Dogs in Novels Rant

ellamae-backLife Updates:

To start adding a little extra to my posts on my website, I am going to be compiling a newsletter. On it, as you can see, it will have my latest video, a featured writing resource, and a little insight on my writing life.

In the future, I am also considering doing features of books and perhaps other things. I will also post art I create of my characters, such as the one of Ellamae Holt to the left.

I hope you all enjoy the newsletter! Please let me know if you have any suggestions.


Writers Corner:

Newest Video:

Too often, dogs are used as a plot device in novels and movies. It makes me a little mad….


Featured Writers Resource:

Writers Knowledge Base – This website is a search engine specifically for writers. Because it is just for writers, it is unbelievably easy to search and find any resource you need without having to scroll through pages of unrelated content.


My Writing Journal:

Lately on the way to work I have been listening to marketing podcasts. I mean, it is an hour long bike ride both ways, so I might as well do something productive with my time, right?

I have been listening to a few different ones, but I am noticing a pattern. They all stress the importance of a powerful book lunch, and they all stress the importance of having at least three books out.

Everyone has dreams of becoming popular on their first book, but most the writers I have been listening to say that did not start getting noticed until they had at least three books out. After that, readers started taking them seriously.

However, they still stressed a proper launch. I have been listing the major points I keep seeing, so here they are just in case they might help a fellow writer out:

  • Do a cover reveal. This is great for marketing and builds suspense.
  • Have a website. And consider paying for it.
  • Book Trailer. Either pay someone or make your own book trailer video.
  • Un-boxing Video. Do a video or photos showing off the physical copy of your new book.
  • Have Advanced Copy Readers. Send your book to willing bloggers, YouTubers, and other people who would be willing to read your book and review it before it is technically out. This will give you a head-start when it does actually come out.
  • Have an Online Presence. Some of the people I was hearing about stressed Facebook, others twitter, another Tumblr. Find your favorite social media and focus on it(and set it up to automatically post on others). Post something a few times a week.
  • Do a Giveaway. Nothing attracts people like free stuff. Include something they can not get themselves for even more attraction; such as throwing in some items related to your book. I have even seen authors throw in things like a feather-quill.

I hope this helps! I will keep my research up for more tips.

 


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Your Characters First Fight (and what injuries you are forgetting)

Is your character about to have his first fight ever? Is he trained in fighting? If not, then there are some injuries you might want to consider….


 

Often in novels there is a side-kick to the main character who is perhaps a bit book smart, but not a fighter. So, when that side-kick is confronted by someone who did or said something bad, everyone is surprised when said character punches that person in the face.

She has never punched anything before, yet somehow manages to knock that evil person out cold while sustaining no injures to herself.

In reality, punching is not as easy as making a fist and smacking someone with it; hold your wrist wrong and you might break it. Hit with fingers rather than knuckles, and you might break those too. Hit correctly, and you might still get broken and bleeding knuckles.

The truth of the matter is that a common injury to professional fighters is a broken wrist from punching wrong. If they can make a mistake and get injured, what about your character? The human face is surprisingly hard; so hit it for the first time, and you might feel like you just punched a brick wall.

To make your novel seem realistic, perhaps consider at least having your character shake out their sore hand…because “sore” is something it certainly would be.

What You(Likely) Did Not Know About Fairies

Hey guys! Did you know the idea of fairies having wings did not really come around until Victorian times?

In some parts of Ireland and Scotland, fairy culture stick exists today, and it is likely not what you expect. Most are not dazzlingly beautiful; in fact, most are downright scary.

In Ireland and Scotland, “Fairy” is basically a category for a type of mythological creature. For example, a banshee and a brownie(the creature, not the yummy baked goods) are both types of fairies.

Within the category of fairies, there are also two more categories; the Seelie Court, and the Unseelie Court. Those in the Unseelie court are those likely to do evil, and those in the Seelie court are those likely to do good. However, even those in the Seelie court can do mischief, and can harm you if you insult them.

First, I am going to talk about the Unseelie court, because this is where people are normally the most surprised when they research fairies. Most people today picture a tiny person with wings when someone says “fairy” but the truth is very different; especially in the Unseelie court.

The Unseelie court is home of evil creatures like a Kelpie -a horse creature that tricks people into coming near the water or riding it, then it drowns and eat them- or the Nuckelavee, a creature that is half-horse, half man, that has no skin and can kill a whole field of crops(and people) with just its breath.

