it might seem obvious

Gem Hierarchy

This might have seemed very obvious to some, but I just realized we have enough information to support this, so here we go.

Gems are ranked based off their actual ranks on the Mohs Hardness scale. Gems on this scale can only be scratched by gems equal to or lower than them in terms of hardness, so having a higher number makes you more indestructible. 

The diamonds are the hardest gemstone with a hardness of 10. The disbelief that a Rose Quartz shattered Pink Diamond would make sense, because the only thing that should be able to scratch a diamond should be a diamond.

Both Rubies and Sapphires (Padparadscha included, as padparadschas are sapphires) are 9s. This is probably why Rubies were sent out as bodyguards for Sapphire, and why Sapphire was allowed to speak directly with Blue Diamond. Garnets, however, vary their hardness depending upon what type they are, but all garnets have a hardness lower than 9, which is also probably part of why seeing them fuse was such a disgrace- they combined and became weaker, even though they were almost the strongest.

Alexandrite, the fusion of Amethyst, Pearl, and Garnet, is an 8.5, making her an optimal attack gem, and making Amethyst and Pearl ‘stronger’ but Ruby and Sapphire ‘weaker’.

Next up is both Topaz and Aquamarine with a harness of 8 (although to be more exact, aquamarine has a hardness between 7.5 and 8), putting the two as equals. Aquamarine is obviously very egotistical about this, because she is pretty high up, and this is probably also why topaz is sent out on missions so much.

Amethyst, Peridot, Rose Quartz, Smokey Quartz, Jasper, Sardonyx, Rutile, and Agate all have a hardness of about 7, making Amethysts, Jaspers, and Rose Quartz-s good soldiers- tough but not too tough. Holly Blue Agate shouldn’t really have the authority over Amethyst and Quartz Guards the way she does, but there seems to be a trend with the ego that comes with blue gems working with other gems, as evidenced by both her and Aquamarine.

Zircon is a good 6.5-7.5, making them a slightly higher up but still fairly average bunch for their jobs as lawyers.

Both Sugilite and Opal are about a 6.5, making Amethyst, Sapphire, and Ruby ‘weaker’ as Sugilite, but Pearl ‘stronger’ and Amethyst ‘weaker’ as Opal.

Lapis Lazuli is a 5-6, making her an average gem, and putting her in the place to do the hard labor of terraforming. Rhodonite also falls here, and if we assume that she is a fusion of a pearl and ruby, then its not surprising that she has to hide as it would make a ruby softer and a pearl harder.

Malachite is a 3.5-4, which could be why Lapis was able to take control of the fusion that Jasper thought fusing would make them stronger. Fluorite also has a hardness of 4, which we can only assume to be dragging down the hardness of some of her gems.

Pearls, the walking coat racks of the gem world, fall between a 2.5 and a 4. As such, they are easily bossed around by almost everyone, and are not expected to be able to fight. Bismuths have a hardness of 2-2.5, so they also would not be considered to be able to fight, and this is probably why they are tasked with working on modifying weapons instead of fighting with weapons.

TL;DR- gem hierarchy based on Mohs hardness scale, fusion of different gems frowned upon because the fusion most likely consists of an upper and lower gem, inevitably bringing down the hardness of one gem

executive dysfunction tip that might seem obvious but that is coming as a huge revelation to me: break things down into the smallest goals possible, instead of making a goal like “im gonna clean the floor” make it “i’m gonna pick up just the clothes” or w/e, it really helps me when i get overwhelmed by tasks

Random HC #26 (Continuation of #4 - #25)

Memory?!

