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1. Take action that someone can react to. I'm really amazed at how prevalent this is, and all I can think of is that people are afraid to be bold, especially if they are new to RP and don't want to step on people's toes. Back in the day, I used to roleplay on a Lion King forum (ahem), and the few close friends I gathered called this kind of crap "butterfly roleplay", as in: a lion comes into the thread and chases butterflies. Another lion comes in and chases it, too. They get to be friends by bonding over a butterfly. Everyone is happy forever and ever. Look, text roleplay is a training ground for learning how to write and write well. Conflict is your friend, not peace, love, and butterflies. I would not watch a television show about lions chasing butterflies. (I will watch the hell out of a lion framed for murdering his own father!) And I sure as hell wouldn't read a book about lions chasing butterflies. But so often, what I see is people just posting these extremely static reactions. In conversation, they nod their head. They agree. They stand there and do nothing, or offer inane and stupid opinions that have no relevance to what's happening. In combat, they stand there or attack everyone on both sides. If someone else enters the thread and does something, most of the time the new person will be totally ignored. In the thread as a whole, they risk becoming The Load (See Rule #5). In general, these kind of players are are just a drag to have in the roleplay. In real life these people would be considered brain-damaged. If they were a gesture, they'd be a noncommittal shrug. But in RP, they're someone's "character" and that's supposed to make it okay. In RP, I swear I will take a racist, a sexist, and a bigot over the most agreeable person in the world. Because I know who is going to be more interesting to react to. I can have pleasant and normal conversations in real life. I don't want to roleplay something I could be doing in real life, when the point of RP is to ride dragons and shit. In writing, the saying is "Character is action." A character is the action they take. Not what they TALK about taking, or THINK about taking, but what they DO. In roleplay, if your character is REACTIVE, they are not TAKING ACTION. If all your character is doing is reacting to everyone in the thread, and never doing anything themselves, get the hell out of my roleplay that that weak-ass bullshit, because you are not someone I want to play with. Every post you make, you should be providing fodder for your fellow players to react to, in addition to having your character react to theirs.

2. Say yes. This was something Stephen Colbert said about the first rule of improv comedy: say yes, no matter how absurd the suggestions. From an individual point of view, it results in a great skit. In the sense of Colbert's career, it allowed him to do amazing things, just because he never said "No, having a machine on NASA named after me is just ridiculous! Sponsoring a speed skating team is too odd!" Roleplay is a type of improv. And if you think you have to say "no", because it's humiliating, humbling, or not "in character", yes, you've achieved the impossible: you're roleplaying wrong. Way back in the day, I played with a Dungeons and Dragons group, and inevitably someone would play the lone wolf ninja badass, who played by his own rules and was gritty and anti-social. (Barf.) What ended up happening was that the rest of us, as a group, would wait around for hours while the DM ended up running an entirely separate game for Mister Ninja. Eventually, as group, we got tired of that crap. And Mister Ninja waited around for hours while we played our game. And when he complained, the DM said, "Don't like it? Then don't play that kind of character." This gets back to being The Load: it is NOT EVERYONE ELSE'S JOB TO CARRY YOUR CHARACTER THROUGH THE ROLEPLAY. Nope. I don't care. I don't care if your character hates everyone, is blind and mute, and would never, ever in a million years go to a bar to get a drink with folks. Because maybe this time he would, and he needs to, because saying yes is how you will get an interaction. Saying no will get you nothing. "It's my character!" is the rallying cry of the asshole who doesn't want to be considerate of other players. If you don't want to play with other characters, don't roleplay. Go play a video game. The computer won't mind, I promise. Say yes. Does it humiliate your beloved character? Say yes. Does it make the character do something strange or a little odd? Say yes. This rule doesn't mean you have to say yes to extreme things like dying, or something your character rejects with all of his heart and soul, but a drink? Conversation? Something within the realm of a reasonable, sane person? Say yes.

3. Variety is the spice of life. Humans are complex beings, but man, too many of them have a habit of creating one-note character. Like, say, you have an angry character. Kinda fun to interact with, because anger is so volatile. But it doesn't matter what happens, anger is all this guy will ever react with. Insult? Anger. Offer to help? Anger. Adorable puppy? Anger. Who cares after a while? You're writing a one trick pony with one dimension (who probably also lacks in growth, see Rule #4.) Thinking about how your character reacts in different situations is key to making a good character. I recall an old roleplaying buddy of mine who thought that "strong female characters" killed with violent precision on the battlefield and then cried and felt guilty about it later. Which, as a girl myself, made me want to punch him in the face after his umpteenth female character cried about how bad a person she must be for decapitating that ogre. Even just in basic social cues, children bring out different responses than adults. An adult being a jerk is held responsible for their actions; a child being a jerk is either blamed on bad parenting or an off day. Similarly, if you see a kid being called names by a parent bent on shaming and humiliating them, you respond entirely differently than you would to two adults doing the same thing. Maybe you do have an angry character. Are they going to get angry at a disabled person? A mute? A child or someone very old? Different nuances in different situations should bring out nuanced reactions. And sometimes, yes, this means your character steps outside their comfort zone for the sake of interaction. I might play a quiet, thoughtful introvert, but if the rest of the gang is going somewhere, I'm probably going, too. Roleplay lends itself to wonderful variety, because there's such a variety of players, and it's a lot of fun to see your character respond to the unexpected. A recent personal favorite moment in roleplay was when a friend of mine was playing a kind of obnoxious guy on a ferry, while my quiet introvert was a passenger who could see the ferryman and other passengers were really bothered by obnoxious guy. So when the obnoxious guy put his feet up, my introvert tipped him overboard. (My friend had to leave, so it was a perfect way to excuse her from the RP after I asked if I could.) It's become a great moment, because my introvert earned the friendship of the ferryman and the passengers, and that in turn led to further interactions. There's no limit to what can happen if everyone is on board with asking questions and saying yes.

