i may or may not have put them like they are on the map

Aries —
oh, my sweet, sweet child, what has the world done to you? you were a bright promise,
the tomorrow we had hoped for, holding flowers in your mouth without crushing them
and trusting blindly in those around you. and then came the blood; and now your fire
is a quiet thing, a crackling murmur hidden in the shadows. you’ve curled into yourself
like a newborn babe, held your heart tightly to your chest and began the tedious healing.
and all the salt in your tears made the deep wounds sting; was it this what kept you pure?
I wonder, oh, I wonder. before you, I had never seen an anathema so full of innocence.
(the world tried to cast you down from paradise; and it succeeded. but the fall couldn’t
maim you, for fire cannot kill fire – it simply shrunk you, much like a mimosa bloom.
I hope one day you’ll feel safe enough to flower, for there is so much beauty in you.)


Taurus —
I wish I could wrap my hands around your shoulders and hold you close for a while,
because oh, what sad things they are, your bones. I am so sorry, beloved; so very sorry.
and I am well aware these apologies cannot change anything, but I want you to know
that there is someone who sees you as you are – even when all the others see is your
superfluous frivolity and your desire for riches, I see the thoughtful mind, the gentle
gestures, each and every of your heartbeats. the song of you is imprinted into my memory
as the change in seasons is; you are unforgettable, something so precious and so very dear.
(don’t let them shame you for your greed – those who try to do so cannot wrap their
all too little minds around the fact that sin is not necessarily negative. your love for gold
has root in the same place as your love for others; you only want it so you may share it.)


Gemini —
it’s lonely, isn’t it? not being the way all others are. they tell you you’re a forgery, that your
smile is a mask and your composure an act, simply because they cannot accept the idea
that people are supposed to be multidimensional. on and on they go, pinning their ignorance
to you under the name of blame, seeing in you only that which they wish to see. sometimes,
you wish you were like them. I know you do. you shouldn’t. it might be lonely where you are,
but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing; lonely doesn’t mean secluded. there are others like you,
with minds like diamonds. others like you, who are only habitual in their tendency for change.
(you will find someone who can make sense out of you, one day, you know. they’ll know you
better than you yourself do – every single aspect of you, every single frantic facet and feeling.
and when you do, the wait will be more than worth it. I promise you won’t die nor live alone.)


Cancer —
you poor, poor, poor thing. it’s been a thousand years since you’ve curled into yourself, hid
your heart deep in the cradle of your ribs and let yourself sleep; then the time came for you
to awaken, and you found the world unchanged – it was as if everything had stood still.
reality swept into you like saltwater into gaping wounds, and every fiber of your soul wept.
fearful, you took the broken glass road still, walked it fully aware of what laid in waiting;
like a bride the night she is wed to a stranger, you swallowed your terror and saw it through.
often, those ignorant make you out to be such a bumbling coward. you’re not. you just aren’t.
(in fact, you’re on of the bravest people I know; it takes so much courage to let the world
see you weep – and it takes even more of it to wipe your tears and keep moving forward.
above all, it takes immense courage to allow yourself to love even when you know it’ll hurt.)


Leo —
the size of your heart puts to shame both Jupiter and your own pride and ego; to this day,
I am not sure if you would have been better off with one much smaller, but I know for sure
the world would have been emptier by far. you see, your touch is one of gold; whomever
you decide to invest your time and love into grows the size of Atlas, and so, without you
as you are now there would have been much less in the world. that is your downfall, isn’t it?
always has been. the way you’ve always put others first, giving them all of you, never asking
for anything to be given to you in return. you are a gardener, dearest, and people are your roses.
(it breaks my heart that all your selfless effort was almost always repaid in hurt and sorrow;
know that you are not to be blamed for any of it. you have done nothing wrong – sometimes,
things simply fall apart. don’t shut your heart. I’d hate to see your love rot and turn to hatred.)


Virgo —
you have endured well the contempt of others, my dear; you have taken every blow with open arms.
they have called you frigid and prude and arrogant and everything in between, but you knew better.
tell me then: if you can endure so well the slander of others, if you don’t care what they make of you,
why do you worry so? why do you see only blemishes when you look at yourself in the mirror?
your hesitance to trust others stems in your fear that if you let them in they’ll see your ugliness, all
the imagined imperfections you see in your reflection. you can’t trust others because you don’t trust
yourself; and I wish so badly that you would have a little more faith in who you are, in your beauty.
(being unable to forgive, jealousy and lust do not make you terrible. hate is human nature as much
as love is; emotions, be they bad or good, are intrinsic to mankind. you are such a passionate being,
despite your outward delicacy, and that, my dear, is simply stunning. please try to love yourself.)


Libra —
darling child, didn’t the gods tell you the mob sees dancers as something of the devil, especially
when their preferred stage is the sharp edge of a sword? few in this world love truth, and fewer still
are fond of things like righteousness and justice. your ability to remain indiscriminate in the face
of contradictory realities and deny none of them is both a blessing and a curse. your mind, I fear,
is the Pandora fate has crafted specifically for you; a beautiful gift that hides such doom and sorrow.
and you are aware of all of this – how you were meant for greater things, with your noble mind
and your true heart, yet on you dance, fighting against the windmills of adversity. how brave you are.
(know that your effort will not go without reward. know that you won’t be forever unloved, nor
will you be forever misunderstood. there will be those whom, like you, have the makings of just men,
and they will understand. keep your eyes open and search the crowd; that is what you do best.)


Scorpio —
I look at you and my heart grows small; there is so much sadness in you, from the flower
of your eyes to the slouching arch of your shoulders. you have been misjudged
and falsely accused for so long: whore, they said; monster, perverter, sickness of the soul –
and all of it because you like sex, as if somehow they are the virgin mary reborn,
the goddamn hypocrites. this, too, is something they have misunderstood; it is not sex
that you crave or are interested in. it is intimacy: it is the vulnerability that comes with having
your soul completely bared and lain before another; you crave love, in its’ purest of forms.
(and I know they have convinced you that someone of your kind is not “worthy”; fuck that.
your love is priceless, and one day someone will call your battle scars a masterpiece.
one day someone will love you as wholly as you deserve to be loved. they will love all of you.)


Sagittarius —
there is such wanderlust in you – you’ve made a home out of the long, long roads,
walked the earth to its’ ends and bathed in the oceans of the horizon; the sky was
your sole companion, its’ stars your map, the wind a spellsong to ward off the passing
sadness and melancholia that threatened to dim the flame of your heart. oh, my child;
how very wonderful you are, a barefoot nomad forever in awe of the world. the feeble
minded call you rootless; how wrong they are. having a voyager heart does not make you
afraid of commitment. it simply means your roots lie elsewhere, splat across the world.
(do not let their malice plant doubts into your mind’s garden; your gypsy heart is worth more
than all their empty ones combined. keep daring the world, sate your thirst for journeying;
only exploration can ever lead to discovery, so let your feet and head both walk the world.)


Capricorn —
good god, you’re so tired. life has worn you down to the marrow of your bones,
took everything from you until you were bare-handed; and yet.
and yet you’re still here, standing before me, your spine hardened to titanium,
a delicate thing that can withstand even the most apocalyptic of sieges;
you still find it in you to smile, bitter-bloody-all-teeth and still happy, somehow.
know that I am proud of you; of your bravery, of your resilience,
of how you’ve clung to life by the skin of your teeth. I am proud of you.
(and know that you deserve happiness – you may feel like you don’t, you may feel
that it is above the likes of you, but you deserve it; you have earned it.
know that one of these days, the sun will shine down on your lane, too.)


Aquarius —
there’s so much of you inside your skin I am often surprised it has yet to come apart at the seams;
there’s so much of everything inside your skull I am left in awe of your bones – often I wonder,
how are they strong enough to contain the exploding universe inside? my god, this world of ours
has seven wonders and you are all of them. the fortitude of your bright mind ceaselessly
surprises me; I know what to expect, and yet I am still thrown off by your ingenuity and your
ability to remain rational in your abstract ways. nobody but you is open enough to accept it all;
nobody but you can see through the prism of all eyes and walk away with their sanity intact.
(I know they call you “cold”, an ice queen of the Siberian tundra. let them be. those who cannot
see your white-hot warmth are not worthy of your brilliance. you are the brightest star, my dear,
someone accepting and embracing of it all. do not settle for anyone that is blind to your light.)


Pisces —
and how terrible it must be for you, who lives always halfway, to be stuck in a world
that demands certainties which you will never have to give. it is not to say you don’t want
to be resolute – you simply cannot. your world does not have truth, nor does it have falsity;
all that your world has are colors, swirling, forever mingling anew like the clouds in the sky.
one day you are overflowing with everything that blooms inside of you, and lilies
are spilling out of your ribs; the next, you’re empty, and you can’t for the life of you
find something that is all-encompassing enough to fill the growing abyss south of your sternum.
(know that it is okay. the most humane thing you can be is full of contradictions;
as maddening as it can be, each paradox gets you closer to the entity your peers call god.
it was never the devil that built his home on the crossroads, you know. embrace your nature.)

—  poetry for the signs: the “you’ve done well” edition, L. Schreiber

Hey everyone! Over the years I’ve had my fair share of English and other writing intensive classes, and combined with my tendency to procrastinate I’ve had to come up with a way to write papers fast. 

step one: finding a topic and research (aka the hardest part)

You can’t write a paper without a good topic, a strong thesis, and solid research. There’s no getting around that, no matter how short you are on time. Depending on the class and the teacher, you may have your topic chosen for you or you may have total freedom. If your situation is the latter, an ideal topic is one the you care about, have some general knowledge of already, and is specific enough to be covered in the number of pages you’re limited to. After you have a topic picked, do some quick searches to see what’s out there. If your school’s library has a database, that’s the perfect place to start. Be sure to chose quality articles that have been peer reviewed when possible, and where it’s not acknowledge that the source may be an biased in your paper. 

Once you’ve started research, you should have a pretty good idea of what your angle is going to be and what points you want to make. Next write a working thesis. This is basically a sentence or two that states what you will spend the next few pages proving. Once you have it, write it on an index card and put it aside for the next step.

step two: outlining 

Take a look at your past papers. How many paragraphs are usually on a page? It’s about two for me, so I keep that in mind when planning my outline. Now for the part that lets me write so fast: index cards. 

Take one index card per paragraph you’ll need to fill your page limit, and write “into” on the back of the one with your thesis, and conclusion on the other. Now think about how to best prove your thesis, and anything else you saw in research that you want to address. 

  • On one side of the card goes the general topic of the paragraph (ie, “significance of symbolism”).
  • On the back goes all of the specific notes and details that will go in that paragraph (ie, “spring as a symbol of a fresh start for x character”)
  • Once you’ve done that for every paragraph lay them out in front of you and experiment with order. How do they flow naturally?

step three: writing

Now that you have your outline, all you have to do is expand on what’s on your cards. Paragraphs should be at least five sentences each, which is super easy to achieve since you already know what you’re going to say! Think of each paragraph as a mini paper: sentence one should be a topic sentence/intro, explaining what you’re going to cover. The middle/body defends and expands on your topic sentence, and the last sentence or two should conclude the paragraph and transition to the next. 

Once you have your body, you can work on your intro and conclusion. A general rule of thumb for intros is to start with a hook (something interesting that draws the reader in) and ends with your thesis. In the middle should be a sentence or so for each paragraph/point, just to give a little map of where you’re going. The conclusion is basically the same, except in reverse. Wrap it up and tell them what you just told them. 

