My tutorial is for Paint Tool SAI, but this works for Photoshop as well, I believe.
So, what I do is draw the lineart as normal. Whatever colour works for you is fine, but I use black because I can see it better against a white background.
Now go to the panel holding all of your layers (in my case it’s on the right because I like my workspace to be centred on the screen):
There are three boxes that are normally unchecked when you create a new layer, labelled as: preserve opacity, clipping group, and selection source.
Check the box ‘preserve opacity’, which is the top one.
This does a cool little thing that allows you colour the lineart without actually changing how it looks. So after checking the box, just take the pen tool and colour the lineart whatever you want!
I like to colour the lineart the same colour as the base colour to create the illusion of no lineart. For example, when I was colouring John’s face, I made the lineart the same colour as his skintone (as seen above).
<b>YD:</b> Pink, what are you doing?<p/><b>PD:</b> Just creating my new gem: Rose Quartz.<p/><b>BD:</b> And what powers will she have?<p/><b>PD:</b> I'm still undecided....<p/><b></b> (PD accidentally pours the "resurrection and healing powers" bag onto the new gem)<p/><b>YD:</b> Would that be a problem?<p/><b>PD:</b> Nah<p/><b></b> (Centuries later)<p/><b>Rose Quartz:</b> Long live Pink Diamond<p/><b>YD:</b> I knew it<p/></p>
I decided to become an artist when I was about your age. I liked to draw so much, I almost hated to go to bed. And then one day, all of a sudden, I couldn’t draw anything. Everything I drew, I didn’t like. I realized that my art up to then was a copy of someone else, things I had seen somewhere. I decided I had to discover my own style. It’s still difficult. But then, the results… They seem to be a little better than before. It’s nice to be a witch, isn’t it? I like the idea - to be a witch, to be an artist, to be a baker… It’s an energy bestowed by the gods or someone, right? Though thanks to it, we do have to suffer at times.
What are some good tips for getting started with writing a book? I have a concept but i can't put it into place.
Getting Started with Your Story
There’s no one way to start writing a book. For some people, it’s enough to just jump in and start writing to see where the story takes them. If you’re not too keen on that idea, then here is oneprocess (as in, not theonlyprocess) that might help you move beyond your concept.
Concept ≠ Plot
Many writers mistake concept for plot, but they’re actually two very different things. A world where everyone grows up with superpowers is a concept; the plot is what you decide to write about within that concept - the specific characters and what happens to those characters; who your antagonist is and what conflict arises when that antagonist goes after what they want. All of these things contribute to your plot.
So first, define what it is you actually have at this particular point. Do you just have a concept? If so, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to develop that concept into a plot.
Concept >>> Plot
If you’ve decided that all you really have is a concept, then how do you take it and turn it into a plot? You brainstorm. All brainstorming really amounts to is expanding your ideas. All you’re doing is asking questions about the concept and delving deep into the answers.
The most simplistic way to start this process, especially if you’re struggling, is to ask one of two questions (or both, if applicable). These two questions: What could go wrong? What could go right?
Going back to my example about a world where everyone grows up with superpowers. If I were to ask the question “what could go wrong,” I’d end up with a whole list of possibilities.
The powers suddenly disappear
People start abusing their powers
Someone figures out how to steal powers
A hierarchy of strong vs. weak powers develops, creating superiority/inferiority dynamics
Someone is born without a superpower
There are many more possibilities I didn’t even think of here, but any one (or more) of these could become a plot. Choose one that sounds interesting, and then ask yourself “and then what?”
Say I choose: Someone figures out how to steal powers. Then what does that person do? Do they recruit people to do the dirty work for them? Do they work alone? Do they hoard these powers and barter them for other goods? Do they attempt to enslave people? Do they attempt to take control of institutions? What do they do?
Your goal is to take your ideas and turn them into actions taken by characters. People doing things. And each piece you add will usually lead into another. If you went with the idea that this character is stealing powers and essentially selling them for other goods, you’d have to ask yourself follow-up questions. First, who are they selling to? Why would anyone buy a new superpower if they already have one? What uses would they have for additional ones? What is the key demographic that this person is trying to reach? Secondly, what are they selling them in exchange for? Money? Favors? Souls? What is this character getting in return?
Now that you’ve examined potential actions that the character takes, you’ve also exposed potential new characters.
People they’re stealing from
People they’re bargaining with
People that try to police these crimes
People that try to copy this character’s process
At the beginning of this section, I talked about using “what could go right” as another optional jumping off point. This is a good path to follow if your concept is already really negative. For a concept where someone is killing people for some pointed reason, you might ask “what could go right” and explore ideas where the killer is caught and brought to justice.
