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Prophecy Six Blog

Sharing My Unedited Writing Experiences & Life Experiences.

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Character Build: Foe

This week’s character build is focused towards one of my most well liked characters of the Prophecy Six Series though far. He is a father figure, friendly, and at times childish but his good heart makes up for his short comings. He is a loving husband and a good father to his son. This week’s build is for Foe, Steward of Derm and Lord of Demor. So, let’s see the build:

foecharacterbuild

 

 

5 Places I Go To Get Inspired

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First off, everyone is different and will find inspiration in different ways. This list is just how I find inspiration to write and hopefully help some of my readers do the same. Sometimes it’s hard to get inspired and there is a point that you may reach that will make you feel like you’ll never feel inspired again. That feeling is a lie. The world is full of inspiration, you just have to go out and find it.

So, here are 5 Places I Go To Get Inspired:

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Hiking can help not only to inspire your creative side but also relax you. Sometimes all you need is to have a moment to relax and focus on the now to get ideas flowing again. Take a camera or sketch pad with you, make notes of the environment around you. Take the time to smell the forest, watch the water in the streams or lake, listen to the birds or other animals scurrying about. Stop for a moment and just enjoy the fact you’re outside.

SEARCH FOR A HIKING TRAIL

HIKING TRAILS IN ONTARIO

 

|ONE| Hiking

Art, history, local or what-not museums are amazing. Not only does the word museum have the word muse (the nine Greek goddesses who preside over the arts and sciences known to guide people to great inspiration) but it is filled with interesting information you may not have known about. I love going to the museum if I need to look up certain cultures or historical events as they are filled with knowledgeable people willing to point you in the right direction.

Local museums will also help you gain a better understanding of where you live and sometimes you’ll find an interesting story that may be worth writing about. I know I’ve found a few interesting one’s during my adventures.

SEARCH FOR MUSEUMS IN YOUR AREA

MUSEUMS IN ONTARIO

 

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Can’t write or become inspired? Go to your library or look up blogs. There are books on thousands of topics to pique your interest and thousands of blogs to cover anything you can imagine. Read about what other people have done, search for answers to the questions you have, or just simply explore and see what you find.

LIBRARIES IN ONTARIO

|ONE| Hiking

I find watching a good series or even a movie can give me inspiration. You get to explore different topics and listen to the interactions of people on screen. I like this method of finding inspiration for the fact I get to analyse dialogue and physical interactions between characters in a variety of environment. This helps me explore the various archetypes to character development in a short amount of time and assist in scene layout.

 

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All right, this one is obvious. When you are with other people you can talk to them about your troubles. In my case if I was with my writing group I would likely be discussing the difficulty I’m having introducing a certain character or how to approach a difficult topic to my readers. These people will allow you to bounce ideas off of them, and in turn you get to listen to their ideas. These people are getting just as much help as you are from working together towards a common goal. Everyone may be at different levels but if you have that at the back of your mind, working together is a great way to work on old and new ideas.

FIND LOCAL CLUBS/ MEET UPS

 

Suffering a Quarter Life Crisis?

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Here’s a list of things you may be feeling if you’re suffering a Quarter Life Crisis (QLC):

  • You feel like the world is moving and you’re standing still.
  • All your friends appear to have their stuff together and you’re wondering why you don’t.
  • You’re questioning if what you took in uni/college was what you’re supposed to do.
  • Being a bed burrito sounds more fulfilling than going to work.
  • Refreshing your Facebook every minute in hopes there’s a new post.
  • Wondering what your purpose in life is.
  • The temporary job you got in school has lasted 2+ years.
  • You’re brain is telling you to do better but your body isn’t willing.
  • Apathetic towards everything but your true passions.
  • Wish it could be the 90’s again… the 90’s were great…
  • Jealous of the fuzzy animal in your life.
  • You want to travel the world but are crippled by debt…
  • Contemplated changing your middle name to Debt…
  • You apply to jobs that:

A) You’re over qualified for and don’t get

B) You’re under qualified for and don’t get

C) Are related to the job you hate but have no other choice because you need money.

  • Are suffering from OCD (Over Comparison Disorder).

 

If you feel all or half of these then you’re likely suffering from a QLC. Welcome to the club! You’re joining the other 20 somethings ripping their hair out and questioning all their life choices up to this point. I feel your pain. It isn’t fun – I know.

We are a generation of comparing. We see people bragging about how great their life is on their social media but in reality they think their life sucks just as much as yours. People rarely post about the terrible things in their life – unless they are looking for that type of attention. We compare ourselves to our married friends, thinking we should be in their shoes. We compare ourselves to our working friends, believing they are happy where they are working. We compare ourselves to our free-spirited friends, dreaming that we could backpack across Asia. We are so busy comparing ourselves that we don’t stop and enjoy our own successes. We don’t take the time to see our good moments in our lives.

