Category Archives: Other Writing (not poetry)

From poetry to novel excerpts, find tips, inspiration, and content here.

RWBY: 3 Seasons in a Nutshell

**Spoilers from seasons 1-3**

This is it. Volume 4’s final episode just came out (on YouTube), which means that all the folks who’ve been staving off so they can binge watch the show are about to be rewarded for their patience.

To celebrate the occasion, here’s a little “in a nutshell” thing that I wrote during the hiatus this summer. It may be stereotypical, it may be inaccurate, it may be chronologically messed up, but I hope it’s at least mildly amusing for those of you who love this awesome show as much as I do.

[Note: if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, RWBY is an animated, anime-inspired show produced by Rooster Teeth. You can check it out here.]

RWBY in a Nutshell:


Ruby:
*dies of excitement*

Roman: yo everybody look at me! I’m the bad guy here yo!

Cinder: yeah no, he’s not actually the bad guy….

Weiss: the White Fang are obvs the bad guys. I’m a victim, okay? Continue reading RWBY: 3 Seasons in a Nutshell

INFPs and other unicorns

If you are an INTP, INFPs are your partners in crime. Though you have to make sure not to offend them by speaking the absolute truth, they generally understand you quite well… sometimes more than you really want them to.

Together you can accomplish almost anything, as long as it isn’t overly ambitious or useful. In fact, both your talents are best suited to connoisseuring gelato, climbing publicly-owned buildings (shhh), playing league of legends, and having serious conversations about the fallacies of established social norms and institutions. Of course, the above list may vary based on your mutual interests.

The typical INFP will Continue reading INFPs and other unicorns

INTJs and other harbingers of doom

An INTP’s view of the INTJ:

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INTJs are exactly like you…. Except completely different.

Excluding other INTPs (or perhaps including them… INTPs can be remarkably distracting at times), INTJs are the best conversation partners, as they share your dislike of small talk and your love of rational thought. However, don’t always expect to see eye to eye. Wheras you crave absolute truth, the INTJ sees everything through the lens of circumstance. I’m convinced the INTJ’s favorite line is “it depends….” Continue reading INTJs and other harbingers of doom

The INTP’s Guide to Everyone Else

I’m starting up a new mini-series this fall, and it’s all about INTPs and their view of other people. As an INTP I have often found that society doesn’t work the way I think it should, and that other people behave strangely, and in ways I can never predict. So here’s a mildly humorous (and yes, probably stereotypical) view of each Myers-Briggs personality type, as perceived by an INTP.

What’s up first? Other INTPs, of course: Continue reading The INTP’s Guide to Everyone Else

The art of taking poor-quality photos

Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.”
– Yousuf Karsh

It used to be that people would give me strange looks when I mentioned that I took pictures on my fourth-gen iPod. “Don’t you have a phone?” they would ask, slightly taken aback. “Does that work okay for you?”

While it’s true that many late millennials and generation Xers have easy access to the newest in technology Continue reading The art of taking poor-quality photos

Take Me to Town

This week I’m doing things a little differently…. If you know much about my tastes in music, you might know that I quite like Hozier.  Undoubtedly one of their best known and most unique sounding songs is “Take Me to Church”. I’ve always loved the song, but I’ve gotta admit the lyrics aren’t my favorite. That’s why, this week, instead of a poem I’m sharing “Take Me to Town” – a parody I wrote to the tune of “Take Me to Church” based on what it’s like to move to a small town in order to attend college. Enjoy!

(PS – If you haven’t listened to the song, I recommend doing so. Even if the lyrics aren’t your cup of tea, the sound is still amazing. You can find the song here)

“Take Me to Town”

Haliburton’s got some cheer
It’s not a place for students to fear
And yet they say “don’t go to art school”
Should I have taken that gap year?

It’s a nice town in a good way
But there are some things I cannot find
Some buildings missing from the main street
A new discovery each week
“This place is not big.” You heard them say it

My town offers few commodities
It has no theater or drive-in
The only movies I see past six
Are when I’m on Netflix
And then there’s sushi – there is no sushi
Anywhere in town

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.

Take me to town
I’ll rely on transportation from my feet
Re-shave my head less than once every week
Student budget – trust my advice
You know, you’ll love that small town life

If I’m a student, I’m the good kind
Haven’t turned into a jackass
To keep the teachers off my ass
They demand my marks be first-class
To get above a C, paint realistically

They know the guy who made that blue horse
As if it’s just a matter of course
But they expect me to be as good
And eat some vegetables for food
When junk food and beer
Is so much cheaper here
School is hungry work

Take me to town
I’ll rely on transportation from my feet
Re-shave my head less than once every week
Student budget – trust my advice
You know, you’ll love that small town life

No parents or siblings when your trip up north begins
There is no better way to spend your well-earned government loan
And don’t you be afraid – go ahead and get tattooed
You don’t need it to fit in here
But you know it looks so cool

Oh yes. Oh yes. Oh yes.

