Writing some new scenes into Dagger of the Sun and while none of my characters can be clearly defined as heroes or villains, some are truly bad until they have a moment (albeit small) of redemption. And, although Delphyne, Kael and Apollo are the main characters, none of them are selfless enough to be anyone’s hero – at least not for very long.
But the character flaws are fun to play with and their corruption makes the political games more interesting throughout the novel – especially when the Warlords come into play. (These were some of my favourite scenes to write, and I can’t till I have a rewritten snippet to share on the blog.)
I’m currently playing around with a action sequence starring Delphyne, Apollo and Lykos – a professional killer employed by Kael and sent for item retrieval. It’s a key scene in the novel, so I’m trying really, really hard to get it right. Luckily, the music gods were listening to my prayers and sent me a neat piece of inspiration for the scene – Tegan and Sara’s “I’m Not Your Hero:”
The lyrics of the song are a perfect fit for Delphyne’s personality and inner feelings. I love finding music that I can write to…even better if it’s music that inspires me to write. 😀
What are some of your favourite pieces of writing music?
(aka The Anti-Hero Writer)
For the greater part of last night, when I should have been working on my personal brand of agony which I call Dagger of the Sun, I found myself wandering the endless channels of the Internet looking at Benedict Cumberbatch pictures and memes.
Okay, so it’s no secret that I adore Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC Sherlock, Star Trek 2), but the man’s mesmerizing blue eyes are now beginning to interfere with my work. Then after many late night phone calls and tearful confessions, my cousin offered to come to my house and show me a picture of my dear Benedict in drag…
…Only, it didn’t work, because the man’s sense of humour and ability to take himself not too seriously is just one of the things that have made me go fangirl crazy!
That and the fact that my cousin – who was laughing her butt off when she saw this picture – doesn’t seem to understand that there is no unattractive picture of Benedict…such a feat is humanly impossible.
So despite that fact that she tried really hard, my cousin was no match for the endless pictures of Benedict available on the Internet. Here are some of my personal favourites:
1. This one says: intense, serious, but with an underlying sensitivity.
2. This one says “I am good at being bad.” (But when I saw it, I said, “Holy, Mother of God!”)
3. And “Oh my, are his legs ever so long?”)
4. And finally, “Look into my eyes…”
Clearly, I have to find a way to write him into DOTS and then have him cast for the movie and then sneak on set so we can “chat.”
(aka “This blog post could also have been titled ‘The Shameless Cutting and Pasting of Benedict Cumberbatch Pictures’ but we opted for something classier.”)
So I was writing the new chapters for Dagger of the Sun (DOTS) and it got me thinking about armpit hair.
Yeah, I know…
But it got me thinking about how people in ancient times may have gotten rid of unwanted hair – I know laser treatments weren’t available yet. (No matter what Lynsay Sands would have me believe in her Argeneau series! There is no such thing as an evolved Atlantean civilization in DOTS, so I couldn’t just open up an Ideal Image laser salon on a random Greek street corner.)
So I did what any good scholar would do? I Googled it.
And I found an interesting article about the history of hair removal the NoNo website of all places. But I figured if anyone was going to know there stuff, it would be the experts. Here’s a snippet of what I found:
Ancient Egyptians removed unwanted hair with flint or bronze razors – they even invented a technique similar to waxing called sugaring, which used a sticky paste and a piece of cloth to yank the hair out at the root! Hair removal was very important to the Ancient Egyptians for cultural or perhaps even religious reasons. In Ancient Egypt, both men and women shaved their heads and wore wigs instead of their natural hair. They took it so seriously so long ago, that some Egyptian bronze and flint razors have been dated to over 3000 years ago, and sugaring is thought to date back as far as 3000-4000 BC!
Around that time people also developed the first depilatory creams, which chemically dissolve the hair above the skin. Other depilatories that date from that time dissolved hair above the skin as they still do today, but without the chemical and anatomical knowledge we have. This meant that early depilatories (5000-7000 years ago) were very irritating to the skin, and were probably quite painful. Simpler depilatories included quicklime, arsenic, and starch and more complex versions later on included resin, pitch, animal fats, and even bat’s blood!
In Ancient Greece, it was simply barbaric to have body hair, and people took great pains to remove any hair that would show them to be anything less than civilized. Any beards or unshaven areas besides the head would indicate that you were a lower class or even a slave – an appearance that was avoided if at all possible.
The information was surprisingly useful when it came to crafting my characters – I was also surprised to learn that I wouldn’t really have to change anything about their appearance. (I must have been channeling some Ancient Greek being when I wrote the character descriptions.)
After I found information on that, I started thing about teeth – because, really, what else what there to think about? And, once again, I turned to the Google gods for help. As generous as ever, they answered my prayers and I found a neat article about Ancient Greek oral hygiene:
How do we clean the teeth? The simplest answer is with the finger. Either the finger was wrapped with a cotton cloth, and then rubbed over the teeth to clean them, or the finger was dipped in some powdered substance with special properties to clean the teeth. These tooth powders were the forerunners of our modern toothpaste.
