Thursday, October 30, 2014

Recommendation: "The Art of SpeedReading People"

This post is not on the usual Tuesday. But this is not a usual post.

Turns out I should have left that post on Myers-Briggs & Characters until this Tuesday. I received a book I'd been waiting for in the mail yesterday which would have added some content to that post. The book? The Art of SpeedReading People: How to Size People Up and Speak Their Language by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger. This book basically goes over the Myers-Briggs Theory and tells you how you can determine people's types and then use that information to better communicate with them. I'm only one chapter in and I'm fascinated.
As I was reading the overview of the different functions (Introversion, Extroversion, Sensing, iNtuition, Thinking, Feeling, Perceiving, & Judging) and the questions the text asks you in order to determine your own type, I thought "Wow. I wish I'd had this when I wrote that post on Tuesday, because these questions are perfect for determining your characters' types." It seemed especially useful if you're the kind of person who finds it hard to get accurate results from an internet test.
I wish I could copy out that list of questions here, but alas, I must abide by copyright laws. I don't want to step on any toes. But for those of you who are interested in figuring out your characters' types, or just interesting in MBTI in general, check out this book.
I have nothing more to say. Go forth.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Characters & Myers-Briggs: Why and How?

When I told my non-writer family that I'd given my characters a personality test, they laughed at the idea. Then they realized I was serious. I had, for real, given personality tests to every character who plays a role in my work-in-progress. Like them, you may wonder: why on earth should you give fictional people a personality test? And how would you even go about doing such a thing if there was a valid reason?

Why on earth should you make your characters take the test?
If you know your character pretty well, the Myers-Briggs test can help you understand where a lot of his behaviors come from. You may think, "Oh, that's why he's clueless when it comes to so-and-so's feelings!" or "That's why he's such a perfectionist!"
If you don't know your character very well, running through an online Myers-Briggs quiz can help you get to know your character better. Once you've actually seen the results, you may be able to use the character's type to fill in some of the gaps. If your character is a P as opposed to a J, he probably prefers the "wing it" approach opposed to the detailed plan approach. You may be able to realize that since he's a Perceiver, he's also habitually messy, or doesn't really care if his outfit is color-coordinated. Knowing that your character is an extrovert and not an introvert will give you a basis as to how he'll act around people, and knowing that he's a T and not an F will tell you whether he trusts emotions enough to make a decision based on them.
For example, I gave Tyv, my protagonist, the test and his results were ISTJ (introverted, sensing, thinking, judging). After reading the type descriptions, I saw that ISTJs are known for their reliability and loyalty, for not being naturally in tune with others' emotions, and for their love of tradition and rules. While Tyv doesn't follow the law (there are always going to be exceptions for anyone trying to find their type), he does love routine and hates risks. He's ridiculously loyal and honest, and can be oblivious when it comes to emotion. Reading his type overview just made me realize that he had those traits, and now I can emphasize them as his redeeming traits.
On the other side, I gave another character named Gabriel the test, and got ENFP. Now I know a few ENFPs, and Gabriel doesn't act like they do. So I decided that he fit more in with the INFP profile. There are always going to be little instances like that. But you know what? Getting ENFP for Gabriel made me realize that he does have a huge passion for other people. Giving him the test let me get to know him better, even if I disagreed with a portion of the results.
So, giving your characters the Myers-Briggs test can be useful for developing them or understanding them.

