CREATING YOUR ANTAGONIST

The Art of Chaos created a wonderfully written post on writing your antagonist. I encourage all new writers to check it out by clicking the link provided.

https://www.scribophile.com/academy/a-character-anatomy-seven-places-where-character-meets-story

Happy Writing!

An Island and a Saddistic Doctor

If you are like me, and the hopes of visiting a real life haunted house, or haunted town, go to Savannah, Ga or even Charleston, SC. I for one, even if it weren’t abandoned, or forbidden, would not go to Poveglia. It is actually up for auction the last I heard, may have even been sold by now.

Either way, makes for a great story, so grab your coffee, curl up in your favorite chair and enjoy.

Poveglia is a cursed and mysterios island, where strange historical events have shaped its reputation as the darkest place of the Venice Lagoon and labeled this island the most haunted in the world.

Poveglia had been a thriving and populated island, however with the outbreak of the war of Chioggiain 1378-the fourth and last conflict between Genoa and Venice- its inhabitants were moved to the island of Giudecca. From that very moment this island remained deserted for three hundred years.

Since 1645, it was then employed as an outpost to control the transit of ships in the lagoon with aim of protecting Venice. Proveglia’s darkest moments will date back to more recent years, when due to the 1700 Black Death, the island became a lazaretto (an open-air cemetary), where quarantined people-even those with the slightest signs of sickness were sent to die.

I ask you, what if they had done this to us when COVID hit?

But to continue…Bodies were left on the island’s streets to decompose. Then they were burnt and their ashes were thrown in mass graves. It is said that more than 160,000 people died in agony during the bubonic plague. Today, strata of bone can be found beneath the surface, which is made up of 60% of human ashes.

Historical reconstructions were done, and during that time, in that period, the island was also the scene of the execution of criminals, who were usually killed by drowning. But believe me, this isn’t the scariest part of the story, at least not for me.

In 1922, the buildings hosted a home for the elderly. The furniture still present today witnesses that the building was actually an asylum. From the moment a person was diagnosed with a mental illness and taken to Poveglia, there was no possibility of redemption or rehabilitation. (What does that say for you or me? Those we love?) The only aim of the new use of the island was to isolate these people, and separate them from society. It’s important to remember, in the past, any uncommon way of thinking and behavior different from the socio-cultural norms of the time, was considered mental disorders. Anyone could be identified as mentally ill and locked up.

Local legend has it that the patients of Poveglia asylum reported that they saw strange shadows-probably belonging to the ghosts of the plague victims- and that they could not sleep at night because of the wails of the suffering spirits. Of coarse, the doctors did not believe them. Patients were subjected to tortures, sometimes death. It is believed that a sadistic doctor did evil experiments on them, even performed labotomies, as he believed that this cruel practice was a great way to treat and cure mental illness. This procedure was incredibly wicked and painful, as the doctor used hammers, chisels and drills without anesthesia or any concern for sanitation.

Because of the doctor’s practices, he was tormented by the ghosts who drove him crazy to the point where he jumped (or was thrown) from the clock tower that stands out on the lagoon. The legend tells that he did not die from the fall, but that he was chocked before by a mysterious fog. In some silent and calm nights you can still hear the bell tolling across the bay, despite being removed years ago.

I hope you enjoyed this post and urge you to comment, like, subscribe, or just follow my blog.

Support your fellow writers. Through eachothers support we become better writers.

A Glance at a Moment in Time

Voices of the past, present, and future brings to you some some of the events impacting our world.

To start us off, I for one just learned while exploring Space.com, that an asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building  will be barreling toward Earth on May 27th. The asteroid will zoom safely past Earth at 47, 200 mph, so fear not my friends.

In honor of my grandson, a giant ‘dragon of death’ with a 30-foot wingspan was unearthed in Argentina. Officially called a Thanotosdrakon, it is the largest pterosaur ever found in South America. My grandson, who knows every dinosaur, and everything about them, and he is only five, was thrilled to learn this new fact which I found in livescience.com.

