books to be read at some point

Review: The Chronicles of Ixia

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Opening Line: ‘Locked in darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories.’

Okay, so I went into this expecting only to read Poison Study, the first book, which is what I do with most of my fantasy reads. However, it hit me like a brick… so I got hold of the other eight (curse my self control). I read the nine-book series in about two weeks (including delays as I had to order some of the books and they took a few days to come in), and I feel slightly like I’ve drowned myself in the story, but in a good way.

We follow the point of view of Yelena (with other points of view coming up in later books) who is assigned to be the food-taster for the leader of the country instead of being executed for murder. From that point, everything gets progressively more complicated and intense, but in a thoroughly enjoyable way. I could probably gush for pages about this series, so let’s go through some of the major points.

The character creation and development work is solid, good, and interesting; their motivations make sense in unexpected ways, which makes for an enjoyable story. Snyder is good at common-sense twists, the kind that you don’t necessarily see coming but make complete sense when they happen – my favourite kind. The only exception to this is in the romances, sometimes. They’re great as potential romances, and great once they’re actually a couple, but the jump from the former to the latter sometimes seems to be jarring – it doesn’t feel quite natural. You can definitely see her improve through the books, though. And she has a tendency towards writing found families, which I love.

The world-building is great, and the magic system is a nice balance between overly simplistic and overly complex – though I will confess I was occasionally confused by some of the twists in the system, I suspect that was largely because of how fast I was reading. Snyder’s plot-work is also nicely done, and she uses some lovely narrative devices across the whole series – and I won’t spoil it, but I will say it has a wholly satisfying ending.

One major note: trigger warning for rape. Our main character is a rape survivor, and the incident itself is described pretty evocatively in the first book. It’s also a topic that comes up every so often throughout the rest of the series, though it is always explicitly framed as a terrible thing – there’s no “was it wasn’t it” debate, which is something.

Finally, despite being a series about assassins, fighting, and poisoning, it doesn’t ever feel excessively grim. There’s a lot of fun, some really satisfying scenes and genuinely good relationships between people. Snyder avoids putting you through genuinely believing someone is dead more times than necessary (which for me will wear me out and pull me out of the story after a while) while still keeping the peril level high, which was impressive.

Overall, one of my favourite additions to my collection – and I’m very glad I bought the whole series! Going to give this a 4.5/5.

You might enjoy this book if you enjoyed: Green Rider (Kristen Britain), The Black Magician Trilogy (Trudi Canavan), A Dance of Cloaks (David Dalglish), The Cursed Kingdoms Trilogy ( Emily Gee), Uprooted (Naomi Novik), the ‘Sweep’ series (Cate Tiernan).

the thing about lotr that the movies don’t convey so fully is how the story is set in an age heavily overshadowed by all the ages before. they’re constantly traveling through ruins, discussing the glory of days gone by, the empires of men are much diminished, the elves (especially galadriel) are described as seeming incongruent, frozen in time….some of the imagery is even near-apocalyptic, like the ruins of moria and of course the landscape surrounding mordor

this is a strange thought to me, somehow: that the archetypal “high fantasy” story is set at the point where the…fantasy…used to be much higher? this is not the golden age; this is a remnant

So there’s a Harry Potter AU Victuuri + Durmstrang student Victor Nikiforov trend going on twitter and I hopped onto that bandwagon as soon as I could CUZ I AM TRASH FOR HARRY POTTER AU

At some point you’re gonna have to choose who you love the most. Them or yourself.
—  Excerpt from a book I’ll never write #13 // a.s

anonymous asked:

If you have the time and if you don't mind, what are some books you really recommend? Doesn't have to be all time faves, but anything that pops into mind that you want more ppl to read and love, Extra points if lgbt+ , i got the whole summer with little to do and i wanna spend it reading some good quality writing and honestly so far your recs have introduced me to so many faves its unbelievable

[blushes profusely] oh wow, thank you!!!  i’m so glad you’ve trusted me enough to check out some of the stuff i reblog; that is like the ultimate compliment, i can’t even???  i don’t mind at all(!), fair warning though: i only started recording what i read partway through last year and my mind is like a sieve so i’ll do my absolute best to remember what’s sang to me in the recent past.  warning number two: i’m in an open relationship with absolutely every genre out there so i’ll try to note which belongs where so you can avoid those that hold no interest for you.

LGBT+

  • i’ll give you the sun.  i loved this book, the writing is fucking transformative and all the characters are so damn likable, while still being realistically flawed human beings.
  • the raven cycle (tetralogy).  definitely my favorite series since harry potter.  the writing, the world-building, the characters, it’s all on top-form.  i wrote a little, mini non-spoilery review of it: here, back when i was better (worse?) wordly-wise and my feels were brand new.
  • more happy than not.  i’m still not sure how i feel about this book.  it was hard, but it felt very true to the characters and the lingo and style matched the ages of the players and i have a lot of respect for that.
  • the watchmaker of filigree street.  woooow i loved this book.  i admit ‘historical fiction’ kind of makes me cringe.  it never precludes me from reading a book but it does knock it down the list by a book or five because they’re often very dense and very clunky and end up taking me ages to get through.  but this one was gorgeous.  i loved the plot, the attention lovingly placed on every character and the historical elements.  the surprise gay in an already brilliant book felt like winning the lottery honestly.
  • captive prince (trilogy).  okay, truthfully, i’m only putting this on here because the second book is such a high point for me.  it was never bad at any point but it had unfortunately been hyped far too much for it to live up to my, admittedly, very high expectations.  hopefully it’ll fare better with you?
  • everything i never told you.  i go back and forth on this one.  i like the writing a lot, i like the LGBT aspect a lot, and i like the mystery aspect a lot but there are definitely characters i would cut out entirely for sheer predictability if i could and that killed a lot of my enjoyment at the time (but i think much more highly of it in retrospect?).  so, take that as you like.
  • aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe.  if there’s a book that handles its characters with more care or respect or consideration then i haven’t run into it.  i love the way this is written and the people it’s populated with.
  • flying lessons & other stories.  a bunch of uber talented authors writing a bunch of uber diverse and LGBT-focused stories and, yes, that is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
  • the song of achilles.  it is utterly heart-breaking but so rich, honestly.

FANTASY

  • the diviners.  (also has a minor LGBT character, who may play a bigger role in the sequel?)  fair warning, i have not read the sequel, lair of dreams, because it is somehow still not out in paperback (yes, i read physical books, yes, i pretty exclusively read paperbacks so i can lug them everywhere with me, YES, I PRE-ORDERED THIS ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO AND IT’S STILL NOT OUT, NOT THAT I’M BITTER ABOUT THAT OR ANYTHING) so i can’t speak to that one finishing on a high note as i don’t know.  but this was the first historical novel i managed to like in a long while.  it does such a good job of fusing in 1920s lingo and dress and aspects that i couldn’t help but love it.  add in the fantasy elements and i can admit i’m the perfect sucker for it.
  • the scorpio races.  i’m not sure why but it took me a long-ass time to get into this book, i wasn’t flipping pages with gusto until well towards the end but - especially as i was reading so much YA at the time - i really appreciated coming across a romance that lets both people come into it as themselves and stay themselves, neither puck nor sean were ever smashed or crumpled or shaved away to fit into their relationship, which was so refreshing.  plus the water horses were fucking cool.
  • the night circus.  the writing, the atmosphere, the circus.  just… it is all very whoa.
  • all the birds in the sky.  i loved this writing style and these characters and the magical elements.

CONTEMPORARY

  • i’ll meet you there.  there was something about this and i just… ended up liking it way more than i expected to.  i might’ve just read it at exactly the right time, i’m not sure, but i really enjoyed it.
  • the invoice.  this is honestly just hella cute and so freaking surreal.  swedes, man.

NON-FICTION

  • why not me?  i like mindy kaling a lot.  i make no apologies for that.  plus you can read both her books in about five seconds, haha.

