might make a print out of this

Writing advice you're not going to like.

People sometimes send me Asks wanting writing advice.  I suck at it.  I don’t really know how I do the writing, or how one should do the writing, or what one should do to get better at the writing.  All I can ever think to say is “write a lot of stuff and you will get better at the writing.”  Which is true, but hardly a bolt from the sky.

Well, as it turns out, I do have one piece of Legit Writing Advice, and I am going to share it with you, right now.  If you were in any of my writing workshop groups at a con, you’ve heard this advice already.

Warning: you’re going to fucking hate it.  But if you do it, you will thank me.

If you have a piece of fiction you’re serious about, something you might want to actually shop around, or just something you really are into and want to make it as good as you can…do NOT edit it.

Repeat.  DO NOT EDIT.

REWRITE.

As in, print out the whole fucking thing and re-enter it, every word (or use two screens).  Retype the whole thing.  Recreate it from the ground up using your first draft as a template.  Start with a blank page and re-enter every. single. word.

I hear you screaming.  OH MY GOD THAT’S INSANE.

Yes.  Yes, it is.

It is also the most powerful thing you will ever do for a piece of fiction that you are serious about.

Now, let’s get real.  I don’t do this for most things.  I don’t do it for my fanfiction.  But if it’s something original, something I might like to get to a professional level - I do it.  You absolutely COULD do it for fanfiction.  It’s just up to you and how much time you want to sink into a piece.

You can edit, sure.  But you WILL NOT get down to the level of change that needs to happen in a second draft.  You will let things slide.  Your eyes will miss things.  You will say “eh, good enough.”

The first time I did this, on someone else’s advice, I was dubious.  Within two pages, I was saying WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN DOING THIS ALL THE TIME.  I was amazed at how much change was happening.  By the time I got to the end, I had an entirely different novel than the one I’d started with.  When you’re already re-entering every single word, it’s easy to make deep changes.  You’ll reformat sentences, you’ll switch phrases around, you’ll massage your word choice.  You’ll discover whole paragraphs that don’t need to be there at all because they became redundant.  You’ll find dialogue exchanges that need reimagining.  Whole plot points will suddenly be different, whole story arcs will reveal their flaws and get re-drawn.

You cannot get down to the fundamental level of change that’s required just by editing an existing document.  You have to rebuild it if you really want your story to evolve.  You will be AMAZED at the difference it will make.

It will take time.  It will seem like a huge, Herculean task.  I’m not saying it’s easy.  It isn’t.  But it is absolutely revolutionary.

Try it.  I promise, you will see what I mean.

*PSA: Tipsy!Lori wrote this post.  In case you couldn’t tell.

30 Things You Can Add to Your Art Journal

Art journals can be decorated, simple, planned out, spontaneous, and a great outlet for stress. Here are some ideas for you to add to your own art journal.

1. Collage. Using magazines, newspapers, old books, posters, prints off the internet, you can make fabulously artistic pages.  

2. Sew-on Decor. Instead of using glue, Mod Podge, or tape, try using thread to sew pictures onto the pages. It will give it a vintage, textured look.

3. Tea Stain. If you take a tea bag and steep it in hot water for a little, you can stain the pages to make the pages look old. Different teas make different colors, so experiment!

4. Paint. Water-color painting, acrylic painting, finger painting, or whatever the medium of paint is that you choose. Get in there and paint the pages however you want!

5. Sketch. Not all pages have to be pops of colors and textures. You can have pages of beautiful simple sketches.  

6. Stamp. If you don’t have stamps, it’s easy to make your own. Search for some DIY stamps.

7. Nature. Tape or glue pieces of nature into your pages. Flowers, grass, leaves, or twigs. 

8. Masking Tape. Make a pattern on the page with masking tape and color, paint, or doodle over the pattern. Take the tape off when you’re done to see the amazing pattern underneath. 

9. Doodle. Draw anything and everything. Try using pens or markers instead of pencil. Make mistakes and live with them because mistakes are beautiful.

10. Outline Objects. Take a roll of tape, a phone case, pictures, or anything around you and outline them with pens, markers, or Sharpies. Overlap the shapes for an interesting effect. 

11. Washi Tape. Decorate the pages with borders, wrap it around the edges, or create shapes. 

12. Trace. If you have thin enough pages, you can trace shapes, images, and scenes. Just don’t claim that the tracing was your own art because that’s not cool. 

13. Blow Paint. Glob some paint with some water and use a straw to blow the paint around the page. 

14. Pastels. Experiment with pastels. Mix them with water, rubbing alcohol, or just smudge and mix them together. 

15. Stencils. Use stencils to design pages with shapes and images. You can experiment by using paints or by overlapping. 

16. Stickers. Plaster an entire page with stickers if you want or use them sparingly. It’s your call. 

17. Divide the Page. Use a ruler or a flat edge to divide the page into various sizes of shapes. Color each shape in differently. 

18. Etch. Etching is a technique in which you place an object under the page and shade over it. The final outcome is really amazing. 

19. Sharpies. Scribble, sketch, doodle or experiment by mixing the Sharpies with rubbing alcohol. 

20. Glitter. Throw some glitter (make it rain) on some wet paint, glue, or water-brushed pages. 

21. Scribble. Exactly what it says. 

22. Burn the Page. This one you need to be careful with because you could ruin the whole book. Take a lighter or a match and just gently burn the edges of the page to make it look old. 