After that, let it sit for a little while (ideally a day, but if you’re short on time just go to dinner) and then come back to edit with fresh eyes. Reading out loud will help you catch typos!

step four: citations and formatting

I like to cite as I go so I don’t have to do it all at once. I typically write my own, but if I’m in a pinch I’ll use a citation generator (like son of citation) that works super fast. Just be sure to cite everything that needs one! Plagiarism is so not cool. Double check MLA/APA/Chicago guidelines and make sure that everything is formatted right, and you’re good to hit submit!

Good luck on those papers, my fellow procrastinators!

College Life 101

Alrighty folks, here are some nifty tips on how I survived (and could have better survived) college: 

  • As soon as you have your schedule, email your professors. Everyone. Especially if you have questions about the course, if you’re going to miss, etc. also make sure you do it from your school email, many professors will not check an email if it isn’t from a school address. 
  • On move in day, bring a door stop.  moving in is so much easier when you don’t need someone to hold the door for everything. 
  • Shoe racks and command strips/hooks will be your best friend. Use the racks for misc. things like utensils, seasonings, Keurig mixes, hot chocolate, etc. 
  • Bring a whiteboard/corkboard. Write down your classes and anything you need to get done for those classes and make sure that you keep it updated. On the cork side post up papers with important numbers, a map of campus, and other things you get. 
  • SIGN UP FOR ACTIVITIES (ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE ON A SMALL CAMPUS) otherwise you’re not going to have a fun experience. Even if it’s just something you THINK you may have a slight interest in, try it! 
  • Go to one or two sporting events, just for the hell of it
  • Put important dates in your phone calendar or even a planner. Somewhere you will be reminded of them. Times and dates are critical. 
  • Eat. and eat well. 
  • Use chegg, upper classmen, or other resources for textbooks before you buy them. Campus bookstores are astronomically expensive and it can be a lot cheaper going somewhere else. I use Chegg and they also send you free tide pods, coffee samples, etc. 
  • Bring medicine that you’ve used in the last two years, even if you haven’t used it in a while just to be safe. 
  • If you’re gonna do laundry on the weekends Friday and Saturday nights OR Sunday mornings are prime time. Be prepared for staying up late or getting up early to do laundry 
  • PUT. A TIMER. ON. YOUR. LAUNDRY. Seriously, when you have to share a laundry room there is nothing more annoying than someone who won’t move their laundry out for other people. 
  • On a related note DO NOT THROW OTHER PEOPLE’S LAUNDRY ON THE FLOOR. Fold it up, leave it on the dryers or w/e with a little note. Don’t be an asshole. 
  • Keep extra pads and tampons around everywhere you go. Help yourself and/or ya menstruating friends out. 
  • Bring a phone/laptop charger with you throughout the day. I know I personally have some long breaks between my classes where I do homework and w/e
  • Use Google docs for your assignments, or other programs that back up your work to the cloud. My laptop broke halfway through the semester and the only thing that saved me was Google Docs because my school uses gmail
  • Download Groupme. Right now. Do it. It’s a great way to create group chats, keep them in one place, and keep them backed up somewhere, you’re gonna have some for group projects, your dorm, any programs, etc. 
  • Bring a three hole punch, scissors, glue, tape, notecards, and binders. Also get pocketed folders for any important research papers you may need to turn in. 
  • ALSO DRY ERASE MARKERS ARE A LIFE SAVER. bring them around for studying in empty classrooms it’s v helpful
  • COLOR CODE YOUR BINDERS/NOTE BOOKS/STICKY NOTES. Your binder for one class and all its accessories should be one colors. Color organize your notes. (If you’re colorblind, use patterns or something simple for you.) 
  • Try typing up your notes after classes, save them to your laptop and whatever online thing you use. Sometimes you’ll need your notes and you either won’t have your notebook, laptop, or both and it can be very important to keep your notes accessible. 
  • Make use of tutoring services or other students/friends that are good in your classes. C’s get degrees and if people can help you understand it better then WOO
  • Try not to miss too many classes, but if you do make sure you contact your professors about it (or someone in that class.) 
  • Sleep is v important, but can also be too good so set alarms at least a half hour before your classes to get ready and go. 

Take deep breaths. Make friends. Take no shit, do no harm

((These are based off of my personal experiences, feel free to add on if you think of something))

Writing Antagonists: (Aka, Your Villains and Bad Guys)

The antagonist is often either one of the most fun things to write, or the most dreaded. But either way, they are a key element of the story, and that cannot be ignored. So, let’s talk about how to make a really great antagonist.

You may have in the past met a writer or teacher or whomever who insists on using the words “protagonist and antagonist” over words like “hero and villain.” Personally, I am not so stingy about it, I feel that I know what you mean anyway so it doesn’t really matter- what there is a legitimate reason as to why you should at least try to think of your villain as your antagonist instead.

And that reason is connotation. Well, denotation too, really- villain and antagonist aren’t completely the same thing, but I’m bringing it down to connotation. 

Simply said, when you think of the word “villain”, you’ll think something like “that’s the bad guy in the story.” And when you think of the “antagonist”, you probably think “that’s a fancy word for villain, aka the bad guy in the story.”

But antagonist isn’t just a fancy word. It’s a fancy concept. It means “the guy that opposes the good guy.” That can be on any argument or view. When writing your antagonist is to remember that nothing is black/white, good/bad thinking, and that includes your antagonist.

Let’s map out the steps to making a complex villain- aka, an antagonist.

First, remember that your antagonist (usually) is a person, just like your protagonist. It might help to develop them outside of their intentions first, and put a person to the upcoming reputation.

Background:

Chances are, your antagonist didn’t just rise up out of the ground ready to kill. They came from somewhere. Your readers don’t even have to know everything about your antag’s backstory, but you do, if you want to really understand them. It often holds the key reason as to why your antagonist is where they are. The drive behind anger, revenge, change, or pleasing someone else can come from the events in their background.

Why do they hold the beliefs they hold? Were they raised that way? Were they taught by some mentor figure? Were they cover from a reality they couldn’t bear? Are they trying to please someone, or get revenge on someone who displeased them? The answer should be in their background.

Motives/Beliefs:

Remember, every villain is a hero in their own mind. They believe that what they are doing is necessary, even if they recognize that it is unpleasant. What are they fighting for? Why does it matter to them so much, that they are willing to overlook all the harm they do?

“The Greater Good”: This is one of the more common and understandable villain motives. They believe that what they are doing now is paving the way to a better future. But keep in mind that what your antag views as a “better future” may be very, very different than the average opinion. Maybe a “better future” for them is a genocidal purge or the world ending in flames. Who knows.

That’s not the only type of motive. Be creative. Work with the information you established in your character’s background to find the most reasonable motive.

Tipping Point:

This is going to be related to your background and motive in an interesting way. Think of your antagonist as a character who has already completed their Character Arc and reached a negative end. Look at the points of change on the character arc- the ones that push your character farther down their path. What are those events? Those are the tipping points that prompted your character towards becoming they way they are now- those key moments where your character had a choice, and they chose to become bitter, hateful, vengeful, cold, or other negative things.

These could be the deaths of loved ones, the promptings of a mentor, or a moment of injustice that made them realize that the world isn’t always kind.

Personality/Actions:

This is the part where you develop them outside of their intentions. How do they behave? 

It’s tempting to just say that your villain is a villain because they torture and kill people. But those are not the only things that make a villain a scary or serious threat. Some characters might jump to violence easier than others. Some might be more into psychological torment. Some might actually seem really charming or persuasive, which is frightening in it’s own way- they might actually be tricky enough to confuse you into making bad decisions on your own. Think about your character’s background again. What makes the most sense for them as a person?

Presentation:

This is how your antagonist comes across to others. Keep in mind that your reader and your other characters don’t know your antagonist like you do. How does this person present to the world? 

-Are they open to discussion/negotiation?

-Are they open about their intentions?

-How quick are they to violence?

-What are their methods of war?

-When you meet them, are they charismatic, quiet, charming, vulgar? Do they have a sense of humor, or are they stoic?

-Do they seem to enjoy what they are doing, or do they express regrets even as they do it?

Moral Complexity:

What are they willing to do to achieve their goals? Do they have weaknesses in their personal lives?

1. Do they have noble ends behind their controversial means?

2. Is there a line even they won’t cross?

3. Do they have someone/something that they care about?

4. Do they prefer to do the killing/torturing etc themselves or do they just give the order?

Remember that if your antagonist does have any of these moral weaknesses, they are not going to want to show it. One has to keep up intimidating appearances, after all. 

Speaking of appearances…

Appearance:

This part is here to tell you what not to do. There are certain appearances that are getting really old with villains.

1. Dressing in all black. Why do they even do that? It’s time to stop associating black with “bad” and white with “good”. It just isn’t like that, so stop making villains all dark and stuff.

2. Scars. I think scars are pretty cool, don’t get me wrong. But if there is no relevant reason for it to be there, don’t talk about it all the time. That goes for all characters, not just villains. Like the color black, scars are not just a villain thing. Everyone has them. Don’t associate them with “bad.”

3. Sexy. I get the idea that making a villain attractive makes them harder to hate, but that can be kind of a cop out of actual complexity. Again, if there is no legitimate reason to make your villain sexy, then don’t. It’s not necessary.

4. Ugly. I hesitate to call any traits inherently ugly, but if you’re striving to make your character unpleasant looking just because they’re bad, then once again, you are associating feature=evil, which is not creative at best and seriously socially harmful at worst. 

Basically, your villains should be just as diverse as anyone else. You don’t need stereotypes to make them scary. Sometimes it’s scarier than anything else to just have an average person. It sort of adds to the idea that anyone could be a villain. And that’s pretty frightening.

Key Point:

- Complicate your villains. They’re not just Evil McEvilpants. 

That’s it for now, but like anything else in writing, antagonists have a lot of possibility and exceptions. But that was your basic rundown on the things to consider when making a complicated antagonist. 

~Penemue

Aries — 

 Oh, my sweet, sweet child, what has the world done to you? You were a bright promise, the tomorrow we had hoped for, holding flowers in your mouth without crushing them and trusting blindly in those around you. And then came the blood; and now your fire is a quiet thing, a crackling murmur hidden in the shadows. You’ve curled into yourself like a newborn babe, held your heart tightly to your chest and began the tedious healing. And all the salt in your tears made the deep wounds sting; was it this what kept you pure? I wonder, oh, I wonder. Before you, I had never seen an anathema so full of innocence. (The world tried to cast you down from paradise; and it succeeded. But the fall couldn’t maim you, for fire cannot kill fire – it simply shrunk you, much like a mimosa bloom. I hope one day you’ll feel safe enough to flower, for there is so much beauty in you.)

Taurus — 

 I wish I could wrap my hands around your shoulders and hold you close for a while, because oh, what sad things they are, your bones. I am so sorry, beloved; so very sorry. And I am well aware these apologies cannot change anything, but I want you to know that there is someone who sees you as you are – even when all the others see is your superfluous frivolity and your desire for riches, I see the thoughtful mind, the gentle gestures, each and every of your heartbeats. The song of you is imprinted into my memory
as the change in seasons is; you are unforgettable, something so precious and so very dear. (Don’t let them shame you for your greed – those who try to do so cannot wrap their all too little minds around the fact that sin is not necessarily negative. Your love for gold has root in the same place as your love for others; you only want it so you may share it.)

