In Search of Search Terms

Remember back in the day when you could actually see what search terms brought people to your website? (If you don’t remember, read this glorious post from Hyperbole and a Half. Go on, I’ll wait for you.

Ok, so like I was saying- remember that? We don’t have that anymore, thanks to encrypted search terms, and it saddens me. I would really love to know what search terms are bringing people to my blog.

I’m going to leave this post a sticky for a while, in the hopes that you, the readers, will help me out.

What search terms, if any, brought you to my site?

Feel free to leave a comment here, or message me directly using the contact from on my About page if you’d rather.

Thanks guys! I’m looking forward to the results. 😀

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The Big Question

Not that big question. 😛

I was lying awake thinking about stories–as I often do–trying to come up with a unifying factor of stories I’ve deemed “good”. What I ended up doing instead was realizing that every story can be distilled down into one sentence:

I thought X thing was true, and now that I’ve learned its not, here’s how my life changes.

Yes, that’s very vague, and often an oversimplification, but that’s kind of the point. Sometimes, we need that very simple bullet point to figure out what we’re doing and how best to tell it. A lot of my favorite stories are “I thought I didn’t need anybody, but it turns out I was just afraid of losing them so I didn’t love at all,” and then the delightful mess that comes of them denying that, begrudgingly accepting it, becoming stronger for it.

If you can answer this question for your story, it’ll really inform the progression from point A to point B. It’s a good measuring tape for what to keep and what to toss, what to develop and what to tinker with.

Another subquestion I came to is unique to worldbuilding stories, and it’s the simplest of all: Where does X come from? Paired with the “I thought X and I was wrong”, you have a guiding point for your vehicle character and the plot you need to guide them through to answer you “where does X come from?” Under this lens, the Hollows series is for answering the question “Where do witches come from?” From book to book, we follow the heroine’s “I thought X” of coming to terms with losing loved ones and learning that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but over the series as a whole, all the things that come to light basically answer the question of where Hollows witches come from (and the answer will totally surprise you! Go read it. So good.)

It was actually pretty fun trying to apply these lenses to my favorite books. Harry Potter becomes “I thought I was a normal boy but I was wrong.” The Raven Cycle, “I thought I needed Glendower but I was wrong.” Anita Blake, “I thought I knew who the monsters were.” The Dresden Files, “I thought I knew so much.” Give it a try with your favorite works. Let me know what you come up with.

RaevenlyWrites Roundup

Hey! I’m kind of all over the place, so I thought I’d do a roundup of the main places you can find me (long story short, just search raevenlywrites, I’m probably there lol)

This, obviously, is my main wordpress, a good place for shorts and wip excerpts

http://raevenlywrites.tumblr.com/ This is my main internet presence. It’s a wild mashup, as most tumblrs are. But it’s probably the best place for the most up to date info on yours truly, as well as shorts and wips that don’t always make it to the rest of the web

https://insearchofasylum.wordpress.com/ Asylum’s web serial home, also a good place for shorts and wip excerpts

https://twitter.com/raevenlywrites Home of the #RaevReads readalongs

https://www.wattpad.com/user/RaevenWright

https://www.fictionpress.com/u/1082328/

I post to both pretty much within minutes of each other, so pick your preference. I try to get something up at least once a month.

https://www.instagram.com/raevenly/ Mostly sketches and selfies

https://www.pinterest.com/raevenlywrites/ Asylum has it’s own moodboard section, and also, the beginning of my witchy stuff. Speaking of witchy…

https://talking-with-shadows.tumblr.com/ My witchblr! Mostly tarot

Raevenly Writes: Eyes in the Ivy

Ruth blinked at the tendrils climbing the outside of the little brick house. He’d seen a dozen just like it, more or less, in the months he’d been house hunting with Kate. It wasn’t that he minded living at Asylum, exactly, he just…

He was never going to get over certain expectations. It wasn’t that his mom wanted grandbabies (she did, and wasn’t at all subtle about it), or that his dad kept showing him job openings in this or that area (hadn’t he mentioned once that he’d love to see Oregon?). It was Ruth himself. He’d grown up with this idea of who he was going to be, and so much of that had had to change. Rethink. Compromise. Some of it couldn’t be helped. But some of it…

He wanted to marry Kate. He wanted to start a family, have a yard, a dog, do things right. Because he loved her. Living at Asylum didn’t change that, just… This was just how he understood loving someone. It wasn’t about control, or fitting in, it was just what he knew. So he got the ring, took the knee, popped the question. She’d said yes, and hadn’t made fun of him for being so old fashioned. She’d said yes to moving out, getting their own place, yes to a mudoku, the protective spell charm that all witches made as part of their wedding ceremony. That’s just how it went. So he was house hunting, going through the list of possibles and checking the energy, the aura, the ley lines—

And the ivy.