According to bloodydisgusting.com and The Losers’ Club Podcast, ‘Rose Red’ marked the end of Stephen King’ Miniseries Boom.  According to King, Rose Red  had began a life as a potential dream collaboration between him and Steven spielberg, who wanted to make a haunted house movie that echoed Shirlie Jackson’s iconic The Haunting of Hill House. King, who was an avowed fan of Jackson’s masterpiece, had ran with the idea but also wove in the legend of the Winchester Mystery House. Due to creative differences between King and Spielberg, the project was was plagued and eventually shelved.

If we go back to August 11, 2021, we were supposed to be invaded by aliens, a person claiming to be a “real time traveler” had reported. He stated he was from the year 2714 in a TIKTOK video. He also stated “There will be a very large meteor shower that lasts for two weeks, it will be seen in the northern hemisphere, containing the Nozic message. One of the meteors will seem different than all the others, that is because it is a ship landing on Earth, starting preparations for the first Nozic War.”

And on to more recent events…. A 57-year-old cold case involving the brutal sexual assault and murder of a 9-year-old girl was solved using genetic genealogy in Pennsylvania. Marise Ann Chiverella was killed on March 18, 1964. She had been taking canned goods to a church on her way to school but never returned back to her home. Her murder now solved as of February 10, 2022. May she rest in peace.

Thank you for traveling with Voices, past, present, and future.

Don’t forget to support your fellow writers!

CHARACTER IN A WORD

I read a great post this morning while having my morning coffee that I thought was a great example for all of my new writer friends who needed insight into the world of character building.

THE ART OF CHAOS

Life is chaos. Learn to balance it and you can ride the tide.

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Chaos Cast – Protagonist 2022-21

 / WARREN TODE

This is a randomized tarot writing prompt for character creation. The purpose here is to help flesh out a cast of characters to use in the Chaos Pen Challenges, or elsewhere. For this series, we’ll be focused on making protagonists.

The spread that I’ll be using for this prompt series was inspired by the article, A Character Anatomy: Seven Places Where Character Meets Story. Rather than rehashing all of that, I encourage you to read it since it’s well written and explains the concepts we’ll be exploring better than I could.


This is what the Character Anatomy Spread looks like:


1. Role

This is the character’s public identity. Examine the card and its keywords to consider what your character’s identity is, how it can drive a story and either help, hinder, or distract them in getting what they need.

Ten of Cups

  • HARMONY
  • FULFILLED
  • AGREEABLE
  • CONGRUITY

2. Agency

This is the character’s capacity to achieve in life. What are your character’s strengths, weaknesses, skill sets, and abilities?

Six of Swords

  • TRANSITIONS
  • CRESTFALLEN
  • TRAVELER
  • DISTRUST

3. Attitude

This is the expression of your character’s Self. How do they present themselves to others? How do they tend to interact with the world around them?

Two of Wands

  • PREPARATION
  • BRAVE
  • PLANNER
  • CONQUEST

4. Need

What does your character need? In other words, what drives them to take risks or even reach forward in their life?

Judgement

  • REBIRTH
  • AWAKENED
  • REDEEMER
  • SELF-DECEPTION

5. Interior

What story does your character believe in their mind about themselves and the world around them? It’s perfectly fine for your character to operate on a false belief.

Wheel of Fortune

  • KARMA
  • DESTINED
  • OPPORTUNIST
  • FATALISM

6. Passion

A passion is something that we either believe in or love strong enough that we are willing to suffer and make sacrifices for it. Whether it’s a healthy passion or not, what is your character willing to suffer or make sacrifices for?

The Chariot

  • WILL POWER
  • DRIVEN
  • AMBITIOUS
  • INSENSITIVE

7. Backstory

Why is your character like this? What is the major event or memory that scripts the Interior of your character and thus shapes the rest of who and what they are?

