Writing Tips: Denotation vs. Connotation

Denotation:

Definition: A denotation is the dictionary definition of a word.

Example: One example of denotation would be stating that the word cheap means inexpensive.

Connotation:

Definition: A connotation is a definition of a word, but with cultural and personal feelings added in.

Example: One example of connotation would be that the word “cheap” often has a negative meaning, or connotation in this case. For instance, when someone says something was “cheaply made”, it’s often taken to mean that the item wasn’t made very well and won’t last very long.

 

Using Denotations and Connotations in Writing:

As writers, denotations can’t be the only thing we focus on when we write. We also have to look at the connotations of words. For instance, when you go to describe a character as a more dominant person, you have many words to choose from. You could use words like assertive, aggressive, or pushy. However, although all of these have a similar denotation, they have very different connotations. Out of these three words, assertive is the nicest as it means someone is willing to assert their opinions. The word aggressive implies potential violence, and the word pushy implies that the person tends to force things onto people. The word you would use would obviously depend on the character, but word choice is very important. As a writer, you have to consider the connotations of the words you use, in and out of context. Readers only get to know your characters and settings and such through text, they don’t get to have you there to describe what you meant. As such, it’s best to make sure you pick the best word for your specific meaning to make sure your writing comes off as you meant it to.

~Victoria

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Horse Writing Resources

Horse Breeds:

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-breeds/all_landing.aspx (listed alphabetically)

Horse Colors and Markings:

http://www.equusite.com/articles/basics/basicsColors.shtml

Horse Care:

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-health/

English Horse Training:

http://www.horsechannel.com/english-horse-training/

Western Horse Training:

http://www.horsechannel.com/western-horse-training/

Horse Tack Guide:

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-resources/online-tack-guide/online-tack-guide.aspx

Horse Tack Cleaning:

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-keeping/tack-cleaning-tips.aspx

Horse Tack Fit:

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-exclusives/horse-tack-fit.aspx

~Victoria

Figurative Language: Part One

Simile

Definition: A simile is a comparison between two or more things using the words like or as.

Examples: Her eyes were as vibrant as the forest. He fought using swords like a master.

Metaphor

Definition: Metaphors are comparisons between two or more things without using the words like or as.

Examples: Sam broke her heart when he left. A sea of mist came slithering through the forest. (Technically the second example is also personification, as mist cannot slither.)

Hyperbole

Definition: Hyperbole is an obvious exaggeration of something, whether it by the size of something, the amount, or something else.

Examples: There were ten billion ants crawling on the counter. The fish was so big it ate my boat and the homework on it!

Oxymoron

Definition: Oxymorons are when two opposites are put together in the same description.

Examples: The cold water made her hands burn.

Onomatopoeia

Definition: Onomatopoeia is when sound words are used for noise.

Examples: Bang! Boom! Splat! Bark. Ribbit. Meow. Creak.

Alliteration

Definition: Alliteration is when two or more consecutive words share the same sound. In some cases, the words don’t have to be consecutive if there’s enough of them in the sentence.

Examples: Sally sat silently in the sand. James jumped over the jagged metal.

Personification

Definition: Personification is when something that isn’t human is described like one or given the traits of one.

Examples: The shadows danced on the walls. The door hinges screeched out in agony as the door was closed. The wind whispered through the trees.

Synecdoche

Definition: Synecdoche is when you use part of something to stand for the whole. This also is what it’s called when you use a material to refer to the whole.

Examples: I asked for her hand in marriage. Jane laid out her mother’s finest silver.

Metonymy

Definition: Metonymy is when you use something related to something to reference it.

Examples: The orders came directly from the crown. Who will claim the throne? The suits are in the courtroom now.

~Victoria

Weapon and Fighting Reference Vi

Here are some weapon and fighting videos that we compiled a little while back for reference purposes. We use them for writing, but you could probably use them as references for writing, art, anything.