So, if you are suffering from a QLC here are some tips to get through this moment in your life:

  • Find a new job that includes something you’re passionate/ interested about.
  • Go on an adventure to somewhere new in your city or town.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Take a class you never thought you’d think of taking.
  • Make a personal change: hairstyle, clothing, tattoo…
  • Move to a new place.
  • Make a list of small attainable goals and try to complete one each week.
  • Complete a goal you made years prior that you still think of.
  • Join a club in your city that fit your interests.
  • Make something for yourself, (DIY something).
  • Talk to friends, or start a conversation with a stranger on a bus/ coffee shop/ store.
  • Take a media break – if you can. (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

These of course are only suggestions – I understand if you want to keep being a bed burrito – but just know that if you’re having a Quarter Life Crisis you are not alone.

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. 🙂

 

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 14 – Movies

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Movies You Don’t Get Tired Of

I’m just going to make a list because that is easier… so this will be about the top 4 Movies I Don’t Get Tired Of:

|ONE| Studio Ghibli 

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Yes, I know this is a animation company and not a movie but if I was to list all of their movies that I love I would be able to publish another book. So, to keep it simple I put them under one title. Young or old there is something about Studio Ghibli that appeals to all ages.

My first Studio Ghibli movie was ‘My Neighbor Totoro’. I was babysitting at the time, and loved the story, the animation, and the characters. From that moment on I aimed to collect all over the studios films.

My favourites out of the Studio would be ‘Princess Mononoke’ and ‘Spirited Away’. These two are both beautifully animated, and have a timeless story that teaches everyone to love and explore the world around them. That every person can make a difference, and you can make a change in the world if you put your heart into it.

|TWO| Fushigi Yugi (The Mysterious Play) Series

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Now, this isn’t a movie… it is an anime series made up of two seasons and 2 OVAs.

Why did I include this in my favourite movies I never get tired of? For one reason. I binge watch all the episodes (which takes three-four days), and I do it once a year.

Yes, that’s right. Once a year I watch the same series and I’ve been doing this for 5-6 years.

Why?

Because it is freaking fantastic, that’s why.

Two girls (Miaka Yuki and Yui Hongo) get sucked into an ancient book (Universe of the Four Gods). The book brings them back to ancient China. One girl – Miaka Yuki – becomes the priestess of Suzaku (Pheonix of Love). The other – Yui Hongo – becomes the priestess of Seiryu (Dragon of War). Both girl have to gather their warriors and complete tasks to bind their god to them before the other.

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Kawaii Nuriko ^.^

It is filled with humour, tension, and love. A high school girl’s dream… which is one reason I fell in love with it in the first place.

That and Nuriko! My favourite sassy, flamboyant pretty boy. :3

If you have the time I would suggest watching a few episodes on YouTube.

|THREE| Nightmare Before Christmas

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Do I have to explain why? Do I really?

Tim Burton. Halloween Christmas crossover. Great music.

For people who love dark and creepy, yet light hearted and family friendly – NBC is the movie for you. While everyone sings traditional Christmas careols you will find me belting This Is Halloween, What’s This, or Kidnap the Sandy Claws. I can’t stress enough how much this movie shaped my adolescent years… I think I still have my purse and hat somewhere…

|FOUR| Phantom of the Opera

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Have you ever watched a movie and it sounded so similar but you don’t know why? Yeah, that’s what PotO was for me. For the longest time I would listen to the soundtrack and hum the songs until one day my mother told me a really cool story.

According to her, when she was eight months pregnant with me, my father and her went to see PotO live. This was the early 90’s and it was a popular Broadway show in Toronto at the time. Anyways, after the show my mother bought the soundtrack and played it often while she was carrying me.

The fact I was fourteen when she told me this helped connect the dots on why I may have had this embedded desire to listen to the music… also why I always felt comfort when hearing Christine sing Think of Me.

This was also the movie that always makes me cry… always…

Update: Concept for cover…

This is sort of an update… not about the writing of the book (which is going well as I am on chapter 12) but about another important part of having a book. The cover!

I’m a writer… my artistic expression is that of words. In no way is my art expression that of the drawing variety, but I was playing around with ideas today on what to make for a cover for book 1 and came up with this:

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Whenever I’m looking at books I find the simplest looking covers draw my attention. It gets the idea of what I’m looking for across, and although my book is fantasy/ adventure something about this kind of idea strikes me as how my cover should be…

Don’t get me wrong the epic covers on other fantasy books with action fight scenes and magic glowing limbs are cool, but that’s not what this book is about. Maybe one of my books later one will have that kind of awesome cover, but at the moment I’m thinking minimalist approach is the way to go. Am I wrong in thinking that? Should I look at getting a more exciting looking cover, or is this interesting enough to make you want to pick it up and read the back/ look at the description on the ebook site?

I’m looking for what you all think. Maybe some suggestions on how it can be improved? This is going to be my first book, and therefore I know nothing about anything when it comes to book covers asides from what I’m reading online. XD

So, suggestions? Comments? Ideas?

I’m all ears. 🙂

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