Gemini — 

 It’s lonely, isn’t it? not being the way all others are. They tell you you’re a forgery, that your smile is a mask and your composure an act, simply because they cannot accept the idea that people are supposed to be multidimensional. On and on they go, pinning their ignorance to you under the name of blame, seeing in you only that which they wish to see. Sometimes, you wish you were like them. I know you do. You shouldn’t. It might be lonely where you are, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing; lonely doesn’t mean secluded. There are others like you, with minds like diamonds. Others like you, who are only habitual in their tendency for change. (You will find someone who can make sense out of you, one day, you know. They’ll know you better than you yourself do – every single aspect of you, every single frantic facet and feeling. And when you do, the wait will be more than worth it. I promise you won’t die nor live alone.)

Cancer — 

 You poor, poor, poor thing. It’s been a thousand years since you’ve curled into yourself, hid your heart deep in the cradle of your ribs and let yourself sleep; then the time came for you to awaken, and you found the world unchanged – it was as if everything had stood still. Reality swept into you like saltwater into gaping wounds, and every fiber of your soul wept. fearful, you took the broken glass road still, walked it fully aware of what laid in waiting; like a bride the night she is wed to a stranger, you swallowed your terror and saw it through. Often, those ignorant make you out to be such a bumbling coward. You’re not. You just aren’t. (In fact, you’re one of the bravest people I know; it takes so much courage to let the world see you weep – and it takes even more of it to wipe your tears and keep moving forward. Above all, it takes immense courage to allow yourself to love even when you know it’ll hurt.)

Leo — 

 The size of your heart puts to shame both Jupiter and your own pride and ego; to this day, I am not sure if you would have been better off with one much smaller, but I know for sure the world would have been emptier by far. You see, your touch is one of gold; whomever you decide to invest your time and love into grows the size of Atlas, and so, without you as you are now there would have been much less in the world. That is your downfall, isn’t it? Always has been. The way you’ve always put others first, giving them all of you, never asking for anything to be given to you in return. You are a gardener, dearest, and people are your roses. (It breaks my heart that all your selfless effort was almost always repaid in hurt and sorrow; know that you are not to be blamed for any of it. You have done nothing wrong – sometimes, things simply fall apart. Don’t shut your heart. I’d hate to see your love rot and turn to hatred.)

Virgo — 

 You have endured well the contempt of others, my dear; you have taken every blow with open arms. They have called you frigid and prude and arrogant and everything in between, but you knew better. Tell me then: if you can endure so well the slander of others, if you don’t care what they make of you, why do you worry so? Why do you see only blemishes when you look at yourself in the mirror? Your hesitance to trust others stems in your fear that if you let them in they’ll see your ugliness, all the imagined imperfections you see in your reflection. You can’t trust others because you don’t trust yourself; and I wish so badly that you would have a little more faith in who you are, in your beauty. (Being unable to forgive, jealousy and lust do not make you terrible. Hate is human nature as much as love is; emotions, be they bad or good, are intrinsic to mankind. You are such a passionate being, despite your outward delicacy, and that, my dear, is simply stunning. Please try to love yourself.)

Libra — 

 Darling child, didn’t the gods tell you the mob sees dancers as something of the devil, especially when their preferred stage is the sharp edge of a sword? Few in this world love truth, and fewer still are fond of things like righteousness and justice. Your ability to remain indiscriminate in the face of contradictory realities and deny none of them is both a blessing and a curse. Your mind, I fear, is the Pandora fate has crafted specifically for you; a beautiful gift that hides such doom and sorrow. And you are aware of all of this – how you were meant for greater things, with your noble mind and your true heart, yet on you dance, fighting against the windmills of adversity. How brave you are. (Know that your effort will not go without reward. Know that you won’t be forever unloved, nor will you be forever misunderstood. There will be those whom, like you, have the makings of just men, and they will understand. Keep your eyes open and search the crowd; that is what you do best.)

Scorpio — 

 I look at you and my heart grows small; there is so much sadness in you, from the flower of your eyes to the slouching arch of your shoulders. You have been misjudged and falsely accused for so long: Whore, they said; monster, perverter, sickness of the soul – and all of it because you like sex, as if somehow they are the Virgin Mary reborn, the goddamn hypocrites. This, too, is something they have misunderstood; it is not sex that you crave or are interested in. It is intimacy: it is the vulnerability that comes with having your soul completely bared and lain before another; you crave love, in its’ purest of forms. (And I know they have convinced you that someone of your kind is not “worthy”; fuck that. Your love is priceless, and one day someone will call your battle scars a masterpiece. One day someone will love you as wholly as you deserve to be loved. They will love all of you.)

Sagittarius — 

 There is such wanderlust in you – you’ve made a home out of the long, long roads, walked the earth to its’ ends and bathed in the oceans of the horizon; the sky was your sole companion, its’ stars your map, the wind a spellsong to ward off the passing sadness and melancholia that threatened to dim the flame of your heart. Oh, my child; how very wonderful you are, a barefoot nomad forever in awe of the world. The feeble minded call you rootless; how wrong they are. Having a voyager heart does not make you afraid of commitment. It simply means your roots lie elsewhere, splat across the world. (Do not let their malice plant doubts into your mind’s garden; your gypsy heart is worth more than all their empty ones combined. Keep daring the world, sate your thirst for journeying; only exploration can ever lead to discovery, so let your feet and head both walk the world.)

Capricorn — 

 Good god, you’re so tired. Life has worn you down to the marrow of your bones, took everything from you until you were bare-handed; and yet you’re still here, standing before me, your spine hardened to titanium, a delicate thing that can withstand even the most apocalyptic of sieges; you still find it in you to smile, bitter-bloody-all-teeth and still happy, somehow. Know that I am proud of you; of your bravery, of your resilience, of how you’ve clung to life by the skin of your teeth. I am proud of you. (And know that you deserve happiness – you may feel like you don’t, you may feel that it is above the likes of you, but you deserve it; you have earned it. Know that one of these days, the sun will shine down on your lane, too.)

Aquarius — 

 There’s so much of you inside your skin I am often surprised it has yet to come apart at the seams; there’s so much of everything inside your skull I am left in awe of your bones – often I wonder, how are they strong enough to contain the exploding universe inside? My god, this world of ours has seven wonders and you are all of them. The fortitude of your bright mind ceaselessly surprises me; I know what to expect, and yet I am still thrown off by your ingenuity and your ability to remain rational in your abstract ways. Nobody but you is open enough to accept it all; nobody but you can see through the prism of all eyes and walk away with their sanity intact. (I know they call you “cold”, an ice queen of the Siberian tundra. Let them be. Those who cannot see your white-hot warmth are not worthy of your brilliance. You are the brightest star, my dear, someone accepting and embracing of it all. Do not settle for anyone that is blind to your light.)

Pisces — 

 And how terrible it must be for you, who lives always halfway, to be stuck in a world that demands certainties which you will never have to give. It is not to say you don’t want to be resolute – you simply cannot. Your world does not have truth, nor does it have falsity; all that your world has are colors, swirling, forever mingling anew like the clouds in the sky. One day you are overflowing with everything that blooms inside of you, and lilies are spilling out of your ribs; the next, you’re empty, and you can’t for the life of you find something that is all-encompassing enough to fill the growing abyss south of your sternum. (Kknow that it is okay. The most humane thing you can be is full of contradictions;  as maddening as it can be, each paradox gets you closer to the entity your peers call God. It was never the Devil that built his home on the crossroads, you know. Embrace your nature.)

— Poetry for the Signs: The “You’ve Done Well” Edition, by L. Schreiber.

Thank you everyone for helping me reach the 300 followers milestone! As a gift, I’d like to present you with some of my tips :)

Recently, I met a group of very motivational people, and they gave me tips on how I could manage my time better. I obviously took notes and thanked them so much because it definitely helped me out a lot.

Note: These tips won’t apply to all people as it is mostly focused on junior students (I’m a junior, so it might not be as helpful for the students in uni/college??)

It is a common thing for all students to have struggles with organising their time (especially me– why am I giving tips; wtf??), so I present to you: how to sort out your time!! 

What I’m going to cover:

  • Finding time to do work
  • How you can beat procrastination
  • Homework
  • Revision
  • Assignments + Exams

Be prepared, because this is an immense post. *Looks down* Yeah, it seems like I’m about to jump down a cliff made of tips. 

Keep reading

On Your Left - Thomas

Author: @mf-despair-queen

Characters: Thomas/Reader

Word Count: 4754

Warnings: NSFW, 18+, Kinky Thomas, Orgasm Denial, Oral (both receiving), Choking, Captain America quotes hidden throughout 

Notes: This is what happens when I ask the girls what they want me to write next. They say “Write Thomas! Make it kinky!” 

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I've never read any type of fan fiction , soo can you recommend me good slow burn camren fics? Thanks love your blog girly

Lauren never planned on living in the house she lived in. She never planned on working the job she worked. She never planned on befriending a strange girl named Camila, either. Lauren never planned a lot of things.Thanks sweets 😘

Chances (one of my favs)

Camila and Lauren both share a room in college, but that’s about the only thing they have in common. At least that’s what they assume. From the start, they haven’t been able to get along with each other, seeing as they’re pretty incompatible and they pick fights over everything. But little do they know that they’re each other’s closest friends on Tumblr. They message each other constantly and along the way, feelings developed. What happens when they soon realize on a bold decision to meet on a blind date that the person who they want nothing to do with is the same person they think about right before they go to sleep?

Lifeboat Lighthouse (favs)

Camila’s entire life had been mapped out for her since she was child, she would go to college, study business and then eventually take over her father’s company. It was a life she never wanted but had no say in at all. But when the privileged daughter of a multimillionaire meets Lauren, a waitress on the luxury cruise ship where she’ll be spending the summer, her world and everything she knows is turned upside down. Camila is about to learn the hard way that just like the ocean that she sails on, life can be unpredictable. Like the turning tides, everything can change in an instant.

Walk a Mile (favs)

Look with your eyes. Judge with your soul. First impressions almost always suck. They can be spot on or way off, depending on how open and receptive you are to the other person. When you make preconceived notions about people, learning to tolerate them can be a little difficult. What if you have to live with them? That’s the situation Camila and Lauren have been put in. As typical and cliche as it may be, two totally different worlds collide. However this time, neither of them know whether they’ll mould or combust.

Yours Truly 

Lauren and Camila know a lot about each other, except for, well, their names. They’ve been writing anonymous, handwritten letters to each other for an English assignment for a couple months now and during that time, Lauren’s developed a genuine interest for a girl whose handwriting resembles a child’s first attempt at using a pencil. But she couldn’t be more charmed by it. What happens when Lauren unexpectedly finds out that the shy girl in her class who she doesn’t know a single thing about has the exact same handwriting as in the letters she anticipates reading every single day?

Through Her Eyes

Lauren never planned on living in the house she lived in. She never planned on working the job she worked. She never planned on befriending a strange girl named Camila, either. Lauren never planned a lot of things.

Reasons to go, reasons to stay

“And I wonder how many polar opposites we have brought together by falling in love. Inside you could have been the match that started the fire and burned down an entire house, and inside of me may live the remnants of a rocking chair inside the house that was burned to the ground. All these little things… these cells that make up our bodies, they could have once despised one another. But now every single part of me is in love with every single part of you. Just with one touch we would be resolving age old conflicts, or ushering the tip of the tallest mountain to kiss the sand that lies at the deepest part of the ocean.”

