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April 2014
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Wound Types, Stages of Healing, & Treatments

wwrites:

Reformatted for easy reading. Link to original at bottom of page. Many of the treatments listed are under the assumption one has access to hospitals and doctors.

Wound: from the Old English word, wund

Wound healing consists of an orderly progression of events that reestablish the integrity of the damaged tissue. The initial wound touches off a series of programmed, separate yet interdependent responses to the injury, including inflammation, epithelialization (growth of new skin), angiogenesis (blood vessel regeneration), and the accumulation of matrix, the cells necessary to heal the tissue. Many wounds pose no challenge to the body’s innate ability to heal; some wounds, however, may not heal easily either because of the severity of the wounds themselves or because of the poor state of health of the individual. The Life Extension Foundation has designed this protocol to support and enhance the healing of internal and external wounds that fall into this category. (For related information on how to support the body’s ability to heal and rebuild itself, refer to the Catabolic Wasting and Muscle Building protocols.) Any wound that does not heal should be examined by a healthcare professional because it might be infected, might reflect an underlying disease such as diabetes, or might be a serious wound requiring medical treatment. Always inform your healthcare provider of all supplements and treatments you are using.

Types of Wounds

Although all wounds follow roughly the same healing process, there are many different causes of wounds. Partial-thickness wounds penetrate the outer layers of the skin (the epidermis and the superficial dermis) and heal by regeneration of epithelial tissue (skin). Full-thickness wounds involve a loss of dermis (deeper layers of skin and fat) and of deep tissue, as well as disruption of the blood vessels; they heal by producing a scar. Wounds are classified by stage. Stage I wounds are characterized by redness or discoloration, warmth, and swelling or hardness. Stage II wounds partially penetrate the skin. Stage III describes full-thickness wounds that do not penetrate the tough white membrane (fascia) separating the skin and fat from the deeper tissues. Stage IV wounds involve damage to muscle or bone and undermining of adjacent tissue. They may also involve the sinus tracts (red streaks indicating infected lymph vessels).

One medical term for a wound is an ulcer. An ulcer is an open sore on the skin (or a mucous membrane) that causes destruction of surface tissue. An ulcer can be shallow or deep and crater-shaped. Ulcers are usually inflamed and painful.

Traumatic Ulcers

  • An injury caused by any kind of accident (or trauma) can result in a wound that affects the skin, blood vessels, bones, muscles, soft tissue, or organs that may result in development of an ulcer.

Read More

April 2014
17

Mass Answering #7

I am writing characters that have heavy accents. I don’t know how to write their accents into their dialogue (British, Italian, Scottish, Irish and Russian). Any tips and links would be very helpful! Thank you!

I talked about it.

Wanted to see your opinion on this. What has been your reaction to character’s you’ve noticed in stories that take a 180 out of nowhere that seems out of character for them? I know character’s grow and change, as they should like we all do in life, but has there been an instance where something in literature crossed a boundary for you in a character changing so fast, that it doesn’t even contribute to what you’re reading as a whole? -anonymous

If a character changes from one day to the other and there’s no further, consequent explanation of the change later on at some point of the story, then it’s a flaw. Really, if there’s no reason for the change, it’s a flaw. 

Hi! I’m writing a fantasy/mythpunk type novel that draws from various folktales around the world. Besides researching the folktales and their cultural context really carefully, is there anything you’d suggest to make sure I’m not doing anything that would be considered cultural appropriation? I don’t want to be insensitive to anyone. -anonymous

It’s hard to talk without specifics. I don’t know your story or exactly what you’re drawing from other folktales, so I can’t help you. Just do as much research as possible. 

I need help to describe the actual society of England and Ireland. I need typicals manners, original names and last names and some slang. Thank you so much! - anonymous

Here’s everything you need and more

Can I hear your thoughts on the positve representation of minorities in horror stories? So far in my story, the main protag is an African-American female while the other deuteragonist is a white male. I’m also avoiding the clich trope of “The Black Guy/Girl Dies First”. The main cause of the supernatural lashing out at everyone is due to a different white character meddling with something he shouldn’t have. All of my characters will be well-rounded once they’re fully developed.

I think it’s very nice, needed and refreshing. So long as you do your proper research I have no issue, and encourage, more and better representation PoC and other minorities in genres such as horror, where they’re often treated as disposable or for shock. 

this had nothing to do with writing i’m sorry i just want to know where you got your header from? - Anonymous

We have a credit page. The illustration was made by Brad Howe, fixed as a header by one of our mods. 

