Monday, July 29, 2013

The Dangers and Wonders of Pinterest

ANNOUNCEMENT: Posts will now be every Monday between 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM.


Ah, Pinterest. What was my life before you came into it?

Well, let's see. It was dull. Boring. Unimaginative, quiet, tasteless, uninspiring, and more stressful.

It was also filled with family time, pet time, reading time, writing time, creative time, and slightly less obsessiveness on certain things.

There are pitfalls to this wonderful sight full of every image and recipe and idea imaginable, and yet I don't know what I'd do without it. Not only has it given me wonderful inspiration for stories and characters, but it has opened up interactions with other writers, blogs, and has done its job spreading word about my WIP to a tiny little section of people, which is way better than no one at all. So right now, I'm going to explain to you how I personally use pinterest to aid my writing.

1) Writing Blogs

Pinterest has led me to find multiple new writing blogs and posts that have already taught me things about writing and inspired me to better myself. You can find just about any post imaginable, from various genres and types of writing to posts on specifics like writer's block and personal inspiration. One of the most encouraging ways I have found to boost my writing is to read another writer's blog and get a feel for how they keep on going.

2) Research

Links to articles on every subject. True, google is helpful as well, but there are times when I want visual aids. ;) I can find specific posts dealing with subjects on how to write such and such a thing, history, psychology, life in 1912 Britain, research and writing technique books, ect. One of the things I most love finding are costumes; I can find hundreds of photos of old dress from the medieval ages to 19th century Great Britain, and that's a great help in visualization as well.
It's a great source for a quick fill on your knowledge.

3) Character Inspiration

Obviously, and what I feel most writers like me use it for, is you can use Pinterest to find that perfect face, that face that represents what your beloved character looks like, his emotions, his actions. A simple picture can inspire one to think of a whole new scene in a book, or an entire new story itself. Who would say no to that?

4) Interaction

I have been able to connect a little bit to a few other fellow pinners and budding authors, and just by discussing our opinions on a certain look a character is giving or how we imagine a scene following a particular piece of music. This interaction has been vital to me, since I have no other friends who write, and it has been encouraging.

Also, I've been able to gain fifteen followers on this blog, and I'm guessing that most of them came from Pinterest. (Check out the new poll for the blog - perhaps I'll be proven wrong! ;) ). By this, I have been given encouraging words from complete strangers who have never read my writing, saying they are interested in my story and wish me luck in my future endeavors. I want to take this moment and say thank you, because that means so much and gives me a boost to continue writing that next scene!

If you click on the button in the bar off to the right, you'll find my Pinterest account. I have boards to describe myself as a writer, a board to gather useful research and encouraging tips, a reading list, and most importantly, the boards to gather inspiration for every story idea. I have a tendency to forget things or move on without writing something down and then losing the idea later on, and Pinterest has given tremendous help to pull my thoughts together. Many of what I think will become great story ideas have originated from a picture on pinterest, most recently my 1940s book idea I came up with last month. Each board encourages scenes, characters, and emotions to come alive as I write, and it has been the most inspiring thing in my writing so far. I can't praise the site enough.

However, you all know we have to be careful. Pinterest sucks us in until we look at every single character profile or piece of costume that tugs at our hearts and eyes. I find Pinterest extremely relaxing when I'm feeling anxious about something and go there often.
As writers, we have to be careful. Too often I've popped onto Pinterest and found an hour or two has slipped by without me realizing it. There are times I'm doing research that is important to my story, but many of the times I'm just gazing at the enchanting photos. Precious time has been wasted on that site, time that should've been spent actually writing in my novel or creating character sketches. I encourage you to set a time limit on this site; I know we've all had this happen before. Yes, it's so much fun, and most of the time helpful, but you can't let it become an excuse for not writing, and that's the danger of Pinterest.

Priorities must be set; either figure out exactly what you want to look for when first getting on the site and stick to those elements, or set a timer to remind yourself it's time to get off and start writing. Again, I'm not saying your time spent there is wasted every time, to me it's essential for inspiration, but there has to come a time to get down to the nitty gritty.

Do you use Pinterest to aid in your writing?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Update on My Work in Progress

The past few days I've been writing like crazy in my WIP, The Descendants of the Drasia: The Prequel.