Yellow series : Yellow / Blue / Green  (FLUUUFFFF)

Lauren Jauregui hated Camila Cabello, plain and simple. Of course, who could blame her? Camila had been the one who read Lauren’s private texts in front of the whole cafeteria, forcing her out of the closet. Lauren left for New York with her three best friends the day she graduated, thinking she had escaped Camila. The only problem is, Camila is back. And different. Completely different. Not the kind of ‘different’ you’d expect, either.

The Stripper (SMUT)

Have you ever imagined having two lives? Be two people at the same time? I bet you have. But between thinking and living there was a very big distance, believe it. Imagine… Camila, a sweet and delicate woman. Karla, sexy and imposing. Which one would you choose? What’s your type? Hard, I know. Let’s let Lauren answer this one…

Experiments (SMUT)

A lot of girls experiment in college; it’s natural. It’s no different at the University of Miami, and when they’re looking to experiment, they know exactly who to go to. But what will happen when she finally falls for one of the girls she hooks up with?

Trials & Tribulations (very long but must read)

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

CC7 / LJ10 (still ongoing - not many updates)

Lauren and Camila are two of the most promising soccer talents in the country. The two skilled girls are playing for the U-17 US team to win the world championship in Costa Rica. Their connection on the field is obvious but what happens off field when unexpected feelings come in to play?

Surreal Perfection (non au)

It’s been a year since Lauren decided to break out from Fifth Harmony to start her own band, and Camila still hasn’t forgiven her for leaving them, and for leaving her. After a brief encounter at an award show, their lives come crashing back together. Angst, Drama, Humour, Romance, and everything else in between.

The Girl Next Door

Camila Cabello is an average girl. She’s not popular, or somewhere in between. She belongs to a group that her school refers to as the Brains. She’s extremely smart, involved in many educational clubs and the only thing fun in her life, advanced choir.  She’s that type of girl who gets pushed around, does people’s homework because they tell her too, and gets tormented by the preps. The preps (the popular kids) are a group of people who torment people like the Brians. Camila has found her self running from them all her life. Along side with her friends Dinah Jane Hansen, Normani Kordei, Ally Brooke and Darren Criss. But one day during one of her encounters with the preps, her life changes forever. And it was all because of her.

Heliophilia 

Do I Wanna Know (non-au)

how to survive final exams

an informational masterpost by @briellestudies

study tips

- you remember material better if you physically interact with it as opposed to just scanning it over with your eyes

  • instead of merely reading a page of notes, go through it with a pen/highlighter in your hand. underline/circle/annotate things as you review the material

- make a study schedule. include which days you want to study for each subject, deadlines (e.g. “finish essay by tuesday”, “study guide for physics should be done today”), any study sessions you might have with others, and time for sleep

  • finals season often overwhelms students because of the sheer amount of work facing them. by breaking things down into a schedule and focusing on smaller portions of work day-by-day, things appear much more manageable

- use mnemonic devices to help you remember things (when applicable)

  • i like to use them for memorizing groups/orders of things - for example, when i took a class on dinosaurs, i had a lot of trouble keeping the paleozoic/mesozoic/cenozoic and triassic/jurassic/cretaceous orders straight until i realized that both were in reverse-alphabetical order

- different study methods work better for different classes

  • flashcards are best for classes where you have to memorize lots of information (without providing further explanation), e.g. introductory psychology
  • mind maps are good for organizing thoughts and seeing how ideas fit together, e.g. english and literature classes
  • practice problems/practice tests are usually the best way to prepare for STEM classes, e.g. math and chemistry 

optimizing your performance/productivity

- try to get some sleep. try.

  • you probably won’t be getting your full 7-8 hours during finals season. fine. completely understandable. but a couple hours here and there throughout the day will do wonders. your brain doesn’t work at optimum levels when you’re sleep-deprived, so while you may not have time for solid 8-hour blocks of sleep, it’s in your best interests to get 1-2 hour powers naps in when you can. aim for at least 4-6 hours of total sleep time per day

- finals week is not the time for junk food. if you’re going to push your body to its physical and mental limit (as so many of us do), you’d better make damn sure you’re at least giving it the best possible fuel to run on

- you should be aware of your study habits by finals season. take them into account and use them to your advantage

  • more productive in the morning? set an early alarm and get yo ass up
  • procrastinate a lot? bitch me too!! it’s not necessarily a bad thing - some people do their best work under time pressure. try this thing i like to call “productive procrastination”: if you wanna procrastinate on something, do so by working on another assignment/studying for another class. this way, you fulfill your desire to procrastinate but you’re still being productive and not completely fucking yourself over
  • more productive when working with others? try to organize study sessions (or you’re the opposite like me and prefer to study alone, don’t feel guilty about declining requests to work with friends/classmates)

- there’s an app called “self control” that blacklists or whitelists websites for a given amount of time (that you set yourself). it forces you to stay focused if you can’t help but peek on social media sites every so often when working on your laptop

- prioritize! know which finals will require the most effort on your part and plan accordingly

  • give more priority to finals that are worth a higher percentage of your overall grade
  • calculate the minimum score you need on the final that’ll still get you the overall grade you’re aiming for - generally, you should be spending more study time on finals that you’ll need a higher grade on

test taking tips

- if you finish with extra time, go through your test again and attempt to answer every question you left blank (unless you’re penalized for guessing, of course). the potential for partial credit is better than definitely receiving no credit

  • for multiple choice, use process of elimination and then make your best guess
  • if you don’t know the answer to a short answer/essay-style question, then answer around it. for example, if you don’t know the significance of caliban’s soliloquy in shakespeare’s the tempest, talk about the character of caliban in general and/or the role soliloquies are meant to play in shakespeare’s works
  • if you’re stuck on a math problem and have no clue how to even begin, just start manipulating numbers and applying formulas

- dress in layers so you’re comfortable no matter the room temperature

- always answer the questions you’re sure of first

- don’t be afraid to ask the proctor if you’re unsure of what something on the test is asking of you (i.e. questions for clarification)

- pay attention to the questions on the exam - sometimes one question may hint at the answer to a different question

  • e.g. 2) what year was x fossil discovered? and 31) who discovered x fossil in the early 1930s?

miscellaneous advice

  • try to get everything you need (calculator batteries, scantrons, blue books, writing utensils, etc.) the weekend before exams start. this way, you’re not freaking out right before a test because you’re missing something
  • try to time your coffee/lack of sleep crashes such that they don’t happen during a final exam (see tip about scheduling above)
  • if you’re pulling an all-nighter, set alarms periodically throughout the night (e.g. every hour and a half) so that if you accidentally fall asleep, you won’t sleep through the whole night
  • also set an alarm 20-30 minutes before each final. just in case ;)
  • bring an extension cord to the library if your school always seems to be short on outlets during finals week
  • always use the bathroom right before sitting an exam (even if you don’t feel like you really need to) to avoid getting up and wasting time during the test itself
  • turn off your motherfucking cell phone before your tests omfg

a note on adderall, a popular “study drug” students take during finals season:

i personally advise against the use of any study drugs that are not prescribed by a medical professional, but the fact of the matter is that students are going to use them regardless of what i say. when they don’t know what they’re getting into, they put themselves into very dangerous positions - often ending in trips to the emergency room or rehab. so in the interest of promoting safety (well, as much safety as is possible given the circumstances) and knowledge, here are a few things you should know about adderall if you decide you want to use it:

  • addy is very addictive and can make the user dependent on it
  • if you take it, you’ll start to sweat. a lot. dress accordingly
  • addy will make you lose your appetite. don’t listen to your body when it says it’s not hungry. you gotta force yourself to eat bruh
  • it’s also really easy to get dehydrated on addy - not only do you sweat a lot, but lots of people tend to pee a fuck ton while they’re on it. stay hydrated
  • addy is a stimulant. you won’t be able to sleep until its effects wear off
    • and just like other stimulants (e.g. caffeine, ecstasy), you will experience a “crash” afterwards. the crash is more pronounced than one you would get from coffee or even caffeine pills
  • there are two “kinds” of addy: IR and XR
    • IR means “immediate/instant release” - whatever dose you take will be released into your system all at once
    • XR means “extended release” - there will be an initial release of the drug into your system and then small amounts thereafter over an extended period of time
  • always err on the side of caution with dangerous drugs - when in doubt, start with a lower dose

as a parting note, i would just like to remind you all to keep in mind the importance of self-care and finding balance. there is a fine line between making temporary sacrifices and being self-destructive. sometimes it’s good to push yourself - “no pain, no gain” as they always say. but analogously, you also gotta recognize when it’s time to dial it back a bit - allow yourself a nap or an hour break to grab dinner with some friends every once in a while. trust me, you deserve it. good luck!

50 Things To Remember In Life

Dear Friend,

There are 365 days in a year
And you and I both know from many unfortunate personal experiences,
That not all of those days will be good.
For some, the majority of those days will be a breeze
For others, each day will be a trial.
The world is a difficult place.
The world is an interesting place.
I am here to give you a few reminders
To keep up with this trying world we live in.

1. Follow your own heart and dreams. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you what you can or can’t do.

2. If you want something enough, you will find a way to make it happen.

3. You will meet people who hate you, and you will meet people who love you, and you will meet people who you think love you. Don’t be fooled. Some people are just passing by in your story called life. They’re there to teach you something, so always be aware.

4. Always remember that bad things and situations you don’t like will end. It may take minutes, hours, days, or years, but never forget that they will end eventually. You can get through anything.

5. You are your own person, not anyone else’s. Don’t let people take control of you and change your beautiful self.

6. The people in your life who make you giggle and smile in the darkest of times are ones you need to keep with you forever. There is always the potential for hard times, and you’ll need someone to cheer you on.

7. You do not have to live up to any standards or expectations. Family and peers and society are constantly telling us that we have to be a certain way, or else we aren’t good enough. Tune out of that thinking and just be yourself. That’s the best thing you can be.

8. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Being out of the box can bring on so many amazing new opportunities you never even thought existed.

9. A lot is going to happen to you during your lifetime, so let yourself feel anything and everything. Always feel as much as you can. It makes you experience things at a higher level and you can say, “Yes I know this feeling. I’ve been here before.”

10. A good cry cleanses the heart and mind and soul.

11. Appreciate the small things. They can teach you to love and be at peace with everything around you.

12. It’s okay to take a break from everyday duties once in a while.

13. Travel whenever possible, it opens the mind. Go on adventures in new places and learn about the world. You will come back a new person.

14. Get up the courage to talk to strangers. That’s how you meet people. Who knows, the next person you meet could end up being your new best friend.

15. Stand in the rain and breathe in the wide open air and absorb everything you can about the earth.

16. Long walks are something that can clear the mind and resolve many issues.

17. It’s okay to lay in bed with a book all day.

18. Look out the window and watch the snow silently fall. It’s one of the most peaceful and relaxing things you can do.

19. Remember that everyone is living their very own life with their own problems, so always be kind and respect others.

20. Keep and open mind and listen to people’s thoughts. You might discover more than you think.

21. You are not defined by your weight or skin color or career or the number of friends you have or your grades in school or your decisions. You are so much more than that.

