Word of the Week: Soporific

Word: soporific

Pronunciation: sah-pə-RI-fik

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: tending to induce drowsiness or sleep

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Have you ever been doing or experiencing something and suddenly started to feel drowsy because of it? Well, that activity had a “soporific” effect on you. We’ve all encountered something at one time or another that made us sleepy: medicine, a long plane ride, a boring movie. And if we’re going to subject our characters to the same kind of experiences, why not have an uncommon word handy to define whatever is putting them to sleep?

Something that’s “soporific” has a tendency to include sleepiness or drowsiness in people. The word arose in the mid 17th century and can be traced back to the French adjective soporifique. This adjective in turn is derived from the Latin noun sopor, meaning “deep sleep”.

Aside from its primary definition, “soporific” can also be used to describe a person who is feeling sleepy or drowsy. Another sub-definition of the word is “tediously boring or monotonous”, and in some cases it functions as a noun to refer to “a drug or other agent that induces sleep”. Whatever the context, “soporific” is a good word to keep in mind for anything in your stories that puts your characters to sleep. Just try to make sure your writing isn’t “soporific” to your readers! Good luck!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

My Witty Little Sister

My witty little sister
Is a gift sent from above.
She fills our days with laughter,
Silliness and lots of love.

She’s always been quite clever,
Just as smart as she is fun.
Her comments are notorious
For amusing everyone.

Her jokes are sharp yet tasteful,
And they never lack in style.
Her charming disposition
Never fails to make us smile.

The speed of her responses
Leaves me awed in many ways.
Comebacks that take her seconds
Would take me at least three days!

My witty little sister
Brings me joy when I feel blue.
Every day, I want to tell her,
“Dearest sister, I love you!”

Happy Birthday to my awesome and funny little sister! Keep being the charming, witty person you are! I love you!

Visual Art as Inspiration for Writing

When it comes to creative writing, there are plenty of sources of inspiration out there. Several of them have been featured here on my blog, from books to music to video games. But one particularly beautiful source of inspiration that I have yet to discuss is visual art.

So today, I’d like to explore the inspiration that visual works of art can provide for creative writing. How can art composed of images become fruit for art composed of words? Enjoy!

Worth a Thousand Ideas

Secret Garden 1Visual art is arguably the “most universal” art medium. It comes in many forms: drawings, paintings, photography, sculptures, etc. They can come in a vast array of colors or a monochromatic spectrum from black to white. They can be amateur pieces created for fun or professional-quality works on display in the finest galleries in the world. But one thing they all have in common is that they were each born from an idea. If you think about it, doesn’t that make them a sort of “writing with images”?

Similar to creative writing, a work of visual art can start as one idea that grows into a whole network of connected thoughts, stories, possibilities, all waiting to be discovered by the artist’s audience. These can prove especially inspirational to writers, as the quality of our work relies on our ability to create images in our readers’ minds the same way that visual artists create images for their viewers’ eyes. So the next time you feel stuck in your writing, why not try to draw ideas from the beauty within a visual piece?

Secret Garden 2Gaze into the Mona Lisa‘s eyes and try to imagine what she’s thinking. Mentally reassemble the shapes of an abstract work into something concrete. Improvise a scene based on your favorite photograph. Write a poem based on the emotions evoked by the colors in a classic painting. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then challenge yourself to see how many of them you can fit into a story. You never know what ideas may be hidden in a visual work until you look for them!

Visual art is a beautiful means of expression that can spark all sorts of other wonderful forms of art. Just a brief look is often enough to get our creativity flowing. But what happens when you create visual art yourself?

From Drawings to Words

When I was in high school, I would sometimes find my mind wandering in the middle of class. To pass the time, I would draw the occasional doodle in my textbook. Most of these drawings consisted of wings, dolphins, and horses, with a wolf and a tiger thrown into the mix for good measure. I’ll be the first to admit that they weren’t very good, but those drawings, however distracting they were from schoolwork, actually taught me a few interesting things about myself: I love animals, I love movement, and I wish I could fly. And from then on, I applied all those facts to my writing.

Secret Garden 3If you were to look back through all the Friday posts on my blog, you’d probably notice that most of my stories feature animals and other non-human characters. I’ve written a poem about what I would do if I had wings, and one of my most popular creative writing posts is about how to write for animal characters. Even a look through my novel ideas would reveal a pattern of bird motifs. Though drawing was never my strong suit, it did give me plenty of ideas for my creative writing, and for that I’ll always appreciate it as one of the many invaluable sources of inspiration for my true artistic passion.

So even if it’s not your forte, I strongly recommend giving visual art a chance. Draw, paint, take photos, anything that can jumpstart the creative part of your mind. The ideas you find in your art may become the inspiration for your next big written work. And if you’re lucky, you may discover something beautiful about yourself along the way. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Secret Garden 4

Today’s post is dedicated to my grandmother, whose lovely work in Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden coloring book served as the illustrations for this article. Happy Birthday, Grandma! I love you!

Word of the Week: Usurp

Word: usurp

Pronunciation: yoo-SƏRP

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: take a position of power or importance illegally or by force

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Virtually every fan of medieval stories should be familiar with this week’s vocabulary word. It’s not uncommon to see characters of fantasy and history alike “usurp” a throne or high rank from an unpopular ruler. Being fascinated with the Middle Ages myself, I’ve read my fair share of tales about monarchs and tyrants being overthrown from power, and though the specific word for it isn’t always used, the action does always make for an exciting story!

To “usurp” a high position of power is to take it by force or otherwise illegal means. The word arose in Middle English and was used in the sense “to wrongfully appropriate a right”. This verb can be traced back through the Old French verb usurper to the Latin verb usurpare, meaning “to seize for use”.

Though I was already well familiar with the word “usurp”, I admit I began showing a greater interest in it when I started reading A Game of Thrones (still on the first book and haven’t watched the series yet, so no spoilers, please!), as it seems to be the driving goal of at least every other character in the story. I’ve read this word most often in medieval fiction, but it works well in any scenario of power shifting by force. A sub-definition of “usurp” is “to take the place of someone in a position of power illegally”, and writers of historical fiction may find use in the archaic meaning “to encroach or infringe upon someone’s rights”. If you write characters who seek to steal power from others, “usurp” is definitely the word to define their objectives! Good luck!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

To The Man I Admire Most

Man I’ve looked up to my whole life,
You are a true hero in my eyes.

Support me through all my endeavors.
Understand me like no one else does.
Protect me from the evils in the world.
Entertain me with your witty humor.
Rescue me in my times of need.
My dear father, you are my hero.
Always be my Superman, and I will
Never stop loving you with all my heart!

Happy Father’s Day to my incredible dad! Thank you for always being my Superman, the greatest hero I could ever ask for! I love you!

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