“…You said that you moved to LazyTown from Iceland…along with your parents when you were four years old…” Sportacus is sitting on the bed, across Robbie, his legs crossed, and watches the villain carefully, knowing that he has to take slow, careful steps in this subject. Robbie, propped up by pillows in his back, so he’s sitting, as well, his legs bend and slightly pulled up against his chest (despite the hero’s short protest that he worries whether he won’t get stomachaches because of this again), is still busy keeping himself from falling asleep and nods weakly now. “…But…when I asked whether you’ve ever experienced any kind of love… I also asked…”
“They didn’t love me,” Robbie’s voice is low but steady and after a short pause, he continues with a weak shrug “…They never helped me against Number Nine. They didn’t care one bit why I was crying and all alone most of the time, starting shortly after he showed up for the first time. Before, I was okay with their disinterest in me… I had found some friends here, shortly after we moved here and I had my hobby: inventing stuff. But…when Nine…motivated my friends to play outside all the time…” he wraps his arms around his knees a little tighter “…Let’s just say…even when I tried to play with them and gave my best…I ended up getting laughed at by them…and…him… But my parents didn’t care. They barely listened to me… And my brother…” he breaks up with a low groan and presses his palm against his forehead, swallowing hard. “Shush…” Sportacus reaches out and gently, soothingly runs his hands up and down the villain’s bare arms. Once Robbie has recovered a little again, the hero asks softly “…You have a brother?…”
“Yes…” Robbie calms himself again “…He was older than me by five years… We never got along that well, but when Nine started with all these sports…it became worse… He was his biggest fan, you could say… And he was one of the older kids in town, so he quickly became their leader… When Nine wasn’t around, he was the one, ordering the others around, ‘motivating’ them to keep practicing and playing even when they were tired… And he…” Robbie lowers his eyes “…He even slapped me once…because one of my schemes against Nine…went wrong and turned out to be a little more dangerous for him than I intended… You know how this is sometimes…” he forces a laugh but at the same time quickly wipes a tear from his cheek. Sportacus gently cups his cheek, wiping the next tears away for him, his voice soft but firm “But he though mustn’t have slapped you! I know that you would never hurt anybody with purpose! And I…never approved of Nine’s methods, anyway… I don’t know much about him, but when I was in my last semester at school, he visited the students and told us about his…adventures… I realized at once that I didn’t like him. That’s why it didn’t really surprise me when I met you and saw that you are not evil, like he claimed, but incredible…lovable…” he blushes and clears his throat “…But tell me more about your parents, please…”
“There’s not much to tell… As I said, they didn’t care at all… Never told me why we left Iceland, either… And one day…they and Ray, my brother, were…gone…” Robbie shrugs again, a small part of his mind tells him that he should react on the hero calling him ‘lovable’, but he can’t… “Gone?” Sportacus quirks a brow “What do you mean 'gone’?…”
“Well, I mean that they left me!” Robbie clenches his hands into fists “Like one day, they’re still there and when I wake up the next morning, I’m alone in the house! Like they left me behind! No letter! No note! Not even a single word before!” he’s never talked about this with anybody before, but now he feels something deep down inside him shatter into a million of pieces and he can’t help a sob “I-I mean, it’s not like it made a huge difference! I was able to take care of myself at this age, after all… I-I was just surprised… Although it only proved what I already knew - that nobody wants to live with me… B-But…”
“Robbie. Robbie! Hey,” Sportacus gently lifts the other’s chin up to look into his teary eyes “This is NOT true. You hear me?! This had absolutely nothing to do with you!…”
“B-But why did they leave me then when I was only fourteen years old?? What did I DO to scare off my OWN family?!?” Robbie’s sobs become more hysteric and he buries his face in his hands. “You did nothing… Oh, Robbie…” the hero shifts on the bed, until he’s sitting next to the villain and carefully wraps an arm around his shoulders “…Robbie, please, calm down… You didn’t scare them off…”
“They LEFT me, Sportacus!” Robbie turns his head to give the other a pained, desperate, and slightly angry look “What other reason can parents have to leave behind their fourteen year old son, besides feeling nothing but hate and disgust for him?!”
“…Robbie…”
“No! Let’s be honest! I…” he gets cut off by strong arms, pulling him into a tight embrace. “I AM honest. And I tell you, it’s not YOUR fault, Robbie!” murmurs Sportacus against the villain’s neck, gently running his hands over the other’s tensed back and seconds later, he can sense the body, pressed flush against his own, convulse with more violent sobs than before and Robbie returns the embrace, clinging to him so tight, as if his life depended on it “Hush. It’s okay. Let it go…”
“…Th-They hated me…” repeats the villain with broken, by Sportacus’ crook of the neck muffled, voice. “Stop saying that.”
“But it’s TRUE!”
“No, it’s not.”
“How could YOU know?! Have you ever met them!?” Robbie’s voice isn’t angry. No, Sportacus can hear the desperation in it and…maybe even a trace of hope?… “…No… Of course not…” the hero gently runs his hand through the tousled black hair “…But I do know…that there’s no chance that any parent would leave behind their child like this! Not when they first took you with them when they moved! And not if they took your brother with them when they left LazyTown!”
“But that’s exactly what they DID!” whimpers the villain lowly and swallows hard. “Robbie…”
“No… It’s okay, Sportacus…” Robbie squeezes his eyes shut and realizes just now that he has been digging his fingers into the hero’s back and quickly stops this now, mumbling “…Sorry…”
“What?”
“…I hurt you…” his voice breaks and he tries to free himself from the other’s embrace. “Nonsense,” Sportacus shakes his head and lets Robbie pull back, but holds him at his shoulders, searching his gaze “You didn’t hurt me. You held on to me for comfort. That’s normal.”
“…Normal?…” Robbie furrows his brows. “Yes,” the hero cups the other’s cheek again and smiles sadly “…So you…never got hugged or comforted by your parents, either?…”
“No, I…” Robbie’s expression changes to slight confusion “…I don’t…think so… I…” he takes a shallow breath in “…M-My…head hurts…”
“I know, Robbie, but you have to focus. Do you REMEMBER that your parents NEVER hugged you?” Sportacus cups his other cheek now, as well, searching his eyes. “…I…” the villain’s eyes grow wide for a moment, then he suddenly starts shaking his head “No, they didn’t!”
“Are you really sure?”
“Why do you keep questioning my memory?! I’ve got a headache, but I should be able to remember my own childhood, shouldn’t I?!” Robbie winces at his own yell and covers his mouth with one hand for a moment, gasping with now muffled voice “I’m… I’m so sorry! I-I didn’t mean to…yell at you like this! I…”
“It’s okay, Robbie!” Sportacus gently pulls the villain’s hand away from his mouth, squeezing it gently “It’s okay.”
“N-No, it’s not!” Robbie wildly shakes his head “You’re only trying to help me and I freak out like this! No wonder that nobody…” he gets cut off again. This time, by lips, pressing on his own. Seconds later, Sportacus pulls back again, smiling broadly at Robbie’s stunned expression “…Well… Now I found a way to stop your panic attacks…” he lovingly strokes through Robbie’s hair “Hey… It’s okay. Really.”
“But I yelled at you…”
“That, as well, is completely normal. You’re under immense pressure and stress right now. And you’re still sick and tired… Robbie…” the hero sighs lowly “Listen. Take deep breaths and just listen now. Okay?”
Robbie nods weakly, barely noticeably and instinctively grabs Sportacus’ comfort offering hands. “Good… So… I just wanted to know whether you’re completely sure that your memory is correct because…” Sportacus takes a deep breath in now, himself, trying to find gentle words “…Because…there’s a chance that…you get a headache now, when you think about this because…your memory got…manipulated…”

Character Creation/Design Talks (01)

Featured Artist:

 curiocosm


Hey there! Would you mind talking a little about your process for creating creatures and characters? Where do you get your inspiration from? -Evvy


It might seem a little obvious from my work, but my two main categories for inspiration are the world I currently live in a experience, mostly focusing on nature elements; and the world before my existence: history, mythology and paleontology. (I collect a lot of things and have a lotta books…)

(This was for a specific project but when I had to choose a career for her to pursue I was able to incorporate my interest in prehistoric life and the ocean)

I think the biggest way to find inspiration hinges on one word: observation. Whether that’s watching animals to figure out how they function; artists, architects and other craftspeople to finagle how they made their work or discovering the rhythms of stories and myths.

(These characters are all based off United States urban legends and cryptozoology)

Its about learning, absorbing, processing and then translating. (and a lot of trial and error!)

And I always keep in mind the role of my creation: what world/setting do they exist in, how is that apparent in their design? Do they have a backstory? Who or what are they interacting with? These and similar questions can immensely help in making them believable entities that engage the audience.

(Lucian the Victorian English newt is a good example of this)

I’ve also noticed that two of the crucial visual elements in any creature and character design are repeating shapes and color palette. Just keeping those in mind can help make design decisions and lead to stronger designs. I tend towards triangles and diamonds with rounded points as well as organic rounded blob/oval shapes. It can often help me to get out as many ideas at once as possible and then go from there.