Few Updates:

I just hit over 100,000 words, ideas to pull everything together have been pounding my mind right and left (which is great but when you're in the middle of writing a scene, it's hard to break even to write those ideas down!), and the story has taken tremendous leaps in the past three-four chapters. There's still a lot of story left to write, but all the scenes for the "near" end that I've been planning since the beginning of the book are popping up, and I can see the end in sight. I'm absolutely thrilled with the knowledge that this draft IS going to be done by Christmas (if not by Thanksgiving, on which I secretly set my sights...shh, don't tell my writer's brain). Thank you everyone who has given me encouragement and kind, interested words so far to get me to where I am right now. Keep looking for updates on Drasia!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Book Review: The O'Malley Series by Dee Henderson

I mentioned Dee Henderson as one of my favorite inspirational authors in my last blog post, so today I thought I'd give a review on one of her books.

The book I'm reviewing comes from her series, The O'Malley Series, about a group of adults who "adopted" each other as family when they were all in the same home for orphans and took on the last name O'Malley. Each book deals with one member of this family, their job, looking out for their siblings, and of course a love interest is usually involved. I have read the prequel and up to books 1-3, but I can highly recommend all of the previous books (#1 and #2 were my favorites so far.). Today I'm going to review the one I finished just a couple weeks ago.

The O'Malley Series, Book 3, The Truth Seeker.

The Truth Seeker deals with Lisa O'Malley, an older one of the siblings. She's a forensic pathologist, and while you might not get a lot of moments of rattling off amazing details about the bodies she examines like Sherlock Holmes or Brennan from the TV series Bones does, you get a few of those little moments and if you're even slightly interested in that profession, it's fascinating. As she tries to uncover the possible murder of a man burned to death, Lisa works with Quinn Diamond, a US Marshall who is also on the hunt trying to discover his father's murderer, who he believes is also the man who murdered a girl in his Wyoming town on the same day many years ago.

Quinn shows obvious interest in Lisa, but she isn't too thrilled to be picked third (Quinn tried dating at least two of her other sisters before her). However, as they work together, the unlikely pair soon discovers they're going to need more than just each other's assistance in this murder case.


Dee Henderson is a Christian author who deals with a specific point of Christianity in each story, and as a Christian myself I appreciate her desire to be bold in discussing the faith in her books. In this book, Henderson specifically deals with one character being pushed to come to know Christ and her resistance in the matter. Even if you don't share this faith, I would still recommend the series. The writing is excellent and the story is always tense and thrilling. This book was probably the most relaxed of the series, which is why I prefer the two I mention previously, but these books are written in a way where you could pick any of them and catch up fairly easily (though I always recommend to start at the beginning).

Quick announcement: I had my wisdom teeth pulled a couple of days ago, and the medicine I'm on is very strong (I've read over this post several times, but I'm sorry if there are any grammatical misspellings and such), so it's hard for me at the moment to write blog posts. However, I've been promising a scheduled, consistent blog posting on here, and so if I'm feeling well enough tomorrow, I want to let you know that I plan to post an entry every week on Monday between 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM. I'll try that for a month or two and see how it goes, so make sure to stop by the blog on Mondays! :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Authors Who Inspire Me

The well is a little dry today for a deep-thoughted post (my mind is practically putty - it's in the 90s here, and I don't mix well with heat :P), so I thought I'd share with you the authors that helped inspire me to write.

1. C.S. Lewis

Shame on me if I didn't mention this man! The only work of C.S. Lewis's I've read is The Chronicles of Narnia. I read the first book when I was nine or ten and was instantly enthralled. His use of imagery (sorry, Tolkien) and symbolic references captured my heart and opened my imagination, leading me to start with fan fiction (of which some I'm pleased with considering where I was, and others...I never want to talk about again) and eventually broadening and creating my own characters.

2. Jane Austen

Of course. Jane Austen and her wit and spunk. She seemed to write her heart on the page, not caring what anyone else would think of her views, and how I admire her for that. I tried reading Sense and Sensibility first, but I couldn't get into it so I think I went to Pride and Prejudice (it was a long time ago..I might've read Northanger Abbey first), and it was good, but I'll never forget the first time I read Emma. Sitting on top of the bunk bed, not able to tear my eyes away from the pages though the room had begun to grow dark. I fell in love with that story and the characters and even did a killer book report on it (well, I at least thought it was killer then!) by making a fictional newspaper for Highbury. The stories still inspire me to write, especially in that time period.

