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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Parenting Styles Part 5:

Over the past couple of days we have discussed the negative parenting styles and I wanted to end on the good parenting style, the Authoritative parent. This type of parent is both demanding and responsive. This style is also called the assertive democratic or balanced parenting. In this parenting style it is child-centered and holds high expectations of maturity. These type of parents understand their children and look for ways to help them with their problems. They support them emotionally and help them regulate their emotions. Parents with this style have clear rules and boundaries and consequences for those rules if broken. At the same time they allow verbal give and take. The rules are established together. These type of parents are not as controlling allowing their children to explore more freely. This allows the child to mature and learn to make their own decisions.

When giving out punishments the child knows why they are being punished and what is expected. The child knows that they have broken the rule. Parents are attentive to the child's needs and instead of punishing will forgive and teach when a child falls short. This does not mean that they get away with things like we learned about the permissive parent.

Children coming from these homes generally have higher self esteems and independence. These children I do not generally work with and you don't generally see them getting into problems.

This does not mean that these children will turn out perfect they still may have many other situations that come up in their lives that will cause problems. It only means they have the support needed to get through life's challenges.

When looking at characters I think about 'Awesome' on the show Chuck. These are the characters that can make it through tough situations. In my book the MC had great parents and so when very tough things come up for him he is able to go back to his memories of his parents and make it through them. Characters will have an inner strength that gets them through dark times if they had parents with this parenting style.

So now that we know all about parenting styles how are you going to use it in your books?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Parenting Styles Part 4:

This next parenting style is the one I like to call the "yes" style. It is the style where the parent feels like saying no is a bad thing. It is called the Indulgent parenting style.

The indulgent parent is very responsive but not demanding. The extreme is the free-ranger parent, anything goes. This style is also known as permissive, non-directive or lenient.  The parent has few behavioral expectations for the child. These parents are nurturing and accepting of their children they are supportive and most people see them as great parents. The problem is that they do not require children to regulate themselves or behave appropriately. The child tends to end up being a spoiled brat or spoiled sweet depending on the behavior of the children.

So what happens to these kids. It seems like the perfect scenario and it seems that it is almost the trend lately. A recent study found that children with the indulgent parent have nearly triple the risk of participating in heavy drinking. Children with strict parents have double the chance of heavy drinking. So you see in this scenario it is better to be the Authoritarian rather then the indulgent. Children that have these types of parents tend to be more impulsive, and as adolescents may engage in more misconduct and drug use. These children have a hard time of learning to control their behavior and always expect to get their way. On the other hand these kids may turn out to have better emotional security, more independent, and mature quicker.

So what type of characters would we write about that have parents like this?

I plan on doing the fourth parenting style tomorrow so stop on by.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Parenting Styles Part 3:

The next parenting style we will look at is the Authoritarian parenting style. I have to admit that I feel I have to be most careful with this style. This does not mean I spend all my time here I just know that if I am not careful I can more easily slip into this style, especially when I am tired. This style probably fits best with the super ego thought process if we wanted to compare it to something Freud did. The reason I say this is because it is the idea that the law must be followed no matter what we must be strict. However it is even more intense than that if we go very far. 

The Authoritarian parent is demanding but not responsive. The extreme is totalitarian parenting, my way or the highway, no ifs, ands, or buts. The parent expects children to conform to their rules with little to no open dialogue between parent and child. The parent expects a lot out of their children but do not explain the reasoning for the rules and boundaries. This type of parent will spank their child rather than talk to them (we will discuss spanking some other day but just so you know there have been studies showing that spanking is effective and isn't as bad as we have made it out to be). 

The child will have less social competence because they are told how to act and respond. The child is not given room to make choices. An interesting thing about this style is that in some cultures kids have positive outcomes. An example is Asian culture. I would also think some religious cultures have the same effect. The problem though is that when a child is pushed to much there is a good chance that they will rebel, break down, or run.

So if we want a character that has bad social manners or who is overly submissive then we could use parents of this style to explain that to the reader. It would also be a good reason of why a character runs away from his family. These type of characters may be broken or they may be the complete opposite completely rebelling against any type of authority. These are our anarchist perhaps. Once again people who have gone through this type of parenting could be perfectly normal with little to no problems. They may have even had a good childhood. 