23. Outline Your Hands. By outlining your hands, you are making a page that no one else can…unless they have the same size hand as you.

24. Sponge. Dip a sponge in paint and press it on the page all over. 

25. Make A Comic. Who says you have to draw out a comic? Collage it or paint it! Or just draw it because that’s pretty too. 

26. Zentangles. If you aren’t sure what these are, just look them up. They are fun and are said to help people calm down. 

27. Your Own Pictures. Add your own personal images of friends, family, yourself into your artwork. 

28. Quotes. You can write them yourself, print them out, cut them from magazines, or cut them from books. 

29. Maps. This might be difficult for those who don’t have maps or atlases. Mod Podge pieces of maps to the pages. 

30. Mixed Media. Combine any of the previous suggestions for a fantastic piece that you’ll be proud of.

some fox hcs bc i’m sick and it’s all i’ve been thinking about:

  • when they have movie nights, allison and matt have a competition to see who can catch more popcorn in their mouths. allison always wins so matt just throws popcorn at her without even letting her catch it
  • they all go team grocery shopping after finding out neil has never had at least 50% of the junk food they all grew up on
  • renee takes up crocheting and makes them all fox print patterned socks. they wear them every movie night(even andrew)
  • nicky gets homesick sometimes and when he does he makes a lot of the traditional dishes his mom would and the foxes eat all of it even though they literally saw nicky chopping raw jalapenos earlier
  • allison and dan are real housewives fanatics and they will kill a man to get to the tv. kevin still has the scars on his arm from where allison nearly clawed his arm off for trying to change the tv
  • the foxes do charity dog washing at a nearby pet shelter and neil literally almost gets smothered by the biggest dog there and that’s when the foxes find out neil is the biggest dog magnet
  • nicky makes the mistake of teaching andrew to bake and he never leaves the kitchen. but the tower always smells like vanilla so that’s a bonus
  • neil cannot cook for shit and i’m standing by this until i die. he tried making cup noodles in the dorm microwave and matt came back to a small fire and a calm neil just watching the fire blaze
  • neil twists his ankle falling down some stairs and matt uses this as an excuse to bridal carry him everywhere
  • “do i even weigh anything to you?”  “no, it’s like holding a couple of grapes.”
  • allison and neil take exactly 5 hours every saturday to go shopping, get facials, gossip. allison has video proof of neil sitting on a lounge chair with his whole face covered in a cucumber face mask, sipping lemon water, and getting his nails done. he looks right into her camera and in the most deadpan voice says “ah yes, the bourgeoisie.” the video ends with allison snickering and dropping her phone 
  • whenever anyone is late to practice they have to go on a run with neil and every time they fall behind is a lap they have to do at the next practice. no one is late again after kevin comes back from a run and passes the fuck out
  • the foxes went to disney world once and lost andrew. they don’t speak of it ever again. 
  • matt when asked by some sexist reporter why he listens to what the girls tell him to do: dan’s my girlfriend, renee could kill me, and allison has enough dirt on me to ruin my life until i die. also i respect them more than your crusty ass so that’s there as well. next question?
  • (matt isn’t allowed to do press duty for the next week after that)
  • kevin, five drinks in and nearing tipsy: if renee ever became a villian we’d all be screwed
  • the rest of the foxes except for renee and andrew: AMEN
  • casual cheek kisses are a thing among the foxes but no one kisses neil around andrew unless they want to lose a toe
  • it isn’t a question if whether or not a drunk kevin has acidentally called andrew “aaron”, it’s whether or not kevin actually made it out alive
  • nicky matt, and neil all have a shared exasperation for White People Food
  • neil and renee have been banned from nearly evershopping center within 50 miles of palmetto bc they wouldn’t stop throwing the knives to test how sharp they were
  • aaron and andrew play pokemon against each other(even tho andrew is more partial to acnl) and andrew manages to beat aaron’s entire team with just a jigglypuff and no one knows how he did it
  • once neil got really drunk and before he went to bed he kissed everyone’s foreheads(aaron left right after neil kissed renee’s) like his mom used to do to him before she went to sleep and it left everyone in shock

How to study like a straight A student

I did really well during my first year of college, and aside from a B+ in statistics (which was really good for me, haha! I’m not good at math), I had A’s in all of my classes. I’m certain that the reason I did so well was due to the way that I figured out how to study, so here are some tips I have based on what I did to study this past year!

1. Sit in the front row.

This isn’t high school anymore, it’s not embarrassing or nerdy to sit in the front row. By sitting in the front row, you won’t be tempted to check your phone and you won’t be distracted by looking at the people around you. I focus best in the front row. This also gives you a chance to easily ask any questions you have.

2. Show up to class a little early.

Show up to class about five minutes early every day, if possible. During the time it takes your professor to get set up, read through your previous notes. If you do this every day, you’ll begin to memorize info that you certainly wouldn’t have learned if you spent those five minutes before class just scrolling through tumblr. 

3. Type your notes and print them out.

If you prefer to spend a lot of time on hand written notes, then go crazy. However, I don’t really have time to make aesthetic notes, so I prefer to just write my notes by hand during class, then copy them into microsoft word so I can organize and print them out. This makes the notes much easier to read, and it’s much easier on the eyes. 