The point of all this is to think about change as a means of taking your idea from concept to plot. A concept is static - it doesn’t move, evolve, or change. By developing a plot, you’re forcing the concept to be challenged in some way. If you think about it that way, you’ll be able to formulate conflicts, and the people that orchestrate and fight against those conflicts.
On that note, I think we’re ready to move onto the third piece of my graphic above.
Plot = Character Actions and Consequences
At this point, you have sketches for characters. You’ve got this nameless, faceless person that is stealing the powers, and all these other nameless, faceless people that I listed above. In essence, we have character concepts. And just like we turned our initial concept into a plot, we have to turn these character concepts into actual characters.
The basics are the easiest way to start. You figure out their name, their gender identity, their age, their appearance, some brief backstory and personality traits. I personally prefer the simplest questionnaire that I put together back in the early days because it hits on the poignant pieces of a character without overwhelming you with 100s of questions.
Now that you’ve given your character concepts names and faces and potential behaviors, you start to consider how one character’s view of the world inspires them to take certain actions, and you then think about how those actions affect your entire story.
We already kind of talked about the motives of the power thief in our example, but definitely delve deep here. On the surface, this character seems bad - stealing from people and then selling what they steal. But depending on what it is they’re getting in return, could we not argue that this character is a supernatural Robin Hood? Maybe instead of selling, they’re giving, and maybe the characters they’re stealing powers from are people that abuse and misuse their powers. Character motives can take a plot and turn it on its head, forcing you to reconceptualize everything. And that’s okay! That’s part of the process.
But separate from that idea, if we have a character concept of someone whose powers were stolen, and after developing their basic backstory, we discover that person’s name is Rose, and she has an especially close relationship with her brother. So when her powers are stolen, how does this affect her life? Was she using her powers to keep her brother alive and protected? What she using them to keep a roof over their heads? Was she using them as part of her job, as a means of providing? What happens to her life when her powers are stolen? And what will Rose do about it? Whatever Rose does will impact the story. If she does nothing to get her powers back, how does she solve her problems and does that make for a good story? If she does decide to act, then you’ve moved onto a new plot point to dive deeper into.
My point is, character concepts come from plots, but characters themselves often create plot, as their decisions and mistakes and successes create new outcomes. So if I could modify my original flow chart:
Before you develop something, you conceptualize it. You have a concept, then you make it a plot. You have concepts for characters, then you make them characters. And those characters end up driving your plot, to the point that this happens:
Plot inspires character. Character inspires plot. And it just keeps going around and around and around. Breaking it down into these pieces helps organize the process, but developing a story is rarely this neat and tidy. You’ll get ideas that don’t make sense, ideas that aren’t cohesive, characters you don’t need, characters that piss you off, problems you can’t solve, or plot points you’ve committed to that you no longer like…it will be messy. But it’s your mess, and the more you work on developing your own process, the more it’ll make sense to you. And it’ll become easier to know how to go about fixing it when something’s not right.
Have fun with this process! It’s supposed to be fun. When the pieces start to become clearer, you’re able to put them together in a rough outline. And once you have a rough outline, you can start writing, and really see it take shape.
You decide to revisit an old online MMO that you played as a kid, you create a new account, and whilst playing you bump into your old account, still active, the child version of yourself has been trapped in the game since you left.
Have a separate notebook for each class. It keeps things organized. Plus, if you keep all of your classes’ notes in the same notebook and you lose that notebook, you’re pretty much SOL.
Write clearly. If you’re going to handwrite your notes, make sure you can read them later. PenMANship. It’s got the word “man” in it, so it’s manly.
Let go of perfectionism
The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you study better and more quickly. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know you can leave out of your notes.
Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:
* Dates of events: Dates allow you to
a) create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and
b) understand the context of an event. For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.
* Names of people: Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.
* Theories: Any statement of a theory should be recorded — theories are the main points of most classes.
* Definitions: Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down. Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.
* Arguments and debates: Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate related in class or your reading should be recorded. This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development within the particular discipline you are studying.
* Images and exercises: Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, or when an in-class exercise is performed, a few words are in order to record the experience. Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.
* Other stuff: Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand; I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other student’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.
* Your own questions: Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.
* Note-Taking Techniques: You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.
* Outlining: Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. In a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on. Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either
a) flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in)
b) risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.
* Mind-mapping: For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Here’s the idea: in the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on. The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches. If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up
* The Cornell System: The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes. About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet. You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions. In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.
If your professor’s lecture will be focused on comparing and contrasting two or more ideas, you might consider using the charting method. Create a table in the note-taking program you’re using. Make as many columns as there are categories that you’re comparing and contrasting. Label each column with a category. As you listen to the lecture, record the notes under the appropriate category.
From the Liberals new marijuana law, they’re creating new criminal offences.
If you give or sell cannabis to youth or use youth to break a cannabis related offence you could face 14 years in prison. The same 14 year maximum penalty will apply to bringing marijuana across international borders.
