Out Of Control

Relinquishing creative control can feel like the end of the world. One cannot simply do everything and have a successful book launch.

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  • Let your editor edit. You’re paying them to do so. Give them space. Let them work. And if they don’t meet their deadline, let ’em have it. All hell will break loose. Be easy on your editor who’s focusing on the substantive editing. They need to pick apart your story and ask questions. Don’t flip out on them. Take a chill pill.
  • Unless you’re designing your own cover, you’ll also need to take a step back and tell yourself: “I’m not the expert.” Give the designer what they need, info-wise. Maybe a little more. Be realistic in your feedback and don’t get irrationally angry if they don’t follow your original request. They may have a marketing tactic or two behind their reasons why. Just ask.
  • If you’ve hired PR to help with your marketing, then you need to lay out your terms and conditions to a degree. Once again, you’re paying this person to do a job for you. They’re the expert. Not you! They will treat your upcoming work with TLC and sketch out a marketing plan tailored to a genre and audience. If they don’t, something isn’t being done right. Ensue virtual yelling.

Think of this time away from your work as a vacation. Go to the beach, go for a hike. Drink a nice, cold pina colada. And when you’re notified from any of the people you’ve hired about your book…

Panic.

The Cannibal Monster

This is one of the last two areas of the world we are traveling too. So, let’s venture into the deep woods of the Americas to start the beginning of the final countdown!


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WendigoAlgonquian Tribes

Cannibalistic beastly humanoid, possibly once human.

  • This creature is aligned with murder, insatiable, and cultural taboos against “normal” behavior. They’re also associated with the winter, the north, coldness, famine, and starvation.
  • The Wendigo is bigger than a human, and whenever it feeds on human flesh, it grows! It never gains weight and will always appear thin. They’re always hungry so watch out!!
  • There’s also an explanation as to why they may have been human once before turning into the Wendigo. When they were human, they may have been incredibly greedy. Or if the human was in contact with Wendigos for too long, they would become one.
  • Powers include: mimicking human voices, possession, controlling weather, manipulation of darkness (sunset), control of forest creatures, healing, and incredible strength and speed.
  • Believe it or not, there is a psychological disorder called the Wendigo Psychosis. People diagnosed crave human flesh even though they have access to normal food sources.

Downsizing Your Writing

Inspired solely on the act of decluttering a home, we’re talking about a part of editing some people dread: downsizing the finished product.

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There is a such thing as writing too much. Spending an excessive amount of your time world-building all at once, having long conversations between characters to reveal information, or describing your characters in great physical detail and not focusing on the plot. These are examples! There can be all kinds of details you may be able to omit!

If you find yourself growing insecure or anxious about your ability to write effectively for an audience, you may want to begin the downsizing process.

Those moments too large (or too long)…revisit them. Break it down and see what can be taken out. What’s important to your writing is showing your reader what’s going on around your character or how your character(s) perceive the world – not telling your reader. They won’t feel it.

Small details may be important to hold onto so save them in a note on the side. They might be able to be woven into the narrative in a flowing manner.

Try to set a time frame in which you’ll work on this form of editing. And if you have to – do it more than once. You’ll realize how a whole paragraph may only needed to be one sentence.

Revenge of the Scorpion Man

This creature was a feature in the Mummy series. Definitely something worth getting the chills over! 😱


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Aqrabuamelu Former Mesopotamia

Warrior with a scorpion body and male torso.

  • These creatures (made both male and female but more known as male) were created to wage war against younger gods by an older goddess.
  • They were also known to stand guard to gates leading to other gods (the list of gods differ).
  • The Aqrabuamelu doesn’t have magical powers, at least not ones officially documented – only speculated. With purely physical abilities, they utilize their human body and scorpion body in their own ways.
  • Wonder if they were the size of scorpions? Nope! Supposedly, their heads touch the sky.
  • Along with their fearsome tail filled with poison, they’re actually skilled with a bow and arrow.

Earth Fish

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BahamutMiddle East

Colossal fish that is one of seven layers supporting the Earth.

  • Bahamut is sometimes considered a nickname. Balhut is the earliest name for the fish. Bahamut came along and is actually translated from the word, “behemoth.” (And other references but crazy!)
  • You can’t see Bahamut but he keeps us out of the black abyss, while swimming around in the underworld.
  • The general consensus on what Bahamut looks like revolves around a huge animal. Some stories give him different appearances but the more notable figure is the water-dwelling animal.
  • Can a fish even have powers? With his size, you think that would be it. Lo and behold, in other mythological tales, Bahamut has the ability to drive someone mad if seen (which is most unlikely, but whatever.) Another version of Bahamut can control all wild predators on Earth with a simple roar, during the summer solstice. This power keeps the animals tamed until the next year.
  • Weakness isn’t a word Bahamut knows…but obedience is. If he doesn’t obey his Creator…he could get killed!