(Here are my top 20 costume designs for a future project, from here I can mix and match until I get a memorable end product)

And after all that: spark, idea, design, I want to become familiar and comfortable with the character/creature from different angles, and in different moods. The perimeters of what they act like and look like as well as their reactions to events can lead to the development of other characters/creatures and further world-development.

Personally I usually turn to images/visuals for the majority of my inspiration so I utilize Tumblr, Pinterest, field guide books, picture books and my camera and I recommend that to others!

How Yosuke Hanamura broke my heart

It’s incomplete, but I had to get this out of my system:

How Yosuke Hanamura broke my heart

Persona 4 is a funny game. It is also a long game, and that allows the social simulation aspect of it to really work, allows you to feel at home with the characters, through charm and repetition - grumpy Dojima, overly energetic Chie, confused heart of gold Kanji. Through little bits of interaction, day by in-game day, you at some point start to realise that when this is over, you might actually miss them. All of them. 


And then there is Yosuke. 


You play Persona 4 as Souji, a quite detached guy moving in from the city, hand on his hip, jacket slung over his shoulder, and while you, the player, grow fond of the game’s characters, Souji always feels like he doesn’t quite belong. He is the leader, the one who pulls the strings, the one grown up far beyond their age, with the world’s weight on their shoulders. 


You juggle realtionships, help people out, they call you senpai, sensei - and then there is Yosuke. 


Yosuke, who somehow, magically, manages to transcent Persona 4’s charming but game-y relationship system and becomes something else. Yosuke, who calls you Partner, and rings you up at night asking about your dreams or which girl you like. Yosuke, who does and says so many silly things that you never quite know what to expect - Yosuke, who ultimately breaks the boundaries of Persona 4 and makes Souji/Yosuke the most unexpectedly real-feeling relationship within a video game that I’ve ever encountered. 


I don’t know what I thought when I first laid eyes on him, it’s likely that it was something along the lines of “Hey, this is quite cool-looking for an anime video game guy. Nice headphones.”


Then, in quick succession, things happened that made it clear that Yosuke was many things - heartbroken, repressed, funny, lazy, loyal, competitive, insecure, reckless - and that there was something building between him and Souji that seemed like a stunningly natural depiction of friendship. Somehow, this is rare - a video game showing two guys becoming friends, a process that just like falling in love requires making first moves, and opening up, and getting comfortable with each other. It seemed like Yosuke was the person in the cast that always wanted to know a little more, the one to push Souji a little bit, willing to ask stupid questions just to get a reaction, and unlike the other characters, he seemed to always act out of a desire to be level with Souji, to break through the calm, collected, leader-shell of his and address the human being inside. 


Now, that alone would be a remarkable thing for a video game to depict, and worthy of high praise. What complicates things is that Yosuke, no matter how much he might deny it, seems like the most obvious case of a closeted gay person the world has ever seen. 


When I started playing Persona 4, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into, through reading about it and actually having played a bit in the past. I also knew about the game’s realtionship system, and was aware, or thought I was, that you could only get romantically involved with girls. Thus, when the game started to tease the possibility of a gay option, I raised an eyebrow, then another one, and then I lost my marbles. 


When it started, the closeness between Souji and Yosuke had already been established, and since I’m a sucker for guys not actually hating each other, I started to favour Yosuke a little bit - choosing him to eat lunch with on the roof, studying together, spending afternoons at the Junes food court, talking in the soft glow of the sun on the Samegawa river bank. When Yosuke asked which girl I liked, I chose “neither”, cheekily, thinking I was playing the metagame, when the next midnight channel story twist came up, I bet each time that Yosuke would be the one to call Souji, outraged, worried, flustered, and each time when the phone rang and it was indeed him, I smiled to myself. But surely it was all in my head - I was starting to ship it, but it was just a fun little thing to do, to spare a thought here and there and layer it on top of these two characters whose interactions I enjoyed way more than expected. 


Then, these little moments started happening - the group sitting together at Junes’ and Yosuke remarking how good Partner is with his hands, a comment that might not even have stuck out so much if weren’t for the fact that immediately after saying it, Yosuke became a hot mess of backpedalling embarrassment. His insistence to know whether Souji had a crush on somebody, and who it was, despite the awkwardness. His remarks about inviting a third person to their activities, “or else people might think we’re gay.” And ultimately, the sheer time the game devoted to the Souji/Yosuke relationship - way more than any of the other characters got.


Persona 4’s social link system is fairly rigid. You choose to spend time with people, and if things go well, and even sometimes if they don’t, it raises your relationship level with said person, allowing you to climb the social link ranks, which has gameplay and combat benefits and also allows you, in some cases, to pursue a romance. What is remarkable about Yosuke is that the game spends a significant amount of time showing interactions between Yosuke and Souji outside of this system, building their relationship beyond the confines of you walking up to a person after school and answering “yes” to their proposal of hanging out. This not only serves to create a markedly more natural and complex relationship, it also sets Yosuke apart from the other characters - he is the one to choose to interact with Souji while the other characters can only wait to be chosen. 


And then Kanji entered the picture, Yosuke freaked out completely and I looked on, amazed at the fact that this game would dare to introduce a gay character, who, despite being closeted, met up with dates after school and whose dungeon was, of all things, a gay bathhouse, with sexual content that wasn’t even the slightest bit concealed. Of all the characters, Yosuke reacted most strongly to this, outright refusing to enter and making a big fuss about being afraid of Kanji taking advantage of him. 


It culminated in the camping trip - Kanji, Yosuke, Souji sharing a tent - a scenario that could have been used very easily for a gay romance movie of questionable quality, full of the usual tropes of late night talks, denial, confrontation and very real confusion on my part of where exactly this was going - the game laid on the armored gay homophobia on Yosuke so thick that it seemed almost impossible to read what was going on in any other way. Combined with the unusual qualities that had been established in the realtionship before Kanji joined the group, it started to feel like an entire plot was going on behind the scenes, inexplicit yet persistent and increasingly impossible to ignore. 


