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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

20 Times Stories Have Made Me Cry

I'm bored, and angsty, and I just finished watching all 5 series of BBC Merlin (WHHHYYYY???) so I've decided to make this post. I'm not going to try and dig into why these moments made me cry, I'm just gonna list them in no particular order. Just a note, I am not a sobby kinda person. Honestly, I cry more about fiction than I do about reality. Maybe that's testimony to the fact that I have a really good life, or maybe I'm just a weirdo, I don't know. Just thought I'd mention that. Savvy? (Warning: fangirling and SPOILERS for lots of different movies, books, and TV shows ahead)

1. Doctor Who: Doomsday.



I cried during the episode and then cried about ten minutes after it ended and then I cried again when I watched it for the second time. So heartbreakingly beautiful.

2. "I can't carry it for you. But I can carry you!" The Return of the King.



It gets me every time.

3. The Prince's Tale: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.



I had to put the book down to cry after finishing that chapter. When I managed to stop crying...

4. Chapter 34: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows



It's like J.K. Rowling punched me in the stomach and then kneed me in the face with a boxing glove made out of feels.

5. Into The West: Return of the King



I cry every time I hear that song. Why I bought it on my phone and then added it to my 'driving the car' playlist and then actually play that playlist is beyond me. It makes driving rather difficult.

6. "Because you are my friend." Star Trek Into Darkness



Every. Time.

7. Sign of Three ending: Sherlock



I was crying happy tears and then it turned into ugly sobbing.

8. Meg's death in BBC Robin Hood.



GUUUUYYYYYY WHHHYYYYY

9 Freya's death in BBC Merlin



MERRRRLLLIIINNNNN WHHHHYYYYY (BBC is painful y'all.)

10. The ending of BBC Merlin



I dreaded that ending from the beginning. Ugh.

11. "You were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I!"



YOU WERE MY FIRST DOCTOR I LOVE YOU DON'T GO NOOO

12 "I don't wanna go."



YOU WERE MY FAVORITE DOCTOR I LOVE YOU DON'T GO NOOO

13. "Well, I'm back."



I cried after I finished reading Lord of the Rings. The ending was bittersweet in itself, but it felt almost like I had lost a home. There was no more Middle-Earth to explore... until I found The Silmarillion, that is!

14. Jack giving up immortality to save Will.



Sniffle.

15. Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?



Need I go on?

16. "I love you." "I know."



It wasn't the romance part of this that made me cry, it was the fact that I was this little nine year old and I seriously thought my favorite character was about to die. Come to think of it, this might have been the first time I ever cried during a movie.

17. Belle in the season 1 finale of Once Upon a Time



If only the show could have stayed as good as this... <_<

18. "Look at me."


The book hurt. The movie was worse. Probably because I truly knew this character when I watched the movie, whereas in the book at this point, I didn't.

19. Eowyn and Faramir.



These are happy. I cry happy tears for them. Heart.

20. Mistborn: The Hero of Ages ending.



All of you people need to seriously read the Mistborn series (if you are older than 15) so then I won't be the only one threatened with the possibility of losing my eyesight due to incessant crying because of the sweet, beautiful, heart-wrenching, unforeseen, amazing, terrible, symbolic ending okay.

Well, if you made it through this post, I tip my hat to you. Have you cried at any of these moments? Any story moments I didn't mention that you cried at? Why do you think these specific make people cry? I might have to do some thinking on that last question. Maybe I'll write a post on it if I ever come up with an answer better than "because of feeeeeels!". :P

On Sunday I'll be posting my next Myers-Briggs post. I'm super excited about this one!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Hero Type of Role

Welcome to the second post in my Myers-Briggs series! In my first post, I defined some of the terms in the Myers-Briggs and explained my experience with the test. If you missed the blog post, you can read it HERE. I suggest checking it out if you are unfamiliar with the Myers-Briggs.

Otherwise, let's get started!

Instead of doing sixteen separate posts, I've decided to combine the Extroverted and Introverted version of types into one post because, despite having notable differences, similar types often have very similar roles in stories, which is the focus of this series. Today, I'd like to tell you about two types that are often used as the Hero of a story- the ENFP and the INFP.

