Motivation Monday

We each have our own sayings to describe separating ourselves from the chaos of the world. It is good to know that we all have similarities in that degree. For instance, you may hear someone say YOLO – You Only Live Once to describe the sensation of doing what you love in life and taking risks because this is your time, but in Japan you may hear ukiyo a similar sort of presence of doing what you love and not letting outside things come between that.

I encourage you to seek out similarities among you and others. We can learn so much, especially in the form of language. Make it present in your own literary works and explore the outcome of getting your novel translated (we can help you with that)!

Remember to live in the moment. The world is too big to only stay in your head. 

Happy Monday!

Take the Time to Read Out Loud

Want to spruce up your reading and gain some benefits? Try reading out loud next time! While it might not be very common to read out loud to yourself it definitely has its advantages: 

  1. It helps you become a better listener in retaining information.
  2. Helps you to identify an authentic dialogue – because you are reading out loud you get a better understanding of a natural narrative flow.
  3. Improves your diction and expression, allowing it to help your own speaking and writing voice.
  4. Improves visual memory by creating more vivid visuals in your mind.
  5. Improves your spelling.
  6. Great practice for public speaking.

Reading out loud has its own personal benefits for day to day life as well as being a writer. By reading your own work out loud you encapsulate the flow of your writing, and will be able to pick up mistakes easier. It helps you to adjust your own punctuation better because you may find yourself pausing more often, therefore needing a comma. 

We are taught at a young age that reading out loud is helpful in the classroom, but is commonly lost while growing up. However, the benefits are still there and should be practiced from time to time. 

Enjoy your time!

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Something Wicked This Way Comes – Grim Reaper

Tomorrow is Halloween! Just in time for one last creature of the dark analysis…

We have talked about ghouls, zombies, and mummies but today we will talk about the lord of death…the grim reaper. His job entails collecting the souls of the people when their time on earth is done. He is known to be very diligent in his job and always meets his deadlines. He is someone you will not want to see. 

Origins of the Grim Reaper appear in the fourteenth century when Europe was overcome by the Black Plague. During this time many artists began painting skeletons with deadly weapons and eventually the black cloaked figure became the first recognizable Reaper. It is said that his dark costume and curved scythe (the large weapon he carries around) may have been inspired by the plague doctors who wore dark shrouds and bird-like masks to protect themselves from breathing bad air. 

However, the name Grim Reaper did not appear until the nineteenth century. Getting its origins from the popular nickname for death “the Grim’. 

His special abilities include being able to separate the soul from the body, and then becomes a guide to help you find your way to the next realm. 

Today the Grim Reaper remains to be a favorite Halloween costume, and has appeared in novels and films. He has become the world’s most iconic personification of death. 

Spook up your next novel with a Grim Reaper character!

Write on!

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Something Wicked This Way Comes – Mummies

As Halloween approaches we still have plenty more creatures to talk about. While this one may not do a lot of talking on their own, mummies have been portrayed as wrapped up mutes both on screen and in ancient folklore. 

When people think of a mummy they usually envision a human form wrapped in layers of tissue from head to toe shuffling towards you. While that may be true enough, mummies come from a more interesting history. 

The process of mummification was popular in many civilizations including Incan, Australian, African, and Aztec but is commonly known for its performance in Egypt. Each ritual varied by culture, but all consisted of honoring the body of the dead by preservation. 

The Egyptian mummy process for royalty and the wealthy included: 

  • Washing the body
  • Removing all organs except the heart and placing them in jars
  • Packing the body and organs in salt to remove moisture
  • Embalming the body with resins and essential oils such as myrrh, cassia, juniper oil and cedar oil
  • Wrapping the embalmed corpse in several layers of linen

The mummies of the pharaohs were placed in a sarcophagus and buried in elaborate tombs with things they would need for the after life such as wine, food, jewels, perfume, and anything they particularly liked. 

According to folklore, disrupting a mummies tomb leads to death. One of the most popular stories is the disruption of King Tut’s tomb by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. While it was an extraordinary find it did come with unexplained deaths by some members of his crew, but Howard Carter was spared from the so-called curse. 

Mummies then became more mainstream by hitting the big screen in in 1932 with the movie The Mummy with Boris Karloff, where they instantly debuted as monsters who cannot feel pain and the most effective way to kill them is to be set on fire. 

From there we have seen them in a countless number of movies and TV shows and they have become a popular costume for Halloween. 

Let the stories of the ancient world spark your own writing creativity. Maybe mummies will be featured in your next book or short story! 

Every story counts. Happy Spooktober!

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Something Wicked This Way Comes – Zombies

Another week closer to Halloween means another creature to talk about, and zombies sure are being talked about a lot these past few years. I wonder if it is all the grunting and moaning that makes them so popular or maybe the classic zombie walk, but whatever it is it seems to have made its mark on pop culture. 