What are your thought? What type of character could you explain who comes from this parenting style? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Parenting Styles Part 2:

First off I want to thank everyone who took the time to look at my first two hundred words and gave invaluable feedback. I hope also that you saw the differences from the two postings (and that the second one was better).

Parenting is an amazing gift and responsibility. I have four kids of my own and have strived to parent them to the best of my ability. Am I perfect?  Not even close.  Do I Strive every day to be a better parent?  Most definitely. The point of this is I feel that generally parents are doing the very best job they know how to do. Generally speaking parents love their children and want them to be the very best they can be. So during this I hope that we can all learn together and better understand how parenting affects the lives of our characters and as an added bonus understand how parenting affects our own lives.

To start off with I want to talk about a study conducted by Harry Harlow. In the 1960’s he conducted several controversial experiments on rhesus monkeys. He wanted to prove that newborns need more than just food and shelter but that they also require love and affection. What he did was he took newborn rhesus monkeys from their mothers and put them in cages with two different surrogate mothers. One was a wire monkey that had a milk bottle attached to it so the monkey could eat. The other surrogate mother was a terrycloth monkey providing warmth and a kind of affection. The experiments showed that the monkeys spent much more time with the terrycloth monkey even though it provided no food. Now this was definitely a cruel experiment but it clearly proved that love and affection is more important to the newborn than food. It also showed that without this warmth and affection the monkeys developed psychological problems and some even died from the trauma.

This leads us to our first parenting style, the neglectful parent. One thing I want to point out here is that all parents fall into this area at times. We all decide to do things like hmmmm I don’t know maybe write as opposed to play with our children J but the real problem is when we spend most to all of our time in this area. So the truly neglectful parent is the one that completely ignores their child. They don’t even make the effort to punish their kids. These are the parents that generally are having so many personal issues that they don’t have time for their children. This is also called the hands off, detached, uninvolved, or dismissive style. They set no limits for their children and provide little to no warmth to the child. Some of these parents can provide the basic necessities for the child but do not provide emotional support. Some of the worst cases of this are parents addicted to drugs. It is a very sad thing that happens but the children from a very young age must learn to fend for themselves.

Children that have these types of parents generally develop a sense that other aspects of the parents’ lives are more important than they are. Many of the children develop patterns of truancy and delinquency. They become detached from society and have problems with forming good relationships in the future. Some things I have seen is the children may become overly attached to others and very needy or the opposite where they need no one. Another common pattern is the hording of food. One child who was moved into a better home after being neglected would store food under his pillow and bed for many years after being moved even though there was plenty of food and love provided. It is also important to understand that there is more than parenting that is involved when a person’s personality is formed. There are many wonderful amazing people that have come from neglectful families. Do they most likely still have issues due to the neglect? Yes but, they have been able to overcome them and to move on and to be successful. Nothing is absolute!

So when writing about our characters that come from this type of home we must realize that they will have issues. They will most likely have problems with attaching to others. They will have trust issues and they may even be our villains (sadly this is true). In my novel the child had a good first few years but then went through some terrible years. Because of his beginning years he was able to move past the harder years.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

200 word contest

I have learned a huge lesson today and that is to make sure that you number your edits on your stories. When I posted my last two hundred words it seemed off and as I hadn't looked at it for a couple of weeks I didn't pick up on it. I had posted an earlier edit. So, in the future and as a recommendation to all of you out there number your edits on your stories. Here is my latest rewrite that is hopefully much better than the one posted earlier today.

A loud bang on the front door woke Tom. A short pause was followed by another loud bang on the hard oak. Tapping sounds came as high heeled shoes crossed the marble floor of the foyer. Tom slid out of bed. A sharp click from the latch echoed as the heavy door opened. Tom clenched his new toy soldier that he just got for his eighth birthday. He ran to the landing above the large hall. His small hand grasped the white bar as he saw a woman and man talking to the maid, Anna.
“We must see your mistress at once,” the woman said.
Who are they?
The woman wore a red dress, and her long black hair caught the glow of the chandelier. The man was bigger than anyone he had ever seen before. His short beard was neatly trimmed and light reflected off his shaved head. His long sword moved slightly on his black suit as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
Anna walked back down the hall and the woman turned to whisper to the man.
What are they talking about?
A few minutes later, Mother hurried to the woman, holding her hands out.

So once again I appreciate the comments from the last post hopefully you will see a difference in this rewrite from a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully they will take this 200 word entry into the contest instead of the one I posted in error.