#em   
April 2014
17
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Writing Character Voice

slitheringink:

It’s not always what you say…

But also how you say it that defines how a character sounds. Like all things in writing, understanding and executing character voice involves a lot of mistakes and a lot practice. Out of all of the skills you can have as an author, it’s one of the most difficult to do well because, sometimes, it’s hard to make characters not all sound the same. So how do you differentiate? What are the things you need to consider when finding your character’s voice?

Know Your Character – Personality

Assuming you’ve done a fair amount of development on your character beforehand, you should know what kind of person they are, and what kind of person they will become throughout the course of your story. People can be any number of things, and have any number of traits, often shaped by their life experiences, the environment around them, the society they’re a part of, and the choices they’ve made during their lives. People can be kind, loving souls, they can be uncaring, they can be rude, and they can be downright evil. All of these things may be reflected in their speech.

In order to determine how a character may speak, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Who is your character talking to?
  2. Why is your character talking to that person?
  3. What are your character’s goals? What would your character do to accomplish those goals?
  4. Is your character being truthful when they’re speaking, or are they masking an ulterior motive?
  5. Do their life experiences come across in their speech? Has a tragedy affected them? Has a positive event? Does their sorrow come across through in words, or do they hide it by faking another emotion? Are they sarcastic?
  6. Do they like speaking? Are they an extrovert? An introvert? Are they being forced to speak?
  7. Do they have a mental illness that may cause them to become withdrawn or affect another aspect of their behavior?

Know Your Character – Target

Relationships will often determine how a character speaks.

Ask yourself: who are they speaking to? Some people have no trouble speaking to anyone, even a random stranger, while for others speaking to anyone at all is very difficult. Even people who aren’t very social usually have someone they can talk to, someone they can trust. Who does your character trust? Why?

People tend to talk to close friends and family differently than they would anyone else. They tell people they’re close to their deepest secrets, their most personal flaws, and their greatest apprehensions. They may also act differently around people they trust, losing any fear that they may be judged for what they do and are free to be who they are, which they may hide from the rest of the world, for whatever reason. People who haven’t earned your character’s trust may be avoided, and when questioned your character may withhold information from them.

When speaking to a person in a position of authority, like a police officer or that character’s boss, one would generally assume that those people would be treated with respect. Of course, there are those who dislike authority of all kinds and seek to rebel against it. They may say things that get them into trouble as a result.

Know Your Character – Origin and Education

Where is your character from? What kind of education did your character receive? Cultural influences may shape your character’s beliefs, which may affect what they choose to express in their speech.

Consider:

  1. What culture did they come from? What religion do they practice, if they practice? What beliefs does your character ascribe to? Do they live by the values of their culture or religion? Have they adopted a different culture or religion than the one they grew up with?
  2. Do their beliefs dictate their behavior?
  3. Are there certain aspects of their culture, of their native language, that slips into their speech?
  4. Did their country of origin somehow limit their education? Did your character grow up with free access to information? Did your character grow up in a place with censorship?
  5. Did your character have a traditional education? Were they tutored? Were they in a public school environment? Private school?
  6. Does your character like to learn? Is your character book smart? Is your character street smart?
  7. What level of education did they receive? High school? College? Trade school? Something else?

Everyone has a different level of education, and a person’s experience with language will usually influence how they form sentences and what words they decide to use. An individual with a high school education would likely speak differently than someone who’s been through college. Education also tends to have an influence on language style and whether or not someone tends to speak formally or conversationally. Of course, there are always exceptions to this. There are some incredibly well-spoken people who don’t hold degrees just as there are some terrible speakers who do.

Another thing to consider is that people who like to read, whether they’ve grown up with it or it’s something they enjoy later in life, tend to have a good understanding of language and speech patterns. Reading is a thinking process, involving more than just looking at words on a page. There’s comprehension involved, and people who read are often complex thinkers. Complex thought may translate to complex speech, but sometimes putting ideas to words is difficult, no matter what level of education a person may have.

Putting it on Paper

You should have a good idea of what causes characters to say what they say, but you’re still unsure of how to actually write it.