First, let’s take it back to where it all began. Before the world became futuristically invaded with zombies we had their first appearance in Haitian folklore. Bokor sorcerers would raise corpses from the dead and control them as personal slaves. 

From there zombies had their first Hollywood screen performance in 1932 in White Zombie. However, they didn’t take full center stage until the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video in 1983. Appearing again and again on screen in movies and video games,  these creatures continue to be apart of creepy culture. 

Some of their strengths include being impervious to pain, they never need to sleep, and can sustain massive injuries without feeling pain. However, they no longer have a high functioning brain and they move slow. 

You have most likely seen these creatures in an apocalyptic theme movie or book. Both with a classic theme and some unthinkable twists, as there is a lot to talk about with these ever appearing creatures. 

This Halloween season maybe you want to spruce up your spooky series with a zombie or two (as they also mostly travel in groups)? Create your own creature twist and dig a little deeper into all things zombie!

Halloween Zombie GIF by Scooby-Doo

Happy Spooktober!

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Something Wicked This Way Comes – The Ghoul

In the spirit of Halloween it is only right to dedicate this time to the creatures of the dark that we may not typically pay attention to. Join me each week until Halloween to find out what lies beneath the scales and fangs. 

First and foremost… the ghoul. 

Each creature comes from different mythology and pertains to different legends. That being said the ghoul originates under Arabic mythology. They have the ability to shape-shift and are known for inhabiting places like graveyards or deserts. Their true form are known to be hairy and canine like, but one of their most distinct features is their hoof like imprints, and most commonly known to be crawling on all fours. 

However, with so many stories and renditions we see the ghoul in many different forms, for example…

Ghoul on Netflix focuses on “the ghoul” from Arabic Mythology that can shape-shift, and is known for its hoof like print. 

In Supernatural a popular Sci-Fi TV show ghouls are not dead but a form of monster. They typically live in graveyards and feed on human flesh both dead and alive. They can also shape-shift and the only way of killing a ghoul is complete decapitation. 

Tokyo Ghoul is a popular anime show about a character who gets bit by a ghoul and becomes half ghoul – half human. In this version ghouls look exactly like humans but like to eat human flesh. 

So next time you are writing a story and want to incorporate a ghoul think about what features you want to show and the presence it plays among humans.

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Blushing Language

We all know the writing motto: show, don’t tell.

But don’t we all get overwhelmed when we think we need to show everything? Are there certain categories of showing emotion or a character’s feeling towards something versus telling? Well, you can answer those questions because we’re going to share a quoted post. The original author is MIA but we do want you all to know – it wasn’t our idea. We’re simply adding a bit of input!

How to write ‘they blushed’ without writing ‘they blushed’:

  • They took a step backwards.
  • They shifted their weight from one side to the other.
  • They hid their face in their hands.
  • They shifted their glance to something else in the room, all around the room for that matter.
  • Their eyes widened.
  • They crossed their arms.
  • They leaned into themselves.
  • They scratched the back of their head.
  • Utilize hand motions. When people are nervous or embarrassed, they tend to use their hands to declare their frustration.
  • Quirks! Each character should have their own quirks even before you begin writing. It’s their go-to and displays some of their negative traits sometimes.

 

Foot Traps

caltrops.jpgCaltrops

 

  • This was a weapon used to maim or kill infantry, and/or others not shielded with armor. Caltrops specifically had two or more sharp nails. In the past, caltrops were used against foot troops and cavalry. Today, caltrops are used against wheeled vehicles. We’ve all watched high speed chases!
  • The name of this device if from Latin. The original meaning is “foot-trap.”
  • Caltrops have been used in heraldry. Mainly as charges in the shields!

Top Tier Polearm

glaive.jpg

Glaive

  • It is a European polearm. It’s decorated with a single-edged blade at one end of the pole. The blade is similar to that of an axe head – not a straight blade or as curved as cutlasses or swords.
  • Some of the blades were crafted with a small hook somewhere on the blade-end of the pole. Sometimes on the opposite end of the blade. This was used to catch riders. (This is a running theme in our weapons of choice!)
  • The glaive was a highly rated weapon in the polearm class/other hand-to-hand combat weapons of the time. This rating occurred in 1599.

All Aboard!

genoese boarding sword.jpg

Italian Boarding Sword

  • The Italian boarding sword was a tool used by sailors or pirates. When ships collided and one crew needed to get aboard another vessel, this sword was used to cut rope with ease or hack closed doors.
  • Although considered a tool, it was also used as a weapon. It could pierce a victim and the fighting style is very similar to fencing (except with a shorter blade.)
  • We are accustomed to seeing sailors and pirates with curved blades (cutlasses for example) but this particular sword has a straight blade.
  • It is also called a Genoese boarding sword because of a captain who hailed from the Republic of Genoa.