4. Keep growth in mind. I happen to think roleplay, especially text based roleplay, is a wonderful training ground for writers. Mostly because what makes good roleplay makes for good writing. Roleplay with tension and high emotional stakes and a great plot is just as enjoyable as a book with the same elements. But a common problem I see with RP characters is very similar to a lot of protagonists: all their growth happened in their past. Moving forward, they have nothing to gain because they're already who they will be until they die. Which makes for some pretty damn boring interactions. They're never going to change their mind, have sympathy for another point of view, and they are certainly not going to change. The easy answer for this is "trauma." "Yeah, man, my character had really bad, traumatic things happen to her." Well, for the most part, (barring something like wartime PTSD) trauma actually has been proven to lead to self improvement in a vast majority of cases. Seeing or experiencing suffering creates compassion. If you see a bunch of people living without water, you suddenly get a lot more aware that water should maybe be a human right. If you see dogs dying of neglect, you might get more protective of a stray or be motivated to work at an animal shelter. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you have more sympathy for depressed or anxious people. It's actually if you are super protected in a bubble all your life and never had any difficulties at all that you are more likely to be lacking in empathy for others. Even if growth is small, or even if just one character brings out something different in yours, growth is still important and rewarding. And a necessary part of writing a good character arc for a book. Characters need to be changed by events in a book, so you should have them change in reaction to roleplaying events. An introvert becomes a little more sociable. A loudmouth learns to shut up and listen a little more. Big, sweeping changes? Even better! Go for it. But don't stagnate your character just because "It's my character!" Especially when you're using it as an excuse not to interact with other players.

5. Don't be a Drama Queen, The Load, or a Damsel-in-Distress.  Everyone loves drama, especially teens. But if you are any of these things, you are, essentially, placing the burden of action on others while expecting the plot to remain centric to your character. You tailor your actions to limit the actions of others into doing something you want them to do. Everyone centers around your characters desire's, and if they don't, you're not playing at all, or playing so badly you may as well be punishing the other players. For the last time, roleplay teaches you how to structure story and character, and this is about as close as you can get to being a Mary Sue. Everyone else is actually doing stuff, but you're reaping the benefits. For example, your character is crazy. Certifiably so nuts that no sane person would ever get near you, as you smash things, attack guards, and do other wacky hijinks that have nothing to do with the plot. You're the Drama Queen, especially if you whine when others don't want to play with your idiot loser of a character. If you never react to anything, never act out your own ideas for the situation, or give anything for the other players to react to, congratulations, you're The Load. The rest of the characters will tolerate you and haul you around, because let's face it, you're dead weight, but the next time they go hunting for someone to play they're not going to extend the invite to you. And if you get to sit and do nothing while your companions fight and struggle, for a cause that means nothing to them but everything to you: you're the Damsel-in-Distress. Emo characters who constantly have to be stopped from self harm or overdosing or killing themselves  are very popular for this. They have to be "rescued" from who they are, and even if a nuclear missile is five seconds from launching, they're about to shoot up that heroin so save them! And don't think these are mutually exclusive terms, either. One of my absolute favorite stories about how NOT TO ROLEPLAY was experienced by a friend of mine on an animal forum years ago. She was a jaguar, and started a thread where she was hit by a tranquilizer dart from a poacher. THREE OTHER PEOPLE came in with their own characters and made the exact same thing happen! The thread died six posts in because all it was was a bunch of unconscious jaguars at the base of a tree, an idea so fabulous in its terribleness I get tears in my eyes laughing about it every time I think about it. How magnificently stupid can you get? It's a brilliant and awful combination of Loads and Damsels-in-Distress ("Hey, sweet! I don't have to contribute my own ideas! I'll just copy the OP and then MY character will get carried around by someone else's plot!") too scared to come up with anything original.
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Watching: Muppets Tonight

What is Core Membership?

Wed Aug 26, 2015, 4:55 PM by Heidi:iconheidi:


World Heart by minayuyu
Earlier today, DeviantArt released an announcement explaining what "Core Membership Is..."  To complement that announcement, I've penned a few of my own thoughts about what Core Membership means to me.

DeviantArt owes its existence to its community. The inspiring, pulsating life force that began 15 years ago with a small group of artists and art appreciators has grown more than anyone could have ever imagined. A true force of motivation and support on the Web, our community is one-of-a-kind in its service to the artistic greater good. And it always has been.

Whether you take the extra moment to answer a Note from a student of art hoping to learn from you, leave a thought-provoking comment on a moving piece of art, or simply watch a deviant, you are invested in your fellow artistic man, and that has all happened naturally from day one. The fact that you're here, browsing, collecting, supporting, and creating, just because you feel that pull to change the world through your artistic contributions is an inspiration to all that there is hope for humanity, via the arts.

To use DeviantArt, you need no more than your artistic ambition and an Internet connection. Membership has always been  and will always be  free to use for all across the world. But there are instances when deviants strive to give more, as thanks for providing the framework that brought us all together. In these instances, in exchange for monetary support, we're able to focus on exciting new features, more tools to inspire, and more opportunities to let art shine. 

Just like a donation of your time or funds to a local museum makes it possible for all to reap the benefits of your generosity, so does the support to DeviantArt  it benefits all deviants.

Core Membership is a proclamation from deviants around the globe stating a material commitment to the future of DeviantArt. Core is the fuel that sustains the momentum and leads us forward to building a stable, strong future with the innovations necessary for the community to survive and thrive.  

Core Membership comes with special privileges in return for that commitment, but perhaps the greatest privilege is the knowledge that the entire community can continue to prosper and grow thanks to such generous contributions. 

Why didn’t you formally announce Core before today?
We should have.  It was a mistake to not have properly explained our belief in Core and what it means for DeviantArt.

Why did you change the name of Premium Membership to Core Membership?
While the Premium Membership was largely about special features and add-ons, the Core Membership is about supporting the community for the sake of the community itself.  Core Members will continue to receive special features and add-ons, but Core is first and foremost about helping DeviantArt sustain a stable, strong future.  We call it Core Membership because those are the deviants who sustain us at our very core, allowing benefits to radiate outward in all directions.

Does DeviantArt only care about Core Deviants?
All deviants are important and valued.  The DeviantArt community represents a cross-section of the world at large and it's thanks to our many deviant artists  both free and paid  that DeviantArt exists as it does today.

Why did you increase prices?
We believe Core Membership is worth $5.00 per month.  A three-month Core Membership is $15.00 and a twelve-month Core Membership is available at a discounted rate of $50.00.