Or, the branch of a tree whose fragrant essential oils have antiseptic and other therapeutic properties for the teeth and gums could be chewed. The chewed end would then come to resemble a brush of sorts, whose loose, frayed fibers could be brushed over the teeth to clean them.
One tree native to Greece and much used by the ancient Greeks that fits these requirements rather nicely is the Laurel (Laurus nobilis), which the Greeks call Daphne. Its essential oils are antiseptic, and also stimulate blood circulation to the gums, promoting their health and regeneration. After chewing on the branch, or the leaves, your mouth is cleaned, and left with a fresh, clean scent.
Sometimes fresh, fragrant green herbs were chewed after a meal to cleanse the teeth and mouth and freshen the breath. These fresh herbs included those of Fennel, Parsleyand Lovage. Even today, fresh Parsley is often chewed to remove the odor of Garlic. The seeds of these and other plants, such as the Cardamom, were also chewed to cleanse the mouth and freshen the breath.
Finally, I also looked up some beauty tips – because it was something I thought my character Delphyne would appreciate after what I put her through in the first few chapters. I found one article in particular enlightening:
Women would start their routine with a bath, before applying a variety of oils and perfume to their skin. Honey and olive oil were used heavily, on their body, hair and in cosmetics for their moisturizing properties. Ancient Greek women wore their hair long and had a preference for it to be golden. This was achieved by using a vinegar solution that bleached the hair in the sun, or a yellow flower dye. Soap, pomades and wax were also used to give the hair shine. To enhance the texture of the hair, Hellenistic women often curled their hair and held it in place with combs. They used different embellishments and veils also. Gold and semi-precious stones were used as were diadems and flowers. A diadem was an ornamental headband primarily worn by the upper classes and royalty, if adorned with gems and gold. Scents were used in the hair and were made my boiling flowers, herbs and spices and mixed with olive oil. In the classical period, women only cut their hair during periods of mourning. Hair played a role as a social communicator and also emphasized class differentiation, as only slaves wore their hair short.
The last article refers specifically to female beauty routines, but I’m sure that men had some as well. Unfortunately, those articles are harder to find. 😦
But overall, I found all the articles I extremely helpful, and I hope you get a chance to give them a read through in their entirety. (I’ve linked to all of them in the post.)
(aka The Researcher)
I’ve been rewriting my retelling of Greco-Roman mythology, Dagger of the Sun (DOTS), for the last few days – and, on the rare occasion, I still procrastinate. (I’m still working on how to cure this fatal weakness – when I think of all the time I waste, I really want to slap myself senseless, but the cycle just starts again.)
Anyway, back to the point at hand. On those occasions when I procrastinate, I often find myself on YouTube watching random videos. But last night, I watched a few film trailers that actually pushed me back towards my draft and inspired me to write. Score!
The first of these trailers was for the upcoming film, The Legend of Hercules – starring Kellan Lutz and Gaia Weiss. (I know, her name is Gaia – had a nerd moment when I read that because, really, how appropriate is that?!)
The second trailer was for the action-packed film, 300: Rise of an Empire. I hope that Eva Green and Lena Headey actually do get to duke it out (with armies) as the trailer suggests:
Finally, I saw the trailer for Pompeii. This one didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me – don’t know what all the fighting is about when everyone should just be trying to evacuate the city…hello, volcano’s about to blow. But I’ll probably end up watching it anyway – it’s usually the unexpected films that turn out to be good. (And it really doesn’t hurt that Kit Harrington is starring in this one!)
So which of these films are you most excited for?
(aka The Film Buff)
Just a quick update to let you know that I haven’t been abducted by pirates or run off to an alternate dimension. (Trust me, that would have been a more exciting alternative.)
The reason that I haven’t been able to blog for a while is because the techno people at Future Shop have decided to unjustly punish me and take away my laptop for three weeks. Okay, so I was the one to drop off my laptop, but if I had known that a routine cleanup was going to equate three weeks of misery, I never would have done it!
I tried to blog from my iPod, but formatting colour and pictures I may posts are HUGE sources of frustration. (Besides, while typing this post, I accidentally deleted it TWICE…not fun, trust me!)
But, despite the frustration, I can’t seem to stay away from Bloglandia. My narcissistic nature means that I need to share my second-to-second life with the world. And the fact that I’m currently scarfing down a ham-and-cheese sandwich is clearly significant for the world to know. 🙂
But, hopefully, when I get my laptop back in a week and a half, I’ll be able to get back to more interesting posts. Till then, I’ll continue to write and edit my DOTS scenes in my little black book.
(aka The Girl Who Can’t Even Italicize Her Name on the iPod)