Let’s take a look at Kerrigore, one of the main characters in my novel. To give a little background he’s been alive for quite a while, has been screwed over by people he’s trusted many times, is generally a grump, and tends to hide behind snark and sarcasm. As such, a lot of his speech is expressed in short sentences, and though he’s certainly intelligent enough to use complex sentence structures, he doesn’t usually. It’s too much effort, though he slips when he’s irritated. He also swears a lot and tends to be impersonal to people he doesn’t know well.

In this scene, he’s talking to Kaelus, someone he’s known for a very long time, and while he doesn’t necessarily dislike her, he dislikes who she serves and what she stands for.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, kneeling down to see what had become of his wine. It had spilled out onto the kitchen floor and seeped under the fridge, bottle neck in scattered pieces. The bottom of the bottle was still intact and he picked it up, drinking the measly sip that was left and shaking it out with a frown. “Wait, never mind, you don’t do anything on your own,” Kerrigore paused to glare up at her, “What does father want?”

“For you to return home. That never changes,” she said.

“Neither does my answer.” Kerrigore gathered broken glass in his palm. Silence hung between them. He dumped the glass in the trash and tossed a dish towel on the wine, wiping it back and forth with his foot. “Like Nathriel, father can go fuck himself.”

“This grudge you hold, it destroys more than you realize,” she frowned.”

Even from that small snippet you can get a sense of character voice difference between the two of them. It’s not only accentuated by what they say, but also by their mannerisms and actions. Body language can help reveal a character’s voice as well. Irritation is clear with Kerrigore not only due to what he says, but by the fact that he’s not looking at Kaelus when he’s speaking. He’s busy cleaning up his spilled wine, allowing that to take precedent over being polite.

When writing voice, you also must be mindful of the tone of a scene. Though people may react to the same stimuli in a different manner, there is an expectation of how normal people (or what a society perceives to be normal) react under certain circumstances. For instance, most people will react to seeing a dead body with shock, and then probably remorse or at least respect for the dead. A person with more experience, a police officer or coroner for example, may still feel some form of remorse but the shock of seeing a dead human being probably isn’t there. Repetition may dull reactions but you’re going to want the character’s dialogue to reflect the serious tone of the scene.

One thing to note with tone: there are always exceptions. If it’s part of a character’s personality, tone can be intentionally broken. Just be sure the reasoning is solid.

Atypical Speech and Complex Words

Some characters use different syntax in speech. Yoda from Star Wars is a solid example of a character that uses different syntax to create a unique speech pattern. Sometimes it’s inconsistent, and sometimes it’s in an object-subject-verb order. For example: “Brave you are.” Language is always fun to play with, so don’t be afraid to experiment with word order if it would suit your character.

For Reference:

For some characters, more complicated is better. The best example I have is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. He uses some incredibly complex words and sentence structures to express simple concepts in order for the writers to show the audience that he’s an intelligent character. He also tends to infuse his conversations with knowledge from areas of study like: physics, chemistry, calculus, differential equations, engineering, etc.

While complex words can serve to show intelligence (or lack of if used incorrectly), they can also express a more precise meaning for a concept. In addition, they may also make a character come off as arrogant. While the general rule with complex words is to leave them out and use something simpler so you don’t confuse readers, if it works for a character and fits with their voice, then do it.

For example: “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means no.” – Captain Barbosa, Pirates of the Caribbean.

Complex Words with Simple Meanings:

  • Defenestrate  – throwing something out a window.
  • Extirpate – destroy completely.
  • Disambiguate – to explain.
  • Antediluvian – old.
  • Pulchritudinous – breathtakingly beautiful.
  • Ameliorate – improve.

The TV Trope Spock Speak covers a lot of this well.

With speech, a lot of things you’ve heard as “rules” can be thrown out in order to create a suitable voice for a character.

In dialogue it’s okay to:

  • Not use contractions. This is often used to convey an intelligent or formal speaking character.
  • Use sentence fragments. If you sit around and listen to people actually converse, a lot of them don’t bother to talk in complete sentences, especially when talking to friends. Part of this is because someone you know, often knows what you mean, even if you don’t convey it completely.
  • Use slang, euphemisms, and colloquialisms.
  • Use catch words or phrases. Some people tend to use a certain word or phrase when they talk. That’s perfectly fine to shape a unique voice, but don’t overdo it or it may fall into cliché territory.
  • Use the passive voice. While generally a no-no in a narrative, passive voice is perfectly fine to use in speech. Example: “I did it” (active voice) vs. “It is done” (passive voice).

