Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Brief Scream in the Silence

First off, I sincerely apologize for leaving this blog completely in the dust. It was not my intention and hopefully I'll be able to start cranking out some posts for you guys soon.

Secondly, I would like to announce that I will be officially attempting to do Nanowrimo for the first time in three years this coming November. Pray for me. That is all I have to say. If anyone wants to add me as buddy on the main site, I think my username is Anastasia_Cross. (If it's not and I'm not showing up, just let me know.)

Thirdly, I would like to bring your attention to my Wattpad page. I have been posting poetry pretty regularly all year, and though it's pretty dark and somewhat personal stuff, I'd be super happy if any of you guys wanted to go check it out. I currently have two poetry books on Wattpad; one is called Logastellus and the other is called Tacenda. Logastellus is my "writerly" poems--basically, they have no meaning to me other than they're based off a character or story, or are directly related to writing. Tacenda is my personal poems (I like to define them as "emo poems about death and the sky").

Anyway, that's basically all for now. Before Nanowrimo starts, I hope to get up a post with some helpful resources for us writers who just love to procrastinate on fun character profile sites or plotting apps.

Until then, ttyl!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Inside the Character: Eadën Vangûard

So apparently a lot of people want to see an ItC on Eadën from The Cycle of Time. I haven't dealt with that story in a while, so this could be interesting to see how much I remember/get feelings over Eadën (then again, it's not hard to get feelings over Eadën). I will try to avoid spoilers but know that he is a big character in The Cycle of Time so there is bound to be some secrets or storylines revealed.

P.S. Some of you ask, I answer: the ¨ above the "e" in Eadën's name is part of the language I created for the elves in Janíza (the land that The Cycle of Time is set in). Normally, the ¨ represents the natural sound of a letter (like e says "eh", a says "ah", etc.) and is used in longer, more complicated names to help with pronunciation. You may be saying, "but Eadën's name isn't complicated it's just 'eden'." This is true. However, since he is royal, the ¨ is used more as decoration. Call it fancifying royal people's names in this case.

In case you were wondering what the other symbols mean:
¨ = natural sound
ˆ = no sound
´ = long sound (e = ee, a = ay, etc.)

Otherwise, words are pronounced normally.

Fun trivia: In elven, Eadën's name is actually pronounced "ee-AY-den", with a long "a" sound. However, humans are bad at language apparently and read it as "Eden". ;)

Okay. Language rant over, you can skip that. Bye.

1. Who would play Eadën in a movie?
Honestly? I don't know. I haven't found his actor yet, but I have a few pics of drawings and stuff that resemble him so here ya go.

This would be Eadën most of the time...tired, sharp featured, and hair in disarray.

However, he does have moments like this...

Where he is very creepy looking when he wants to be.

Eadën is an elf, by the way.

2. What color is his hair?
Eadën's hair is described as glossy black and wavy/curly in texture. It is cut loose across his forehead, so you can usually see the wave. He rarely combs it since he's kind of a traveling man, so it's kinda a mess sometimes.

3. What color are his eyes?
Those who have read the current draft of The Cycle of Time: The Journey (lookin' at you, Rachel) are well aware that Eadën's eyes are very, very blue. Sky-blue; azure almost. They are extremely bright and are actually a bit shocking at first.

4. What is his body type?
Per elven norm, he's lean, but muscled, and quite tall (think 6'7"). And he's extremely angular. I think I described him as looking like "a string was tied to his spine and it was pulling him upwards constantly" or something like that. His shoulders are sharp, hipbones jagged, and his silhouette is all edges and corners. He is also very pale, and his skin is described as having almost a silvery sheen to it.

5. Does he have any piercings/tattoos? 
None mentioned in the book, that I can recall...however, I wouldn't be surprised if he had a tiny meaningful inked something-or-other on his skin.

6. What's the most attractive thing about him?
Since he comes off as alien-ish with his elven self, only some find him attractive. However, the most attractive thing I find about him is either his eyes or his super-sharp facial features. Think STRONG JAWLINE. VERY. STRONG.