Graphic designed by Brittish Designs & Sahlin Studio

ENFP- The Champion


"You're right! What I am about to do, it doesn't make sense, it's not logical, it is a gut feeling! I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I only know what I can do." -James T. Kirk, Star Trek Into Darkness

ENFPs are notoriously creative, quick-thinking, and decisive. They are excellent problem-solvers, often inventing unique and hitherto unheard of solutions. They are people-centric and tend to genuinely care about others, resulting in a contagious likableness. On top of it all, they are typically leaders, especially when they feel passion for a cause. ENFPs sometimes struggle with the follow-through to a project, and are sometimes given to bouts of self-pity. ENFPs also have a romantic bent, and sometimes struggle with exiting an unhealthy relationship because of their tendency to never give up.

INFP- The Idealist


"I have fought griffins, witches, bandits. I have been punched, poisoned, pelted with fruit and all the while I have to hide who I really am because if anyone finds out Uther will have me executed. Sometimes I feel as though I'm being pulled in so many directions I don't know which way to turn."- Merlin, BBC Merlin

Unlike their extroverted counterparts, INFPs typically find solace in their thoughts and feelings rather than their solutions and actions. They are often laid-back, kindhearted, and genuinely care for others. INFPs are unbiased mediators because of their natural desire for peace and harmony. However, don't think for one second INFPs are necessarily meek souls. If their ire is aroused, or if they feel passion for a cause, they will fight ceaselessly, often ignoring logic and personal needs, until that cause in won. Unlike ENFP, they have no trouble with the follow-through to a project. Like ENFP, they sometimes struggle with unhealthy relationships.

What This Means in Fiction

More than any of the other types, ENFPs and INFPs consistently house the heroes. I believe this is because both ENFP and INFP types have ideals that are not only lauded, but also often necessary, in a hero characters. The iNtuitiveness helps the type see and understand "the big picture". It helps the hero quickly grasp and clue together the villain's dastardly plan from seemingly unrelated events. Now, I'm not saying a Sensing type could not do this. They certainly could, but perhaps not as quickly as an iNtuitive. This helps keep plots efficient. The Feeling type helps make the hero likable. Readers like someone who cares for others. Readers like someone who feels a burning passion for an ideal, a promise, a person. And the Perceiving type creates an odd paradox within an iNtuitive type (always interesting in a fictional character). Perceiving types base judgments on past experiences and problems. They are often quickly decisive and impulsive. This creates a hero that can read into situations and discover solutions (iNtuitive) but then quickly make a judgment on those solutions and immediately act (Perceiver). Again, it's a matter of efficiency. Stories need action. Perceivers are very good at creating action.

ENFP Fictional Characters

Percy Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus), Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games), James T. Kirk (Star Trek TOS, Star Trek 2009), Rapunzel (Disney's Tangled), Ariel (Disney's The Little Mermaid), Edmond Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo), Rose Tyler (Doctor Who), Nymphadora Tonks (Harry Potter)

INFP Fictional Characters

Frodo Baggins (Lord of the Rings), Merlin (BBC Merlin), Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre), Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables), Lucy Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia), Alice Kingsley (Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland), Will Turner (Pirates of the Caribbean), Waxillium Ladrian (The Alloy of Law)

Have I Ever Written an ENFP and/or an INFP?

As a matter of fact, yes I have! Coal Flame from Ember Flame is an ENFP. He is also, I believe, the most naturally heroic character in the Leverage Series. Morality and selflessness seems to come much easier to him than it does to the other characters. Cecilia Lester from Esprit de la Rose is an INFP and she had one of the most difficult personalities I have ever written, but she was worth it.

Common Cliches

The most common cliche writers (including myself) struggle with when writing these types is ye olde Mary Sue... or John Sue. John Joe? Whatever the male version is called. Writers have a tendency to make these types unrealistically perfect. It is an easy mistake to make. Their personalities are naturally hardwired to be sacrificial and passionate and caring and moral. They naturally are heroes. 

A good way to avoid this is to give the character a flaw... bonus points if it stems from their greatest strength. As an example, I'll use Percy Jackson and Frodo Baggins to demonstrate my point. 

Percy Jackson's fatal flaw, as stated in the books, is his zealous loyalty towards those he cares about. This is also his greatest strength, it's the thing that keeps him going, the thing that makes him capable of accomplishing anything. It's also the thing that gets him stuck on an island as a guinea pig, or trading places with Atlas, or blinding him to the betrayal of a friend. 