SCIENCE FICTION

  • station eleven.  i loved this book.  the way the narrative is woven is so refreshing and i wish the comic book miranda was writing in this book was a real thing more than anything else in the woooorld.
  • illuminae.  hot DAMN this book was cool.  the plot was rock solid, the characters were hilarious and badass and the graphics made out of text and spiraling words and just the way this thing is put together?  shit, it’s worth your money and then some.
  • a robot in the garden.  okay this is just cute as hell.  i can’t even with tang, he’s the most adorable robot to ever adorable.
  • annihilation (southern reach trilogy).  (LGBT minor characters.)  okay, honestly?  i don’t know.  this was freaking zany but i was invested as fuck in all the kookiness for reasons i can’t articulately elaborate on.
  • the martian.  hilarious, engaging, SPACE.  what more do you want?

HORROR

  • things we lost in the fire.  this is more atmospheric than anything but, damn, could this get me wishing i wasn’t reading this in the dark or looking over my shoulder to make absolutely sure no one was standing behind me.  it’s a book of short stories (by the way, i love books of short stories and i definitely realize that is not true for everyone) and each one is so well-delivered and stylized.  i really enjoyed reading this.
  • let the right one in.  okay, this is legit horror so definitely stay away if you’re easily squicked out but it is harrrrrd to find good horror (at least in my opinion) and this definitely, definitely qualifies.
  • horrorstör.  i honestly had such low expectations for this, a horror story set in a wannabe-ikea, but it ended up being so ridiculous and strange and funny that i was won over by the finish.
  • the girl with all the gifts.  holy unique and well-executed zombie idea, batman!

SHORT STORIES

  • the bigness of the world.  there were definitely ones here that hit better than others but the ones i liked, i really liked!

GRAPHIC NOVELS (i read a lot of these so, um, prepare yourself)

  • saga.  (LGBT minor characters as well.)  this is world-building to a degree that i’m convinced did not exist before.  just, i can’t say enough amazing things about this series and the staggering amount of imagination that regularly goes into it.
  • ms. marvel.  heart-warming as fuck.  it’s definitely really easy to lose faith in the world these days, luckily kamala is there to remind you that people are primarily and genuinely good.
  • black science.  this is another one that took just an insane amount of imagination to cook up.  i got off to kind of a rocky start with this one but the gray-ness of all the characters really speaks to me, and that doesn’t really blossom until later in the series.
  • spider-man/deadpool.  this was very satisfying for my super duper spideypool-shipping mind.  joe and ed did us so good, and joe basically said in his sign-off: i made it absolutely as gay as they would let me, haha.
  • the wicked + the divine.  (LGBT minor characters that you’re going to get way too attached to, and retroactively.  it’s awful [sobs].)  the concept for this, gods reincarnating into teenagers before they burn up their hosts after a predetermined set of time, is so fucking cool.  the humor and the characters and the plot is all just aces.
  • iceman (LGBT MAIN CHARACTER).  okay, so this just started.  like issue #2 was only released days ago but 1) i am liking it so far and 2) marvel did it so dirty and barely advertised bobby - an openly homosexual superhero - was getting his own series, like, i found out about it the day before it went on sale and i keep my ear fairly close to the ground (not as close as some BY A LOT, but closer than the lay person i’d say) so if you can support it, please do!  pre-orders mean a lot in terms of numbers. :))))
  • descender.  admittedly, this starts out rooough.  because the main character, TIM-21 (and his little dog too), are annoying as hell.  he’s an android so there’s no dimension to him so he’s booooring as all get out but i am so glad i stuck with it through to the next trade because, probably picking up on the unsustainability of him as a main character, he gets shuffled off and the side characters get the stage and they rock so hard.
  • paper girls. (LGBT main characters.)  i’m kind of just convinced that brian k. vaughan can do no wrong at this point.  his plots are so tight and mind-blowing and badass.
  • monstress.  here’s a little tid-bit about me: female comic book writers are 100% more likely to get my money and my time because they are so damn rare and this series is unique, badass, and eye-opening.
  • black monday murders.  i’m a little premature with this since there’s only one volume and i usually try to wait until there are at least two but i check up on a volume two a lot so that definitely means something intrigued me!
  • nailbiter.  okay, i haven’t read the final volume yet ‘cause i’m reluctant to let it go but, so far, a series about multiple serial killers all being from the same town has me VERY HOOKED.

i wish i could remember more but this is honestly way better than i expected to do, haha.  they’re definitely not all my all-time faves but they’re ones that have stuck with me for one reason or another and that i didn’t feel i wasted my time on, so that’s something, right?  i hope this helps get you started and that you don’t think too awfully of me when you inevitably run across ones that aren’t your cup of tea!

So there's this thing

So where I’m from, we have this thing with ships. They have weird names and we always refer to them by those names as a classification.

•The Titanic
These are the ships that will never be canon. Mostly like those gay ships of straight guys that every fandom has.

•The Sailboat
These are the weak ships that are kinda like “I wouldn’t have a problem, per se, if this happened, but I don’t ship it hard.”

•The Fleet
These are the ordinary ship. Like, you ship it more than the casual “I ship it,” but less than the battleship.

•The Battleship
The strongest of the ships. It’s like the commander of everything shipping.

•The Pirate Ship
These are the ships that are already canon. They destroy other non-canon ships and plunder the remains, but we still love them.

•The Submarine
These are the obscure ships that we still love. Whether it’s a random pairing that nobody seems to ship or just an obscure source, maybe some book nobody seems to have ever read. But usually, these pairs are basically like two subs passing without their lights on.

•K-27
Named after a sunken Soviet sub, these are like the normal submarine, but will never be canon, and will probably sink with their nukes onboard.

These are the classifications of ships.


EDIT


•Santa Maria
@yuzuling pointed this out, but it’s a great addition. These are the old ships, the ones that practically everyone has forgotten, but for you, they’re basically classics, those ships you know you can always go back to.


•The Mayflower
@thereonce-was-a-girl named this one. It’s a “toxic ship”. For most of us, it’s the ship that we don’t like or support. We don’t openly spread hate for people who do ship it, but for us, these are the canonical ships that tend to cause the impossibility of a Titanic rather than allowing a ship to be a fleet ship or pirate ship.

Back To School Tips Master Post!

I had a few people asking me to do a back to school tips/ how to do well in school post so here it is. I’m a sophomore in college and an honors student so I plan on sharing the things that have helped me succeed. Even though these tips are things I use now in college, most of them I also used in high school so it can be applied there as well. 

Organization                                                                                                           The most beneficial thing you can do is stay organized.

  1. Get a planner.- I bought mine this year at Walgreens for around $7 but it has a plastic cover so all paper ones are even cheaper. A planner is good for keeping track of when everything is due. When I get my syllabi for my classes I go through them and write down the due dates of homework, essays, tests, etc, on the day they are due. You can color code your classes or just write the class next to the assignment. This way you can look at a whole week and see everything you have due for all of your classes in one place. It’s also easier to add in things or make changes if your professor decides to due so.
  2. Use a white board- I know white boards can be expensive, so if you can’t afford one, expo markers will write on laminated paper which you can get for around $4 on Amazon. I use this to keep on my wall and write the next really important date for each class. So I have all my classes listed on the board and let’s say my next big date in Psych is a test. I’d write that date on the board, then after the test, I’d erase it and write the next important date. These dates should be in your planner as well but it’s nice to have them right in front of you at all times so you don’t turn to the next week in your planner and realize you have a test on Monday. 
  3. Buy durable folders- If you’re going to be using your folders all year make sure they’ll last all year. You want to lose any of your assignments. I get plastic folders at Office Depot for $0.39 a piece. I chose a color for each class and write the class at the top in sharpie and I’m good to go!
  4. Notebooks too!- You’re going to be taking a lot of notes so make sure to keep a notebook for each class as well. Mine were $3 each at Office Depot but they have a plastic cover so if you need to save some money get the paper covers because you most likely wont reuse a notebook.
  5. Get a pack of loose leaf paper- Sometimes you have to turn things in and if you’re like me then you hate tearing it out of your notebook. But if you don’t have a problem with that then don’t worry about it!
  6. Use some sort of bag/backpack- This will help you not lose anything plus you can put water, snacks, etc in it as well!

Study Tips                                                                                                               Tests are often the biggest portion of your grade so knowing the best ways to study will help you out the most. 