7. What is the ugliest thing about him?
Okay, trying not to spoil anything, so read on if you dare. He has a really ugly scar wrapping over one side of his torso from mid-stomach, over shoulder, and down back. It's from a wound that was deadly but of course he magically lived through it (I know, I'm working on it...).

8. When he smiles, what does it look like?
LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL that never happens. Eadën has had a very hard life and he doesn't like joy. However, it is notable that he has extremely white and amazing teeth.

9. What does his laugh sound like?

10. What is his normal speech pattern?
He has kind of fancy-talk (but not as fancy as the fairies). He's pretty articulate despite not having attended most of his childhood schooling.

11. How does he express/handle anger?
Hrm...he's kind of emotionally dead, honestly. Granted, anger would be one of his most-felt emotions, but he doesn't show it much. If he gets angry enough to react towards someone, he would probably either kill them or like flip a table or something.

12. Does he cry?
Only on special occasions I suppose. He's used to sadness so it's only rare that he cries, but when he does it's usually like silent, and he just tenses up as tears stream down his lil face.

13. What would make him cry?
In the novel, Eadën struggles with feeling unworthy of his place in life and guilty over the choices he's made. It is these issues combined with longing to please/live up to his deceased father that makes him cry in the book. So yeah, stuff like that.

14. How easy is it for people to read his emotions?
Unlike Jay (whom, as I've mentioned, people who know him can tell by his physical cues how he feels), Eadën is completely unreadable and people hate him for it. He can hide almost any emotion, even from his own wife.

Character Beliefs

15. Is he religious?
Not particularly. I think he follows a religion, but not very strictly.

16. How does he view those of other faiths?
He doesn't care what you believe.

17. What are his core values?
Eadën's core values would beeeee.......hmmmmmmmm...........probably loyalty, or striving to be a better person. Idk if those are "values" or not, but they're things he's always focused on.

18. How willing is he to fight for those values?
In theory, Eadën would fight for anything if he believed in the cause. However, if he's discouraged or defeated...he finds it difficult to get back up sometimes.

Likes and Dislikes

19. What is his favorite food?
He's vegetarian, actually. He really likes fruit.

20. What is his favorite color?
Probably green. He really loves being out in nature, so green has become a calming color for his turbid mind.

21. What is his sleeping preferences?
Eadën is definitely not picky when it comes to sleeping. Actually, he really doesn't sleep much at all. I think in the book once he went several days without sleeping a wink. You can imagine he was grumpy and emotional about it, too. Anyway, he doesn't sleep much because he has nightmares...yikes. Poor bb.

BONUS: What position does he usually sleep in?
Probably on his side, or stretched out.

22. What type of music does he listen to?
Eadën was never one for arts and crafts and math and writing. He was always out on the field perfecting his swordplay and footwork.

Character Introspection

23. When is his birthday?
I'm not sure of the exact date, but he was born in the summertime.

24. What family structure did he have growing up?
Eadën was supposed to be born dead, so he's been sort of fighting for his life ever since he was a wee babbie. You see, elves are biologically capable of having only one child in their lifetime, so Eadën was more than a miracle child, especially since he was alive when he was born (albeit weak and wailing). His older sister doted on him for much of his childhood, and his parents, the king and queen, didn't see much harm in him skipping his classes and romping out in the sun if it meant he would get stronger. However, after a while his older sister realized that their parents paid more attention to Eadën than they did to her and...well, the rest is history.

25. What is the worst thing he has ever done?
um idk probs burning down half of janíza and earning the title ember because all he left in his wake was embers but u know idk

26. What is the best thing he has ever done?
Attempting to turn his messed up life around, even though it meant leaving everything he loves and knows and jumping headfirst into danger.

27. Has he ever been in love?
Once...long story short, he had taken a young ten-year-old human girl prisoner when she decided to start talking non-stop to him for weeks since she was bored and he visited the prison every day. She ended up spurning his turn-around, and he helped her escape. About a decade later, they married, despite his elven nearly-immortal aging and her short life span.

28. What is his biggest goal in life?
To stop the war in Janíza and finally settle down with his little fam-fam. :3

29. What does he believe is his greatest vice?
Without a doubt, black magic. It is an addictive form of magic and he used it for a long time and struggles to fully separate himself from its consumptive power.

