Dear Blog - Why Do You Hate Me?

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Dear Blog,

Why do you hate me so? I can't make any posts lately it seems. I don't understand this! I used to be brimming with ideas and now - totally blank. What happened to the fire we had? I couldn't go a day without posting - sometimes twice!

What ever shall I do?



Dear Anastasia,

Well, you should talk to Muse about that one. I can't help you there. I just hold the information for you. Not much else I can do.



Dear Muse,

Why have you left me? Blog is suffering and lonely here! Why would you abandon her? She's so young - and fragile. I must feed her new ideas and posts else she'll starve. And what about the readers, the faithful followers? What are they to read and learn if I post nothing?

Where did you go?



Dear Anastasia,

I gave you all the ideas you need. You just refuse to write them. That is not my fault. Perhaps you should talk to Motivation. He handles that department.



Dear Motivation,

Where are you? Blog is really lonely! What happened that made you abandon her? You used to love Blog! I posted everyday with your help. What went wrong?



Dear Anastasia,

I give you plenty of motivation. School, WIP, workshop modding, and even for Blog. If you are having trouble, perhaps you should talk to Procrastination. It's usually his fault anyway.



Dear Procrastination,

Why do you hate me so? I let you control the laundry, dishes, and lots of other things. Why must you deny Blog her posts? She deserves them! Can you please let me give Blog her posts again?




Dear (Name Here),

I'll get back to you tomorrow.


The Fantasy Genre

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Fantasy Genres

Fantasy itself is a large genre that can be broken down into more specific genres. Today, we will be looking at a few of them to learn more about this huge genre.

This is easy to understand. Take a part of our real history and change it. This can include magical elements (the real reason a war was won was because of magic) or a new concept of "What would happen if this happened instead?" (like what our world would be like had Hilter had his way with the Nazis party).

The characters in this fantasy story start in our world, as we know it, then are transported in some way to a 'magical' or 'paralell' world. Some say this could be considered part of the Sci-Fi genre also. This is true but the difference really lies with the magical element as opposed to a scientic or technological one.

A story set in our world but with magical elements. Some also consider this to be Dark or Urban Fantasy but, there are difference between the three. (Discussed further below). This type is often humorous or an adventure type of story.

"Horror" has some negative connotations to it and many authors choose to write under this genre name instead. However, there is still a huge difference between "Horror" and "Dark Fantasy". It all depends on the author's choice and the actual content on the novel. Some say the difference is the magic. Horror tends to be more scary or paranormal - not magical or fantastical.

This one is also called HIGH FANTASY or HEROIC FANTASY. These stories takes place in brand new worlds that require a huge amount of world building - with no comparison to our world as we know it (at all). The stories usually center around the battle between good and evil that include sub-themes like racisim, sexism, slavery, poverty, etc. Often times the hero of these stories have an unexpected or unsual strength that helps them to defeat the villian.

Who doesn't remember reading fairy tales as a kid? These fantasy stories are usually based on old folke tales or fairy tales, usually European. To write one of these, you take a known folk tale and rewrite a new version, basing your novel on the old tale, like if you wrote your own version of "The Ugly Duckling."

This is similar to fairy tales but it is a story based on old legends and myths. This could include stories written around Greek Mythology or other heoric legends of old like Robin Hood.

This category can be confused with Dark or Urban fantasy also as Werewolves and Vampires can often fall into this setting too. However, Paranormal Fantasy really focuses on mind over body types of magic/powers - like telepathy and teleknesis. That could be anything, not just werewolves and vampries. Some consider these types of stories to be Horror instead of Fantasy, but again the element that makes it different is magic.

This type is similar but more brutal than Heroic or Epic Fantasy. The heor has unusually high skills with swords and many other weapons then faces off agains sorcery (of an evil nature). He wins because of strength and will and "the gods' good fortune". The setting in this type if usually medieval so it has limited technology. It lacks the 'serious purpose' of Epic Fantasy stories.

This type of story is all about animals, and is usually written with the animals as the main character's or at least playing a major role. The animals in these stories act like humans and can often talk, aloud or telepathically.

These stories take place in an urban environment (which means a city or town usually). People go about their normal lifes but co-exist with fantastic creatures. Often times the "humans" don't know they coexist, but there are stories where they do.Vampires are the popular type of Urban Fantasy story but it is really inclusive of ALL fantasy creatures in an urban setting. This could include genies, faeries, or werewolves.

Of course, once you have these basics down, you can break it all up into subgenres, like Fantasy Romance, Fantasy Mystery, etc. Just remember, the thing that makes fantasy, fantasy is the magic or fantasical elements.

Next week, I'll talk about some commen themes and elements in a fantasy story's plot line.

Tales from the Sidelines Blogfest

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

It has been a while since I participated in a blogfest! I missed them but I always seem to be running late lately!