Accents and Non-English Speakers

Do not be afraid to state what kind of accent your character has. Consider country of origin, if it’s a light or thick accent, and if it’s hard or easy to understand. Count on the intelligence of your reader to recognize accents. Most people can imagine the sounds of accents like: English, French, Italian, or German if you mention it in the text. Granted, they are some of the most commonly used and sometimes stereotypically portrayed in media where people draw from, but the mental association with the sounds is there nonetheless. Uncommon accents or dialects that may not be so easy to infer might require extra description.

Again, it’s absolutely okay to say “he spoke with a thick German accent” and let the reader fill in the rest.

My opinion about the phonetic spelling of words to represent an accent comes from research and from doing such things myself when I was a beginner. For example: using words like ‘vhat’ or ‘vat’ instead of ‘what’ for a German accent. It’s annoying to read phonetics as an English speaker, and for the language being represented, it’s annoying to the native speaker to be represented in that manner. Phonetics is generally something to avoid when writing accents, even if you’ve seen it before in published books.

What about something like ebonics or a specific non-English dialect? My advice stands, as phonetic representation can sometimes come off as unintended racism especially when it’s being written from a non-native speaker perspective. This kind of thing can happen with any representation of a language that isn’t your own of course, and it’s important to be mindful of that fact.

As with any accurate portrayal, research and speaking to the people you wish to represent is key. Getting their perspective is important and the fear of misrepresentation shouldn’t stop you from including diverse characters.

That being said you can represent a non-native speaker in reasonable ways:

  • I know this isn’t normally the case in the United States, but in some other countries English is often taught as a second language at an early age. When representing a character speaking English as a second language, it’s important to consider how long that character has been speaking English. If it hasn’t been a long time, it would be reasonable to say that the character may slip back into his native language when speaking English becomes difficult (I’ve seen it happen here with Spanish speakers, especially kids who were born in other countries). Again, there are a lot of non-native English speakers who are perfectly proficient at the language, and even speak it better than natives. Do not fall into the stereotypical trap that non-native speakers “can’t handle English” or that their language is somehow inferior.
  • Emotion can play a role. Sometimes people will slip into their native languages when they are angry or distressed. Others will do it when they want to communicate something to another native speaker, and hide their words from a non-native.
  • It’s also important to consider the syntax of the native language. Sometimes native syntax will slip into English speech.
  • On that same token, sometimes native words or phrases will be used in place of English ones, especially if they’re commonly used in the character’s everyday life. For example, the character could have a relative that doesn’t speak English so he has to go back and forth between both languages.
  • Culture also plays a role. Different cultures have different perspectives of the world and how people should act. It is best to read articles written by natives or people who have lived in different parts of the world to get a different perspective.
  • Sometimes, even within the same language, there are differences. Using the United States and England for example, we both speak English but have different words for the same things. For example: we say trash in the US while rubbish is mostly commonly used in England.

Conveying Tone of Voice

I know people harp on “show, don’t tell”, but if you have the opportunity to attribute a sound or tone adjective to a character’s voice, do it. There’s nothing wrong with letting the reader in on what a character sounds like, especially when that character is first introduced or says something important that’s thematically appropriate to the tone of the scene.

Tone of voice and scene tone can go hand in hand to enhance each other, but know they are different concepts.

In order to convey tone, you can do one of these things:

  1. Use an adjective.
  2. Use a comparison to relate the sound of the character’s voice to one that’s easier for people to imagine.
  3. Relate the character’s voice to a living person, if applicable.

For words to describe tone, I offer this link from the Writing Helper’s Tumblr: 55 Words to Describe Someone’s Voice.

Happy writing!

-Morgan

April 2014
17
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A Note on Cliches

thewritingcafe:

I get questions on cliches every day. Sometimes they’re broad and asking about cliches within an entire genre. Sometimes they’re super specific. If you’re looking for a list of cliches for a genre, go through my tags page for the cliche tags or look through the tag for the genre that you’re writing.

Now, for the people who give me their plot or scene and ask if it’s a cliche, it’s probably not. Stop worrying. Read more. If you read or see something that happens so often that you can predict it or if it has no effect on you because you’ve seen it so much, it’s probably a cliche. 

Does your character die in the arms of a friend and confess their love with their last breath? Cliche. That’s a cliche. You should know that if you’ve watched enough movies or read enough books. It’s used in parodies all the time because it’s so cliche. That’s happened way too many times and if you have to ask me if it’s a cliche or not, you aren’t reading enough. You have to read the genre you’re writing in to know what has been done.