  1. Figure out what type of learner you are- This can greatly improve your study skills. There are visual learners; these people learn best with charts, graphs, and anything that show a visual relationship between information. So if you’re this type of person, to help study you could make charts, graphs, tables, draws arrows between points of information, or watch videos. Anything to help you see it. There are also auditory learners; these people learn best when hearing the information. So the best way for these people to study is to recite information out loud, or if your course has an audio book to listen to it. You could also have a friend read information to you and you say it as well. Some people are reading/writing learners; they do best when reading the text and writing down important points/taking notes. This is the type of learner I am so to help me study, I write out my own flashcards, I copy power points into my notes, and as I read my chapters I write the important information.  Something else that is good for these kind of learners is to make little quizzes for yourself. There are also kinesthetic learners; they learn best with more hands on activities. This can be hard to do especially with some subjects. If you can physically do what you’re studying then do it. If not, make a game out of it. For example, ask yourself questions and if you get it right take a shot at a basketball hoop or a soccer goal (if you don’t have these things use a paper ball and your trashcan or anything you can substitute. Figuring out which learner you are will greatly improve how you study.
  2. Don’t wait until right before a test- Cramming your brain with all the information a few days before a test will not help you remember and only stress you out. This is called Massed Practice and is proven to be a waste of time and information is not retained well. Study a little everyday or every other day. This is called the Spacing Effect and is proven to improve retention and recall of information. So it is best to do short sessions of study over a long period of time rather than a long session all at once.
  3. Find a good place to study- If you like quiet places and your house/dorm is too loud go to a library or outside if it’ s a nice day.  If you like a lot of background noise play some music or go to a coffee shop.

Overall Tips                                                                                                            These tips are still really important but I don’t have enough that fit together to make another header.

  1. Work on what’s due first- Some people think it’s always best to work on the important things first but that’s not always the case. If your essay is due in two weeks and you have an assignment due in a few days then finish the assignment first. You’ll still have plenty of time for your essay. I suggest doing all your work but if something happens to where you just can’t then yes do the more important thing because it’ll be a bigger part of your grade.
  2. Writing Centers- A lot of colleges/universities have writing centers.  If you’re not the best at writing or just need some help you can make an appointment at the writing center where someone highly qualified in writing will read your paper/essay and help you with grammar, punctuation, idea flow, overall organization etc. I highly suggest checking to see if your school has one of these.
  3. Check your email/Blackboard/whatever your professor uses- This is where they may add extra assignments/ cancel class and not mention it in class. It’s always important to check.
  4. Try to relax- I know it can be hard, especially for students with depression, anxiety, and other mental/physical illnesses but it’s important to always take a moment and calm down. Take breaks from your work and do something you enjoy for at least a few minutes everyday. If you need a nap, take a nap. just set an alarm to pick back up on your work later.
  5. Don’t worry about being perfect- This is still something I’m working on myself but getting better at. Last semester I got a B for the first time since my sophomore year of high school and it bothered me to no end. But, I told myself I did my best, and as a person with bad social anxiety I’m okay with my B in public speaking. So for anyone else who feels like they have to keep their 4.0 all 4 years, don’ t panic if you don’t. There’s nothing wrong with not being perfect, almost no one graduates college with a 4.0. Always do your best, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I cannot stress this enough.
  6. Take classes you enjoy- Hopefully you’re in a major that you enjoy so you wont hate your classes too much but it’s still important to try to take a fun class every once in awhile. If you like art, take an art class. Then, you’re still doing work but also doing something you like.
  7. Get a tutor- If you’re not doing as well in a class as you would like, don’t be afraid to get a tutor. Most universities offer tutors who are students that would love to help you and wont be judgmental at all. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little extra help and tutors are often people who have already passed the class with an A so they’ll be very good resources.
  8. Take care of yourself- Overall, make sure you’re eating well and drinking water throughout the day. Sometimes it’s impossible, but try to get enough sleep. If you go out to party watch out for yourself and others. Practice self care and if things get too stressful and you need help don’t be afraid to ask.

I know this post is very long, but I wanted to share everything I could for anyone who wanted help. If I think of anything else I’ll definitely add it later. I hope everyone has a great semester and school year! Good luck to everyone!

Lesser seen french tips

These are a few things that i think might be relevant to language learners that i don’t think I’ve seen on langblr! At the end of the day it’s whatever works for you, but i hope these might be helpful 💙

🗼pouvoir, vouloir and aller (to be able, to want and to go) are really useful verbs to learn confidently. If you want to use a verb you don’t know how to conjugate, you can often follow one of these verbs conjugated with the infinitive to express something similar. It’s always better that than guessing a conjugation!

🗼watch videos of french people speaking english! Most french people will still impose a little bit of french pronunciation even while speaking really good english, and this highlights french pronunciation that you wouldn’t notice in a person speaking fluent french. 

🗼for me, reading simple YA novels written originally in french is actually more beneficial than translated english books that I’m familiar with. This will prevent you from reading by assumption/context/memory. Also, french books tend to be more culturally relevant, and include phrasing and idioms that are more typically french.

🗼contradiction of my last point, but try watching shows originally in your native language with french audio and subtitles. For some reason, it’s far easier for me to understand and i know many people struggle with listening to french. Netflix often has the option of picking the  language of your show, i would highly recommend this if you struggle to understand french films/shows. 

🗼quizlet is the most effective method of learning vocab I’ve found! For me, writing out flashcards takes a long time, and typing in the answers solidifies spelling better than just repeating the words. 

🗼if you’re someone who struggles with pronunciation, some people find it helpful to have someone who doesn’t speak the language read aloud in it, as it highlights typical errors that a speaker of your language will make (and will probably make you feel good about yourself lbh) 

🗼practise just speaking aimlessly in the language, be it to yourself, your pet, or even just while thinking. It’ll help you practise coming up with things to say on the spot, and when you screech to a halt because you don’t know how to express something, you’ll know what vocab it’ll be useful for you to learn next. 

PENTAGRAM/PENTACLE DEFINED FOR BEGINNER WICCANS

“Symbols are constantly recycled in society and religion. Their meanings evolve over time and can differ from belief system to belief system.

                                                                             -thesilverwitch

A pentacle/pentagram is one of those symbols that has picked up a whole lot of baggage over the years. Beginner Wiccans often come to our religion having to ‘reprogram’ their own way of thinking about the pentagram. For years, pop culture, media hysteria and other religions have drilled the idea into our heads that Pagan symbols are bad, and the pentagram is evil.

Unfortunately, in a lot of books aimed at Wicca for beginners, more misinformation about the pentagram is spread. This time, it errs on the side of trying to make the pentagram look good, attaching to it all kinds of romanticized ideas that are just not factual.

What is a pentagram? What is a pentacle? Is there a difference? Let’s have a closer look at the history of this symbol, and the meaning of the pentagram today.

WHAT IS A PENTAGRAM?

A good place to begin anytime you’re trying to understand a word and its usage is to hit the dictionary and look up the entomology of the word. The word pentagram is rooted in the Greek.

Instead of giving you my own interpretations, I’ll take the meaning directly from the dictionary:

MEANING OF A PENTAGRAM: A BRIEF HISTORY

The earliest use of the pentagram we know of is from ancient Sumeria– but it wasn’t a religious Pagan symbol. It was a word in their language that meant a corner or angle (due to the 5 sharp angles in the figure).

In the 6th century BCE, Pherecydes of Syros used it to illustrate the five recesses of the cosmology. Pentagram figures occasionally turned up in the far East as well, due to the 5 Chinese elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, water.

Pythagoras went on to use the pentagram as the symbol of man. Partly it was because the shape represented a human standing with his arms spread wide (the top point being the head, the to outer points the arms, and the bottom two points the legs). It was also considered to represent the 5 elements that the Greeks believed made up the physical body: Earth (matter), Air (breath), Fire (energy), Water (fluids) and Aether (the psyche or soul). When Pythagoras’ school was driven underground, students used the pentagram as a secret symbol to identify each other.

In ancient Judaism it was a symbol found in mysticism, related to the top portion of the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah, it stood for the 5 books of the Torah (what Christians refer to as the Pentateuch in the Old Testament of the Bible) and the symbol was featured in a seal representing the secret names of God.

Early Christians into the middle ages used the pentagram heavily as a symbol for Christ’s five wounds. The star of Bethlehem that lead the wise men to the baby Jesus was believed to be the pentagram. In Authorial legends, you’ll often see the symbol of the Pentagram inscribed on knight’s shields and other things—these were actually Christian, not Pagan, references. Christians thought of the pentagram as a protective amulet, and it was the primary symbol of Christianity back then, even more common than the cross.

