Desert Survival | Writing Help

Dehydration Side Effects:

Your body needs water desperately. Here are just some of the symptoms based on the percentage of water loss in the body:

  • 1-5%: Dizziness, Lack of Appetite, Nausea, Lethargy
  • 6-10%: Headache, dizziness, tingling limbs, slurred speech, losing vision
  • 11-12%: Swelling tongue, skin shriveling, darkening vision, deafness, inability to swallow, death.

Very often in novels and even real life, people in desert situations ration their water. Never, ever, ration water. In real life, people are sometimes found dead in the desert with a bottle full of water because they ration their water and die of heat stroke before the dehydration gets them. Instead, you are better off drinking what water you have in small sips over time. Not rationing, and not chugging.

Water Collection:

  • Solar Stills. Solar stills are a great way to get water. See how to do it here.
  • Digging for water. Often in movies, characters are shown finding plants and digging for water. In truth, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes, the roots of plants reach very far down so you would have to dig for a very long time to find that water. Instead, set a limit on how far to try digging.
  • Following Creatures. Even bees need water. I work at a bee farm, and if the weather gets too hot we have to put out water every day for them or they will die of thirst. If you see a beehive, there is a good chance there is a water source nearby. Follow a bee, and you might find it! The same goes for ants, or even grazing animals.
  • Collecting rain.
  • Splitting Cactus for Water. Many cacti are pretty starchy inside, and some of those that are full of water can make you very sick. Maybe don’t do this one.

Conserving Water:

  • Stay in the shade; especially around noon when the sun is highest in the sky. The heat will only make you sweat off what water you have. Instead, find a shelter for during the day.
  • Do not lay on the ground. The ground can hold heat, so instead put some layers between you and the ground.
  • Don’t Smoke. Smoking dries out your mouth.
  • Don’t drink alcohol. Alcohol can dehydrate you faster.
  • Talk little. Talking can dry out your mouth.


  • Caves. You are not the only one who likes easy shelters; beware of snakes and other creatures. Also, put the fire at the back of the cave. Putting a fire at the front will only blow wind in, making your cave into a smoker. Instead, put the fire at the back of the cave, and the smoke will go along the top of the roof and out the opening.
  • A-Frame. A simple shelter with minimal supplies needed. Even better with a space/emergency blanket which can help reflect heat.

Cold Protection:

People very rarely mention this, but deserts can be brutally cold at night. Some deserts can go from being hot enough to cause heat stroke in the day, to having to worry about hypothermia at night.

Another issue could be seasonal cold. Even Alberta, Canada, has a dessert, and though it is what you would expect from a desert in the summer, in the winter they can get large amounts of snow.

Deserts are not necessarily only about heat; cold can be an issue too.


You can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Keeping that in mind, you should also know that food takes water to digest. Eating when you don’t have water can dehydrate you faster, so if you do not have water you are better off not eating.

Did I miss an important tip for desert survival? Or did you find this useful? If so, please let me know in the comments section below!


☘️ Folklore Mini-Doc List ☘️ – Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales

Hi everyone!

I absolutely adore folklore and I have a habit of binge-watching and collecting videos I find about the subject. In order to help possible writers or just folklore fans out there, I am organizing the videos into a list. I am starting with Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales, and I may focus on other cultures at a later time. I will add videos as I find them, so be sure to check back!



Fair Folk:



Fair Folk:


🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿England: 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Fair Folk:


🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿Wales: 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Fair Folk:

Do you know of a folklore video I don’t have listed here? Please let me know!

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.



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