Tag Archive: d


D – Daycare

DA high level of nostalgia means that this year my chosen theme for the 2016 A to Z challenge is Pokemon. Whether you yourself have a similar level of sentimentality or you’ve never really gotten into it, I hope that you enjoy this month of posts as I indulge my nostalgia.

“Ah, it’s you! We were raising your Pokemon, and my goodness, we were so surprised! Your Pokemon was holding an Egg! We don’t know how it got there, but your Pokemon had it. You do want it, don’t you?”

The Pokemon Day Care, run by the Day-Care Couple (Day Care Man and Day Care Lady), is a way of levelling your Pokemon without all the running around and battling. Instead, you hand it over to this lovely elderly couple, and for the mere fee of  PokémonDollar.png100 plus another  PokémonDollar.png100 per level gained when you take it back, they will look after your Pokemon for you.

It is also the primary way to breed Pokemon in the game. In the original trio of games (Red/Blue/Yellow) you could only leave one Pokemon at a time, so this wasn’t possible (and it happens in a couple of the spin off games as well, like Colosseum) but since then, you have been able to leave two Pokemon at the Day Care, and if the two Pokemon are compatible, then they might just give you an egg.

day care eggThe quote at the top is the standard conversation that the Day Care Man will give you when there’s an egg for you to pick up, and it’s always been amusing to me, as he’ll say it no matter how many eggs you breed of a game. And even Professors, the most knowledgeable people in the world, say that they have never seen a Pokemon lay an egg so they don’t know how they come about either. There are a number of different theories surrounding why they say this, from the mundane (this is a kids game, we’re not talking about THAT) to the weird and wonderful (They’re not eggs, they’re devices similar to Pokeballs or Pokemon eggs are actually brought to Pokemon parents by an ancient legendary Pokemon, like a stork does in other cartoons) so if your interested in knowing more, go Google about egg theories, because they’re rather fascinating.

bulbasaur eggWhat purpose does breeding Pokemon serve? Two reasons that I do it, and I favour one more than the other. The first, is that you can breed the rarer Pokemon in the game to get more of them or to trade them away. Starter Pokemon for instance, you breed your Venasaur, get a Bulbasaur, and then you can trade that Bulbasaur to your friend in exchange for a Squirtle, and get completion on your Pokedex. And yes, breeding Pokemon will always get you the lowest evolution on the chain, so you know that you can be a completionist. The other, is that through careful breeding you can increase the base stats of the Pokemon (Health, Attack, Defence, Special Attack, Special Defence, Speed – HP, ATK, DEF, SPA, SPD, SPE) and attempt to get ‘perfect scores’.

I tend to go in for the former, because I am very much a completionist and I like having full Pokedex, which does get a lot harder with every generation that goes on. The second one is more useful for trainers that are planning on competing, as it does give you a small edge, but I find it too time consuming and fiddly to do when that’s not the part of the game I like.

Either way, the Day Care is a definitive part of the game, and I know that I am always counting my steps when I get those Eggs in my bag.

 

DragonairPokemon of the Day

D is for Dragonair

The middle evolution in the chain of dragons from the first generation of Pokemon, Dratini evolves into Dragonair, which then evolves into Dragonite. Dragonair is a long blue and white serpentine Pokemon with a small horn, tiny pair of wings, and three mystical orbs adorning it’s body. It has a gentle, if slightly mystical aura, and it can use its wings to fly through the air.

As could be predicted, I love dragon Pokemon, some of them more than others, and if you’ve noticed, my dragon of the week on the sidebar is still Dragonair, and probably will be for the rest of the month. Dragonair is a dragon, but is also beautiful and graceful, and I will often not evolve it further on because I love it, its appearance, and its nature. It also lives in rivers and lakes, and although I like quite a few fire Pokemon, I am also a fan of water based creatures.

Honestly, I just really, really like Dragonair. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s my favourite Dragon Type Pokemon.

dragonair by cometwing

D – Dialogue

Toothless Letter D

Dialogue. Talking. Conversation.

Talking is one of the most everyday occurrences, so what would a book be without dialogue? I don’t think it exists, so I don’t know.  Not very realistic, unless your books takes place inside a monastery where monks take vows of silence. Which, admittedly, might be interesting, but let’s assume that your characters, like 99% of people in the world, talk to each other.

But, the talking in novels is actually quite different from real life dialogue. Listen to a conversation, any one will do. How many times to do people pause, go um or ah or er, repeat something they just said? It’s a lot. I know I repeat myself a great length. Do readers want to read that in their conversation? No, they don’t. The job of the writer is to mimic real conversation, but to delete all the bits that make it boring.

Second big thing. Adverbs. How many times does someone say something, and then you tag something that ends in -ly. Hysterically, angrily, happily, excitedly. All of those ones that end in -ly. Yeah, they can go. Probably not every single one of them, but 95% of them are unnecessary.