So the pentagram had a long, ancient history of uses as a Pagan symbol and Judeo-Christian symbol. It had no single meaning. It represented perfection in mathematics, the human body, words, and was also used in religious ritual and magic.

BUT WHAT ABOUT WITCHES, WICCANS, AND SATANISTS?

So I’ve mentioned that just about everyone had used the pentagram back then, except I haven’t mentioned Witches, Wiccans and Satanists. What about them?

The fact is, they didn’t really exist yet. The only “witches” at the time were the kind of folklore and rumor. Oh, don’t get me wrong—there were people who did magick, but they would not have identified with the term “witch”.

WHEN THE PENTAGRAM BECAME ASSOCIATED WITH “EVIL”

The 14th and 15th century saw the rise of occult practices that were rooted in Judeo-Christian symbolism and mysticism, and they borrowed liberally from many of the symbols, including the pentagram. They also borrowed from Gnostic and Paganism symbols. It’s no small surprise Ceremonial Magicians were accused by the Christian church of heresy. And heresy, to a medieval Christian, barrels down to Paganism, Satan worship and witchcraft.

Anything liberally used by Ceremonial Magicians became associated with anything considered heretical. If you don’t want to be associated with such things, you don’t use their symbols.

By Victorian times, the witch hunt craze was ending, and people started to forget how pentagrams were once very common, prominent Christian symbols. It’s now associated with paganism, Satan and witchcraft, and seen as an evil symbol.

The love of romanticized myth and history drive a new movement: the Pagan revival, and the pentagram gets turned around again. This is where it gets confusing, because misinformation and false histories begin to fly liberally from the late 19th to mid-20th century.

This is the time the Pagan Revival begins (mostly a re-invention than a re-construction of “Old Ways”). This is when Margaret Murray published her theories on ancient Witch cults being peaceful Pagan religions—though her works have been completely debunked since. This is when Gerald Gardner founded Wicca, and people came crawling out of the woodwork claiming to be ‘hereditary Witches’, or claiming their coven was ancient, or claiming some unbroken line to the Pagan religions of antiquity. This is also when a few ‘reverse Christian’ groups popped up, with practices specifically designed to mock and rebel against Christianity (those these groups were pretty rare and the NeoPagan community did their best to distance themselves from such groups).

One thing most of these groups have in common, though, is that they adopt the pentagram.

Hollywood – new on the scene in the mid-20th century – adopts the pentagram as well. Hollywood is not interested in accuracy; it’s interested in the shock value of things. They adopt it as a symbol for evil magic and reverse-Christian style devil worship and stick it into just about every horror movie conceivable. This fuels the antics of a lot of bored, rebellious people, particularly teens, who like to spray paint it on park walls and carve it into trees for the shock value.

By the late 20th century, the pentagram is being used and abused all over the place, but it is Hollywood who manages to make an indelible imprint on the social consciousness—and this is further driven by the media with sensationalized reporting during the 1970’s “Satanic Ritual Abuse” hysteria (which has also been debunked).

It’s only the tail end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century in which the pentagram is finally gaining some understanding. Though mainstream society hasn’t completely lost the ‘kneejerk reaction’ to it, the growth of the Pagan Revival and the availability of information via the Internet have helped to quell some of the shock value and fears over it.

WICCAN SYMBOLS: PENTAGRAM VS. PENTACLE

More misconceptions abound, considering the Pagan community more commonly refers to the symbol as a ‘pentacle’ rather than a ‘pentagram’. Many books and websites have tried (and failed) to make the distinction clear. Some assertions I’ve read in passing are:

  • The pentagram is evil with one point down
  • the pentacle is good with one point up
  • The pentagram is just the star
  • the pentacle is the star with a circle around it
  • The pentagram is 2-D; the pentacle is 3-D

Actually, all of these answers would be technically incorrect. If you look at the definitions provided above, pentagram and pentacle are synonymous, and have nothing to do with which way the points face, or whether or not they have a circle around them.

“Personally, I prefer to call it a pentacle simply because it’s easier on the ears, but this is just my opinion. I’ve noticed that ill-informed individuals in my local society are less likely to become hostile in conversation when it is referred to as a ‘pentacle.’ I’m not one for confrontation so this works for me.”

                                                                            -thesilverwitch 

A look at the dictionary’s answer to pentacle and you see that the only real difference is one is derived from the Greek, the other from the Latin:

DICTIONARY MEANING OF A PENTACLE:

THE PENTACLE: NOT JUST A FIGURE, BUT A TOOL

A tool arose out of ceremonial magic. This tool was a flat, round disc or paper that was inscribed with protective symbols (a pentagram could be inscribed on it, but there were other symbols they used as well). It is used as an amulet of warding and power because a large part of Ceremonial Magic is invoking and commanding various entities from Judeo-Christian beliefs.

It was called the pentacle or sometimes pantacle. On the Tarot (a Christian-origin divination system), the symbol is used for the suit of coins, and it represents the Element of Earth.

Wicca and other NeoPagan religions borrowed this tool from Ceremonial Magic. They kept the name, but re-defined its purpose since Wiccans don’t believe in Judeo-Christian entities and is not concerned with calling or commanding spirits.

The pentacle (the disc) was adopted as an altar tool, and is used to symbolize the Element of Earth on the altar. It’s also used as a tool for placing sacred items upon it when cleansing, consecrating or charging them.

The Wiccan symbol of choice for this round disc was the pentagram/pentacle. To further confuse things, this tool does not have to be inscribed with a pentagram/pentacle.

TYPICAL MEANING OF A PENTAGRAM/PENTACLE IN WICCA

As far as Wiccan symbols go, the pentagram isn’t a representation of good vs. evil. It’s a symbol of our faith, a symbol of the 5 Elements (one for each point), and the circle (the universe) contains and connects them all. No matter which way it’s facing, circle or no circle, there’s nothing ‘bad’ about it.

Another misconception about the pentagram in Wicca is which way it points. Again, you will find common misinformation that says the pentagram is “evil” if point down and “good” if point up. The point down is most commonly associated with Satanism, because the largest branch of Satanism (Church of Satan, est. 1966) adopted the inverted pentagram with a goat head inside of it as their symbol.

It’s traditionally used both point up and point down. Point up pentagrams are more common; but point down pentagrams are not considered evil at all.

The point-up pentagram represents the spirit ascending above matter. The top point represents the Element of Spirit, the other four points represent the four Spiritual Elements.

When a pentagram is point-down, it represents spirit descending into matter. This is most traditionally used in lineage covens during second degree initiations, because it’s at this point of one’s spiritual path that one turns “inward”. You face and challenge your ‘dark side’ – your base emotions, fears, ignorance, prejudices, etc., you deal with them and develop mastery over yourself.

anonymous asked:

omg i just watched this show called bakers or fakers. basically two professional bakers compete against hobbyist. though who's who is kept a secret till the end. they have challenges with certain ingredients or desserts. i can totally imagine bitty going on the show.

YUP!

Also AU where Jack is a guest judge on the show and he knows he’s supposed to be there as the “Eye Candy Sports Star” and isn’t expected to actually know much about baking or about knowing who is the professional or the faker BUT the Falconers (for the first time since Jack was named captain) failed to make the playoffs (so. many. injuries. Jack himself was out for a huge chunk of the season and Tater pulled his hammy and it was– Not his fault. Jack knows that but STILL). The point is Jack had some extra time on his hands and so not only did he watch every episode of Bakers and Fakers to get used to the format, he also read tons of How To Bake books and he was going to start on the youtube channels but he’d run out of time. (Plus Jack prefers books, youtube videos can be a bit too loud for him. Especially with the weird background music some of them put on while things are baking.)

The point is: Jack goes to this taping Way Too Hyped and, honestly, putting a lot of the competitive spirit he reserves for hockey into Judging. Jack is going to get this: he is going to figure out who are the bakers and who are the fakers and… well actually there’s no scoring system per se but he is going to give specific feedback and win this thing anyhow.

Enter Eric Bittle.