A few in-game days after that camping trip, Yosuke broke another boundary the game had set up to this point - he visited Souji’s home. More importantly, his room, a place that up until then you, the player, had always been alone in. The conversation that followed, in that intimate space, can’t adequately be described as subtext anymore, it’s text, and very gay text at that. I was streaming the game at the time, and I bet if that session’s video was still up, you’d hear my breath hitch when Yosuke, no homo Yosuke, asked about Souji’s porn stash and teasingly, suggestively stated he’d find it while Souji was out of the room. That was only the top of the iceberg, the whole scene and its context hit me like a 10 ton truck - could it be real? Was there really, explicitly something going on? The fact that I, after learning through research that there was no gay option, felt the need to double check after that scene, to make sure there wasn’t one, should speak volumes. 


That’s when I learned of the fact that Yosuke very likely was a gay option, that there were unused text and voice lines left over on the game’s disk that turned the inexplicit explicit, both in english and japanese, suggesting the developer changed their mind after the localization was done, i.e. very late in the game’s development. Only, they had ripped out very little, leaving in tons of sublte and not so subtle parts of the relationship, and that was when I realised that Persona 4, beyond being one of the best games I have ever played, would also have the potential to make me very sad, and very angry.


It wasn’t just that gay rights had been dear to my heart for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t just that the progression of Souji and Yosuke’s relationship eclipsed any other possible pairing in the lineup by miles in terms of complexity and depth and just feeling right. It was the loss of an incredible story being told, a story that would have been unique in the history of video games - the story of two fully realised, multi-faceted male characters that you, as a player, like, falling in love, and dealing with the fact that they both happen to be guys, with all the issues that might bring in a society where homophobia and hate are still so prevalent. 


While this has been done in movies to great success in recent times, mainstream video games haven’t dared to show male homosexual relationships in positive light and up front and center. Persona 4 does dare to spend significant time on very progressive subjects, including homosexuality and transgender issues, but it falters and pulls back just on the brink of being truly groundbreaking, which, to anybody playing the game with an open mind, can only scream injustice both in a worldly and in an in-game sense. 


The level 9 rank of Yosuke’s social link progression has the two of you standing on a hill overlooking the town of Inaba. Yosuke’d probably call it a village, and the two of you talk about coming to terms with your place in the world, literally and figuratively. It’s autumn, and the evening sun plays with the coloured leaves on the trees - it’s a beautiful spot, a wistful song is playing, and despite the Playstation 2’s aged graphics you can’t help but marvel a little. You’ve never been to this spot before, you think Yosuke probably brought you here, and you wonder if there are any other locations in the town you know so well by now that you haven’t seen.


“There is still nothing here,” Yosuke says, meaning Inaba, a place he resented for the longest time, “but I have family, and friends…and you.”


I sat in front of the TV for a long time, the soft piano notes of the song playing making me ache, and then I realised that while Yosuke Hanamura was denied the chance to become part of video games’ first positively framed gay male relationship, he had acomplished one thing:


Yosuke Hanamura broke my heart.

10 things to do the summer before college

Soooo this is Part 1 of my Post of the Week series, and it won by just three votes. The new poll can be found here, please vote for your choices!

10 Things to do the summer before college:

1. Pay the enrollment/housing deposit. This might seem obvious, but the number of people who’ve lost out on guaranteed residences because they didn’t pay the deposit on time is disheartening. (For most US colleges, this date is May 1, whereas it’s between April and June 1 for most Canadian university.)

2. Check if you are eligible for any transfer credits, and how they translate into your courses. Several colleges might already offer you transfer credits on your acceptance letters, but the number itself might be rather vague and it’s highly possible that not all your credits count towards your major. For this reason, contact the admissions counselor/registrar to check how much of your credit is actually usable before you make your life plans about graduating in three years.

3. If you’re undecided, make a list of the courses you’re potentially interested in and watch lectures from your university. These lectures might be available on 3rd party online platforms, or on the unversity website. Most departments will also be happy to share a few videos with you if you display interest, so be sure to explore that option. In some cases, online classes may actually result in more transferable credit.

4. If you’re an international student, this is a good time to start making a list of all the documents you need for your passport renewal/visa interview. Some of these documents (tax rebate statements, pension plans from the company, etc) might take several weeks to come. You don’t want to be scrambling around the night before the visa interview to actually have these with you.

5. Additional tip for international students: read up a little about your cultural background. I do not intend for you to become condescending and label every act cultural appropriation, but you being from another country is likely a cause of intrigue for most ‘home’ students, and you will be able to hold a more interesting conversation if you have certain interesting things to tell them about yourself.

6. Get an internship or some sort of professional exposure to the field you hope to major in. This experience might vary- for instance, a finance major would likely benefit from an internship at an investment bank, whereas a physics major might learn from guided research under a professor. So find out about what is generally expected of your major, what you enjoy doing, and some summer engagement in the overlapping area.

7. Create your resume. You will most likely be applying for jobs once you start college, and unless it’s a paper printing/dishwashing job (AKA, ones that don’t require much prior experience), they will ask for a resume. The career center will be more inclined to help you if you show up with some semblance of ambition, as opposed to slumping on their chair and demanding for some means to earn money.

8. Research the clubs/extra-curricular opportunities. Knowing about this helps you understand the general essence of the student life on campus, and gives you a general idea before hand about how and where you want to contribute. Ideally, look into three clubs that relate to your major, and 4 that are merely a hobby. If you have been admitted on the basis of your extra-curriculars, and are required to continue something specific in college, then plan your other activities around this central one. 

9. Research your future classmates/roommates. Don’t stalk them to the extent that you’re in a tree outside their house with binoculars, but a slight amount of social media research doesn’t hurt. 

10. READ THAT BOOK YOU’VE BEEN MEANING TO/PICK UP A HOBBY/TRAVEL/EAT AT YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS MORE OFTEN/GO ON A ROAD TRIP/SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY. Please don’t get so caught up in future possibilities that you forget to live in the present. Take an absurd amount of pictures, make heartfelt promises to always keep in touch with your friends, dye your hair purple, and hug your parents a little tighter these last few months. This is the last vacation you can spend without stressing about the future, so enjoy it. I know you’re gonna be great.

First part of the guide is here!! And this will be all about styles. But first, what exactly are styles? According to the MS Word description.

“A style is a set of formatting characteristics, such as font name, size, colour, paragraph alignment and spacing. Some styles even include borders and shading.”

In plain English, they are a bunch of programmed formats for text. So, instead of going paragraph by paragraph, an setting, font, size, alignment, spacing, and so on; you just click and the text is done.

