Sea Spirit & Alcohol

Welcome back to The Write Nook and HRM’s place to splurge on random information!

With a new year comes new formats and new topics. As always, we’re excited to share our list of recent publications (in the audio department) and talk about whatever aspiring writers and published authors are dying to know. Or we’re ready to sit down with a cup of coffee and talk writing. Whatever the case may be, we’re excited to share this new year with you!

Even though we’ll be diving into new things, don’t think we’re going to abandon our weekly mythology lesson. This week is our last week in Japan (metaphorically…not physically!) So, keep reading if you’re interested in spirits who like to drink!


 

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Shōjō | Japan

“Red-faced sea spirit with a fondness for alcohol.”

Basic Facts:

  • Shōjō is also used to refer to someone who likes alcohol.
  • There is a Noh mask for the shōjō. Noh is a well-known form of classical Japanese musical drama. The performers use masks, costumes, and props to tell the story at hand through dance.
  • A shōjō is also a term for an orangutan!
  • There are legends surrounding the shōjō drinking the beer brewed in breweries. Watch your beer, friends!
  • They’re described to look like apes (hairy, too!) And with bright red hair and blushing faces. They wear clothes made from seaweed – and no surprise, you’ll usually find them by coasts, islands, and shallow waters.

Ragnarok

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FenrirScandinavia

“Monstrous wolf destined to devour the world.”

Basic Facts:

  • Fenrir is the son of Loki and the giantess, Angrboda.
  • This huge wolf was chained up because the gods knew how powerful he was. He was only going to break free when Ragnarok occurred, which is Doomsday. And no, we’re not going to start talking about the Marvel movies.
  • Fenrir has made more appearances in modern culture than people realize, mainly references in video games but has made an appearance or two in movies and on TV.
  • He’s a father! He has two sons: Skoll (meaning ‘treachery’) and Hati (meaning ‘he who hates’ or ‘enemy’) with the giantess, Hyrrokkin. Though this is just an assumption. Also, like father like son.
  • His other name is “Fenris.”

 

A Dragon Mule…?

If you haven’t already noticed, this week’s mythological creature doesn’t have a photo. The reason behind this is mainly…there weren’t any paintings drawn up about this legend – more word of mouth. So do what you want with the information provided today! Or you can look up this creature to gather an idea of how modern adaptations portray this creature!


La Guita Xica | Spain

“Green, serpentine dragon that protects the people of Catalonia.”

Basic Facts: 

  • La Guita Xica was brought into Catalonia legends in 1890. It began as a demon but morphed into a protective entity over the villages.
  • More known as La Guita Xica, there are MANY names given to this serpent.
  • Labeled as a “dragon,” this creature is half-mule! Mainly because mules were prominent in the nearby mountains.
  • Because La Guita Xica is considered a protector…there are festivals to celebrate the dragon, where the handcrafted dragons shoot fireworks.
  • The neck of the dragon is compared to that of the Loch Ness monster. I think we may have solved something here…

He Lives!

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Art by Bernie Wrightson

Remember when Mary Shelley wrote one of the most well known monster tales of all time?

I sure don’t because that was 1818. But that being said, Mary Shelley created a man no one would ever forget.

Classic monster literature takes on several themes, some of which cross over into other. Most of the classic literature, like Frankenstein, Dracula, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…they all seem to carry the weight of these themes.

The biggest one is enlightenment and science. Since these works were written during the Age of Enlightenment, pretty much moving away from the influence of faith to the influence of science, the emphasis on science and how it impacted those who practiced was reflected in literature. Each of the main three works mentioned earlier each show signs of science and enlightenment.

The other themes shown in these types of works are isolation, loneliness, and duality. Most of the characters embody the feeling of being isolated, being lonely, being helpless. Duality is mainly mirrored through Dr. Jekyll when turning into Mr. Hyde and in the idea of vampires, resting during the day and running amok and causing destruction when the night comes.

Do you have a favorite monster or work of monster literature?

Watch Like A Hawk

One way to help with writer’s block is to observe and write. This exercise can help beat the slump in your own story by examining and writing a paragraph or two about something going on around you. It can also help to reflect a natural flow of events in a narrator’s point of view if you’re stuck. If want to give observational writing a try, follow along with us to learn about how to execute this way of writing effectively.

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First, pick your topic. Whether it is something you’re comfortable with or if you want to challenge yourself, pick a destination where you can travel to and sit with your notebook in hand. Your goal is to watch and write. The   world has so much to offer your writing abilities.

Second thing to keep in mind is choosing your writing tense. The most common way to write an observation is through the present tense. The present tense makes it easier to keep up with the flow of events as they happen. You may not be able to catch every word someone says in conversation but you may be able to see their mannerisms in conjunction with being alone, interacting with familiar faces, or meeting new people.

The third and more obvious tactic while observing is keeping an eye on crucial details. Every writer knows detail can be your best friend and worst enemy all at the same time. In observational writing, it will be your best friend. Without detail being described in the moment you are watching your future reader won’t be compelled to sit down with you. They’ll feel like that person walking by a window to a store, peering in quickly but still passing by; they won’t see the details you’ve managed to capture because you didn’t take their hand and lead the way into your point of view.