Okay, but how are you supposed to give someone who isn't technically real a test?
In the past, I've taken the test for my characters by putting myself into their life. I read my character sketches over, read all my notes. Study my drawings and imagine their reactions to situations and people. Then, with all of that swirling inside me, I go to the online test and begin answering the questions. I don't think about them too much. I just start answering whatever feels right for that character swimming in my head. And by the end of it, I read over the results and decide if the type I got is really the most accurate. Most of the time it is.
But what if it isn't?  What if you begin reading the type description and think,  "Wait. None of this sounds right." In that case I always look closely at the description and really try to find similarities between it and my character. If I still fail to believe that the description is the best fit for my character I pick out which initials in the four letter code are wrong. With Gabriel, it was the extrovert part that I had an issue with. The rest was alright. So I went and read the introvert alternative, INFP. It seemed to fit much better, so I deemed the test results off and officially put Gabriel down as a INFP.
Sometimes,  I know,  it isn't that simple. Two or more initials are wrong. Well, I have a plan of action for you, too. Usually the sixteen types are divided into groups of four: the rationals (NTs), the idealists (NFs), the guardians (SJs), and the artisans (SPs). Read the group descriptions and decide which group you character fits best into. Easy, now you've got two initials settled. Now you just have to decide the other two. This will be a choice between introvert and extrovert, and then  perceiving or judging if your character is in the first two groups or thinking or feeling if he was in the last two. 

Let me also point out that you don't need to be certain of your character's type.
Many real people swing between types, even between groups. The object of all this is to gain a better understanding of your character. If you know that he prefers to wing it like a perciever but finds stability in rules like a judger, that's fine! You've still gained some understanding of how he behaves and thinks, so the purpose of the test has been achieved.

Another few disclaimers:
Beware turning generalities into rules. While it is true that some of the basic "facts" are very accurate regarding a certain type, facts often get distorted and set down as a rule. "Research shows that ESTJs often love sports" and "ESTJs all love sports" are two different statements.
And. . .
Beware the stereotypes. True, I get a great amount of enjoyment from the stereotype humor out there. But the stereotype is often not the reality. I'll use an example from my own type, INTJ, because it is the type I know the most about (stands to reason, I suppose).  "INTJ's are emotionless robots" is a immensely popular falsehood circulating about us INTJs.
Really? Who on earth started this? Just because INTJs are known for being detached, uber-introverted (some would say anti-social, but that is another topic for another day), logical, and hard to read does not mean we are emotionless. I'll let you all know that INTJs can be very emotional - we just try to base our decisions on dependable logic rather than those emotions, and we like our privacy so we tend not to advertise our emotions for all to see.
See what I mean? Now, there are stereotypical types of people out there, who would probably make wonderfully entertaining characters. But base your type knowledge (and character typing) on the facts, not the exaggerations or rumors. And lastly. . .

Type is not all there is to it.
The Myers-Briggs test describes basic behaviors - it doesn't dictate everything about people. Far from it, in fact. People have different abilities, likes, vices, family issues, weaknesses, appearances, histories, and dislikes which all affect who they are as a person. Your character should, too. The Myers-Briggs test is just one thing that you can add to your characters to make them as layered and multidimensional as possible.

What about you? Have you ever given your character the Myers-Briggs test? Why? What did you learn, if anything, about your character through it?

A few other useful/fun links:
Post-Apocalyptic Survival by Type (warning: if you enjoy a slightly wacky sense of humor this will keep you occupied for hours).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beautiful Books: NaNoWriMo Plotting Questionare

I came across this...thing (eloquent, I know) while perusing some blogs of fellow writers. Check out what the "thing" is here. Quick summary so you can understand what the rest of this post is about: the blog I linked to above is going to post a list of questions once a month for three months. Each list of questions relates to NaNoWriMo. The first list of questions relates to planning (October); the second, writing (November itself); the third, editing (for December). The object is to get other bloggers to answer the questions and post them, so that the bloggers can get a good handle on their NaNo novels. After posting their answers, the bloggers "link up" on the main page.
So mostly because I couldn't think of much else to post today it will help me with my novel, I decided to participate.

Question #1: What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
First off, I am most definitely a plotter. This doesn't seem to be the normal modus operandi of most writers on the internet, but it's how I like it. Second, what do you mean? Character and plots are separable? Usually it comes to me in a package: abnormal main character along with an issue (the start of a plot).

Question #2: Do you have a title and/or a "back cover blurb"?
Yes! I can't seem to get myself to start plotting out an entire novel before I have a title. I need something to call my project apart from "the second book" or "the-one-with-the-villain-main-character-and-the-magicky-world." And I wrote out a synopsis and excerpt-style blurb for my NaNo novel page (which can be found both on my Projects page on this blog or on my NaNo site, which has a button somewhere in the right sidebar).