Besides the convenience of using them, and the benefits of a great look, they give your document consistence and that makes it easier an more pleasant to read. Also, they help you navigate your document, which comes handy when you have a lot of pages.

With that said, the guide is on!! But below the cut, because I am conscious of people’s dashboards and my own.

Note: I’ve just hit my first 100 followers! And I wanted to thank everyone, for helping me reach this first milestone. I hope to be able to keep contributing to this lovely community. Thanks!

Love, Andrea

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Hi, I'm in love with your blog! Question: I spend a lot of time planning my story, however I'm stuck because I don't know if I should narrate it by third-person omniscient or first-person. What are the pros and cons of each type of narrator? I would like to have three people as the protagonists, but it's also my first novel so...

Thank you!

Now this is a struggle that I know particularly well. It’s a debate I often have with my own stories. There’s always one that will work with your particular story the best, but sometimes it’s a really close call. 

Let’s compare the two.

First Person:

Pros:

  • It’s natural: For a lot of writers, using the first person is the easiest way to tell a story, just because it’s what we do in our daily lives. We don’t say “The anonymous asker- who is myself- sent a question the other day,” we say “I sent a question on anon the other day.”
  • Your narrating character has a unique voice: Most well-developed characters will often have their own way of talking that is different from the voices of your other characters or from your own voice. Using first person means that you can play around a lot more with the language. 
  • VIP Tropes: Like with the other perspectives, there are special tropes or tricks that you can only do with this perspective, such as the Unreliable Narrator and more. 
  • Front Row Seats to the Angst: One of my favorite parts about using first person is the ability to really tap into the main character’s emotions. Characters can directly state how they are feeling and why, which actually very much helps readers relate to or understand them.
  • Empathy and Understanding: Basically like the point above, but more specifically, it can help the reader understand decisions that might otherwise seem strange, immoral, etc

Cons:

  • Limitations: The most obvious downside is that the story is now limited to only the scenes in which your character is present, which can limit things such as your additional character arcs, etc.
  • Tinted Glasses: Because things are only seen through your character’s perspective, the details they provide are therefore tinted by their thoughts and opinions.
  • Lack of outside perspective: You don’t always know what the other characters think of the main character, because the main character is only perceiving the details of their interactions based off of what they think of themselves. Again, a colored perspective, but this time involving interactions. 
  • Poetry sounds a little weird: Most people don’t really talk like that. You say “the wind was like, biting cold today”, not “the wind bit like a sharpened blade grazing the skin.” If your character says the latter, I am a little concerned and befuddled by them. 

Third Person Omniscient: 

Pros:

  • You don’t have to use their voice: If you don’t like to use your characters’ voice, congrats, you don’t have to. You can now write with your own Special Writer Voice.
  • Details: Because third person is no longer limited to that which your character can sense, you can bring a bunch of random details that people tend not to actually notice, which means all that poetic stuff can now be included. That means you can now say the thing about the wind.
  • In fact, all the descriptions get a lot more posh. One of the other problems with first person is that your main character probably won’t be very well described unless they have a cheesy Mirror Scene or something, and as I also mentioned, you have little idea about what the other characters think of MC. In third person, that all opens up.
  • You can play around behind closed doors: Once again, since you are no longer reliant upon what your character can sense, you can now track other characters and their goings-on. That means the reader now gets to be privy to all the secrets, betrayals, and other private interactions between the other characters. This is particularly good if you have multiple character arcs to keep track of. 
  • Mindreading: You can now dive a little bit into everyone’s minds to see how they think or feel. Granted, you don’t get to know anyone as especially well as you come to know the first person MC, but now everyone has the same level of empathy, and bonus, without the “tinted glasses” of the MC.

Cons: 

Basically, everything you gained in first person is lost in third person.

  • Mindreading 2: You know everybody, but only kind of. 
  • Empathy gaps: It becomes a lot harder to establish an emotional connection from reader to character. When you cannot relate directly to the character’s feelings, it takes a lot more work on the writer’s part to make them care. 
  • Confusion: True, you now have more opportunity for moving around settings and perspectives, but sometimes, with so much to keep track of, it can be disorienting if you don’t balance all of your scene changes and movements. 

It may seem like there are a lot less disadvantages, but the whole-emotional disconnect thing is a lot more significant than it seems.

How do we know which one to use? Well, it’s hard to say sometimes. One way that modern writers have developed these days to get around a few of the disadvantages of the first person is to have multiple main characters, and alternate between their perspectives. In that way, you get multiple views, opinions, etc.

Of course, that presents its own problems as well. For one, if a reader doesn’t like a particular perspective, they’ll be tempted to skip their chapters, and for another, it can sometimes be difficult determining which scenes should be narrated by whom, just as examples.

Upon looking at the advantages and disadvantages, think of what best serves your particular story. As I frequently advise, when in doubt, try it out. Sometimes I start in third but then find that the characters are begging to tell it themselves. Other times, they are incredibly grudging and unwilling to speak.

With consideration, you might be able to figure out just by the obvious pros and cons which option is best suited for your story. If not, that’s okay. Try a chapter either way and see what conveys the correct flow.

It’s a rather important decision to make, and sometimes it takes a lot of writing it one way and then changing your mind thousands and thousands of words in, but ultimately, finding the right way is imperative.

Best of luck to you, and I hope this helps you sort it out a little easier :)

~Penemue

For Daddies of little boys
  • 1. Remind your little how special he is to you everyday! This is important because sometimes us daddies get caught up in caring for our littles in other ways we forget to verbalize how much they mean to us!
  • 2. Don't forget it's not all about discipline. Your little is just that , little. NOT A CHILD. They are human too and if they say "no" or you can tell something is making them uncomfortable ask your little prince what's wrong and how you can make it better rather than telling them that they're naughty, bad, ect.. because they didn't don't what you wanted.
  • 3. Tell your little man how proud you are to BE his daddy and how you'll always be there to take care of him. It might seem obvious, but it's always good to hear it.
  • 4. ALL PUNISHMENTS SHOULD BE CONSENSUAL. I cannot stress this enough! Too often I see mommies, daddies, and caregivers take away things from their littles (like phones) that your little might need. The phone may be their only connection to a friend that can help them down from an anxiety attack. And too often do I see anon messages on all sorts of blogs asking about how to tell your daddy/mommy/caregiver that something makes them upset or uncomfortable! It breaks my heart every.single.time. That is what this dynamic is all about. Respect, consent, understanding....all of those things are so important!
  • 5. Find out about everything your little likes and dislikes while in AND out of little space. The better we know our little angels the more we'll be able to tell when something is wrong! : ) :)
  • 6. Don't be afraid to join in building those block castles, pillow forts, or play dough monsters! It can be so much fun for both of you and it's a great way to bond with your little.
  • So Some notes to take away?
  • Love, play, RESPECT, care for, and watch your little. He's looking up to you. Now get out there and be a great Daddy!
Witchy Safety!

