theme ☁

clementinevonradics:

houndstar:

Jason Todd.

(text by Clementine von Radics)


Dude, this is so cool.

❝There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory. We have forgotten this language. We do not even remember that it exists.❞
- A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen (via h-o-r-n-g-r-y)

lydsmartin:

MEN FIGHT BATTLES; WOMEN WAGE  W A R

lifehandsulemons:

allhaillokigodofmischief:

When school gets hard, just remember this….

This is really inspiring to me.

i was sure this was an Evil Supple Co. post

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

piesexualdean:

turtwink:

does medusa have pubes and if so are they snakes too

image

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.

melodyrae14:

itsraininbritishmen:

floateron:

CHECK OUT your differences in wand technique here and how fluidly and casually Ron throws a curse in comparison to Harry and Hermione Hermione has done the reading and is technically perfect of course Elbow straight; wrist bent Wand tip aligned with left sightline left arm held loosely behind her for balance Harry hasn’t ever done the reading Grip too tight; elbow locked Shoulders raised Left elbow cranked in awkwardly against his body Kids’ll imitate his awful technique and Junior Aurors it’ll make their parents nuts; don’t twist your neck like that I don’t care what Auror Potter does When you save wizardkind you can hold your wand however you want until then drop your shoulders Ron’s been around wand users since birth practiced with twigs and then his brothers’ wands Look at how the movement flows from his center the way he uses his whole body throws out his opposite hand behind him to counterbalance the movement Harry and Hermione get their wands into position and then throw the curse Ron’s spell starts mid-motion because he knows his wand will be in position in time  (helenish)

Mmmmmmm, yes.

There will be a day when I see this and I will scroll past.

Today is not that day

Plus Ron is casting his curse non-verbally. That’s very difficult and it requires training and practice to successfully cast a nonverbal spell. It’s success is determined by the amount of concentration and mental discipline of the witch or wizard. But this is Ron Weasley he likely didn’t put training and practice into casting non-verbal spells, this advanced magic comes to him naturally. The only other time we see him cast a non-verbal spell is when he accidentally made it snow in the great hall, and that was only because Lavender was glaring him down after he said Hermione’s name while he was unconscious in the hospital wing. He felt crappy and his emotions were so intense he unknowingly made it snow. Here he’s trapped in a muggle cafe, with his best friend and the girl he loves. He’s probably scared, and angry but most of all protective. He wants to defeat these Death Eaters without anything happening to his team. His emotions are intense again and that allows him to cast a powerful non-verbal spell. No, not even a spell, a curse. We’ve seen Hermione cast non-verbal spells loads of times but even here she says the curse to ensure it’s potency. Ron is concentrated and disciplined enough in this moment to curse a Death Eater without any words at all.

rosesapphires:

ARTWORK BY やっくん

morganapendragons:

Make Me Choose
notreadytocommittoaurlyet  asked: Eddard or Robb

Burlesque dancer Zorita walks her pet snake, 1937

bloodpactgirlscout:

Regulus Black, the loyal son. Regulus Black, the Slytherin. Regulus Black, with grades just good enough to please his mother.

Regulus Black, who keeps his hair neat and is polite at family gatherings. Regulus Black, who does not pick fights, who does not ride a motorcycle, who does not hang out with werewolves or get disowned. 

Regulus Black, who Phineas Nigellus keeps an eye on from the portraits on the walls. Regulus Black, who occasionally hears whispers of kindness from random frames, and catches winks and thumbs-ups from oil-painted old men and women as he walks to class. 

Regulus Black, who sits through painfully long and dull Slug Club dinners, and writes thank you notes, and attends quidditch matches in the Slytherin bleachers with the right kind of kids.

Regulus Black, who graduates with a freshly healed tattoo on his forearm. Regulus Black, whose brother will not speak to him. Regulus Black, who makes his family proud. 

Regulus Black, who lies to his mother when he says he will be staying with friends, who tells her he will take care of himself, with a knot in his stomach and an old necklace in his pocket.

Regulus Black, wandering the British coastline, only Kreacher for company. Regulus Black, angry, disillusioned, miserable. Regulus Black, finally doing something on his own. Regulus Black, disobeying everything he’d ever quietly and mild-manneredly adhered to.

Regulus Black, smearing his blood on the stone door, seeing it, with no reference for it except childhood scraped knees and bloody noses and cracked lips in dry weather. Regulus Black feeling important.Regulus Black, an individual. 

Regulus Black taking the boat with Kreacher across the glassy water.

Regulus Black, cold, scared, drinking from the basin. Regulus Black, weakening, writing on a scrap of parchment, sending Kreacher home. 

Regulus Black, fighting the undead.

Regulus Black, dead at nineteen. 

Regulus Arcturus Black, the unsung hero of the House of Black, never burnt from the family tapestry, never again spoken of by his brother, never buried, never honored. Never remembered as anyone but a good pureblood boy who kept his head down and disappeared. 

But he knew. 

And Harry knew.

And Kreacher knew.

And maybe that was enough.