Core Membership is too expensive.
While we don't have current plans to further discount the price of Core Membership, it is possible that we will have promotional opportunities in the future.

What if I previously had a Premium Membership?
All Premium Memberships have been converted into Core Memberships.  If you selected re-billing as a Premium Member, you will continue to be re-billed at the previous rates you enjoyed.  If you weren't enrolled in re-billing, you will not automatically be charged for a Core Membership.  Core Members enjoy the same privileges as the former Premium Members – no features or add-ons have been removed.

Why is the Core Membership symbol an orange star?
When creating the identity for Core, DeviantArt's Studio team explored a number of options relating to symbols and colors.

The Future is Now


Three months ago we launched the DeviantArt Timeline to provide the community better insight into DeviantArt's future.  The following is a condensed roadmap of what's already in the works:
  • Sept. 1st: the DeviantArt Mobile App will be updated to include Notes and notifications.
  • Sept. 2nd: the first phase of our new thumbnail grid launches.
  • Oct. 2nd: the first phase of our new Watch launches.
  • Oct. 8th: the DeviantArt Mobile App will be available for Windows phones and tablets.
  • Oct. 15th: Notes search launches.
But there's still so much more to be done.   We could translate the site into additional languages (skyrocketing traffic for artists), build advanced tools for commissions, create an art registry to establish clear proof of authorship and ownership, and so much more.  With your help, through supporting Core Membership, DeviantArt could one day enhance the lives of artists in ways we can currently only dream about.

Some deviants help the community simply by using the site – donating their time and energy to supporting their fellow artists.  And their contributions are invaluable.  But for those who have the desire and ability to support the DeviantArt community, through the Core Membership, we're able to push forward, improve, grow, and advance the art and the artists of DeviantArt.

~Heidi



My Daily Deviations Highlights

Tue Aug 25, 2015, 2:20 PM


When Marnie Was There.NaBaBa by Andorada


Hi everybody :wave:

I usually refrain from tags, but Astarsia and lintu47 threw this project my way, and it is so important for the community... So, here it is!

Do you know the feeling when you see something you like, and then another one, and another one, till you embarque yourself in a trip? This is what happened to me. I started looking for recent DD's and I got carried away also back in time till 2006 :giggle:

And here are some of the gems I found...:

The Land of Angol-elm by FerdinandLaderaFitzRoy Mountain by RHADSIn memory of Pentagoon by Noukah
My cherry tree by secrethaven
Ariel by Inna-Vjuzhanina Pierian spring by RHADSSpeedpainting 51 by RHADS Atalin by shuangwen

OSMADTH - Bancur Lake by flaviobolla

Moonlight City by HRFleurWater and sky are in love. by Suzanne-Helmigh
Beautiful Skin Fairy by DarkTownArtOrchid Valley by HRFleur
Fawn by Inna-VjuzhaninaHer Majesty by Inna-VjuzhaninaEnvironment by HRFleurThranduil the Woodland King by HRFleur
Sweet Morning by RHADS

But Who is She by Selenada

the morning After... by Anako-ART    Catarina by Inna-Vjuzhanina
Rebecca by Inna-Vjuzhaninasweet dream by super-ania
Spirit of Nature II by flaviobollaPlaces we go at Night by Fionabus
Lady Ladybug by SelenadaFrom Present To Past by Fionabus
Jon Snow knows nothing XD (PSD Download) by ZombieSandwich
Forgotten Melody by SelenadaSister of the Night by Selenada
Daenerys by Inna-VjuzhaninaPrincess by Ennya7
Dreaming in a falling Sky by archangel0Silent Enigma by super-ania
Julie Saint Ange by CatherineNodetTwo moons by tatitati
Environment by HRFleur        Color Splash by Selenada

Cassandra by Inna-VjuzhaninaOSMADTH - Lost City of Asen by flaviobolla
Crab Mountain by ShadCarlos
Princess Luna by meirou the flower without pistil by yangtianli
Girl and fairy-tale fishes by Ennya7







And now, some Daily Deviations from 2015


December by escume
December
 by escume ( Suggested by Ginryuzaki and Featured by Thunderstatement )




A Fire in the Heavens by JJcanvas
A Fire in the Heavens by JJcanvas ( Featured by Aeirmid )


Lightning show by TonyLeBastard
Lightning show by TonyLeBastard ( Suggested bysJibbi and Featured by JenFruzz )


Stock Background 05 by floydier86
Slavic mythology. Mermaid. by Vasylina Slavic mythology. Mermaid. by Vasylina ( Featured by Aeirmid )





florem grypem Latin: floral griffin by RedreevGeorge
florem grypem Latin: floral griffin by RedreevGeorge  ( Suggested by lovelessdevotions and Featured by Aeirmid )




Your Lie in April by Regition
Your Lie in April by Regition ( Suggested byAcaciathorn and Featured by TheCreativeJenn )




Marsh by inSOLense
Marsh by inSOLense ( Featured by Aeirmid )


Mg by WesleyChenSylvari -adv by yuchenghong
Left/top: Mg by WesleyChen ( Featured by Moonbeam13 );

Right/bottom: 
Sylvari -adv
 by yuchenghong ( Suggested by lovelessdevotions and Featured by Aeirmid )






His First Sunset by keiiii
His First Sunset by keiiii   ( Suggested by Just-To-Look1 and Featured by puddlefisher )



the dream fades before dawn by feeshseagullmineA Galloping Fantasy by MyFantasie

Left/top: the dream fades before dawn by feeshseagullmine ( Suggested byGinryuzaki and Featured by TheCreativeJenn );

Right/bottom: A Galloping Fantasy by MyFantasie ( Featured by STelari )








Drowning by t1na

Drowning
 by t1naSuggested by DragonflyAndromeda and Featured by TehAngelsCry )





To Catch the Moonfish by Qinni

To Catch the Moonfish by Qinni  ( Featured by TehAngelsCry )




The Healing Waters by Aeirmid

The Healing Waters by Aeirmid ( Featured by Moonbeam13 )





A cozy place by flaviobolla

A cozy place by flaviobolla  ( Suggested by Lanasy and Featured by Moonbeam13 )



When Marnie Was There by NaBaBa
When Marnie Was There by NaBaBa  ( Suggested byDomDozz and Featured by TheCreativeJenn )






I love them all!