I’m sure there are other posts out there like this but I felt compelled to make my won because it has been on my mind all day. Any witch, from a newbie to an experienced pro need reminders sometimes so without further ado, some safety tips!

Potions/ anything you will be ingesting:

  • Make sure EVERYTHING you put into it is not only nontoxic but edible. Just because something isn’t poisonous doesn’t mean it couldn’t have some sort of ill effect on you!
  • Should I mix these 2 things? An age old question of potion witches. If you are even in the slightest bit of doubt, I urge you to do some research! Some harmless things can become an issue when combined. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • This one might seem obvious but, if you or the person you are giving the potion to is allergic to something, don’t use it. Find a substitute.

Handling ~Ingredients~

  • If something you are using is sharp, (example: Thorns, broken glass, milk thistle) Please use caution not to poke yourself. I usually use a pair of tweezers to handle things like this but a pair of fabric gloves could also work.
  • If something is poisonous, I tend to use something other than my hands (a spoon, tweezers) to handle them, or gloves. Even though most things I use wouldn’t be toxic in the trace amount left on my hands, I would just rather not take that risk.
  • If something can be a skin irritant, use gloves or tweezers.
  • Another obvious one, if you just lit something on fire, wait a bit before touching it

For the safety of your Familiar/pet:

  • I know a few spells call for cat or animal hair, of course never pull it, use scissors and snip a bit from an inconspicuous spot. I’ve also known a witch who would save her cat’s whiskers or claws if the fell off. DONT EVER CUT YOUR CAT’S WHISKERS. THEY NEED THOSE!
  • If something is toxic, don’t leave it out to where a curious furry friend could get into it.
  • Even if it isn’t toxic to you, remember, animals can’t eat alot of things we can. It’s really best to keep things in sealed jars.
  • Don’t leave gemstones or crystals sitting out, your pet could choke on it.
  • If you are using an open flame such as a candle, keep it out of their reach or keep them in another room.

Hi guys! Lately, I’ve personally been dealing with a fair bit of anxiety, and I’ve discovered some things that have immensely helped to ease it. I realize that some of this might seem obvious, but just bear with me. :)

1. Hydrate!!

I am not at all fond of drinking water- in fact, I grew up not drinking much water because I just didn’t like it. But, as times have gotten rather tough lately, I find gulping down a whole bottle of water as opposed to eating an unhealthy snack not only helps my weight, but also my mental health. If you’re not fond of drinking water, mix in a small bit of juice or flavoring with your water.

2. Remember to rest!

It’s quite tough to put your mind at ease; especially at night. But, I find that shutting off my laptop and phone and whatever else approximately 30 minutes before I sleep is greatly helpful. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try doing some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and light yoga.

3. Exercise!

Probably tough to do while you’re all stressed out or anxious, but exercise is an immense source of aid for me. It calms me down after I have a massive burst of energy. If you’re not fond of jogging or running, just go outside on a simple walk. It does a load of good overall.

4. Watch what you eat!

I’m guilty of eating unhealthy often, but combined with drinking water, healthy food can be super duper helpful. Trade in your massive chocolate bar for a sweet Gala apple- your body will thank you! Of course, don’t limit yourself completely. I know I’d be an unhappy camper without a bite of chocolate every now and then.

5. Love yourself!

I emphasize this point: love yourself. You are responsible for your happiness, and even though other people are tough to deal with, you still have yourself. Don’t let anxiety rule you, but learn to channel it into something good.

anonymous asked:

Every time I see your art of a rare pair I somehow become a huge fan of that rare pair. I have too many otps...,

…is it okay for me to be happy I’m dragging you down with me on all of my weird ships because tbh I am for a lot of them there’s just a handful of people shipping them I’m happy you’re joining us hahaha

Anon said: because of your tags on that kamisero post i now love the hc that kirishima just uses loving bakugou as an excuse to get out of conversations that make him uncomfortable, even if it makes no sense. Like ‘any advice on how to confess?’ 'I’m dating bakugou, you probably should ask someone else.’ or 'how do you think snow works?’ 'Dude I’m dating bakugou, i don’t know.’

I’m in love with this ask because this has been my most ridiculous headcanon for an age I’m glad I could subtely make you share it, anon - Kirishima being perfectly aware of the fact that aside from the face there is no objective reason why he should be that smitten with Bakugou? That’s my jam, he’s as surprised as anyone else so when people ask him anything love related he’s like “do I look like a reliable source man DO I I think it’s hot when Bakugou yells there’s obviously something wrong with me you don’t want my advices”

But also for however aware of it he might be he’s still in love with the dude so people pointing it out to him gets old really fast, like, “it’s one thing if I say it myself and another it’s you talking shit about my boyfriend stop that”, which is why he just starts using “what do I know I like Bakugou” as an answer to anything - it starts with him being a smartass and it becomes just habit by the end of it, sometimes he uses it when Bakugou is around or with Bakugou himself and Bakugou doesn’t understand, doesn’t want to understand, has pondered the option of getting angry/offended/demanding an explaination and has deemed it not worth his time because the answer is most probably just gonna be that his boyfriend is an idiot anyway

(also he might or might not like how Kirishima’s pretty much just going around telling people he likes him over and over again, tbh)

Keep reading

10 Writing Tips

#1: Unplug.

It’s tempting for to scrawl through a phone, and it‘s easy to get distracted by colorful, loud notification banners. Take a step away from technology. Personally, I always disconnect all my devices from the internet before I settle in to write. Unless I’m typing something up on my laptop, I’ll turn it off along with the rest of my devices.

#2: Take a step back.

