This is an illustration I did of the Nine Worlds from Norse mythology for my maps project. I wanted to do a simple, informative map because I was baffled by how little most people know about it compared to Greek/Roman/Egyptian mythology.
The descriptions about how the worlds are set up are quite contradictory or logically impossible, so it’s really up to each individual how they want to interpret and render them. Some theorizes it as a flat island world (with an inner, middle and outer circle), or (as a certain Marvel comic does it;) a mush of dimensions with aliens and stuff. I’ve always imagined it as a giant tree whenever we had story time in elementary school, so I tried to fit all the named places I could find strictly into a tree. Also, the tree has its presence and is the centre in most of the worlds, so I solved that by putting a tree within a tree within a tree - Yggdraception!
Yggdrasil is the world tree. Its branches stretch across the sky and its evergreen leaves covers the world. At the very top of the tree, there’s a golden eagle by the name of Vidofnir, and between his eyes sits the hawk, Verfolne. The pair looks out towards the world. Yggdrasil has three rots, each going down their own wells.
One goes down to Kverghjelme, a well in Niflheim. The root is gnawed on by the serpent Nidhogg, in hopes that it will one day kill Yggdrasil and the world(s) with it. Another goes to Urd’s well in Åsgard, which is tended by three norns (destiny-thread goddesses). In the well lives two golden swans. The water here is so pure and holy, it’s white (but I still coloured it blue!). The third root goes to Mime’s Well in Jotunheim. It is guarded by the wise god Mime, who got beheaded but his head is still there giving advice to gods. This place is also where Odin sacrificed his eye for wisdom.
A squirrel, Ratatosk, relayes gossip and insults between Nidhogg and Vidofnir. There’s also four deers I forgot to draw in but they don’t do much than eat the leaves.
I split the world into four sections:
At the top section is Åsgard, the world of the Aesir gods. Here is Valhall, the banquet hall of the gods and warriors, and Folkvang, Freya’s house, where she lives with her own hand-picked warriors (who are more honorable and less bloodthirsty than those who live in Valhall). I’ve also put in the homes of the gods that were given by name, like Bilskirne (Thor’s house), Breidablik (Baldur’s house) and so on.
The only way to get to the other worlds is by Bifrost, the rainbow bridge, which is guarded by Heimdall, from his home in Himmelberget.
In the upper-mid section is Alvheim, land of the elves. The fertility god, Frey, lives here as their ruler. There’s also Vanaheim, the land of the Vanir gods, who specialize in fertility/farming/etc. but not much is known about them.
Midgard is the human world and lies in the centre of the three. It is surrounded by the world sea and the gigantic Midgard serpent which bites its own tail.
In the east is Jotunheimen, the land of the giants. I imagine it as a very mountainous terrain. Utgård lies here, which is where the wolf Fenris is being tied.
In the south, is Muspelheim, the land of fire.
In the west, lies Svartalvheim, the land of dark elves and dwarves.
And in the north, lies Niflheim, the land of ice and mist.
Helheim, the land of the dead lies below/within Niflheim. I drew it as an underground realm under Kverghjelme. Everyone who died outside of battle gets sent here, regardless of how good/bad they were when they were alive, but criminals would be put in Nåstrand, a house by the corpse river.
I just totally realised I forgot to include an explanation with my assignment, d’oh.
I used the Norwegian names instead of the Norse/Icelandic ones because that’s how I know them as and is a lot more relatable to me (ek snakkur ikkur islendur!) and the descriptions are in English, but there’s a full Norwegian version around somewhere…!
Sources: Norrøn Mytologi, Åsgard Web, Noregur.is, Valkyria, NT Shamanism and Wikipedia NO/SE/DK.
I feel this girl needs a pat on the back. Let’s get this great map some attention.
this is FANTASTIC
If this person doesn’t get an A+ then something is very wrong with the professor. This is BRILLIANT!
norse mythology is super awesome, guys. like, really super awesome
(Source: tinasol, via whosoeverholdsthishammer)
We spend a good deal of time talking about fiction writing on this blog, so it seems like a good idea to spend a little bit of our energy on nonfiction. This is the first post in this series, so if there are any particular topics you want covered, please send a message!
The first thing we’ll discuss is the essay.
Essay (n): a short piece of writing on a particular subject.
Usually, the purpose of an essay is to give your readers information or persuade them to believe a certain theory. You’ve probably written several formal essays in high school, college, or other such venues, but something as routine and informal as an email to a co-worker can be considered an essay. If your point is to give information or convince someone of something, you’re writing some variation of an essay. So let’s get going.