When you ask me how to twist a cliche, I can’t give you an answer because I would be writing your story for you. If you want to do something different, you have to come up with it. I can’t give you any other advice than to tell you to avoid cliches.

The last issue is the different between trends and cliches.

Sometimes people ask me how to write certain things differently. Recently it’s been with dystopian novels and vampires or zombies. These are not cliches. They are major trends. Certain things about them are cliches or have become cliches, but these things by themselves are not cliches.

I don’t like to tell people not to write something unless what they are doing is offensive or plagiarism, but if you want my honest opinion on how to make these things different my advice is to write something different. Not “put a twist on vampires” different, but write something else entirely. It is hard to stand out when everyone is writing the same thing. If you don’t want to stand out or be different and you’re just having some fun, then by all means go ahead and write all the vampire, zombie, and dystopian stories you want.

I can’t assess the scenes you describe to me because I have not read them and I do not know the context. Therefore, there’s not much I can do for you. There aren’t cliches for everything anyway. Keep reading and keep writing.

tl;dr: There is not a cliche for everything and you shouldn’t worry too much as long as you avoid major cliches. Also, I will no longer be answering questions on how to flip cliches or whether or not your story is cliche.

#clichés   #cliches   #cliche   
April 2014
17
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TEN THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RACE | PBS 

america-wakiewakie:

Our eyes tell us that people look different. No one has trouble distinguishing a Czech from a Chinese. But what do those differences mean? Are they biological? Has race always been with us? How does race affect people today?

There’s less - and more - to race than meets the eye:

1. Race is a modern idea. Ancient societies, like the Greeks, did not divide people according to physical distinctions, but according to religion, status, class, even language. The English language didn’t even have the word ‘race’ until it turns up in 1508 in a poem by William Dunbar referring to a line of kings.

2. Race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race.

3. Human subspecies don’t exist. Unlike many animals, modern humans simply haven’t been around long enough or isolated enough to evolve into separate subspecies or races. Despite surface appearances, we are one of the most similar of all species.

4. Skin color really is only skin deep. Most traits are inherited independently from one another. The genes influencing skin color have nothing to do with the genes influencing hair form, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, athletic ability or forms of intelligence. Knowing someone’s skin color doesn’t necessarily tell you anything else about him or her.

5. Most variation is within, not between, “races.” Of the small amount of total human variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans or Cherokees. About 94% can be found within any continent. That means two random Koreans may be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.

6. Slavery predates race. Throughout much of human history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, even debt, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. Due to a unique set of historical circumstances, ours was the first slave system where all the slaves shared similar physical characteristics.

7. Race and freedom evolved together. The U.S. was founded on the radical new principle that “All men are created equal.” But our early economy was based largely on slavery. How could this anomaly be rationalized? The new idea of race helped explain why some people could be denied the rights and freedoms that others took for granted.

8. Race justified social inequalities as natural. As the race idea evolved, white superiority became “common sense” in America. It justified not only slavery but also the extermination of Indians, exclusion of Asian immigrants, and the taking of Mexican lands by a nation that professed a belief in democracy. Racial practices were institutionalized within American government, laws, and society.

9. Race isn’t biological, but racism is still real. Race is a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and social institutions have created advantages that disproportionately channel wealth, power, and resources to white people. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.

10. Colorblindness will not end racism. Pretending race doesn’t exist is not the same as creating equality. Race is more than stereotypes and individual prejudice. To combat racism, we need to identify and remedy social policies and institutional practices that advantage some groups at the expense of others.

RACE - The Power of an Illusion was produced by California Newsreel in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Major funding provided by the Ford Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Diversity Fund.

#race   #misc   
April 2014
17
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5 Common Story Problems with Simple Fixes

fictionwritingtips:

Our stories are often plagued with these common story problems, but if we don’t know how to fix them, we’ll never improve our writing. It’s important that you remember you don’t need to scrap your novel if you keep having the same issues over and over again. Hopefully this list will help you pinpoint what’s going on and provide ways for you to improve your novel.

Problem: Unmotivated Characters

If you’re having trouble figuring out where your story should go next, the problem could be with unmotivated characters. Characters aren’t in your novel just so you can push them around every once in a while and make them do things. They need to develop over time and keep your story going in the right direction.