30. What motivates him most?
Probably his daughter, Clairê, and his wife, Linnea. He doesn't find anything redeeming within himself, so he simply focuses on staying alive and keeping Linnea and Clairê safe.

31. Is he objective oriented?
Most definitely. Goals have pretty much mapped his life out since before he can remember. Goals give him something tangible to work towards, I suppose.

32. Would he rather be a good person or a great person?
Great. However, I think he is realizing that he may only ever be a "good" person...to himself, anyway.

33. Would he rather be hated for who he is or loved for pretending to be someone else?
At one point, he lived for other people's acceptance. However, he's grown quite a bit since then and now I think he realizes that not everyone will love him for who he is. He still struggles with that, though.

34. Is he an extrovert, ambivert, or introvert?
Introvert, definitely.

35. Is he creatively expressive?
Yes! But only in one form: SWORDPLAY. He literally has the best form when he's using his sword, and his footwork is always flawless and it's said he looks like he's dancing some ferocious panther dance when he's fighting someone with a sword. He works constantly to be the perfect swordsman.

36. What is his disorder?
Where do I start. He's addicted to black magic, he's got PTSD basically from war and being like cut in half and his sister hating his guts and being evil, I'm pretty sure he's got major depression if we're being clinical here, and...and... *CRYING WILDLY*

37. Is he materialistic?
Seeing as he's only ever had any real possessions while he was still officially a prince, no, he's not particularly caught up on possessions. He does have a few possessions that he will probably hurt you if you touch them though.

38. What is his learning style?
He's definitely a visual learner. If he watches someone do something, he can probably replicate it pretty well.

39. I am a ______. How would he finish this sentence?

40. Life is an act of _______. How would he finish this sentence?
"Life is an act of deciding when to stand up and fight back and when to kneel and take it."


Theme song: "Cold" by Aqualung

Pinterest boards:
Eadën's board
The Cycle of Time board

Wattpad stories:
Excerpt of The Cycle of Time: The Journey
Janíza's Hero (short story)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Writing Risky and Relevant Topics (and why you should, even in your non-modern settings)

Genocide? Substance abuse? Racism? Addiction? Mental illness? Yep! They're all here, in my very own medieval fantasy novel.

"WAIT," you're probably saying out loud to your empty bedroom. "SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION IN A MEDIEVAL FANTASY NOVEL??? IMPOSSIBLE!!! AND WHY???" That is a questions I have come to answer.

(Note: When I say "your story's theme", I am referring to the main point your novel is trying to get across. You know, like, "Love conquers all" or "Best friends are forever" or whatever. If you don't know your story's theme, that's okay. I don't know any of my stories' themes either.)


So you may have noticed that some fantasy, sci-fi, historic-based, or what-have-you novels can sometimes be difficult to relate to. I think this is because of the lack of relevant themes within them. The setting is obviously alien, and sometimes the characters can be vastly different from the modern ideal, which makes it difficult for the reader to connect to the story. How does the author fix this problem?

The truth is that topics labeled "risky" (or just difficult to write), like racism, substance abuse, mental illness, and even gender and sexuality, are extremely relevant to today's readers. It's something that most people recognize and spend a lot of thought on--and some even relate to the issues brought up by these themes. Here's my case: topics like these have a place in EVERY genre of writing, not just modern or contemporary.

Imagine a young prince addicted to dark magic. He tried to get away from this power before, but in an attempt to heal his dying dragon, he was forced to come in contact with dark magic again. Just one touch threw him into withdrawals, and his addiction rose to the surface as he slipped further and further into dark magic's grips. Tada; you were just exposed to substance abuse and addiction in a medieval fantasy! (That may or may not have occurred in my novel The Cycle of Time, so don't steal my ideas.)

But why bother? What's the gain in including topics like these in your writing? And what will readers potentially learn from you writing about stuff like this?


By writing about risky, relevant, or controversial topics, you will be allowing your readers a point of access into the very heart of your novel. Risky and controversial topics provide something for your readers to open debates and discussions over, and depending on how you deal with such themes, could lead towards insights on how to resolve, accept, or deal with issues like addiction, racism, mental illness, etc. Writing about risky topics could also shed light on the topic itself, with the right viewpoint, and perhaps move a reader to do something to change either his own opinions/ideas or attempt to change someone else's opinions/ideas.

