Have you ever wondered how the Christian holiday celebrating the birth of a savior in ancient times warped into a man in a red suit with magical dear? Well here’s a brief explanation.
Centuries before Jesus’s birth Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Makes sense during the coldest months of the year. Not to mention that Biblical accounts of Jesus’s birth strongly indicate he was born in late summer or fall and not December. Baby laying in a manger in the middle of winter? Burrrrr. The theories around the time of his birth is laid out very well here,
http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/articles/when-was-jesus-really-born.aspx, but can be found on many sites around the internet.
The phrase Yule Tidings most likely came from Scandinavia. The Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In Germany people worshiped the God Oden. They believed he made nocturnal flights and would decide who would prosper and who would perish. Sounds a little familiar? It should because the very basics of Santa Clause are based on the God Oden.
In Rome they celebrated Saturnalia, a holiday in honor of the God of agriculture, Saturn. It was also around this time the Roman’s celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. Now, I’ll remind you that all these religious beliefs were BEFORE the birth of Christ.
It was Pope Julius I who chose December 25 as the date of Christ’s birth. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. As mentioned before, no date for Jesus’s birth was ever mentioned in the Bible, so December 25th 100s of years after his death, was a chosen date that made sense to the church. This makes the baby in a freezing cold manger with shepherds out lounging while watching sheep in the freezing cold night much more understandable.
And also, did you know, when Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and cancelled Christmas. The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined. After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact,Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.
Santa Clause really came about in the late 18th century and giving gifts came out around the 19th century.
Why does this even matter to writing you ask? Historical accuracy. Having someone in the new world celebrate Christmas in the 1660s wouldn’t be very accurate. While there are many MANY more studies done on the true origins of Christmas we’ll stop here because as for writing, the basic rule is do your research. Make your writing accurate. To lean more you can visit these sites. We really enjoyed reading their articles.
The modern change in doing book launches online has brought with it a new term, takeover. So, what’s a takeover? A takeover usually happens when someone asks other authors to takeover a time slot on an online book launch. Slots are usually one-hour long. The point of a takeover is to bring in more authors and in turn increase awareness of the event.
So, what do you do for an hour? It seems like a long time, but you only need around 6-10 posts! That’s easy right? As authors, we post more than that just having fun on Facebook. Here is a step by step suggestion on what to post:
That’s it! It’s that easy! Most often, if you follow this process, you’ll have more than enough for an hour.
We all wonder what characters we should have in our story. Is it overdone? To clique? Maybe it doesn’t convey the theme of your story well. Every genre has its guidelines, but many have crossover. Every book has wither a hero or villain of some sort. Normally there are secondary characters somewhere; either a sidekick, friend, or relative. Here are twelve options to add balance to your story and hook your reader.
1. The Hero: Must be dynamic. Seeks to improve the world. Is strong and competent even if they don’t believe it. Are courageous and may have hesitations, but will become willing to take on the challenge needed. Great character examples of this are Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins. Both didn’t think they were ready, but stepped up to change things and do what is right.
2. The Lover: Seeks relationships, both romantic and friendships. Fears being unwanted. Is usually the friend character or the sidekick. They are more awkward than the main character and their short comings make it clear they can’t achieve the overall goal without The Hero.
3. The Sage: Seeks out knowledge. Is intelligent and analytical. They use their skills to seek the truth. The Sage has skills that The Hero needs, but can easily overpower The Hero. A good example of this combination is Sherlock and Watson. In that case Sherlock, is the main character and The Sage, and Watson is the sidekick but plays rolls in both The Lover and The Hero categories.
4. The Innocent: Tries to do the right thing. Fears being punished. Is usually naïve. This is usually a very sympathetic character. They are easily led on and usually end up on the wrong side.
5. The Magician: Visionary. Capable of working out puzzles and complex situations giving them the power to manipulate the people around them. Is charismatic. Great examples of this is Dumbledore from Harry Potter and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. These are lesser characters that use their abilities to guide The Hero in the right direction.
6. The Creator: Seeks to realize a vision. Perfectionist. Has bad solutions. This is usually a protagonist. An example would be Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. He wanted to save their world, but by killing another.
7. The Rebel: Radical. Seeks revenge. Fears being powerless. This character usually has only one focus and will jeopardize other characters lives and his/her own to achieve their goals. This character can be a good guy, a bad guy, or both.
8. The Ruler: Desires control, power, and authoritarianism. This character can be presented at many levels from parent to full fledged ruler. This character will get in the way of The Hero but usually will not be the main protagonist.
9. The Caregiver: Desires to protect. Helps others. Is caring and compassionate. This character usually takes one of two roles; Sidekick to The Hero who will help The Hero, but need protecting, or be a more minor character that The Hero cares about a will either help The Hero or be a driving force for The Hero to achieve their goals.
10. The Explorer: Follows their heart. Never is bored. Seeks to be their own person and is often a loaner. They are usually good characters thrown into The Hero’s path to teach them something or guide them someway.
11. The Jester: Lives in the moment. Practical joker. Seeks socialization. This character can be The Hero’s friend and sometimes the best friend, but makes clear they don’t have the skills to help The Hero achieve their goals. This is your Pippin to your Frodo.
12. The Orphan: Desires to belong somewhere. Can easily lose track of who they are. Very empathetic. This character isn’t necessarily an orphan, but they feel alone. They will seek friendship from The Hero. This character will help where they can and can push The Hero forward or be someone The Hero wants to help or protect. They usually have a smaller arch from being alone to finally finding friendship or family. They also can have more interaction with other lesser characters.
Good Duo Combinations
Romance- The Hero and The Lover
Mystery- The Hero and The Sage
Comedy- The Hero and The Jester
Horror- The Hero and The Rebel
Children- The Hero and The Orphan
Adventure- The Hero and The Explorer
Good Guy Bad Guy Duos
Romance- The Hero and The Ruler
Mystery- The Hero and The Rebel
Comedy- The Hero and The Jester
Horror- The Hero and The Creator
Children- The Hero and The Ruler
Adventure- The Hero and The Creator
Sit down and pretend you’re interviewing a character from your novel. Document the best answers you think they would give in their voice and then write it out as if it really happened.
So, Imagine, you and your character are sitting down for a personal one on one interview. Chairs are comfy. The door is closed. You have a pad of paper, pen, and a list of questions. Some nice and some very naughty.