Solution:

Work on your character’s wants, goals, and motivations. You need to figure out what’s driving your character if you want them to do anything. Where do they want to end up? What’s standing in their way? What’s their plan? Who will help them? Think about everything your character will need to do to resolve your novel. Focus on what they want and what motivates their actions and your characters will stop being dull and lifeless.

Problem: Boring First Chapters

A boring first chapter is dangerous because you want to captivate your audience right away. You don’t want to lose readers just because of this, but sometimes it happens.  You should give enough information to keep your readers interested, while also keeping them intrigued enough to figure out what happens next.

Solution:

Putting emotion into your scenes from the beginning will not only help set the tone, but we’ll get an immediate understanding of your world. The best advice I can give is to construct a scene that helps us best understand your character. If they’re on the run, show us that they’re being chased. If they’re sad and lonely, construct a scene that lets us feel their isolation. You don’t necessarily need to open your book with action, but you do need to introduce the conflict. Think about what your character wants and go from there. Think of your first chapter as an introduction to an essay. You don’t go right into the points immediately, but you set us up for something good.

Problem: Plot Holes

Writers worry about forgetting to include important information in their novel that’s necessary to the plot. If you’re discovering that readers often point out plot holes in your story, maybe it’s time to reevaluate how you plan your novel.

Solution:

Pre-planning or prewriting your novel often solves any plot hole problems. If you take the time to write out important scenes so you don’t forget them, your story will become stronger. However, if you’re not someone who likes to do so much planning, you can tackle plot holes during the editing phase. Take notes when you’re editing so that you can catch these plot holes and figure out where you can add necessary information. A plot hole does not always mean your novel needs loads of reworking, but it is something you need to take the time to fill in.

Problem: Poor Pacing

Poor pacing can ruin a novel, but luckily it’s something you can tackle head on before you even start writing your story. Good pacing helps add tension to your novel and helps you make sure there’s enough rising and falling action to keep your story interesting.

Solution:

Planning out your novel ahead of time also helps solve pacing problems. You can create a timeline that helps you keep track and plan out when you want certain things to happen. Read up on story arcs and try to plan out your scenes accordingly. If you’re already done with your novel and you notice poor pacing, try rearranging scenes or spreading out the action.

Problem: Info-Dumping

A very common writing problem is info-dumping. This is when you tell your readers loads of information at a time without showing them anything important. Info-dumps usually occur in first chapters of novels, but they can happen anytime during the course of your story. Info- dumps can drag down your story and bore your readers.

Solution:

Cut out long paragraphs where you explain what’s going on in your novel and show your readers instead. Avoid over explaining things that can be explained through action. Letting your audience figure things out instead is a much more satisfying reading experience and it lets your readers connect with your characters on a deeper level.

-Kris Noel

April 2014
17
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Anonymous asked

Hi. I'm writing a story about a character who is a tattoo artist and was wondering if you could direct me to any resources about tattoos: their history, the art of tattooing. Anything along those lines. Thank you.

lazyresources:

What’s the time period? What’s the setting? These are very important questions as the history and art of tattoos heavily rely on both of them. Thus, most of the links I can give are going to be very generalized, though I might focus a bit more on the history of tattoos in the Philippines… mainly because I’m in the middle of researching about that country. Please note that the “Iceman” mentioned in several articles below is not the oldest example of human tattooing. Also note that Captain James Cook did not bring tattoos to the West. The articles remain linked mainly for the other facts.

General

History

Ink and Methods

Art

Philippines 

I’m really sorry for taking so long. I hope that helps!

#tattoo   #tattoos   
April 2014
17
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Anonymous asked

I want my character to be sort of cold and lone wolfy but I don't want her to be like that just because. I want her to have a sort of motivation for doing so. Any advice?

whataboutwriting:

First of all, let me tell you I think it’s great that you acknowledge that a character shouldn’t have such a personality trait without having a reason behind it. 

But I think what you really need is a deeper connection with your character. It seems to me that you don’t know her well enough yet, and therefore I encourage you to write a small biography or answer character development questions on her. It will help you getting to know her past, her present and her future aspirations, and therefore you will become more aware of the path that led her here and why is she like this today.

Generally, there is a certain event in a person’s past that makes them be like this. Whether it was childhood bullying, an absent family, an abusive childhood, a traumatic event that took place in her past, there is generally a past reason that explains the behavior. There is also the possibility that these traits were born with her, which could be the case if, for instance, she suffered from Social Anxiety. (Keep in mind that not all people with social anxiety would be like this - this is only an example).