Depending on how you deal with your topic of choice (wether negatively, positively, or just neutrally), you will provide your reader with a point of view on the issue at hand. She will either learn how to love or how to hate what you're writing about. Don't be afraid to open up a new point of view on such themes. Maybe racism isn't just against African-American, Arabic, and Asian peoples. Do Europeans, Americans, Canadians, maybe even Peruvians experience it as well? And what about gender roles? What if a man is sensitive, sweet, and tends towards the emotional but is still confident in his masculinity? And what if the mentally ill feel just as deeply as we do? Not just soldiers and war vets get PTSD. And what if the addicted hate what they're addicted to?


Relevant themes like mental illness, gender roles, and racism provide a backbone for your story's theme. Even if it seems like the topic doesn't fit with your theme at first, you'd be surprised at how you can stretch and mold it to fill the gaps in your subject matter--which will provide you a richer and fuller story. Not only that, but the subject matter brought up by the presence of these risky topics could either support or defy your theme; both are constructive qualities of a good piece of writing.


Maybe you're one of the (admittedly and regrettably rare) writers who include an Arabic or African-American character in your MC's posse, but none of your charries really acknowledge the character's race or ethnicity. However, imagine having just one--or maybe a few--characters who express racism towards that characters. Imagine the possibilities for conflict and character development that one little tweak would open up! YOU COULD HAVE ENTIRE HUGE FIGHT SCENES BETWEEN A CHARACTER AND HIS RACIST BEST FRIEND ONLY TO HAVE THE ETHNIC CHARACTER STAND UP AND SAY WHO CARES?!?!?! THEN THAT'S A WHOLE LIKE MESSAGE OF STANDING UP FOR YOURSELF, STANDING UP AGAINST RACISM, ETC. RIGHT THERE!!!

OOOORRR imagine having a character who simply likes to smoke, but his girlfriend doesn't like it and tries to get him to stop throughout the book. It could be a trivial and simple little subplot including cutesy scenes where the girlfriend tosses the boyfriend's cigarettes and he goes days without one and gets incredibly grumpy and uptight, but it would still be touching on addiction and, if shed in a negative light, could lightheartedly express the dangers and drawbacks of smoking.

These are tiny tweaks that could very well add that extra oomph to your novel, provide opportunities for character and story development, and offer a way to provide extra insight into your novel's theme.


In no way should you change your entire book's theme to fit one of these topics. Whatever message you choose (or your story chooses) for your book is special and entirely yours. What adding risky topics adds is a venue for reader relation, connection, and insight. Some books just don't call for this type of writing, and that's entirely okay. However, keep in mind that in order to say something with your writing, you may have to step out of your comfort zone (heck, look at me, a conservative Christian girl, who has a character who smoked, did drugs, abused alcohol, has tattoos, has a dirty mouth and mind, and is in no way a chaste Catholic boy [you probably know who I'm talkin' about {especially you, Kel. You know.}]). Don't be afraid to try new things; you may find you have something important to say.


Good question, but not one I can explicitly answer. It all depends on your setting. Get creative! See how you can include these topics without compromising parts of your plot. Use a substance native to your fantasy setting to create addiction like I did with black magic, or create your own mental illness based on staying in space too long for your sci-fi. Maybe you created your own races for your setting; good for you! Use that to your advantage and create rifts between ethnicities! It's all up to your sense of creativity now. Go out and show the world what you're made of!


  • racism
  • genocide
  • mental illness (autism, downs syndrome, aspergers)
  • disease (AIDS, HIV, brain/heart disease, cancer, etc)
  • addiction
  • substance abuse
  • mental abuse
  • domestic violence/abuse
  • sexuality
  • gender roles
  • eating disorders
  • suicide/self harm
  • domestic neglect
  • abortion
  • religious ideals
  • religious oppression
  • religion in general really
  • gambling
  • introversion (can someone please make it a positive/neutral trait and not negative)

Monday, December 7, 2015

finals: from good to great to bad to worse

So it's final's week. The week the previous semester has allegedly prepared you for. And you are probably feeling like me right now: COMPlETlELY AND oVERlY oveRWhELmEDD.