22. Everyone makes mistakes in life, so don’t judge a person based on their decisions.

23. Keep your own limits and morals. Don’t give them up for anyone.

24. Live a little. Be spontaneous and experience all that you possibly can.

25. Aim to live a life that you will be proud of and content with when you’re 90 years old.

26. Things in life will tear you down, but time heals everything.

27. Rumors don’t help anyone. Don’t start or spread them.

28. Your soulmate is out there in the world searching for you too. Don’t lose hope. You’ll find each other one day.

29. Treat yourself once in a while.

30. Random acts of kindness can make someone’s day and it can make you feel good too.

31. You’re going to have to work if you want to live a truly happy life. Don’t cheat or make someone else do the work for you. That will only make an unfulfilled and empty life for you in the end.

32. Be proud of everything you do.

33. Self love never hurt anyone.

34. Find things to look forward to. It will keep you excited and more hopeful for the bright future.

35. Leave a piece of you in every place you go and with every person you meet.

36. Always listen to people. Everyone just wants to be heard and understood and feel like they matter to someone.

37. Do what is best for you in the long run, even if it hurts at first.

38. Love with all your heart and soul at every opportunity.

39. Never settle for less. You deserve the best and whatever makes you truly happy.

40. Don’t feel bad if someone doesn’t like you. It’s their loss because they won’t get to experience your magnificent presence.

41. Never fear love. Love can make you grow and blossom and teach you so much. Don’t fear it, but proceed with caution. Broken hearts will heal with time, but they are never fun.

42. Dancing silly to your favorite songs will guarantee some giggles and smiles.

43. Always sing in the shower, and when you’re home alone, sing as loud as you can.

44. Put effort into everything you do. It makes it all worthwhile and you feel better about it in the end. You can reflect and say “Look at this. I’m proud.”

45. Exercise makes you feel good and you’ll feel accomplished too. Try it sometime.

46. You are beautiful exactly how you are. Don’t deny yourself of your own loveliness.

47. You may not be perfect, because no one is, but you’re hella radiant, which is near perfection.

48. To grow as a person and expand your mind and soul, learn at least one new thing everyday.

49. Don’t beat yourself up about things you have no control over.

50. Happiness is not a goal or a point on a map. It is a state of being that everyone deserves.

Now my friend, I hope you can carry these things with you in your heart
Because every time you are down
You can always get back up.
Every time you are afraid
The fear won’t last forever.
This world and the people in it may knock you down
But you need to keep getting back up.
You have to.
Live, live, live.
Live your dream life. Make things happen.
It will be hard and it may seem hopeless and pointless sometimes,
But just remember that things really do get better.
The world is a difficult place.
The world is a beautiful place.
But only if you believe it to be.

Don’t lose hope.
I love you.

Sincerely, Me.

—  s.h. (via evanescentbeings )
40 tips for incoming college freshmen
  1. “I’ll sign up for morning class because I tookclasses in the morning in high school.” NO DON’T DO THAT YOU’RE GOING TO WANTTO KILL YOURSELF
  2. If you can,try to spread your schedule so it’s 9-5. It’ll get you used to functioning atthose hours.
  3. Go to seminars. Pick up on some random shit. Impress people with random shit. But don’t be cocky.
  4. There’s literally no popularity so you really don’t have to fucking deal with cliques or anything just find your group and branch out and go from there.
  5. If you’re drinking:
    1. POUR YOUR OWN DRINK I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH
    2. Have a cup of water (or a bit of Gatorade) between every drink. You’ll never get a hangover.
    3. Don’t be fucking loud. Everyone hates the loud drunk and you’ll get the cops called on you and that’s bad shit.
    4. Don’t mix your liquor with other liquor and oh my God don’t mix it with anything else like drugs that’s just asking for a crisis.
    5. If your buddy is in a really bad place call 911. Don’t be that douchebag who thinks that someone can sleep it off.
  6. DO EXTRA CREDIT FOR THE LOVE OF FUCKING GOD NOT EVERY PROFESSOR OFFERS EXTRA CREDIT DO THE FUCKING EXTRA CREDIT.
  7. College is for expanding your mind. Talk to friends about their majors. Attend their events or art shows. Talk to someone you met about their religion. Take an English class on Lord of the Rings. Learn things you wouldn’t normally learn in high school.
  8. Love might come. It might not. Don’t worry about it and it won’t be a problem. You’re young.
  9. Don’t be the douchebag who plays acoustic guitar in the lounge.
  10. Have fun because you’re spending a fuckton of money to be there but do your homework.
  11. There’s a general rule of college that if you were sitting in that seat for over two weeks, that is your seat. Not many if any professors have seating arrangements but switching seats will fuck everyone up.
  12. Get there early and stay late. As soon as you get home you will not want to do shit. Stay on campus and do some homework while you’re in the environment.
  13. SIT UP FRONT. The best way to start understanding something is to listen to someone talk about it and you can’t do that from the back of the class trying to listen over everyone whispering to each other. LISTENING WILL MAKE HOMEWORK SO MUCH EASIER. 
  14. Be childish, but be respectful. Have a massive snowball fight across campus, but don’t aim for anyone not taking part. 
  15. SHUT THE FUCK UP IN THE LIBRARY. Some people work there, some people sleep there. It is a quiet space. 
  16. Don’t be afraid to talk to professors. They are not there to flunk you. They would rather you pass than not.
  17. IF YOU NEED TUTORING GET TUTORING DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU’VE DUG YOURSELF INTO YOUR GRAVE.
  18. Get involved. It will help you make friends, give you new skills to learn, and even help you get a leg up in the work place if you know the right people.
  19. Take time for yourself—buy a planner, figure out when your best study hours are, figure out WHERE you study best, and figure out how much time you need to complete an assignment—AND THEN make sure to pencil in an hour for video games, some time to watch a TV show, or time to just lay on your floor and blow bubbles. Whatever you like. Don’t forget about YOU.
  20. SLEEP. EAT. DRINK WATER. Don’t die. Caffeine =/= sleep. I cannot emphasize that this much.
  21. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR INSTRUCTORS! If you’re sick, shoot an e-mail and say “Hey, I’m sick today. Can I set up a time to talk to you about what I missed?” If you’ve got a good opportunity (scholarships, to go to another country, to check out a cool lecture, etc.) let your prof know ahead of time. If you just need time to work on projects, all it takes is an e-mail. We understand. I gave a student a free skip day because he e-mailed me and said “Hey, look, I have two massive tests and a project due and I need the time to study.” And THAT IS OKAY
  22. Before signing up for classes, look on “ratemyprofessor.com" and see if the teachers at your campus are included. There may be two or more teachers for the same course, and you want to try and pick the good/easy one. Who your professor is can have a great affect on what grade you make, even for the “same” class. 
  23. Look for a facebook group for your “graduating class” set up, which is a good way to make friends and find people with similar interests (particularly for introverts). 
  24. Look for a facebook group for your “graduating class” set up, which is a good way to make friends and find people with similar interests (particularly for introverts). 
  25. If no one else does it, make a google doc of the exam reviews and post it on the class facebook page. That way everyone contributes to the review. 200 brains are most definitely better than 1. 
  26. During lectures, unless Internet is required, TURN IT OFF. If it’s on, you WILL end up on tumblr or some other site, and you will miss important shit. 
  27. For the love of God, pay attention to your syllabus. Sometimes assignments are listed there, and that’s the only place it’ll be mentioned. Also, if it says to do a reading by a specific date, DO THE READING BY THAT DATE. Otherwise you will get behind, and you will have 200+ pages of textbooks to read in one night before the test, and you will cry.
  28. Yes you actually need to do the readings. Yes it is a lot. Yes it will suck. Do it anyways. 
  29. If you are used to getting all A’s, do not cry when you get a B. Take it from someone who killed herself for two years to maintain a 4.0, it feels like the end of the world when your GPA drops, but it’s not. You’ll be okay. Just breathe and do your best. Your best is good enough.
  30. Try to make sure you leave an open hour around midday so that you have time to get food in you. A lot of people forget to do this. If you have to have back to back classes, check your syllabus or with your teacher—some midday classes allow you to bring in a drink and a snack. Some will even allow you a full meal.
  31. If you can get an online/pdf copy of the book without busting the bank, DO IT. Sometimes there are even annotated versions online. This can make notetaking a shitton easier, because you can highlight printed-out versions of the book and they won’t dock you on the money back. Sometimes professors move through their lecture too fast for you to write stuff down. Shrugging off that old ‘don’t ruin your books’ rule you had in high school may be your only hope.
  32. UNLESS YOU NEED THEM OR REALLY WANT TO KEEP THEM TRY TO SELL BACK YOUR BOOKS—maybe even offer them online to incoming students. You won’t get nearly the worth of them but someone after you will thank you a million times over for providing a used copy. If you take good notes, you can sometimes buy/sell those as well. A lot of professors teach literally the same class every time.
  33. IF YOUR PROFESSOR PUTS NOTES ONLINE GET THEM. GET THEM NOW. TRUST ME. YOU WANT THOSE NOTES. Bring them in with you if it’s possible to get them before class.
  34. Keep change on hand. Always.
  35. The Best Way To Make Friends:
    1. Bring a printer with you to college and offer to print people’s stuff for half of what the school does or for free if you can afford it.
    2. Carry around small candies with you and offer them to people while waiting outside of class. If you are the ‘candy person’ this gives you an in for starting conversations.
    3. Buy a jumbo pack of chalk and find an open sidewalk on a free day. Write the words ‘Come draw with me?’ and begin doodling.
    4. Have a pack of cards.
  36. If you go onto campus and you can’t find what you’re looking for, and you are afraid to go up to someone and ask, find an open, well-populated area, hold your schedule/map in hand, and walk in circles for a few minutes, looking up and around in obvious confusion. Other students know this body language well. Someone will stop and point you in the right direction. (if you are worried that the person’s directions are a joke or faulty, wait for them to leave and take up the stance again; if the directions match-up the second time, they’re legit; do not allow a person to ‘show you the way’ unless EVERY STEP is along an obvious walkway, just in case)
  37. For those of you who fear assault, most campuses aren’t much for small blades or mace. Carry a pocket air horn or a hand bag of those little pop-rock fireworks unless you can get a concealed weapons permit.
  38. Make friends with transfer kids. Chances are, they won’t be able to live in the dorms and it’ll be ten times harder for them to meet people since they have to drive to and from campus. It’s also fun hearing about their experiences before the college you both go to. 
  39. Make friends with an older student. I’m talking about students who have families and full-time jobs. You can learn a lot from them, and they honestly have the best stories. They’re often the smartest and the most dedicated, so they make great study buddies. 
  40. Your teachers are people! Joke around with them, talk to them a bit during break. Make sure they at least recognize you as “that dude with the god-awful puns during break”. In my experience, professors are even more willing to bend over backwards to help the students they know. (But also, in general? They want you to learn! If there’s a way they can easily help, there’s a really good possibility they’ll do it!

Just cleaned up this post ≧◡≦

Signs as Emotions

Altschmerz is the feeling of weariness of the same flaws, anxieties, problems, etc. that you’ve had with your life. Because you’ve been dealing with them for so long, it almost seems repetitive and boring to have them, now. Capricorns will always feel this way because they can’t change who they are or necessarily improve on them, either. If the Capricorns can’t change, then they’ll get bored of the same old them and just get tired of it all. It feels a lot like depression but kinda, emotionless.

Nodus Tollens is the feeling of realizing that your life doesn’t make sense anymore. Although you’ve thought you’ve been going where life intended you to be, it seems that you’re going in even more confusing passageways the farther you get. After this, you realize that you were supposed to choose your own adventure, not follow the one given. Aquarians feel this a lot because they feel like the world is already giving them the plan is which they’re supposed to do. Having this mindset, however, means that they’ll take any opportunity that comes their way, which can be a helpful or hurtful thing for the Aquarians. If they learn that they have to choose their own adventures, things would probably be way easier for them.