Tiny. Blond. Friendly. Stunningly attractive. Freakishly fast at baking. Super nice to one of his fellow contestants who looks like a sweet old grandma. Super condescending and says things like “Oh, honey, that’s precious” to other fellow contestant who Jack thinks is a bit of a prick. 

Jack decides right away that he must be a Faker. He is too young not to be. And he keeps cutting corners, not doing the things that Jack had read about and if there is one thing that Jack “knows” is that’s you Don’t Cut Corners in baking. So he is the faker. 

He is also the best, but Jack is not to be deterred. Bittle gets through the first round no problem (Douchebag’s cupcakes were basic and dry so he goes and the other contestants seem happy about it.) and it’s onto the second round. For this round, all the contestants have to use maple syrup (in honor of Jack). Jack and the other judges bicker easily among themselves about who left is the Faker and who is the Baker and Jack tries over and over to get them to see that clearly Bittle is a faker. He has to be. There is no way he can use that much maple syrup without it coming out too sweet. He is making rookie mistakes. At one point, he added sirracha to his pie?? It didn’t make sense. He doesn’t make sense. Jack is positive.

Then they get to the tasting and the other two contestants are good and Jack is pretty confident that Marsha is a professional because damn her maple crisp thing is delicious but–

But then he takes a bite of Bittle’s maple crusted pie and he… he sees stars honestly.

“I was wrong,” Jack Zimmerman admits out loud to a studio audience. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration, the day is too long so there is no live audience). “He’s the real deal. He’s a baker for sure.”

The other judges agree. And because they have to give less money to real Bakers and thus always chose who they thing is a real Baker (and because Bittle was handsdown the best), Bittle wins the show.

And then comes the question: “Are you a baker or are you a faker?”

Marsha (as Jack suspected) is a Baker. That’s okay. Janelle is the faker and then Jack was right. They have Bittly announce what he is next. There’s the tense silence. Jack is glaring at him without really meaning to. 

“I.” Bittle starts. Jack hasn’t felt so pumped since he was playing against the Flyers and they were tied up with 34 seconds left. “Am. A.”

Jack is holding his breath. He needs a win. He was right about this.

“Faker!”

Bittle laughs. The other judges all exclaim at how amazed they are by this. The host gets Bittle to explain that he is still a college student and he does most of his baking in a frat house (hence the sirracha move). Everyone is amazed.

Jack is livid. He knew it and then stupid Bittle made him change his answer. He should have stuck with his gut, he should have–

“Sorry for fooling you right at the end, darling,” Bittle says as they wrap up, shooting him a smile. “Had to get that 15 grand though.”

“I knew it, though,” Jack mumbles, feeling his face go a bit red. “I did know it.”

“Oh, you had no idea,” Bittle says and though he’s laughing, Jack doesn’t feel mocked. “You can’t know everything about me that quick!”

Bittle is cute and small and compact and Jack feels that rush he feels when he’s been bested but by a team that deserves it.

“How much time?” he blurts. Bittle blinks at him. He flushes harder but continues anyway. “Would it take to know everything?”

“Well, I- I-” Bittle is a bit flustered now too. Jack can see his face getting red. It’s adorable. But, unlike Jack, he manages to collect himself rather quickly. “I think dinner would be as good a place to start as any.”

And so that’s where they start. 

study sessions [m]

summary: you never thought that yuta, of all people, would be willing to help you with your salient project. though, one study session turned into two, three, and that was enough for you to get down on your knees, ready to thank him in a special way

pairing: nerd!yuta & reader insert  || university!AU

includes: smut (oral, masturbation, public foreplay, thigh riding, dirty talk)

wc: 14k

note: A sarcastic, submissive nerd yuta is such a concept ftw, enjoy~ ^~^


University had always been stressful.

Students would bustle to and fro from classes to dense libraries, or even coop themselves up in the claustrophobic comfort of their dorm room to crank in some study time. Free days were rare; you would infrequently see other students lounging for hours on end around campus. The only true breaks present would be lunch or last minute plans created after what felt like eons of being studious.

Or perhaps that was just your institute.

Prestigious as it was, that was the life behind the scene of your school. Studying appeared to be the only facet that everyone knew—that each student shared. And since it was crunch week for one of your classes, everything was amplified. There was a grand project that was assigned at the second week of class, and it would take part in a substantial amount of one’s grade. It was an individual project of a plethora of research and proper essays down to the core. There were the students at your school who had started the second they were made aware of the paramount project, and then there was people like you—the certain ones that believed procrastinating was the better option.

So there you were, situated at your desk during class with your jaw dropped to the floor. It was not hanging open from the lack of understanding towards your professor’s words, but because moments ago he said, nonchalant at best, “The project is due a week from today—it wouldn’t fit in with our class schedule if I made it due any later. I’m assuming you all started and some even finished.”

You wanted to clout yourself; how could you had been so off guard? Of course he was going to pull that move—he did it with the other large assignments, but what made you believe otherwise? Your eyes scanned the perimeter to catch the aghast expressions of your surrounding classmates, but each one of them appeared calm and collected—like this was a card they were well aware that the professor was going to play.

You sighed and dug your face into your palms, allowing the weight of the world to sink down on your shoulders. “You’re kidding me,” you mumbled.

And so for the rest of the lecture you were drowning in stress, unable to pay attention to your professor’s informative words until the end.

The second the professor dismissed the class you bolted out of the room and started to rush to the library—then, you became like every other student at your campus. You entered the library hastily like a veritable tornado, sending several loose papers that rested on the surface of the front desk flying like baby birds. Stress was igniting the flame within you, fueling your being to get lost in the labyrinthine of a library and search for every single book in regards to your chosen topic that would aid your project. It took a while of a desperate search, but you finally found the treasure that was the informative tome.

Now, all you had to do was find an empty place to study. Amidst the quietude your angry steps was the only sound that was audible to each person; it boomed throughout the sections you were in and traveled along your side like a penumbra. Your bag was hiked over your shoulder, arms full with notebooks and the books, and you grew tired with every step. You started to trudge after the excursion for information and, like you had seen an oasis in the middle of a parched desert, you found an open seat. You kicked up your pace and bolted for the vacancy; soon, you reached it and occupied the area with your belongings.

The frantic rustles of papers and slams of notebooks over one another caught the student’s, who was situated next to you, attention. He lifted his nose from his book at batted his lashes your way, scrutinizing you with curious eyes. You were too caught up in organizing your belongings to notice the belittling way he was gawking at you; it was not until he cleared his throat for you to come down from your clouds of thought.

“Yes?” you asked him.

The boy looked at you, his expression niche. “Is all that for Professor Sung’s psychology class?”

You blinked twice and tilted your head, wondering how he knew the reason behind your scamper. “Um,” you looked at your open notebooks and took a pen in hand, “yes, why?”

The boy nodded and turned to the next page of the novel he was reading. “It’s an easy project,” he told you. “It will only take a good three days to finish, to be honest.”

You rolled your eyes and took notice of his study area. His notebooks were closed and in a superlative condition, each stacked perfectly upon one another. He was reading a new novel from the fiction section; a sore stand out compared to the other students who were at the library to study, or catch up on the work they pushed off like you.

“How would you know?” you asked him with a sigh. “He assigned this at the beginning of the class, there’s no way. And are you even in his class?”

The boy licked his lips and hesitated. He raised an eyebrow at you, tossing out a look of disbelief.

“What?” you asked again.

“I am in your class, (y/n),” he told you straightforwardly.

“What?!” you repeated, that time with more surprise. There was more raw shock in your tone than interest, and you attempted to recall every detail in your psychology class. You thought you knew everyone’s face in the lecture room, but apparently not. “Are you serious?”

“Yes,” he responded, a little irked by your ignorance, “I’m Nakamoto Yuta.”

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Ok so that scene when Charlie's trying on clothes and is all "what about Castiel, he seems helpful and... dreamy" - shed never met him before that had she? So that means Dean would've likely described him to her. Why then, would she say he sounds dreamy, there's no point to it for the plot other than maybe teasing Dean? I may be misinterpreting this but, I saw a gif and I thought of this, so...

I love this bit.