Weapon Videos

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3n7MKHEwA9xXBErhXYZbMQ (this channel in general)

Knives/Daggers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l76lDYHsLAs (documentary, fighting with)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z143thJWRBQ (techniques/duel)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsR-C_P98r0 (sword and dagger)

Swords

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYRJttpKmRM (documentary, history there of)

Greatswords

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hfLZozBVpM (two handed greatsword)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfQ0tzYxIG8 (scottish greatsword)

Staves

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMe0tBBOgCs (staff vs staff)

Unconventional Weapons

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OuMsPQeKT0 (cane sword)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNH55EMGyO8 (chain whip)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56xXUEyi_e8 (chain whip)

Bows

http://legacy.fordham.edu/Halsall/ancient/zeno-paradoxes.asp (Zeno paradoxes about arrows)

http://margo.student.utwente.nl/sagi/artikel/longbow/longbow.html (lots of technical stuff)

~Victoria

Púca, Trickster and Shapeshifter

Also known as a pooka, phouka, puca, phooka, puck, and púka among other things, this creature is an Irish trickster and shapeshifter. There exist similar creatures throughout Britain, Wales, and the Channel Islands. In Wales this creature is known as a pwca, in Cornwall a bucca, and on the Channel Islands as a pouque. Being shapeshifters, these creatures appear in a variety of forms. They can take the form of goats, horses, dogs, cats, bulls, foxes, eagles, or any other animal. In some tales, they naturally have a goblin-like shape (as they are sometimes considered a type of goblin). Sometimes they even take human shape, with only one animal feature (such as ears or some kind of tail) to give them away. A púca normally is described as having gold eyes and black fur or hair.

In most legends, the púca is a trickster that likes to mess with people. For instance, they often take the form of horses and take people on wild, but harmless, rides that end with their rider in a creek or mud puddle. However, these creatures are usually benevolent towards humans and have been known to even guide people out of forests when they get lost. In some stories they are much more dangerous creatures that quite enjoy eating humans, but most of the time they are nothing but well-meaning tricksters that often enjoy a good laugh at a human’s expense. On Samhain (sunset of October 31st to sunset November 1st), these creatures can sometimes be found in forests, hills, and mountains and will offer prophecies and advice.

The only person to ever be able to control a púca was Brian Boru, a high king of Ireland. He managed to capture one in the form of a horse, by sliding a special bridle over its head. The bridle had three of the púca’s hairs from its tail woven in. Once he had the púca in his possession, Brian Boru used it as a steed.

In some areas, there are actually agricultural traditions surrounding the púca. All crops must be gathered before November in these traditions, as anything after has been faerie or púca blasted (or defecated on) and is no longer edible. In addition, a portion of the crops must be left in the field for the local púca to make sure it stays satisfied. The portion left in the field is called “the púca’s share”.

Simple Breakdown (tl;dr):

Origin: Northwest Europe (Ireland, Britain, and the Channel Islands). The name of the creature, and its behavior, varies per region.

Territory: Usually lives in mountains, hills, and forests.

Creature Type: Often considered a type of faerie (similar to goblins). Also falls under the categories of trickster, shapeshifter, and nature spirit. Most often mischevious.  In some locales they are considered to be man-eating monsters.

Attributes:  A púca has gold eyes and black fur/hair. In human form, they usually have one animal attribute, most often animal ears or an animal tail.

Abilities: Animal form and human form shapeshifting and sometimes simple faerie magic. Capable of human speech.  A púca can provide prophecies and warnings on Samhain (sunset on October 31st to sunset of November 1st).

Weaknesses: A púca can be controlled with a special bridle with three of its own hairs woven in. Supposedly one of the Irish high kings, Brian Boru, was the only one to do this.

~Victoria

How To Properly Format Your Manuscript

Here are some things that are usually considered best practices in the writing world. Some of these things will be obvious, and many of them are actually the default settings of most word processing programs, but they’re still good to know. Also, even if I mark something as usually being the default setting, please double-check your own settings. You might have changed them at some point and forgotten about it. Always read the publisher’s specific instructions, no matter what you’re submitting, as it may deviate from these suggestions.

Copies: If you are submitting a manuscript physically, do not send them your only copy. Keep a copy for yourself. If you are sending a manuscript digitally, make sure you have the file backed up. I’ve honestly started writing mostly in Google Drive, as it saves any changes you make automatically. And if my computer bites the dust, I can always log into my Google Chrome account on a different computer and retrieve my work. Even if you don’t want to use Google Drive, please backup your files on a flashdrive or on another online service regularly. The worst thing is losing months or years of work when it could have been prevented.

Printing: Print ONLY on one side of the page. Most publishers hate double-sided manuscripts.