4. Do every assignment. Yes, EVERY assignment.

I don’t know why there’s advice floating around on tumblr telling people that it’s okay to skip a ton of homework assignments, because I definitely wouldn’t recommend it at all. Of course some assignments might be stupid or seem too small to matter, but if you’re being graded on them, you need all the points you can get. Trust me, just because homework assignments only account for 10-15% of your final grade, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be the difference between a B+ and an A-. Think about it: if your homework is 10% of your grade and you didn’t do it, you would literally have to get NOTHING wrong on your exams just to get the lowest A- possible. 

5. Don’t skip. Don’t skip. Don’t skip. 

Don’t skip if you can help it. If there is a serious emergency and you really can’t make it, try your hardest to get the best notes you can from someone who was in class. There’s nothing worse than sitting down for a test and realizing that a ton of the questions are about content you missed when you were absent. 

6. Go over material in your head when you’re not busy. 

If you’re in the shower or waiting in line at the cafe, go over class material in your head. Think about what you learned that day. If you do this often, this will help significantly with retention. 

7. Make flashcards throughout the semester, not the night before the final.

Don’t be one of those students who has to relearn an entire textbook the week before finals. If you’re studying right, studying for finals should be relatively painless. Throughout the semester, make flashcards of class content and regularly go over them. The easiest way to do this is to use quizlet.com and fill in definitions and other things you need to know, and use their helpful games and quizzes to memorize the info. It even keeps track of the definitions you rarely get wrong, so you know what you don’t need to study as much. 

8. Makes specific agendas for what you need to study and get done. 

When I study, I need to have a very specific to-do list detailing exactly what I want to get done. This will motivate you to keep going because you’re able to check off what you’ve already done. 

9. Don’t get discouraged by a bad grade- take it as motivation.

This is much easier said than done, but I had to do this in my western civilization class when I very nearly failed the first set of exams. If this happens to you, you should definitely take time to be upset about the grade, but don’t let yourself think it’s the end of the world. If you do badly, at least you know what to expect on the next assignment/exam so you know how to alter your studying to prepare for the next one. You can do it! I started western civ with a high D+ after my first exams, but I pulled out with an A- at the end of the semester! 

anonymous asked:

Hello there; I've been looking through your blog and, as many others say, I just ADORE your art! I was also wondering if you could give me some advice. For quite a few months now I've utterly lost all motivation to draw. I want to go into something with art, so this devastates me, and whenever I try to draw I just get so easily frustrated. I've been an avid artist since I can remember, so for me to suddenly not want to draw for months on end really concerns me. Any suggestions to fix this?

(hi!! apologies for the late reply. i hope this can still be of some help to you despite that!)

i think that’s a feeling every artist struggles with at some point. you love art, you love making art, and it’s immensely frustrating when that suddenly doesn’t work out despite all the effort you’ve been putting in. and then you start to lose motivation, question yourself and everything you’re doing, and it’s a vicious cycle that’s really hard to break out of. so what can we do?

well, here’s a thing. let’s call it the productivity branch.

i feel like my own creative cycles are very seasonal. not in the sense that my creativity depends on the season, but rather that my creativity itself goes through different seasons.

  • spring: new ideas, motivation, productivity still low 
  • summer: lots of ideas and very productive
  • autumn: still productive drawing leftover ideas, but new ideas are harder to come by. and then 
  • winter: nothing. art-block. lack of ideas, everything-sucks-syndrome, no motivation, the creative part of my brain is basically hibernating

that’s you up there. you’re in a creative winter right now. and without any inspiration or motivation it’ll be hard to find a way to cross that gap over to a new spring (pls bear with the cheesy analogies). and if your cut yourself off from inspirational influence you might start to think that, hey, this isn’t so bad. i mean, who needs spring right? just means you have to do things. be active. yikes. winter’s pretty chill. haha. 

but don’t do that. it’ll come around and bite you at some point, because that lack of motivation and activity might start to seep into other parts of your life, not just the creative one, and you don’t want that.

so! when you don’t have ideas and motivation to create, then don’t create. but instead make an effort to inspire yourself. inspiration entails motivation (and vice versa).

  • read books, short stories, poems, science articles, anything
  • go on walks, explore your surroundings, if affordable maybe even go somewhere farther away
  • let people tell you stories
  • listen to new music
  • try things you haven’t done before (deliberately break old habits)
  • go through other people’s inspiration blogs
  • collaborate with a friend
  • get really invested in something, talk to others about it
  • watch movies, animated shorts, documentaries 
  • or speedpaintings and art tutorials
  • try different techniques, or new brushes
  • look at art that’s so inspiring that you can’t believe you’re still just sitting there not drawing anything yourself
  • and most importantly, be receptive. take in the world around you, rearrange it in your head, and draw whatever you end up with. that’s the core of what creativity is

think about what you want to achieve. make your friends smile? draw something really cool you can print out and hang up in your room? touch people’s hearts? deliver a message? whatever it is, and however small or inconsequential it might seem, keep it in mind. it’s your light at the end of the tunnel.

if want to keep drawing for the sake of muscle memory while you’re still looking for your inspiration: 

