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Harnessing Your Pluto as a Writer

Pluto, the keeper of all things hidden, indicates the darkest part of ourselves in a birth chart. The most painful parts. The parts we all wish didn’t exist. When you write, you, as a person not as a writer, inevitably seep into it. How you wish you were, how you wish you weren’t. All parts of you become exposed.

I know it sounds terrifying. But, personally, I strive to use that. Those parts of ourselves are what makes for a compelling read. A character we love, a character we hate. One we see ourselves in and one we want to shake for making a multitude of bad decisions. I believe this all comes from our Pluto. But, that might be my generation’s Pluto in Scorpio talking. Like all water signs, there’s a mystical bent to a Scorpio’s thinking; just with much darker undercurrents.

And, yes, Scorpio is known as the sex sign. But, sex for them is not for the pure enjoyment of it like Leo, or the physical connectivity like Taurus. For Scorpio, it’s the deep, dark emotional connectivity they crave.  Again, use that. Not necessarily in the context of sex, although it obviously extends to that as well, more in the context of the emotional connectivity. With all water signs that desire for emotional connection exists, but with Scorpio you don’t forget about it when it happens. That’s the experience you want to give your readers.

To find out more about Pluto, get your birth chart here. You will need to know the exact time and place you were born.

Learn more about Pluto here.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments. Bye!

My Love/Hate Relationship with Jupiter

Jupiter, Jupiter, Jupiter. The planet of expansion, religion, and higher learning. Its placement can even be an indication of becoming a writer, as it is for me. (In Libra in the third house). And, as luck would have it for me, it’s also the planet of extreme laziness.  Expansive thought and I just don’t feel like doing anything with it today, maybe tomorrow.

I must admit though, Jupiter is a bit of a mystery to me. Even when I was researching it for this post, I still couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was I wanted to say. Nebulous, indeterminable, and full of hot air describes the Jupiter experience. Frustrating would be the succinct answer.

Even then, I can’t fully hate it for two reasons. The first the previously mentioned aspect for writers. I finally got past the ‘I don’t feel like doing anything’ feeling to actually finish my first book. The second, the third house is the house of siblings, combine that with relationship focused Libra and expansive Jupiter and you have the incredibly close relationship I have with my sister. Our dynamic inspired the dynamic of Sabine and Fig. And, I know for a fact, that the story would be missing something without that sisterly bond. This rambled a bit, but that might be my Mercury in Sagittarius (coincidentally ruled by Jupiter).

Anyway, thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments. Bye!

To find out where your Jupiter is, get your birth chart here. You will need to know the exact time and place you were born.

Learn more about Jupiter here.

My Thoughts on Chiron

I am a neophyte when it comes to astrology, so my word is not law and will definitely not apply to everyone. Rather, this series will be about my particular chart and how it affects my writing; as well as how I use it to write. This first post isn’t about a planet, but the asteroid Chiron. Chiron is the wounded healer and sits squarely in my first house, the house of the self. Meaning, I spent my formative years being ostracized and bullied. Though, I doubt mine is a singular experience. The introverts of the world have a connecting thread of life being extraordinarily difficult in the early years of life. And the later years. And some adult years.

Honestly though, I wouldn’t change the placement. I know that, without it, I wouldn’t have published my first book. Without it, I would have gone about life the way we are expected to; which is a discomforting thought. All of my choices throughout the years led me to this, and I can’t be anything but grateful. Not to get cliched and overly dramatic on you, but being yourself is your greatest asset in life. Don’t waste it, use it.

This ended up way heavier than I intended, but the point remains. The wounds you suffer early in life will only help you later. Find what you’re good at. If you love it, great. If not, move on. Try to block out the noise from other people. Definitely try to block out the noise from yourself. Fulfill the other half of Chiron’s purpose, wound and heal. And remember, we’re never given more than we can handle.

To find out where your Chiron is, get your birth chart here. You will need to know the exact time and place you were born.

Learn more about Chiron here.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments. Bye!

Top 5 Albums

Much like my top 5 favorite movies and top 5 favorite book to movie adaptations, these are the albums I listen to over and over again. And when I love a musician that much, I can almost guarantee that half of their discography will end up on my initial writing playlist. It’s a sickness.

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5.) Lera Lynn Resistor

One of the very few good things about the second season of True Detective was the original music she wrote for it; which led me to listen to the rest of her music. Surprisingly for me, because I’m not usually one for country and its red solo cup connotations, I fell in love with it. Unsurprisingly for me, my favorite album of hers, aside from the aforementioned True Detective ep, is her most recent one which continues the darker tone she took on for – you guessed it! – True Detective (how many times am I going to mention that?). If you think country is all pick-up trucks and broken hearts, as I once did, this will change your mind.

