Department of Homeland Obscurity


Today marks the 7th anniversary of the dedication of Gerhard Richter’s “Cathedral Window” in Cologne, comprised of 11,500 squares of glass in 72 colors.

30 day writing challenge: small to large


Having trouble mustering up the willpower to write a lot of words in a day? This challenge will help you ease into it by starting small and building up.

Day One: Describe a Setting

Setting descriptions have to be short, or else they will bore the readers. See if you can get the entire atmosphere of a real or imagined place packed in to only a few sentences.

Day Two: Describe a Character

It doesn’t have to be one of your characters. Describe the physical and mental traits of somebody. It shouldn’t take very long.

Day Three: Drabble

A drabble is a story of exactly 100 words. How much plot can you pack into 100 words?

Day Four: Two Drabbles

If you can write one, you can write two.

Day Five: Three Drabbles

Why am I making you write so many Drabbles? Because this way, you will know how to make up several ideas in a day even though you used up your first ideas earlier.

Day Six: Scene Rewrite

Rewrite a scene from one of your favorite works. No need to spend time figuring out what’s going to happen, since the scene was already written.

Day Seven: Original Scene

Think of a short scene and write the entire thing down. 

Day Eight: Original Scene that Includes Vampires

Writing with restrictions can make the process both easier and harder.

Day Nine: Original Scene that Takes Place in a Middle School

Day Ten: Beginning Scene for a Longer Work

Beginnings can be tough and it’s important to know how to do them.

Day Eleven: Ending Scene for a Longer Work

Endings are often the toughest parts of all. You have to tie everything together but at the same time it can’t look too neat or it loses its plausibility.

Day Twelve: Alternate Ending Scene

You can never have enough practice with endings.

Day Thirteen: 700 Words of Story

Day Fourteen: Write a Work of Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a story that takes up 1000 words or less from beginning to end.

Day Fifteen: Write Another Work of Flash Fiction

Day Sixteen: 1000 Words of Story

Day Seventeen: 1300 Words of Story

Day Eighteen: 1800 Words of Story

Day Nineteen: Write 2000 Words of Story

You have passed what most people write for their daily allotment during NaNoWriMo

Day Twenty: Write a Short Story

Short stories are generally 1000 to 5000 words long.

Day Twenty-One: Write Another, Longer Short Story

Day Twenty-Two: Write Yet Another, Longer Short Story

Again, the point is that you need to be able to think of ideas fast and often.

Day Twenty-Three: Write Two Chapters in a Longer Work

Day Twenty-Four: Write Three Chapters in a Longer Work

Day Twenty-Five: Edit the First Eight Days

Day Twenty-Six: Edit Days Nine Through Sixteen

Day Twenty-Seven: Edit Days Seventeen Through Twenty-Four

Day Twenty-Eight: Write 6000 Words

Day Twenty-Nine: Write as Many Words as You Can

Day Thirty: Write More Words than Yesterday

Another slowed scene of an animation you don’t really get to see close. Wheatley flinches after disengaging. There’s a little “clunk” noise that you can hear right at the end of all the banging. It’s the sound of him whacking himself with his own handles when he flinches.


Gaming is Good for You


(via Abercrombie & Fitch Ads Reimagined As “Attractive & Fat”)


Boogeymen - part of a series of eerie stereoviews - dated 1923 (Via)


“Probably the world’s most dangerous graveyard, Greyfriar is so renowned for its violent paranormal activity that it was made inaccessible to tourists. Apparently, among the “attractions” of this place are objects being thrown at people, evil laughter, and visitors fainting or being injured or cut by unknown beings. Not a great place to rest eternally, therefore…”

THINGS TRULY WICKED. a mix for ernest hemingway.
boys are fine, the smith westerns » spanish bombs, the clash » sixteen military wives, the decemberists » shadow stabbing, cake » your fake name is good enough for me, iron and wine » art of war, anberlin » wonderwall, ryan adams » the comeback, the shout out louds




There’s a hexagon at Saturn’s north pole.




Here’s an explanation, from Physicists at University of Oxford

Things are even more awesome when they’ve been explained with science.

Gun Terms for Writers


As someone who writes fics with action sequences and the use of guns, I thought maybe it would be helpful to pass some things on. Even though I’ve done lots of research and talked with family members (I live in WI which is a big hunting state and we have lots of guns), I still catch myself making mistakes with specific terms and their usage. Reading more James Bond fics lately, I catch others making mistakes also. So here is a little guide to help writers. 