The ivy that blinked back.

Ruth did a double take—a double, double take, really—and leaned in to peer closer at the eyes between the leaves. Because there were eyes. Those were totally, unmistakably eyes. In the ivy.

As he leaned in, a stray tendril brushed across his face, almost like a caress. Great. The freaky eye-plant was trying to reassure him. Ruth rolled his eyes heavenward, as if asking the fat, heavy rain clouds for help. They stayed stubbornly grey and unresponsive. Well, at least it wasn’t actively raining on him.

Movement rustled in the leaves, drawing Ruth’s attention back to the ivy. And the eyes. They weren’t human eyes, and they weren’t even that many. Just the occasional flash of iridescence, the wink of movement, the uncanny action that made the vines seem alive. Well, more motile than a plant should be, anyway.

Another vine reached out, brushing under his nose. Ruth sneezed. The eyes scattered.

Wings. A cloud of shimmering, rainbow iridescent wings. With great big eye spots on each one. Of course. What had he been expecting? Pixies? No such thing, far as he knew. Granted, one of his teachers at Asylum was an overgrown daffodil, but eyes in the ivy? Just a family of luminescent moths, winging their way to less exciting pastures.

The too-friendly ivy would have to go. It was totally uncommon for plantlife to react to his moods, but moving around was just too weird. It spoke of something less than normal in its background, and wasn’t something he wanted in his personal garden. God, personal garden. Was he really considering this place?

The leylines were sound, near enough to tap but not so close that they’d wreck havoc on his plants. The neighborhood was quiet—mostly shifter, but that certainly didn’t bother him. He paused for a moment to wonder if his witchiness would bother them… But then, whoever had lived here previous had had freaking living ivy. Moving ivy. Whatever.

“Wouldn’t harvest that if I were you, witch boy.”

Ruth sighed. Ask and ye shall receive. He turned to face the “helpful” neighbor. “Wasn’t planning on it, ma’am. Just following up on the “For Rent” sign.” He gestured toward the front yard.

“That’s fey ivy. Wouldn’t do you any good no how.”

Ah. That explained it. “Wasn’t planning on bothering it. It has more right to this land than I, if its roots still trace a true path.”

The old woman’s eyes narrowed at his phrase, but she answered his code in kind. “Ain’t none danced the ring in over a season, if that’s what ya mean.”

Ruth nodded and eased a bit closer to the fence. “I know the steps, if the ground cries out for heartbeats.” Nothing so macabre as blood sacrifice, but he’d offered his excess of magic to the faerie gardens at The Early Bird often enough. If this was a lapsed site, maybe…

The woman’s eyes flashed a milky white, startling Ruth out of his thoughts. He hadn’t noticed she was wearing a glamour. Careless of him.

“You aren’t what you seem, witch boy.”

“Neither are you, Old Mother. You’re a long way from any hills.”

Her crocked mouth opened into a sly smile. “That I am. And I’d be glad to return to them, if the way weren’t so far for these old bones.”

A chill went done Ruth’s spine that had nothing to do with the rising wind.

“And if I were to carry you?”

Her eyes returned to their milky white, her skin following suit. It sagged and hung loose like an old sheet, blown loose from a line and caught on the branches of a dead autumn oak.

“Then the land would be good to you, and your children, and their children thereafter.”

A Grim. His “neighbor” was a ghost, left over from some thing or another, tied to some trinket still left in this ground. With enough time, and the guarantee that he wouldn’t be disturbed, he could find it. Maybe Simon could help.

“Watch over this house for me, good woman, and I’ll find you your bones. Do what you can to convince the owner to lease to me, and it’ll be even easier.”

The storm broke, rain coming down in sudden, heavy sheets. Ruth ran back to his car, sitting quietly in the driver’s seat for a moment before trusting himself to drive away. One heartbeat, two… Maybe he’d better call Kate.

“Hey honey? How do you feel about moving into somewhere haunted?”

Serpent Holidays

So this post is just as much to organize my thoughts as it is to share my world building with you, so if it’s a little disjointed (even for me) just bear with me.

Wishing Night (around February) Wishes are written on little paper boats and lanterns, and sent out into the night. This holiday has sort of fallen off in the modern day/been absorbed into the Longest Night vigil. It’s meant to lure the sun back, when the winter seems to stretch on endlessly.