First 200 words of my novel

Okay I know I promised to start the parenting section this week, but something really cool came up and so I am going out on a limb again. Here is the first 200 words of my 80,000 completed fantasy novel. Please take a look at it and give any feedback you would like. This is the first novel or anything that I ever wrote. It is what got me started writing. I finished it in about 3 months and have been working on it ever since :) Tomorrow I will post my first section on parenting.

The Order of The Rose:

A loud bang on the front door woke Tom. A short pause was followed by another loud bang on the hard oak. Tapping sounds came as high heeled shoes crossed the marble floor of the foyer. Tom slid out of bed. A sharp click from the latch echoed through his bedroom as the heavy door opened. Tom clenched his blanket and ran to the landing above the large hall. His small hand grasped the white bar as he saw a woman and man talking to the maid, Anna.
“We must see your mistress at once,” the woman said.
Tom wondered who the woman was. She wore a red dress, and her long black hair caught the glow of the chandelier. The man that was with her was bigger than anyone he had ever seen before. The man’s short beard was neatly trimmed and light reflected off of his shaved head. His long sword moved slightly on his black suit as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
Anna walked back down the hall and the woman turned to whisper to the man. Tom wondered what they were so quiet about. A few minutes later, Mother hurried to the woman, holding her hands out.

So there you have the first 200 words. Once again any feedback would be helpful. Thanks for all of your support.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Parenting Styles Part 1

So, in the following days we will be discussing the different parenting styles. It is important to keep in mind that when looking at an individuals style that it may concentrate in one area but the individual will still be found parenting in other areas as well.

The Following is a grid that shows how the parenting styles are formed. You will notice that there two main theories on parenting styles. We will be discussing the four styles and exploring how this would effect our characters.

Maccoby and Martin's Four Parenting Styles
Baumrind's Three Parenting Styles (in italics)

I'm really excited about this and hope that you will all make many comments and share with others during this next section of diagnosing our characters. Feel free to put in your own experiences and thoughts throughout. 

Start to think and hypothesize about the four styles and how they would effect your characters and starting next week we will explore them in great detail. Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Freudian Stages of Development Part 4 and 5

There are two more stages in Freud's development stages. They are smaller and so both will be included in today's blog.

The fourth stage is the time period of a child from ages 6 to puberty. In this stage the ego has no more access to the id because of the defenses that the child has built up in order to protect the id. The drive of the id are hidden from the ego or "suppressed". The child learns to derive pleasure from secondary resources such as friendships, schooling, family etc. In this stage neurosis (mental disorders involving distress, not classified in the DSM any longer) is derived from the child not overcoming the Oedipus complex or from not being able to derive pleasure in a socially acceptable manner.  

In the fifth stage the age range is from puberty until death. One of the biggest complaints about Freud's stages of development is that he does not describe any more changes after this stage. As we saw in other stages of development a lot of development still occurs. Anyways the fifth stage is the genital stage. This stage centers around the sexual desires of the person but with some differences than that of the phallic stage. One difference is that the ego is better established. Another difference is that the pleasure is no longer primary-drive gratification (instinct) but is now secondary-drive. In other words pleasure is derived in consensual nature with friendships, love relationships and family. Some of the worries in this stage is unsatisfactory relationships.

So that is all of the stages of development in Freud's eyes. There is much more to it than this of course and remember that through all of these stages there are the battles raging between the id, ego and super-ego. There are also the defense mechanisms that we have discussed that play a huge role in this as well.

Tomorrow I will start the parenting styles and how they relate to characterization.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Freudian Stages of Development Part 3

The third stage is the phallic stage which takes place from about 3 - 6 years of age. This stage has some interesting ideas in it and so I want to emphasize that I do not necessarily agree with them but that they are Freud's. This being said there is some merit to them and so they need to be looked at.

The primary area of focus is the child's genitalia. It is in this stage that we start to see children exploring their own and other's bodies a little closer. The doctor game comes into play during this stage. There needs to be some exploration so that a child understands the differences and I have read that it is important to teach our children about proper touching during this stage as well. How much exploration should be allowed, that is the question?? I think that self exploration is natural and okay but like I said above it is important to teach proper touch and that it is not looked down on so that the child becomes embarrassed about it. Children can develop some negative thoughts about their body if they become embarrassed about their exploration.