  • A ‘clip’ is something that stores multiple rounds of ammunition. It is not what you would insert into a handgun to load it. Clips make loading into a magazine easier because they simply store the rounds. It helps with organization. 
  • A magazine is what feeds the ammunition into the barrel. Magazines vary in capacity. They, unlike clips, are spring-loaded, which helps the ammunition move in the gun. So, when you want a character to reload, they would use a pre-loaded magazine, NOT a clip. 
  • A silencer is really a suppressor. ‘Silencer’ is a word that’s used in media to refer to a suppressor that doesn’t exist in real life. Guns that are suppressed will still be loud and have a sound. This is because compressed air will still leak out of the end of the barrel, you can’t silence a bullet moving extremely fast through the air, and you can’t silence the mechanical parts on a gun. There will be a noise, but it just won’t be as loud or more importantly, alert people in a nearby area that a gun was just fired. SO suppressor is a much more accurate term technically speaking. 
  • There are different kinds of suppressors. One important kind suppresses the muzzle flash. It’s likely a sniper would use this more than they would want to use a sound suppressor, as the muzzle flash more easily enables you to be spotted when you don’t want to be. These are simply referred to as flash suppressors. 
  • After a handgun runs out of ammunition, the slide will lock back into place and you will know that it is out. There is no ‘click’ signifying an empty weapon that is so dramatized in movies and tv. A more likely scenario that would prevent a gun from firing would be a jam. Or programming the gun to recognize certain palm prints. 
  • A great place for writers, in particular fanfic writers, who want information on guns is imfdb. You can find out what guns are used in movies and shows, and what guns characters use. You can also just search for guns. 
  • If you want to get really specific, check out YouTube. There are users who will post reviews of guns on there, which can be really helpful if you want to see how a particular gun looks or how to shoot it. 

So yeah! Here are just a few basic tips if you want to write a fic where a character uses guns. 

Describing Voices



Does your character have a particular voice type in mind? Do they have an accent? Are they monotonous? Does their voice grate? Is it silky? Sultry? Low? High-pitched? Do they slur? Stutter? What in the world is the difference between some of these? Here are some links below to help further identify your character:

Words to Describe Someone’s Voice ~ With definitions of each

An Article About Describing Voice ~ Includes some thought-provoking questions to ask yourself and some exercises

Voice Types ~ Describes and gives examples of types like soprano, alto, etc. Character Chart ~ An extremely in-depth character chart; scroll down to the Voice Quality category for examples of some of the many types of voices, ranging from aphonic to glottalized to yawny.

Vocal Qualities ~ Directly from the above link, for those who want to head straight for the quality types.

Vocal Impressions ~ Lists listener comparisons with examples from celebrities, such as Morgan Freeman and Marilyn Monroe. (example: “She sounds like… diamonds dipped in caramel.”)

Speech Patterns ~ With examples from different well-known folks

Gender and Speech Patterns ~ An interesting article about the observation of speech between men and women

Speech Accent Archive ~ A very broad archive that includes different audio samples of accents ranging from Afrikaans to Ancient Greek to Korean to Zulu. Can search by geography as well.

Speech Impediment (Wikipedia) ~ Includes links to different pages such as stuttering, cluttering, muteness, and the social effects.

What Makes A Man’s/Woman’s Voice Sexy? ~ Just what it says on the tin.

Other Words/Synonyms for ‘Said’: ~ Listed according to usage

TheCaveOnline ~ Includes categories and meanings for each one

550 Alternative Words for Said (HubPages) ~ Includes adverb / phrase modifiers

Have more ideas/links? Have a question? By all means, submit your input and questions to The Writers’ Helpers!


Reblogging not only for this, but The Panix Character Chart which is probably one of the greatest character building charts I have seen. Extremely useful.


“The Art of the Scarf”
Hijab Tutorial


A pink Katydid. Usually grey, this is a 1 in 500 mutation. National Preserve, Beverley Shores, Indiana.


Afghan girls teaching Afghan girls! A pic from Skateistan’s Facebook page.

Skateistan is a Kabul-based Afghan NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), which is non-political, independent, and inclusive of all ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds.

The simplicity of using skateboarding as a tool for empowerment is really moving, and even better: It works.