Ambedo is the feeling of when you suddenly become obsessed with all of your surroundings. Everything is very vivid now and it brings you into a kind of trance. You notice things such as birds chirping, the conversations of other people, the cling of glasses on a table. Pisces will have this feeling often because usually, they’re caught up in their own bubble of life so whenever they actually focus on the world, everything is so amazing and wonderful that it puts you in a trance. It makes you think that all of the senses are important and that everything should be admired once in a while.

Nighthawk is the feeling of having a recurring thought that only seems to come back to you during the later hours, especially when rest is being requested. It could be anything, something that you’ve been procrastinating on, a guilt sticking with you for the past years, maybe the thought that you’ll have no future. You can ignore this problem for weeks, feel its linger everywhere you go but then, when it hits you, it hits you hard. Aries will always have this feeling because they always will have something that they don’t want in their lives, anymore. It’s easy to ignore during the day, with all of the commotion around you but, at night, where everything’s still, it’s easy for it to come back. Hiding the thoughts only makes it stronger because all it does is linger and wait, but you Aries know that already.

Fitzcarraldo is the feeling of when an image suddenly pops into your brain and never leaves. There are a number of places where it could’ve come from-a dream, a book, a real time event that you’ve forgotten but you don’t know where it came from. an image that somehow becomes lodged deep in your brain—maybe washed there by a dream, or smuggled inside a book, or planted during a casual conversation—which then grows into a wild and impractical vision that keeps scrambling back and forth in your head like a dog stuck in a car that’s about to arrive home, just itching for a chance to leap headlong into reality.This happens to a Taurus all the time because they may forget a lot of things or have trouble remembering events but then one day, it’ll come into your brain. This happens very often and may be annoying but also helpful as it may have helped you in a conversation or come up with inspiration for something. Embrace this emotion as it may be one of the best ones Taurus will ever have.

Gnossienne is the feeling of when you realize that someone you’ve known for years still has secrets that they’ve never told you. A private and mysterious life is still there that you may never know about in your or their lifetime. It’s like you’re in their map and you’ll never know have close you may be to the ‘X’ that is their entire life. Geminis will especially have this feeling because most of the time, they can be this friend, too. Yes, they can express themselves very widely and tell secrets that most don’t know but there will always be something they’re hiding. Something private that they won’t share to anyone. How far you know about this Geminis life, you won’t know but at least you’re on the map.

Mimeonia is the feeling of frustration that you knowing fit into sterotypes without even trying. Even if unintended or unfair or if someone feels the same way, you’ll always have the question in your head, “What are you supposed to be?” Cancers have always felt this emotion and it frustrates them everytime they think about it. They don’t want to be know as the “crybabies” or the “sensitive” types but they are, anyway. They thinks it’s unfair how they are built this way and wish they could change, even after noticing that others feel this way, too. Knowing what they want to be out of the sterotype, however, is harder to think about than being in the sterotype.

Semaphorism is the feeling of when you have something personal to say in a conversation but won’t necessarily elaborate on the feeling. An nod of empathy, an emotionful “I know the feeling” show that you have something buried that you feel but don’t ever talk about. Leos have this feeling all the time and it can be very hard to swallow. Knowing that you have problems but never being able to share them is a burden and the hardest part of living for you. However, being there for someone who has the same feelings as you is the best thing ever because you can finally tell yourself you’re not alone and that there are others like you that feel this way. That you’re not just in a dark hole by yourself but with other people that have the same experiences.

Occhiolism is the feeling of realizing that your perspective is small compared to everything in the universe and that you can’t really draw any meaningful conclusions about anyone or anything at all. The world and its past is too complex to figure out because you’re just one and there is many. You may be a science experiment but in the other room, a new medicine is already about that can cure all madness. This feeling is what Virgos feel all the time as they want to understand the world and its problems and its past but it’s all too complex as you are simple. You can’t possibly know everything and you can’t possibly have any explanations for everything because you only have one life and two sets of eyes that can only see so far. You are one but there are many.

Daguerreologue is the feeling of having an imaginary interview with your past self, a figure who is still in the house that you grew up in that have spent many days wondering who you are right now. Libras will feel this because they are constantly looking back at their former selves, questioning who you were are are and if that’s better or worse. This can be kind of problematic as you can try to fix things about yourself or your life that don’t necessarily need to be fixed at all. It’s a very complex emotion to feel and having the emotion can make or break you is anyway shape of form, depending on the way you handle it.

Exulansis is the feeling of when there’s no word for you to describe the emotion you’re feeling which can be profoundly frustrating. Especially when trying to share the feeling with others but the English words that exist could even remotely describe how you’re feeling constant or just at the moment. Scorpios will often feel this and get quite frustrated because the time they want to share their feelings with someone, they can’t even think of words to tell them. It’s not a very helpful tool for someone who barely communicates their feelings in general but not finding a word for it is very angering and discouraging as they feel as if their feelings aren’t really valid.

Mal de CouCou is the feeling of when you have a very active social life but have very few close friends such as people you can trust, who you can be yourself with, and who can just throw away all of the weird toxins that grow in you over the years. This is a very common feeling for a Sagittarius because they will always feel like they are very social and have many friends in which they can talk to but in reality, they only have a few that really know them well enough for them to be themselves. It’s hard for everyone, especially Sagittarius to find friends like those but will still talk to a lot of people but with a type of mask to actually cover their “real” selves that could potentially, in their mind, ruin a friendship/relationship. 

(Btw, anyone can have these feelings. This post is just to describe which signs have these feelings the most so people don’t be offended if you’ve never felt this way or you’ve felt a way that another sign on this list has. Thank you.)

As part of my orientation for first year uni, I attended a session on how to make the most of lectures. Some of these tips and tricks are pretty straight forward, and can carry on from high school depending on the type of student you are/were. However, some of these also encourage you to become a more critical thinker, and help to better understand the content you’re learning in your lectures!

FIRSTLY, it is important to know WHY we go to lectures.

  • Lectures give us the essential and practical information we need to know about each subject we’re learning - Typically, lectures give you all the information you need to know for that week, and then you use that information in your tutorials later on.
  • Lectures provide an expert’s perspective of the content - Lecturers are usually well equipped with the knowledge surrounding your subject and provide useful perspectives, ideas and points of view regarding what you’re learning. This helps you to understand stuff more thoroughly, even if you don’t feel that way at first.
  • Following on from the previous point, lecture help to understand difficult concepts - Having someone talk through the information can help sort it out in your head rather than just reading a slab of text. Many lecturers will also use examples and anecdotes to substantiate the content, which not only helps you to understand, but can also be useful in assignments.
  • Lectures also encourage discipline specific styles of thinking - Different subjects require you to think differently eg. languages as compared to philosophy or a science. Going to lectures can expose us to these different thinking styles, which we also may adopt to other subjects should it suit.

PREPARING FOR LECTURES

Before your lectures, it’s important and helpful to have a general idea of what you’ll be expected to learn.

  • Review your lecture outline - This would usually be in your subject outline if you have one. It should specify what you’ll be learning each week. Try to determine what the aims of the lecture will be.
  • Consider how the topic fits in - Think about what you’ll be learning and how it’s connected to your subject. This causes you to think critically about what you will be learning.
  • READINGS - Make sure you read all the required readings before your lectures and tutorials so you can apply them to what you’re learning in class.
  • Make up questions - So while you don’t exactly know what you will be learning yet, you have a kind of general idea. Make up some questions of what you want answered in that lecture. If you have questions that follow the lecture or are during the lecture, write them down so you can ask them in your tutorial.

DURING LECTURES

Now that you’ve prepared for your lecture, what do you do? Let me tell you that it is not to use the free uni wifi to do some online shopping!

  • Make a written record - Write down what you hear, see, feel. Obviously you want to mostly be taking notes of what your lecturer is actually saying, but adding reflective commentary helps to make your notes more memorable of the moment in which you actually learnt the content.
  • Listen for main ideas and clues to details - Your lecturer will be emphasising certain parts of their spiel so keep an ear out for them because they’re important!
  • Copy/create graphic aids - If your lecturer has included them in their slides then it clearly is meant to be helpful. Creating your own also helps you to better learn and understand.
  • Write down examples - Your lecturer may often refer to examples which help back up and explain what they are trying to say. These are important to help you understand and can also be useful in your essays and papers.
  • Write down any questions - Keep these for your tutorials so clarify anything you’re unsure about.

ACTIVELY LISTENING

Actually listening in a lecture can be hard when there’s one person at the front of the room monotonously saying words that somehow sound like gibberish. So how do we make sure that we’re taking in everything we need to be?

  • Posture - Make sure you’re sitting up straight and not slouching in your chair! This engages your muscles, making you more alert and encourages blood to pump more efficiently through your body. Also try to sit in the first third of the theatre, closest to the lecturer to help you engage with the lecturer and reduce your likeliness to get distracted.
  • Look up from your notes and engage with your lecturer - Lecturers like this because it means you’re actually interested, and it can also force you to actually learn something instead of passively looking at your laptop or pen and paper.
  • Anticipate - Try to be at least one step ahead of the lecture. Not literally, but try to think about what they could be talking about next. This means you’re processing what they’re saying and grasping a better understanding.
  • QUESTIONS! - I’ll say it a million times, questions concerning anything you’re confused about are so important because it means you know what you don’t know and you have some intention of figuring it out.
  • Alternate listening, thinking and writing - You’ll have to be doing al three in your lecture so it’s important to master the rotation of them all.

BALANCING LISTENING AND NOTE TAKING

Sometimes note taking can affect our ability to listen to what the lecturer is actually saying, or sometimes we get so invested in what the lecturer is saying we forget to write it down. So where’s the happy medium?

  • Listen for clues - These may be any notes or graphics they put up on the screen, repetition, pauses or emphasis, their tone of voice, or the amount of time they spend on a particular topic. These are good to keep an ear out for as they can help you what to write down.
  • Listen for sign posts - These include words such as “this illustrates…”, “we know this because…”, or “scholars debate…” Lecturers are providing examples, evidence and issues within the topic here, which are important for you to have a better understanding and influence you to really reflect on it later on.

NOTE TAKING

All this stuff about note taking, but why do we actually do it???

  • Helps us concentrate
  • Identifying what is most important
  • Helps embed the content into our memory
  • Improves analytical skills
  • Helps in later assignments for that subject

So how do we effectively take notes?

  • Obvious one, but don’t write everything down! - only what appears to be useful and the key points
  • Examples are really useful to have so take note of those
  • Questions (again lol), thoughts and reflective comments
  • New terminology, references and readings - create a glossary with any new terms you’re unsure of and take note of what your lecturer refers to and recommends that you read because these can extend you in your assessments and exams
  • Determine if the information is available elsewhere - if you have access to lecture slides then copious notes are not as necessary because the information will be readily available. If you won’t be able to get access to the lecture again make sure you have everything you need to know!
  • If the purpose of the lecture is to provide background or context, listen more than you write. This information is not vital to your subject, but having a thorough understanding in your head rather than on a piece of paper is very important.
  • If you are listening to your lecturers point of view on an issue, take note of their arguments and how they structure them. Having an understanding of this can be useful in the formulation of your own perspective on the issue.

