Catch a Falling Star…Actually, Don’t Because It Might Kill You

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I have a new favorite book. Or, shall I say, I have found a book that shall be added to my list of favorites, where it will join The Hobbit, Out of the Silent Planet, The Chronicles of NarniaDream Thief, and many others. It’s called Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

With the signature charming writing style of many well-known British authors, Ms. Jones weaves a tale of falling stars, crippling curses, fatal flaws, paralyzing fears, and redeeming love. (Note: for this post I will be using gifs from the Hayao Miyazaki film of the same name. Doesn’t follow the book exactly, but still a great book-to-movie adaptation. Also, some spoilers to follow.)

Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of the Wizard Howl–a charming, self-absorbed, womanizing fop of a man–through the eyes of Sophie Hatter, while giving her story as well. Sophie is the unlucky firstborn of three, and therefore doomed to fail in any attempts to make her fortune according to the folklore of Ingary, the land where she lives. Because of this, she refuses to try anything new, instead retreating into her trade, hat-trimming, in seclusion. However, a case of mistaken identity causes a powerful and vengeful witch to cast a curse on her, transforming her from a mousy (in her own opinion) 18-year-old girl into a 90-year-old woman. Although shocked by the change, Sophie finds that the anonymity of suddenly aging frees her from the preconceived notion that the eldest of three will always fail, and she gradually becomes less and less afraid of facing the world and trying new things.

In her travels, she seeks refuge in the moving castle of the Wizard Howl, who has quite the infamous reputation of wooing young girls, and then running away and breaking their hearts as soon as they profess their love for him. The two of them butt heads throughout most of the story, mostly because of Sophie’s cleaning habits in the castle and her curiosity into his mysterious past. She eventually learns of Howl’s curse placed upon him by the same witch who cursed Sophie. Through Calcifer, the sarcastic fire demon who provides most of the magical power in Howl’s castle, she also learns of the contract Calcifer and Howl made years ago, when Howl caught Calcifer as a falling star and saved him from dying.

Though it had seemed a good idea at the time, the contract now shows its darker side, and Sophie knows that she must find a way to break it, or else Howl and Calcifer will both die. Sophie eventually succeeds in breaking the contract, as well as aiding Howl in defeating the witch’s curse on both of them. At the end of the story, Howl tells her, “I think we should live happily ever after.”

To be perfectly honest, I still haven’t figured out exactly why I love this story so much. My INTJ brain is still picking apart and analyzing it. However, Howl’s Moving Castle definitely appeals to my inner INFPness in that it is a beautiful and unconventional beauty-and-the-beast-type love story. It also confirms my long-held opinion and theory that fear is the opposite of love, and that love is the only force that is capable of completely defeating fear. For instance, Sophie was so afraid of what others thought about her, and afraid of trying to succeed because she had always thought she was doomed to fail. It was only when she overcame this fear that she was able to understand and help Howl, who struggled with fears of his own.

Howl’s curse stated that once he finally fell in love, he would have to face the witch again (whom he had been avoiding for the past few years), hence the reason why he refused to become attached to any one woman and instead flitted from one to another (side note: just goes to show that people ALWAYS have reasons behind their actions, even if they don’t know the reason themselves). This fear ruled Howl’s life, until Sophie’s love for him and his mutual love for her gave him the courage to confront the witch and defeat her.

The conflict of fear vs. love can be seen throughout literature, even the Bible. II Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” The Bible states it best: fear constricts, love frees.

~Suzanne~

Summer Plans

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Hey, y’all! Between visiting with family, traveling back and forth to Chicago, and my graduating from college, Marie and I haven’t exactly had time to post lately. However, the advent of summer brings more free time (which translates into more writing time!) so you should be hearing from us more often.

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Like I said, I just graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in music education, and I just got a job teaching piano at a local music school near where my parents live. I’m not sure about my long-term plans at the moment, but I know God will show me what to do eventually. This summer, I will be working on the majority of the 4th draft of Poisoned, fixing many of the errors that were spotted by our helpful beta readers after the last round of editing. I have a few ideas for some really fun fanfiction that I may work on as well. Also, I will be working on composing/arranging some pieces for orchestra that I’ve had in my head for a while.

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Marie is leaving in a few days to go work as a camp cook for a few months, so you may not be hearing from her much. However, she will be writing some new scenes for the 4th draft of Poisoned and possibly starting on some scenes for Tuned (book 2). We had originally planned to self-publish Poisoned in October of this year, but due to circumstances, we will not be able to do that. However, we are planning on submitting the manuscript to some publishers/agents after we complete the 4th draft.