Originally posted by supernatural-imagine-fanfiction

It’s the writers adding a *point* into the moment for no reason other than to make the *point*. It’s unnecessary to their conversation. It’s unnecessary to the A plot. These are my favourite of the Destiel moments. Eg. Thelma and Louise, Bert and Ernie, the mixtape, last time someone looked at me like that, I got laid, the queer settling down with a hunter couple from 11x19 and how Dean immediately got on better with and teamed up with the guy who was basically Cas, the whole B plot of freaking Bloodlines….

These are just a few examples off the top of my head of times that Destiel, UST and the relationship between Cas and Dean being *more* than platonic is brought into the forefront for NO GOOD REASON for the plot.

Charlie is a lesbian. If Cas is dreamy, she means he’s dreamy for someone else… while she pointedly looks to one side and is having a conversation with Dean… and pointing out to him that he’s dreamy. 

*Tink looks into the camera*

She only knows about Cas from Dean and Sam and probably from the Supernatural books and online… perhaps she read some Destiel fanfic?

Then when she DOES meet him? She’s like… “I thought you’d be shorter”. WHY? WHAT HAS SHE HEARD? 

That he is dreamy and gorgeous and helpful and… the perfect boyfriend for someone

And who is Charlie’s BFF? The one she tells she loves, the one she is mirrored with (cos Dean is invariably mirrored with and linked to the queer characters in the show for *reasons*), has a Star Wars “I love you, I know” exchange with and gels with the most? 

The way she lunges towards Cas like he’s her new BFF by proxy.

The way she looks at Dean when he comes into the bunker after hugging Cas, her eyes so lit up.

Originally posted by stayclassysupernatural

The way we get the standard trope ‘balcony lovers gaze’ trope (which is then reversed in 12x19) with Cas looking up at Dean, while Charlie watches and smiling so brightly, looking between them, with Cas smiling and Dean glad Cas is there, then Charlie and Cas are bonding over their family pizza evening playing an origami future teller love game that is usually associated with teenage kids making it about love and relationships…

CHARLIE IS A GENIUS AND SHE TOTALLY SHIPS IT Y’ALL.

Tips For Writing Time Travel:  An Illustrated Guide.

@jjpivotz asked:

“What is a good way that I could write time travelling without it being cliche?”

Ooh, I love questions like this!  They’re so much fun, and on a somewhat self-indulgent level, they really get me thinking on the tropes themselves.

So without further ado, here are my personal thoughts on writing about time travel:

1.  Embrace the fact that it’s not gonna make total sense.

This goes for a lot of creative fiction.  When I was writing my urban fantasy novel, for example, I used a lot of traditional mythological figures whose duties and depictions (i.e. one humanoid being reaping the dead despite the fact that over a hundred thousand people die a day, billion-year-old entities who still look and behave like teenagers, figures from religions whose world views wildly conflict interacting with each other, etc.) weren’t compatible with what we currently know about the laws of physics.  

And the sooner I resolved not to even attempt to explain it, the sooner my novel improved.  

The wonderful thing about fiction is that it doesn’t have to imitate reality as we know it;  the laws of the physical universe need not apply.  And as long as the characters in your universe accept that, so will the reader.  

I’ve had around twenty beta readers look at my book, and not one of them has poked holes in my casual disregard for the conventionally accepted rules of physical reality.  The suspension of disbelief is an amazing thing.

As for how to best apply this to time travel, take Back to the Future, for example. This is one of the best time travel series ever made, but if you really look at what’s going on, you’ll come to find that none of it really makes any sense at all.

First of all, Marty McFly is a popular high school student whose best friend is an eccentric nuclear physicist.  Conventional wisdom (and just about every fiction writing book or advice blog I’ve ever read) would dictate that this is a pretty heavy plot-point and warrants some explanation.  But the narrative never questions it, and as such neither does the vast majority of its audience.  

It is in this exact manner that Back to the Future handles its heaviest of all plotpoints, the act of time travel, which is the main driving force behind its entire plot.  

How does it explain Doc Brown’s ability to time travel?  Well, he invented the Flux Capacitor, of course.  What is a Flux Capacitor, you ask?  How does it work, exactly?  Well, fucked if I know.  All I know is that the narrative treats it like it’s a real thing, and by default, so do I.    

The same could be said for the magically changing family portrait, the fact that the characters can’t interact with their past or future selves without universal destruction, flying cars, and the fact that the McFlys’ future children inexplicably look exactly like them.  None of it makes any sense.  And it’s fucking magical.

Another of my favorite examples of this is pre-Moffat Doctor Who.  The science is campy, occasionally straight-up ridiculous, and unabashedly nonsensical, yet paves the way for some truly great and thought provoking storylines and commentary.  

Bottom line is, I don’t know how to time travel.  I’m guessing you don’t either, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be asking me for advice on how to write it.  Accept it.  Embrace it.  Don’t be bashful about it – trust me, time travelers are probably a minority in your readership, so they won’t judge you.

So as to what would be a good means of writing time travel, the short answer is:  any way you want.  For obvious reasons, I’d stay away from old cars, police boxes, and phone booths, but with the power of the suspension of disbelief, virtually nothing is off the table:  a pair of magic sneakers, a refrigerator, a closet, a treehouse -oh, crap, that one’s been done before.  But you get the picture.  You can be as creative as you want to be about it.  Don’t be afraid to step outside the police box, so to speak.  

Trust in the magic of the suspension of disbelief, and don’t overthink things.  Your story and readers will thank you.

As for how to avoid other cliches, that brings me to my next point: 

2.  Look at the tried and true tropes of time traveling.  Now subvert them.

This might just be me and my adoration of irony talking, but since you specifically asked how to avoid cliche I’m going to indulge myself here.

Do the exact opposite of what people expect from narratives about time travel.  You know the old trope:  the protagonist steps on a bug, and comes back to the present to find the world being ruled by gorillas.  

I’m not telling you not to include drastic consequences for time travel, because there would probably be quite a few (at least if you believe in the chaos theory, which states every action has a universal reaction.)  

But you could toy around with the idea that fate isn’t something that can ultimately be altered at all, and that all the protagonist accomplishes is solidifying (or even triggering) a pre-existing outcome.   

My knee-jerk suggestion, as someone who takes fiendish glee in incorporating humor into my writing, would be to make the protagonist have some Forrest Gump-type encounters that unwittingly trigger huge, history-defining event, but it can also be significantly more tragic than that:  maybe the protagonist goes back in time to save his father from a hit-and-run car accident, for example, and then accidentally kills him.  Or perhaps he realizes that his father was a bad man (beat his mother, planned on killing someone, etc.) and makes a moral decision to kill him (which is also a great way to ask philosophical questions.  More on that later.)  

I don’t know what kind of time travel your writing or what your style of writing is, but these are things I’d personally just love to play around with.    

Or maybe time travel does change things, but it’s not even close to what the protagonist expected:  maybe his words of wisdom to his newly married mother about true love and the meaning of life and whatnot unexpectedly lead her to realize that she’s deeply unhappy in her current marriage, and he returns to the present to find her divorced (lesbian stepmom optional.)  

Maybe absolutely nothing at all changes, but he realizes that he’s responsible for some famous Mandela Effect, like the Bearenstein/Bearenstain discrepancy.  

Bottom line is, don’t be afraid to do the unexpected.  But conversely, don’t be afraid to use tried and true tropes, either:  regardless of how overdone they may seem to be, they can almost always be rejuvenated when interjected with a thought-provoking plot.

Which brings me to my final point:

3.  Make sure it has something to say.

Science fiction, especially the speculative variety, tends to be best when it begins by asking a question, for which it will later provide an answer.  Take, for example, Planet of the Apes.  The pervasive question of the movie is whether or not humanity is inherently self-destructive, which it ultimately answers with its famed final plot twist that humanity has long since destroyed itself.  

Rod Serling (who was incidentally responsible for the original Planet of the Apes, by the way) did this remarkably well:  almost every episode of the Twilight Zone packed a massive philosophical punch due to the fact that they followed this simplistic formula.  The episode would begin with the presentation of a question, big or small (frequently by the charismatic Serling himself) and by the end of the episode, that question would be answered. 

I’m not going to go in to detail here, as it would spoil the magic of uncovering the plot twists for the first time, but Serling used his speculation to tackle the narrow-mindedness of beauty standards in Eye of the Beholder, the dangers of fascism in Obsolete Man, the communist paranoia of the time period with the Monsters are Due on Maple Street, and countless more.  

