Writing Research - The Middle Ages


Middle Ages (or Medieval period), lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: Antiquity, Medieval period, and Modern period. The Medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, the High, and the Late Middle Ages. [1] [2]


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Writing Research - Viking Age


The Viking Age is the period from 793 AD to 1066 AD in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, following the Germanic Iron Age. It is the period of history when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids and conquest. In this period, the Vikings also settled in Norse Greenland and Newfoundland, and present-day Faroe Islands, Iceland, Normandy, Scotland, Ireland, Russia and Anatolia. [1]


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After having compiled a still-growing list of resources for one of my rpgs, I thought it might help anyone looking to do some research for themselves, or a character, or anything else. Below, you’ll find links to search engines, blogs, other master posts, and some guides on various myths and mythologies from cultures throughout the world and throughout history. If you want to add anything to this list, don’t hesitate to send me a message to let me know.

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After having compiled a still-growing list of resources for one of my rpgs, I thought it might help anyone looking to do some research for themselves, or a character, or anything else. Below, you’ll find links to search engines, blogs, other master posts, and some guides on various myths and mythologies from cultures throughout the world and throughout history. If you want to add anything to this list, don’t hesitate to send me a message to let me know.

Read More


Writing Research - Ancient Egypt



Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh. The history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. [1]


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(via writeworld)


the waitomo caves of new zealand’s northern island, formed two million years ago from the surrounding limestone bedrock, are home to an endemic species of bioluminescent fungus gnat (arachnocampa luminosa, or glow worm fly) who in their larval stage produce silk threads from which to hang and, using a blue light emitted from a modified excretory organ in their tails, lure in prey who then become ensnared in sticky droplets of mucus.

photos from spellbound waitomo tours, forevergone, blue polaris, and martin rietze. (more cave photos) (more bioluminescence photos)

(via cleolinda)


Anonymous said: Do you have any tips for writing power hungry characters? (Btw, I love the blog! :) )


This is all I have so far…

General Traits

This list doesn’t mean your character should have every single one of the traits on it, but they’re strong ones to consider. Pick and choose the ones that fit your character best from these:

  • ambitious
  • manipulative
  • dedicated
  • ruthless
  • intelligent
  • dishonest
  • calculating
  • decisive
  • immoral
  • controlling
  • pragmatic
  • aggressive
  • disillusioned
  • inspiring

You may be able to think of more…! Either way, it’s important that you keep this character balanced. It’s too easy to attribute too many negative traits to power-hungry characters. So here’s how to round them out…

Question Time

The key things you want to know are:

  • Why does your character want power? How have their current circumstances influenced that desire? What do they stand to gain, and what do they stand to lose? This is where you can really get to understand your character. Ask them ‘why?’ until they can’t answer you any more. They should have a clear reason for striving towards their goal, after all.
  • What kind of power are they aiming for? Do they want to become the head of an important company, or are they looking more at ruling the country? The world? Think hard about the extent of the power they’re after. If they did ever achieve the top spot, what kind of things would they be capable of, or be allowed to do?
  • Who is in the way? To get power, you have to take power. So who is your character up against in their quest for more influence?
  • When did they become power hungry? In other words, what is the catalyst to their ambition? People don’t seek further power without a real reason; there are plenty of people in the world who are happy to accept where they are, and what they are allowed to do in that position. There is generally an awakening moment when the person thinks, ‘actually, I don’t want to live this way any more’ and so they seek a way to change their circumstances.
  • How do they gain power? What kind of behaviours are they willing to carry out in order to get their way? What obstacles do they have to clear? Think about their path to power and how it shapes them.

Basic Formula

The Catalyst

We’re not born with an inherent need to take over the country we live in, or to lead a business or beat the whole class in academic exams. Something makes us decide why we want those things. Your character needs a catalyst to their desire for power, too.

Either they’re pushed into it, they decide they want it or they are taught to strive for it.

The Path to Power

You need to think about when your character sets their plans in motion, and what kind of things they do as they climb up the ladder. Nobody goes from the very bottom to the very top overnight. Treat each rung like one major event in the timeline until you get to the end.