Question #3: What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
Well, I counted my planned chapters and then multiplied that by my average wordcount per chapter for my last novel, Taken (You didn't believe me when I said I'm a planner, did you? Do you believe me now?). I came up with the estimate of 77,000 words. So I suppose that is my goal, though if how things went last time the rough draft will end up quite a bit longer than my estimate.

Question #4: Sum up your novel in three sentences.
First off, let me just point out that that wasn't technically a question (I'm an INTJ, can you tell?). Still, I shall oblige.
A girl is born Destined to murder, and is ostracized for it, but she plows through high school regardless in the hopes that she can beat her Destiny. Her twin brother reveals that he doesn't believe in her; she is subsequently deemed a sorceress for using magic illegally and she runs away from home. Her life spirals into chaos as she tries to get revenge on her brother.

Question #5: Sum up your characters in one word each.
Again, not a question! But this should be an interesting exercise nevertheless.
Mara Harrod: Driven.
Julian "Ace" Harrod: Learning.
Tempe Donoghue: Vengeful.
Gabriel Young: Encouraging.

Question #6: Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about him!
Well, boy...I don't know. I love all my major characters, because they each have good traits and bad traits and issues. I think they'll all be interesting.
I'll answer Tempe, though. Her character is so darkly intense.

As far as character summary, I'll start by telling you her Myers-Briggs type: ENTJ. Same as me, but extroverted. Honestly, I think that ENTJs have the scariest personality stereotype, but that's just me - other people would probably say INTJ (we do have most of the movie villains).
Tempe is poisoned, I think you could say. She started out at a good spot in life, but when she was sidelined by the Mage League (sort of like a magical law enforcement that deals solely with magical criminals) she grew resentful. Then she fell in love with a sorcerer (someone who uses magic illegally) and was persuaded to betray the Mage League and become a sorceress herself.
As I said before, she is intense. Whatever goal she has in mind is sure to be big, and she'll have a step-by-step plan for getting there, too. She doesn't care what she has to do to achieve her ambitions, and she enjoys exerting control over other people. She'll use her appearance, magic, words - whatever tools are at her disposal. She is an extrovert, though, so she does enjoy being with people. This doesn't necessarily mean she has to be on good relations with those people, though. She'll gain energy arguing with someone while magic flies. However, I will point out that she was genuinely pleased to meet Mara and persuade Mara to illegally learn to use magic. She enjoys the companionship.
Tempe enjoys dramatics, especially in regards to appearance. She's a tall woman, but she emphasizes her height even more by wearing stiletto heel goth boots.She'll swap her outfits between goth ball gowns and bomber jackets with leggings. I presume she enjoys shopping in costume stores.
Last fact about her: she carries a black scorpion that she tamed with magic on her shoulder.

Question #7: What about your villain? Who is he, and what is his goal?
Okay, this is where this project is interesting. My villain is my MC, Mara. Yeah, a villain protagonist. It took me a while to work out the kinks that causes as far as character arc advise.
Mara starts out in the first act as a girl who the world has wronged. However, she is virtuous and idealistic. See, her situation was this; she was born Destined to murder. But she believes that she can ignore her Destiny and live life without ever fulfilling her Destiny, something that the rest of society believes is utter nonsense. Everyone around her either fears her or treats her like dirt. But she holds fast to her beliefs despite the naysayers all around. She even stands up for her twin brother, Julian, who has an awesome Destiny but gets the usual jealousy taunts.

She ends up meeting a disguised Tempe, who persuades her to start learning magic illegally. Eventually Mara grows more and more bitter to the world as she spends more and more time in Tempe's company, everything culminating when Ace (his birth name is Julian, but he prefers to be called Ace - it confuses me since I switch back and forth) reveals that he can be lumped in with the rest of the naysayers. Mara runs away and vows to get revenge on Ace and basically everyone else.