Formatting notes seems to be such an important issue in the studyblr community, but really, everyone is individual and we all learn in different ways. These are just some tips that I heard in the session:

  • Leave lots of space - Negative space in your notes can help declutter your mind. Also if you need to write something else down on that page then you have more space!
  • Be creative with your notes - You don’t need to make them pretty, but make them yours so you can understand them.
  • It’s a good idea to write down the title of the lecture and the lecturer on your notes just for future reference.
  • You can make your notes diagrammatic - Not everything needs to be written down in words!
  • Use your own abbreviations
  • At the end of the day, you want your notes to be exam ready so you’re just reviewing them in your SWOTVAC period!!

AFTER THE LECTURE

When the lecture ends, that doesn’t mean you should forget about everything you have just learnt. Reviewing the content is important so our brains don’t give into Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve!!

  • Engage with the material again - Change the format of your notes, or imagine different applications of the information. This helps to have a better and stronger understanding.
  • Compare and contrast different ideas within the content.
  • Ask and answer any of your own questions, or even questions within a study group.
  • Make flash cards or mind maps or whatever helps you learn.
  • Discuss the material with your classmates
  • Try to apply the content to real life or real world issues.
  • Try to review within 24 hours of the lecture and then regular daily reviews for at least 15 minutes.

I hope that these tips are helpful in your studies, obviously not all of them are for everyone, but be open to try something new!! Good luck and much love, Emmanuelle xx

One man tents aren’t meant for sharing

I wanted to write bed sharing. So I did. 

Smut ahoy.

3k words-ish


One man tents aren’t meant for sharing. Neither are sleeping bags. Too bad they don’t have any choice…


On FF.NET and AO3


Killian Jones’ rather bony elbow dug into Emma’s back. Wincing, she scowled then retaliated by shoving her icy cold right foot backwards until it was wedged between his bare legs, causing him to mutter profanities under his breath.

Today was such a fucking mess. She was cold, tired and mentally drained from an afternoon of drudging through the forest with… him .

“Swan…” he groaned, the low timbre of his voice cutting right through her body making her gut clench.

“Keep your arms to yourself, buddy,” she snapped, her frown growing deeper.

“Gladly,” he quipped, flopping dramatically onto his stomach. The extra-large sleeping bag that housed the pair lurched in his direction, spinning her onto her back and somehow wedging her arm beneath him.

“Urgh!” she cried, tugging herself free, thanking God and all the stars that the man was at least wearing an undershirt.

He turned his head. Though it was late, it was summer and the night sky still provided enough illumination to see his expression: a smug grin combined with raised eyebrows.

Keep reading

[lmaooooo so i stumbled across this blog two days ago and immediately fell in love. I may have accidentally contradicted established canon in here b/c i haven’t read everything and i really wanted to join in, so i really hope i’m doing this right.]

——

You think it was, perhaps, a bad idea to name yourself after your characters. You think it was, in fact, a bad idea to go to Elsewhere at all. It wasn’t even the university you wanted to go to; you had wanted somewhere close to home, where you could maybe visit on weekends and call up your mom whenever you managed to fail at doing adult things like laundry, as you knew would inevitably happen.

And yet…when you found Elsewhere University, it was in your state. It was not thirty minutes’ drive from home. And it was intriguing. You still probably wouldn’t have gone, would have chosen the college you’d been dead-set on for two years, would have slipped the net and been normal

Except you saw one of Them. You saw a flash out of the corner of your eye, and you didn’t know the rules, so you spun to do a doubletake, and you saw it, saw Them.

You aren’t sure what happened after that–it gets a bit blurry–but the next thing you knew you were sitting at orientation, your things already in a dorm guarded by salt and an iron horseshoe.

You have been told you’re one of the lucky ones.

You major in animation. Or you had wanted to. The memories of your classes don’t stay in your mind all that well, but you manage to churn out the same A-to-B grades you had produced in high school. You aren’t sure how you’re doing it.

You try to follow the rules. You try to remember. You have seen the consequences. For once, instead of trying to stuff everything into your head and hoping your shit brain won’t forget something, you write them down in a notebook that never leaves your backpack.

This is probably a bad idea. It may even be a disastrous one, but if it is, you haven’t heard the rule that warns away from it, and you are scared enough as it is that you, with your autism, might miss a social cue or be unable to pick up an unspoken rule and end up offending the Gentry anyways.

You once read a tumblr post that said changlings were the explanation people came up with to explain kids with autism in the far distant past. Obviously, this is not completely true, because the Fair Folk are real and real changlings are too, but you take some measure of comfort in that post and pray your own autism will endear you to the Gentry instead of offending Them.

But the real problem is, you became an animator (or wanted to, at least) because you are a creator. You invent things, weave worlds, and when you came to Elsewhere University you came already carrying a large, elaborate tapestry of a world, filled with magic and a fey that had its own internal systems, thought out, explained in depth, and with the sketches and maps to go with it, formed over four, five years of loving care and writing and drawing.

You have your own magic, and your own fey, and they do not mesh well (they barely mesh at all) with that of Elsewhere. Nobody knows about this, and you have put your world to the side, because everything in you screams DANGER at having something like this around the Gentry. You keep all you have of it in your closet, and you salt the edges of the closet plus a circle around the bag you keep it in, then scatter iron nails inside the circle. That world is precious to you, and you will take no chances with it.

So it was probably a stupid idea to name yourself after one of the characters in it.

That isn’t even the only problem, or necessarily the true problem. The true problem is you put yourself into the characters you create, and this makes that name almost as dangerous as a True Name after you get used to it.

You didn’t realize this until you looked into the mirror, and your hair was several shades lighter than it should be. You were able to puzzle out the problem, fortunately, and in a spasm of panic you switched your alias to a different character before it got too far and you became your character.

Except, because you’re a moron, you switched it to a character just as close to you.

This carried on for a while, and your eyes got bluer, and then your skin got darker, and then you got taller, until finally, in desperation, you ran a name generator until you found something with no association to your characters, but still felt nice as a name. Not too nice, of course.

By then, though, you didn’t look much like yourself anymore. You curse your idiocy, but the only way you can think of getting your original appearance back is to use your real name, or else the name you used on the internet. You aren’t that stupid. And it’s nice, sometimes, the way you look now.

You really, really hope the name you generated doesn’t end up being a True Name for this other you.

You are learning the true dangers of being a writer, artist, creator, in Elsewhere University. You are far too close to your stories. And if you write yourself into them, you worry that story will become Truth.

The Gentry are like that, you’re fairly certain.

So you watch your words and make sure your characters don’t resemble anybody (or anything) too closely when you sketch them idly in class, and when you write, you do it inside a circle of salt. It isn’t exactly comfortable, but you need your words, your art, your stories.

You do not know if you are doing this right.

You really, really, really hope you are.

 [x]

anonymous asked:

Hi! I'm writing a story settled in a future where after a war, people built a new society. I've noticed that my setting is extremely vague and confusionary. I don't know when i have to insert details since i'm writing in 1st person. Like, I jave characters, I have a decent plot, I have a nice world building, but when writing I'm leaving the latter out and it's a problem. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

Setting and World Description

I love this question, because I think it’s a really, really common problem, and it’s one I’ve faced on numerous occasions. We’re often told that we should know our setting really, really well, and that we should be able to describe it in great detail. But when it comes time to put that concept into practice in the story, nothing seems to work. It all feels “info-dumpy,” or like we’re trying too hard to paint the picture, and we start to fear that we might be boring our readers, who honestly just want to know what happens in the setting. 

So how do we execute setting description in such a way that it’s informative and engaging? 

First, the real reason we need all this info…

Imagine you’ve got a small town as your setting, with a major street that runs through it. Along the street, there are several small businesses. During story prep, you may have done sketches of this street, or at least made a small diagram to lay out where all the businesses are. You may have even gotten really detailed and dotted bus stops or traffic lights, to the point where you can visualize this street perfectly

So now you go to write your first chapter. Your protagonist leaves home and walks down the street towards the bus stop to go off to work. As they walk the street, you start thinking, “Man, this is the perfect opportunity to describe all the businesses they’re passing by!” So you start to do that, and it all starts to sound like you’re giving directions. “To the left of the flower shop is the post office,” and so on, and so on. 

But here’s the big revelation to this whole conundrum. Just because you know it, doesn’t mean you have to show it. 

The reason it’s encouraged to do so much setting development isn’t so you can pass it on to your reader. At least, not everything. It’s so you know where things are, and you can navigate the world better. 

Let’s say you did zero setting development, and as you were writing chapter one, you decided to have the protagonist mail a package. You throw in a brief detail about the post office being a two-minute walk from the protagonist’s house. Then, much later, your protagonist is buying some flowers, and you throw in a detail about the post office worker loading a truck outside, because the post office is right next door. And then the protagonist takes the bus home….except, didn’t you say in chapter one that they were just a couple minutes walk from the post office? Are there two post offices? Or did they just take a bus unnecessarily? 

See, the real reason it’s so important to know how things are laid out in your setting is so that you don’t make mistakes like this. If you had made a diagram of your town, you would know where all these things were.

Side note: And just to add here, this does not mean that you have to make a diagram of a fictional town before you start writing in it. If you’re not much of a planner, and this sounds awful to you, then just make one as you go. In chapter one, when your protagonist walks to the post office, make a quick little map with a couple squares that shows how close your protagonist is to the post office. And as you mention other buildings, add them to this map. Then you’re not adding extra things you don’t need.

So in conclusion on this point, don’t feel like you have to add in all the details that you’ve worked out ahead of time. There will be some that you need to share with readers, but there will also be many that you only need to help you stay consistent throughout the story.

How do I add the necessary info?

When adding setting details, they need to be relevant. And if they’re not relevant, you need to make them relevant. We’ll continue with our small town/post office/flower shop example.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll say that the flower shop and the post office are next to each other. If your protagonist is only visiting the post office, then the location of the flower shop is irrelevant. But if the flower shop being there is a detail that you feel the readers should know, or it’s something you want to include as a stylistic choice to add depth to your setting, then we need to make it relevant. So how do we do that?

Give the protagonist a reason to either A) Think about the flower shop or B) Notice something around the flower shop.

  • A) Think about the flower shop.

As she’s waiting in line at the post office, she may have a clear view of the flower shop through the window. But don’t just have her observe it. Have it trigger some kind of thought. Maybe she has a sick friend or relative, and it reminds her that she should buy them some flowers. Or she’s done something wrong, and flowers might be a nice peace offering. Or maybe it reminds her that her garden is overgrown and it needs tending. Any of these thoughts actually trigger deeper plot development, which makes them a double whammy.  Who is sick? What did she do wrong? Why is her garden overgrown? Is it always overgrown or is there something in her life that’s causing her to slack on this?

Whatever route you decide to go with, you’ve now made that flower shop relevant to the protagonist’s inner conflict, even if all it’s doing is triggering something.

  • B) Notice something around the flower shop.

This “something” could be something about the exterior of the building, or an employee they can see through the window or who is out on the street, or it could even be a couple of people standing outside the flower shop talking or doing something. The significance here isn’t so much the flower shop, but rather what’s happening around the flower shop.

In describing whatever is happening, you would say something like, “In front of the flower shop next door…” and then write the situation. In this method, you’re not giving special meaning or significance to the flower shop; you’re simply adding more color to your setting by mentioning that there is one, and a reader can visualize the scene even better if they picture a window of flowers behind whatever is happening. It ends up serving a huge purpose in just a few innocuous words.