Gaining power requires a lot of groundwork. Some things to consider:

  • The friends they make;
  • The enemies they make;
  • How the one currently in the position of power views them (do they admire your character or distrust them? What kind of things might they do (either intentionally or unintentionally) to allow your character to creep closer to the top?);
  • What your character does to gain trust/likability;
  • What your character does to gain control/fear.

Evasive Maneuvers

Achieving power is one thing, holding onto power is another. What does your character do to protect their place? Who threatens their position? This is when your character becomes desperate to justify their actions, and when they may consider behaviour they previously thought immoral (or never considered before).

At this point, your character may be ruthless. What is the worst thing they are prepared to do in order to keep their power?

Support and Protest

Of course, other people keep this character in power in two ways:

  • Through support;
  • or through silence.

What happens to those who don’t keep silent? What kind of things do the supporters have to do to retain their power? Additionally, how much support is there, and how much protest? What kind of things do the protesters do to affirm their beliefs?

The Fall

Nothing stays the same forever. Either power is ripped from your character or they pass on the power to somebody else, beginning a whole new era. Think about what kind of end would suit your power-hungry character.

I think that’s about it…

History has some of the most fascinating and awful tales of people rising to power. Even if you’re not writing a character aiming for a throne or to rule a kingdom, country or world, understanding real people is a good step forward when it comes to basing characters on them.

I hope all of this is of some actual use, ha ha… ;;;;; (Btw, the blog loves you, too!)

- enlee



Arghh I really hope that’s not what anyone actually thinks… I get the “BRUSHES??” question almost every single day without fail, but the reason I have a hard time answering isn’t because I’m trying to ~protect my secrets~ or anything. (That’s totally silly, especially as I believe that the idea that specific brushes would make your art any better is… highly questionable at best.) It’s because the brushes I use aren’t mine to redistribute. As in, aside from fiddling with program defaults I hardly ever make my own brushes - I trawl the internet for free (or if warranted, paid) Photoshop brushes that other hardworking creatives make available. I cycle through many brush sets, delete the ones I don’t like, and what I end up keeping comprises my current “brush set.”

This presents a couple of problems in terms of sharing. I would feel bad about uploading my brushes because they aren’t “my” brushes. I didn’t make them. It’s like that unspoken rule amongst online stock artists - free to use in your art, but don’t claim as your own. You’ll say I could just credit, which I’d love to do, but the thing is I’ve tested so many brushes and combined so many sets that I don’t remember who made what anymore. I didn’t have any reason to keep track. And even then, not sure the original makers would appreciate me redistributing.

OH MY GOD sorry for the longest and ultimately most unhelpful post ever. To make up for it here’s some information and a list of great free brush sets that I may not necessarily use anymore, but I know I downloaded at some point (keep in mind I use Adobe Photoshop and all info following pertains to that program only):

FIRST. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. I actually use Tool Presets, NOT Brush Presets. For those who don’t know, a tool preset saves information for a brush such as color, opacity and flow, so you don’t have to adjust it each time you switch. You should definitely learn to use and save your brushes as Tool Presets because they speed up productivity and are pretty much better in every way.
Z-PS-Brushes-V6 and Z-PS-Brushes-V2 - so, these already come as tool presets (.TPL), not brushes (.ABR), they’re equally easy to install and I can vouch that both sets are amazing.
fox-orian’s Essential Illustration Brushes V3 - this is the original set where that famous “hexagon” brush I use in some of my works came from. Got a lot of questions about that brush…
Tony Hurst’s Tones Brush Set No.1 & Tones Tool Presets - I’m not sure if I use these sets anymore but they’re all useful and have great texture.
DITLEV’s Digital Watercolor - I’m pretty sure these brushes are huge and therefore sort of lag on my computer, but they do have a wonderful watercolor-ish effect. I use these sometimes for color blocking.
DanLuVisiArt’s Brushes - A very famous free brush set, probably the first result on deviantART, for good reason. One of the first I ever downloaded, I still use some of these, it’s an amazing set for digital painters. Highly recommended for beginners.
sandara’s Brushes - Another highly recommended set for beginners. Simple, basic, very useful.