Question #8: What is your protagonist's goal? And what stands in the way?
Okay, remember I said things could get confusing with a villain protagonist? This question is an example. I'll sub out "protagonist" for "hero," since. . .well, you get it. My hero, in my topsy-turvy plot, is my antagonist, Julian "Ace" Harrod, Mara's twin brother.

Basically he comes to the realization that he played a huge part in sending Mara off to villainy-world, and feels guilty about all that since she begins wreaking havoc and mayhem all over the place. Partly because of the guilt, and partly because Mara is after him specifically, Julian (told you I swap around) makes it his personal mission to stop Mara's rampage. Some difficulties he faces in this include the death of...ehem, someone close to him; inferior magical skill compared to Mara herself; inability to locate Mara and Tempe's hideout; and his own arrogance.

Question #9: What inciting incident begins your protagonist's journey?
Another question's meaning twisted by my strange set up of character roles. This time I will take "protagonist" literally, so: Mara.
Inciting incident. Hmm. I suppose it is when Mara truly begins spending a lot of time with Tempe, when she accepts Tempe's offer of learning magic. Tempe begins to influence Mara in some decidedly not good ways, and Mara begins to experiment with using the fear her Destiny creates to get what she wants. All of which lead up to the midpoint, when Mara swears to get revenge on Ace.

Question #10: Where is your novel set?
A tiny fictional town in western Virginia (state subject to change - perhaps to somewhere in the North East) called Creektown (title subject to change). Very small population, very remote location either in or beside the Appalachian mountains. The novel starts in September and moves right up to Christmas, so the weather goes from fall to winter.
Some other settings include the Creektown high school, the Appalachian mountains, and the Harrod household.

Question #11: What are the three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?
First plot point: Mara agrees to begin illegally learning magic under Tempe's tutelage.
Second plot point: Mara gets into an argument with Ace, accidentally shows off her newly acquired magical talents, swears revenge on Ace, and runs away from home with Tempe.
Third plot point: Mara's bskjdfnorngvgverlgiunevonevsobeoivnesdfn. Can't tell you. Major spoilers. Let's just say it sends Mara into a tailspin.

Question #12: What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come into contact with or become close to during the story?
I presume you mean my main character. *raised eyebrow*
Dynamic? Hmm. Difficult. I don't know about dynamic, but certainly the most crucial relationship Mara has at the beginning of the book is her relationship with her only friend, Gabriel. They met when they were still very young, young enough that Gabriel didn't fully understand the circumstances surrounding Mara's life. Then when he figured everything out, he didn't abandon her like she feared. Instead he showed up at her house with a bar of chocolate and a handful of wildflowers tied with a yellow ribbon (her favorite color) to prove that he had no intentions of going anywhere. Through the years, he has defended her from anyone and everyone, while simultaneously listening to her secret doubts and fears and encouraging her to keep going. Honestly, this sums it all up:

I won't deny that I ship the two of them so. darn. hard. And I'm not usually a sap for romance.
As far as people she grows closer to, the obvious one is Tempe. That woman just about took over the role Gabriel played in Mara's life, except she was a dark influence instead of a light one. Another character I feel like I should mention is the Harrods' golden retriever, Lancelot. Over the course of the story he is separated from Mara and then reunited with her, and she can open up to him like she can to no one else besides Gabriel (we all know we can do that with our pets). But he is also a symbol of changing loyalty throughout the book, which I find interesting. He sort of just nuzzled his way in.

Question #13: How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Again I'll sub out "protagonist" for "hero," since I already covered Mara pretty thoroughly on this point.
Let me explain this first: Ace is the name I tend to use when I think of his personality in the first portion of the book, while Julian is the name I associate with his personality towards the end of the book. This is partially because as he changes for the better, he starts using his birth name and acting more responsibly in general.
So, I'll talk about the Ace version first.
Ace is arrogant, superior, popular, over-confident, and vain. Not very likable at all. He's the one who sent Mara downhill, the one who is largely responsible for the chaos that ensued.
Julian is who Ace becomes as he works to stop Mara and comes to understand his own role in events. Julian still retains the popularity, but the arrogance changes to confidence, the superiority changes to humility and respect. Essentially, he matures. He accepts that he wasn't a good person and he walks around bearing a lot of guilt for what went down between himself and Mara, and for what happened to a lot of people in the process.
In a more physical sense, Ace/Julian changes from a Apprentice Mage and high school student to a graduated Mage leading his own team in a quest for justice. Pretty sweet.