Yuri on Ice interview translation - PASH! 2017/05 (p24-25)
I am pleased to bring you the very first interview with director Sayo Yamamoto!!! You don’t know how much I’ve been waiting for this… This one is pretty general because of course she has never been interviewed before so they are asking her the basics, but it’s very interesting to finally hear things from her perspective too, since she’s the one who started it all. More interviews with her will be appearing in other magazines in the near future, I’m looking forward to those ones too.
Also, I believe a bright future is to be expected for Yuri on Ice, since she seems to have lots of plans…!! (I was shivering typing out the translation, lol)
Translation is under the cut.
***If you wish to share this translation please do it by reblogging or posting a link to it*** ***Re-translating into other languages is ok but please mention that this post is the source***
Interview (first appearance in media!) The world of “Yuri on Ice” that director Yamamoto wanted to create With 8 notebooks full of notes in one hand, director Sayo Yamamoto has answered our interview for the first time. We have asked her how this new animation that no one had ever seen before was born.
'BTS Dishes About Their US Tour, Songwriting Process, & Onstage Style'
TWIST: What are you most excited about for your return to the US?
BTS: The size of the tour got much bigger than last time we were in the US back in 2015. It’s almost 10-fold this time. 5 arena shows in 3 cities sold out in less than 5 minutes! We’re amazed by the fact fans in the USA are passionate and supportive and we’re super excited to come back to meet them all.
TWIST: What is the most exciting part of touring around the world, and what has been the most challenging so far?
BTS: The most exciting part of touring around the world is that you get the unique opportunity to meet different people from various background. Regardless of their differences, they sing BTS songs in unison and cheer for us, and it is very special experience for all of the band. On the other hand, the most challenging part has been the life on the road, being far away from our family and friends for weeks.
TWIST: Which of your songs are you most looking forward to performing on this part of the tour?
Rap Monster: “Spring Day.” I wrote the main melody for the lead single for the first time and also wrote lyrics.
SUGA: “Spring Day.” I wrote main lyrics based on my personal experience with old friends. It is about my sad memories with him and it makes me sentimental whenever I listen to the song.
Jungkook: “Not Today.” It has the coolest beat of all songs in the album and I personally like the choreography for the song.
J-Hope: “FIRE.” It has always been my favorite and the song has all the essence of BTS can show to the audience on stage.
TWIST: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten in your career?
Rap Monster: “If you’re tied up with not gaining approval from others, you’ll never be able to move forward.”
TWIST: How would you say you and your sound have evolved over the years since first forming the group?
BTS: BTS sound has evolved since our debut in 2013 but has rooted its music in western pop music and hip-hop. We try to adapt all the hottest trends in pop music scene and that’s why fans around the world like it despite the cultural differences. All members listen to different genres of music all the time, from EDM, hip-hop, R&B to hip-house… and we believe BTS is kind of creating a new category of music genre beyond K-Pop.
TWIST: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote, what it was about, and what inspired you to write it?
Rap Monster: I don’t remember the name of the song, but there was an online community of amateur rappers who gathered together. I downloaded a beat from another amateur beat maker and I wrote a song based off of that. The song didn’t really make much sense, I just wrote it using every hard word I possibly knew. I actually found the song 2 years ago on my computer and listened to it thinking “What is this?” It was a mess.
TWIST: Have you ever written a song in a strange or unusual place? Or been inspired by something totally random?
Rap Monster: So many, I think I wrote a song while I was at the Grand Canyon in 2009. I had a trip to Vegas/Grand Canyon and I think I wrote a song there because I was shocked by the scenery. I definitely don’t remember what it was about though.
TWIST: Who are some artists that you would love to collaborate with?
BTS: There are so many artists we would love to collaborate with, such as Drake, J Cole, Justin Bieber… The list goes on and on.
TWIST: Which other artists/songs are on your personal playlists?
BTS: Drake “Fake Love”, The 1975, Kehlani, Lorde.
TWIST: How would you describe your personal fashion senses?
BTS: It’s mix of gothic and Japanese street wear. My recent favorite brands are WTAPS, Neighborhood and Yoji Yamamoto.
TWIST: And how does your personal style differ from the costumes you wear onstage?
BTS: Onstage clothing for BTS is custom-made to maximize our performance while being matched with the concept of each song.
TWIST: What is it like when fans recognize you on the street/ask for photos? Is it crazy? Surreal? Overwhelming?
Rap Monster: It’s a really nice experience to have somebody who knows me, but sometimes I like to be alone and hang around the city. I think it depends on the situation. There are some situations that I want to not be noticed by others, but people easily notice me. I’ve been told that I’m too unique (my walk and my clothes) and I’m easy to recognize, and I think that’s really nice. If I’m an artist or an idol and nobody knows me that would be sad.