What are some of your summer plans, fellow writers and readers?

~Suzanne~

MBTI: NT, The Rationals

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The standout feature of the Rationals is their innate problem-solving ability.  These analytical, logical thinkers seek to understand the world around them, and then make improvements to make the world turn more smoothly. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

ENTJ–The Fieldmarshal 

Gifted at organization and strategy, ENTJs are born leaders. They have a natural ability to bring order and structure wherever they go, but they may crush weaker personalities in their Sherman’s march toward their goal. River Song from Doctor Who is a good example of an ENTJ. She exhibits the distinctive “take charge” attitude of an ENTJ in the episode “Silence in the Library”. When the Vashta Nerada attacked, she whipped both her archeological group and the Doctor and Donna into shape, forcing her whining boss to shut up and work together with the Doctor to get out of danger. RiverCome to think of it, she even got the Doctor to shut up (any Whovian knows that this is quite the accomplishment)!

Harrison Ford and Jim Carrey are two real-life examples of the ENTJ, and Magento (The X-Men)  is another fictional example.

Meara, one of our minor characters from Poisoned, is very much an ENTJ. Like River, she exhibits her take-charge attitude in the moment of crisis. Singlehandedly, she stops a terrible battle which could have destroyed her whole world, and forces two angry and belligerent kings to get along and work toward a common goal.

INTJ–The Mastermind [Suzanne’s type]

While ENTJs are often seen at the forefront of a conflict bellowing orders, the INTJ prefers to work in the background, as long as they are secure in their leader’s competency to lead. They are unimpressed by rules and regulations, often choosing their own set of rules to follow based on their ideas of morality. They disregard anything illogical to them–often this includes emotions–and can be quite manipulative if they so choose. For these reasons, INTJs are often the antagonist or villain in many stories, including Sauron, Emperor Palpatine, Professor Moriarty, Hannibal Lecter, and many others. Not all INTJs are bad guys though…the wizard Gandalf from Lord of the Rings is a classic example of an INTJ.

GandalfGandalf holds the INTJ’s signature disdain for small talk (as seen from his conversation with Bilbo at the beginning of The Hobbit) and inefficiency (notice how the Fellowship kinda fell apart after he died?). He is content to stay out of the limelight of leadership, leaving that to Saruman, the head of his order, until Saruman proves himself to be unfit for leadership. He is able to manipulate people into carrying out his plans to defeat Sauron and exposing their true loyalties in the war. He also forces many Feeler characters (most notably Frodo and Pippin) to brush aside their emotions and use their heads to solve problems and do what needs to be done.

C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen are two famous INTJ writers (who also happen to be some of my favorites!) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) is another fictional “good guy” example of the INTJ.

Daemond is the only INTJ in our books for the current series. Finding himself in a position of leadership, Daemond quickly forms and enacts a plan to free his people from tyranny once and for all, recruiting many “minions” along the way to carry out his plans.

ENTP–The Inventor

ENTPs have earned their nickname of the Inventors. They are constantly looking for better ways to do things. Ingenious and clever, they only need a rough sketch of an idea before they can run with it to build something great. They are great conversationalists and skilled debaters. One of my favorite ENTP characters is Calvin from Bill Watterson’s comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. A highly imaginative 6-year-old boy, Calvin only needs the slightest provocation before he takes off with an idea. CalvinWith the help and encouragement of his sarcastic stuffed tiger Hobbes, Calvin explores the full possibilities of any idea he comes across (often at the expense of his homework or chores).

Thomas Edison and Alfred Hitchcock are two famous examples of the ENTP; The Joker (The Dark Knight) and Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey) are two more fictional examples of the ENTP.

INTP–The Architect

The INTP is much more laid-back than the other Rationals, preferring to ponder and discuss their theories about the world instead of taking action. They are quick to point out inconsistencies and errors, and may easily become bored with the outside world and retreat to their much more interesting inner world. Because of this, they can seem childlike to those around them. Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation is a good example of an INTP. Though a logical being (of course he would be…he’s an android), he possesses a childlike wonder of the world around him, especially concerning his shipmates’ emotions (which he sometimes tries to emulate with varying success). DataHe is ingenious and quite the problem solver, and remains calm when faced with such threats as Q or the Borg. When asked for his opinion, he is sometimes reluctant to answer because he is constantly adding information which could reform his ideas about the subject.

Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein are two famous examples of the INTP; Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility) and Sherlock Holmes (from the original stories, BBC’s Sherlock is more of an ISTP) are two more fictional examples of the INTP.

Well, that’s the end of our Myers-Briggs series! Even though this was only a quick overview of the 16 types, I hope it was helpful to you. If you want to learn more about MBTI, there are plenty of good sites out there (here and here, for example). Anyway, next week we are back to our regularly scheduled blogging…

~Suzanne~

MBTI: NF, the Idealists

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Last week, Suzanne gave an overview of the MBTI SJs, and this week I’ll be discussing the NFs–ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP, INFP.  NFs are imaginative and altruistic.  They have a strong sense of self, basing their actions on their internal values and feelings.

ENFJ–The Teacher

ENFJs are charismatic and influential, easily able to communicate their thoughts and feelings onto a listening audience.  They know how to use their words and actions to get a desired reaction from people, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be used to manipulate people.  They are also intuitive, which means they understand what people are thinking/feeling and are able to pander to the other people’s desires.  They are generally popular and naturally make good leaders.  They may have a tendency to be too idealistic (which is definitely the combination of the NF traits), which could make them a little naive when it comes to reality and things not always going their way.

BilboPresident Lincoln and President Reagan are two famous examples of the ENFJ; Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings) and Edmund Bertram (Mansfield Park) are two fictional examples of the ENFJ.

Keegan is more of a secondary character that will be introduced in Poisoned.  We are still developing his character, but as I was writing the above description of the ENFJ, I kept thinking how perfect of a description it was for him.

INFJ–The Counselor

INFJs are one of the rarest types, making up less than one percent of the population.  They can also be one of the most extroverted introvert types.  I think this is because when their inner ideals line up with a cause, there is nothing stopping them from pursing that goal.  They are very passionate about their causes, inspiring others to follow and help them.  However, they are still introverts, and they do need down time, lest they burn out, which is not good for them or their causes.   They are also very private, probably more willing to talk about their current cause than themselves.  Again, they are idealistic, which could lead to their being a perfectionist (though, everyone is a perfectionist about something, right?).

ElphabaTom Selleck and Carrie Fisher are two famous examples of the INFJ; Elphaba Thropp (Wicked the Musical) and Jean Valjean (Les Misérables) are two fictional examples of the INFJ.

Eirwen is more of a secondary character in Poisoned, though she will be having a bigger part later on in Thíortha.  She is very introverted and sheltered, but once she latches onto her cause there will be no turning back!

ENFP–The Champion

ENFPs are fun-loving and friendly people.  They are open minded and relate easily to others. They are driven by their emotions, which could cause them to over-think situations and stress out.  They observe every thing in from their surroundings–people, nature, or otherwise.  Their observations sometimes distract them from important things (i.e. pretty much anytime Calvin [Calvin and Hobbes] was in Miss Wormwood’s class). They are curious and creative, not really afraid to try new things.  They are highly independent, hating being tied down by rules or regulations, which does not necessarily work well with school and a job.   They can be hard workers if they put their mind to it, but they know how to put the stress from work or school behind them to relax and have fun.

PippinSandra Bullock and Robin Williams are two famous examples of the ENFP; Peregrin Took (The Lord of the Rings) and Emma Woodhouse (Emma) are two fictional examples of the ENFP.

Lana is (again) a secondary character in Poisoned.  She got hurt by someone and reacted rashly.  She regretted her actions and was unable to return to the life she had known for so long.

INFP–The Healer [Marie’s type]

We INFPs are very private people, only letting ourselves have a small number of close friends.  We can be quiet and shy, unless you get us talking about something we’re passionate about (for me, one of those things would be books) because then we will not shut up.  We may disconnect from reality for a while, going into the fantasy world inside our mind (people are nice there and there is no small talk).  Unfortunately, that happens at inopportune times, so when we do eventually snap back to the conversation, we’ve missed about five topics.  We ABHOR conflict and do everything in our power to avoid arguments, looking for a more diplomatic way to absolve the disagreement.  We do not take criticism well–none of the NFs do–and usually we view it as a personal attack, and we could react accordingly (this does not apply to all of us, I’m just speaking generally).

AnneJ.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling are two famous examples of the INFP; Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) and Eragon Shadeslayer (The Inheritance Cycle) are two fictional examples of the INFP.

There are no prominent INFPs in Poisoned, but eventually there will be two main characters who are INFPs.  I am obviously excited to get to them, but they have to wait their turn to appear in our books.