  • illustrate your daily activities
  • draw a random shape or find one in a photo (clouds are ideal for this) and turn it into a character or object
  • pick different pictures and combine elements from each of them into one drawing
  • do plain ol’ studies 
  • basically don’t try to come up with things completely from scratch. find something to work with and go from there. that will save you the mentally draining task of coming up with a subject, so you can start actively drawing right away

if you still can’t make yourself pick up a pen, make a schedule. train your brain to turn its creative gears at a specific time of the day, make that a habit. do it for pavlov

approach drawing with the awareness that what you create might suck, especially when you’re out of practice, but this doesn’t mean that it will always suck, and it doesn’t mean you suck. if you learn to dissociate your current creative achievements from your worth as a person and your future potential you will get back to work a lot easier, improve faster, and be more resistant to setbacks. 

find something that makes it worth the effort of working through the frustration. 

you might need to try a lot of different things because everyone copes with this differently, and even when a method worked once that doesn’t mean it always will. so start trying! you can only find inspiration if you start looking for it. 👍

Stereotypical

Bucky Barnes x reader AU (short series) 

Notes: swearing, flirting, mentions of child abuse and alcoholism (past), none other yet

Summary: As a PA/secretary, you are all too familiar with the fantasies nearly all men share: banging their hot assistant. Former jobs haven’t worked out for you for that exact reason, and now starting out at a new company, as the secretary for the CEO of the hottest modelling agency in the country, you’re hoping this one will be different. But after meeting your new boss, Mr J.B. Barnes, you’re not so sure if it will be. Then again, maybe Mr Barnes is not as stereotypical as you think he is.   

A/N: Hi guys! This is a little something I’ve been working on lately. It’s only gonna be a few parts and I hope you enjoy it! 

“Whoa, hey there doll, what’s the rush?”

Quickly checking if you hadn’t dropped anything, to avoid any more embarrassment on the first day on your new job, you looked up at the man you’d just crashed (face-planted) into.

Keep reading

3

Hello friends!

Studying for long important exams like the DAT (me (’: ), the MCAT, or even the SAT/ACT requires a lot of time budgeting! Today I was scheduling DAT studying for the next 20 days, and I realized that a progress percentage chart would be really useful  for me because it would allow me to plan goals such as “finish a 1084-page review book” or “watch 46 chemistry videos from the video playlist” long-term! It’s hard to put long arduous tasks like these onto a daily or even weekly schedule - for me, they seem to work better when measured by %-finished.

I made this to use for myself this morning, and then realized that it might be useful for some of you out there, too! So I’ve uploaded it to google drive so you all can use it if it will be helpful in your studies. They come in blue, pink, yellow, and grayscale (for black-and-white printing): >>DOWNLOAD HERE<<

EDIT: I’ve gotten a suggestion from a very nice anon to make the background white so the printable does not use as much ink when printed in color! >>HERE<< is the link the white-background version on GDrive :)

To use this chart, I filled out specific goals on the left hand column and colored in the progress bar in the right in accordance with the percentage of the task or goal I had finished. I also marked dates next to the progress bar so I knew when I should have finished 50%, or 75%, or 100% of a task, etc. Here’s a pic of how I used it:

Keep reading

My Method for Contacting Pop-Culture Spirits

As the title says, this is simply how I go about contacting pop-culture spirits. This isn’t the only way to meet them and there’s definitely easier, safer, and more efficient ways to do this.

Intro

Many people might not believe that pop-culture characters can become spirits but I’m of the opinion that anything can have a spirit, no matter its origins nor form. All it takes is belief and energy. It is my UPG that pop-culture spirits (PC spirits) are formed by the energy that humans put into them when consuming the media that they are a part of. All of the fanart, fanfiction, and even just conversing or thinking about them lends them the power that they need to form into egregores. Extremely popular characters like Pikachu or Mario can become extremely powerful egregores and even godforms.

Since a lot of their energy comes from multiple sources they are influenced by a lot of people's’ perceptions of them. That is to say that it is very possible for two people to meet the same PC character spirit but have them behave differently. Sometimes they’ll act a bit differently or even contradict their canon personality if the belief in them being different is strong enough. For example, Flandre Scarlet from Touhou has two major personalities that the fandom has flanderized her as ascribed to her: excitable child who can’t control her powers or sadistic murderer. If one were to call the PC spirit of Flandre while being of the belief that she is Flandre the murderer, then most likely they’ll meet the aspect of the PC spirit that has the qualities of the murderer. Likewise, if someone believed that she is Flandre the child then they are more likely to meet the aspect of her PC spirit that is Flandre the child.

I’m not 100% sure why this can happen but I think it’s because of belief and subconscious…things. Belief is the basis for a lot of magical paths and that applies to spirit work too. One’s belief of how a spirit “should” behave will influence how they behave, especially with PC spirits which are easily molded by human belief due to their nature. So when a lot of people believe that a PC spirit should behave a certain way due to their canon or popular fanon interpretations, then the spirit will more likely conform to those beliefs. Even if one doesn’t fully believe in one interpretation of the character, if they know of and have that interpretation in the back of their mind when meeting the PC spirit, then it’s possible that their subconscious will influence how the spirit appears.

If you want to meet a PC spirit that isn’t influenced by your preconceived notions then you’ll need to learn how to cut out all of your mental noise. It’s not an easy task and it isn’t even necessary. Your influence on how the spirit behaves isn’t a bad thing and even if you were to stop your influence, everyone else’s beliefs are still exerting on the spirit. Unless you have a specific goal in mind when working with the spirit then you really don’t need to worry about your influence on them. Especially because, even though I just spent the last few paragraphs talking about the contrary, the spirit will most likely behave as their canon/lore dictates as your belief in a different behavior isn’t strong enough to override that.

