yes, the characters stayed the same… but the storyline was completely different.

I think the reason why the story was altered to much from what I originally planned was because the basic characters I had started with transformed into more complex people. The world I had created had more depths to it, and the story I was telling wasn’t working for the story I wanted to tell. Writing out my first draft by hand helped me realize the real story I wanted to tell.

I don’t regret the changes I’ve made. I look back at the work in the notebook and realize all this rewriting I did, all the cutting, all the plot changes were worth it. I made the mistake of not planning my first book. I had an idea of what I wanted but didn’t know how to put it on paper. It was writing out what came to my mind and reviewing what I had written that I discovered the deeper story within  – leading to my complete rewrite of what I originally had.

For my first book I’m incredibly impressed with how it turned out but in a way it is also saddens me that the original story in the notebook will never be shared in the same sense… I could share it with you on this blog but it isn’t my character’s story any more. The notebook was my idea that lead to my writing adventure. So, as much as it saddens me that I will be the only one to look at those pages it also makes me happy that something came of what I first wrote.

Now I’m working through the second book of the series rewriting has been getting easier. I’ve learnt from my mistakes that I made in my first book. I did weeks/ months of planning out what I wanted this book to be about. I explored themes and did more research regarding gender roles, mental illness, and other topics I weren’t so clear about. I used my notebook this time not to write out my story but to plan out my story.

As I work through my first draft of book one I can recognize the scenes or interactions in my work that need to be rewritten or removed. I find that my second book’s draft – although taking longer to write – is going smoother than the first book’s draft. The story is clearer and I know as soon as I’ve written something that something doesn’t sound right about it. I leave it until the editing process to change, leaving *** beside what I think needs to be revised in a later review. Or, if I know right away what would improve that scene I fix it so I won’t forget the idea that would make it flow better.

As much as it is bitter sweet – knowing that your writing needs to be changed and that something you may have loved to write about needs to be cut – it is important to your story to make it the best you can. This story is yours and the best way to show you love it is by having it in a state you are proud to have other read it.

Hopefully by my sixth book I’ll have this all down to a science… but let’s be honest – there is always places to improve in writing and always ways you can make your story better. And, if you read your work and you know you can do better it only pushes you to be the best you can be.

Wonderful Word Wednesday: Collywobbles

Today I have collywobbles. I must have eaten something or not eaten enough of something today to cause this stomach problem. All day my stomach has been doing flip flops – it sucks. 😦

Anyways, that’s not stopping me from posting WWW and if you haven’t guessed it – the word is collywobbles. But what does it mean?

Pretty much what I put in the first part – a collywobble is when you feel pain in the abdomen and especially in the stomach; a bellyache. People believe that this word came from the Latin word pertaining to cholera (cholera morbus). Although it may have been used as a serious medical term back in the day, it now has changed to signify much lesser/ sever gastrol issue(s). Not to mention it is a super fun word to say over and over again. 🙂

Ways to use collywobble in a sentence:

The class came down with collywobbles after eating Ms. Burtworth’s cookies.

Or…

I called in sick to work because of collywobbles.

Bits of Book Two: Not Perfect

After discovering that she is part of a prophecy, Liora becomes determined to be able to learn skills that would better prepare her for the troublesome, dangerous world outside the protective walls of Demor. She knows that many won’t allow her to learn how to use a weapon but with the help of her best friend she hopes to learn some skills that could help her defend herself if needed.

Here is the section where Cáel is trying to teach Liora how to throw a knife.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Liora and Cáel headed down to the training grounds. The late noon sun was behind the castle allowing for enough shade to cover the grounds so they wouldn’t get too hot in the open area surrounded by dummies and targets. The cool spring breeze danced through her hair, moving the strands across her face while she stared at the target across the field. Its wooden slats punctured and dented from previous attempts to hit the red painted center of the board. The dirt was torn in patches from her previous attempts as she slowly breathed in through her nose.

Her palms were sweating, her arm aching from trying to position her aim just right as to hit the target. She licked her lips following by pressing them together tightly in concentration. She felt a gentle hand on her arm lower her aim by an inch as Cáel used his foot to slide hers farther in front.

“Follow through with yar knees,” Cáel breathed, moving his cheek against hers to see if she was properly aligned with the target.

“You’re a little close, aren’t you?” Liora muttered; glancing at the boy whose cheeks reddened as much as hers.

“Sorry,” Cáel croaked, taking a step back, moving his hands to her hips. He gently turned them to be parallel with the target. “All ‘ight, fingers light on the handle and throw like a ball with one swift movement.”

Breathing in through her nose, Liora threw her arm forward letting the dagger fly as she watched it skip across the ground like a pebble on a lake.

“Gods damn it!” she hissed, stomping her foot.

“That was closer,” Cáel hummed, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Not close enough to hit the bloody thing,” Liora sighed, picking up her dagger that wedged itself into the dirt.

“Well yah can’t be perfect at everythin’,” Cáel smirked, as the girl glared at him with her steel grey eyes.

“I’m not!” Liora stated, looking at the blade that rested in her hand. The ivory handle was speckled with dirt, as the blade was caked in muck.

“Obviously,” he pointed towards the board.