Next week, Suzanne will be giving you an in-depth look at the NTs and concluding our MBTI series.

~Marie~

MBTI: SJs, The Guardians

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Like their nickname suggests, the Guardians consider themselves to be the caretakers and preservers of all that is right and good, whether that be people or principles. They are responsible, dependable, hard-working, traditional, and just.

ESTJ–The Supervisor

With an ESTJ, what you see is what you get. They put most of their energy into doing what they know to be right. Princess Leia Organa-Solo from the Star Wars film and book franchise is often thought to be an ESTJ. Unlike her brother Luke, Leia isn’t constantly looking for new ways to do things: she sticks to what she knows will work. She is a staunch traditionalist, and after the Empire is overthrown in Episode VI, she works with Mon Mothma to recreate the Old Republic like it was before the Empire days. She is also an extremely hard worker: even though she is a high-ranking official in the Galactic Alliance, she is often found doing routine repair work and other such odd jobs.

Boromir (The Lord of the Rings) is another example of a fictional ESTJ, and General Douglas McArthur and Emma Watson are two real-life examples of ESTJs.  Our little (well, since he’s 6’4”, we can’t exactly call him little anymore) brother is also an ESTJ. He has been, is, and always will be concerned with doing what is right. Even as a small child, he was always standing up to bullies and defending younger kids.

ISTJ–The Inspector

Like their ESTJ cousins, ISTJs are a hard-working lot. They are ultra-dependable: if you need something done, you can trust that an ISTJ will personally make sure the task gets carried out to the letter. Javert from Les Misérables is a nearly textbook example of an ISTJ. He carries out the law of the land without question, even if the said law(s) are morally questionable. He places his trust in the institution of the French government and spends his life trying to protect it. Ultimately, it is the conflict of his two most closely-held values (honoring the man who saved his life or arresting him because of his breaking the law) that causes him to take his own life—he would rather die than choose to break the law or the code of honor.  

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) is often thought to be an ISTJ, as well as George Washington and Natalie Portman.  Marie and I have a special place in our hearts for ISTJs, because our dad is one. He is the most dependable person I know…if he says he’ll do something, you can bet money on it, because he WILL do it.

ESFJ–The Provider

ESFJs are all about nurturing others and helping them succeed. They make great hosts, as they will always see that their guests are well cared for. One fictional example of an ESFJ would be Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy of the Star Trek franchise. His occupation suits his personality well: he spends his days patching up the Enterprise’s inhabitants after their adventures. He also balances out Spock’s somewhat cold logic by encouraging Kirk to use his feelings to make decisions (not always a wise plan, I might add!).  

Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman are two famous examples of  ESFJs, and Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz) is another fictional example.  We have one ESFJ in Poisoned, King Riaghán of Mellark. The nurturing nature of the ESFJ exhibits itself in Riaghan’s individual tutoring of each of his children. Although a gracious and usually wise king, sometimes he lets his emotions get the better of him.

ISFJ–The Protector 

While the ESFJ concerns himself with helping others reach their full potential, the ISFJ is concerned mostly with the safety and security of those they hold most dear. This is illustrated both with Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings) and Saphira (The Inheritance Cycle). Both characters are paired with INFPs (Frodo and Eragon) who have a knack for getting themselves into trouble. One of the most iconic lines in the LOTR series is in the final chapters, when Frodo collapses on the slopes of Mount Doom. “’Come Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well.’” This quote, to me, epitomizes what it is to be an ISFJ. Sam was the only one of the original Nine who stuck with Frodo until the end—through darkness, torture, betrayal—and even when Frodo himself gave into the power of the Ring, Sam never stopped trying to save him.

We do have one ISFJ in our books so far…but he doesn’t become a major player until later in the series, so we can’t tell you much about him yet. As well as the fictional examples given, Robert E. Lee and Mother Teresa are some famous real-life examples of ISFJs. Our mom, also an ISFJ, exhibits their protective nature in how she taught me to pace myself at college. She taught me when and how to say no to things so that I didn’t stretch myself too thin.

Do you know of any Guardians in your life or in fiction? As always, feel free to comment below.

Next week, Marie will be giving you an in-depth look at the NFs.

~Suzanne~

MBTI: SPs, The Creators

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Last week, Suzanne gave an overview of the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator (MBTI), and this week I’ll be discussing the SPs–ESTP, ISTP, ESFP, ISFP.  SPs are active and spontaneous, trying to get as much as they can out of the moment.  They do not concern themselves with the past or the future.  They think fast on their feet, as opposed to planning their actions.