TWIST: Can you share a fun fact about one of your other band members that you don’t think even the most dedicated fans will know?
Rap Monster: Many people think that SUGA is like the Grandfather of the group, but he acts more like a little kid. Jimin is the opposite, he looks like a baby but inside he’s mature and like a Grandfather.
yall wanna hear something cool and completely unrelated to this blog, okay theres all these different sets of numbers right, and all these sets of numbers are infinite
So the number sets kinda look like this,
a [all the real numbers]
a + bi [the complex numbers which include i the imaginary number which is really just another way of looking at how algebra can function (we can now take the square root of negative numbers), which is a different take on algebra where we simply had the set of real numbers]
and then you get
a + bi + cj + dk [quaternions, which is the next step up from the complex numbers in algebra, and are a new set of numbers that have a new way of looking at algebra, and are also infinite]
So about the complex numbers, thats numbers that include i, the ~imaginary number~ which is a terrible name for it, it’s not imaginary, just a completely different bit of algebra that doesnt work with what was previously thought to be algebraic laws and rules. Because before we had i you couldn’t take the square root of a negative number, because thats just not how the real numbers worked. It changed how algebra functioned with this new set of numbers.
You can just change the set of rules for math for it to work, by creating something new, as long as it all logically follows.
Anyway, once you get past the complex numbers you hit this cool thing called quaternions, which is another set of numbers, except in this set of numbers, which are also infinite, they don’t follow all of the rules of algebra we were previously taught to believe, in this set of numbers we don’t have the commutativity property,
[commutativity property is where a*b = c, and b*a = c]
without this it means if you multiply numbers together together in different orders, you get different answers. Which isn’t how any of the other previous sets of numbers work in algebra.
in regular algebra which works with all those numbers up to the complex numbers: 2*3 = 6, and 3*2 = 6
In quaternions: j*k = i, but k*j = -i
So with quaternions
i^2 = -1
j^2 = -1
k^2 = -1
But you know whats wild about this, in this set of numbers:
i*j*k = -1
And the order does matter in this set of numbers.
because in this set of algebra
i*j = k BUT heres the wild part j*i = -k
we can see it again:
j*k = i, BUT k*j = -i
When you multiply j*k you get i, when you multiply k*j you get -i, which isn’t how any of the other number sets behind this one in algebra work, isn’t that wild?
There’s a part of math where basic definitions of algebra don’t exist for these types of numbers to exist, and the further you keep going into new numbers, the more fundamental rules of algebra you start losing for the number sets to exist.
and this guy just came up with it walking across a bridge
- There are 14, 15 or 16 cases, depending on who you ask. One might be accusative. Accusative may not exist at all. It depends on who you ask. Who do you ask? You don’t know who to ask. You can ask nobody. The accusative case stares at you, accusingly.
- Imperative exists in three persons. Which three persons, you ask. Plural, they reply. Don’t forget the plural imperative. You stare at your textbook. Your textbook stares back at you. The negative active 2. person imperative has ceased to make any sense. Has it ever made sense?
- You’re learning the difference between the short and the long vowels. The short vowels are short. The long ones are twice as long as the short ones. But really, they say, they’re thrice as long as that. Even longer than that. Ä, you say. Ää. Äää. Äääääääääää- It never stops.
- The verb types are easy, they say. There are only six verb types. Six. Your text book lists only five. What is the sixth verb type? It’s in the next book, your professor says. There is no next book. What is the sixth verb type?
- The vowels come in groups. You don’t know why they’ve come or why they’re in groups. You learn their harmony all the same. You shed a tear when you’ve mastered it. But have you mastered it? The vowel harmony lulls you into a false sense of security. The vowels will strike when you least expect it.
- Consonant gradation.
- There is no accusative, your professor screams at you. It’s genitive! Or partitive! Or plural nominative, but only in the personal pronouns! The accusative does not exist! He is red in the face. Why does the accusative not exist? Do grammatical objects not exist in this language? you ask. (You shouldn’t have asked.) You are met with blank stares.
- In the future you would like to speak Finnish fluently. You make the mistake of saying this aloud. The ground opens beneath your feet and a terrible voice booms: THERE IS NO FUTURE! Silly you, you think. Of course there isn’t. You dutifully note down the three different past tenses.
- Sentence replacements replace sentences, your professor tells you. He does not tell you what the sentences are replaced with. You stare at the list of sentence replacements. There are nine items on the list. One is a quantum sentence replacement. You dare not ask.
- New words are easy to create, they say. So easy. What could possibly go wrong? You decide to create a new word. You have created an abomination.