Since I haven’t seen too much info about pop-culture spirits out there, I wanted to discuss these experiences that I’ve had. But, basically, just keep an open mind on how the spirit will behave if you don’t want to influence them too much with your preconceived notions. And if you don’t agree with any of this then feel free to ignore everything I just said! These are just my beliefs after all.    

For this post I will outline my procedure for contacting any pop-culture spirit while also provided a specific example in italics of me using this method to contact a PC spirit of one of my favorite pokemon, scolipede. This is so that it may be easier for someone to follow the procedure.

Safety

Despite being human made, PC spirits can pose a threat to your well being just like all spirits. Some safety basics are: be able to ward, banish, and cleanse and don’t call characters who are dangerous according to lore if you don’t think you’ll be able to handle them. Just like when calling local spirits into your home, I would recommend constructing a circle to help protect yourself from harm. You can read more about the basics of circle-making on that post [link].

Another thing is that if you want to add more punch to your banishing, use banishing materials that you know the character doesn’t like. For example, if the character doesn’t like bread, get a bag of bread and throw it at them if you need to banish them. A comical example, yes, but the concept is still something that should be considered when making banishing tools.

Malignant spirits can also have a field day with impersonating PC spirits. We’re much more inclined to trust a character spirit than some random spirit, especially if that character is a hero or cute. Be real, how many of you would be suspicious of an adorable pikachu spirit that showed up in your house one day? Well now I’m telling you to be suspicious until you are able to discern whether or not the spirit is actually what it appears as. When doing the call, you can prevent any malignant spirits from sneaking in by having the room that you’re working in warded. Of course, it should always be warded if you’re planning on doing spirit work, I’m just telling you one of the reasons “why” that is so. A sneaky spirit might still be able to hijack the call and impersonate the character so just keep on your toes.

For safety, I read up on scolipede’s canon info so that I am acutely informed about the spirit before calling it. I then use energy work to check the stability of my wards, making sure that everything is active and that there are no weak or damaged parts. The energy barrier on my window is cracked so I patch with new energy (more specifically, I put etheric duct tape over the cracks xP). If I were in a house rather than a dorm room, I would reinforce the wards with protections that don’t allow any spirit that I call to access the rest of the house. This would be helpful if the spirit turns malicious for their range and any damage that they do would be concentrated to only one room.

Materials

An image, symbol, or sigil representing the entity that you wish to call. It’d be best to use an official image rather than fanwork or personal drawings but you can still use those if you have to. You can also write their name out if you lack the ability to print or draw. You could even bring up the image on your phone or computer but this runs into the problem of there being a lot of “background noise” that might make it harder to connect with them. Also you will need to make sure that your device does not shut off in the middle of the evocation. You can cleanse the image if you want to remove anything that’s not the character that might be attached to it.

An offering for the entity. Depending on who you call, they might not want an offering but I think it’s best to be prepared just in case. Generic offerings like water, food, or incense would most likely work but if you know of anything that the character likes, such as a particular kind of food or something to do with their favorite color or whatever, then that would be better! Obviously avoid giving them anything that you know that they won’t like. Offerings can also be things like fanart, fanfiction, or even just playing their theme song if they have one! Indulging in their media makes them more powerful after all.

Banishing tools that you are prepared to use if the spirit becomes hostile, any materials that you use for your circle, and any tools that you need for communication.

For my materials I use an official image of scolipede that I bring up on my phone. I change my phone’s settings so that it will give me enough time to talk with the spirit before going to sleep. I use my lily-of-the-valley as my offering for it is poisonous and I believe that the poison-type scolipede would be able to draw power from it. For banishing equipment, I keep flying devil oil and fire salts on hand. Scolipede is weak to fire-type moves so I think fire-based tools would be effective in banishing if something goes wrong. I do not use any objects or tools for my circle or for communication because I personally don’t need them.  

The Procedure

1) Set up your preparations. Place the image and offering next to each other and in front of you. Construct your circle so that both things are outside of it. Have your banishing and communication tools in the circle with you.

2) Focus on the image and say the call. The call can really be anything you want but here’s a basic template that I use:

“I call to [Character’s Name], [Character’s Title (Optional)] of [Story’s setting/Character’s birthplace (optional)] from [Name of work]. I invite you to come talk to me and so that I may give you [Offering].

That’s a bit cluttered so here’s some filled in examples:

“I call to Mudkip, the Mud Fish Pokemon of the Hoenn region from Pokemon. I invite you to come talk to me and so that I may give you an offering of water.”

“I call to Pyroar from Pokemon. I invite you to come talk to me and so that I may give you an offering of fire.”

If you want to get more direct and specific, you can add in more details such as relationships with other characters and other things. It’s up to you whether this makes the call more effective or unnecessarily cumbersome.

“I call to Remilia Scarlet, The Scarlet Devil and older sister of Flandre Scarlet from the Scarlet Devil Mansion of Gensokyo of Touhou Project.”

So yeah, like I said the call can really be anything you want. However, make sure that the words you use are not forcing the spirit to come to you. You “invite”, you “request”, you “ask”. It might seem silly but sometimes the little things can make all the difference. I like the first example that I gave the best but what you choose is up to you.