3. Dee Henderson

Taking a modern twist, Dee Henderson is by far my favorite author. A Christian writer of mystery and suspense, she certainly grips your emotions and takes them for a ride; you can't help but feel a part of the action and a connection with the characters. I've studied her writing style a bit while reading the books, and that's another aspect I admire. Though not at all immature, her words seem to be formed so simply and effortlessly. No abundance of flowery words, no over-embellishment, no dragging on; straight to the point, yet thrilling and highly engaging. I'm never bored when reading her works. After reading her books, I sometimes head straight into writing and find that I can write much more confidently and smoothly after being influenced by her technique. I recommend The O'Malley Series first of all, and I've also read her book Kidnapped, which was absolutely amazing.

4. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Bit of a different choice, but I can't help but fall in love with the Sherlock Holmes stories. I'm into the second volume of the works, and it's just fascinating. No wonder Doyle was sick and tired of writing these sleuth works of genius, because that's what they were - genius. I can't imagine the thought planning, research, and outlining or something that must've gone into these stories. A true inspiration and motivation to make your story the best possible.

I have other writers that I admire and love, but I haven't read enough of their works to be able to put them on my list. I'm working on getting some more books by these authors, and look for book recommendations coming in future blog posts.

Who or what has inspired you to write?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dishing on Writer's Block

Before I talk about the subject of this post, I want to say this quickly. I'm sorry for all of the changes that have been taking place with the look of the blog, but I have finally settled on a look that I'm going to keep for quite a while (no...really, I have). I was getting some kind but negative feedback on the look I had a few days ago, so I took the suggestions of someone (thanks, Elizabeth!) and added some character to the blog. I'm going to redo the poll off to the right so you can vote on this new, official look. (And unless everyone comes back saying they HATE it, sorry folks...I'm still going to keep this look for a while. ;) ) So please vote, and let's get on with the real stuff!


After a scrumptious (I don't care what anyone says, I still love this word: hoorah for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, y'all!) dinner this evening, I began to wash the dishes so my mom could go and rest. I got everything loaded into the dishwasher and was about to start the hand washing, I had been loading those first dishes, my mind was racing. I developed several new ideas for quick scenes in my WIP, so before I finished the chore I ran into the other room to grab some paper and get those thoughts down before I forgot them. Next thing I knew, my mom was in the kitchen, finishing up the dishes (don't worry, I quickly ran in and stopped her, explaining the situation ;) ).

If you know me, you know I hate housework. Sweeping and laundry are at the top of the loathing list, and I thought I would end up putting dishes on that list because I have some weak back issues which makes standing like that for a length of time hard. However, if there was one chore I could choose from a long list, it would be to do the dishes. Something about it is so vague and mind-numbing that it actually turns the wheels in my head. I've discovered some of my best story ideas through this chore. Good way to get the housework done, eh?

Everyone struggles with writer's block. The best writers out there struggle. What are some ways we can avoid this?

1) Find something that helps you calm down and think (for example, the dishes). Sometimes you press your mind to think, think, think until your stuffing falls out, and your brain is screaming OVERLOAD! My brain does not handle overload well at all, so there are times I just have to back off and forget about the whole situation. Often times the ideas, the ones that will make the book, end up just popping into my head later on in the day. Don't think of it as slowing you down by adding time into not writing; you're still doing something that is highly beneficial to your brain. Your readers will know when you are forcing it.

2) Music. Some people can listen to music while writing, some people are annoyed by even the faintest ticking of a clock. For me, it depends entirely on the music. If I know the song well, I can listen to one with lyrics, because then I just sort of tune it out and let the style override. Other times, it has to be purely instrumental. Other times...I have to take those earbuds out and have silence and hope no one calls me to take the dog out.

However, I would caution you with music. When I first started writing, I would find songs on my then-cd player that fit the mood of the scene I was writing. In the next scene, I would pause in writing and find another song that might fit the mood. Sometimes I would break in the middle of a scene just because the song wasn't working with it. Not good, people. When you're in the zone, you shouldn't let anything break that if you can. Stopping my creativity for the sake of finding a song slowed me down and damaged the writing I was doing.