Many thanks to everybody suggesting them, and especially to the ones choosing to feature them! :clap:


And kudos to another wonderful project coming from the communityrelations team!


My tags (only if you feel like :huggle::heart:):

Mouselemur MYPeanutGallery lucytherescuedcat Eve-I Malintra-Shadowmoon Okavanga xColorSplashx George-B-Art Amidasu lolitartheist Amarantheans Farand morbidman187 Cinnamoncandy AshleyxBrooke FrancescaDelfino Medoriko Unkopierbar firefox2171 SolidMars Tigles1Artistry gigi50 CRGPhotography TommyGK Sublime-Feline Sabbelbina falcoDArgento PaMonk SabakuNoShi  Inconcabille UszatyArbuz Felizias Loki-Dalton lauraypablo KristenSpork 





The invitation is open to everybody who feels inspired by this! If you do prepare a feature, I'd be happy to see it! :la:

Feature hosted by TandemFeatures and ArtHasSoul





Skin by Dan Leveille

SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER

Thu Aug 27, 2015, 6:22 PM by KatasiHK:iconkatasihk:



Adventure by SyarPage




We all have our way of using DeviantArt to engage and build relationships with other Deviants around art. We submit deviations and the community kicks into gear with comments, favs, shares and new watchers. But there are times when engagement is not as high, or it doesn't happen as quickly as normal.

Where thinking of a place dedicated to kindred activities (engagement prompts) that you could do for the Deviants in your community.

You might ask — How is that any different from how I comment, favourite and share right now?



WELL, HERE’S THE ANSWER:

  1. The deviations and Deviants you engage with will be aligned with the Kindred spirit of the DeviantArt community. In other words, they will be surfaced here because they may not have received the love and consideration they deserve.

    Getting a fave or a comment on a work-in-progress could be more valuable than waiting for feedback on the finished piece.
  2. Your participation in this place could potentially earn you a NEW badge!

    New Badge by KatasiHK

    We are not sure what this would look like yet, but we know what it’s for.
  3. Our goal is for this to be a more fun and direct way to engage with your community!

So far, our working title for this place is called: Support. We referred to it recently in a journal about profile page ideas.

HOW WE SEE ‘SUPPORT’ WORKING ON DEVIANTART

How Support Works by KatasiHK
What you put into it is what you get out of it.



WHAT ‘SUPPORT’ COULD LOOK LIKE

We could add a ‘Support’ tab to your Watch (so you can support your community), and a similar tab to your Profile (so people can support you). The colored boxes represent the different Kindred activities that you could do for the Deviants in Your Community. Note: These prompts would only appear under the 'Support' tab and nowhere else on the site.
Support by KatasiHK







Flash Fiction Writing - Tips!

Tue Aug 25, 2015, 3:22 PM
Following the Flash Fiction Competition of June 2015, I was asked to create an article about some of my personal favourite entries from the contest, and what made them work. Well, I've taken that, and turned it into an article on the top tips of writing Flash Fiction. These are just my thoughts, and tips I've picked up from Writer's Workshop and Advanced Writing classes.

Now, with out further ado,

Tip #1: Start your story in Action


With Flash Fiction being such a short medium, you don't have much time to establish setting or characters; it needs to be fast-paced for maximum impact. So, the best way to engage your reader is to drop them straight into the middle of action. 

You do want to keep context though, so use to your discretion. 

Some Pieces from the contest that demonstrate this:
Servant's Log May 18-2418th May
Busy all day: cleaned windows, washed curtains, beef stew with leek and onion. On the master's request, dusted the foyer with special care today and prepared a vase with a bouquet of roses for the small bedroom. He expects a visitor tomorrow.
19th May
Spent the morning with standard duties; waited to greet the master's visitor, but the master requested that I busy myself elsewhere, as his visitor is uncomfortable with artificial servants. Cleaned the library extensively. Steak and potatoes with parsley for the master and his visitor. Hedges want trimming.
20th May
Brought the master his breakfast, then apparently took an unscheduled nap in the bathroom. Internal clock two hours out of sync with the master's atomic pendulum. Unsure how this happened; apparent systems failure. Will bring to the master's attention tomorrow.
Resumed duties as usual. Found sufficient breakfast dishes for two; cannot explain this. Checked for intruders, found none. If systems fa

Eyes Like Gift HorsesClacking as my train rounds the curve. An arm touches my lap. Near its owner’s mouth, her skin cracks. Her pupils reflect the overhead fluorescent flicker. She smells old.
The Chicago and Franklin stop. My shoe thuds against the wooden planks. A reclined man watches the sun, which is overcooking this city. I throw a quarter at his empty coffee cup.
The store is cool and dark. The cashier defiles the register with her body, creamy blues watching me lift a Shiraz off the top rack. Two thousand dollars. I shrug and leave, cradling the bottle. Outside, mayhem greets me. Cars everywhere, drivers watching their bumpers. Traffic crowds the buildings and river, pigeons cover everything else. Their bellies are distended. There is a sweetness in the air.
Today, it’s the riverfront Hyatt. I take a room for myself and my wine. The bellhop drapes his cart, face layered in shadows. The overhead lights are excessive. I don my sunglasses. The maid by the elevator looks flushed.

 

Tip #2: Limit Characters, Themes, and Settings


Related to the tip above. The whole point is that Flash Fiction is short. Unlike a novel, or short story, you simply don’t have the time to introduce multiple characters, Themes, or settings. The more characters/themes/settings you have, the more cramped the piece becomes. You really only have room in flash fiction for two characters, maybe three, along with a single setting and theme.

Some Pieces from the contest that demonstrate this:

Fireflies"Ah! Little lights!"
He followed his young son's gaze through the twilight dim, looking into the wet grasses beyond the airport. "Fireflies," he stated, ever the pragmatic scientist.
"But... why are they disappearing?"
"They'll come back. Follow one closely, watch the path it takes. See?"
"It's like what you do, Papá?"
"Not exactly. They are not teleporting."
He held out his hand, a sign of impatience, waiting on the child to take heed and follow him along. But his junior stared at the drifting beetles, deep in thought.
"Sad," he finally mused. "What if they don't come back?" Like you.