Going off of the details aspect, a fourth idea to keep in mind while writing should be utilizing your senses. We mentioned the importance of details but incorporating your five senses may entice the reader to feel like they’re sitting right there with you even more.

The fifth and last on our list (but certainly not the least) is bringing back some old high school creative writing techniques: comparative techniques. Comparisons, simile,s and metaphors are just some ways to mirror and describe the events unfolding before you. This helps more types of readers become involved in your writing. It definitely does not hurt to revisit your old creative writing class from high school or college to refresh your brain a bit. Hm, that sounds like a future ‘Back to the Basics’ post!

Man Crush Monday

gatsby.gifBack in my high school English classes, one of the only books I read from cover to cover was the story of Jay Gatsby. The Great Gatsby.

He was the most alluring character, shrouded in mystery and living hopelessly in love. To this day, The Great Gatsby remains one of my favorite novels due to the way Fitzgerald used Nick as the narrator. But I really just love the book for Jay and that’s all I needed to cure my Monday blues.

Do you have a unreal crush on a literary character? Who is it!

That Awkward Moment When…

michael scott.gifEvery writer has an awkward moment. Whether it comes to them in the art of writing their poem, short story, novel, or thinking about their next project. It’s always good to be reminded that you’re never alone in your writing endeavors. Here are my five favorite awkward moments, inspired by some Tumblr posts:

  • Writing until 3 am
    This incident is Dangerous with a capital ‘d.’ Some people are prosperous (and courageous) enough to quit their day job to become a fulltime writer. Some people haven’t gotten there yet and instead set aside an hour or two every night to dedicate to their WIP (work in progress). Sometimes, those people lose track of time and end up writing a lot later than expected, spending much longer on their computer, feeling their eyes grow heavy and their brains turn to mush. Then when that person is actually coherent and looks back on their so-called “progress,” they realize they wrote a bunch of nonsense for six hours. I feel as though that would make a good book in itself: collecting the sleep-deprived rambles of one person and calling it The Sleep-Deprived Rambles of the Working Person: A Collection.
  • Clearing Internet History
    The internet is a broad and informative world. This world teaches us much more than 10th grade algebra and that one biology course in college we are required to take and pass with at least a ‘C’ average. The internet becomes a writer’s best friend to help teach and inform them of things they don’t know about. Things such as different ways blood spatter occurs, the blueprints of the Pentagon, or how much rain falls during Monsoon season. Writers want accurate portrayals of concepts they aren’t informed about, but I one question for you: have you cleared your internet history yet? Because Big Brother is watching and he knows you Googled how to break into a government-owned building last night.
  • Drinking Your Choice of Poison
    Coming across a writer who chooses to drink and write is always a fun time. Just ask them. Similar to writing when exhausted, writing while slightly intoxicated can spring ideas into writing some never thought imaginable. We’ve talked about what to drink while reading on this blog previously but never have we thought about talking about writing and drinking. That’s crazy talk. Writing and drinking could be amusing, only if done responsibly – so why not try it out and check in the following morning to see what drunk you had to say about the plot.
  • Doubting the ability to spell
    It’s happened to all of us at least six or seven times. Writing the same word over and over and over and over again triggers something in the writer’s brain where that word starts to look wrong. Having a dictionary on hand or on the computer is always necessary in instances like this. It becomes even funnier when the person reaches out to a friend or their editor and says, “Hey, I think I’m spelling ‘please’ wrong, can you double check this paragraph so I can keep going?” only to hear, “Why are you spelling it ‘pleese’ or ‘puhleese’ or in 100 different incorrect ways?”
  • Writing about how to cure writer’s block
    We do our best to help those trying to overcome their latest bout of writer’s block. From writing about tips from other authors to simple words that can be used in texts, we try to cover it all. Even on social media, we often share a captivating prompt or two that we find could be helpful in at least getting a writer back on their computers and typing away. So, we know some writers are familiar with that awkward moment where they sit down with their drink in hand and fingers ready to type…and end up not being able to produce anything at all. Not even a single word. Then they spend their allotted hours on Googling ‘how to cure writer’s block’ as if there was a medicine or natural remedy on WebMD or something.

The Fantasy OC

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Writing a bit of fantasy to pass the time? We’ve got a few tips on how to make the most of your fantasy characters – starting with physical appearance:

  • Describe the physical characteristics like you would any character. They are meant to be unique in their own fashion and should be done with thorough detail. Don’t forget, they’re living in a very different world than us – as a human, the character may appear very out of place in a village of Elves or Dwarves, for example.
  • What about that scar across the bridge of their nose? Or that burn which covers half of their torso? Sometimes having physical tags on a character can add more backstory to them. It gives them something to talk about with their newly found companions or old friends. Or it just adds more to their bad ass-ery.
  • Let’s say you have a character who is a witch. Does this character have a wand? What kind of wand is it? Sometimes with a generic character build, your reader will find it boring to read: “She carried her wand on her belt like a fashion icon.” Of course, there must be something special about the wand. Maybe it’s a sharpened twig from the forest where her coven has survived? Any way, any generic characteristic of the character whether physical to their body or something like a wand – should be given its own description as well.
  • Last but not least, make sure to give your character a standalone name. Something that rolls off the tongue nicely, makes the reader remember them, but also isn’t too much.