Don’t let what you read or listen to impact your writing too much. If you read Maggie Stiefvater’s incredible The Raven King before writing, the feels are likely to impact your writing tone (and you’ll get tears all over the keyboard). The same goes for music. Sometimes, this is okay, and it can actually provide inspiration. However, it can also ruin the tone you write in or the mood you try to achieve.

#3: Find the right environment.

Want to write a story about a storm? Or need some adrenaline? Go outside, sit in the thunderstorm, and write about your own tempest. Additionally, find an environment that’s comfortable, whether that means avoiding noise or sitting in a blanket fort. Avoid distractions and stress.

#4: Practice some antisocial behavior.

It might sound like a bad idea, but distancing yourself from your peers (not all the time) can be really helpful - especially for writing dialogue. Talking to yourself is a good way to act out dialogue, plan scenes, and make sure your words are flowing well. It also helps you get a feel for whether or not dialogue feels natural and realistic. Likewise, eavesdropping on other people can give you a feel for a realistic conversation. Siting back and observing the people around you is a good way to notice little mannerisms that can make your characters that much more real.

#5: Share your work!

Find someone you can share your work with. They can edit for you, give you feedback, and support you! A writing friend can also help you get over writer’s block by offering up new ideas and other suggestions. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you write and share your work with other people! Writing can be really private, but it’s good to find someone to give you a second opinion, help you with inspiration, etc.

#6: Don’t push it.

Don’t force yourself to write when you don’t feel like it, and don’t force yourself to come up with new ideas. You have to want to write something, or the quality will suffer. If you don’t feel passionate about working on a piece, give it a break - walk away for a while; as long as you need to. Writing is pretty exhausting work. Nobody writes every second of every day, and nobody wants to, so take a break every once in a while. Don’t feel bad if you go through a tough patch of writer’s block. Just sit back and relax. Take your mind off your work. Inspiration can take a while, so don’t get anxious. If one story bothers you, it’s okay to write another. Don’t think you’re chained to your work.

#7: Never compare yourself to more experienced authors.

Not comparing yourself to more experienced/better people is a cardinal rule for just about anything. It’s easy to take a look at someone else’s writing, look at yours, and think that there’s no way you’ll ever match their beautiful storytelling. Remember that while there might be a certain amount of talent involved, nobody popped out of the womb a great writer. Growth takes time and practice.

#8: Do your research.

If you don’t know much about a topic, look it up! If you’re writing about a disease, historical setting, sport, etc. that you aren’t familiar with, do some research. You don’t need to dump a million facts into your writing (how much you do explain the topic depends on how important it is) but it should seem like you know what you’re talking about - or that your characters do. You want your writing to feel real, after all.

#9: Check your style.

This might seem like an obvious point, but keep an eye on your writing mechanics! Incorrect grammar isn’t pleasant for readers, especially if it means basic mistakes like not capitalizing “I” when referring to a subject. Ask yourself questions like “Is the setting clear?”. Check for things like adverb usage and passive voice, which can be eliminated or revised. Filter!!! Not only will this make your work easier to read, it also shows a level of care, dedication, and skill.

#10: Don’t discount your ideas.

There are good ideas, and there are bad ideas. It’s a fact of life. That being said, don’t worry about whether your potential stories are “good” or “bad”. Turn them over in your head. Write them out. Only then can you really tell whether they’re hot or not. Some ideas will come out lackluster, or you’ll hit a dead end, but don’t take one and judge it at face value. You’d be surprised at the number of apparently boring or crazy ideas that can turn out well. It all depends on how they develop and are thought out. Don’t delete ideas that don’t turn out well - you never know if they can develop into something more successful, if parts of them can be incorporated into another work, or if you’ll simply want to revisit them later.

Slavegirl Hypnosis Script

A few months ago I made a video called Slavegirl Spiral Trance that’s been quite popular but someone recently pointed out to me that not everyone who enjoys text hypnosis finds spiral videos the most effective medium for it. So I’ve adapted that video into a script that I’ll hide behind the “keep reading” link, along with more information about what it does. Enjoy! :)

Keep reading

Tuesday rambles

I think the most important thing I have learnt about dogs is to respect them. I know that might seem obvious, but this has been an evolving process for me in my way of thinking and behaving around dogs.

I’ve had dogs since I was a kid and my family have been long-time dog owners. Almost all my relatives have dogs. And while they all love their dogs very much, I’m not sure that there is a lot of respect going around.

When I chose to buy Luca and bring him into my home, I made a conscious decision to not yell at him or punish him. I very firmly knew that I didn’t want to be someone who yells at their dog. Not only is it not useful, it can be the opposite of useful and make minor problems much worse. Despite having a lot of frustrations with Luca’s behaviour sometimes, I choose instead to distract or disengage.

So for the first year of having Luca, my focus was on respecting him in that sense. Yelling is a big one that bothers me because it is still extremely prevalent in dog ownership here. I used to think it was acceptable behaviour too. I still see it all the time: people on the beach yelling at their dogs for rude behaviour, people in their houses yelling at their dogs for barking, club members yelling at their dogs for doing something “wrong” during training, people I know yelling at their dogs for any kind of undesirable behaviour. So this was an easy fix for me. It was everywhere and I knew how to change my own behaviour to make it stop.

But since then I’ve learned even more about respecting my dog. It extends beyond not being overtly mean and scary to him. It’s also about respecting him as an individual. A big thing for me has been taking these Fenzi courses online. Being asked questions like, what does your dog enjoy doing in his free time? Even when I started attending training classes locally and being asked, what is your dog’s favourite treat? Most people don’t really have an answer because they assume all treats are equal in a dog’s eyes. But why should that be the case?

Respecting my dog as an individual means that I should consider him in all things that relate to him. If I want something from him, I am obligated to provide what he needs to achieve it. If I want him to learn something, I must provide an environment where he can learn it. If I want to interact with him, I need to make myself a trustworthy and pleasant person to interact with. Why should I expect my dog to adore me without offering anything in return? You gotta feed and walk your dog and not yell at him and pet him and take him to the vet. But you also have to give him agency, give him safety, give him space and offer him joy.

Okay, some free advice, because after the amount of auditions I’ve gone through, there are some really common mistakes which can be so easily avoided.

1) If a casting call is asking for a specific level of quality in your audio, e.g. decent quality, matching existing content etc. Check that you are in that bracket. Gaming headsets will not meet the mark of decent, but they’d be fine for projects that are going to destroy your audio anyway (say if all voices were through a radio or helmet). Just listen to your recording side by side with either the existing content provided, or other auditions.

