Thursday, April 14, 2011
I'd wanted to do an Artful Thursday post featuring Persephone for a long time. But I needed to wait until the perfect moment. Ladies and Gents... it has arrived. Spring is upon us... full blown in some parts of my readership's world and just beginning in others. Believe it or not, I know people who are still getting snow... IN APRIL. Heavens To Demeter... your daughter has risen already, give these poor people a break, will ya.
So yes, Persephone is daughter of Zeus (king of the Greek gods) and Demeter (Greek goddess of harvest). The story goes that when Hades (Greek god of the Underworld) abducted Persephone, Demeter was so distraught that she cast the world into famine... there by giving us the seasons of Fall and Winter. When Persephone was allowed to return to the land of the living, Demeter blessed the earth with an amiable climate, and the flowers bloomed once again... there by giving us Spring and Summer.
So, without further ado... Persephone.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Raise your hand if you like reading long lists of physical descriptions in prose... whether they be describing a a person, place, or thing.
What? No takers?
I've read stories like that before and it irks me. My, how the sands have shifted... I used to write that way as well. The passages always began so innocently. Something akin to:
Jenna walked in. She had dark brown hair and light brown eyes. Her red camisole matched her red heels. She wore a pair of form fitting, dark rinse jeans. The club was dark and noisy. Lights flashed in time to the blaring music.
If I was writing the scene now, I would try to reveal her physical features over time, not all at once. I might begin with one feature. Have her do something or say something and then come back to the next feature a little later. I also like to engage a person's physical features during pauses or beats in between dialogue. And mostly one at a time... maybe two... but never ever more than two at a time.
In terms of environment, I always try to have the character notice something about the setting or environment. If that's not possible, or I've used the *notice something* trick already, I try to have the character interact with their setting... take a book off the shelf, scrape their feet across the dry earth, run their hand over a rough wall, etc.
Here's an example from my current WIP, The Sky Throne:
I stepped inside the door to my new home, a modest log and stone, one-room building. It beat The Cave any day. In one corner stood a wooden desk and chair. I trailed my hand over the grain of the wood. Beside it, a window overlooked the olive trees outside, close enough to pluck from. I wheeled around and saw two doors with handles near the center of them. They didn’t exactly look like and entry or exit.
Curiosity bubbling up, I walked the six paces across the room toward the doors. Grasping the handles, I opened them slowly. From a horizontal bar inside, hung two blue, two white, and two black tunics, along with one white cloak. Uniforms. Uggh. I fondled the fabric of the tunics and turned them over in my hands.The wooden planks beneath my feet creaked as I stepped around the space. I sat down on a raised platform bed with a goat’s wool stretched over it. I ran my hand across it and drew in several deep breaths.
So, tell me... what techniques do you use to introduce physical features and setting?
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Hades... the Dark Prince... The Unseen One... Greek God of The Underworld, Ruler of the Dead. Not many know that the term Hades refers not only to the man, but to the place (The Underworld) as well. He is one with his dominion. He's often depicted with either his trusty sidekick, Cerberus- the three-headed guard dog, or his reluctant wife, Persephone.
Which brings me around to the relevance and timeliness of this post...
I'm posting this pictorial of ole Hades because either spring has sprung, is springing, or will be springing soon where you live. His relationship to spring is wrapped in a tale as old as time itself. So the story goes... that Persephone, daughter of Demeter, was strolling in the meadow, minding her business, picking flowers in the fields of Nysa, when Hades erupted through a gap in the earth and abducted her... taking her to The Underworld. Distraught, Demeter cast the earth into a vast famine. Zeus intervened and bargained for Persephone's release. But before she left, Hades tricked her by giving her a pomegranate to eat, thereby ensuring that Persephone would have to revisit Hades for six months a year. And when she is in the Underworld, is when we have late fall and winter. But when she re-emerges... all of our flowers bloom again and we have spring.
See this post on Spring In Greece.
See this post on Demeter
And now, I give you... Hades.