GloryI didn’t really accept it until the day I decided to cut my hair. My sister braided it for me one last time – French braid, decorated with little white hydrangeas from the garden and the most perfect pink hibiscus behind my ear.
My pageant tiaras didn’t sit quite right on my head after the chemo took what was left of my hair. It’s okay – I’d rather be bald than grey any day of the week; no one will ever guess my age from now on, not without looking like a huge jerk. I’m still the prettiest girl in town, muthafuckas.


Tip #3: Utilise Vignettes/Poetic Description


What is a vignette, I hear you ask. Well, a literary vignette is a short passage that focusses on describing a single character, object, setting, or emotion. Vignettes utilise poetic description, almost to an unnecessary degree. This use of words in an ideal way to draw specific attention to a singular entity within your work, especially if  it's key to the plot.

While vignettes are technically a form of flash fiction on their own, don't be afraid to incorporate them into your work.

Some Pieces from the contest that demonstrate this:

And then I realised, I was a pawn of greater menI'm flying on three tabs of Andraxian Blue. I don't remember taking them, but the Blue has an unmistakable way of splitting your head in two with a four iron. The question is why. It's been years since I've hit anything this hard, and I can already feel it coming on too fast.
People surround me like a swarm. Their noise reverberates through my skull, and the stench of their salts fills my lungs and threatens to drag bile out onto the street. They gawk at me. They sense something is different, and they're just waiting for their chance to tear me apart. They keep coming closer, sidling up to me as if nothing is amiss, pretending to look away.
It's too fast. I need something to cool me down.
I start to pat myself down for smokes - something to smother the Blue - and find a sheet of crumpled paper in my pocket. The letters slide around like pond-skaters over water, but after pleading with them they agree to stay still for long enough for me to read:
You've done something incredibly
 

Sketch - Little EliseShe flies through silent air. Stolen wings attend her shoulders. Her fragrance, morning dew. Chrysanthemums become her golden home. Her sustenance, honey nectar. Gossamer tresses and daisy stem ribbons crown the flower queen. Her airy dress, lily petals.  
With a toy boat and spider silk sail she skimmed down tumbling rivers and across stormy seas. She hid from winter within the burrow of a beast and in fading light met her dearest friend. A butterfly net of silver loops strung to a diamond ring sought in vain to steal her from the sky.
Fly onward kindred souls, Swallow and Elise.


Tip #4: Surprise your Reader


You want to entertain the reader with your flash fiction, otherwise they'll simply move on. The best way to do this is by adding a twist to your story; one that leads to an ending the reader wasn't expecting. Be clever about it though; cliches like "it was all a dream" are overdone, and can harm your story more than help it.

Some Pieces from the contest that demonstrate this:

IntegrityI’ve never turned down a job. Professional integrity, and all that. But even so, when I saw the name in the file, I cringed. At some point in every man’s career, he gets that job he knows is going to make or break his name.
I’d been using this name for a while now, and it had started to get a decent rep behind it. People knew me. Not my face, obviously. I was smart enough to use wigs and contacts; prosthetics, if I had to. A face was too damn valuable, and not so easy to change. Especially if you didn’t go in for all that cosmetic surgery stuff.
But names? Names were easy. Names were shoes that you could slip on and off as needed.
This name was one I’d had long enough that it had moulded to fit, like a pair of hard wearing boots that weren’t so much pretty, as reliable. So I took the job, because integrity is all we’ve got, in the end.
I packed up my gear and went to the address. The client had already said where they wanted it to go down, and
 

Flash Fiction #212-6-15
Ralf looked at his watch for the fourth time in five minutes. Xavier was late again. Yesterday they had spent the time sanding the walls to give them a smooth surface from which to work. Today they were painting. Furious at his brother, Ralf opened up the paint tin and started stirring the contents with a stick. Soon he had worked up a bit of a sweat and the paint was frothy.
“Probably stirred it too much,” he muttered, checking his watch again. Xavier still hadn’t showed up. He out the extender and mixed it into the paint as per the packet instructions. This would slow down the paint’s drying. Because the colour of paint can differ from can to can, even with the same colour, he poured his freshly stirred paint into a five-litre bucket. Furious with Xavier for standing him up, Ralf vigorously stirred the paint in this bucket so that it was all mixed properly. He then used painters tape, the blue kind, and placed it on the wood of the skirting boar


I hope these tips helped! Good luck with your Flash Fictions!

The readers 1- [Books] - b/w

Journal Entry: Wed Aug 26, 2015, 4:16 AM
Secret by ZiaulKareem
by ZiaulKareem



Please enjoyand, and remember to visit the photographers' galleries as well
I know... I have missed any of you beautiful people... forgive me and... please send me more images ...





“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.”

Joyce Carol Oates

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

Groucho Marx


British Library Readers by daliscar
 British Library Readers by daliscar
***


A Love of Books by EricForFriends
A Love of Books by EricForFriends
***


Bookshelf by fahrenheitlab
Bookshelf by fahrenheitlab
***


*****************************************************************************************

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it,

you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.

That doesn't happen much, though.”

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye


The Reader by whitestone
 The Reader by whitestone
***



The reader by MirabellaStefano
 The reader by MirabellaStefano
***


Reading by MitsukoYumi
Reading by MitsukoYumi
***




Reader by sahsnk
Reader by sahsnk
***




Years Before Maybe by sags
Years Before Maybe by sags
***



Reading Spot by IFedorovskaya
Reading Spot by IFedorovskaya
***


the reader 2 by Itapao

the reader 2 by Itapao
***



The Reader in A Narrow Street by begum215
The Reader in A Narrow Street by begum215
***


nothing beats a good book by ElvisLaw
nothing beats a good book by ElvisLaw
***



Readers by karljohansson
 Readers by karljohansson
***


Crouching Reader Hidden Jobs by bQw
 Crouching Reader Hidden Jobs by bQw
***



Yin Yang by bQw
 Yin Yang by bQw
***



Couple ... by minotauro9
 Couple ... by minotauro9
***



the reader by Batsceba
the reader by Batsceba
***



Reading, smoking and coffee by daliscar

Reading, smoking and coffee by daliscar
***



the reader by VaggelisFragiadakis
 the reader by VaggelisFragiadakis
***



Bearded reader by anahuac
 Bearded reader by anahuac
***


Shelter by rgplus
 Shelter by rgplus
***



Break time by mstargazer
 Break time by mstargazer
***



Bus Reader by sandas04
 Bus Reader by sandas04
***



bcn metro reading by mrtso

bcn metro reading by mrtso
***




2 Reading and 2 Talking by niklin1

2 Reading and 2 Talking by niklin1
***


**************************************************************************************************************



“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”