Knight of Pentacles

  • STEWARD OF THE BODY
  • PRODUCTIVE
  • DEDICATED
  • UNWAVERING

Now that you have notes on each part, examine and assess them as a whole. Imagine what kind of person this is. Make edits as necessary until the nature of this character makes sense to you. Flesh out the details. Once you have all that, decide what they look like and what their name is. You may even try writing a brief scene to get a feel of what they’re like on the page. Keep this character on file for later use.


~ Celtic Dragon Tarot by D.J. Conway (Author), Lisa Hunt (Illustrator) © 1999
~ Credit for 3D model and assets used in this rendered image can be found here.

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A SCANDALOUS AFFAIR

Voices of the past brings to you one of the greatest True love stories in history. It is intertwined in the professional success and personal tragedy surrounding Mary Godwin Shelley and Percy Shelley’s Aldulterous Affair.

While we all love to indulge in a juicy love story from time to time, this one provides a bit more than that, all from our history.

Mary Godwin, only a teenager, daughter of the famous proto-feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, eloped with A VERY MARRIED PEOT, Perscy Shelly. They left England to escape all the scandal, traveling Europ together.

Percy Shelly’s PREGNANT wife, devastated that her husband abandoned her, committed suicide in 1816. Percy and Mary had no regard for Harriet, Percy’s wife, and they married. Not that it mattered to Mary, she had already been calling herself, “Mrs. Shelly” before the title had become vacant.

With such a scandalous beginning, fate would be delivered to Percy and Mary Shelly through success and tragedy. Their union had scandalized England causing them to live abroad for the rest of their lives. They had multiple children, but only one would survive to adulthood.

Percy’s progressive politics and unique style would negatively affect his career while Mary would find success with her groundbreaking nove, Fankenstein….

Six years after marrying, in 1822, Percy will drown in a boating accident in Italy. A devastated Mary, along with her son, would return back to England, and forge a successful literary career for almost thirty years before she died in 1851.

INTERESTING FACT: It is said that Mary Shelley kept her dead husband’s heart in her desk for 30 years.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and as always, support your fellow writers. Leave comments, hit the like button, or if you are inclined to do so, PLEASE follow me, for more interesting stories such as this one.

EXCITING NEWS

Hello my faithful followers and future ones! I want to provide you an update on my future book “Small Town Facade”. If you have not yet had the chance to go into my pages and check it out, now is the TIME! I will be providing you updated chapters and they are doosies!

There is more than just a kidnapping going on in this town my friends! AND…..Someone else will go missing!

Don’t cheat yourself out of a great read, especially on these rainy days, mother nature is providing us to get caught up on our reading.

I look forward to reading your comments and also listening to your input on what you think should happen. THIS IS a first draft.. and you WILL find many mistakes.

As a beginning writer, we all look to our fellow writers for insight and communication, and advice on how to make ourselves better writers.

Support your fellow writers. And look for those NEW chapters later today!

A Monument of Love

Voices of the past would like to share with you one of the world’s greatest love stories.

It a great love begain in 1612, when Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess, married Shah Jehan, also known as Prince Khurram. The Prince would ascend to the throne in 1628 and become the 5th Mughal emporer. You will soon learn why this love story is so important to our past as you continue reading.

The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. In keeping with the traditions of the Mughals, important women of the royal family were given another name when they married. Mumtaz was the Princes’ second wife but she was considered his ultimate love match. By all accounts, she and the emporer were soul mates. Mumtaz accompanied him throughout all of his travels and his military expeditions, and she was his most trusted political advisor.

As with any legendary love story, tragedy would lurk in their future. Mumtaz would die giving birth to their 14th child. This had affected the emporer so badly that his black hair turned snow white in just a matter of months. He was overcome with grief, and had vowed to keep his beloved wife’s memory alive forever.

The emporer had decided to build her a monument of eternal love. Mumtaz had endeared herself to the people with her kindness, and the emporer’s subjects were inspired to help build the monument.

