Protected: 1. Magic is Not A Good Thing.

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Now that didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would…

I know that I already told some of you about this, but this year’s birthday present to myself has been a tattoo. My very first one and even though I’ve always wanted one, until recently, I just didn’t know what exactly I wanted to get. As so often in the life of yours truly ideas come random, and they come whacky.

This one came to me in a dream in which one of my MCs suddenly showed up sporting a raven in flight holding a broken pocket watch in its claws. Now what made me get it in the end wasn’t only that it stands for the two patron deities of my MCs in Light as well as for things like night, soaring hights and chaos in general, but also the fact that it applies to me as a person, though the explanation here is a little more personal so if you’re interested in hearing my personal rant about it, feel free to nudge me. Anyway, this is something that relates both to me as a person and as a writer and I just love what Jason from SLC Ink did with my rather simple 10-minute sketch:

102_00042

Here’s the stencil and me getting more and more nervous as the little voice that says “Oh my God, I’m really doing this!” and “This is going to hurt like Fuck!” gets louder.

102_0006Things are getting started and it’s really not as bad as I thought it would be. Seriously, my “always expect the worst to happen” mentality sometimes really pays off 😛

102_0007By the time the outline was done, I really looked sore, but it still wasn’t so bad and it took less time than I imagined it to take. One thing that I was kind of worried about was the fact that I’m usually on blood thinners, but had taken a few days off the meds to make sure it wouldn’t bleed too much when I got the tattoo and evidently it worked just fine.

102_0010And we get color! Well, it’s a black & gray tattoo, but still 🙂

102_0011Almost done except for the highlights. Which for some reason hurt more than anything else, but that might have been due to the entire tattoo taking 3 hours and me getting a massive headache in the last hour.

102_0012Aaaand done. Pretty red and sore and the highlights won’t come out until it’s fully healed in about 3-4 weeks, but I’m  really, really happy with it. This definitely was one of the more interesting birthdays. Gotta love those gifts that you give to yourself and having awesome friends who tag along. Even though “Oh man, this going to hurt so bad” won’t ever make it into the most supporting lines ever.

Anyway, thanks to Jen and Carly for tagging along and most of all thanks to Jason for doing an awesome job 🙂

EDIT: I’ll have Jen or someone take a new picture of how it looks now all healed and not as dark anymore. It has a lot of highlights now and looks all pretty. I love it 😀

And this is when you realize you really missed writing

I just read this and this and realized how much I missed writing over the last few months. Really, all personal stress and life-changing issues set aside, I really missed that feeling of having some room there to have my characters talk to me, to have scenes unfold in my head and to just sit down and write for the heck of it.

Sure, I’d love to get this book published some day, but even so I write, because I love it. I write because I love my story and my characters and I love to have those sudden strikes of inspiration that keep me up late at night, glued to the laptop typing away. And now it’s been coming back for the last few days and it really makes me happy. Even though I’m sick as a puppy right now and am not doing a whole lot of writing, I’m sorting through things and get back on track again.

And yes the voices are back too and they are telling me things of literary awesome 😉

Let’s say you have three different characters and they all walk through the same street…

…what would they notice and why?

I went to Mountain Con yesterday and attended an interesting workshop hosted by Brandon Sanderson that dealt with all matters concerning plot. Talking about the difficulties of distinguishing between different character voices, we talked about an interesting idea concerning character and setting.

Let’s say you have three different characters and they all walk through the same street/city – What would they notice about their surroundings and why?

If I take Ares, Damian, Raeyn and Nymeron for example, all four of them would see entirely different things when walking through the City’s Core. Nymeron would see it as the center of his rule, his legacy if you want to call it that and generally as the center of civilization itself. While his son Raeyn would see it as a scam, as a world he’s being pushed into as the heir to the Emperor’s throne and generally everything he’s trying to escape from. Damian would view it as some sort of work environment. He’d know a lot of residences of the city’s nobility and he’d notice the places he’d usually use to commit an assassination without being noticed. He’d know which ways to use to slip in and out of the Core without ever being seen, etc. Ares would see the Core a lot like Damian does and yet it also is part of his childhood as his memories about the Core are entirely different from Damian’s or anyone else belonging to the Shadows. Like Damian, he’d know the patrol routes of the Watch and know when to keep away, etc.

Now this doesn’t include things they’d actually see. Every character would have different associations with buildings like the Palace or the Finger of Light or districts like Nightshade or Up Side. They all would describe the buildings, streets and people they see in other ways relating to their background and personal association with it and that’s what makes this exercise this interesting. It’s definitely worth a try, especially if you are writing a novel from different PoV’s, but also if you struggle giving your supporting characters their own personality.

Right now I’m working on an assignment for my writing class; describing a specific setting. I personally always find mere descriptions rather dull and uninspiring so my attempt here is to describe the City of Helos from Raeyn’s perspective (since I’m planning to write a short story about him for the final project of this class). I might end up doing the same thing for more than one character though just to see what comes out of it and to improve my own setting description skills, because honestly it’s not one of my strengths and this sounds like a cool way to work on them a little. I’ll see about posting the results on here to get a little more content up and running again *cracks whip* I really need to get my writing back into gear.

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Random profanity screening ;)

Yep, screening the first 66 pages (Prologue through Four) of Light gives me 34 hits on ‘fuck’ and its various compounds, 26 hits on ‘Gods’ and only 9 for ‘shit’.

What do we learn from this?

Ares doesn’t curse enough.

But then again that’s Damian’s job.

Anyway, yes, I’m getting the hang of writing again (die, University Stress, die!) and I’m pleasantly surprised. Yes, Damian can have unexpected moments of sudden cute-ness. Awww.

Writing Characters of Opposite Genders

I’m pretty sure we’ve all had that experience: We read an author who attempts to write about characters of the opposite gender than theirs and they horribly and often ridiculously fail. Now as a female writer who usually writes from male PoV’s I’ve always been a little paranoid of said failure to convey an authentic male voice. Honestly between the first and the second draft of Light I feel like I’ve improved a lot in this aspect, but I’m sure there is the one or other section that doesn’t come across as entirely authentic (can I get some more male readers to take a look at let’s say the first three chapters, pretty please? Volunteers, just drop me an email and I’ll be more than happy to send you some sample chapters!)

Of course there’s the question of what exactly qualifies as an authentic portrait of a male/female voice.

Personally I’m not a believer in gender-stereotypes and don’t think that they are what define gender. When I’m looking at who some authors fail or accomplish to create a realistic picture of a character obviously not of their own gender I often find that those characteristics are much more subtle than general stereotypes. It definitely isn’t easy to do and as a writer I often find it hard to know if I succeed at giving a realistic image of my male protagonists. The fact that I’m writing about gay/bisexual male protagonists who are occasionally introspective only adds to me trying to write about them in a realistic fashion. Seriously, nothing bugs me more than the fact that many people automatically associate a certain degree of femininity with gay/bisexual men and the other way around with women. Needless to say that I’m pretty much expecting the sexuality of my protagonists to put off some readers, but that’s their karma I suppose 😉

Anyway, I’m curious: What would you say is characteristic for a realistic male/female voice and what experiences did you make writing characters of the opposite gender? Comment away 😀