C.S. Lewis

Young reader by StamatisGR
 Young reader by StamatisGR
***



Little Reader by waitingforlefty
Little Reader by waitingforlefty
***


Determination by oO-Rein-Oo
Determination by oO-Rein-Oo
***



Toys R Us Kid by bQw
 Toys R Us Kid by bQw
***



Biraz Oku Dolas Yasa Iste by sogni-di-margherita
 Biraz Oku Dolas Yasa Iste by sogni-di-margherita
***




*************************************************************************************

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”

Gustave Flaubert





The Reader by YWKam

 The Reader by YWKam
***



Which book is he reading? by ZiaulKareem
 Which book is he reading? by ZiaulKareem
***


Reading by OliverJules
 Reading by OliverJules
***



Author unknown by wchild
Author unknown by wchild
***

reading the good book... by cweeks

 reading the good book... by cweeks
***




**************************************************************

“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.”

George Orwell, 1984





Paris by photodan88

 Paris by photodan88
***



Woman Reading by ZiaulKareem

Woman Reading by ZiaulKareem
***



Afternoon Reading by bQw

 Afternoon Reading by bQw
***


reading the feelings by akthuro
reading the feelings by akthuro
***



night reading near the river by panosozi

night reading near the river by panosozi
***



6449 by NunoCanha

6449 by NunoCanha
***



Books are Noisy by bQw
 Books are Noisy by bQw
***



New York Subway 1 by Joeykunin

New York Subway 1 by Joeykunin
***


______________________________

“Classic' - a book which people praise and don't read.”

Mark Twain

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”

Joseph Brodsky





with:

:icondaliscar: :iconericforfriends: :iconfahrenheitlab: :iconwhitestone: :iconmirabellastefano:
:iconmitsukoyumi: :iconsahsnk: :iconifedorovskaya: :iconitapao: :iconbegum215:  :iconelvislaw:
:iconkarljohansson: :iconbqw: :iconminotauro9: :iconvaggelisfragiadakis: :iconsags:
:iconanahuac: :iconrgplus: :iconmstargazer: :iconsandas04: :iconmrtso: :iconniklin1:
:iconstamatisgr: :iconwaitingforlefty: :iconoo-rein-oo: :iconsogni-di-margherita:
:iconywkam: :iconziaulkareem: :iconoliverjules: :iconwchild:
:iconcweeks: :iconphotodan88: :iconakthuro: :iconpanosozi: :iconnunocanha: :iconjoeykunin:

Coming soon

The readers 2- [Newspapers] - b/w
The readers 3 - [Books] - color
The readers 4 - [Newspapers] - color


This Journal Skin was designed by Night-Beast
Red by SuzieKatz                   human by nakedcrayon23               Dracovine by DeniseWorisch                 Shaak Baa by HamidM                                                 neighbour by creativephotoworks              vampires will never hurt you by Andaelentari           Who are you 2015 by nudagimo       Play guitare by Ange10                               Sunflowers Fairy by maiarcita                                        Happiness by MoonZaphire              The Tempest by muirart   last progeny by beyzayildirim77     Xanadu by SweediesArt                    Offerings: Life and  Death by vampirekingdom  Carnivorous cupcake by Darkodev     So lonely by gb62da                    Di Nebbia e Cecita by L-E-N-T-E-S-C-U-R-A       Anathema In Color by rsiphotography        Always with me by JacquelineLecocq                   Mother Goddess by Babylonia666           Impure by nina-Y        Scent of Roses by Manink        SUCULENTA BANANA by 67thy            The bridge of sighs by stefangrosjean                Lost in the music by katmary             Come back to me by EstherPuche-Art                                  SUMATRA - To the Ashes Project by Gwyneeth                  FROM THE SEA by Bojan1558     Dresden (full color version) by untuox   Wall with a life... by touchofthesoul       E.C.L.I.P.S.E by Altair-E                 Self Defense Principal by Walking-Tall              Dracula returns by LuLebel       3012 UNDERWATER by megan7             Thorns and Staircases by SineLuce Queen of Hellfire by Kiriya       African Princess by funkwood             The Anteroom by Notvitruvian Naga's daughter by La--Boheme     Gestaltwandler - shape shifter by einstein64k                Fengfu by Shana-e     Mystique by MoonRoseEternity        Dreams may come true dedicated to Pia... by DDimitri16

In an essay on Robert Frank, Ian Penman wrote: ‘You are never going to live in some still strange meditative thing-free desert. You are here, and these are your things.’ 

The theme of the involuntary recurrences, of the mysterious resurgences of subjects in the photographs of different authors and times, is a theme that haunts me since I read The Ongoing Moment by Geoff Dyer. 
Photography returns us to the same dumb things over and over. As Dyer observes in his book the same objects recur with uncanny regularity: doorways, barber’s shops, ruins and roads to nowhere. Men in hats and dark overcoats smudge the grey weather in André Kertesz and Dorothea Lange. Chairs, fences, beds and benches rhyme endlessly into the distance in the work of Paul Strand, Brassaï, Edward Weston and Garry Winogrand. Blind beggars step out of August Sander onto subway trains for Bruce Davidson to photograph; doorways open out of Eugène Atget and William Henry Fox Talbot into interiors by Walker Evans and William Eggleston.

Well, Dyer forgot Sliding Scales, but I did not!