Those in the Unseelie court are not trooping fairies(a type of fairy that likes to travel together) so are most often encountered in mythology individually.

Fairies actually have several different names, including several alternative spellings to “fairy,” and also fae, people of the mounds, wee folk, little folk, fair folk, and also a few names in Gaelic. Supposedly, however, the only name they liked to be called was “fair folk.”

A fairy doctor is someone who has been the the fairy realm and survived and has fairy sight, and it is his job to cure “fairy struck” people(people under a spell) or to tell if a child is a changeling(a fairy in hiding). Supposedly, many children have been killed at the hands of fairy doctors when they are announced as changelings.

One last interesting fact is that fairies are allergic to iron, so this could very well be where the tradition of putting a horseshoe above your door for good luck came from.

Just for a recap:

  • Unseelie Court– Fairies likely to do evil.
  • Seelie Court – Fairies likely to do good.
  • Fairy Doctor – Someone who can help people under spells, or tell if a child is a changling.
  • Fairy Struck – Someone under a fairy spell.
  • Changeling – A fairy pretending to be your baby.
  • Fairy – A category for mythological creatures.

Different Names for Fairies:

  • aos sí(pronunciation: ”ees shee“ means “People of the Mounds”)
  • aes sídhe (pronunciation: ”ays sheeth-uh”)
  • daoine sìth
  • Fairy, Fairies, Fae, Faerie, Faery, Fay, Faie, Faierie, Fayerye
  • Wee Folk
  • Fair Folk
  • The Folk
  • Good Folk

More Information:

 

 

Why Starved Characters Need to Eat Less

It is very common in novels(particularly fantasy) where a character goes for days on end without any food. Then, by a stroke of luck, they find safety and protection. They are made food and eat until they feel like they will explode, then put to bed.

Well, that is not exactly how it would work.

While at a Survival Instructor course, our officer recommended that you do not eat anything for the first day in a survival situation; this is because it causes your stomach to shrink, making you less hungry the next day.

Toward the end of the course, we were sent on solo “mock survival” camping trips, and when we got back, we were very restricted on what we were allowed to eat. We were all given one burger; that is it. The reason is actually very important; it can be very bad for your body to suddenly eat too much after starving. It can cause problems; one of which includes throwing up.

So, we were given just a burger, and even that one burger caused some people to feel sick.

There is quite a lot of truth you can take away from a novel and people will not care, but adding something like this could add a lot more drama into your story for your starved character.

One More Wilderness Survival Point for Writers

Hey guys!
In this video I talk about the very first things you should think about in a survival situation.

Sorry I look so tired in this video. I have an immune disorder, and my immune system crashed a few days ago…so I am sick.

Like I say in the video, if there is more wilderness survival information you would like to know about, please put it in the comments section below.

Thanks for watching!

5 More Tips for Writing About Wilderness Survival

 Hey guys!

So here is another video about common mistakes I read or see during movies in relation to wilderness survival situations.

  1. Animals Obsessed With Humans.
    I cant even name all the times I have read a book or seen a movie where the characters are lost in a forest, and immediately get attacked by wolves. It is always wolves. This is totally false; most people who camp all the time will have never even seen a wolf because they are such shy animals. Same goes for cougars or humans; they are not human hunters. In fact, a grizzlies diet is 80% plant-life. You sometimes hear of someone getting killed by a bear, but it is very rare. If you would like to read up on this, here is a link.
  2. Rationing Water.
    Never ration your water. Ever. If you are in a desert and you ration your water, you are more likely to get killed by heat stroke than dehydration. If you would like to read up on that, see here.
  3. Sucking Venom out of Blood.
    Often you will see or hear about people getting bit by a snake, and either sucking the venom out, or cutting it to try and bleed it out. This does not work. To read more, see here.
  4. Alcohol will (not) Keep You Warmer.
    There is a common myth that alcohol will keep you warmer, but that is not true. It makes you feel warmer, but it actually makes you colder. See here for more.
  5. Keeping Clothes on After Falling Through Ice.
    Water has a tricky habit of keeping its temperature, so after you fall through ice, you are better off to get naked and roll in the snow to get the water off. You are better naked then in wet clothes. See here for more information.

That’s it for now! I hope this helps, and if you want more videos like this, please let me know!

5 Tips for Writing About Forests

Hey everyone!

For some reason I was extra shy of the camera today, but I tried to make a video anyways. This time around, I list five things that you rarely read talked about in novels while characters are in forests; especially in the fantasy genre.