Frodo is such a sweetheart. And yes, that sentence felt weird and almost heretical to type, given the epicness and vastness of the Lord of the Rings. It feels just... wrong to label one of the most incredible characters with a simpery affectionate term. However, it is true. Frodo is extremely caring and extremely sacrificial. He loves his friends. He loves his country. He loves the people in his country, even those who he has never met, even those who poke fun at him behind his back. He wants the best for them and is willing to go to any measures to save them. And that, ultimately, is one of his character flaws. He refuses the advice of Sam in terms of Gollum's treachery, determined to believe that Gollum can return fully to Smeagol, determined to believe that Gollum can change. Remember the unhealthy relationship problem these types have? This is it.

There are plenty of other flaws you could attempt as well. Merlin is willing to sacrifice friends and people for a destiny, Kirk is overly impulsive and often does not listen to logic, Jane Eyre struggles between her passion for love and her passion for morality, Ariel makes thoughtless decisions, Alice is reluctant to do anything because she does not slay. The possibilities are endless.

Relationships

Let's start with the obvious, shall we?

Romantically, ENFPs are most likely to be attracted to INFPs (fancy that!), INFJs, and ENFJs.

INFPs are most likely to be attracted to ENFPs, ENFJs, and INFJs.

Both types are likely to have dislike for ENTJs and INTJs (funnily enough, these types are the types most commonly used for villains).

As for friends, both ENFPs and INFPs are extremely personable and tolerant. They are likely to get along with anyone whose morals are similarly inclined. Both are also teachable, INFPs in particular, so mentors could be any type.

Closing Tidbits

When writing an ENFP or an INFP, the important thing to remember is that they are only human. Though you (or the character) might pile on the responsibilities, there is only so much anyone can take before they crash. ENFPs and INFPs are resilient, but even they have a breaking point. If you want to create a strong character that will keep the story interesting, find that breaking point, let the villain find that breaking point, and use it. And then make the hero overcome it. Because ultimately, that is what these types do best. They overcome. So let them, but you have to trip them up first.

Questions!

Are you writing an ENFP or an INFP? What are your thoughts on these types? And who do you like better, Nyota Uhura from Star Trek, or Arwen from the film versions of Lord of the Rings? (This will help me determine which post to do next) I'm voting Uhura! :D

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Who Are You?

In my last post, I asked if anyone would be interested in learning more about the Myers-Briggs types as they relate to fictional characters. I'm super happy to say that lots of people said they were interested! I get to openly geek out about one of my more obscure obsessions now. >:)

I'm planning on dedicating one post per Myers-Briggs type. I will post one once a week. I know some of the types much better than others, and I want time to adequately research the types I do not understand as well.



First though, what is the Myers-Briggs test? I considered explaining, but I decided it would be more practical to post a link to a website that has already explained this. Here is a short article concerning the creation of the Myers-Briggs test and the reason for it. http://www.oursmallhours.com/myers-briggs-type-indicator/

And, in case you were curious, here is a decent test based on the Myers-Briggs test to determine your own personality. I tested this one, and it did give me my type, which is impressive because I am a more obscure type (most online personality tests don't even include all sixteen types. They typically only include some of the more common ones), however, I would still highly recommend paying for the real test.

Link to the free test- http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Link to the actual test- http://www.mbtionline.com/

Just a bit of background as to my experience with the Myers-Briggs test... I took the test over a year ago at a college consultation meeting. The counselors said it would help them determine what sort of college I needed to go to. Well, I had already decided on the college I wanted (which was the opposite of what they were suggesting... but it really is no surprise I decided to be contrary, given my type), but I was interested in taking the test. So I took it. I got a ten page sheet dedicated to creepishly describing my personality perfectly, a list of posh little private colleges to disregard, and a mom that was completely cracking up over phrases like "comes across as exceedingly arrogant", "often irrationally stubborn", and "analytic thinkers who have difficulty empathizing with the feelings of others". She seemed relieved to discover that .8% of females are my type, and 3-4% of the U.S. population. I guess she was just glad I wasn't the only weirdo out there. There are about eleven or twelve others! (My type is also known for being sarcastic)

Apparently, INTJ is accurate.