BECAUSE OF THE LOVE OF ONE MAN FOR HIS WIFE WE NOW HAVE WHAT IS NOW KNOWN AS THE TAJ MAHL.

Thank you for joining me for an inspiring love story to help you enjoy your Sunday.

An Unmarked Grave

Voices of the Present and Future has recently been reading about the 751 unmarked graves found at the site of a former residential school in Saskatchewan. If you haven’t been following the news, please continue reading this post as this discovery just comes weeks after the remains of 215 children were found at a similar residential school in British Columbia.

A statement was given by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. He said he was “terribly saddened” by the discovery in Saskatchewan. He also said it was “a shameful reminder of the systematic racism, descrimination, and injustice that indigenous peoples have faced.”

Between the years of 1863 and 1998, there were more than 150,000 indigenous children that were taken from their families and placed in these schools throughout Canada. Often, these children were not allowed to speak their language or to practice their culture. Many being abused and mistreated.

A former residential school student, Florence Sparvier, spoke at a press conference stating, ” They made us believe we didn’t have souls. They were putting us down as people, so we learned to not like who we were.”

A commission that was launched in 2008 to document the impacts of this system, found that large numbers of indigenous children never returned to their home communities. The practice amounted to cultural genocide. In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologized for the system, although this does not bring back the lives that were lost or to quote the words used, “the souls” that were lost.

Chief Delorme said there may have once been markers for the graves but the Roman Catholic Church, which oversaw the cemetary, may have removed them. It is not yet determined if all of these unmarked graves are those of children.

There was an estimated 6,000 children who died while attending these schools. The students were often housed in poorly built, poorly heated, and unsanitary facilities. There was also physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the school authorities which led other children to run away.

I urge you to take a moment of silence for the lives of those lost and prayers that identities will be provided for the unmarked graves that have been found.

Thank you for following Voices of the Present and Future today.

THE ART FORM OF SHORT STORIES

Voices of the Present dares to bring you a little something different to the table today. I am working on a short story course and I thought (by chance) some of you may just benefit from the course as well.

“A novel is a daily labor of love over a period of years. A novel is job. But a story can be like a mad, lovely visitor, with whom you spend a rather exciting weekend.”

-Lorrie Moore

In writing a short story, you can be bolder, wilder, than you might dare be with a novel where you’re buckled in for the long hual. The brevity of the form of short stories allows for experimentation. You can write lots of short stories, and try lots of different things.

Some authors are famous mainly for their short stories. They include: Alice Munro, Flannery O’Conner, Charles Baxter, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver, Mary Robison, John Cheever, and Kelly Link. This is only to name a few.

If you are like me, and are interested in publishing your fiction, short stories may be a good way to start. There are many literary magazines that publish short stories. There is a searchable directory here: https://www.pw.org/literarty_magazines

Publishing our short stories in magazines may allow us to build a trach record as a professional author that can also attract the attention of literary agents.

I CAN ONLY ADVISE YOU AS I AM BEING ADVISED IN MY COURSE.

WRITING PROCESS:

As we sit down to write the first draft of our story, it states that it is probably not helpful to think too much about story-writing technique.

The teaches advised not to worry about coming up with a great beginning or writing nice sentences. We will deal with all of that later, during the revision stage.

Our first draft is for generating raw material. To turn off the analytical, judging part of our brains and tap into our imaginations. To try to lose ourselves in the daydream of the story.

I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME AS I WORK THROUGH THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT, AS I HAVE GIVEN IT TO YOU FOR FREE.

ASSIGNMENT:

We are to throw a problem at a character and see what happens.

STEP 1: Choose a name for your character. Then, imagine some more details about this person, such as:

  • age
  • profession
  • physical description
  • positive personality traits
  • negative personality traits

STEP 2: Come up with three ideas for problems the character might face.