Here's what I recommend: I have iTunes, and I've made a "Writing Playlist" full of various genres of songs I know I'll love listening to while writing, and I'll play that while I write. That way you know you feel comfortable with each song. Does this mean you can't ever skip around? Of course not. A song may come up that distracts you from your writing (say a peppy song while you're in the midst of a death scene - horror), and you can just quickly hit the mute button and not break your stride. Or, as you're writing, you may come across a scene and a song immediately pops into your head that you think would help you write it. If the song is easily and quickly accessible, go ahead and play it! It really depends on what works for you at that crucial moment.

3) Not Worrying. Worrying you've got the grammar wrong. Wondering if you've got the right word for that particular description. Worrying that someone isn't going to like what you are saying. These thoughts can even evade subconsciously and can all lead to MWB, or Major Writer's Block as I "affectionately" call it. You just have to learn to push those thoughts out of the way completely before you even sit down to write. Determine that you will not think of anything negative as you write and that you'll sweat the small stuff (grammar, the exact right words) later. This will just come with practice and training, but if you work on it, I think I could promise that it would at least improve for you.

4) Opinions. Opinions? You mean like someone reading my work? Never!
Okay, slow down and just think about it. If you let someone read your work, they could give you wonderful opinions and suggestions. You just have to make sure the person you let read your book, whether it be a parent, cousin, or best friend, is someone you fully trust and work well with. They don't have to have the exact same taste as you, but they should be knowledgeable in the area you are writing. I let my best friend read most of my writing, and it's been a blessing. She's kept me going, and though she isn't familiar with the fantasy genre I'm working in right now, she has still been able to point things out to me that have helped. One time she started thinking out loud about what she thought might come later in the book, and it sparked an idea for me to include in my story. So don't throw the notion out right away, but consider it first.

What do you do to conquer writer's block?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The New Double Living

Well, I guess I did a little more to the blog than delete some posts. I had some free time on my hands and decided the blog needed a complete face-lift! Here's an overview of the additions, besides the obvious change in style and background:

Off to the right, you can see I'm now going to be adding polls to my blog. There probably won't be a new one every time one runs out, but I thought it was a fun addition to see what all of my reader's are thinking and what their preferences are in different subjects. So have fun with that, and go ahead and vote for this first pole!

I finally have a "Follow Me on Pinterest" button, so now I don't have to constantly be mentioning my account in every single blog post.

I noticed a lot of people, it seems at least, are viewing my blogs from other countries, which is very exciting. I've added a translate button just in case someone wanders on here and doesn't speak this language well :)

I was very excited about the addition of the search button! Now, if you're wondering if I've written on a certain topic, or if you can't find that one blog post you were trying to think of the other day, you can search key words and find the posts!

I went through and deleted a lot of old blog posts because they either were completely irrelevant now or because my writing style has changed and matured a bit in the past two years. If you take a look at the comments on some of the old posts, however, a few things may not make sense because of changes I've made (I tried to delete some of those comments, but at least for the moment my computer isn't letting me do that).

Hope you enjoy the new look and will continue to check here often for new posts!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Changes to Blog Posts

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to let you know if you go searching the blog, things might be changed a little. The idea of the blog and the writing has changed since the two years I began, and I'm planning on weeding through all of my posts and either deleting or combining some of them to make things a little more constructed and put together. These revisions might take a while, but hopefully the blog will appear a little more orderly after they are done.

Depending on how things go, I might fall behind a little in posts as well, but when everything is done I plan on really making a concrete schedule for posting consistence. Thanks.

Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

I don't care for posting two movie reviews in a row, but I promised last time that I would discuss some things in further detail, and so here I am.

This isn't a review to discuss the actual content of the movie, such as language/morality. Instead, I'm going to focus on a character development and originality aspect. So don't base your decision of seeing this movie on what I say, because I'm not here to tell you whether you should or shouldn't watch it.


I will initially say I really enjoyed this movie, possibly as much as the first, and I would've liked to see it a second time (unfortunately, money protested and won). I did have a few issues with it, however.