Lucifer 2.0 by DRIVINGYOU

lol... by Michel-Lag-Chavarria

Fragments by burningmonk

Mirror Escalator by InternetScout

Untitled by Jinnger

Ghost on the wall by vulezvrk

Tilt by mariomencacci

wonky adverts by lightdrafter

Up and down by MirabellaStefano

Hands by MirabellaStefano

Love by vulezvrk

Deux mondes by C-Jook

Instant 1902 by SUDOR


"OK! I believe you!"

    Ok everyone its that time of the week again for another awesome tip from your drunken neighborhood Mtn-Man! So last time I was able to talk to y'all it was about the human figure, and I gave you some rough guide lines and a whole bunch of rambling. So today we'll be continuing that discussion featured in my last Tuesday Tip, entitled Move Yo' Body, Every-Everybody

Gesture


    Ok, so just a little quick refresher, lets talk about gesture drawing. A gesture drawing is work of art defined by rapid execution. Typical situations involve an artist drawing a series of poses taken by a model in a short amount of time, often as little as 30 seconds, or as long as 2 minutes. Gesture drawing is often performed as a warm-up for a life drawing session. More generally, a gesture drawing may be any drawing which attempts to capture action or movement.

    The primary purpose of gesture drawing is to facilitate the study of the human figure in motion. This exploration of action is helpful for the artist to better understand the exertions of muscles, the effects of twisting on the body, and the natural range of motion in the joints. Basically, it is a method of training hands to quickly sketch what the brain has already seen. Staying "focused" means sustained concentration. Gesture drawings may take as long as two minutes, or as short as five seconds, depending on what the focus of the exercise is. Sometimes called "scribble studies," a completed gesture drawing need not accurately resemble the subject when done correctly.

    Ok, so since what I really want to concentrate on is "poses" for figure drawing, what the real essence in whats just been said, is the practice of capturing motion in the human figure. A lot of the time I see newer and younger artists drawing "O.C.'s" and various figure/character drawings and they just seem... Stiff. Ya'know? Like their characters are scarecrows stuck up on a pole, devoid of natural motion. This is the reason that I strongly emphasize a good helping of gesture practice. Learning to feel out the curves and shapes the body makes without actually trying to define the body is such a powerful tool in creating dynamic figure drawings. 

    When a character feels too rigid and stiff, the piece itself takes on a 2 dimensional or flat feeling.
The gesture practice allows you to draw strenuous or spontaneous poses that can't be held by the model/figure long enough for an elaborate study, and reinforces the importance of movement, action, and direction, which can be overlooked during a long drawing. Thus, an approach is encouraged which notes basic lines of rhythm within the figure. The rapidity of execution suggests an aesthetic which is most concerned with the essence of the pose, and an economy of means in its representation, rather than a careful study of modeling and form.

Ok, So Lets Try It


    So this is the part I all want you to give a go at. For the first study, lets choose a figure, either from life or from a picture, and lets take 20 seconds to jot down the Movement of the figure without too much thought into proportion, scale, or accuracy. Ready. Set. GO!

20 second gesture by Mtn-Man



   

20 Second Gesture Drawing


    I do apologize, I really need to clean the surface of my scanner. A task for another day though.
     So How did y'all fair? Did you get a whole figure on paper in the allotted time? Or did you get a bit bogged down in the details? Well if you couldn't get a whole figure, that's ok, that's all part of the learning and growing process. 

    Ok, so again, I want you all to participate again. This time lets do a 1 Minute gesture, just so some of you can get a little bit more detailed. To keep it simple though lets use the same reference figure as before, if at all possible. Some of you might be drawing from life and thus, the figure might have moved since the original. Anywho, lets give it a go. Ok, Ready. Set. GO!

1 minute gesture by Mtn-Man


1 Minute Gesture Drawing


    Times up! Pencils/Stylus' down. Ok, so how was that? feel like you were able to accomplish a bit more this time around? Great! As you can see with mine, I got a bit wild and wasn't able to keep the whole figure on the page completely. Things like that are ok though. This is an exercise that helps to build muscle memory and artistic stamina. Hell, green peace would be after me if they knew how much paper I've shed on just gesture drawings. None in vain however! I put down multiple gestures on one page front and back, and I keep All of Them. You never know when you're going to be needing to draw a character/figure in a pose that you might have previously gestured out. So keeping your gestures is a very good idea to help you down the line someday. Cause you just never know, you may be able to turn a bunch of random scribbles into something like this:

Lightning Dance by Mtn-Man


Yes, I know that's an old piece of mine, but its what I used to reference just to purposefully display how gesture can be applied to future art.

    Ok so one more time, just to warm up for our next part lets knock out 2 thirty second gestures to get loose. My uncle just so happened to pop in for a little visit yesterday, and in lieu of the fact I knew I was going to be writing this Journal, I had him pose for me in two poses for 30 seconds a piece. Here's what I came up with. 

Scan00003 by Mtn-Man


2, 30 Second Gesture Drawings


He's kinda old, so that's about as dynamic I could get outa him, but he served his purpose... That and helped himself to some of my beer... 

Creating Dynamic Characters and Foreshortened Drawings. 


    Drawing the figure in space foreshortening is not a mere technical trick, not a mere problem to be solved, it's the essence of figure drawing as perfected by Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the other great masters of figure and anatomy art. But most newer artists would greatly prefer to draw the figure as if it were a soldier standing at attention, with the axis of the body and limbs parallel to the surface of the drawing paper, like a building in an architectural elevation. Well, no, they don't, really prefer to draw it that way, but the dynamic, three dimensional, foreshortened figure is so foreboding that some artisits are inclined to give up and stick to wooden soldiers, though silently longing for some magic key to the secret of foreshortening. 

    So first, for those who do their character sheets and base drawings in that rigid and soldier format, lets take a look at some simple things to help break you of that habit. Right here I have illustrated on the left, the front view, with the figure standing straight up, almost at attention. To the right, its the same figure, in roughly the same pose. Though the axis of the hips and shoulders have been altered just slightly. Not even by 10 degrees at most, but do you see how the figure on the left seems to be slightly more dynamic?

Scan00004 by Mtn-Man

    This is just a basic step to help beginners out of the habit of drawing very stiff and static characters and figures. Just by moving a couple of body parts we were able to convey movement, dynamic, and even possibly a character attitude or emotion. 