The One, The Only: Sphinx

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Androsphinx Egypt

Living statue with a lion body and human head, tells riddles.

  • Although labeled from Egypt, the sphinx as a whole can be found in many other countries, one being Greece. Since we’re so accustomed to the Great Sphinx of Giza, we tend to forget there are others out there.
  • This particular interpretation is symbolized as the incarnation of the Sun God, Ra.
  • More commonly seen with a lion’s body, it can be found to have a ram or even a hawk’s head. They each have different names and different origin tales!
  • The sphinx is seen as the protector of the land it watches. The body of the sphinx never changes but each head resembles that of what it protects. So, the androsphinx, compared to that of a Pharaoh…watched over the people.
  • Depending on where you are or which one you’re researching, the sphinx can be seen as a monster or keeper of knowledge. You choose which interpretation you decide to pursue

Letting Characters Write Themselves

Writing is an experience which changes from person-to-person. Some are very straightforward: outline the work, write as they’ve planned, and stick to what they initially imagined. Others…this one is for you…let the writing take over. Some may let the characters do the writing for them. Even with an outline to give an overview of what’s to come, sometimes a character’s personality or background won’t allow what’s been planned to happen the way the writer may want. (And we don’t recommend forcing it!)

The character may become the author of their own story – you’re only the vessel!

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If you’re feeling as though your story is straying away from the original plan, don’t worry – this may come with purpose.

During the editing process, make sure everything links together. Even if your character takes the wheel and steers you in a new direction doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always going to be right! Nervous about taking the leap? Duplicate the document, re-read each chapter as it’s written, refer back to your notes and put your brain to work!

Writing doesn’t have to be a cut-dry part of your life; your characters have a story you’re destined to tell, so let them help you tell it.

The Grandma Snake

We know what you’re thinking: Grandma Snake? What the heck kind of myth is that?

It’ll make more sense as you read…


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Baba Yaga Russia

Mysterious old woman who floats around in a mortar.

  • The description may say a singular old woman, but this myth opens the possibility of running into not just one but three baba yagas (can it be plural?) Crazy part? They’re all equally as deformed and terrifying to look at it.
  • Not only does she float around in a mortar…she’s armed. With a pestle. The thing you use to grind stuff up in the mortar. Sounds like if you get her mad, you know what will happen to you.
  • She can be found in the forest, in a hut. Most people who come across her seek her out for a maternal role or something in relation to forest life. (Read some of the stories – they’re crazy!)
  • Baba Yaga may be seen as a villain, but she’s portrayed as a helper or ambiguous being in a story.
  • The meaning of her name varies (take a peek at the title again); baba has a variety of meanings, ranging from grandmother to sorceress. Yaga doesn’t have a clear translation but most believe it revolves around serpents.

A Lady Bird Prophet

GamayunRussia

Prophetic bird with the head of a woman.

  • Perched on top of a pedestal of wisdom and knowledge, the gamayun speaks only of divine messages and prophecies.
  • She lives on an island; this particular island is considered to be paradise.
  • It might not seem like a paradise to us, though. She lives on this island alone. It might be due to wanting to separate herself away from humankind and other animals since she knows the demise of it all and wants to watch it all unfold.
  • Alongside another mythological creature, the Gamayun played a huge role in integrating Christianity into society.
  • A singer of hymns and all-knowing creature…the Gamayun still has her influence on Russia. She can even be found on the coat of arms for some towns!

Tickle Monster

You read that title correctly. We’re talking about a mythological creature who tickles his victims to death…not a way I want to go. We’re traveling to West Asia, and for the next four weeks, this is where we’ll stay.


 

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Şüräle Turkey

“Horned, woolly humanoid that tickles people to death.”

Basic Facts:

  • The Şüräle has long fingers (used for tickling), a horn on its forehead (like a unicorn), and a woolly body (similar to that of a sheep.) Somehow, this terrifying sounding creature lures people into the thicket of the forest it resides in and tickles them to death.
  • It can transform its body, usually into a human. The human will almost always have glowing eyes and wear its shoes backwards. Lo and behold, this may or may not be how they lure their victims in.
  • If you’re lucky enough, you can befriend the monster and learn the secrets to magic. People will make deals with it and gain the creature’s protection of livelihood and animal stock. Beware though…if the Şüräle doesn’t like you, they’ll make you ill or force you to get lost.
  • In a lighthearted way, the Şüräle can be a jokester; there’s a myth about them taking the axes of woodcutters and hiding them.
  • In order to get the Şüräle off your back if you come across it, you have to turn your clothes inside out and wear your shoes backwards.