2) Always do noise removal. Always. A clean audition always sounds better and more professional. 

3) Record multiple takes and compile your best efforts, but put no more than 2 variations of a line into your final audition. Chances are your casting director is going to get super bored listening to the same line 3 times knowing there are two more lines to go. 

4) CHECK your recording before you upload it, make sure there isn’t any unwanted noise. The amount of auditions I go through where I can hear people clicking the mouse button on their laptops at the start and end of their recording is ridiculous. Again, just keep it tidy, it goes a long way.

5) Read through the audition, then read it again. What kind of voice is being asked for? Have they given you any background for this character? Do you have any idea where this character is coming from? How is this line meant to be read? What gender voice does this character need? How old is the character? This might seem obvious, but honestly this slip up happens way more often than you might think.

6) Follow instructions. If they’ve given you specific lines/requests, do those. Don’t go above and beyond, don’t improvise, and don’t substitute different lines. Being able to understand and follow instructions is one of the things we’re explicitly looking for, and by ignoring this or not paying attention, you’re guaranteed to have earned yourself a mark against being cast. 

Additionally, always leave your audition as vanilla as you can. I know you want to flex your editing skills and make your audition for Kami114 Queen of the Androids sound like a finished product robot…. But don’t. Again, it’s just going to get in the way of assessing your audition and lose you points on the following instruction front.

7) Your accent probably isn’t as good as you think it is. Unless it’s MANDATORY don’t do it. Alternatively, say at the beginning of your audition that you’re going to read twice, once without the accent, and once with. This gives us a good idea of your skill and voice without the turn off of a potentially iffy accent.

on editing & repetition;

i’m such a firm believer in the shit first draft. i used to be one of those people who would madly edit as i went and labour for hours over one sentence, just to get it right. spoilers: that is a waste of everyone’s time. the trick to writing is becoming good at editing, but like, in that order, editing after you’ve written it. it can be hard to know where to start with editing, so i’ve written up this post on what i consider to be the first step in a successful self-edit.*

here’s what i do: ctrl+f. this might seem like a weird, slightly obvious thing, but one of the biggest problems with underdeveloped writing is excessive repetition. there are some words you can only use once in an entire novel, and some words that carry less weight but which you wind up using too much anyway. the real trick to a first draft is to stop giving a stuff about repetition. then, ctrl+f.

my biggest plague word is just. i’ve already used it once in this post. the first thing i do when i finish something is to search for instances of the word just and delete/rephrase every second one or so. i allow myself to keep it when it’s absolutely necessary to the meaning of the clause, but that’s about as far as i’m willing to push it.

here are a few words to look for in this first stage of repetition-fixing:

  • adverbs: the most common ones will be things like basically, actually, suddenly, really, very… but if you want to do a quick check for any words ending in -ly, that helps too.**
  • unusual conjunctions: it’s perfectly fine to use a lot of and, but but needs to be kept in check. too many negative clauses can break immersion! similarly for so, also, although, still, etc.
  • swearing. (and this is coming from someone who swears like a sailor IRL.) as with any strong and emotive language, it has more power when you hold it back and only use it for similarly emotive occasions.
  • any phrases you know you use a lot.

once that’s done, reread the work. the moment you find a word that carries a lot of weight, or a phrase that sounds incredible to you, ctrl+f it. because if you’re having that thought now, chances are you’ve had it before, and you’ve used that word or phrase more than once within the work. when something stands out to you that much, it’s worth saving it up for a special occasion.

there are a few other subtle things worth looking out for in terms of repetition, which i’ll list quickly:

  • overusing character names when pronouns will suffice, i.e. “It was still dark when Bob’s alarm went off. Bob was so tired that he had to physically force his eyes open.” that second Bob can easily be a he and no-one will get confused!
  • italics for emphasis. while you’re in the midst of writing, it may seem like you need to remind your reader that certain words will be stressed in a sentence, but it’s more likely that your reader will understand that intuitively. save italics for moments of heightened emotion and humour.
  • similar sentence structure. if you have two sentences in a row that look the same, like this: “Bob’s alarm went off, but it was still dark outside. He was unbelievably tired, since he’d stayed up too late the night before.” … then change the structure of one of them! experiment with moving clauses around until you get enough variation. this helps hold your readers’ interest, and maintains flow so that your writing doesn’t get too clunky.

there! now you’ve got a cursorily-edited first draft, just (oh, yikes, there i go) by focusing on one issue at a time. at this stage, you can go back and read it again (yes, again!) and see where you might be able to use repetition as a powerful device to draw attention to a particular concept, or to create emotion or humour.

one more thing: i started this off by cautioning against editing as you go. but when you start becoming aware of repetition, and your own personal plague words/phrases, you’ll start doing all of this like second nature. but that doesn’t mean you should stop using ctrl+f!

~

* obviously once you’ve done a self-edit, a good idea is to send your work off to a beta reader/critique partner. they’ll pick up on anything you might’ve missed, as well as talk you through bigger issues than are covered in this post.

** my general stance on adverbs is that they should be used sparingly (which is an adverb :P), except for comedic emphasis, in which case adverbs will do a lot of the heavy lifting. (see above: physically forced, unbelievably tired.) as with everything that frames itself as a writing “rule,” don’t trust anyone who tells you never to use adverbs.

Avatar AU: Bending (Chocobros)

Again, anon sorry this is basically just a list.

Noctis.
Firebending. This might seem out of left field, but Fire is supposed to essentially represent an indomitable will and the power it brings. We spend a lot of time with Noctis while he still hasn’t grown into his potential but, Older!Noctis kind of gives me that Sun Warrior vibe.

Prompto.
Waterbending. I’ll admit this took forever and I’m still not sure about it. But there’s something kind of softer about waterbending, that links it to Prompto for me. Like I could totally see him as focusing on the healing sub skill.

Ignis.
Airbending. This bending art is about flexibility and the path of least resistance. There’s a certain kind of maturity I feel here that I’d associate with Ignis.

Gladiolus.
Earthbending. There’s a great deal of emphasis on strategic timing, patience, and having it in you to make the most of the right moment. It might seem a little obvious, but that’s where I’d put Gladio.