ESTP–The Promoter

ESTPs are spontaneous and bold individuals, living for the moment and enjoying every minute of it.  They do not give much thought to the past or the future.  Rules are more like guidelines for them, and they enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with the risks they take.  They are able to detect the smallest change in body language, facial expressions, or habits.  They use this ability to relate others.   They love being active, and because of this, they tend to have trouble in school, unless the teacher uses a hands-on and interactive approach in the lesson.  ESTPs don’t care about things that are not rational or practical, so they don’t place much importance on the feelings of themselves or others.

Eddie Murphy and Bruce Willis are two famous examples of the ESTP; Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) and the Genie (Aladdin) are two fictional examples of the ESTP.

We have one ESTP in our books, but unfortunately she won’t show up until the fourth book. However, both Suzanne and I are looking forward to introducing her when the time comes.  She is going to be enjoyable to write.

ISTP–the Crafter

ISTPs are more private people, though they don’t seem to care as much about their personal “bubble” as some other introverts do.  They combine their spontaneity and practicality, making them very flexible.  Because of this, they are not exactly huge on commitments, for they also like to live in the present as opposed to planning for the future.  They go about life relaxed, not concerned about anything.  They know how to conserve their energy, so that they can use it only when they see fit.  They can seem insensitive, saying things without factoring in other people’s feelings.  They also have a very short attention span and have a tendency to get bored quickly.

President Taylor and Clint Eastwood are two famous examples of the ISTP; Han Solo (Star Wars) and Merida (Brave) are two fictional examples of the ISTP.

Carlisle, who is more of a secondary character in our first book Poisoned, makes decisions based on circumstances that are going on presently, failing to see how they will affect the future.  He is private, though he loves his family dearly.  He is effective in a crisis, applying logic and praticality to the situation.

ESFP–The Performer

ESFPs live very much in the moment for the “party” that is their life.  They are the world’s entertainers, thriving on the attention of people around them, and their boldness and out-goingness helps them achieve the attention they want.  They have great people skills, and will talk about anything and everything (as long as the conversation doesn’t stray to theories and philosophies).   They can be sensitive, sometimes overly so, because of this they struggle dealing with criticisms and critiques.  They can become very emotional, and are driven by their feelings, though this is not always a bad thing, but when their emotions go unchecked, it will cause problems.

Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) and Marilyn Monroe are two famous examples of the ESFP; Lydia Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) and Meriadoc Brandybuck (The Lord of the Rings) are two fictional examples of the ESFP.

Konan, one of the main characters in our first book Poisoned, is very out-going.  He enjoys being around people and doesn’t mind being the center of attention, which is good, because he is a crown prince.  He acts before thinking, lives for the excitement, and finds it difficult to be patient.  (Because Suzanne and I are NT and NF, we had a difficult time figuring out how to write Konan until we discovered MBTI.)

ISFP–The Composer

ISFPs are free-spirited, considering rules and guidelines to be boring and confining for their creative and imaginative mind.   They are open-minded and progressive, and have a high level of tolerance when it comes to interacting with people.   They are curious enough and willing to try out new things.  They are artistic people, usually expressing themselves through their chosen art (music, cooking, painting, etc.).   They value freedom, independence, and originality, which could cause problems in school or work.  They could have low self-esteem, which–I think–comes with their artistic tendencies (people with artistic personalities are often seen as lesser individuals, compared to the more academic personalities).  If they have low self-esteem, this would increase the stress in their lives, which would cause an emotional reaction from them.

President Grant and Elizabeth Taylor are two famous examples of the ISFP; Arwen (The Lord of the Rings) and Rory Williams (Doctor Who) are two fictional examples of the ISFP.

Richmond, who is also more of an secondary character in our first book Poisoned, focuses on the present, and not the circumstances that lead to the results.  When pushed, he acts accordingly, but without the prompting he would have done nothing.

Next week, Suzanne will be giving you an in-depth look at the SJs.

~Marie~

Writer, Know Thyself: An Introduction to MBTI

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Writing fantasy is hard—especially a traditional sorta-kinda-not-really epic fantasy like The Thíortha Chronicles. First there’s the world-building: coming up with topographical, political, socio-economic, magical, and multi-cultural systems, all while attempting to not plagiarize any of the thousands of other sorta-kinda-not-really epic fantasy novels out there.