Okay… tl;dr but hope that helped in the end! And like I said - the best “brush advice” I can give is to be proactive. If you’re feeling sick of your current set, wipe it and really spend some time testing out new brushes. DELETE the brushes you know you’ll never use (not only do the suck up your computer’s resources since you have to wait for all that shit to load, they are distracting.) Keep yo’ shit ORGANIZED. And most importantly - don’t FIXATE on the idea that only “good brushes will make my art good.” That’s total bull. Brushes are ultimately tools for your art, they are useful but they won’t make up for actual artistic understanding. A great watercolor painting is great because the artist painted it well - you don’t look at it and go “oh, it must be because they used Winsor & Newton watercolors.” Many digital painters create incredible things with the defaults. In the end it’s up to you to push your resources to the limit!



Anonymous said: what are some major challenges for a city that would be underneath the ground? how would it effect the citizens and how would their culture and general attitudes change over a long period of time? would being born there be a disadvantage? would decease run rampant? what sort of flora and fauna live beneath the ground?


  • You’ll need a form of artificial light because bad things happen to you when you can’t see the sun. Your light will probably dim during “nighttime” so as not to throw off everyone’s circadian rhythm.
  • Crime will need to be dealt with differently. There’s nowhere for criminals to run - unless your underground city has access to the outside world - except the caves.
  • The people would need a huge grow house to grow food for themselves. Growing food like potatoes would be easy; oranges (need a tropical climate) might be harder.
  • There will be few animals underground unless they’re being farmed. It’s wasteful to farm the fodder necessary to keep animals alive. As a result, animals will be few and mostly used for long-term things like wool, eggs, and dairy products.
  • The people themselves might become afraid or suspicious of the outside world and/or anything under the sun. They might feel exposed if they walk under the sky.
  • I imagine that disease would be a bigger problem because the city is all in one place and its citizenry have nowhere to go. The city would need strict quarantine laws or a Milan-esque approach to disease. (During the Plague, the city of Milan would burn down the houses of infected people with them and their families still inside.)
  • You need to watch gas and smoke because it will fug up the air very quickly. There either needs to be many large holes for the gas and smoke to escape or a good air purifying system. Alternately, a form of energy that does not involve combustibles.
  • There aren’t any underground-dwelling plants. There are some animals, and those animals are usually blind or sightless, pale, and carnivorous or scavengers, as there is no other source of nutrients in the darkness. You can read more about cave biology here.
  • You might also want to look on this post about cities in the Arctic, as you have many of the same problems (limited resources, extreme environment, underground)

ehetere said: I'm in the process of fleshing out an underground community and was wondering if you knew of any resources on the problems living underground would present. I assume things like air quality, vitamin d deficiency, growing food, dangerous gases, high temperatures and the like would be an issue, but I'm having trouble finding specific information on it!


I think the best resource on living without sunlight would be this answer by Clevergirlhelps. It’s pretty comprehensive about what kind of thing you can expect people to go through. 

There are a lot of different kinds of ‘underground’, and I think it’s important to create a distinction between natural underground and man-made underground. 

When it comes to living in natural underground formations like caves, there’s actually more chance that a society could do quite well in the right circumstances. Doing a little research on the dangers of caving should give you an idea of the risks, and looking at the natural resources inside caves will give you a decent overview of where your society would find morsels of food, water and light. 

The underground that we make is very different; there are no natural resources and most of the light sources are artificial. Here are a few articles to get you started:

1. The Effects of Artificial Light on Humans

2. The Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality

3. Vegetables That Grow in the Dark

4. Indoor Humidity Health Effects

5. Social Isolation

6. Life Without Nature

7. Human Societies and Hierarchical Groups

8. Humans Around Open Sewage

9. Contaminated Water

You’ll want to look into such things as ventilation systems, dehydration, slow starvation and quirky ways of overcoming these problems. 

All in all, we weren’t meant to live underground, and it’s a last resort for us as creatures who need the sun. Being underground for prolonged periods, especially if one can’t get out, will become stressful for just about everybody. 

If your society can get out but need to stay underground for safety, going outside would become a coveted and important resource. It’s likely that we’d still grow food outside and try to get as much sunlight as we could if we had access to the outdoors. 

You’re looking at a mess of the above effects on the human mind and body. Your characters will be struggling with all of these issues and trying to find ways to overcome them. 

… I wish them luck. 


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