The Bigger Picture 

Okay, all flower shops and post offices aside, good setting description is integrated when a character “bumps into it,” either literally or figuratively. Describe settings when a character enters them, or when they’re thinking about them. If you feel like the description is necessary, then you need to find a reason to get the character to either go there, or else think about going there, or remember going there. It needs to have context with other story information.

When it comes to complex world-building details, you follow the same principle. If there are unique circumstances that your character has to face in the world you’ve created, explain them in moments when the character is either facing those circumstances, or when they’re thinking about facing them or remembering facing them. 

I suppose you could argue that I’m making this more complicated than it needs to be, because there are readers that love description for description’s sake, but for many readers, we need context. We need to know that what we’re reading is telling a story and moving events forward, rather than just informing us or educating us on a story world. 

Plan minor story events around exposition. Make things happen in your story that help to reveal the important details of your world and setting. It might seem clunky when you first start doing this, but if you’re patient with yourself, eventually you’ll be integrating description and world backstory like a pro. 

Keep going!

-Rebekah

🔮 PREPARING A LITHOMANCY SET 🔮

Lithomancy – the practise of divination through casting stones and reading how they fall – is one of the most ancient and (in my opinion) effective divining methods out there, as well as costing nothing to set up and being something you can completely teach yourself and make your own. I recently went on a trip to an incredible and magical beach where I collected an array of exceptional rocks, pebbles, shells and fossils for this purpose, so I thought I’d make a long post on creating and preparing a kit.

GATHERING

🔮 First of all – they need not be stones, or all be stones, although the name “lithomancy” refers specifically to stones. Some cast with bones, or sticks, or shells. Some cast with whatever the hell they can find at the time. Use whatever speaks to you.

🔮 It will feel more organic to find your stones out in their natural habitat, preferably in a place that you feel a connection with, but it’s okay to purchase. The most important thing is that the set is personalised to you and that each piece of it has been chosen by you, connected to you, for a reason. Even if that reason isn’t immediately clear – it doesn’t have to be yet. Assignation will happen later.

🔮 You should use a level of instinctive guidance to find your casting stones. Perhaps you’ve even been gathering them already, drawn to them and bringing them home with you – don’t rule out stones and bits and bobs already in your possession.

🔮 Take a moment for every potential casting stone you pick up. Hold it in your hand, roll it around, look at it, think on it, get a feel for it. Start to form a picture of what it may contribute to a divination. Keep what you can’t bear the thought of throwing away. Discard everything else.

CLEANSING

🔮 First of all, a physical cleaning. Nothing too harsh – you don’t want to damage the stones or scrub them raw. (For bones and the like though, research and follow good hygiene practises accordingly. Also recommended: the law.) Generally I find a shortish soak in some warm saltwater effective enough. A light sponging to get rid of any mud, sand, etc, if there is any. Apply common sense.

🔮 Then comes the more metaphysical cleansing. Depending on your practise, you could also consecrate or bless them. Some ideas: passing through incense or smoke, cleansing with blessed/spiritually purified or charged water (you could combine this with the physical cleaning), put into a grid with cleansing crystals, using bells/sound, and personally I’ve been using sunlight to cleanse as well as charge mine.

ASSIGNATION

🔮 Set aside some time, fire up the incense, get some mood music on, ground and centre and get yourself in a good headspace. Ideally you’ll also have a nice cleansed and moody space to carry out the assignation process. This will be when you give each of your stones/objects a ‘meaning’, similar to each Tarot card having its own set of meanings and associations, or the runes that some cast. But stones are more free-form and intuitive, and the meanings are discerned and given only by you.

🔮 What you’ll be doing is almost like meditating with each of your stones. Pick up the ones that speak strongly to you first, maybe the ones that you already have some idea of their meaning – these will be the easiest to assign meanings to.

🔮 The physical appearance of the stone is a good starting point. Make sure to have a good inspection of each one. Then, enclose it in your hand and close your eyes. Feel the life inside of the stone and what it says to you. Tell it what its name and meaning is – whisper it aloud into the stone if you must. Make contact. Make sure it’s working in accord with you.

🔮 The easiest way to note down these meanings for you to memorise is to set out a piece of paper or two, and once you know what a stone means, lay it down on the piece of paper and write underneath it the name, meanings and associations. This gives you a sort of physical ‘key.’ Taking a photo of the paper spread/s once it’s done will act as a handy cheat sheet.

🔮 You’ll want a nice, rounded-out set of associations in order to give your divination depth and reach. Some traditions suggest using the different planets (and their associations) for the stones, and other simple suggestions might be elements, deities, past/present/future, etc. There are some out there that suggest a lithomancy set must contain a certain number of stones and they must have certain fixed meanings, but my opinion is that using your own intuition will make it more powerful for you. Plus, most of these traditions I could find were western European in origin, which obviously isn’t where all of our practises are from anyway. Research your traditions or make your own meanings – it’s all down to you.

CHARGING

🔮 There are a ton of resources on charging out there, and you’ll likely learn or already know best what works for you. This is a good, simple post on it for beginners. My favourite method is charging by sunlight, not only because it’s simple but because of how it falls into my belief system too.

🔮 Some suggestions: sunlight, moonlight, starlight, charged crystals and crystal grids, water of various properties (rain, storm, sea), laying out on grass or soil or tree roots or in herb planters, bones (bone grid?) and feathers and such…

PRACTISE

🔮 After taking some time to familiarise yourself with your set and its meanings, it’s time to begin practising. Just chuck ‘em! Start off by doing readings for and about yourself. Get a feel for your set and how it speaks. This is also the time to make adjustments to the meanings of some of the stones, or add new associations.

🔮 You’ll also want to start putting together your pre-divination rituals. A cleanse and a charge, a bit of grounding with incense, a hearty meal, a word with your ancestors? What works for you will become clear with practise.

🔮 In terms of the reading itself: make note of the shape that they have fallen in. The stones that are close together, and the ones that are far apart. Any that line up or form a shape. Some like to use a “self” stone or object that they can use to orient the reading around.

🔮 Some don’t cast all of their stones in one reading – I don’t. You can pick relevant stones for readings that are more specific, or just grab a random handful of stones from a bag and use those. That way, which stones are ‘drawn’ will tell you something all by itself. Change up how you cast and read during your practise period, try every method you can think of. Get creative!

🔮 I don’t think casting stones is good for yes/no answers personally, but did find this quick tip: pick a stone to mean yes/positive, and one to mean no/negative. Pick a ‘self’ stone or object. Cast them. Whichever one lands closest to the ‘self,’ there’s your answer.

🔮 I don’t know if I will, but you may also want to look into creating and incorporating a casting grid. These are shape and charts (usually on cloth) that you can cast upon, and act as a ‘map’ so that stones landing in certain quadrants will let you know what that particular stone is relevant to.

UPKEEP

🔮 Over time you can add to, take away from and generally change up your lithomancy set – what you pick to start off with isn’t the end all, be all. The best divination sets will change and become more attuned to you over time.

🔮 I tie my stones up in a square of batik fabric when not using them, and also use the fabric to cast upon. Simple, neat, effective.

🔮 Remember to keep on cleansing and charging your set as required.

Mainly targeted towards j2s who are facing an increasing amount of workload and desperate to catch up on their grades before the major exams (Most of the stuff I’m including here is based on my own experience and I cannot guarantee it will be effective for everyone!) 

As requested by @studysorcery  💕💕

1. Study groups 

Do what you need to do, get some of your classmates together and form a study group to discuss tutorial questions, craft essay outlines, share resources etc. 

  • helpful if you tend to stray away from your tasks/get distracted easily 
  • having more people work on an assignment -> more opinions/methods to get to the answer 
  • in my lit class me and a couple of my classmates decided to create a google drive folder where we would dump all our lit essay outlines/analysis for different themes etc. (the more the merrier) in a way it helps especially when revising. 

2. Understand requirements of the syllabus 

Most lecture notes provided by schools usually include everything you need to know for the syllabus examined, but some might include additional info here and there so if you’re rly pressed for time you might want to ignore those.

it’s not just force feeding info and that once you get the info that “answers” the syllabus requirement you’re done

  • a’level questions place a lot of emphasis on your ability to apply the knowledge learnt into weird questions 
  • when you’re reading something try to think of possible ways in which questions may be phrased in order for you to make use of the info you’ve learnt 

3. Effective ways of studying for each subject 

Doing up mind maps, timelines, essay outlines, research packages( where you do research on a specific topic and collate stats, facts etc). If you’re unsure as to which approach to take when tackling each subject, ask your tutor for advice. Eg. doing essay outlines may be helpful for subjects such as economics, literature, history etc. where there is usually a lot of elaboration/analysis and writing involved. 

4. To catch up on past topics or move ahead instead? 

If you rly rly have a lot of backlog, I suggest to just move on to the upcoming topic you’re doing in class. BUT!!! that is provided that the previous chapters are not linked to the current one you’re learning bc if not everything will just be 29834728178 times worse. 

For topics that are not interlinked, just move on and work harder to make sure you have a good grasp of the content. Once you’re confident with that, squeeze out a small bit of time to go back to the previous chapters. Don’t try to rush it all in a couple of days bc you’ll just burn out and feel overwhelmed by the end of the week. easier said that done lol :”) 

5. Do your tutorials. Do. It. And submit them for marking. Any questions? Write them on post-its and paste it in your tutorial for future ref if u don’t have time to address it now 

6. Try not to disregard your lecture tests/assignments as much as possible 

lecture tests? what test?  unless you’re really desperate and pressed for time, please try your best to study, or at least revise for your lecture tests. Many of those tests are put in place for a reason. While the questions tend to be trickier than those in the tutorials, most are set such that they will cover the basics/foundation concepts that are taught in the specific chapter. If you can do those questions, you’re more than halfway there. 

7. Extra “free time” bc no more cca? Coooooool. Go for consultations with your teachers or use the time to catch up on your j1 topics 

Prep some work and go through them with your tutor, or clarify all your doubts that you have from each chapter before it’s too late and suddenly your tutor is the most popz person in school 

8. Aim to start revising for mid years/prelims at least a month before 

It doesn’t have to be like 2 hours of continuous studying, but it doesn’t hurt to set aside 30 mins of revision to recap your memory before you start to go full steam ahead. That way the content wouldn’t seem foreign as if you’re looking at it for the first time 

9. Revision packages? Try to work on a topical one b4 doing the yearly one unless you have a good grasp of at least 50% of the syllabus

i was lazy and thought that attempting the math yearly revision packages/past year papers would be better than starting from the topical ones HAHAAH wrong choice made  if you’re like me and are still struggling with certain/most chapters for a particular subject, it might be better to attempt the topical tys until you’re somewhat confident that you can tackle the yearly one. While some people will say that it’s better to do the yearly one bc the questions often tend to merge multiple topics together(eg. math), I personally feel that there isn’t much point in trying to falsely comfort yourself into thinking that you’re “ready” by doing a full past year paper (and then trying to check the step-by -step answers to give yourself hints while attempting questions lol) 


Ultimately it’s still up to your personal preference, though. Like i’ve said, this is all based on my own personal experience, and if you’re really at a loss as to what to do/how to approach your revision plan, seek help from your respective subject tutors. It’s not too late to start now(if you’ve been slacking for the past year), don’t try to cram everything together, and take it one step at a time. Jiayou and atb in your studies! Also just bc it’s your a level year it doesn’t mean a levels  > your mental and emotional health > everything ;_; so please do take care of yourselves! 


- siying