Now some of the things that are a little more interesting about this stage the Oedipus complex. This is where the son begins to challenge the father for the affection of the mother. The name comes from Greek mythology. On the other hand is the girl's complex called the Electra complex. This is when the girl competes with the mother for the father's affection. In this Jung, one of Freud's students, coined the term Electra complex but Freud rejected the term. In this stage Id rears his head in wanting to kill the father because it is father who is sleeping with mother. Whereas is is ego who realizes that father is the dominate and stronger of the two and so does nothing. On the other hand girls develop penis envy in which because she is anatomically different is unable to be with mother and so naturally turns to father. Freud believed that emotionally women went through much more stress during this stage. Remember I warned you that this was a... colourful stage.

This is also when the defense mechanisms begin to form in the child that we have talked about previously. It is also important that during this stage the child learns to relate to the parent of the same sex. It is during this stage that the super-ego is formed and the child learns to follow societal rules. Without this the girl tries to dominate the male by either being overly sexual and or submissive. The boy will become aggressive if this stage is not resolved.

So how do we apply this to our characters? What are the different things that could happen to a child who does not go through this stage well? What if there was no father in the boy characters life and the mother is overly possessive? This is where we begin to think about the what if's in our characters past.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Freudian Stages of Development Part 2

The second stage of development is called the Anal Stage. This stage generally takes place from the ages 1-3. In this stage the key anal-stage experience is toilet training. Here there is a battle between the id and the ego. The id wants immediate gratification (not waiting to go to the bathroom) and the ego demanding delayed gratification (getting a treat by going on the toilet.  In this experience the parenting style has a lot to do with how the child makes it through the experience. The ideal is that the child learns the importance of control and toilet training is not over emphasized. If instead the toilet training becomes a bad experience then a compulsive personality can be formed. The child becomes too concerned with cleanliness. On the other the id may win and the parents give in then the child may form a self-indulgent personality. If the parents fight this then the child may develop a low sense of self due to the child doing the parents' will and not the ego's will.
Consequences of  psychological fixation: Anal Retentive: Obsessively organized, or excessively neat Anal Expulsive: reckless, careless, defiant, disorganized, coprophilic.

As you can see one of the keys to this age is parenting style, which we will be discussing after finishing up the Freudian stages.

How does this stage help develop characterization?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Freudian Stages of Development Part 1

Freud did a lot of work for modern day psychology and in many opinions is the father of psychology. Along with this, most of those who have worked on stages of development have started from those imagined by Freud. It is important to look at these stages so that we can get a better understanding of where it all began. I do not agree with a lot of Freudian psychology, but I do respect the work that he has done and how it has shaped into what we use today.

The first stage is the oral stage and it begins at birth and goes to age 1. This is where the child is fixated on the mouth. We see this in children as they chew on things (about anything they can fit into their mouths). The most important part in this stage is the weening process. This is the first time that a child loses something, feeling a sense of loss. Here the child learns about pain and delayed gratification.

If a child does not get through this stage well they become "orally fixated." Which can lead to Orally aggressive: chewing gum and the ends of pencils, etc. Orally Passive: smoking, eating, kissing, oral sexual practices. Oral stage fixation might result in a passive, gullible, immature, manipulative personality.

So when we are creating our characters we have some more psychology to back up certain behaviors that they may have. I don't agree completely with Freud's ideas on this but I do see some of it in the world today.
I hope that we all have fun exploring the Freud's stages of development over the next few days.

I am out of town so I may be a little slower in my posts and comments but I do plan on keeping up.

Friday, July 8, 2011


The definition of talent, as defined by, is a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing. WikiHow describes talent as being different that skills, in that they tend to be innate rather than learned. They go on to say that these talents can then be developed further through practice and work. One of the interesting things that they point out is that they can be tricky to find but with honest self-observation it is possible. I think the key word is honest.

They give some step by step instructions on how to find these talents here.

1.       Think about what you love to do.
2.       Play: experiment, explore, try a variety of things etc…
3.       Take some personality tests.
4.       Learn about your learning style.
5.       Notice what others say about you.
6.       Consider your interests.
7.       Notice what you’re not good at, too.
8.       Keep a journal.
9.       Practice practice practice…
10.   Share your talent with others.
11.   Use your talent.