Despite my feigned annoyance, I really am glad that I took the test. It has helped me not only understand why I do what I do, but it has also helped me understand some of my weaknesses and how I can fix them. Admittedly, I've made no effort to fix my sort-of-not-really jokes concerning my awesomeness (aka arrogance), but I have made an effort to try to understand the people in my family better and how to sympathize with their feelings. It has helped me understand my writing strengths and weaknesses. I'm good at creating realistic worlds, cultures, and plots, but I sometimes struggle with characters- especially characters I would have NO sympathy with in real life. Hail Frost came easily to me, he's an INTJ as well, but Flake is extremely difficult. She's an ISFP. ISFP's most common traits- compassion, modesty, and passiveness- are traits that INTJ's not only have difficulty understanding, but also have difficulty respecting. Taking the Myers-Briggs and proceeding to study it has helped me learn to not only write Flake well, but to love her too.

Anyway, that's been my journey with Myers-Briggs thus far. I'm looking forward to writing posts to share more in-depth findings about each type that will hopefully help someone with character development. I do have a couple of questions before I end this post, though.

What would y'all like to learn about each type? I was thinking about sharing a paragraph of description concerning the type, a list of famous fictional characters who I think have that specific type, most likely cliche or trope associated with the type and how to avoid or utilize it, a list of strengths and weaknesses, and maybe the relationship that type would have with other types (e.g. What type would be best for romantic relationships, what type would a type most likely dislike, what type would be the best mentor, etc.) Is there anything else you would like to know? I love researching all of this, so I'm up for anything!

Hope your weekend went well. It looks like we might get snow here, which would usually upset me, but as it falls on the night of my 7:30 a.m. class... *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Of Copycats and Pinterest



I'm so excited about Five Enchanted Roses. I am still completely astounded and humbled by the fact that Esprit de la Rose gets to be in such an amazing collection. I wanted to share a quick blog post concerning Esprit and then I'll return 'The Pink Cave' to it's regularly scheduled programming. (I rolled my eyes at myself as I typed that last sentence. YES, there will actually be a "programming". I promise.)

I'm gonna be a copycat and share the Pinterest board I created for Esprit de la Rose. Whenever I felt a writer's block coming on whilst writing Esprit, I would scurry my little self over to Pinterest and find some super cool images for inspiration. Feel free to check 'em out!


Follow Kaycee's board Esprit de la Rose on Pinterest.

How am I being a copycat? Well, several of the other amazing authors of Five Enchanted Roses have already posted their Pinterest boards for their stories. I read through their blog posts and boards going "Wow! This is so cool! I can't wait! Wow!" and then I was like "Oh derp. I have one of these too. I should share it!" Sooo since their posts and boards were epic, I'm going to share the links down below so you can go check those out too.

Jenelle Schmidt: Stone Curse Images

Hayden Wand: The Wulver's Rose Images

Savannah Jezowski: Wither Images

Dorian Tsukioka: Rosara and the Jungle King Post

Like I said, completely epic.

Okay, so quick, random question for y'all. I have a hobby of studying the various Myers-Briggs types. I was thinking of doing an in-depth blog post of each type and comparing them to popular characters, tropes, and cliches. Is that cool with ya, or is it a bit over-the-top nerdy? :)

Y'all are awesome! Happy Wednesday! (It is Wednesday, right? I had a 7:30 Spanish test this morning. I'm super groggy right now! XD )

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Picking Character Names

I've done several posts similar to this in the past, but I wanted to elaborate a bit on my personal process for picking character names. Characters are probably my favorite aspect of writing, so I occasionally get a bit OCD when trying to find the perfect names for them.

Some characters seem to appear in my head with his or her name already obvious. Ember was like that. I did not have to think at all about her name. The image of a tall, lanky girl with tangled orange hair and a sharp nose popped into my head, and it just seemed so obvious that her name was Ember, as if there were a flashing neon sign proclaiming it. Those characters are either the easiest or the hardest to name. Why the hardest? Well, the struggle comes when you have to possibly change the name.