3) Talk with the spirit and give them the offering! Now in my experience, I’ve never had a PC spirit not show up. At most they showed up and then immediately left. I suspect that this has something to do with our relationships to them and roles as their creators. HOWEVER, do not take this as a guarantee that they’ll show up. I don’t know of the factors affecting you when you do this call and anything that goes down with you and your experience is completely separate from me and my experience.

4) Say goodbye. If you are ready to say goodbye and they haven’t already left on their own then you can let them know that you’re ready for them to depart:

“[Character name], thank you for coming but it is now time for you depart. Please leave respectfully and in peace.”

If they don’t leave, throw out your demands and your commands, be forceful. If they still don’t leave, banish them.

Now this all probably seems awfully over formal, especially for calling little pokemon spirits and the like, because it is, in a way. You could totally give the spirit a “hey man I’m tired, is it alright if you left now?” However, I think starting out formal and then shifting to casual when you’re more comfortable with spirit work is helpful. It gets you in the mindset for spirit work time. It also helps teach you the “proper” and “respectful” ways of doing things so that when you do deviate from them, you can do so without being disrespectful for you understand the fundamentals.

5) Cleanse! If you feel the need to, cleanse after the spirit has left. If you had to force the spirit out then definitely cleanse but even if nothing bad happened, scan the room anyway just to see if you maybe should.

I set the lily-of-the-valley next to my phone which already has the picture of Scolipede brought up. I step away from it so that I may construct my circle, calling upon the four elements and my gods. Beside me are the banishing tools and my laptop so that I may listen to instrumental music that will help me focus in addition to using it for typing up notes on the encounter. I clear my mind by going into a light meditative state and then focus on the image of Scolipede. “I call upon Scolipede, the Megapede Pokemon of the Unova region of Pokemon. I invite you to come talk to me and so that I may give you an offering of Lily-of-the-Valley which will help boost your poisonous power,” I say in my mind rather than out loud. As I do so, I direct my thoughts at the image.A scolipede appears beside my phone. I see him in my mind’s eye, he doesn’t physically manifest (and neither will any spirit that you call). He greets me using telepathy, “Scolipede! Scolipede!” I forgot to specify that I would like a spirit that can speak english in the call. Most pokemon spirits that I’ve met can’t. However, when I ask him if he can speak english, he does so. Our chat is short: he tells me that I didn’t provide enough of the offering for it to be a useful power boost but he likes my room. When we finish talking I say to him, “Scolipede, thank you for coming but it is now time for you to depart. Please leave respectfully and in peace.” He says his goodbyes and then leaves through the image of him on my phone. I close my circle and put my tools away.  

Final Notes

Despite being a pretty simple procedure you must remember all of the other things that go into it. You should be able to ward, banish, construct a circle, discern the presence of a spirit, discern the identity of a spirit, and be comfortable in your communication methods to say the least. That might seem like a lot to a beginner but the only way to really gain those skills is through practice! And guess what? This right here is a good way to practice ^^. Calling things like magikarps or weak mooks from other video games can be a safe way to start gaining that experience needed for calling stronger spirits. (If you start calling to magikarps pls tell me. I want to read about all the magikarp spirits XD)

While working with PC spirits, especially ones that are friendly in canon, can be a safer way to get into spirit work, never forget that they are still spirits and they can still do you harm. Also, do not call a spirit just for the sake of calling them. If you want to practice, then call them but make sure they are rewarded for their time and energy and chat with them, if they’re up for it. Don’t keep calling the same spirit if they have made it clear that they don’t want to work with you or be called anymore (w/ pokemon it’s a little different cause there’s more than one but yeah you get what I mean). Along that note, don’t assume that all spirits who come want to work with you. Some just want a quick meal, others maybe want to chat, but that doesn’t mean that they want to be your friend or that they’re obligated to help or associate with you in anyway.

Drafting: Four Methods For Highly Anxious Individuals

(This is a revised version of an old post you might have seen elsewhere.)

Is writing really fucking painful for you? Do you finish a draft of a story maybe once every forty years? Is your computer littered with outlines and abandoned beginnings? Maybe you’ve been told to “write a shitty first draft” but have no idea how to do that because writing takes so much out of you that you can’t do it without at least trying to make it goodbut when you do, you inevitably give up and hate yourself.

Chances are, you’re drafting in a way that doesn’t respect the way your mind works. You’re either 1) forcing yourself to deal with too many things at once, or 2) you’re stifling the free, imaginative, playful part of your mind with premature critical evaluation. Or, most likely, both. But you can’t just make yourself stop doing this spontaneously. You need a method of writing that interferes with those habits. Think of it as mental ergonomics. If your back is sore and your neck is stiff, you need a different chair. Similarly, if writing is agonizingly painful, you need a different drafting method.

Here are four methods you can try—or adapt, experiment with, and combine. (Nobody practices a pure version of any method.) For simplicity’s sake, I’ll talk as if you’re faced with drafting a single scene:

1) The Pitch Meeting Method

Don’t write the scene in the actual narrative voice of the story. Instead, write as if you’re describing what happens to somebody you know, somebody who’d be interested and excited about it. You could, in fact, actually address it to someone. Or write as if you’re writing a really long headcanon post.

Write the way you talk. Use your usual slang and vocal rhythms, and get all of your enthusiasm in there, everything you envision, everything you want for this scene. You could even do this out loud and record it, if that’s easier.

Let your desires run wild, even if you don’t yet know how you’re going to fulfill those desires. Say stuff like “and this part is really emotional!” without worrying about how you’re going to make it emotional.