Top Track: Cut + Burn

 

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4.) SZA Z

SZA (that’s sizz – uh phonetically) is even more of a recent love for me. If you listen to Rihanna you’ve probably heard her before, she co – wrote and was featured on the first track of Anti. I’ve listened to this album so many times that if CDs were still a thing it would have been scratched to pieces ages ago.

Top Track: Shattered Ring

 

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3.) She Keeps Bees Dig On

This album makes me feel like a badass bitch. She Keeps Bees in general really. But, as with all their other albums and eps, the track listing is interspaced with painful and quiet tracks like my favorite on the album.

Top Track: Make You My Moon

 

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2.) Karen Elson The Ghost Who Walks

Same as with Lera Lynn, my deep – seated, listen to this multiple times a day love for this album was a surprise. But, that might be because a folk album with my ‘breathing deep the darkness that envelops my soul’ phase as a teenager seems incongruent.

Top Track: Pretty Babies

 

(Once again, I couldn’t resist)

 

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1.) Circa Survive Descensus

It’s not an overstatement to say this is the only band that I continued to listen to after I was past the aforementioned ‘breathing deep the darkness that envelops my soul’ phase. It’s one of those albums, when your brain makes life exceedingly difficult, that makes you feel like you can take on the world, because you’re not the only one whose brain makes life difficult.

Top Track: I honestly couldn’t pick one that is an absolute favorite, so I went with my sister’s favorite, Child of the Desert

 

Thank you for reading and tell me your favorite albums in the comments. Bye!

 

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Video belongs to South Park Studios

 

Top 5 Book to Movie Adaptations

For when your eyes are too tired for reading, part 2. Also, movies that don’t make me go ‘why did you do this Hollywood?!’*cough* Horns *cough*.

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5.) Howl’s Moving Castle

Based on the book of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones, the film follows cursed Sophie, the, literally, heartless wizard Howl, and some serious anti – war sentiment. Having never read the book, I can easily claim this adaptation doesn’t make me scream ‘why Hollywood?!’; though I know the differences between the two are ostensible. However, and I might be biased, I don’t think it’s possible for Miayzaki to make a bad film. Best viewed in a house where even the manners are a mess.

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4.) A Letter to Three Wives

And what a letter! Based on the serial published in Cosmo in 1945 named Letter to Five Wives, this film follows three women who receive a letter from a mutual friend that she’s run off with one of her husbands; all three of who question her respective marriages. This adaptation actually improves on the original by making the women clever and autonomous. For 1949 anyway. With razor sharp writing and directing from Joseph Mankiewicz (see also All About Eve), this film was my first introduction to classic movies and is a sentimental favorite. Best watched while drinking martinis.

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3.) Much Ado About Nothing

Based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare, this is a completely faithful adaptation (also one of my favorite books) directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. Watch it, you’ll love it.

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2.) It Happened One Night

Based on the short story Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams, the film follows rich girl Ellen Andrews, played by Claudette Colbert, and poor journalist Peter Warne, played by Clark Gable, as they make their way from Florida back to New York during the lowest part of the Great Depression. The first film to win the ‘big five’ Oscars, this is an undisputed classic. Watch it, believe you me.

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1.) Thank You for Smoking

Based on the book of the same name by Christopher Buckley, this tongue in cheek, politically incorrect movie is getting me through all the ridiculousness in Washington right now. The film follows tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor, played by Aaron Eckhart, going head to head with extremely anti – smoking Vermont Senator Ortolan Finistirre, played by Willaim H. Macy. The most enjoyable part of the movie for me is the grayness of politics, particularly in the case of Senator Finistirre who goes about his objectively well-intentioned goal of passing a law that requires anti – smoking imagery on cigarette packing in the most underhanded, manipulative way possible. Best viewed with your own MOD squad.

 

Thanks for reading and tell me your favorite book to movie adaptations in the comments. Bye!

 

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Top 5 Movies

For those days when your eyes are too tired for reading, I present my top five favorite movies. I actually had to split this up into two, because asking me to choose just five movies is like Sophie’s Choice (another good movie, but these are the movies I can watch over and over again). My top five book adaptations post is coming next.