“I mean more than the board, Cáel,” Liora reiterated, “I work hard to be good at what I’m good at… I’m not perfect at anything.”

“Healing?” Cáel stated.

“I still have a lot to learn from Caldor,” Liora answered.

“Painting?” he said.

“My people look like blobs and the clouds too,” Liora replied, using her dress to polish the blade. It was pointless since it was only going to get dirty again, but she needed to do something. “I just want to be good at something that can help me.”

“Yah will, I mean we’ve been at this a few times. Ya’ve picked up on the defense fine – throwing is just one of those extra perks,” Cáel shrugged, taking his dagger out from his belt and with a quick flick with his wrist it flew flawlessly into the target board.

“A perk you can do with your eyes closed,” Liora grumbled, when Cáel flashed her his goofy grin.

“Hey, let me have somethin’ I can do better than yah, eh?” he teased. “Come on, line up and we’ll try again.”

Liora kicked the dirt sending small puffs of sand into the air. She didn’t like not being able to learn something quickly. Maybe this was her weakness? Maybe she couldn’t fight after all?

Standing before Cáel, she moved her foot in front and squared her hips with the target. Cáel held her arm, moving it in the movement she was to follow. His hands were warm as he tightened the satin ribbon that kept back her sleeve so it wouldn’t get in the way.

“Breathe, relax, focus, follow through,” he instructed.

“Breathe,” she took a breath. She narrowed her eyes as she glared at the target. She was going to get it this time. She knew she was. She could feel it in her gut.

With a quick throw, Liora heard a thunk as the dagger skipped across the ground wedging itself into one of the barrels along the wall.

“Bloody hell!” she seethed, her hands balled into fists as she stomped her foot.

“Liora!”

The woman shouted from the steps to the garden, as the girl turned to see the flustered expression on the Detress’s face. Her curls bounced when she descended another step. The woman’s shadow loomed over her, as the sun blared behind making it difficult for Liora to focus.

“Hello… Marcia,” Liora rubbed her upper arm. Cáel ran to pick up the dagger. He cleaned the blade on his trousers before tucking it into his belt.

“Don’ Marcia me, what do yah think ya’re doing?” The Detress placed her hands firmly on her waist giving the girl a narrowed glare. “Yah know girls aren’ to be in the training grounds.”

“It’s my fault, Marcia. I suggested she try it since she wanted to–,” the boy stopped when the woman raised her hand.

“Cáel, yah know better. Fighting is for boys, not for young ladies. Now, Liora come. I’ve got some weeding to do and ya’re gonna help,” Marcia turned to return to the garden.

“Later?” Liora whispered, seeing her friend nod.

“Li, now!” Marcia’s voice was shrill as Liora ran up the steps to meet with the Detress who held a basket in her crossed arms.

The woman turned without saying a word as Liora followed her to the other side of the garden closest to the steps leading to the stables. The sun shone, but there was enough shade from the stables and small silver birch to keep them cool. The woman gathered her cotton dress before her as she knelt in the garden getting right to work with the weeding.

Liora had expected a lecture. She had expected Marcia to go on about how she shouldn’t have been learning to throw daggers… even if she was doing a poor job. The Detress did none of those things. All Marcia did was weed in silence, her back facing Liora while the girl rang her hands.

Her stomach churned, as her shoulders felt heavy. She didn’t like Marcia upset with her. Normally, Marcia was the one that understood her actions but not of late.

Taking the leather string from her wrist, she tied back her hair to keep it out of her face. The shorter strands fell in front of her eyes as she tucked them back in hopes they would stay in place as she worked in the garden. She knelt beside the woman. The damp grass seeped through her thick cotton dress. The black soil of the flowerbed was cool to the touch as it imbedded itself deep under her nails while she dug out the roots of a large thistle growing between the rosebushes.

They worked in silence as the minutes passed. The heaviness she had first felt was growing more as the moments passed. She preferred the woman to have yelled at her than give her the silent treatment. Nothing felt worse than knowing someone was angry but no one spoke.

“Are we going to talk about why you’re angry… or are we just going to pretend everything’s fine?” Liora whispered, resting her hands on her lap. The black soil left handprints on the tan material as she picked at the dirt under her fingers.

“What is there to talk about? Yah weren’t supposed to be down there, now yah know,” Marcia explained, placing a dandelion in the wicker basket between them.

“But why? Because I’m a girl? It’s not like I’m training for the front. Cáel was just reviewing what he was learning with me,” Liora stated, hearing the woman sigh.

“That there is bad enough. Cáel knows better than to do that. He’s to be a soldier just like his da’ and yah a proper lady,” Marcia explained.

“But what if I don’t want to be a proper lady?” Liora stated, her hands clenching the material at her knees.

“Li,” Marcia turned to look at her. Their eyes meeting just for a moment before the Detress looked back at the garden. “Yah not a lil girl. Yah a young lady now and young ladies don’ go running around getting all covered in muck or throwing things. It is time you realize yah place here will be different from Cáel. He can be yah friend but he will be doing things yah won’ be able to.”

“Because I’m a girl,” Liora added.

“Yes,” Marcia replied.

“I don’t agree with that,” Liora stated, turning back to digging out weeds. What did Marcia know what kind of lady Liora wanted to be?

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