But that's okay, because here is a story of how my finals week went via gif-meme-storytime.


During the week before Thanksgiving break, you look ahead at your life and laugh. All that finals stuff is so far away.

During thanksgiving break, you laugh in the face of homework.

But then, on the Sunday before classes start, you look at Blackboard.

So. Much. Homework. "Okay, no big deal. I can do this."

2am Monday morning:

Monday morning, you walk into class like

And your English professor asks if you want to take the test in class, and you're like

But then you figure out your science professor has decided to do the test online, and you're all

But then you get the assignment sheet for your poetry class and it calls for six pages and six poem analyses and it's like

But you're still determined to do well.

You're trying to get your group presentation together and you're partners aren't answering their emails, so you just

But you still nail that presentation, thanks in no small part to yourself.

You finally finish the last week of classes and head home for a weekend full of homework, but you're still pretty optimistic because you only have to go to campus once next week.

But then you check your email on Friday and your English professor has finally sent out the final assignment, and you see it's still due Tuesday of finals week.

And then you look at the four essay prompts and realize you have never seen these topics before in your life.

Suddenly, your entire easy week of finals is in flames.

You throw yourself into homework and books and internet searches in an attempt to get ahead of things.

And then you realize that 'tis all in vain. Finals are swallowing you.

In denial, you studiously work away...

Until you finally have a breakdown.

There is no saving you.

You walk around on campus looking at your friends like

And they look just as traumatized as you.

Eventually, you get to the point where nothing matters. What do you care if you don't graduate?

But you still lie awake at night like

Teacher: "How dare you plagiarize?"

You start lashing out at your family in frustration.

Your siblings know you're going through finals, yet they still ask if you want to go see a movie.

But you go anyway, crying the whole time about how badly you're procrastinating.

Kinda like I am right now.

Yeah, that's right. Blogception.


Friday, November 27, 2015

New Look & News

I promised a post on writing "risky" topics like racism, genocide, substance abuse, etc. via Twitter, and I will not disappoint you, faithful readers. However, I thought it best to explain the new look (and why I haven't been present in the past month).

A new look was promised in October via Twitter, but I did not deliver...so now, I present to you the new and updated INKSPOT. Inkspot is now a fully functional artsy-looking blog with it's own hashtag (#inkspot) and even a fancy new FAQs and EDITING page set up on the top taps bar. I changed up the design of the blog in an attempt to make it look more clean-cut and professional without being too girly (ahem the pink of the last design) or too amateur (ahem the pink of the last design). It took a few hours to finish the look; I even tried downloading fancy blogger templates, but obviously that didn't work out too well. I was forced to design it based on my limited technical abilities and the extremely small gallery of blogger templates/fonts/colors/designs. I'm pretty happy with the result.

With a new look comes a new focus, and that focus is simply re-stating the previously developed purpose of this blog--to provide fun, insightful, unique, and quality informational posts on all things writing. Based on some of the comments I've received over the years, I've learned how to hone the strengths of this blog to create something my readers have referred to as "non-preachy" and "relatable"--which I think are awesome words to describe what I'm trying to do. My purpose is to provide thoughtful help and tips with a fun twist, not to preach to the masses and demand to be respected. We're all in this writing adventure together, and I'm positive I have as much to learn from you as you have to learn from me.

That being said, welcome to Inkspot. Thanks for hanging with me for these three years. I hope you plan to stay a little longer, because there are some fun things up ahead!

Sneak Peek into the Future:

  • Post on including risky topics like racism, genocide, addiction, abuse, mental illness, etc. even in your fantasy/sci-fi/non-modern-based novels
  • Post on appreciating movies separately from their books
  • Writing contests, polls, prompt games, and more
  • New editing offer--send your stuff to me to get edited! (see EDITING page)
  • New FAQs page
  • Posting more of my own writing--including poems and excerpts
  • Posting more of YOUR writing--via contests and prompt games
It's gonna be a fun year, ya'll.

Until next time!