- Build your appeals. Your essay’s effectiveness rests on three pillars, called appeals. These are appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos, and we’ll discuss them individually.
These three appeals work best in conjunction with each other. Evaluate your argument ahead of time and consider which is the hardest battle: What’s the logical progression? Why people should care? Why they should listen to you? and find a way to tackle it.
- Ethos (credibility). Ethos answers the question of “well, what makes this person qualified to tell me this stuff?” Sometimes you have ethos built-in; if you have a PhD in urban planning, people will probably respect your opinion with regard to urban planning. But if you don’t have some sort of credentials, building ethos can be hard. Most of it rests in three places: evidence, ethics, and tone.
Ethos is also intertwined with logos and pathos. The strength of your other two appeals will affect the strength of your ethos. Let’s talk about them now.
- Evidence. People can’t argue with facts. If it’s important that your readers understand that Congress is largely unpopular, you shouldn’t say “nobody likes Congress” and keep it at that. Instead, try “A Gallup poll conducted in August estimated Congress’ approval rating at 14%.” Now we know who conducted the poll, where and when it came from, and what the result was. Can’t argue with that. If your argument progresses from credible facts, your argument will be credible. Keep in mind that “credible facts” doesn’t include sources like Wikipedia; stick with trustworthy information.
- Ethics. Much of your ethos will rely on you taking a stance that you can assume is universally moral. If you know that racism is something that most people oppose, then you can go ahead and assume that opposing it will keep you in good ethical standing with your readers. Everyone will be behind you. If your moral case is more ambiguous, you need to prove your point with a combination of logos and pathos, discussed below.
- Tone. Building credible tone can be difficult. It involves both not condescending to your reader but also not going over their heads. We’ll talk more about tone in essays below, so sit tight.
- Logos (logic). Has someone tried to convince you of something, and you said “no, that doesn’t make any sense”? That’s because that person had weak appeals to logos. Please refer them to the following paragraph:
Great, we’re glad you’re here. Listen. If you’re trying to convince someone of something, it should make logical sense. This means each claim should lead to the next one, or there should be some apparent order to things. As a writer, consider having your point in the back of your head so you can build up to it. Then, when you edit (because you have to edit, see below), check for any gaps you may have left behind. If you’re not sure if there’s a gap, there’s probably a gap.
I have a friend who says that if a seven-year-old with a dictionary can’t understand your essay, there’s something wrong with your structure. Make your logical progression clear and accessible to your readers, and remember that none of your readers are in your head. Your essay makes sense in your head, of course, you just have to make that sense clear in your writing.
- Pathos (emotion). Pathos can be tricky to use. In strict academic writing, pathos is usually implied under several analytic layers. Consider the following statement:
It is not very emotional on the surface. It really means that somewhere along the line, a random person that grows up in a suburb that isn’t ethnically diverse might grow up to be racist and a lot of people are going to end up upset and offended by that person in the long run. Most readers would decide that this is a bad thing, and react negatively to it. This extrapolation is implied, however, by that mess of a sentence. The important thing is to know when the important emotional ramifications of a claim are implied and when they need to be stated outright.
The suburbanization of the United States since the 1950s has maintained racial stereotypes already present in society by virtue of the homogeneity of most suburban neighborhoods.
An argument or a speech that leans too heavily on pathos is often criticized. People who pay close attention to politicians often notice a high concentration of emotional appeals in speeches and interviews because they are powerful on a shallow level. In order for your essay to be powerful both on a first impression and on a deep level, be sure to use pathos in conjunction with both ethos and logos. It is often the most powerful of the appeals, but overusing weakens your essay, just as underusing it can.
- Ditch the cheeseburger. I once learned an essay is like a cheeseburger. Your introduction and a conclusion are your top and bottom buns. Your body paragraphs are your lettuce, cheese, and patty.
Surprisingly, not everything you learn in school is a comprehensive, be-all-end-all method to do anything, much less write an essay. The cheeseburger thing is good when you’re looking to write an essay that can get knocked off in exactly five paragraphs, but if you need more (or less), the hamburger will be pretty useless.
Be comfortable using other forms. An introduction and conclusion are probably safe bets, especially if it’s a long piece. But the one idea = one paragraph notion and the one idea = three pieces of supporting evidence notion are not good rules for every instance. Write your essay the way the essay needs to be written. If it takes several paragraphs to explain one idea, use several paragraphs. Boxing yourself into a single idea (whether it’s a question of form or how you marshal evidence or even your style) can be detrimental to your writing in the long term.