Why? Because they are noticeable. And you should be able to convey the emotions that they describe with dialogue and action. Is your character angry? Show their red face, maybe they thump the table, short sharp words. You won’t need to add ‘he shouted angrily’ because the reader will know that the character is angry already. It’s over explaining it. Also avoid physical impossibilities, such as snarling or grimacing. People can do these things, but you can’t speak and do them at the same time. Try it, its not possible. So your characters can’t do it either.

coulour_speech_bubblesAnd talking about noticeable, you know what isn’t noticeable? Said. He said, she said, they said, xir said. Said is really unnoticeable, so you cannot overuse it. Although you don’t need to use it all the time. When a new conversation starts, it’s important to know who is talking, but after a while, especially if there are only two characters involved, you can just drop speaker attributes all together, because conversation will swap back and forth between those two characters and readers will know who is speaking.

They will also know who is speaking if you work on giving every a unique speaking voice. In my current book I have three characters, sisters Esme, Danna, and Rose. Esme is a very blunt, so she speaks using as few words as she can and always gets to the point. Danna works with a lot of mechanics so she’s has a more colourful and looser structure than her sisters, despite growing up in nobility, whereas Rose is a well-spoken young lady, polite and never concatenates words. So even if I don’t tell you who is speaking, if I have done my job as an author, you should be able to tell which one of them is speaking at any one time. But you should start the conversations off with speaker attributes, for a little bit of clarity.

Although one thing I would recommend avoiding is phonetically different dialects. It’s just hard to read. Grammar, catch phrases, diction and pronunciation can all be used instead of dialects to indicated that a person is from a region, and the reader can then supply the accent in their head. And we all have accents. Mine is rather posh British, but that happens when you grow up near one of the Queen’s castle, don’t you know.

Oh, and the last bit of advice, probably the most basic but essential piece of advice in this post, is to start every new piece of dialogue on a new line or paragraph. Because it makes it so much easier to read. I’m mainly including this bit because I was one of the judges for the first round of a competition called 500 words, where kids from 7 to 13 enter stories of 500 words or less. It’s was really amazing to read what these kids had written, even if some of them needed some work, and this was one of the things that I saw the most. Not enough paragraph use. But they can get there, go writing kids!

Ah hem, sorry, getting a little excited about that.

And there’s we have D for Dialogue.

And D is also for dragons. I wasn’t going to let D slide by without some dragons was I? Dragon dialects are amazing in themselves. From the ones that can talk all kind of languages, to the ones that can’t. Dragons can make as many sounds as humans can, and probably even more given they live so much longer than us!

How-to-Train-Your-Dragon-image-how-to-train-your-dragon-36801785-1500-851

D – Dragonology

Today’s post is about Dragonology – the study of dragons, and the marvellous book by the same title.

Written from the point of view of Dr Ernest Drake, a master dragonologist from the Victorian era, he imparts his wisdom of many years of dragon study onto the next generation, giving them information about dragons, their habits and behaviours, how to study them, and just a little splash of magic on the side.

Dragonology

With interactive pages, and fantastic drawings and diagrams, he imparts the wisdom of his many years of study, and encourages the true believers of dragon to go out into the world and study dragons, as well as helping the rare and dwindling numbers in the wild.

Chapter I – Introduction and Dragons of the World

Chapter II – Different Species of Dragon

Chapter III – The Natural History of Dragons

Chapter IV – Working with Dragons

Appendices – Laboratory, Spells, Famous Historian and Afterword.

dragonology-preview-p-5

Personally I love this book very much. It’s just such a fantastical written and presented book, packed full of interesting information and little interactive bits. On the sample page above that little red square in the middle contains a sample of Lung Dragon scale, which is fascinating to just run your fingers over, and at the back of the book is a sample of dragon dust, which can be used is some spells or potions for dragons.

After the success of his first book, he went on to write other, as well as releasing a line of dragon figures and a popular game based on dragonology. Travelling the world by land, sea and air, you have to collect information on the nine different species of dragon in the game, using ancient spells and dragon charms whilst you do so. And having played the game myself, it is fantastic fun. Also helps that I tend to win, but I see that as my love of dragon just shining through.

dragonology - game

Dr Drake has also managed to come into the future a little, or rather those that carry on his work have, and you can find his website here: http://www.dragonology.com/mainmenu.html

He now has an extensive list of books to his name, including fields guides, specifics guides for the species of dragons, a collection of stories from his own experiences of a dragonologist, a guide to charms and spells, and my personal favourite, a guide to bringing up your own baby dragon (hint: you need a LOT of food).

And there you have it, Dragonology. The study of dragons. Hope you enjoyed this post. Shout out to anyone else on the a to z challenge 🙂

P.S. Don’t worry, I have not forgotten about Dungeons and Dragons (a fairly obvious choice for D), it will be coming up later in the month, just be patient.

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