Below, you’ll find some questions you can answer in order to know more about this part of your character’s personality and behavior.

  • Has she always been like this?
  • Is she capable of handling social situations well?
  • Is she satisfied with her cold, lone-wolf-y side, or does she wish she could change it? 
  • Does she keep to herself because she enjoys it or can’t she behave any other way?
  • Was there any traumatic event in her past that could trigger these personality traits?
  • If so, what was it and in what ways did it affect her life from then on? Describe the event and what she felt regarding it.
  • Do these personality traits wash off around certain people or is she incapable of another behavior?

Hopefully, these questions will help you. Good luck!

April 2014
16

Continuing the Discussion

What if I was writing a character who already has powers, but then loses them due to a disability? This is just one idea I had, yet after reading the messages I wondered if I was doing the right thing. - Anonymous

That sounds… slightly wrong, but plausible. It depends on the nature of the superpower and the nature of the disability. I personally don’t like the idea, though.

Regarding disability, does that mean Toph from Avatar the legend of Aang is offensive? She is blind from birth, but she can “see” by sensing vibration with earth bending. Her power is common in this world, but still kinda cancels out her blindness. - 

Toph does count with disadvantages regardless of being able to see through Earth vibration (For example, Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender was born blind, but uses Earthbender skills to feel vibrations through stone. This means she can’t “see” things that aren’t touching the ground and her “sight” is severely impaired if she’s not touching solid earthen surfaces - she hates hates hates flying or boating, sand makes everything “blurry”, etc, and in a world without Braille, she’s illiterate. However, if she’s on an earthen surface, she can see all around her, even behind things. +++). But, she does contribute to the Disability Superpower which is, at large, problematic. Further reading

This doesn’t mean she’s a bad character, and it doesn’t mean it’s bad to love her—I personally do. 

Let’s say the villain is like the sea witch from the Little Mermaid who can trade one ability for other. The main character’s disability is caused by this villain, and her friend sacrificed something to the villain to cure her disability. Offensive? - 

The fact the disability is seen as a horrible punishment in the first place can be offensive. 

Kinda along the lines of what your asks are currently talking about, I have a character who, through the course of the series, loses her arm and has to come to grips with what happened to her physically and emotionally. She doesn’t get powers  but she does come across a being later on that has the ability to give her back her arm. The being becomes part of the main cast and I feel it would be unrealistic for her to decline the offer, but I do understand how the situation is is offensive being a “magical cure” and all. The powerful being can’t be omitted so should I scrap her ever losing her arm? - Anonymous

If it makes you feel conflicted I’d ditch the idea of the character losing her arm altogether—but, I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on this.

A character acquiring or innately having a superpower and being disabled can work, but I see two different spectrums. There are characters who have powers that is a disability/makes them disabled (Rogue, Cyclops, Daredevil, etc.) and then there are characters who have a superpower, but have been disabled from birth or acquired their disability from severe injuries (Prof. Xavier, Flash Thompson, Cable, etc.) It can work, but depends on how realistic or fantastical the writer develops it. -Anonymous

There was a talk already about Daredevil and the like. And I’m quoting myself here: “ It’s not that the trope is inherently wrong, but it’s the fact that—it’s that, a trope a lot of people use. To the point the number of portrayals of normal people with disabilities that have to actually deal with their disabilities is greatly outnumbered by portrayals of this trope or ‘inspiration porn’ or Tragedies. “ 

It can work, you’re right, but under certain circumstances which are too many to point out. However, at large we’ve concluded it’s better when the superpower cancels in no way their disability. 

Do you have any resources on how to write disabled characters realistically and respectfully? Also, I can see why many people may wrongly opt to the disabled + superpower trope because a lot of the time in a story with superheros in it, all the not-super characters (disabled or not) don’t play a very big role and can’t go on the same type of adventures as the super characters do. So I wonder how someone would involve a disabled character into that without giving them non-human powers? - Anonymous 

First question

Second: you can totally involve a disabled character and give them non-human powers! In a story where a large cast of characters is getting powers, it’d be strange for all of them to be able-bodied. The issue is when the power in question ‘cures’ their disability! “ If you have a character with a disability and give them a superpower that ‘fixes’ their disability, why would you even make them have a disability in the first place?” Furthermore.