But a well-written story world is only half the battle. A complex story such as ours has many, many characters—hero(ine)s and anti-hero(ine)s, villains and antagonists (and yes, they are different), sidekicks and sages, and a whole host of supporting characters. How do we keep track of them all? That’s where the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) comes in.

MBTI is a type of, well, I guess you could say personality test. I like to think of it more as a indication of how a person processes information than a true personality assessment. Marie came across MBTI last summer while we were working on the second draft of Poisoned, and it has been a valuable asset in keeping our characters internally consistent, as well as aiding Marie and I in some areas of our personal growth.

An individual’s MBTI is based upon a four-letter system, one of each of the following: E (extroverted) or I (introverted), N (intuitive) or S (sensing), F (feeling) or T (thinking), and J (judging) or P (perceiving). For instance, I am an INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging) and Marie is an INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving). You can take a test and find out your personality type at one of these sites (here or here). These include a type description, strengths and weaknesses, and even some famous personalities of each type.

Since studying MBTI helped Marie and I so much, we thought it would be fun to do a series about it on our blog, especially noting how it helped us with developing the characters in our books.

 E vs. I

The concept of extroverts vs. introverts is fairly well-known, especially in recent days.  While our general American culture tends to heavily favor extroverts, the internet subculture exalts introversion to an almost unhealthy level.  Many myths surround the two (extroverts are always happy, introverts hate people, etc.), but the MBTI distinction between the two is clear and simple. Extroverts gain their energy from being with other people, and introverts gain their energy from time spent alone. A classic example of the extrovert/introvert differences would be with my best friend (a textbook extrovert) and I. Whenever she needs to relax, she wants to go out with friends (the more the merrier), as opposed to my hermit-like tendencies to lock myself in my room with a book whenever I’m stressed. Sometimes, an individual will test somewhere in the middle, and they are called ambiverts.

N vs. S 

While the first MBTI letter deals with an individual’s inner world, the second letter deals with how he takes in information.  A sensor (S) is focused primarily on facts, what he can perceive with his five senses, and the present. The “just the facts, ma’am” line from Dragnet fits the Sensor very well. He is very bottom-line and practical, and can sometimes tend to be closed to new possibilities. The Intuitive (N), on the other hand, takes in information through his impression of things.  He is focused on possibilities, the future, and often reads “between the lines”. He tends to be quite creative, but can tend toward impracticality.

 F vs. T 

This MBTI letter deals with the information processing and the decision-making section of an individual’s personality. A Feeler (F) makes his decisions primarily based on how it will affect the people around him, while a Thinker (T) bases his decisions primarily on principles that he holds to be true.  Feelers tend to be warm-hearted individuals—the one who will allow you to cry on their shoulder and be a strong moral support in almost any situation, but can sometimes be too idealistic. Logic is law to the Thinkers, who (in some cases) detach themselves from their emotions to make nearly unbiased and fair decisions. Their innate love of logic and order often encourages them to pursue scientific and technological fields of study. However, they have an awful tendency (and I speak from experience) to be tactless in their endeavor to be helpful. When one asks a Thinker what their opinion is on something, they will give it to them no holds barred; while a Feeler, if they feel their opinion will hurt someone, will present it in the kindest way possible.

J vs. P 

The final letter of MBTI deals with an individual’s outer world. Judgers (J), unlike their name suggests, are not necessarily judgmental. They are highly structured individuals, prefer rigidity to spontaneity (unless the said spontaneity is scheduled, of course), and generally put work before play. They are task-oriented, list makers, and usually plan their work so that it will be finished before its deadline. Perceivers (P) tend to be carefree, spontaneous individuals, unfettered by the chains of schedule. They like to wait and gather as much information as possible before making a decision, unlike their Judger counterparts, who will make any decision based on the information they currently possess. Perceivers work in bursts of energy instead of at planned intervals. Marie and I are a classic example of J vs. P: growing up, I (J) would bulldoze through my list of chores every day and then enjoy a chunk of free time (again, the planned spontaneity), while Marie (P) would work on chores for a bit, read a book for a bit, work some more, read some more, etc.

Well, there you have the basic description of MBTI. Stay tuned in the following weeks, as Marie and I will be doing descriptions of each type. Who knows, you may even get a sneak peek of some of the characters from Poisoned!

Did you take the MBTI test? If so, what was your result?

~Suzanne~

I have a confession to make.

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I…I judge books by their covers. Well, by their fans, too, if I’m being completely honest.