When I was eight or nine, I invented my first fantasy world. To my credit, it wasn't that bad, it only seemed like Middle-Earth a little, not completely. This fantasy world has morphed and changed over the years in my mind, becoming a unique and original world. The characters have done the same. I have no plans to write this story any time soon, though I do intend to write it someday.

One of the earlier characters I invented was a warrior woman named Araeyn. I was twelve years old, and I had just finished reading this wonderful novel called King's Warrior by Jenelle Schmidt. I'm sure this is just coincidence, but one of the main characters in King's Warrior was a young man named Oraeyn.

Needless to say, after a few years I realized "Oh yeah... probably should change her name". But to what? I had grown so used to calling her Araeyn in my head. Nothing else fit. But I needed to change it, so I stopped whining and started inventing new names.

I considered names like Arelle, Androma, and Anisyn, but none of those fit her. The first was far too girly, the second too matronly, and the fourth too.... something. Eventually I settled on Aralyn. I like it because it fits with the magic language I invented for the world, and in the end, I only had to change one letter from the original name, yet it sounds different. I still sometimes call her "Araeyn" in my head, but Aralyn is growing on me. It's just a slow process.

The characters who DON'T have a name to begin with are either extremely fun or extremely tedious. After I finish the Leverage Trilogy, the next novel I intend to write- codenamed 'Story D' because it is being stubborn and won't give me a title- features a male protagonist named Asher. When I first invented him he did not originally have a name. It did not take long to invent one for him though. In his culture, names are always "two part" names- one part being a fire-related word, and the second part a one syllable sound. One is taken from each parent. Asher's father's name is Ashjar, and his mother's name was Sparker. Thus, Asher. He was fun.

Here is a good example of a tedious character. One day, I was minding my own beeswax, when an image of a someone popped in my head. I say 'a someone' because that is literally all I could tell. The someone was flopped down casually in an armchair, hidden in the shadows. I think the someone had on a long coat, and maybe held a whiskey glass, though that might have been a pack of cards or a pocket-knife. I was intrigued. I started thinking about this unknown character, and soon discovered that the someone was a guy. Aaaand that's about as much as I figured out.

I really wanted to name this character. I felt like if I named him, his personality would become clearer. Except that... I usually named characters based on what I already knew about their personalities. And so began the extremely tedious and annoying search for a name.

I didn't even know what genre to search in! Modern names like Andrew and Michael were not working. Fantasy equivalents like Druan or Mikkel were not working. More steampunky names like Silas or Gear sounded silly, and epic fantasy names like Flagrian or Hrodmund totally didn't fit. I was so stumped, I even turned to my "off limits" names.

My "off limit" names are names that I would consider naming future adopted children. The aforementioned Jenelle Schmidt mentioned in a blog post once that it is a good idea to set aside names you really like for real-life babies instead of fictional babies. I thought that was good advice, so I did it. The names I set aside are James, Leo, William, Cyrus, Morgan, Isabel Lee, Esther, and Elizabeth. The name "Cyrus" almost fit him, but not quite. It still needed something.

To cut an overlong story short, after weeks of searching I stumbled across the Old English name Rhydian. I really liked it, but it didn't exactly fit. I combined it with Cyrus and I ended up with Cydian, which, I am proud to say, works. It reminds me of obsidian, which fits Cydian's personality (well... the little I know of it, anyway), perfectly. (Lava hardening into rock... just that concept is entrancing to me)

And that's it! Yeah, kinda a disjointed, out-there post. But hey! At least I managed to post something! I hope I have not freaked you out with my talk of unknown someones in my head and obsessive character naming. I'm sane, I promise!

I also just wanted to thank everyone so much for your encouragement for the Five Enchanted Roses collection! Your comments completely made my week! ^_^ Y'all are awesome!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Five Enchanted Roses

Guys.

Guys...

A thing happened!!!


Esprit de la Rose was one of the winners of the Five Enchanted Roses contest! It's been over 24 hours and I am still completely astounded. I've lost count of how many times I've said this, but I am honored to be included in this collection. The Five Glass Slippers anthology was amazing, and I have no doubt that Five Enchanted Roses will be the same. I just wanted to thank all of you amazing blog readers for supporting and encouraging me. You keep me grinning!

If you would like to learn more about each of the stories included in the collection, click HERE to visit Rooglewood Press' website. And don't forget to check out the Goodreads page HERE. :D