Anyway, this wonderful blogfest is hosted by Cheree Smith. The purpose of this blogfest is to put the spotlight on the side characters for a little while. One of my favorite side characters is an elf name Jardel. He's just so spunky! So, this scene is something I wrote a while back in his POV but not sure if it will stay in the book or not. (Jardel is from "The Kinir Elite Chronicles")

As expected from me - it's a long entry, but hey. Side characters need a little time in the spot light too, so Jardel can take over this blog post for a while. (For those that don't know, Jardel is an elf warrior. In this scene he and the team are going into the dwarf mines to rescue their Captain and team mate - who are the MC's in the story.)

Dawn was breaking. Jardel smiled to himself. He loved being a member of the Elite. It was going to be a great day. He enjoyed the missions and rescuing beings that needed justice. He hated all wrong doers and in joining the Elite, his dream of ridding the world of evil was one step closer to being true.

They arrived at the clearing near the secret entrance to the mines. Rakan, as the veteran of the team, took command and signaled Jardel, Tyn, and Saphierius to cause the distraction at the front entrance. They left to do as they were ordered.

"What should we do? Just run in making noise?" Tyn whispered as they quickly made their way around the base of Gorgan Mountain.

"Perhaps. Maybe set off some of sort of explosion."

"The explosion would definitely get their attention," Tyn said with a smile. Jardel whistled to Saphierius who was flying above their heads. He landed next to them and walked with them as they continued their way around the mountain.

"Saphierius, could you freeze some things down there for us once we are inside?" Jardel asked.

"Of course."

"All right. We are getting close to the entrance."

Jardel readied his bow, to take out any sentries that might be at the front entrance. There were two standing in front of two very large wooden doors. Jardel popped out from behind the bushes and fired two arrows in quick succession. The sentries fell into the dirt with barely a sound.

Saphierius blew his ice breath onto the door. Tyn did the honors of kicking the door, shattering the frozen wood into splinters. Three more dwarves were standing inside. They were momentarily stunned by the flying pieces of wood. Jardel dispatched one with his bow and Tyn ran the other two through with his sword.

The large tunnel could easily hold five elves standing side by side. Tyn ran along one side of the tunnel, Jardel on the other and Saphierius was in the middle. They made their way down the tunnel dispatching any dwarves that were in their way. The deeper they went into the mines, the more dwarves came swarming at them.

"Behind us!" Tyn yelled.

Saphierius turned around to cover their back while Tyn and Jardel tried to push their way forward. When the opportunity came up, Tyn ducked into a side tunnel, dragging Jardel with him. Saphierius followed and they ran down the tunnel, the dwarves close on their heels.

Jardel tried to remember the map from their mission planning. He remembered one of the tunnels looping back around and connecting back with the tunnel. He hoped it was this one. They came to a large cavern. They stayed on the path that ran along the edge. Below them was what appeared to be a town. They made their way around the cavern. Arrows began to fly up at them. Jardel was hit in the calf and he fell to this knees. Tyn turned around and picked him up, dragging him along. Saphierius did his best to freeze the arrows as they flew at them. The ice made them heavy and they fell short of their intended targets. The small dragon could not get to all of them and many times they had to duck in order to keep from being hit.

Tyn dragged Jardel out of the cavern into another tunnel. Jardel reached down and pulled the arrow out of his leg. He growled in pain and tore a piece of uniform. The wrapped the cloth around his leg. He nodded to Tyn to say he was ready to keep going.

He limped after Tyn down the tunnel. His memory had been right. The tunnel led them back to the main tunnel, but closer to the large cavern with the winding stairs. They quickly made their way into the cavern and started down the stairs. They saw Rakan taking up the rear as he led the faeries out of the cavern through the secret entrance. They whistled to him, to let him know they were still alive and on the chase. Rakan whistled back.

Jardel and Tyn raced their way down the stairs to join with the team. The distraction had apparently worked. Once all the faeries were in the tunnel, Aeli returned.

"Legousulip is leading the faeries to the cabin," she breathed.

"Right, let's go get the Captain and Kie."

The problem was they were cornered. The dwarves had swarmed them from both sides. Jardel and Tyn ran back up the stairs in an attempt to get some of the dwarves to chase them through the tunnels again. Rakan and Aeli went in the other direction with the same idea in mind.

Jardel led the way back to the main tunnel. He took a different side tunnel than the one they were in before. However, it was the same type of route. The tunnel led them to a cavern where there was a small village below them. No arrows flew at them this time however and they made it to the next tunnel in record time. When they joined up with the main tunnel again however, the dwarves were waiting for them. Saphierius turned the dwarves in front into ice statues and Tyn and Jardel shattered them. They slowly pushed their way forward back toward the main cavern.