- You’re conjugating -i nouns. There’s another group of -i nouns conjugated differently. These are very old words, your professor says. There’s another group of -i nouns. These are very old words, she says. Even older words. There’s another group of -i nouns. These are very old words, she says. They are ancient words. Blood and devil words, the past whispers in your ear.
- Some of those 14 or 15 or 16 cases are fossilised, so don’t worry about them, your professor says. Don’t worry at all. But you worry. You must worry.
- You watch a video on facebook. The Most Important Word In Finnish, it’s called. It becomes clear that it is possible to carry entire conversations using only this one word. Your smile stiffens on your face. There is only one word. There has only ever been one word.
Good writers borrow. Great writers steal. -T.S. Eliot *
This is great writing advice, but many people are wary about following it because they misunderstand what the terms “borrowing” and “stealing” mean in this context.
I’m here to clarify.
Borrowing is using something of someone else’s. Stealing is making something your own.
This advice means two things:
1. Don’t be afraid of reusing elements from books you love.
I’ve spoken before about stealing in How to Steal: Know Your Tropes. When you see story elements** in a book you love, don’t think that they’re now off-limits to you forever. Just because you love The Great Gatsby and it’s set in 1920s New York doesn’t mean that you can now never write a story set in 1920s New York. Just because you love I Capture the Castle and it’s written as the protagonist’s journal, doesn’t mean you can never write a novel that takes the form of the protagonist’s journal. Just because Scooby-Doo… you get my point by now, don’t you?
Take note of what you love in other stories.*** Remember those elements–the plot twists, character arcs, tropes, settings, etc.–and then use them to write a story full of things you love.
2. Make the things you steal your own.
Borrowing, in this definition, would be writing about a 1920s bootlegger in love with the girl across the way, trying desperately to impress her with his wealth. You’re stealing from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby… and making it no less F. Scott Fitzgerald’sstory.
This example steals too much from one place. It’s too timid in it’s approach. it’s too afraid to take anything from the story, so it keeps everything the same. Anything that tries to be like Gatsby,butbetter is destined to fail. (Maybe a little like Gatsby himself. Just throw a bigger party, old sport! That’ll do the trick!)
The key to stealing is stealing from multiple things at once until it looks like your very own thing. Stealing is writing a novel about a gang of mystery solving teenagers in 1920s New York, told in the form of a journal the group takes turns writing in. (Because we’re going to add a splash of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants here.)
Stealing is saying: these story elements are mine now and I’m going to use them the way I like, combined with my interests. And you know what? By stealing bits and pieces from all of the things you love, you’re creating something unique and new and wonderful.
So go out there. And steal. Never borrow.
*This is commonly attributed to him at least. The internet tells me he definitely said something close to it.
**Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the words themselves. Never steal somebody else’s words. Basicallyeverything else is up for grabs, though.
***You’re not limited to stealing from books. Steal from movies. From TV shows. From plays. From epic poetry. From that anecdote your neighbor told you last week.
Aries Moon: You have to retain yourself and you’ve lost full reign over your life. Instead of being taken seriously, you’re ignored like a whining child. No one gives you the time of day, and no one can enjoy the spontaneous love your Aries Moon creates when you forge down these dangerous and exciting new paths.
Taurus Moon: Boundaries are pushed and suddenly you have to sacrifice something. Even your comfort foods can’t lift you’re moods because all this turbulence has you exhausted. Home is nowhere to be found, and without familiarity Taurus Moon is stumbling blindly in the dark.
Gemini Moon: You can’t get your point across and everyone you talk to is a brick wall. Nothing you say bounces back or even sticks, leading to a complete writers block on your feelings. Your wordsmith Gemini Moon is left at a loss for words, and all processing power is too fried to try to even think of feeling.
Cancer Moon: The tides around you have swelled to the bursting point, and no body is relenting. You’re sure you have enough on your plate already, but you’re still dragged in the middle. Now your Cancer Moon is compelled to shape entire oceans of the emotions around you, leaving you a little seasick of life.
Leo Moon: Everyone is whizzing by too quickly to notice the love around them, that burning passion you too can share. You’re screaming into an empty sky with howling winds that threaten your sacred flame. You no longer know yourself, and even that Leo Moon has forgotten its own light when it’s so cloudy out.
Virgo Moon: You can’t do anything right. You’ve never felt more clumsy, and that’s never made you feel more useless. You can’t keep up damage control for anything. Your Virgo Moon is playing that same old broken record, chanting that your feelings mean nothing if you can’t take care of them too.
Libra Moon: You are abandoned, all by your lonesome, in a cold, unfamiliar place. There’s no one to understand where you’re coming from and no way to get where you want to go. The mirror of your Libra Moon has cracked the contrast between you and others, fragmented your compassion into a kaleidoscope of isolation.