Question #14: Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?
I'm an INTJ plotter. What do you think?
I'll admit it took me a while to decide on an ending, but eventually I settled on a version of events that will allow me to write a sequel, which I have a vague idea of plot for but as of yet, no outline. That will come soon enough. ^ ^

Question #15: What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on readers and yourself?
The impression this story idea has made on me is the same one I want it to have on readers. I want this novel to make people realize that, in the words of C. S. Lewis, "Suspicion often creates what it suspects." I hope that Mara's story will make people realize that everything we say and do to others can have a huge impact. People often aren't totally in control of their own lives, both their circumstances and their reactions. Outside influences are a heavy part of how we behave. I want people to realize that we all need to show love and kindness to everyone we meet, no matter how undesirable or unlovable those people may be, because if we're not, we could be a catalyst for something terrible. I don't think many people want to be that; I just hope that reading this will make them realize the importance of how we treat others.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Brace Yourselves! NaNoWriMo is Coming!

Some of you probably already know about National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. If that is you, you can skip the next couple paragraphs and good for you. But for those who have no idea what I'm babbling about, let me give you the short version.

NaNoWriMo is an international challenge for writers. Participants create an account on the official NaNoWriMo website, enter in a novel with a title, synopsis, and excerpt, and then eagerly await the start of November while prepping for a month-long writing binge. On November first, participants begin the writing frenzy. The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month - 1,667 words a day. Writers the world over sequester themselves in a locked room with a stash of coffee and/or chocolate, and settle in for the month.

At the end of November they all emerge, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep and half mad from ridiculously high caffeine levels. Those who reached the 50,000 word goal and saw that wonderful winner page online may also be jumping up and down in glee and babbling incoherently about winner goodies.

Got it? Okay.

Now I've decided to do it again (I did it for the first time last year). The website just reset, which means participants can now enter in their novels! I spent a couple hours today posting a synopsis and creating characters for the NaNo project.

Can I persuade any uninitiated to join in the madness - to become a wrimo? Come on, you know you want to (go mad)! The website is here.

Great! I knew you'd get with the program.

Now, to the actual point of this post - some tips from my own experience on NaNo prep:

Have a Plan

I'm not talking about the kind of plan you can fit into one short sentence, like, "I'm going to do NaNoWriMo and win." That isn't a plan. That is a goal. I'm talking about having a plan for your novel. Whether you're the outlining type or not, knowing the plot and direction or your NaNo project is a must. Otherwise you'll spend precious minutes (hours,  even!) trying to figure out what you should be writing in that next scene instrad if pounding out those words.

Personally I like to have a outline. It's convenient because when I sit down to write, I don't even have to read over what I wrote the previous day to figure out what I should even be doing. I just glance at my outline and boom, I know what I need to write. You may not need a detailed outline but please, please, know your novel's plot.

Know Your Buddies

A.k.a, characters. Characters often dictate what happens, and if they're boring and have no depth how will you know what the best plot path is for your characters?

Spend some time getting to know them before NaNo starts. Write backstory scenes. Create character sheets. Scour Pinterest for pictures of your charries. Plot out their history on a timeline. Make a fashion sketch of their favorite outfit. Whatever. Just spend some time with them, or they'll leave you in the dark come November.

Know Your Setting

I started out last year not knowing the names of several major places, and let me tell you, nothing jars you out of the writing groove more than the thought, "What is this place again?" I didn't have time to think of a cool city name there, so for the whole manuscript I had to make a note and use the placeholder word town.

Worse than that I didn't know the relationships between my nations. Point is, if you know your setting you won't be stumbling through your novel trying to figure out travel times and place names and nation alliances,  all of which waste time when you're trying to pump out words.