When you’re done, go back and find parts you can elaborate on. Make the description as detailed as you can.

Once you’re happy with this description of what you’re going to write, start writing it. Translate your “sounds like you” prose into a voice more appropriate to the story. But don’t change it too much. Don’t kill the energy your own voice adds.

2) The Expanding Outline Method

This one’s similar, but it works better for folks who like to think structurally.

Make an outline of the scene. Maybe it starts with only a couple of items: two very general things that happen in the scene.

Now take one item and break it down into several items. Then break those items down into several items. Zoom in closer and closer to the action, breaking actions and events down into their constituent parts.

You can include non-event, non-external items like “Character feels [x].” You can even include things like “The reader feels [x].” But go back later and add detail to those where you can. Just keep making your outline more and more specific.

Now, following your outline, draft a prose version of the scene.

3) The Anatomy Textbook Method

For this one, you start with the scene itself, not with a plan for the scene. But don’t try to write the entire scene fully fleshed out in one go. Rather, start with a single element you’re most comfortable with. The dialogue, for instance. Or a description of the action in a bare-bones, stage-directions sort of way. Lay down a skeleton of the scene, and don’t worry if it looks a little…sparse.

Now go over it and add another element on top of that skeleton. Description, maybe. Or more details that flesh out your bare-bones description.

Keep doing this until you have a complete scene.

If you think you tend to leave a certain element out, dedicate a “layer” to that. I’m often quite sparing with characters’ emotional reactions, for instance. So I might go over the scene and do nothing but add in my character’s internal reactions to what’s happening.

You can divide the scene up however you like. The point is, each time you go over it, only focus on one element at a time.

4) The Sourdough Starter Method

This is probably the weirdest, and it might sound like the hardest, but it’s quicker and easier than it sounds. You just have to get comfortable with making a mess.

Start writing the scene, in all its nonsensical, inarticulate glory. Feel free to hate both the form and the content; just keep your head in the scene, walking your mind carefully through what happens, even if you think what happens is stupid. Don’t worry if what you write is boring or wrong or irrelevant, because you’re not actually going to use most of this.

Now read through what you’ve got. It may help to print it out. Go through what you’ve written and mark anything you kind of like or that seems promising. And if rereading what happens has given you new ideas about what should happen instead, write those ideas down too.

Review the promising bits and the new ideas. There might not be much, but that’s okay. Now, start the scene over. Wipe the slate clean and write it all again from scratch. But this time, include those good bits you discovered in the previous version.

You’re not revising that version. You’re using it as a petri dish to grow ideas for the scene. And then you completely rewrite the scene, this time with a little more focus and a better sense of what will work.

You might only do this once, but some people do it several times. It sounds labor-intensive, I know. But remember, each time you write the scene, you’re just barfing it onto the page without much critical scrutiny. And that scrutiny is mostly what makes writing feel so hard.


So those are four methods you can try. I’m sure many more exist. If you’ve tried or know about any, please send them to me!

Next post: the theory of shitty first drafts

Ask me a question or send me feedback!

ANNOUNCEMENT - thebrotherswinchester on AO3

Hello everyone!

This is really long. Sorry about that. But I hope you read all of it.

Basically, I have some news.

It’s very good news.

I have written a book, and that book is going to be published.

I am super excited about this. I can’t tell you anything about the story yet—it’s hush hush for now—but it’s a story I really believe in, and it’s only the first step in what I hope will be a very long career of writing books.

HOWEVER.

I am going to be published. My name is gonna be out there in the Real World. And my fandom accounts—my Tumblr, my AO3—have been around long enough that they’re kind of inextricably linked to my actual real life name.

I don’t actually mind that. Like I said, it’s inextricable. I’m not ashamed of my fandom life, especially because writing fic is the single best thing I have ever done for myself As A Writer. Fic has helped me improve more than college ever did. And beyond that: all your feedback, and all your incredibly kind comments, has helped me as a person. I don’t know where I would be right now if I hadn’t spent my teenage years writing fic. I would be a worse writer, that’s for sure. And there have been plenty of times when reading over your comments was the only thing that made me actually open up a new doc and start typing.

That said, I do want to enter the world of publishing and “professional” writing with a clean slate.

So in about 24 hours (May 19, 12:00AM EST) I will be taking down my all my fics and then deleting my AO3 account.

I’m really sad about this, guys. Again: I cannot put into words how much YOUR words have encouraged me over the years. I have read all your comments (all of them twice, some 10+ times). I appreciate every single comment I have ever gotten. Your excitement, your emotions, your passion for the characters we both love—it keeps me writing. It’s why I want to write books.

I’m going to lose your comments. I am really, really sad about that.

But I don’t want you to lose my work. You’ve told me that it makes you happy, and that makes me happy. So heck it—I’m taking it off the internet, but the reason I’m waiting a day is because I want to give you a chance to keep it.

So: if you want to download my work (and you haven’t already), now is the time. Download away, y’all. Put it on your Kindle, print it out, take screenshots, whatever you want. It’s yours.

There will still be podfics and translations up—I’m not asking anyone else to delete their hard work. Just the originals will be gone. (My Tumblr is staying up for now, though I might end up deleting that too.)

If you want to contact me—or hear updates about my Book Thing—feel free to follow me on Twitter.