Scorpio Moon: You were right- someone wasn’t worthy of your heavy love and you have to uproot your entire being once again. You can feel your walls being reinforced after all that hard work to break them down. Your venom is purged on offenders, stripping them to the bone, and your Scorpio Moon has begun yet another one of its viciously consuming rebirths.
Sagittarius Moon: Complete stagnation has taken hold. Your passions are capped by the monotonous responsibilities of the “real” world. All you want to do is run away to the woods for some fresh air for a few days; your Sag Moon needs to get the hell out of here and see what the world has to offer them.
Capricorn Moon: Your goal is miles away and your muscles are starting to give out. The climb ahead is practically 90 degrees and you still can’t see the top. It could be inches taller, miles even. Regardless, all you know is that you have to surmount this. The pressure your Cap Moon exerts is most taxing on the you who owns it.
Aquarius Moon: Reality has eaten your eccentricity. Everything that was so luminous before have somehow dulled their glow and the suddenly the darkness of space is swallowing you whole. That Aqua Moon of yours has boxed up everyone and everything it knows and you’re lost in the labyrinth of the storage unit in your heart.
Pisces Moon: Your sorrows have never seem heavier and a single blow brings you crashing down. The oblong tower you had enshrined to your feelings became too weathered and can’t maintain. Now the blissful wave your Pisces Moon has been cruising on has come crashing to the shore.
When you’re creating a race of people for your new world, you need a culture to give those people and their way of life some context. The culture helps determine how the characters act, dress, eat, solve problems, among so many other things. You can (and sometimes, should) have multiple cultures in your world, depending on how large your focus area is. Cultures affect each other, but also serve in a narrative sense to draw contrast in-world and to draw parallels to the reader’s world.
So here are some thoughts, big and small, that are meant to help inspire you as you create amazing cultures. (And remember that you’re thinking about the following questions in the context of the general population, not your main character(s).) You can simply answer these questions in short-answer form, or you can write a short story to flesh out one or two or three questions at once. If you do that, submit them to me! I’d love to feature them on the blog.
How old do people believe their race is? How old are they really?
How prevalent are religions to the common person?
What is/are the origin stories of the main religion(s)?
What do most people think should be the highest priority:
How do culturally shared priorities shape interactions?
What is the common greeting? Does it vary by age, class, rank, or sect?
How is gender viewed by the majority? Why?
What are common myths/legends of your people and how heavily do they influence the modern day?
How trustful are people of outsiders?
How welcoming are people, in general, of strangers into their homes?
How well do people of various factions (class, race, religion, etc.) get along in society?
How far has technology advanced, and how has it been implemented into their daily lives?
If magic exists, what do they believe is its origin? Its source?
If there is division between magic/non-magic, how do the two treat each other and why? How long has it been that way?
What sort of relationship do they have with their ruler?
How content is the average person?
How do people make their living and how big a part of their life is their career (if applicable)?
Do they have “weekends” and if so, what sets them apart from “weekdays”?
How do they treat their close friends?
How do they treat their enemies?
How do they handle small conflict, between individuals or small groups?
How do they handle larger conflicts?
How are they prepared for any potential war? Do they have some sort of military or militia in place?
How many wars have they, as a society, fought over the course of their lives/history? How much of an impact does that have on their cultural identity? (i.e. WW2′s impact on patriotism in America, and how it’s yet to go away.)
What virtues do they value in individuals? What virtues do they say they value? If those are different, why?
How do they dress? Does it vary greatly by gender, or not? Is their focus on clothing very practical, religious, sentimental, or simply driven by the latest arbitrary fashion? How do the above answers reflect on the culture on a deeper level?
How do they treat their elderly?
How do they treat their children?
At what age does a baby become a child, a child a young adult, a young adult an adult, an adult an elder?
How much regulation does the day-to-day life of the average citizen entail? Or, how involved is the government in micro affairs?
How are these people seen throughout their known world? How do other cultures view this culture?
Local spirits are the spirits that are constantly around us, in the forests, on the beaches, in schools, in homes, etc. They can be ghosts, mythological creatures, entities never mentioned in lore before and more. Their personalities and friendliness towards humans can vary quite a bit, especially depending on where you live. Think of them as your spirit neighbors. Some might remain as such for the entire time that you know them, others might become your companions or maybe even your rivals! The important thing is that you respectfully interact with them and be aware of their boundaries.
There’s two main ways that I’ve found to make contact with local spirits: call them to you or go outside and meet them in the places they live. Calling them to you is actually kind of a similar concept to conjuring except that you are only calling to the spirits that live in your area and that there’s no guarantee that they’ll show up. Going out is like a scientist going on a field study for an organism that they’re interested in: might find them, might not, and if it’s spirits we’re talking about then might find but they don’t want to be interacted with.