Take me to town
I’ll rely on transportation from my feet
Re-shave my head less than once every week
Student budget – trust my advice
You know, you’ll love that small town life

M.
Archival ink on paper – pointillism
Sep 11/16

8 Almost Quick ‘N Easy Worldbuilding Tips (Part 2)

In Part1, I covered some basic tips that really help move your worldbuilding along. Now, I want to talk about landscape and map making. [Note: If you missed Part1, you can find it here]

When we think worldbuilding, we immediately think of, well, the world itself. What does it look like? Who lives in it? What is the climate like? The landscape? Culture? Geography? All these things have to be considered and addressed to some extent, and it can get overwhelming. So here’s three ideas that can make things easier.

6. Hack Your Map Making

If you’re in the process of drawing a map for your worldbuilding project (or are thinking about doing so), there’s some pretty simple things that can go a long way in making you map making easier and more enjoyable. I learned most of these the hard way, so you don’t have to:

  1. Work from thumbnails
    • The Drawing Disciplines and Design courses I’m taking this year have taught me lots of new things about how to approach a project. One of the big things I’ve learned? Thumbnails actually help. If you don’t quite know what you want something to look like, try sketching out several small versions of it and playing around with the composition. It’s better than being halfway into a project and going: “dammit, I wish I’d painted these mountains just a little to the left.”
  2. Do yourself a favour and get a posterboard
    • I’ve learned that life gets infinitely easier when you do things right the first time around. Back when I was young and naive (this was two years ago) I wanted to design a large city, and I had the brilliant idea of taping together different papers to create a larger surface. While this was certainly creative, it was not helpful at all, and now I’m stuck using tracing paper to transfer my design.
    • My point? If you’re going to do it, do it right the first time. It will save you time and make your work so much better.
  3. “But I’m artistically challenged!”
    • If you want to do some worldbuilding, don’t let the fear of the blank page get to you. It’s something that hits us all at one point or another, and it’s something we just need to get over. Worldbuilding isn’t about being artistic or non-artistic, and there are plenty of ways to get around poor drawing skills. After all, there’s a lot more to creating a universe than painting a complex picture or making a perfect sketch.
  4. Work in pencil first
    • This one’s self-explanatory. Make rough drafts and be forgiving about it. You can always make a pretty version later on.
  5. Learn some new computer skills
    • One of the amazing journeys my worldbuilding adventure has taken me on is the journey of computer programs and digital design. Though I don’t know what I’m doing half the time, it’s fun to play around, and it’s even more fun to see fancy-looking results. If you want to try out some computer-assisted drawing, I recommend you check out programs like GIMP or photoshop, and check for some map making tutorials online.
    • The Cartographer’s Guild is a wonderful place to start for help with this. I highly recommend their Easy Hand-Drawn Map and Artistic Regional RPG Map tutorials. You can also check out their Quickstart Guide to Fantasy Map Making for even more helpful tidbits.
7. Follow The Landscape

Although map making is all about creativity, it is also about realism. To a certain extent, every map has to “look” right – its features have to behave according to the laws of physics/geology/nature, even if those laws are different for your world.

There’s so many things to consider here, that forming a believable landscape is really, really hard. Sure, we can start with things like “water flows downhill,” “most mountain ranges form along fault-lines,” and “climates will be more temperate along coastlines,” but honestly, those things will only get us so far.

However, the situation isn’t hopeless. My advice is that unless you want to spend hours researching complex information, you should try to use the landscape around you as a guide. For example, much of my work is inspired by British Columbia’s mountainous coastline. I use it as a basic guide for landscape and weather patterns in much of my work, and this lets me be reasonably accurate. I tweak things and add things, of course, but the basic structure is lent to me by the places I can observe. And now that I’m in Ontario for a bit, I plan to incorporate some more complex hill and lake landscapes into my work.

This method can work well even if you need/want landscapes that aren’t found near you. Simply research a specific real-life area that looks roughly like the place you want to create – it’s usually still easier than inventing/researching it all from scratch.

8. Keep It Neat

If you’re anything like me (or any number of artists/creative people I know) you have a tendency to spread out. Ideas come thick and fast in sporadic patterns and unpredictable waves, and so you scribble them down, write a note here, a reminder there, and then misplace every single one of those. I know. It’s hard.

However, I feel like keeping it neat is pretty self explanatory and logical. If you add some semblance of organization to your stuff, you won’t lose anything important, and you’ll have a much easier time looking up information you’ve already saved somewhere. If you think organization is just a waste of time, I urge you to at least try it. Even a little neatness can go a long way.

Every person has their own way of organizing, and that’s cool. Whether you keep neat piles of paper around, write everything down on your computer or iPad, keep everything scribbled on sticky notes, or use a neat desk or filing cabinet, the important part is simply using a system that works for you. After all, you’re doing this for yourself, not for outside appearances.

In Conclusion

I hope this has been helpful, and I wish you all the best in your map making endeavors. If you want some free criticism constructive commentary on your work, feel free to shoot me a link in the comments below. And if you have some opinions for me, feel free to voice those too.

M.
Oct 8/15