I would recommend watching the original Twilight Zone for almost anyone looking to write speculative fiction such as time travel. 

Even if your work isn’t compatible with this specific formula of Question => Debate => Answer (which some work isn’t) it will still need to have some kind of underlying statement to it, or no matter how clever the science fiction is or how original the time travel is, it will fall flat.  

This is why Twilight Zone, Planet of the Apes, Back to the Future, and (pre-Moffat, as I always feel inclined to stress – he does literally the opposite of almost everything I recommend here) Doctor Who still remain widely enjoyed today, despite the fact that many of their tropes have been used many, many times since they original aired.

So for time travel, remember that it is a means, not an end.  You could write the most cliched type of time travel story imaginable, and your audience will still feel fulfilled by it if your message is heartfelt, thought-provoking, and/or poignant.

Maybe you want to use time travel to make a statement about your belief in the existence of fate, or lack thereof.  In this case, using the Sterling Approach, you would have your story begin with the question of whether or not humans can alter or change destiny, allow the narrative/characters to argue the question back and forth for a while, and then ultimately disclose what you believe the answer to be.

Or maybe you want to use time travel to explore or subvert the treachery of history and how it is taught, and show how the true narrative can be explored, purposefully or otherwise, by the victors.  

Maybe you want to show that there’s no clear answer, or maybe no answer at all, a la the cheerful nihilism of Douglas Adams novels.

Either way, figure out what you want your message to be long before you put pen to paper, and then use time travel, like any other creative trope, as a means to an end to answer it.  Your story will thank you for it.

(I hope this helps!)

sock-monkey-homunculus  asked:

Hi. I want to write an epic space opera, so I was wondering what are some classic points my stoey needs and what has been done to death? Also, fun fact, Charlton Heston's character in Planet of the Apes is from my town. Unfortunately, his school was made up.

Rod Serling once gave the best advice to writing: take however many books you’re reading right now, and double that.

This is probably not the answer you want to hear, but it’s a mistake to think in terms of tropes. A lot of people go into writing with their heads: they want to subvert expectations in a clever way. They write because they want to get a pat on the head for being smart (”in this novel, it turns out the Love Interest is actually the Dragon with a hint of Lightning Bruiser!”). Overused tropes and clichés aren’t the problem, though. When people say they didn’t like a story because it was cliché or overdone, what they mean is, they didn’t believe it.

If you want to tell a military scifi story, do that. It’s like a piece of advice an acting coach once gave me: no matter how many actors there are, there’s always room for one more good one.

If you want to tell a story about space pirates (to pick a particularly common scifi theme), tell a story about space pirates, but “don’t try to impress me, try to convince me.” This means identifying exactly what it is you want to say and convincing me of it. A lot of people bristle at this because for some strange reason, we have the first culture in human history that is suspicious of clear communication, and for some reason, loves ambiguity.

So, if you want to tell a story about space pirates, you have to identify what it is you want to say. Suppose you have the idea that all criminal organizations are is just “outsider capitalism.” It’s family and protection for people who have none of the above, and that the difference between pirates and a big business is simply that one is run by people on the outside who “weren’t invited to the party.”

So, if that’s what you want to say, a story about space pirates starts to take shape. Your main character comes to life, as he is the person the audience sees the story through and we like who he likes, trusts who he trusts. You start the story inside a big interstellar corporation, but our hero sees they practice all kinds of underhanded traits he later sees in the pirates, except the “big guys” get away with it. Since a good rule is that the main character is the person in the story who gets into the most trouble, you have him as a stiff executive who gets kicked out of a corporation, who then is forced to join the pirates because like everyone else there, he has nowhere else to go. Your main character is in some way an unfinished, imperfect person; the point of the story is to have him improve or learn something. 

At first, because he has the expectations the audience does, our hero believes they’re all cut-throats, but we see a different side to them: we see them not as evil, but people who are somehow unacceptable to society in some way. All the pirate characters are created to drive that idea home. One was pushed off his home by a corporation; one is a member of a religious group that isn’t liked; one is a cyborg, which are discriminated against; one is a runaway clone of an executive about to be chopped up for parts. None of them have families, since the point of the story is to show how organizations like this can be surrogate families. The story starts to write itself: our hero tries to protect his surrogate family (as our hero cares, we care, too), and we see the pirates get punished for things the “big guys” get away with. 

The finale writes itself: the pirates fight the big corporation and our hero chooses to side with the pirates even after a final temptation. Endings should feel easier to write than beginnings; a story is like a funnel, at the beginning, anything can happen, but as it goes on, the range of possibilities narrow until one final outcome is possible. 

See? Right there, we have a story that subverts expectations and does something interesting with an overused trope (space pirates), but subverting expectations is a means, not an end in and of itself. It’s all about expressing clearly what you have to say.

Terrible Twos(Batboys)

Bruce:

  • Okay let’s get something straight.
  • This man has only had to take care of kids from like 10 and up.
  • He never had to deal with an actual child.
  • Jesus Christ this man is so unprepared.
  • And with his genes, it’s probably much worse.
  • But hey, you’re the best at hide & seek.
  • If you thought he didn’t sleep before that oohh boy.
  • He’s probably crying internally.
  • Screaming children are not his thing
  • But let’s get another thing straight,
  • He still loves you.
  • With all his damn heart.
  • And he will do his best to protect you and make you feel loved.
  • He probably reads every parenting book he can find
  • Before eventually going to Alfred.
  • And man Alfred is a f**king champ.
  • He knows everything.
  • Meanwhile everyone is panicking and frantically searching for you, Alfie over here just casually pulls the cabinets open and picks you up.
  • “Aren’t you a curious little lad/lady? Just like your father.
  • (I think this turned into an alfred headcanon lmao)
  • Alfred helps Bruce set the bed time(god does this man even know what a bed time is??)
  • He also help with proper foods.
  • But let me tell ya.
  • No matter how busy Bruce is, no matter where he is, he manages to always read a bedtime story, and wish you sweet dreams.
  • If anyone were to ever hurt you, whether it be emotional, physical, or mentally, he will give them hell.

Dick:

  • My oh my
  • My boy has so many nicknames for you.
  • And they’re all weird as heck.
  • Every weekend he steals you(no, literally jumps through your window and kidnaps you) for a playdate.
  • Takes you out for icecream and to the amusement park a lot
  • You’re spoiled rotten because of this guy.
  • Honestly is probably the easiest to bond to.
  • But he doesn’t spoil you too much.
  • At some point in time, Alfred puts his foot down.
  • Movie nights of Disney are frequent.
  • So many recordings of his baby sister singing and dancing.
  • If Bruce somehow isn’t able to read to you, he’s over in a flash with 3 books, reading them to you. 
  • Later, when Bruce is back, he reads to you the next night.

Jason:

  • Probably has so many shirts with funny texts on them
  • “Touch my sister punk and I’ll knock ya into next week”
  • Carries you around everywhere.
  • All his teammates coo at you.
  • Meanwhile Bruce is having yet another heart attack.
  • One time he found you with his helmet on wobbling and trying to act like him.
  • He dies(again)
  • Tough Brother TM
  • He babies you though.
  • Like if you cry 11/10 times he spoils you.
  • He just doesn’t like seeing his sister cry.
  • Bizzaro loves playing with you though.
  • He makes sure not to be rough when playing though.
  • AFTER ALL YOU ARE JUST THE TINIEST HUMAN HE HAS EVER SEEN

Tim:

  • Surprisingly, it isn’t Bruce or Dick who are the first to be there when you have a nightmare.
  • He’s always there.
  • He is so overprotective too.
  • Sets extra cameras around your room and the manor.
  • So when you stir awake from a nightmare, he stops what he’s doing and sits down with you, bringing his laptop with him to continue working.
  • Bruce walked one time to find you both passed out next to each other.
  • You were clinging to his hair but Tim did not care at all.
  • “TIM MOVE YOUR COFFEE!!”
  • “Oh….oH SHIT DON’T DRINK THAT
  • Lets you sit on his lap while he’s working.
  • One time you actually helped him with his work.
  • He couldn’t figure out a code and he was almost there and you pressed on of the keys and YAY code solved.
  • Still to this day thinks it’s coincidence. It probably was but-
  • He can never be mad at you though. Like, sometimes you’ll get into things an he just sighs and moves you away.
  • Don’t get me wrong though, he does tell you that what you did was bad.