That’s the biggest thing to remember when working with local spirits, that not all spirits are interested in interacting with humans. In fact, many spirits couldn’t care less about humans or even actively have ways to prevent humans from meeting them. You should respect spirits that don’t want to be worked with. If you really want to work with a particular group then you could try negotiating with them or slowly building up a relationship with them in order to see if they will eventually be willing. Just don’t force any spirit to interact or speak with you, that will end badly for you every time.
Spirit work isn’t always the safest thing and there’s many ways that you can be harmed. The most important thing to have is a protective circle. It will protect you from many things and can actually be very versatile. Obviously this is hard to make when going out and meeting spirits so we’ll separate the safety procedures for each technique.
Going Out to Meet the Spirits
When going out not only is it harder to bring and set up materials, you’re also in public a lot of the time which limits what you can do. That is why personal warding is important. Personal warding can take the form of energy shields, protective amulets, etc. These are things that should be prepared before going out with the intent of meeting spirits so that they are ready in case you do get attacked.
Calling the Spirits
Calling the spirits comes with the risk of inviting unknown entities into your home. That is why it is important to have wards and a protective circle. The circle will protect you if they try to attack you during the meeting while the wards will prevent them from getting back in after being banished. Generic wards are basic spirit work stuff so I’m not going to go into them here.
A circle, however, can be made in many different ways. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it has protective elements that you feel are helpful to you, not what some list on the internet says. You could take from traditional circles and use them as a template for creating your own or you can completely make a new style of circle. The possibilities are endless! Some things you might want to include are protective stones, the names of deities you work with, protective words or sigils, candles, etc. Any physical item you use should have a designated spot for it. Your orientation of the elements of the circle is also important, or well it can be if you ascribe that importance! Perhaps you use the four elements to protect you in your circle and you associate them with a particular direction for example.
When you decide on what the circle should look like, practice making and using it! You can draw it out on an old sheet so that you don’t have to keep remaking it, you can set out physical items in the shape of a circle or you can create it with energy if you’re good at that. However you make it, it’s important to get used to being in it and the energy that goes into “activating” it. Activating it usually involves calling upon whatever makes up the circle to protect you. Sticking with the element example, you’d activate is by calling for Fire, Water, Earth, and Air to protect you. Once you are done with the circle, you must close it. This usually means allowing whatever you called upon to depart but in the reverse order from before. Try it out, play around with it, find or create whatever procedure that is comfortable to you.
When speaking with spirits, do not let them in no matter how much they try to persuade you. Also, do not leave the circle until you are sure that they are gone. That’s why you should keep any banishing tools and the like on hand so you don’t have to run and fetch them. If you don’t follow both of those rules then what’s the point of making the circle?
[There’s many different ways to use a circle, this is just a generic explanation of it].
Calling the Spirits to You
This process includes creating a call of energy and sending it out into the “energy network” of your local area. Spirits in the area can hear this call and choose whether or not to answer it and show up.
Tools needed: An offering for the spirit that you are calling, any banishing tools, any physical items that make up your circle, a wand if you need/use one, and any communication tools if you need them.
Making the Call: Cast your circle, set your offering outside of it and get into a clear state of mind where you can access your energy. Say the call, either out loud or in your head, doesn’t matter. It can be anything but basically along the lines of “I call to any [spirit name] that would be interested in speaking with me for [an interview]. In return, I have an offering of [the offering]”. You can call them for any reason but like I’ve mentioned before, they’re not obligated to come. As you say the call, form the energy of your words into a ball of energy in front of you. This is where you can use your wand to help channel the energy easier. Visualization also helps here. Once it is formed and stable, send it out in all directions into the environment. I usually just shoot a quick burst of energy at it to give it the momentum to move fast but you can flick your wrist/wand or do whatever it is you normally do to send energy out.
Even after you finish saying the call, you can feed more energy into the energy ball if you want the call to be “louder” and travel farther. This can be dangerous though because since the call is made from your energy, it is connected to you and that’s how the spirits who answer your call can find you. When the call reaches the limits of its strength it disappears and all links to you are gone. However, the stronger you make it, the longer it is out in the environment and the more likely unexpected spirits can trace you. So basically, don’t make the call too powerful.
Meeting the Spirit: If the call isn’t made too strong (aka the amount of energy that the sample call above makes) then at most, it should take 10 minutes for the call’s energy to die out (usually not actually that long but it’s good to be safe). After you finish speaking with the spirit, thank them for coming and allow them to leave. Make sure that they are actually gone before closing your circle. If a spirit doesn’t appear within that time you can either resend the call or close your circle and try again later.
Notes: Creating the call doesn’t guarantee that a spirit will show up. It also doesn’t mean that the spirit who shows up is the spirit that you called to. I mean in the four years that I’ve been using this technique, I’ve never had the “wrong” spirit show up but I find it very hard to believe that it’s not possible. Both of these are reasons why it’s important to have the basic techniques for being able to sense a spirit’s presence and determine their identity.