Generally, my opinion is justified, but recently I found that I was mistaken on one account: The Hunger Games series…

I didn’t exactly appreciate what I knew about the content–children killing other children for the sake of food and the entertainment of the country. I thought Katniss was going to be too irritating or unlikable, Peeta was going to be too soft, or the love triangle was going to be too infuriating. But, it was on my reading list and Suzanne suggested that I read it based solely for examining Suzanne Collins’ writing technique. So I did, I was pleasantly surprised.

Suzanne Collins is a master of the written word, I was engrossed in her method of story telling.  So, even if I (at first) did not want to like the characters or the story, she had me hooked on it.  And then I became  invested in the characters and the story.

I will say, Katniss is cold and bitter, but seriously, it is understandable.  District 12 is not exactly the nicest place to live, she lost her father at a young age, and her mother was mentally non-existent for a majority of her childhood, which forced Katniss to grow up early and take care of her mother and her sister.  Then, on top of all that, she participates in the Hunger Games.

Peeta was really sweet, though not as sweet as I had heard of him being before I read the books.  He was good for Katniss, being there for her when the nightmares came and in the arena.  As for the love triangle, yes it was there, but I didn’t think it was too infuriating. I didn’t think it was much of a contest between Gale and Peeta.

Yes, the story is about children killing children, but it is more than that.  It shows the warped politics and philosophies behind the Capitol and President Snow’s reasons for even having the Hunger Games.  It shows that even the smallest spark of an act of defiance can start the fire of rebellion.

TL;DR?  The Hunger Games was awesome, and always read a book before you judge it.

I’m not saying that I will completely stop making up my mind about a book before I read it.  I like to think I have good taste when it comes to books and can tell when a book is going to be good or not.  I’m just saying, trust your judgement, and don’t “like” a book/movie/TV show/whatever because it is popular.

If you like something that is popular, great!  Good for you!

And if you don’t, great!  Good for you!

Basically, know your own mind, and don’t be afraid to like what you like.

~Marie~

Editation

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Editation: n. The elevated mental state of a writer while she edits her novel. If you disturb Suzanne during her editation, she will lose her focus.
 
I. HATE. EDITING.  It’s one of the worst parts of writing…well, at least for me. Some writers (Marie, and my writer friend Sara, for instance) actually enjoy this process. Maybe it’s because I hate redundancy, or maybe it’s the long, grueling hours without much to show for it. Unlike first drafts, one doesn’t have the pleasure of seeing their word count grow considerably at the end of their writing session during the editing process.  However, I’ll soon be back at that grindstone, because Marie is finishing up the final scene of the third draft today.
Actually, editing reminds me a lot of when our family remodeled our house when Marie and I were in high school. We had just moved to a new town, only to realize that our new house wasn’t in as good of shape as the previous owners had told us it was. So…we ended up moving into a tiny hotel room (with two adults, three teenagers, a dog, and a very grumpy cat) for three months while we made our house livable. Like a remodel leaves the general structure of the house intact, so editing doesn’t change the main points of the manuscript. It’s just the fluff–the dangling participles, superfluous plot threads/characters, the dull dialogue–that has to go (or, to use the remodeling analogy, the repainting, sheet-rocking, and drywalling).
Novels-in-progress aren’t the only things that need editing. Just as Marie and I noticed the problems that have plagued Poisoned and kept it from being the book it’s supposed to be, so sometimes the great Author will see something in our lives that needs to be fixed. Maybe it’s an unforgiving spirit, or a bad habit to be broken, or the wrong kind of music, or any number of things. “Editing”, whether it be for a book or real life, is not fun, though often needful. Although editing can be a painful process (for the editor AND the editee), keep in mind that our Editor has our best interests at heart.
~Suzanne~

We actually do like true love!

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Well, since Suzanne covered all the negative aspects of so-called “True Love” last week, I thought I would mention some good examples of real true love in fiction, as well as how they correlate to the Love Chapter of the Bible, I Corinthians 13.