EXAMPLES:

  • lost cat
  • inappropriate feelings for his mother-in-law
  • ghost haunting her attic

STEP 3: Choose one of the problem ideas, and make it as specific as possible. (If your idea is aready specific, you can skip this step)

EXAMPLES:

  • If the problem is low self-esteem a more specific version might be: “wants to ask out the barrista at his local coffee house, but can’t believe any woman would ever be interested in him.”
  • If the problem is money trouble, a more specific version might be: “lost her job, needs rent money in one week to avoid eviction.”

STEP 4: How might your character react to the problem? Come up with three ideas.

STEP 5: Now, pick one of the ideas from step 4. The character is doing it. Take a few minutes to imagine the scene. Play it like a movie in your head.

STEP 6: Now, you’re going to write one sentence about something in the scene you just imagined. This sentence should either describe a physical action, or else it should be a line of dialogue.

STEP 7: The sentence you wrote for step 6 is going to be the first line of a story. It’s okay if it comes from the middle or the end of a scene! Use it as your starting point, and see what happens.

I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME IN THIS PROCESS AND COME UP WITH IDEAS TOGETHER. WE CAN LEARN THIS PROCESS TOGETHER.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST AND WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE WORKING THROUGH THESE LESSONS WITH ME LEAVE A COMMENT.

Statistically Speaking

Voices of the present and the future wants to offer you a little insight into the statistics of serial killers. According to research (via Discover; and Radford University’s Mike Aamodt), there are fewer serial killers on the prowl since the dawn of the new century. If we look at the 1980’s we were at a high point with almost 770, that we know of, that we operating across the U.S. during the decade. That number dropped during the 1990’s and yet again in the 2000’s, and by 2016, there had been only about 100 that had popped up in the prior decade. So, this has to be some good news for some of you who may suffer from regular nightmares that may involve being stalked or attacked by a serial killer. You can rest at ease, at least a little.

I want to offer you a few theories that police have put out there that may explain just what may be going on. It involves things like the advances in investigative methods and forensic science, a higher chance of getting caught, and being linked definintively to more crimes, there is stricter sentencing. There are also factors like cell phones and an increased connectivity between parents and children that make picking out victims a little more difficult these days. It is possible that our young kids and teens who have the potential to grow up to become serial killers are instead seeking help they need first.

We can’t say there aren’t any serial killers out there, because ther are, as well as new ones popping up. In addition to the ones who have managed to elude police and capture for a long time.

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHO A FEW OF THEM ARE:

WE HAVE THE I-70 KILLER, who between April 8 and May 7, 1992, shot and killed six people along the stretch of I-70. There were striking similarities between these victims. Five of them were women and the police believe the sixth was mistaken for woman when the killer saw his long pony tail. All were brunettes, and all were employees at stores just off the highway. They were also all killed with a .22 caliber bullet. There had been no sexual assault, no major thefts, and witnesses were able to give a description of a man seen entering the stores before the murders. The spring of 2022 marks the 30-year anniversary of the still-unsolved murders.

WE ALSO HAVE THE EASTBOUND STRANGLER. On November 20, 2006, the bodies of four women had been beaten and neatly discarded behind the Golden Key Motel in a Subur outside of Atlantic City. The women had been fully clothed, except for their shoes and socks, and they had been positioned face down in a line behind the motel. They all had been strangled. This killer is still out there and a $25,000 reward has been issued for information leading to the killers arrest.

WE MOVE ON TO THE WEST MESA MURDERS. These murders stated back in 2001, when women started going missing more often than usual. Almost a decade late, on February 2, 2009, a woman came across a human bone, leading to a crime scene no one could imagine. Eleven victims of the “West Mesa Bone Collector” wouldn’t be identified for another 11 years. Eleven women and one child were found and identified. The West Mesa Bone Collector’s idenity still remains a mystery and the investigation is still ongoing. There is a $100,000 reward being offered for information about the killer.

There are many more as you will soon learn if you continue reading my blog. I urg you to follow the conversation and subscribe or leave a comment. Thank you to all my followers!

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