Text: Make sure your text is aligned to the left of the page, except for chapter titles, which are centered. (All text is normally aligned to the left in default settings)

Font: Times New Roman or Courier New

Font Size: 12-Point

Font Color: Black (Usually Default)

Paper/Background Color: White (Usually Default)

Margins: One inch margins on all sides. (Usually Default)

Spacing: Double-Spaced

Paragraphs: Indent half an inch from your normal margin line. (Usually Default)

File Types: If you are submitting a manuscript online, always make sure it is one of the file types the publisher accepts. If they only accept .rtf files, do not send them .doc files.

***Important Note on Fonts: Some publishers prefer Times New Roman, some prefer Courier New. Some will accept both. Read their instructions before you format font. If they will take both fonts, many actually prefer Courier New because the font is bigger and much easier on an editor’s eyes.

Scene Break Symbol: Usually a # is used for scene breaks, indented to look like the beginning of a paragraph or centered in the middle of the line.

Chapters: Chapters always start on a new page, with the title of the chapter at the top. Start a new chapter about one-third of the way down the page and put a few lines (2 or 3) between the centered chapter title and the chapter’s text.

Title Pages: Title pages tend to be done differently depending on the company. If you’re submitting your manuscript online, you might not even need one, as many publishers have an online form that takes the place of the traditional title page. As always, read the publisher’s specific instructions. Most title pages have the title of the work centered in the middle of the page, with the byline below that. A byline is the line that says By: Jane Smith, or whatever your pen name happens to be. If you want your work to be published under your name, then put your name in the byline. If you want it published under a pen name, put that in the byline. Your real name goes with your address, email, and sometimes phone number. I’ve seen this information put in the bottom right corner, but this isn’t always the case. Your word count could also be in the bottom corner with your personal information, or right below your byline. DO NOT put a fake pen name in your personal info section, unless you want your bank to be very confused when you try to deposit a check made out to someone who is not you. If you have an agent, often their information will also go on this page.

Headers: In manuscripts, the page number (not counting the title page) normally goes in the top right corner. Depending on the publisher, they might ask for the header to include your title and/or your last name as well, in a format like this: Smith/1. Sometimes it will be something similar to this, but not quite this. This is sometimes not required if your manuscript is submitted online. If it is, read that publisher’s specific instructions.

~Victoria

Action Writing Video Refences

Here’s a list of video resources for various action scenes (whether it’s for writing, art, or just for fun). Beside each one will be a small description of what’s in each video.

Fighting in General

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3n7MKHEwA9xXBErhXYZbMQ (Amazing channel by people who make these weapons) 

Swordplay 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHP4pSQvbxk (Polish saber fighting demonstration)

Archery

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEG-ly9tQGk (fast archery explanation/demonstration)

Martial Arts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hXjr_7bSdg (Krav Maga Compilation)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63ENGr82p0o (Aikido Competition)

Parkour/Freerunning (Warning: People Hanging from Extreme Heights)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVILaXvspcU (Compilation)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMmrDpsYr0s (Compilation)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUHEeFYJt-M (Compilation)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMi0kEzXl8o (Compilation)

Horseback Riding 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcAOJmXwbaE (Casual Jumping)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwFFZj6zICI (Jumping Compilation)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7TyAHqgl1M (Jumping Competition)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLGZbeC1kzc (Horse Racing on a Formal Track)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVbMdU5pn-I (Informal Beach Race)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Rp0xmcVKSg (Horse Vaulting Competition- Women)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5ZaQNoMUWQ (Horse Vaulting Competition- Men)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY3wmWT-sb8 (Lipizzaner Stallions Dancing)

Jousting

NOTE: Full Metal Jousting is an entire show dedicated to this, if anyone is interested. The first link below is part of the first episode and will give you a decent idea of the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48BS6mM8vd4 (Full Metal Jousting Part of Episode 1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20GKCMMFDYk (Looks like some Renn Fair Jousting)

~Victoria

3 Types of Faeries

Humans as a species love classifications, because if someone can classify something, they feel like they can understand it. In some of his famous works about faeries, Irish author William Butler Yeats described two types of faeries: Trooping and Solitary. Later, Katharine Mary Briggs added a third category for Domestic Faeries.

Trooping Faeries

Trooping Faeries were those that would travel in large troops, which lent them their name. They also were known for holding grand balls and parties and generally wanting to have a good time. They were normally pretty friendly to humans, as long as they were properly respected.