Mr. Knightley & Emma

I Cor. 13:4 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”  

Emma, in the beginning of her story, was prideful and arrogant. She considered herself a matchmaker after one successful pairing. She became overly confident in her “abilities” and was eager to try again. Mr. Knightley, her good friend and only critic, attempted to dissuade her from meddling in other people’s lives. Despite Emma’s exasperating and somewhat disastrous attempts to “improve” her social circle, Mr. Knightley expressed patience with her while gently guiding her to a higher level of character. He was very honest with her, keeping her grounded to reality with his critiques of her character. Originally, she ignored his advice and went ahead with her plan, bringing heartache to everyone involved. Mr. Knightley expressed his disappointment in her, and she strived to fix the wrongs she has created. When Knightley returns from being away at his brother’s house, they meet, and after clearing away previous and present misunderstandings, he proposed, and it’s just so perfect, I simply have to quote it: “I cannot make speeches, Emma. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it. Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you you have borne the..But you understand me. Yes, you see, you understand my feelings…”

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Edward Ferrars & Elinor Dashwood

I Cor. 13:5 “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; ”    

Edward and Elinor met and became friends before she left Norland to move to the country.  There was mutual attraction, but, both having reserved personalities, they did not make their feelings known. Later in the book, Elinor found out that Edward had been long engaged to another woman. She was understandably surprised and hurt, but she did not treat Edward any differently when they came in contact with each other. She continued to treat him with the highest respect and regard, even in the face of apparent betrayal. The situation was resolved when Edward’s engagement was broken, and Edward and Elinor were free to be together at last.

Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet

I Cor. 13:6 “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;”  

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s story is one of the most widely known literary romances. His pride and her prejudice kept them from getting to know each other properly. Her opinion of him poor to begin with, but it was decided when she heard about his “injustices” to Wickham. Her dislike of him intensified when she heard of the part he played in ending the relationship between his friend Mr. Bingley and her sister Jane. Then, he proposed horribly (it really was a rubbish proposal, wasn’t it?) and she refused, vehemently expressing her dislike of him. After the botched proposal, he gave her a letter, explaining his actions concerning Wickham and Bingley and Jane’s relationship. Once exposed to the truth of Wickham’s devious dealings, she better understood and even somewhat sympathized with Mr. Darcy. Her opinion improved further after seeing him in Pemberley, his home, and seeing how kind and warm-hearted he really was. She was with Darcy when she heard about the scandal involving her youngest sister Lydia and Wickham. She rushed home to be with her family while Darcy went to find Wickham and remedy the situation for her. When Elizabeth learns the truth about Darcy’s actions concerning Lydia and Wickham, she expresses her thanks on behalf of her and her family. He tells her that he did this for her alone, explaining that he still loves her. She admits that her feelings have completely changed and she is in love with him too.

The 10th Doctor & Rose Tyler

I Cor. 13:7 “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”  

“…if I believe in one thing…just one thing…I believe in her.” Of course, this is 10 talking about Rose in the the Doctor Who episode “The Satan Pit.” 10 and Rose sure went through a lot, didn’t they? Battling a myriad of aliens, defeating a werewolf, and the like. Then one day, the battle was won, but she was ripped away from him and had to live in a parallel world for years without any contact with him. Forced to go their separate ways, 10 went through two companions and many more adventures, while she started working with Torchwood in the parallel world to find a way to make it back to the Doctor, never giving up hope that she would see him again.

Aragorn & Arwen

I Cor. 13:8 “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”

Aragorn and Arwen met in a strikingly similar way as Beren and Lúthien met in the Silmarillion. He was walking in the woods one day close to Rivendell and heard someone singing. He saw Arwen, and not knowing who she was, called her Lúthien. From that moment on, she was the only woman he ever loved. However, their budding relationship could not be allowed, being that she was an elf and immortal, and he was just a man. He left the sanctuary of Rivendell to begin fighting in the war against Sauron. He returned to the elves, to Lothlórien this time, and was surprised to find Arwen there. They spent some time together, but soon Aragorn was pulled away from her again to go fight in the War of the Ring. He did not expect to see her again, the elves were leaving Middle-earth and sailing to the Undying Lands. When the war was won and the Ring destroyed, Aragorn was crowned King of Gondor. Peace began to fall on Middle-earth and Elrond allowed Aragorn and Arwen to marry.

Faramir & Eowyn

I Cor. 13:13 “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”   In Return of the King, Eowyn was injured during her battle with the Witch-king and was forced to stay behind in Minas Tirith to heal while the armies went to the Black Gates.  This is when she met Faramir, who also stayed behind to recover from his near-death experience with the Ringwraiths. She had fallen into depression, losing the hope that they would survive this war against Sauron and Mordor. “The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has fallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure.” (Return of the King, Chapter 5,”The Steward of Gondor”) Faramir, on the other hand, was a light for her in the overwhelming darkness of their situation, giving her much needed hope.

Do you have a favorite fictional couple?

~Marie~