The Perfect Elephant

airavata.png

AiravataIndia

“A pristine, winged elephant that creates rain, steed to the God, Indra.”

Basic Facts:

  • Other names for Airavata are: abrha-matanga (“elephant of the clouds”), naga-malla (“the fighting elephant”), or Arkasodra (“brother of the sun”). The name, Airavata, loosely translates to “belonging to Iravati.”
  • This isn’t a normal elephant…it has ten tusks and five trunks. To top it off it’s white and spotless!
  • Last week, we talked about the churning of the ocean of milk, which created several treasures (or mythological creatures) alongside uchchaihshravas – one being Airavata. This is according to one legend – not the final answer!
  • The lovely Airavata is actually incorporated into a couple of flags like Laos and Thailand.
  • The Airavata is one of eight deities to look over the eight points of a compass. That’s quite the job!

 

Antagonizing Antagonists

Purpose. Almost every antagonist has a purpose.

purpose.gif

Are they trying the “take over the world” tactic? What got them to this point? Evil isn’t born from the black; it’s molded and crafted by life’s doing. If you’re writing a classic villain – give them the unique back story to give them epic purpose.

If your story is that of the everyday, then where is the bad guy? Are they standing right next to the main character? Are they in the cubicle next door? Are they after the same goal as the protagonist? The opposition is what gives the antagonist in this scenario purpose.

Here’s another one: your character is going against the government, or any large institution, “1984”-style. Why did this entity grow to be the way it is Why is the protagonist going against it? There shouldn’t be a “pure evil” motive because that means there’s someone behind the whole thing. It starts to blend in with other potential antagonist. Don’t confuse yourself! But there’s always…you guessed it…purpose behind the institution.

A new favorite and trend we see in writing is the internal antagonist. This mostly revolves around characteristics of the character and being held back by these traits. For the first time throughout this piece, purpose is stripped from the “antagonist” and comes to fruition out of some event or comes to light. These become more realistic because it may be an accurate portrayal of life itself.

So…take to the books and get writing your perfect, purposeful antagonist. Alright, we’re done using the ‘p’ word.

Jumping Through Time

A story can include one of two things: flashbacks or skipping to the future. We don’t think recommending the two is a great idea but if executed cohesively…sure! Why not! Let’s discuss.

Sometimes, writing flashbacks can help a story flesh itself out. Readers understand the plot better, the character better, ANYTHING! But what happens when a flashback becomes more than a flash back? Meaning, what happens when a brief moment takes up a whole chapter? Is that acceptable? There isn’t any reason why it shouldn’t be acceptable – other than not being written properly. Make sure flashbacks are quick and easy. They’re meant to be memories triggered by people or items or occurrences surrounding the character or plot. Here’s an idea: it doesn’t necessarily have to be written in the perspective where the character is brought back to a moment in time…but rather, induces a feeling, an image flashed in the character’s thoughts. Something like that.

Skipping ahead in time is also a way to get the story moving along. Readers don’t need all filler details and a story doesn’t deserve that either! A few months can pass in the story in a matter of words, as long as the reader is caught up with the characters and ongoings in their world, what else is needed? Questions should never be left unanswered, too. If they are, there better be good reason for it. Did something happen prior to the time hop that wasn’t resolved during the time not mentioned? Well, it better come full circle because then the reader will not be happy (they’ll scream, “PLOT HOLE, PLOT HOLE!” and write a whole review about how the plot hole ruined the story for them.)

future.gif

So, now that we’ve lectured about time and the relationship it has with your story – let’s build a time machine and have some fun!

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!


 

shojo.jpg

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.

(Almost) Ending the Year On Some Trendy Business

We know, we know…it’s not our last post of the year, but it’s close to it! We figured it would be good for anyone looking into getting published to get the heads up: the results are in, publishing trends are here.

Before we get started though, we want to direct you to the source in which the general info comes from. Opinions and advice are ours! But check out this blog/publishing service.

Let’s get right into it!

going up.gif

  1. First and foremost, is the decline in reading going to push writers away from publishing their work?

    We vote a big fat NO. Reason being, we see the decline in reading as a way to push writers to treat their work with care (and to get into e-Pubbing, but we’ll discuss in a second.) Getting all the pre-publication shenanigans out of the way is something so many people don’t truly pay attention to – so maybe, it’s time we give our precious work some TLC and hire a few people to take a look at what we’ve got.

  2. Print books remain #1. What does this mean for you?

    While everyone (or maybe it was just me) believes that eBooks are the only way to read now, we come here to confirm: this is not true. Print books remain the champion of reading (even if less people do the act of reading.) Now, before you comment and say, “getting my book printed will cost so much money” or “I can’t seal the deal with PRH or Tor or any of those big publishers!” Don’t forget about print-on-demand: the most efficient way for a self-published author to get their book in physical format! So you can still make your way into the print market without a major publishing deal (sorry, big guys.)

  3. Audiobooks are still on the rise!

    We love audiobooks here at HRM. We talk about them enough to say we’re not surprised they’ll continue to rise come the new year.
  4. We’ve talked about it once, we’ll talk about it again: hybrid/collaborative publishing is important and will continue to rise in popularity in 2019. Why should it be important to you?

    Hybrid publishing and collaborative publishing are important mediums to self-published authors (or writers looking into self-publishing.) We want the quality of a major publisher (you know, the big tough editors and the fantastic printing jobs) but since deals from them are far and few between, we need an alternative. An alternative where we have creative flexibility and control over the work in question. These mediums are just that. They provide the quality care to your work as well as giving you the power over it – with consideration, of course. Major publishing houses ensure a bigger paycheck, but why not get your foot in the door to start?

