Want to write faster?

On Critique Circle for the past couple of days there has been a thread about the Write or Die tool. I tried it out today and thought I'd share it with you all.

I am a slow writer, but even more so, I get distracted easily. Often when I turn on the computer the first thing I do is open up my Word Document, then bring up the net to check my emails. Then I go to the sites I visit regularly to see what's been happening. Then it's midnight, and I haven't even done my homework.

That's me.

Well, today I was entreated with a way to keep me on my toes, to keep my writing focused. Often I would sit down and say, "Here's an hour. I know you can write 200 words in an hour." Then I would take my merry time writing my 200 words.

Not this time. Having learnt about this mysterious Write or Die tool, I thought I'd give it a shot. You can set the time you would like to write for and the number of words you would like to write in that time.

You also choose consequences (if you stop writing for a time) and grace period (how long before the screen slowly fades to red and you are assailed by awful music). If you choose "strict" grace period you will be given five to ten seconds before the screen starts to go red. If you choose evil, you only get a couple of seconds.

If you choose "normal" consequences, you get previously said awful music. If you choose "kamikaze", after 10 to 20 seconds, your words will start to be deleted. For now, I think normal strict is a good setting for me.

And the result? I said before that I used to aim for 200 words in an hour. Using Write or Die, I set up to write 100 words in twenty minutes. I wrote 208 in 22 minutes. Pretty good in my opinion.

This is great, not only because I actively procrastinate from doing anything constructive, but because I am one of the people who usually edit as they go, looking for that perfect sentence before moving on. I do feel now, that it's more important that I get the words out onto the page, and once they're there, I can edit them all I want, for hours if I wish.


Fantasy World Building: Mythology and Religious Beliefs

When writing a fantasy, it is important to realise that the genre is based on real life -- history. Many of the concepts are taken from aspects of our own world, and then new concepts are added on top of that. That's why in a fantasy based in a medieval world, characters fight with swords or spears, bows or knives, axes or halberds. They do not fight with enkylas.

I suppose this is to give the reader some sense of realism, some believability and familiarity. Taking facts from history can make us feel almost like it is a part of history.

So when you are creating your mythology, or deciding on what your characters believe in, how do you go about it? Well, similarly to creating a unique hierarchal system, you must delve into Real Life, and find out what people from different countries and cultures believe.

Unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism has no official creed or universal doctrinal requirements for membership. In general, a person can be considered "Jewish" whether he adheres to a complete system of beliefs about God and the afterlife, holds only a few simple beliefs that give meaning to ritual, or even (at least in liberal Judaism) does not believe in God at all.

This diversity in Jewish belief arises in part because actions (good deeds and the mitzvot), not beliefs, are the most important aspect of Jewish religious life. In addition, the term "Jewish" can be used to describe a race and a culture rather than a religion, so some who identify themselves as Jewish may have little interest in the beliefs and practices associated with the religion of Judaism.
Roman Beliefs:
The Romans believed in many different gods and goddesses. For everything imaginable they had a god or goddess in charge. Mars, for example, was the god of war. This meant he was good at fighting and it meant that he had most of all the soldiers at heart. A Roman soldier would hence most likely pray to Mars for strength in battle.

Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, intelligence and learning. A schoolboy would ask her to help him learn his grammar, or the emperor would ask her to give him wisdom so that he might rule the country wisely.

This meant that the Romans had hundreds of different gods, and all of their statues are held within the pantheon.

In Islam there are no complicated or elaborate rites performed when a person is dying. When a Muslim is close to death, he or she is encouraged to utter the declaration of faith, 'there is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God.' It is also common for someone present to recite verses of the Qur'an and pray for the peaceful departure of the soul.

Burial of a body should take place as soon as possible; it is best if this can happen within 24 hours after death. The person is expected to be buried in the town / city where they died. Cremation is generally prohibited.

Muslims have great concerns about post mortems unless there is a valid reason. This is because even in death, a person's body must be handled with respect and care. Post mortems are regarded as violent and intrusive.

Like Christianity, Islam teaches the continued existence of the soul and a transformed physical existence after death. Muslims believe there will be a day of judgement when all human beings will be divided between the eternal destinations of Paradise and Hell.
"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth."
Christians believe in one God, who created the universe and all that is in it. God is a person, but of a somewhat different type than human beings. While humans have both physical and spiritual elements, God is entirely spiritual. That is, he exists outside the normal physical universe.

Human beings are created in the image of God. Obviously there are differences, since we are physical and God is not. What we share with God is the fact that we are rational beings, capable of making responsible decisions, and capable of relationships with each other and with him.
This was all just quick research, and may not be entirely accurate. If anyone as a more accurate description of any of these religions, or would like to suggest more, please let me know and I will edit them and add them in.
So you can see here, there is much you can do. You may want to mix and match, or you may want to choose one religion and base your mythology or religion off that.
I would say that the mythology I created for Aundes Aura is most similar to the ancient Roman mythology. I have assigned seven gods and goddesses to seven "jobs" that are involved in the world or the society:
- The World
- War
- Nature
- Light
- Dreams
- Death
- Time

Válkia used to be a continent of one land mass, but when the land broke apart, so did the religion. The island to the north-west, Arlea, remained traditional in its beliefs that all the gods were good.

Duthonne to the south, and Meira to the north adapted opposing beliefs for which gods were good and which were bad, giving reasons for their choices.

More recently, I decided that I wanted Faine to have an interesting trait, and thus he is superstitious. I looked up Jewish superstitions to base them on and discovered that if your right(?) eye itches, it is a sign of good news to come. Another Jewish tradition, which I may have to alter for the story, is that when one refers to someone who has passed away, one must say "May s/he rest in peace". I look forward to doing more with this as I rewrite my beginning.


I apologise for my barrenness in posts lately. School has just returned and I am crowded with homework as though I'm famous and the homework is my fans. I believe I have at least one more World Building post to write, and updates on my progress still to come.

In that respect, I will now announce that I have finished the prologue for Aundes Aura (the first draft anyway), and have begun work on Chapter One. In fact I have taken a week-long break from writing to get back into the swing of school.

If anyone is interested, my Aundes Aura prologue is now up in the Fantasy queue, so please feel free to have a read.

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Welcome to The Dark Corner of the Mind. My name is Ryan Sullivan and my aim with this blog is to help others with their own writing, as well as to make note of some of my own writing endeavours.

Here at The Dark Corner, Real Life is both our best friend and our worst enemy. Look to him for inspiration, but don't let him get in the way too much.

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