Tag: Greek Mythology

Fantastical Creatures

/me hopes that title is different enough to avoid any sort of legal action from Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling

With Dad at work and Mom + Aly off in Disneyland where the youngin’ was marching in a parade (which would be a much more exciting story if it was mine to tell), I had the house to myself today.

So obviously I partied hard with some friends, got messed up on drugs, died and am now writing this from the grave.

Boo.

In all seriousness, I didn’t party too hard and become a spooky, scripting spirit. As cool as that would be.

I actually had a chill afternoon all on my lonesome. I didn’t even leave the house outside of going to the gym.

After two weekends of running around doing things with relatives, it was nice to take it slow and focus on my own stuff. Mostly because all of the running around made me fall behind on my novel-writing schedule.

20 pages a week doesn’t seem like too much until you get hit with the roadblock of a death in the family.

But luckily, I was able to rectify that setback with a nice, quiet day on the couch.

At this point I’ve made it to ~35 pages, with my goal being at least 40 before tomorrow.

So far everything is shaping up far nicer than in my original 12-page attempt at a draft. I’ve actually made it past the first major set piece of the story: An underground cavern with a single room at the end of it.

… Exciting, I know. I promise it sounds better with in-depth descriptions!

One of the more interesting bits of research I’ve done recently to push my writing forward was, as the title suggests, finding the right mythical Tolkien-esque creature to fit the slot of an antagonistic race for my main characters.

Luckily my friend Sam is a bit of a Dungeons and Dragons savant and came up with a whole bunch of possibilities when I asked if there were any good avian-themed monsters I could use.

Why avian specifically? It was a jokey idea when I was writing that early draft that started when I described a helmet as beak-like, and stuck so I could make one of my characters call them “birdbrains.”

So… Bird people. Seemed legit.

I didn’t quite expect there to be so many different kinds of bird people, however. There really is a ton to unpack when you delve into the inner-machinations of an experience like D&D.

Probably the most obvious and well-known example is the Harpy.

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Courtesy of DnD Beyond

Pretty famous representative from Greek mythology. Not a bad choice, but a little too much of a monster-monster for my tastes.

The kind of creature you can see mindlessly attacking, but not necessarily forming an advanced society.

So next came the Kenku.

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Courtesy of Giger’s 5E D&D

Definitely a closer match, given their clear propensity for humanoid dress and a variety of roles in warfare.

However, the crow look is a bit too inherently evil-looking, and they are quite a sinister race apparently. Was looking for more of a neutral appearance.

Plus they cannot fly in the lore, which is something I wanted to include.

So Kenku were a no.

Luckily the third choice, Aarakorca, was perfect.

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Courtesy of DnD Beyond

Check out these majestic bastards.

Not only are they a perfect blend of humanoid and avian features to make for a fairly human-like sensibility in my story, but the extra lore features from D&D — their obsession with self-grooming, bilingualism, status as traveling explorers and the fact that they look like giant birds while flying — make great tie-ins to my story’s purpose for them.

Namely… To be a surrogate for Napoleonic-era French society.

Yeah, that’s right.

It’ll be even weirder when I write about their leader riding around on a horse despite being a literal birdman. And I love it.

Being able to gather all sorts of new knowledge on interesting fantasy creatures has been a great pleasure of mine over the course of this project. It’s essentially an amalgamate of some of my favorite video games, movies and books in the fantasy genre, so the more I can include the better.

Wargroove is the big contributor of new ideas to my concoction at the moment, but that game deserves its own story another day.

In the meantime, I’m going to get back to writing so I can finish this section I’m in the middle of. Who knows, perhaps I’ll start to trickle out passages and chapters for advice in the near future.

All I know now is that this line kind of defines my brain.

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Death by 1,000 Cuts

Death by 1,000 Cuts

I’ve come to really appreciate the gym as a solid source of stress relief on days like today.

Life can’t all be fun and polling places after all. I may have gotten an initial high by doing my civic duty and voting, but that was a very small fraction of the day right when the polls opened at 7:00 a.m.

Yeah, I finally got to pull out this joke I’ve been sitting on for a few months. Yeah, I’m proud of myself for deciding to actually do it. And yeah, I’m glad the Tweet and my identical post on Facebook got a good number of likes more than usual.

Not that it matters how much my things are liked, I just appreciate knowing that a number of my followers here and there have solid meme sensibilities.

I’m getting sidetracked.

Voting was cool, acknowledged. But after I did that I still had to go to school.

Which leads me to my next point: School kind of sucked today.

I went in for what amounted to a 20-minute long Sensation and Perception class where we reviewed for our upcoming test, but because my late class and study date were cancelled I had no reason to stick around.

Always a pleasure to drive around for a couple of hours so I can be in class for 20 minutes.

See we’re smack in the middle of midterm season 2 in Cal State Fullerton’s Psychology department. Tomorrow I have an exam in Learning and Memory, then on Thursday I have an exam in Sensation and Perception.

Plus, on the back-burner is the early deadline for my Learning and Memory research paper: Friday.

That theoretically matters less than the rest, but if I get the paper in before Friday I’ll have 4 points extra credit applied. Considering those points are the difference between a ‘C,’ where my rough draft stood, and an ‘A,’ I’m pretty eager to get it in.

It just so happens that I have no idea whether or not the professor is going to be on-campus Thursday or Friday. Which is why I’m pushing myself to finish the paper by tomorrow.

While also hoping to study for the exam in that same class tomorrow.

See why I’m getting on-edge?

Well hold your horses folks, because it gets more frustrating somehow.

My professor left tons of notes on the rough draft I turned in because he’s anal as hell and basically wanted us to write his essay, not our essay — even if something made more sense to us the way we wrote it.

… So I’ve heard from a friend.

When I sat down with the guy during his office hours to get clarification on the chicken scratch notes, the general take-away was that he wanted the early portion of the paper to have clear definitions, examples and statements on how those examples prove the definitions. It wasn’t good enough to have a definition followed by a “, for example xxx.”

That’s all fine and well… Until you remember that the paper as a whole has a page limit.

So the man basically strong-armed me into adding dozens of paragraphs and extended examples throughout the paper, and now expects me to cut down all of the extra space that came into the piece as a result.

It’s a Tantalus-level torture straight out of Hades if I’ve ever seen one.

That’s about where my headline today comes from, my resignation to the fact that I’ll be sitting here with my mom snipping off words and sentences from this paper where applicable to hit a page limit, despite the fact that I’m already sick of looking at it after nearly five hours of editing his comments yesterday.

Not the emotional place I want to be in while knowing I have to move into exam studying after for the same man that’s currently ruining my life.

But like I started this post off with, at least I had the gym to blow off some steam.

Even if not I feel like I’m passing out on the couch while working on my paper.

Because everything needs a trade-off, doesn’t it life?