  5. Marketing is your best friend.

    We talk about marketing a lot on this blog. It’s an important part of being a writer/author who wants exposure. If you’re interested in keeping up with a variety of marketing tactics, just use the search bar for this blog and we guarantee you’ll come across something.

 

Happy Holidays, everybody!

A Blob

Nuppeppo.jpg

Nuppeppō Japan

“Passive, genderless blob one can eat to gain eternal youth.”

Basic Facts:

  • This yōkai has a pungent body odor because it’s supposedly made up of corpses. I knew there was a catch…Makes it that much harder to eat.
  • While other spirits have some form of origin tale…the nuppeppō doesn’t. Even though it’s been around since the 18th century.
  • You’ll most likely find this blob in deserted streets, abandoned temples, and…you guessed it…graveyards.
  • They are entirely harmless!
  • Although the blob is just that…a blob…the nuppeppō has folds all over it. Which makes it look like it has eyes, a nose, a mouth, arms and legs.

Simplicity & Books

Keeping up with book trends and sales? Don’t worry. We are too. There will always be highs and lows, one extreme to another. This isn’t really a trend but just a little something we noticed in the office. Everything is so simple.

so simple.gif

Sure, writing the book isn’t simple…getting the book to be noticed by an editor/publisher isn’t simple…the process of production isn’t simple…but when the final product of the book is in the author’s hands or a trusty reader’s yearning finger tips…do they just look at the cover and think, it’s so simple? We’re referring to the cover art itself. And because we came across a list of books in which the title said, “Most Beautiful…”, we thought it was about time we sit down and chat about cover art. Again.

Calling something beautiful is subjective to the writer of the article. Some of the titles on this list have been hyped up and plastered all over the internet, they were bound to become bestsellers. But there was one common thing among the covers we needed to stress. They’re so simple. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity but the simplicity of these books has helped bump up sales revenue. Many fiction titles are beginning to look…uniform. Once again…there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s getting money in someone’s pocket, regardless.

We’re not here to dictate what you should do with your book. But if you find yourself in need of change and you could envision a bit of abstract art or an object as the cover of your book, then maybe it’s time you send out a few emails to the cover designers out in the world. You may appeal to a new crowd looking for the simple covers that get them wondering what the heck the cover is trying to tell them.

Thank goodness we live in a digital age where all we have to do is delete and upload a new image.

All Umbrellas Mean Bad Luck

kasaobake.jpg

Kasa-obake | Japan

“Animated umbrellas that jump around on one leg.”

Basic Facts:

  • Here we have another yōkai (like the ittan-momen and bake-kujira.) This can sometimes be thrown under the same name as the ittan-momen: a tsukumogami, but not all consider it to be that.
  • Other names include: karakasa-obake, kase-bake, and karakasa kozō.
  • If you couldn’t tell by the art above, the kasa-obake have a very distinct appearance. It’s usually an umbrella with one eye, hopping around on one leg. In some rare cases, they’ll have two legs but it’s highly unlikely to find. Every once in awhile, it’ll have two arms and sometimes be described to have a long tongue.
  • Initially, the kasa-obake was simply a humanoid spirit with an umbrella on its head…but as time went on the human became an umbrella. This is why people believe it to be a tsukumogami.
  • This is the most well-known yōkai (that is an object) and has been incorprated into card games, haunted houses, anime (Japanese animated shows), manga (Japanese comic books/graphic novels), and movies.

Save or Delete?

Have you ever sat down to work on your writing project and thought, I’m not into this like I was three months ago? And how you want to dedicate your time to a work-in-progress that you actually care about? Or do you feel as though you’re working on a project and it feels forced? Are you asking yourself: should I save or delete?

Here’s what we have to say: don’t abandon a project simply because you’re not passionate about it. Some writers burn themselves out trying to write what they think needs to be done. Other times, it’s a lack of inspiration. What should you do if this happens to you?

conflicted.gif

Our favorite suggestion is take a nap. All jokes aside, rest your brain and focus on other activities you like. Napping could be one of those things. Don’t question if you want to save or delete a project. If you’re ever leaning towards the delete option, we recommend still saving the work someplace where you can’t visually see it. Mainly because if you stumble across it later on, you may spark new interest and inspiration.

Bottom line is: give yourself a break. Stop thinking too much into it. Save it. Don’t delete.

Swimming With Revenge

bake kujira.jpg

Bake – KujiraJapan

“Ghost whale that is accompanied by bizarre birds and unknown fish.”

Basic Facts:

  • Another name for the bakekujira is honekujira, which translates to “bone whale.” They pretty much are undead whales who are followed by weird looking birds and funky fish.
  • They can be found in the sea of Japan. The people will see the ghost whale on rainy nights, off the coast…of whaling villages. See where we’re going here?
  • What powers can this haunting whale possibly have? Legend has it, when you see the whale, you’re cursed. Usually what happens is, someone will become cursed, return to their village and the village will suffer at the hand of the curse. Plague, famine, fires…any disaster you can imagine. Prepare.
  • Do you remember the yōkai from our last post? The bakekujira is one, too.
  • There are some explanations as to why the legend came in to existence about this whale. Someone has said it could have been an enemy village, creating a fake whale to haunt the fisherman out at sea. There is another idea about a whale carcass carrying disease to a village and not a ghost whale.