Damian:

  • “They are my blood sibling therefore we have more connection and I’m of more importance to them”
  • Yeah okay Dami.
  • Dude your room is like, overflowing with pets.
  • I mean you as a kid appreciate it but Bruce cannot keep track of every animal to feed, and how to keep Jason from not eating them, and jesus christ is that another chicken-
  • “What do you mean she can’t hold a sword?”
  • DAMIAN SHE’S TWO
  • If you show him your drawing he gives honest criticism.
  • You probably don’t understand half of what he’s saying.
  • So you giggle and move on.
  • He keeps all of your drawings though.
  • He shows them off to Jon a lot.
  • Jon gives him a confused look but enjoys them nonetheless.
  • “Dami!”
  • “YOU HEAR THAT SHE SAID MY NAME PEASANT SCUM!!”
  • LANGUAGE
  • “Scum!!”
  • DAMN IT DAMIAN
Meeting the Family

Prompt: Batfam meets Batmom’s large extended family

AN: I interrupt our string of votes to bring you an actual story. Enjoy!

Words: 1490


          You’re more than a little surprised when your brother walks through your office door. Though not technically an employee of Wayne Enterprises, your office space is still in the building, just one of the perks of your husband owning the building. That also means your security is top notch, and well, you haven’t seen anyone from your family in about ten years.

          All of this is what’s running through your mind as your brother, your baby brother just stands there and fidgets. “You’re still drifting off I see.”

          You shrug and point to one of the chairs, on the opposite side of the room. There’s several minutes of silence, as you take in the changes on your brother, before you ask, “What are you doing here, Ricky?”

          “Mom’s in the hospital … It’s bad. She wants to see you.”

          That takes you by surprise. Your fight was never with your mother; it was just a side effect of the war with your father. “What’s wrong?”

          He shrugs. “Kidney failure, she wants to come off treatment. She won’t listen to anyone. The doctors say she still has a chance you know. If she continues her treatments, and waits for a transplant. Either way she wants to see you.” You open your mouth to say something but he stops you “This isn’t about dad, it’s about mom. The fight wasn’t with her, it wasn’t with any of us but dad. It was you who chose to leave. It was you who cut us off.”

          You nod. “You’re right, I did.”

          “She’s your mother, and she’s dying. You should see her.”

          “I won’t make any promises.”

          Your brother stares at you for a moment before laying an envelope on the table, and walking out.

          You debate on going for several days. Bruce is out of town on business for the week, and the boys are all gone as well. It’s just you and Alfred in the manor. And while the butler doesn’t pry he does acknowledge something is wrong.

          It all comes out two nights later about the fight that separated you from your family. The fight that ended up leading you to Bruce. The fight that led the two of you to each of the boys. “It’s weird how a fight that, at that time, nearly ended my world, led me to a brand new one. One I wouldn’t change for the world. “

          Alfred just smiles. “If you called Master Bruce he’d return home to go with you.”

          You shake your head. “No, I think this is something I need to do alone.”

          You’re packed and out the door several hours later. You catch a last minute flight, and you just go. It’s nearly midnight when you get to the hospital, suitcase in tow. You follow the nurse to her room. She leaves you at the door with instructions, to try and not wake her. You agree and slip into the room.

          Your eyes focus on the woman in the bed. She looks frail, and much too thin. Her hair though is still brushed, and delicately styled, your sister’s doing no doubt. And she’s dressed in nice looking pajamas.

          You prop your suitcase against the wall and move to the chair beside her bed. You just sit there staring at her. You study the changes and with a feeling of sadness you realize she’s actually gotten older, not old, just older. At the same time, it hits you. You’ve gotten older too. You have a husband, and kids now. You have a successful business. Things have changed not only for you, but for them as well.

At some point in the night, you turn to a book. You’re nearly halfway through when a voice whispers, “You always did have your nose in a book. Couldn’t get enough of them. You’d always beg her for one more chapter when she’d read to you before bed.”

You book mark your page and turn towards the voice. Your father is still very much like how you remembered him. He’s tall, and wide, but his hair has a lot more gray in it now, and there are more lines along his face.

He gestures with his head and you follow him out. “I didn’t expect you to come.”

You cross your arms. “I wasn’t completely sure I would myself.”

“She’ll be happy to see you.” You just acknowledge the statement with a nod. “I suppose we need to talk.”

You shrug, suddenly feeling like that twenty something again. “I don’t see why. We both said all we needed to all those years ago.”

He looks you in the eye and says, “I want to make things right.”

“I don’t know if I’m ready for that.”

“It’s been ten years.”

“And a lot has changed in those years. Right now, I’m here for Mom.”

“Which means you’re here for me. She wanted you here so we could settle things. She wanted to make sure that you had your family in case something went wrong, or something went right. She wanted you to have us around for when you got married, when you have kids. She’s terrified you’ll be alone.”

“And what do you want?” You ask. He just looks at you confused. You shrug and say, “So far everything has been about what Mom wants. What do you want?”

He stares at you for a minute before he says “I want my daughter back.”

You nod. “Small steps. This was a good first one.”

Without another word, you slip back into the room. Your father is right behind you and he takes the seat on the opposite side of the bed. Neither of you say anything, but you don’t go back to your book either.

          Your mother wakes up at about eight in the morning. She opens her eyes and she comes to life. There’s tears when she sees you, and a lot of saying sorry on both your parts. Your father just watches. You take her hand and don’t let go for several hours.

          Over the next several days you see a lot of family you haven’t seen in a long time. Some greet you with smiles, others with nods. Overall, you spend a lot of time with your mother and siblings. Things start looking up, and then suddenly something happens. No one’s quite sure what, but suddenly her blood pressure starts to drop, and you’re pushed out of the room, as she’s rushed back to emergency surgery.

          You’re a bit disoriented, as you watch the family surround each other. You consider joining in, but they’ve formed this little cocoon, and you can’t help but feel there isn’t a place for you there anymore.

          You watch from the outside, your arms wrapped around yourself. Till a noise you’d know anywhere hits your ears. A very tired looking Bruce rounds the corner, with the boys trailing after him. Dick and Jason are on the lookout for you while Tim and Damian bicker about something.

          You smile as Bruce’s eyes lock onto you. You meet him halfway, and he pulls you into an embrace. That feeling of safeness washes over you, and you allow the tears to come. Bruce guides you away from your family and suddenly the boys are all trying to reach you.

          They’ve never seen you cry, and you imagine it’s a bit unsettling for them. You hug and kiss each of them, before explaining the situation. Bruce disappears, and once you’ve collected yourself, they go with you back to the waiting room.

          You can see the curious looks on your family’s faces. And you do your best to smile and say, “Everyone, these are my sons. This is Dick, Jason, Tim, and Damian. And my husband Bruce will be along any minute.”

          Almost if by magic, Bruce appears and says, “I’ve got her moved to a better hospital room, a private room. Not a private room, that can be turned into a semi private hospital. I’ve also called Lee, she’s flying in to take a look, and she has some recommendations for doctors that might be able to help her a bit more until she comes up on the transplant list.”

          Before you can even say ‘thank you’, your brother says, “And where the hell is all that money coming from?”

          Bruce just raises an eyebrow and says, “Me. I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m Y/N’s husband, Bruce Wayne. I’ve take care of her medical bills, everything is settled. And my company donates quite a bit of money to this hospital every year, so they’ve comped the private room. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get my wife something to eat.”

          Without another word he begins guiding you down the hallway, the boys following behind, with smiles on their faces; and you can’t help but smile, because your family is right here with you.

testing out a new brush so i was like mm okay gonna draw gf’s otp why not


edit: fixed neil a bit to be more canon!

Seeing as I have this Sunday off work, I’m spending my morning delving into some records of ‘witchcraft’ and witch trials. The Penguin Book of Witches collects historical texts from England, 1584 to texts well after the Salem witch trials in North America (all the way up to the early 19th century). Katherine Howe provides some references for further reading, introduces readers to each text, and provides helpful footnotes throughout. It seems to be a decent jumping off point for further reading, and I now have my eye on Mary Beth Norton’s In the Devil’s Snare, an examination of the Salem witch trials.