They finally broke through into the large cavern. Tyn looked down, for a sign of Rakan and Aeli. They were just a little ways down the stairs from them. They pushed their way further down trying to meet up with Rakan and Aeli again. Jardel looked down as well, but spotted Derac and Kie instead.

"I spotted them!" he yelled happiness evident in his voice. They were alive. The faeries were safe and Derac and Kie were still alive. Now all they had to do was get out of the mines in one piece and all would be well.

Jardel was having fun despite the apparent grimness of the situation. Knowing that their mission was basically a success just filled him with joy. Every dwarf he dispatched was just the icing on the cake to him. It meant one less enemy to worry about. One less fight to fight. His leg burned but he ignored the pain. It was a welcome feeling as it meant he was still alive. He worked through it, intent on getting the whole team out of there alive. He would blow up the entire mountain if he could and bury the dwarves in the crushing rocks.

As he continued to fight, pushing their way to the secret tunnel, he laughed maniacally. They were going to get out - alive. Their mission was a grand success and Jardel was ecstatic about it. Aeli picked up on his good feelings and giggled a bit as well, as she fought next to him.

It's a great day to be an elf, he thought with glee. And a bad day to be a dwarf, he added kicking a dwarf in the chest, sending him over the edge. He laughed maniacally again, unable to contain the glee he felt. What is evil for him to enjoy killing the enemy? He did not think so. They were the evil ones and Jardel felt justified and righteous for killing them. He would never regret his killing all those dwarves nor would it keep him up at night. Serving justice was just much too fun to feel guilt over it and Jardel was having a lot of fun being a member of the Kinir Elite.

Writing the Anastasia Way

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

All right, for this Writer Wednesday, we are going to talk about the importance of having an organized work space. I literally just spent TWO hours cleaning my office.

Now, my house has one large room where the living room, dining room and my 'office' is located. My hubby built me a cubicle of sorts. I have two four foot walls and a door to my office. It really is cute. See? (Behind the camera is the living and dining room and you can see the fridge from the kitchen in the photo.)

Having this little space is wonderful! When hubby is home, I can come in here and shut the door to keep a little toddler out! I put my headphones on, turn up the volume and voila - private space. Hubby can be a genius sometimes.

Anyway, as you can see, it's not very big. Why did it take two hours to clean up? Well - I got lazy. I had stacks of paper all over the place, post-it notes in piles for no reason, the printer was buried, and I even had stuff on the floor. Not good, especially with a toddler that likes to explore in the house.

Now, let's take a look at my desk. You can see that I use every inch of space available to hold all my stuff! (Do you see this post being typed up on the screen there? teehee)

It does look crowded, but there is a system to the madness. To the right, you have my novel notebooks and my writing books, along with the computer CD's like games and programs. The left has books I'm reading that haven't been moved to the regular book shelf, and three clipboards that I use all the time. The printer you can see on the far right is where I rest the current WIP that I am working on. At the top is just the speakers, the net router, the pencil holder and other random items that really can't be near the floor. (Toddlers are really grabby types of creatures).
See? There is an order to the madness there. What you don't see is the filing cabinet on the left which is literally stuffed to the gills with stuff. And the printer is sitting on a shelf where I keep my craft items like paint, yarn, sewing patterns, etc.
And that, is my office.
Now - why did I show you all of this? Because, I don't know about you, but I spend a good majority of my time in this space. I write for 3 blogs, have 16 novels in the works, run numerous workshops and writing activities on the web, not to mention I am currently enrolling in school. I have had so many people ask me HOW I do all of that and still spend time with my family. I have made previous posts about time management, but another key factor is organization. I have everything I ever need within arms reach.
You can see in the picture I have easy access to all my novels -each binder or folder contains character sketches, plot summaries, and notes upon notes upon notes. My clipboards have lists and other information that I need handy (like usernames, things to do, blog post ideas, etc). (Then of course the picture shows you my cigarettes of choice - that does help me keep my sanity although it doesn't do much for actually getting things done.) Everything I need to do any of the things I do are all right here, next to me. (We won't even talk about the organization of my computer files - oh no. We'd be here all day people.)
Of course, you guys do not need to go out and become busy bodies like me. That's not my point. But really - if I can do all the stuff that I do - and still run a house - think of what YOU could do with a little more organization! Finally finished the WIP? Get that revision done?
Work Smarter - Not Harder.
I save countless hours (seriously, hours) by NOT having to slog through piles of stuff to find the one little notation I need. That means I use the time I have to write wisely, which in turn means I have more time with my family - and it's all less stressful!
And now that my desk is all back in order. I think it's time I get back to editing my WIP. I've been avoiding it for the last two days and now is the time to get back to it. Oh look at that! It's right there on my printer, in a nice neat notebook. Everything I need - all in one place. So wonderful!