So…that’s it. All that’s left to say is: thank you. Thank you so, so, so much. For your comments, for your kudos, for your endless support. Thank you to the people who have read and commented on everything I’ve ever posted; thank you for the silent kudos-ers; thank you to the lurkers. Every single one of you made me a better writer. Thank you.

Much love.

The print is available here!

This was my first shot at making this kind of papercutting and I decided to turn it into a poster. I might try to explore this technique more.

Well, this book unexpectedly turned out to be my favourite part from the HP series. I say “unexpectedly”, because it would mean nothing to me if it wasn’t for the years I spent loving all those books that were before - so its value, to me, comes from the marvellousness of the previous ones. Somehow, this is just the perfect ending to them all, the one that kind of invites you to explore that imaginary world even more.

And the staircase scene was the first that I’ve read the spoilers about from Tumblr, the day after the world premiere, when my ordered copy was still on its way to me and I tried not to read any spoilers on the internet, but I allowed myself to read just ONE and that was it. The staircase scene. And that excitement and first impression is still absolutely fresh whenever I listen to Half Life.

Magic the Gathering Rarities: Celebration Card Trinity on Trade Group

A few weeks ago, I came across something extraordinary in the local trader community, and today, I thought it would be best to share my experience and knowledge of what I saw that day.

Under ordinary circumstances, I wouldn’t be mentioning a post from another trade group. However, something like this is another landmark in MTG history, second only to the 1996 World Champion Trophy and sale for the original art, it deserves to be shared, and these stories should be known by everybody.


This is Raphael Puleo. He runs a humble MTG store known as Magic Bazar in France. He’s also the proud owner of 3 of the world’s rarest and richest pieces of MTG history, spanning back to the beginning of this game.

In his hand, he holds a copy of Splendid Genesis, Fraternal Exaltation, and Proposal. To many, these are names that are vague, even unknown. However, try to understand that three cards are an infinitely important part of Magic The Gathering History, as these are the three cards that Richard Garfield created to celebrate various periods in his life. Make no mistake, these cards are well worth more than Power 9 (Excluding Alpha/Beta Lotuses), and the stories behind each of them are incredibly touching.

I’m also going to explain why Proposal appears to be covered up later on, since some people might ask.


Splendid Genesis

Of the existing celebration cards in MTG, Splendid Genesis is probably the most well-known card, having been listed on eBay and seen in auction houses a number of times over the years. Printed to commemorate the birth of his first child, only 110 copies were ever made and sent out to incredibly close friends and well known employees at Wizards. It was also drawn by Monique Thirifay (an early WotC employee), and to date, is the only card she has ever produced. The card effect is also wholesome and makes me feel happy.

For this card alone, the current market value is an estimated $10,000, which is an amazing price to behold, but probably worth it for something so unique.

Fun fact, Mark Rosewater is also a proud owner of one of these, if my information is correct, which makes a lot of sense.


Fraternal Exaltation

Fraternal Exaltation was a card done in the same fashion, printed to commemorate the birth of Garfield’s second child. However, the amount released this time around was 220, a significant increase, and perhaps a sign of Wizards increasing growth as a company? Or Garfield had more friends, who knows.

This card however, was drawn by Susan Garfield, Richards sister and for me, personally, owning a celebration card drawn by your own sibling is far more amazing than just another Black Lotus.

Given that the print run for this card was significantly larger, the price is lower as a result, but prices still range from $3-$5,000, with those copies having been sold out already.

And of course, comes the best for last.


Proposal

What follows is one of my favorite romance stories and the most feelgood MTG tale I’ve ever heard.

In October 1993, Garfield enlisted the aid of Dave Howell, and the late Quinton Hoover to create a unique and special card. Using this one of a kind piece, Richard was going to propose to his then-girlfriend, Lily Wu.

All together, a single sheet of 9 cards were produced, with one being used for a very special game:

“According to Richard, he put just put one in the all-white deck he was playing. As luck would have it, the first three games the pair played, he didn’t draw the card. He did finally find it in the fourth game, but was losing. At one point, Lily asked if he wanted to concede because, as a playtester, she didn’t think any card he could play would allow him to win. Shortly after, Richard played the now-famous card” ~ MTG Librarities

So, they did get married, and the 8 remaining copies were sent to family memebers, and Dave and Quinton. Unfortunately, Quinton’s copy was stolen at some point, but it has been verified that this is not that copy.

The most unique thing about this card, is that Richard and Lily told all of the owners never to reveal the original artwork to preserve the memory. That image up there? It’s not the actual art, it has never been revealed to this day, and because of that, it is the greatest mystery in MTG history (there’s another fake image out there too). Hence why Ralph has it covered up. As a result, it’s no surprise that the only copy currently being sold is being offered at an astounding $35,000.

I could build a vintage deck with that kind of money. A good one too….


Altogether, the three cards are being sold off for a staggering $55,000. But for 2 cards that barely register in the 3 digit population, and another with just 9 copies in existence, and with all 3 of these being such an important part of MTG history, the price tag is well deserving. It’s still a shame though, that we’ll never see the original art for Proposal, but perhaps its best to keep it unique like this…..

I hope you all enjoyed the wonderful story behind these cards, and hope you’ll retell it to other players as well.

If you wish to check out the original listing, feel free to check out the Misprints, Oddities, Rarities for Magic the Gathering Facebook group. There’s always something amazing being listed there.