- Hear it out loud, then write. Listen to the sentence you’re about to write in your head. You will automatically arrange the words so the sentence sounds more natural, which will make it easier to read. Reading it out loud once it’s done is tricky territory. When reading out loud, most people give their writing inflections that it doesn’t have on paper, which makes it sound better than it actually does. It’s best to start with a sentence that already sounds good out loud. (Of course, if your essay is a speech, practicing it out loud is a pretty good idea.)
- Research. Obviously, you need to make sure your facts are right. Even if you’re pretty sure of something (e.g. I’m pretty sure that Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in 2000), look it up, so you can cite a source (mine is uselectionatlas.org). Citations are everything; your ethos is riding on them.
Citations are not necessary in informal settings (like an email), but if you are submitting your essay to some kind of supervisor or a teacher, you better cite your sources. No way around that one. Find out which citation system your instructor/boss wants, and learn how to use it. Here are out posts tagged “research,” and the OWL is a great resource to use for different citation systems.
- Know your audience. This is one of the most important rules of writing, but it’s especially applicable for nonfiction. If your audience is a single coworker that knows the ins-and-outs of your subject and you just need to inform this person of a couple of things, be concise and feel free to leave out most of the background details that this person probably already knows.
If your audience is an unknown reader, assume they know nothing. Fill them in on every piece of background information they need and spell out everything that might be tricky.
If your audience knows the jargon, use it. If they don’t, don’t. If they agree with you, don’t bother convincing them. If they don’t, convince them.
- Write economically. People tend to think long words make them sound smart. This is an attempt to build up ethos, and it doesn’t always work. Readers can get confused and annoyed when your sentences look like the one about the suburbs that I used above. Try using the words that will get the message across in the most concise way possible. Language exists to convey meaning from one person to another in an effective way; try not to use language in a way that disrupts that exchange.
David Foster Wallace, known for being the opposite of concise, has an opinion on this one. About the word utilize:
Basically, if it isn’t complicated, don’t make it complicated. You want your readers to believe you and follow your ideas. Don’t let them get lost in a web of prose.
“‘Utilize’ [is] a noxious puff-word. Since it does nothing that good old ‘use’ doesn’t do, its extra letters and syllables don’t make a writer seem smarter; rather, using “utilize” makes you seem either like a pompous twit or like someone so insecure that she’ll use pointlessly big words in an attempt to look sophisticated.
- You aren’t the point. The most important thing in your essay is your subject. Your point. The thing you’re trying to tell the person. Not you. You’re not important. This is not the time to impress your readers with your style or your knowledge of unrelated topics. If you need high-octane vocabulary to prove your point, use it, but know the point of your essay is to prove your point, not your intelligence. Build ethos just to the point where the reader is confident in your knowledge on the topic at hand.
- Edit. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days. You should go over your essay and edit it. Editing is not only fixing errors with grammar and mechanics, but with large, structural problems. Maybe a paragraph is irrelevant or connects poorly with your thesis, or maybe you notice a contradiction that needs to be addressed. No essay is perfect the first time through, so become comfortable editing your work.
Remember the main goal of your essay is to deliver information or persuade your reader in a way that is both concise and convincing. Keeping these tips in mind will help you, but know that essay writing improves over time as you develop style and voice. Practice doesn’t make perfect, because nothing is perfect, but practice can make you pretty good. So practice.
Again, this post is part of a nonfiction series. If you have questions about this article or have a suggestion for another topic, please send us a message. Feel free to come to us with any writing question, fiction or nonfiction.
- Andrew Garfield is British.
- George R.R. Martin is not British.
WHO WANTS TO WATCH THE 2014 HANNIBAL PANNIBAL?!
This point can never be repeated often enough.
(Source: commie-pinko-liberal, via andythanfiction)
(Source: englishsnow, via vehiclesshockme)
the reason male comic book fans work themselves into a frenzied rage over “fake geek girls" is because they think they can’t get a girlfriend because of their love for comic books (a.k.a nerdiness). if they accept that geek girls genuinely love comic books, then they’re left with the cold harsh reality that it’s not their nerdiness that makes them unattractive to women, but the fact that they are misogynistic condescending dickbags who need to be avoided AT ALL COSTS
I kind of find it hard to believe that Carter doesn’t remember anything before the kidnapping. I know she was three when she was abducted, but people have memories at that age.
I may have failed in most aspects of life, but at least I always remembered to call my mother.
There are some great male characters with great storylines, but there are mostly okay male characters with really crappy story lines that heavily rely on man-pain.