Moving Through Space 


    Seeing the body as a flat silhouette encourages a simplistic description of the figure as a mere area, and a drawing of this flat shape commonly assumes the character of an outline, or contour, drawing only. Shape/mass, on the other hand, demands to be understood as volume structure in three dimensions, this makes it possible to draw the figure in space, putting the human form into the most inventive and varied conceptions of advancing and receding in space. Conceiving the figure as shape/mass permits you to manipulate the figure creatively, part by part, making changes according to your desire, without copying or using reference materials. Like a sculptor working with modeling clay, you can structure and compose by building up. You can alter the actions and projections of separate forms, and can revise and modify the forms at will. But more important, you can choose to introduce radical innovations of form. 

    Placing the body in space, whence practiced enough is something that will soon become second place to most artists. A lot of times you can think of it in much simpler terms as 'Moving the camera angle' like you'd see in a movie, or the panels of a comic book. If you have two characters exchanging dialog for a period of time, continuing to draw them face to face as they carry on is very boring, and leaves the audience looking for more. So what most artists will do, in print and film, they constantly change the camera angle to accommodate for the lack of action or movement just so they can apply a dynamic feel to the scene. To accomplish this, you'll need to learn how to draw the figure in space, so lets practice.

    For my practice I chose something relatively easy. Everyone knows Superman, and his legendary 'Up up and away' pose right? Well most of the time he's depicted in this pose, you're either watching him from above coming towards you(the viewer), or he's shooting off away from you. Well so lets take the first over the latter.
 Scan00005 by Mtn-Man


    Now I never claimed to be a good Superman artist so bare with me... As you can see though, the figure is defiantly moving closer to you. This was a real quick sketch so I might have missed some of the better proportions, but you can clearly tell his right arm is much larger than his left. This is because objects moving away from you in space appear smaller then objects closer to you. I know, I know, most of y'all know this, but sometimes its overlooked a little in our figure drawings. Another key note to remember is that if a body part is pressed back in space, and looks to be almost hidden by another body part FOR GOD SAKE'S LEAVE IT HIDDEN! I don't know how many times I've seen what would have been a decent piece thrown off because the artist felt the need to include EVERY body part in the picture. As you can see in my example, where is the Figures Left Calf? Well its under his Left Thigh, but that's ok, we all know its there. There's no need to emphasis it more then that little peek-a-boo fright above his left foot. 

Still Feeling A Little Lost?


    I know we just covered a bunch of stuff about gesture and foreshortening, and to beginners, these might be several lessons ahead of your skill level yet. That's ok though, these are all things that ALL artists should know, and practice from time to time. Shoot, even I have to admit that I haven't done too much gesture drawing until I decided to start working on this article. I'm glad that I did though, got me back into the groove a little bit, and for the several picture I used to show you as references I actually drew twice as many. 

    Ok, but here's one last little exercise and tip to help you on your journey of becoming a better figure/character artist. USE SOME STOCK! There is a TON of stock out there from some really great, inventive, and creative artists out there. Shoot, I think that dA probably has the best stock models I can find on the internet. I know if feels kinda like copying something that someone else might have already used, but I mean, come on. If you're not drawing Spider-Man, then more than likely someone has already drawn a figure in the pose you created in your head anyways. Besides, these people create stock FOR YOU TO USE. They wan't to help you out, and want you to get better. So go ahead, until you're ready to strike out on your own, go searching some galleries for that right pose you're looking for. So here's what I decided to use just for fun, which includes a 30-40 second gesture drawing, followed by a 2 minute speed sketch.

Operator Soldier Stock - 39 by Nemesis-19  Scan00006 by Mtn-Man  Scan00007 by Mtn-Man


    Again, the longer I spend on a piece, the bigger it seems to get so I ran outa room at the bottom for the 2 Minute sketch.

    OK, so that's about all the rambling you're going to be able to get outa me for the next week or two but hey, don't stop creating! And keep on improving! Just for fun, here are some other helpful resources and tools to help you improve on your figure/gesture drawings.

Additional Resources


Mature Content

Figure Drawing Tutorial by StudioQube
     Basic Figure Tutorial by avencri     Tutorial - Figure Drawing 03 by sheldonsartacademy    using gesture in drawings by gurukitty    Importance of gesture drawing Sketchbook 48 CW by JustIRaziel    Gestures 12/28/12 by Spork-

Ok so that's all for now folks, till next time, Mtn-Man out. 

Signiture Stamp Small by Mtn-Man



Skin by SimplySilent
I think that sometimes we overestimate what mothers can do and handle. Or perhaps it's just that we don't really realize that they're people until we see them crying in their room. But mothers, no matter how strong they are or claim to be, need support. In a lot of stories, old and new, mothers are seen as strong, almost invincible support systems. They take care of everyone around them, they look for the bright side and they always work to help. Because of that, I think we don't really see just how...overwhelmed they are.

Of course, some mothers are pretty terrible. But the majority, I've found, are just trying their best to become that perfect mother: supportive, kind, loving. And when they make a mistake or even when their kid makes a mistake, they take it a lot harder than others might, because they feel they've let not only that "perfect mother" image down, but also their kids down. I was once talking to my mom about how everyone has a special talent, and she didn't know what hers was. I told her it was being a mother, and I meant it. I honestly think my mom is the best mother I could ever have wished for, but when I told her that, know what she replied with? "Don't say that. Hearing you say that is...amazing, but it also makes me feel really guilty. It just reminds me of all the mistakes I've made, and how often I've let you and your brother down." 

Fudge that. It's because of her mistakes that she's so freaking awesome! :D (Big Grin)

I have no idea why I'm writing this right now. Sweating a little... Honestly this train of thought just rolled into my head, and I felt like sharing it with you guys. 

I suppose the moral of this journal is that: if you and your mom (or dad. Don't forget the dads) ever were to have an argument or if she's having a rough day, remember that she needs support too. Remember to hug her, or do some small task that she normally nags you about. Whenever I notice my mom acting tense and angry, I try to find little things she normally has to do around the house and do them for her, like washing the dishes or taking out the trash. Sometimes it really is the smallest gestures that can make someone's day. :) (Smile)

Just please, be a mother for your mother sometimes. ;) (Wink) They deserve it.