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5.) Unfaithfully Yours

Coming in at number five is the black comedy “Unfaithfully Yours”. Starring Rex Harrison as an aristocratic conductor who discovers his wife, played by Linda Darnell, has been unfaithful. Between the witticisms of Preston Sturges and the aptly but horribly nicknamed Sexy Rexy, this movie is thoroughly enjoyable but not for everyone. I would get further in depth, but I don’t think it’s possible without revealing the plot. Best viewed with someone who makes you think of brut champagne, not prune juice.

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4.) Kubo and the Two Strings

From the stunning sets and costumes (not to mention the obvious research and attention to detail that went into said sets and costumes), to the wonderful script and perfect casting, there is nothing to dislike about this movie; which follows the titular Kubo as he searches for legendary armor to protect himself from the Moon King – his grandfather. Beautiful with a bittersweet ending, I fell in love with this less than five minutes in. I’m sure anyone else who watches this will love it too. Best viewed while being thankful you’ll never have to eat whale carcass soup.

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3.) The Nightmare Before Christmas

While my breathing deep the darkness that envelops my soul phase ended years ago, my fondness for this movie did not. Like “Kubo and the Two Strings” before it, this is a painstakingly made stop animation film; which follows Jack the Pumpkin King’s midlife crisis and all the problems that ensue because of it. With spectacular world design and songs that are total earworms, this is, inarguably, Tim Burton at his finest and most memorable. Best viewed before any deadly nightshade consumption.

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2.) No Man of Her Own

The only onscreen pairing of classic Hollywood’s golden couple, the film stars Clark Gable as card shark Jerry “Babe” Stewart and Carole Lombard as small – town girl Connie Randall who desperately wants more out of life. An impromptu marriage between fuckboi Jerry and snarky Connie sets off the plot for a lighthearted and pre-Hay’s code rom-com. Best viewed with your partners in crime and a stacked deck.

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1.) Spirited Away

An Oscar winner and undoubtedly iconic, I can’t say enough about how magical, poignant, and bittersweet this movie is. And while I know there are people who don’t like animated films, and even people who don’t like Ghibli films, I implore you to give this one a try. While this does take place in the spirit world, ultimately, it’s about that moment when life shifts around you and you start growing up. Which is sometimes painful and scary, and definitely requires you to be brave. Same as the protagonist Chihiro’s journey throughout the film. Best viewed with someone you love, gyoza, and konpeitō.

Thanks for reading and tell me your favorite movies in the comments. Bye!

 

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Top 5 Books

It’s a pretty safe assumption that, to become a writer, one must first love reading. Without much fuss, because all of this is pretty self-explanatory, I present my top five favorite books.

5.) Pride and Prejudice

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
― Jane AustenPride and Prejudice

With one of the most iconic opening lines in literature, as well as one of the most memorable ‘declaration of love’ scenes, this is an eternal classic for a reason and anything I have to say about it has probably been said a million times over. Read it, you’ll love it. Best read with tea and sunshine streaming through your window.

4.) Much Ado About Nothing

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“What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?”
“Is it possible disdain should die while she hath
such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?”
― William ShakespeareMuch Ado About Nothing

Take the OG couple who loves to hate and hates to love, mix in some plotting (some in good fun and some decidedly not), throw in a sheriff that creates more malapropisms than Iggy does recipehs, add in a faked death and you’ve got my all-time favorite Shakespeare comedy. Best read with wine and good company.

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3.) Laura

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“In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention.”
― Vera CasparyLaura

Despite loving the movie adaptation, the novella is ten times better. The thought and attention to detail Caspary put into writing makes this one of the best murder mysteries I have ever read. I honestly wish I had read it before seeing the movie. Which I know makes me sound like an obnoxious hipster, but it has nothing to do with being able to say ‘I read the book first’ and everything to do with the fact that your reading experience changes when you already know who the murderer is. Anyway, this is best read on a hazy summer night listening to “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” on repeat.

 

2.) The Master and Margarita

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“But what can be done, the one who loves must share the fate of the one he loves.”
― Mikhail BulgakovThe Master and Margarita

When Richard Armitage and Daniel Radcliffe both called this one of their favorites, I had to read it. And I fell in love with it. Weird and wonderful, it’s a satirical look at communist Russia in the 1920s. (Which seems a little too relevant at the moment). I had difficulty picking a quote for this post, I adore Bulgakov’s writing style. Though, I perused the reviews on GoodReads and found its more of a polarizing read than I expected. Regardless, love it or hate it, you’ll remember it. Best read with vodka and a black cat.

1.) Good Omens

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“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”
― Neil Gaiman and Terry PratchettGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

Where to begin? I’ve read this book an innumerable amount of times, as it features my favorite duo in literature (also where my pseudonym comes from) Crowley and Aziraphale. This slightly edged out “The Master and Margarita” as my first choice, though I couldn’t help but notice both feature satire, witches, and demons. The perfect combination for me, apparently. Best read wrapped up in a tartan blanket while listening to the best of Queen.