April 2014
16
Via   •   Source

A Handy Guide to What Is and Isn’t Cultural Appropriation

alwayslabellavita:

What isn’t cultural appropration:

• Trying/eating/making a culture’s food
• Listening to that culture’s music
• Watching that culture’s movies
• Reading that culture’s books
• Appreciating that culture’s art
• Wearing that culture’s clothing IF in a setting where that culture is prevalent and IF people are okay with it and/or it is necessary to fit in and not stand out weirdly (i.e. If you visit Pakistan, you can wear a shalwar kameez so you don’t stand out as an American tourist. Or if you visit a specific temple or religious setting, you may need to/want to adhere to specific dress forms. Or if you’re invited to a wedding and they allow/invite you to wear their cultural dress to participate in the festivities).
• Using that culture’s dance/physical traditions in specific settings (i.e. taking belly-dancing classes, or going to an Indian wedding and trying to dance with them).

What is cultural appropriation:

• Wearing specific items of clothing that may (and probably do) have deeper meaning as a costume. Like on Halloween.
• Wearing specific items of clothing to be trendy or fashionable.
• Trying to imitate their natural beauty standards and possible makeup/markings (i.e dreadlocks and bindis and mehndi/henna).
• Taking their rituals, old-as-hell traditions, and dances and turning them into cheap, tacky everyday garbage for you to have “fun” with (i.e. smoking sheesha. Y’all turned it into this janky nonsense that looks so trashy and stupid).
• Taking spiritual/religious ideas and traditions and subscribing to them to be trendy or unique
• Trying to act like you’re an expert in their food, music, or art, and that you can do it BETTER than them
• Basically trying to WEAR that culture’s skin, clothing, & beauty traditions as a costume/trend and turn old traditions into cheap garbage

And WHY is this wrong? Because, in our society, white people or non-POC can get away with wearing another culture’s clothes and identities and it will be “cute”, “indie”, “bohemian”, “trendy”, and “exotic.” BUT when a POC who actually belongs to that culture wears their own culture’s clothing, styles of beauty, or does things that are specific to their culture, they’re looked down upon, made fun of, sneered at, told to “Go home, get out of this country, we don’t do that here,” and laughed at. The few times I wore a shalwar kameez in public—and I’m Pakistani—people gave me weird looks, like I had a disease. And yet if a white person (or, heck, even a different POC, because POC don’t have the right to appropriate other cultures either) wears a shalwar kameez, people will call her exotic and cute. Seriously? Do you see a problem? I do. Want some proof? When Selena Gomez and Katy Perry use other cultures as costumes in their music videos and stuff, they were thought to be creative and fun. But when an Indian American woman with brown skin won Miss America, there was a huge racist backlash and people said, “We don’t look like that here, we don’t need a curry muncher here, get out of this country.” So I guess Indian culture is only okay if Selena Gomez is stealing it, right? But not if an actual Indian woman is displaying it? Another example: white people with dreadlocks are seen as “soft grunge” and “hippie”, but black people with dreadlocks are looked down upon and seen as dirty and lazy for having them, even though they know how to take care of their dreadlocks way better. 

Respect the fact that we are different. You don’t need to be culturally BLIND because that is just as ignorant. Trying to ignore cultures means you’re trying to erase peoples’ identities. You can appreciate/like/admire other cultures without trying to steal them, use them, cheapen them, and wear them as costumes. You weren’t born into it, so know your limits. And YES. There will ALWAYS be those people who say, “But my Chinese friends don’t care if ____!” and “I’m Mexican and I don’t care if people ____,” but they do not speak for all people of that culture and just because THEY don’t mind doesn’t mean other people don’t. Plenty of POC get harassed/taunted/degraded/fetishized over their own cultures WHILE people not of that culture are called “free-spirited”, “bohemian”, “quirky” and “trendy” for imitating the SAME culture—so yes, the people who oppose cultural appropriation do it based on actual microaggressions and bigotry they may have faced and it is NOT your job to try and convince then that they don’t have a right to their own culture or that the oppression against them should mean nothing.

Think about this. There are some women okay with sexism. Some POC okay with racist jokes. Some Jewish people don’t care about anti-Semitic jokes. And your friend might be one of these people. But suddenly that makes it okay for you to behave foolishly, immaturely, and ignorantly? 

Wise up. It’s 2014. There is no excuse to be ignorant.

And if you ever need to explain to someone what cultural appropriation is, show them this post (credit me if you post it elsewhere). It’s a good starter and I think it encompasses the basics of what cultural appropriation is and isn’t.