Going Out and Meeting Spirits
This process is much more straightforward. You essentially go out to places in your area like beaches, parks, schools, etc., see if you can sense any spirits, and then see if any are interested in talking with you.
Tools needed: Any protective amulets or items that you have and an offering for any spirits you may come across
I don’t have much explanation for this because it ain’t much more complex than that. If you don’t know who you’re going to meet, generic offerings to bring include water, alcohol, bread, rice, tobacco, etc. If you know of an offering that the spirits where you’re headed would prefer then bring that. No matter what you bring do not leave anything that will pollute the environment. Any food offerings you bring should be in a container and then properly disposed of, not thrown on the ground for example.
Set out the offering and ask if anyone wants it. You can also respectfully approach anyone you see and ask if they would want it. If they decline your offer, then don’t press them. Just give them a “okay, sorry for bothering you” and leave. Be respectful when interacting with them, you are on their territory after all.
Also be smart about who you approach. If someone’s energy makes you feel uncomfortable or they’re a species or have an affiliation with a group that is known to be hostile, then be aware that you may need to defend yourself if you choose to approach them and things go sour. Of course not all bad-feeling spirits are actually bad, not all good-feeling spirits are actually good, and first impressions can be misleading. Just trust your intuition and be prepared for the worst in case it happens.
What to Do if You Are in Danger
It’ll happen. Not all spirits are friendly and many might look at you as prey or something to mess with. The most important thing to do is stay calm. When a spirit attacks, it can be very scary so I know that keeping a clear head isn’t always the easiest of things in that situation. That is why you should develop a clear plan for dealing with attacks beforehand and have all the tools that you need already prepared. If it’ll help, write down a basic procedure for banishing and keep it in your pocket or somewhere else that spirits won’t be able to easily see. That way even if you’re freaking out, you’ll have a lifeline telling you what to do.
Calling the Spirits
If a spirit attacks, tries to force their way into your circle, or suddenly acts hostile, banish immediately. It’s best not to take any chances. Once they are banished, cleanse the area and reinforce your wards. Sometimes spirits may do something that might make you uncomfortable but you don’t feel as though it’s bad enough to warrant forcing them out. You can simply ask them to leave or let them know that the behavior will not be tolerated. If they ignore your request, banish them. It’s possible that a spirit isn’t aware that they might be making you uncomfortable and so talking it out first before immediately jumping to banishing (if they’re not actively attacking you) could be beneficial for both of you. Just remember to be firm in your boundaries and don’t let the spirit persuade you into letting them go.
Reasons not to banish a spirit:
If they look “scary”. Their appearance doesn’t always reflect their personality. For some, that’s just the way that they were born.
If they’re a “demon”. Demon is a very useless, broad term that describes a myriad of entities all of which have different personalities and moralities. “Demon” is not the equivalent of “evil”.
Going out and Meeting the Spirits
The difference here is that you can’t really banish spirits when you visit them at their homes. That’d be like going over to a friend’s house and trying to kick them out. If a spirit attacks you while you’re away from your protected space, the best you can do is get out of there. If you came prepared with proper protection then it should be able to buy you enough time to escape. Depending on the situation, the attacking spirit may or may not be interested in chasing you. So, sometimes “escaping” can be simply removing yourself from the area immediately as the spirit is just acting aggressive so that you’ll back off. But other times, you may need to do a little more than that. If you suspect that you got followed home, perform a banishing of your property and cleanse yourself and the area. Then reinforce your wards.
The one thing that I have to say is that you need to be cognizant of why that spirit is attacking you. More specifically, you need to be aware of when your actions provoke a spirit to attack. Did you infringe upon their territory? Did you bother them after they told you that they didn’t want to interact? You are out in their realm, just as a spirit that you invite into your house should respect you, you should respect spirits when you meet them at their homes.
Which Process Should You Use?
It depends on what “level” of spirit work you’re at and what you want to accomplish. Calling a spirit to you is definitely requires an intermediate skill level in energy and spirit work whereas going out and meeting them only requires that you be able to sense and communicate with spirits. However, when you call a spirit to you, they’re more likely to be willing to talk since that’s what they came for according to your call. You’re also more protected since you’re able to have your circle and tools right at hand. Spirits that you simply meet outside aren’t always going to want to speak and it’s a bit harder to protect against them. So which process should you use? Both.
Not all spirits are interested in answering a call but they may be willing to talk with you come across them when outside. Sometimes, you need a long conversation with a spirit which is where calling them will be more useful. Calling them might even seem more convenient but I think that it’s important that you learn about the spirits around you by going out and meeting them before calling them to you. It not only helps you get a better idea of the community but it also lets spirits get a better idea of who you are.