I won’t describe it here as in depth as I did in the video, but here is the brief explanation:

  1. Hunting is Not Always Successful. Especially if your character is on the run. In a survival situation, majority of your diet will be plant-life.
  2. Altitude Sickness Can Happen. If you are not used to climbing mountains, you can get altitude sickness.
  3. Altitude Effects Fires. Fire needs oxygen, and oxygen is thinner on higher altitudes. This makes them harder to light.
  4. Sleeping Under the Stars Can Suck. Its a romatic thought, but can lead to you being miserable. Instead, look up shelters like lean-to’s, A-frames, and snow shelters for your characters.
  5. Water is Not Always Safe to Drink. Just because you find water, does not mean it is safe to drink. In a real-life survival situation, you will want to filter the water and boil it before drinking.

I really hope that helps! If it does, and you want to see more content like this, please let me know and I will make another video with more points to help you out.

Here is a related post that might also help: Foraging Guide for Writers

Writing Realistic Winter Scenes

I know there will be some of you who has likely never even seen snow, so I thought I would make this to help everyone out. Below, you will find common problems to face while dealing with a snowy winter scene.

  1. ll cofpyExposed Skin.
    When you go outside and it is really cold out, it literally feels like the cold is biting at your exposed skin. It causes it to go red, and can cause frostbite. To counter this, cover exposed skin.
  2. Numb Fingers and Toes.
    This one is extremely annoying. When your fingers or toes get too cold, they go numb and lose mobility. Trying to do fine details like typing is very hard, and it can last several minutes after going inside.
  3. Frozen Nose Hairs.
    When you breathe cold air into your nose, it can freeze the moisture in there. It does not hurt, but it is annoying. To stop this, wear something over your nose like a scarf.
  4. Burning Feeling on Throat and Lungs.
    When the cold air reaches your throat and lungs, it feels like it is burning. To stop this, attempt to warm the air before it enters your body by wearing something that covers like a scarf.
  5. Freezing Eyelashes.
    Ugh. This one is incredibly annoying. Your eyelashes can freeze together, and while it does not hurt, it is annoying. You can help melt them by squeezing your eyes closed really tightly, but the easiest way to prevent this is goggles.
  6. Uncontrollable Shivering.
    Have you ever had a chill that you could not get rid of? It is awful when this happens. It does not matter how warm a house is, once you get a chill it can last a long time. A warm shower or bath can help greatly, otherwise wrap up.
  7. Snow Blindness.
    This one is a scary one for a lot of people. Snow is a reflective surface so it acts like a mirror and reflects the sun right into your eyes. The light can be too much for your eyes, so it can cause temporary blindness. To prevent this, were sunglasses or goggles. The Inuits and other cultures actually used to take bark and cut two small slits and wear it like a mask. It limits vision, but prevents snow blindness.
  8. Sunburns.
    Like said above, the snow is a reflective surface, so it can be too strong. As well as snow-blindness, it can also cause sunburns. It might seem strange to get sunburns in the middle of winter, but it is very easy with snow and ice around.
  9. Sinking into Snow.
    If the snow is very soft, you will sink into it and it will take extra effort to pull your feet back out again. To conserve energy, use snow-shoes to better distribute your weight and sink less.

Outside your Body:

  1. Freezing Water.
    If a water-bottle is just in your pack, do not be surprised if it is frozen solid in just an hour. Instead, put it close to your back so that the heat of your body will hopefully keep it from freezing.
  2. Butane Lighters.
    Butane lighters are great, but they are not reliable in the cold. Keep it close to your body -such as in a inside jacket pocket- to keep it working.
  3. Ice Crystals.
    Your breath has moisture on it, so when you breathe into a scarf, it can cause ice crystals to form on the outside of it. When you go into somewhere warm, the crystals will melt and the scarf will be wet. Be sure to have your characters hang the scarf to dry otherwise they will freeze next time they go out.
  4. Bright Nights.
    Since the snow reflects light, it actually makes nights seem brighter when there is snow on the ground. This makes things easier to see.

VICTORIAN LIFE REFERENCE MASTER LIST

klIn continuation from the Medieval, Celtic, and Viking posts, here is one for Victorian life! Just like before, I plan on adding more videos as I find them. I really hope these help!

Food:

Daily Life:

Transportation:

Fighting and Weapons:

If you wish to know more about Victorian life, I also suggest looking into buying the BBC “Victorian Farm,” as well as “Victorian Pharmacy.” They are really well done.

You might also like this post: Victorian Sights and Smells.