I can’t remember a time in all of my class of psychology in which we ever talked about talents. We do talk about focusing on what people are good at though. I think that a person’s talents is what will bring them the most joy in this life and bring them a feeling of fulfillment when they feel they are truly good at something. I also think that we all have talents some more than others.

Our characters also have talents that define them and make them who they are. Remember the practice part, our characters need to practice as well. I always see the big things they practice at like magic or sword play, but what about the smaller talents like carving or whistling. We can make our characters have so much more depth by pointing out the little things they do as they sit around the campfire or they are walking through the forest.

What are some of the little talents your characters have? How did they discover them? How do you show the reader their talents?

Also check out the critique done on my query letter it looks like I have a long way to go. Thanks to all of you have helped me with this and I hope that it has been helpful to you as well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Query Update

So things are rather busy today in my life and I'm hoping to get my query letter perfected. Thanks to all of your help and to Mathew over at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment I hope to get my query letter perfected and ready to submit. So I have taken your comments and updated my query letter and Mathew has posted it on his blog to get another round of comments. I have seen his critiques in the past and they are very helpful. They are not only helpful to the person with the query letter but to those reading his blog. So if you are not already following check it out and follow.

Also Elana Johnson has helped me out tremendously on both my query letter and my book. She may take another stab at my query letter seeing if it has improved. BTW check out her blog her new book was recently released and is amazing. Here is a link to her blog.

So be prepared to learn from my mistakes and check out the critique and comments tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why do we forget?

Sigmund Freud wrote a book called Psychopathology of Everyday Life in this book he writes about the different reasons people forget things such as: names, foreign words, order of words, and other things. The book is quite hard to read and really taxes my mind, but all the same very fascinating. He breaks down different instances in which either he or someone he is talking to forgets something to try and figure out why they have forgotten the particular thing. It is amazing how he works through this and comes to a conclusion. Generally it is attributed to the unconscious mind thinking of something else or remembering something else that then interferes with the thought process. 

The reason I bring this up is because of how he thinks through everything and anything that could have caused the problem. He then evaluates the person and really gets inside the mind and situation. He is an investigator investigating the mind of the subject. I think we as writers at times need to be investigators of our characters and their stories.

I was also the other day helping my son plan a campaign for a game. He was talking about the situation that brought the adventures to the certain local and explained that bandits were harassing the land. The interesting part was he did not want the bandits in a particular tower that he wanted the adventures to clear out he instead wanted it full of "vermin." I asked him why the bandits had not already cleared it out. We investigated this further and decided that the bandits would have already done so and so they had to be nixed from the adventure.

In writing about our characters we need to evaluate why they do what they do and if it doesn't make sense it is time ti nix it. We need to analyze and experiment with them. Test them here and there to see what they would do. 

How do you test your characters?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe 4th of July.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Query Letter

We have just finished another round of development theory and so instead of starting something new I have decided to post my query letter for all to see and hopefully help me perfect. Trust me I can take any suggestions good or bad. Thanks for all the help and of course if any of you would like to send it to an agent you know personally that would be great :)

June 29, 2011

[Agent name and address here]

Dear [agent name]:

I am pleased to submit for your consideration my young adult fantasy, THE ORDER OF THE ROSE. In this 78,000-word, sixteen-year-old Tom must learn why he can wield magic in a world where only women have had that power for centuries and why he is chosen to restore The Order of The Rose.

Torn from his mother at a young age and rescued by Pharos, a wealthy leader, from the orphanage where he is bullied by peers and the headmaster, Tom soon learns of his unique power. Pharos trains him to use guns and swords, as well as subterfuge in hopes that Tom can overthrow the current government. When Tom finds a secret room, a ghost speaks to him of his responsibility to restore The Order of The Rose and how he must learn to believe in himself and the power he has within.

Tom discovers that Pharos is not the only one interested in his new found abilities, but Witches and the Sisterhood, women who control the magic, are looking for him as well. If Tom fails to restore The Order of The Rose and bring an end to the corruption, the land will be ripped apart.   

I am currently majoring in school psychology. I have a Masters degree in counseling and have come to better understand the people around me. I use this knowledge for my own blog, How to Diagnose Your Character, in hopes that writers will be better able to create accurate characters for their novels.

If you would like to consider THE ORDER OF THE ROSE, I’d be happy to forward the complete manuscript at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Joshua Hoyt
354 E 500 N Logan, Ut 84321

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