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Thanks for reading and tell me your favorite books in the comments. Bye!

 

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Image belongs to SquareEnix

Art does not belong to me, but rather here

Finding Your Inspiration

Warning: This post is like to be rife with clichés!

The archetype of the tortured artist exists for a reason because it seems that one can’t exist without the other. So, trust me when I say, it’s highly unlikely the torture your own mind puts you through while writing – or painting, or creating music, or whatever artistic endeavor you fancy – that the experience is singular to you. I will allow that it feels like it is though.

What are you to do when your blank computer screen stares at you, I’m using an example I am more than familiar with, and all the words you’ve written a steaming pile of crap? As tempting as it is to delete every trace of your manuscript’s existence and throw your computer out the window, don’t. As tempting as it is to walk away from it and never touch it again, don’t. And this is coming from someone who took months, yes that’s plural, long breaks in between writing a single chapter. Because when I say finding your inspiration I mean it in the motivational way, not the plot bunny way.

You have to find what will inspire you to say “Fuck this, I’m getting this shit done.” You have to find what will inspire you to just sit the fuck down and write. For me, it was because I needed to know that I could do it. That I could actually make and keep the commitment to sit the fuck down and write every day. To be honest, I’m still kind of surprised I did. If you’ll allow me one more cliché, you learn about yourself in the process. You learn that you can do something you thought you couldn’t. You learn that even though you think your writing is god awful, other people don’t. Even people who aren’t related to you! You also learn that your brain is kind of an asshole. More than kind of. Way more.

I know that this doesn’t add anything new to the conversation, it’s actually got flies on it. But, I like to think I’m not the only one who has read articles dispensing one size fits all advice on this topic and rolled my eyes at them; wishing they would at least be more realistic about the frustration this causes. Oh well, c’est la vie. (I had to get one more cliché in.) As always, thank you for reading my ramblings and let me know what you think in the comments. Bye!

Getting Writer’s Block (Because You Inevitably Will)

Writer’s block is as much a part of the writing process as self-doubt. (Which I’ll be talking about next). I’m not here to give you my opinion on why you have it or how easy it should be to get past it. I’m sure you get enough of that from people who aren’t writers. Which will leave anyone feeling like this:

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And this:

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I’m here simply to pass on the means to get past writer’s block that was given to me by my writing teacher. Have your characters ask why they are where they are and why they are doing what they’re doing. I do this interview style on a new document, but it does work. For Ascendent I had my main character, Sabine, talk to my other characters. This helped me get past my weeks’ long writer’s block and fleshed out some plot points. Though, that might have happened because I don’t plan.

Anyway, it’s simple, but it works. As long as you don’t forget. Seriously, I lost weeks until I remembered my professor telling us about this. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments. Bye!

The Pros and Cons of Not Planning Your Book

Planning your book. That is the most obvious and, purportedly, the most important first step when you sit down and write a novel. I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree, though I think JK Rowling can say it better: “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”

This is exactly why I am averse to planning. You get attached to an idea you had or a character you created and have to write around it, even if it no longer makes sense for the story you are telling. Maybe this is just my experience and my opinion, but I feel that the characters who live in my mind and tell me their stories need to lead them. It feels more organic to me and lends me a better sense of who these characters are and who they will become; as opposed to me being the god – like figure who directs their every thought, word, and actions. Even having a general idea of the plot points I need to hit benefits from not planning. In Ascendent, I got to the important plot points in a way I didn’t expect and never would have in the first place if I had sat down and methodically planned every last bit of it.

That’s not to say that an absence of forethought doesn’t come without challenges. Writer’s block (which I think I’ll talk about next) was a prevalent part of my writing experience. There’s something to be said about knowing how to get from one thing to the next, instead of sitting at your computer for hours willing the people in your head to talk. And, when that inevitably doesn’t work, resisting the urge to throw your laptop out the window. Looking over this, I realize this all makes me sound mildly crazy; but I think it’s because Neptune conjuncts my Sun.

Anyway, I’m not trying to say my process is the best way for everyone; but it is the best way for me. If you need to have a million pages documenting the most minute details of the world and characters you created to keep you sane while writing, then you do that. If you need to be downright lackadaisical, then you do that. And if, like me, you need to be somewhere in between, then you do that. You just need to write (which is another topic for another day). As always, thank you for reading and let me know what you think in the comments. Bye!

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