I read this point on another blog and thought it was very interesting. Keeping in mind this movie takes place in the future, there was a scene where the Starfleet head honchos are meeting around a table to discuss their new threat, Khan; not one woman apparently was around that table. (**I thought I had seen a woman, but several people had said there wasn't and since I only saw the movie once, I'm going with that.**)
I am not a feminist. However, I'm not blind to the way the world is headed. We had a woman running for president, and it's obvious that in the future, more than likely women will be seen in more prominent roles in the world. This movie takes place in 2259; you would've thought there had been some women around that table as symbols of head of Starfleet. It's no big deal and doesn't bug me too much, but it's just a little fact that could've been taken into account to add a little something to the movie.

Now down to the real business. Each deal with women again, but it's not in a feminist way, but more of the development I had mentioned.

The movie ended and I found myself thinking, "...What happened to Uhura?" She was the strong female character of the group in the last movie -the one others could look up to- and in this movie she had a very small part, and most of it was spent complaining about Spock. The Klingon scene was her best scene, but other than that, I think more could've been accomplished with her character.

The one thing that REALLY, REALLY annoyed me, however, was the introduction of Alice Eve's character, Carol. Beautiful, smarter-than-you-attitude, seemingly strong...until she ended up having to be saved. Oh, and she was secretly the daughter of the Starfleet admiral... of course.

Gag me. Just gag me now.

Gorgeous woman. Wants to escape her mean daddy. I'm-more-capable-than-you-think-I-am. Have we not seen this character a million times before? So many possibilities of slight changes could've been made to make this character at least a little more interesting, as in what if she was unconventionally beautiful? A tomboy?
It seems today that if you're going to have a strong woman character, she either has to be gorgeous and sexually attractive or a lesbian. Don't get me wrong, I love a strong, determined character that can hold her own, but can we not be a little more creative?

As a writer myself, I hope to be able to accomplish what seems to be impossible these days: women characters who are beautiful and strong by what they do, not by how they look. Our jobs as creative writers is to be just that: creative. I'm getting bored by the stereotypical girl and think that if we can rack our brains and add a little spice back into a woman's character, your readers (or watchers, whatever audience you aim towards) will greatly benefit both with their own imagination and with their own confidence. We want to influence people with our writing, and we have to make sure that we are emphasizing the good things.

If you've seen the movie, what were your thoughts?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel

Just a first note: I had a blog where I wrote book and movie reviews, but I decided to delete that blog in order to be able to just post book reviews on this site. Hence, I'm also going to be doing movie reviews here and there as well, because, I'll be honest, I watch a lot of TV (maybe a little more than I should...). Of course, if anyone, like me, is interested in screenwriting, watching movies is as important to us as consistent reading. However, I will try to tie everything into at least one point that has something to do with writing.

A few weeks ago, I went to see the new superhero movie Man of Steel. I personally like Superman - he's not my favorite (I'm more of a Marvel fan than DC if I had to choose ;) ), but I still enjoy his character. I'd seen the trailer for Man of Steel and thought it looked awesome, so I sat down in the theater to enjoy another great movie of action-packed super-goodness. What I got was 143 minutes of disappointment. Okay...maybe 130 minutes.

**SPOILERS** Ye be warned.

I was bored, literally bored during parts of the movie. Was there anything in that movie we hadn't seen before in other superhero movies? Let's see... Big battle in the big city? Done before, check. The military comes in, fire their guns which have no effect on the big bad guys, and yet continue on until almost everyone is dead? Check. Fights on the sides of city buildings (scraping along bricks, thrown through glass past several rooms) Check. Sexy female side-kick to the bad guy? Check. That's just a few.
(I thought the beginning of the movie on Krypton was beautiful, however, and really enjoyed the creature that served as Jor-El's get-away ride ;) )

I will say I thought the casting was really well done. I'd never seen Henry Cavill in a movie before and thought he was a fine actor; Amy Adams was awesome as Lois Lane (though I'll get to her in a moment), Russell Crowe was great and I could understand what he was saying, and then of course Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Clark's parents was an obvious wonderful choice.

However...I feel bad for these actors in this movie. The script wasn't that great; not exactly lame, but just completely overdone. Amy Adams had NOTHING to work with as Lois Lane. I thought her performance was good, but I kept waiting for more and it never came, and in the end her character was proven weak.
When Superman and Lois kiss at the end of the movie it didn't feel real. Their relationship was entirely rushed throughout the movie, and their kiss felt more like a spur-of-the-moment, I'm-so-emotional-right-now-I'm-going-to-kiss-you-so-we-bond-in-this-time-of-conflict (phew) instead of the romantic, I'm-feeling-something-for-you way it should've been. I almost would've preferred it if they had left the kiss out of this movie so that famous tension between these two characters could be developed a little more.