Examples:

Daoine Sidhe

Seelie Court

Tylwyth Teg

Elves

Solitary Faeries

Solitary Faeries were faeries that lived on their own. These faeries tended to be more outright nasty towards humans, some eating humans or keeping them as pets. However, some of them were just mischievous and not necessarily harmful.

Examples:

Redcap (Harmful)

Nokken/Neck/Nixie (Harmful)

Puca/Pooka (Mischievous)

Domestic Faeries

Domestic Faeries were faeries that lived in the houses of humans. Many of these faeries were actually helpful to the humans they lived with, as long as they were properly respected.

Examples:

Brownie

Hobgoblin

Image From: Fine Art America

~Victoria

Elemental Correspondences

This post will consist of elemental associations from modern beliefs, as well as older metaphysical and alchemical ones. Not all of these will be consistent to all Neopagans or Wiccans of course, given that different people from different places and cultures may have different associations.

Note: An Athame is a ritual dagger.

Air

Latin Word: Ventus

Direction: East

Color: Yellow

State of Matter: Gas

Season: Spring

Solar Midpoint: Spring Equinox

Time: Dawn

Weather: Windy

Attribute: Intellectual

Four Humours: Blood

Four Temperaments: Sanguine

Characteristics: Hot and Wet

Altar Tool: Wand (Sometimes Athame)

Tarot Suit: Wands or Rods (Sometimes Swords)

Alchemical Elementals: Sylphs

Fire

Latin Word: Ignis

Direction: South

Color: Red

State of Matter: Plasma

Season: Summer

Solar Midpoint: Summer Solstice

Time: Midday

Weather: Hot

Attribute: Spiritual

Four Humours: Yellow Bile

Four Temperaments: Choleric

Characteristics: Hot and Dry

Altar Tool: Athame (Sometimes Wand)

Tarot Suit: Swords (Sometimes Wands or Rods)

Alchemical Elementals: Salamanders

Water

Latin Word: Aqua

Direction: West

Color: Blue

State of Matter: Liquid

Season: Autumn

Solar Midpoint: Autumn Equinox

Time: Dusk

Weather: Rainy

Attribute: Emotional

Four Humours: Phlegm

Four Temperaments: Phlegmatic

Characteristics: Cold and Wet

Altar Tool: Chalice

Tarot Suit: Cups

Alchemical Elementals: Undines

Earth

Latin Word: Terra

Direction: North

Color: Green

State of Matter: Solid

Season: Winter

Solar Midpoint: Winter Solstice

Time: Midnight

Weather: Cold

Attribute: Physical

Four Humours: Black Bile

Four Temperaments: Melancholic

Characteristics: Cold and Dry

Altar Tool: Mortar and Pestle

Tarot Suit: Pentacles or Coins

Alchemical Elementals: Gnomes

Alchemical Glyphs

0c58bfdab23080904b08904c9e4a7203

 

 

 

 

 

~Victoria

7 Rules of Roleplaying Etiquette

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is by no means a perfect list. This is a basic list of things that should be considered when roleplaying (RPing) with other people. The most important thing to remember is to be considerate of the people you are RPing with.

1. Read the rules specific to the RP and ask questions if need be. Most RPers are happy to answer your questions.

2.  Ask permission before joining an RP that has already started.

3. If you are running an RP, be sure to be reasonable with your requirements. For example: do not limit the amount of characters people can have unreasonably, and remember: RPs are fun because no one knows what is going to happen next, since other writers can be unpredictable. Take away that element, and you might as well write by yourself.

4. Make sure to find the limits of the people you write with. Some people are uncomfortable with certain types of scenarios. Usual triggers may include, but are not limited to: abuse, inordinate amounts of violence, sex scenes, sexual assault, children and/or animals being harmed, et cetera. Remember, we are all here to have fun, not to make each other uncomfortable. If rules about the above are not listed in the RP rules, then just use your own judgment to make sure you are considerate to your fellow roleplayers.

5. Do not take control of anyone else’s characters. You do not decide how that character reacts to that situation, that character’s writer does.

6. Do not ignore other RPers. If your character goes off on a scouting mission or something and needs a scene to describe that, feel free, but the entire point of an RP is to interact with the others, so that everyone can have fun and improve their skills.

7. Be respectful of other RPers. Remember, they are people too. Not just usernames. They have the right to leave the RP at any point if it makes them uncomfortable, or simply does not meet their incoming expectations. RPs can be spontaneous and unpredictable. That’s half the fun.

~Victoria