Festival of Flowers (late spring) A courting festival. Would-be wooers ask their wooee what sort of flower they would like. The wooee’s choice indicates their interest. Simple, easy-to-find flowers mean your intended reciprocates. The more challenging the flower, the less interested (or the more drama-oriented lol). Regardless, if the wooer can return with the requested flower, the wooee is obligated the spend the evening dancing with them. Sort of a “I did this impressive thing, at least hear me out” moment.

Fun side note: This leads to the popular phrase “Dandelion love”, indicating the swift and passing infatuations of youths and spring. Easily had, and just as easily blown away by the wind.

Midsummer…

I know they do SOMETHING, but for the life of me, I just haven’t been inspired yet.

Raise the Wheat (early autumn) Made up entirely on the spot for a scene when I was writing with Kortan and Co the first time. A harvest festival, where (among other things) children dress up as stalks of wheat and apparently ride on the backs of adults (…I swear it makes sense if you’d read it lol). Begins by building a bonfire with the first cuts of wheat, culminates by dancing around said fire and carrying its energy out into the fields. (As with most serpents holidays, this means outdoor orgies. So, soooo many people wake up in the fields the next day. So, ya know, a very early autumn holiday :P)

Longest Night (Midwinter) Probably my most fleshed out holiday so far, just because its the first one I tried to work with. Serpents gather in one house, sharing blankets and stories, keeping an all night vigil. The lore is that the warmth and parties and stories are meant to draw Li’Daea’s attention, to draw her back from her lover, Il’Dao. (Depending on the lore keeper you ask. Some insist that Il’Dao has kidnapped her. Whatever.)

And they danced

So this post of @thebibliosphere‘s has been making a lot of noise on Tumblr, and it got me thinking. It made me realize I fall into a camp I’m sure is all too common: Those of us who don’t write disabled characters because we simply don’t think to. I know it was speaking to those who try to erase them or argue against their inclusion, but I feel like it’s just as important for those of who simply didn’t think about them to get thinking. I wrote this little blurb, just as a thought experiment as to how a disabled serpent might live. In a culture so entrenched in the importance of dance, where would she fit? How would she feel? What would her cousins do to help her feel included, a part of their dance?

She never felt broken. Bathed in the light of her cousins’ joy, she never felt left out, wistful, longing. All she felt was the glory of the dance, swept up in rush of heat and movement and praise. Her aura joined theirs, sending her adoration to the shining goddess that had granted them this gift. She never cursed Li’Daea for the extra fire in her veins, igniting her joints with blazing pain when she stood too long. She simply danced with her cousins, spirit in ecstasy though her body did not move.

“Again,” she said, when the dance had spiraled down to its graceful conclusion. “It was almost perfect, but that second to last half turn was muddied, the aura rippled funny. Zi, Tan, Rak, slow it down. Viti, Nalia, bring the arc in a little faster. That should do it.”

She didn’t move, but she danced.

Is it perfect? Not hardly. I’m sure starting out with “she never felt broken” shows my ableist privilege like there’s no tomorrow. But it’s a start. And she’s quickly become an integral part of the plot I’m planning out for my just for fun shipfic.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here, other than “People, just think about it, would ya?”

Quick Update

I’m moving! We FINALLY found and apartment and heard back from them today! I know I’m already pretty quiet on here as it is, but I thought I’d let you all know anyways. We should be all settled in after 4th of July weekend.

Raevenly Writes: on a thunder prompt

Been going through old prompt drafts and actually writing with them (wild, right?)

putthepromptsonpaper:

“She dreamed of the sound of thunder and hooves”

There was no way to quiet the panic in her brain, even when she reminded it they were dreaming. Just a dream. They were not actually astride a giant eagle, racing alongside the wind walkers. It was just a dream–albeit a truly frightening one.

She gripped the eagle tighter with her legs, earning her a mental spike of protest. She tried to project back an apology, but her brain was still flooded full of fear.

There’s just no help for it, she thought. Some things you can’t unlearn.

Like treating her animal half as a separate self when she dreamed. Or lifelong fear of flying above the storms, where the wind walkers galloped across the tops of the black clouds.

They banked, her eagle self turning them away from the storm at the nightmares that raced atop it. Her animal knew better, knew the walkers would not devour them in their dreams. It urged her to relax, to embrace the flight, and chase the dream into the dawn.

But all the while, she heard the thunder of hoof beats behind her, felt the cold, damp wind on the back of her neck, and knew there was no outrunning the beasts that ran the sky.