Have the Right Tools

For NaNoWriMo you need to be able to quickly and accurately count your words, which pretty much eliminates the old fashioned notebook and pencil. Work on a computer. The best option, of course, is to have a word processor that will automatically tell you your word count. If you can't get that, though, the next best option is to paste your work into an online counter. EditMinion is the one I know of, and it also points out repeated words, passive voice, misspellings, and other mistakes.

If you've got money to spend, there are some pretty sweet programs out there. Scrivener is the one I've got - it is designed especially for writers. It allows you to easily move chunks of text, organize your work, create an outline, etc. All wrimos get a discount on the software,  and if you wait until after November, winners get an even bigger discount!

Another handy tool is a grammar guide. Keep it handy beside your computer while you write so if you stumble across something you don't know, you've got an answer right next to you. I actually just use my high school English handbook, but use what is handy. I'm sure the internet has a few sites, too.

Also, either get a thesaurus or have an online one bookmarked in your browser. A decent one is, which is what I use. There's also an affiliated online dictionary.

It's helpful to have a personal assistant to make trips to the kitchen for coffee refills, but I don't know how many of us can actually hire one. If you get desperate, recruit your little brother or your cat. I don't know.  

And lastly. . .

Surround Yourself By Things That Inspire

Create your easily-accessible writing haven. Make sure that you'll be distraction free there and then fill it up with things that inspire you to write. If that's a scented candle, keep a box of matches handy. If it's a stack of soundtrack CD's, set yourself up with your CD player (or, ya' know, an mp3 player). String up Christmas lights, stack up your favorite cushy pillows, open the window to let the fall chill in, bring in a box of your favorite novels. 

The bottom line of all these points is convenience. NaNoWriMo is a crazy race against time, and you don't want to be wasting even seconds. So keep what you need and want handy while your write, know what you'll be working with, and you should do great!

I hope you found this inspiring and/or informative! If you're participating in NaNoWriMo let me know what you'll be working on in the comments, and send me a link to your NaNo page!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Character Cast of Taken

I thought I'd introduce you all to the main characters of my main project right now. For now, it is called Taken, and I'm in the editing stages of it.

The protagonist's name is Tyv (actually a Danish word for thief). As the name implies, he's a fifteen-year-old thief living in a bankrupt country. His usual facial expression is a scowl, and for the most part he only cares about himself - the exceptions being Nitri and Ambyr, who are below. Deep down he struggles with the idea that he was abandoned as a baby, but not even he realizes that it bothers him.  He's very realistic, verging on the point of pessimistic, and is skeptical of just about everything and everyone. Once he gives his trust though, he's loyal to a fault. And contrary to what is expected from a thief, he keeps his word once it is given. The whole plot of Taken only happens because of Tyv's loyalty to Ambyr and the promise he'd given her. Without his loyalty to that promise I'd have no plot!
My drawing of Tyv
(excuse the lack of face - I hate drawing small faces).

Next up is Nitri (I'll be honest and admit he's my favorite baby). He's Tyv's best friend, though a few years older and a bit scarier. While Tyv is all grim and scowl-y, Nitri is laid-back and grins a lot. So why is he scarier? There's a chance he's slightly insane. I'm really not sure if he is - all I know is that he mimics a child's hide-and-go-seek "I'm gonna find you!" tone while he's threatening death on his enemies, and he enjoys scaring the wits out of the other people living in the slums. He is also a lot more heartless than Tyv is. He rules over the other thieves by terrifying them into giving up portions of whatever they steal. He takes way more risks than Tyv is comfortable with and seemingly has no care for his own life. It all stems from his silent struggle with a past tragedy, which he refuses to reveal to anyone.
He's unilaterally deaf, so he relies on Tyv for hearing approaching danger when they're surrounded by a lot of noise. He also has the disconcerting habit of tossing his knives in the air and catching them, without looking. One day he's going to seriously hurt himself, I'm sure. He's ridiculously vain as well, and refuses to take off the black coat he stole from a ship's captain.
My drawing of Nitri