Overall, the movie was enjoyable to watch, but I hope they have bigger and WAY better things planned for the sequel. I've been disappointed by un-originality in a couple movies I've been psyched for in the past few months; the writer's need to get with it and start using their creative minds to add some... flair. I plan on discussing this more in my next post, which I hope to publish this weekend.

If you've seen Man of Steel, what were your thoughts? Comment below or on my pinterest account for this blog.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Look

The blog has a new look, as you can see. Just didn't want anyone to be confused for a moment. I would feel terrible if you came on and said, "WAIT, WHERE'S THE RED? WHERE AM I?!"

Thank you. ;)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Inspiration for Drasia

I've written a few (more than a few...) posts on my current WIP, The Descendants of Drasia: The Prequel. So many different things, big and small, inspired this story idea, and today I'm going to share with you a few of my "inspirations."

1. A renewed interest in writing fantasy.

I wrote fantasy fanfiction for a long time before I got "serious" about writing stories with my own characters and ideas. For a while, I broke away from any sort of fantasy writing, thinking a break from being so dependent on that genre was a good idea, and turned to historical and modern fiction. While I'm still very interested in those genres, something wasn't clicking from my brain to my pen. So, I decided to go back to the genre that I grew up with and loved: fantasy. And, whadyaknow, it seems to be my niche...for now ;)

2. The BBC series Merlin.

I got into watching Merlin either at the end of the 4th series or right at the beginning of the 5th (can't quite remember). Sure, the show is made for kids, is quirky, and at times very cheesy, but I adore it. The show renewed my love for the medieval fantasy. (In fact, while watching Merlin, I came up with the idea for Drasia.)

3. A new-found interest in Arthurian-legend as a result of Merlin.

Now, Drasia does not contain any Arthurian legend, or any tie to anything in the legends we have in our real world, but again, it inspired the time period for the book and helps motivate and inspire me to write.

4. Beautiful medieval costumes.

Need I say more?

5. Dragons

Who says dragons have to kidnap the damsel-in-distress and be killed by the heroic knight? The dragons in my story are centuries old, wise, moody, and play a key part in the development of my main character. I mean, who doesn't want to fly above the world on a fire-breathing, butt-kicking, smooth-gliding dragon? ;)

6. My love of mountains.

I've been surrounded by mountains for practically my whole life. My parents grew up in the midwest, so whenever we take a vacation we go to the "flat-lands," and let me tell you, the wide-open space not only makes me feel smaller than I already am, it plain frightens me sometimes. I feel like anyone can see me, uncomfortable, and unsafe.
Enter the beautiful, mysterious, snowy mountains of Minaeth edging the border of Drasia and the rolling hills surrounding the forest that draws a line between the two kingdoms. Aahh, seclusion and quietness. My best friends.

7. Forests

As I hinted at already, there are mountains - there are forests. I love to hike through the mountains and trees, especially in the fall when the colors are ablaze above in the sunlit trees and leaves made bolder on the dewy ground. There's nothing like going for a ride in the car and keeping an eye out for wildlife that might be scampering through the woods. Forests are peaceful and "alone," the same feelings I try to convey through the book as it is Marta's "hiding" place.

8. Castles

Duh, you can't write a good fantasy book without ONE castle. From castles on high hills, stretched along a waterfall, or hidden deep within black stone, I draw mood inspirations from the fixtures of grandeur.

9. Mordred's Lullaby and Loreena McKennitt.

Mordred's Lullaby is written by Heather Dale, who takes Arthurian legends and turns them into beautiful songs (hence it being a slightly darker song that perfectly fit when writing "those certain scenes" in my book). Loreena McKennitt writes songs of Celtic and Middle Eastern themes, my favorite so far being The Lady of Shalott (which, yes, is simply the poem in song form). I listened to both of these particular songs especially as I was first writing this draft, and they are haunting and beautiful.

(Mordred's Lullaby, but be sure to check out The Lady of Shalott as well. A long and beautiful song)

10. Medieval weapons (Swords, bow and arrow.)

11. Watching shapes form from smoke rising from a flickering candle.

The simple act gives me great inspiration when I'm about to write scenes with my character, Marta.