The last important "good" character is Ambyr. She is the only female character in the entire book, and I did try to find way to bring more girls into it, but in a book set in a medieval style army, there aren't many chances for girls to be around. Ambyr herself is only around in the first quarter and then last chapter of Taken, but her influence on Tyv keeps her in mind through the whole thing.
Ambyr is the only truly "good" person in my main cast. She has a set moral code, is selfless and charitable, and dreams of one day leaving her hometown and setting up a wonderful life somewhere, a life in which she won't have to collaborate with thieves and live in the slums. She's fifteen like Tyv, and like Tyv, is an orphan - though she actually knew her parents. She trades items Tyv and Nitri steal with respectable shop keepers and merchants to lessen the chance of Nitri or Tyv being recognized. She refuses to steal anything herself, however, something that earns her derision from Nitri. One of Ambyr's chief goals is to get Tyv (and Nitri, though she doesn't care for him as much) to set up a respectable life instead of subsisting on thievery. She wants to inspire Tyv to be a better person.
My drawing of Ambyr

The last character I'll go over is my antagonist: High General Keir Durjaya. Think of Khan from Star Trek: Into Darkness and you've got a fair idea of his general bearing and appearance (it wasn't until I was well into the writing process that I realized I was imagining Keir as Benedict Cumberbatch - go figure). Keir was so injured by the death of his wife that he resolved never to get emotional again. Because of this he never hints at having emotion at all, and presents a frightening picture to anyone who is in his way. He does have a deep love for his son and for his country, but to anyone else he is callous. His method of waging war is brutal, and he uses any means at his disposal to ensure that he'll win a battle before it is even started. Keir isn't the antagonist because he's a villain, though. He's the antagonist simply because his extreme patriotism and desire to wreak vengeance for his country conflict with Tyv's goal of ending the invasion which my plot revolves around.
Benedict Cumberbatch - Keir Durjaya
So, that's it! It took me ages to develop these characters - most of them started out being about as interesting as cardboard, and it was a challenge to make them each unique from each other. I proved it to myself by giving the characters the Myers-Briggs test (I'll blog about that later)!
My favorite is Nitri because of his fun-loving nature and his tragic past. Who's your favorite character from your writing and why?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Introducing Me

Hello all! So I'm new to blogging, but I thought I'd start by properly introducing myself. Now I'm not quite sure what you need to know about me, or even what would be interesting about be, so forgive me if this is horribly boring or if I ramble a bit.

Let's start with a basic: I'm a writer. That is the foundation of this little blog, isn't it? As such, I spend chunks of time wondering how to make my characters' lives worse, agonize over incorrect grammar, and posses knowledge not common to typical high school girls (psychological disorders, poisons, targets for a fight on the human body - just to mention a few). So, if you begin to wonder, "Is this girl crazy?" just remind yourself, "No, she's a writer." *shrugs* It's what I do. It keeps the occasional doubts on the subject at bay.
I will use this blog to share my book. But that is a post for another day. I'm sorry, but you'll all have to hold your breaths until then.

Next - something which is pretty easily guessed from the first point - I'm a hopeless bookworm. Perhaps I shall share a few books I read in the future here, just in the hopes that I will find others to go crazy with. Or I may do it to entice you all to put yourself through the same emotional trauma I will suffer. After all, misery likes company!

A few other little factoids: I'm Christian, obsessed with Myers-Briggs typology (I'm a proud INTJ, if you're wondering - and if you have no idea what that is, look it up and be impressed), home-schooled high-schooler, cat-lover, and test and pop quiz lover (yes yes, I know, I'm a nerd). I'm ridiculously proud of the fact that my name is an anagram of Anakin (as in Anakin Skywalker. . .from Star Wars? Anyone else here a Star Wars fan?). I'm also that quiet girl in a corner - who is perfectly polite and sweet if you speak to her - who's actually thinking up different methods of achieving world domination.

On that note, I'll stop now before you all get too bored. I think I'll be posting weekly on Tuesdays, so if I haven't driven you all off I hope to (virtually) see you around! By all means leave a comment and introduce yourself. It will be nice to know I'm not just writing to myself.