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Anonymous sent: Do you have any tips on how to write a pessimist who isn't an outright cynic or defeatist? Or a character who manages to be both pessimistic and optimistic at once?


Oooh, I like this question a lot! Note that I am not a psychologist in any way, this answer is going to be based on my own experiences with pessimism and optimism.

  • Pessimism says that unfortunate circumstances are permanent, global, and your own fault, while good fortune is temporary, isolated, and incidental. If a pessimist is caught in a surprise downpour without an umbrella, they’re going to blame themselves for being stupid. If they get a promotion at work, they’re going to assume it was a fluke.
  • Optimism says the exact opposite- unfortunate circumstances will pass, and they’re isolated and incidental. Good fortune is permanent, global, and of your own doing. If an optimist is caught in a surprise downpour without an umbrella, they’re going to blame the weatherman for being wrong and decide to start getting their news from a new source. If they get a promotion at work they’re going to assume it was because of their hard work.
  • Essentially, when an optimist witnesses something they perceive as positive or a pessimist witnesses something they perceive as negative, their response is of course this is what’s happening.
  • When an optimist witnesses something negative or a pessimist witnesses something positive, their response is I can’t believe this is happening

The important takeaway from this first part is that optimists are often sad and pessimists are often happy. In fact, an extreme optimist could wind up very sad because their high expectations often go unmet, while pessimists might be able to easily accept misfortune because ~that’s just how life goes~ and might even spend a lot of their time being pleasantly surprised that things don’t suck quite as much as they expect them to. The world is not made of Pollyannas and Eeyores. Optimism and pessimism are not defined by emotions; they are defined by the way the optimists and pessimists perceive events.

Now, let’s talk about cynicism and defeatism specifically.

  • Cynicism is a belief that humans are inherently selfish and a lack of hope in their ability to behave unselfishly.
  • Defeatism is resignation to defeat without hope of change.
  • What do both traits have in common? A lack of hope for improvement.

One way you could play a pessimist who isn’t entirely cynical or defeatist is to let them hope for something better. Maybe they believe all charities are corrupt and this world is headed to hell in a handbasket, but they still participate in fundraisers at work and donate to the SPCA because it seems like the right thing to do. They don’t even have to necessarily do anything hopeful-seeming; you could just have them not be all that upset when things go badly. You could even make them that kind of person who is super useful to have around because since they always expect and plan for the worst, they’ve always got a good backup plan in case something does go wrong.

No one is 100% pessimistic or optimistic- people’s outlooks are influenced by their innate character, but are also circumstantial. For example, a person may have a pessimistic attitude toward school but an optimistic attitude toward their family. A common trope is that a person may be pessimistic about their own abilities to do something, but may be optimistic about their friends’ or children’s or students’ abilities. Part of your job as a typist is to figure out what circumstances bring out which sides of your character’s personality.

The best way to avoid a completely flat pessimist or optimist is to make sure they still have the ability to experience and act upon a reasonable range of human emotion. If you limit your pessimist to just being sad or indifferent all the time or you limit your optimist to just being happy or content all the time, you’re going to get real bored, real fast.

Anonymous sent: what would happen if a character were shot in the thigh? would they die of blood loss or would it depend on where on the thigh the bullet went? also if the character somehow survived, would they be left with a scar or possibly a limp? eventually how long would they be limp (forever)? sorry for my english, and thank you!


If the bullet severs the femoral artery, death would occur within… I want to say two minutes, but it could be as much as five. If the bullet blows through cleanly, and the blood loss is managed, it shouldn’t result in anything more severe than scar tissue at the entrance and exit wounds. If it damages the bone and that’s not treated, or treated incorrectly, it would permanently impair movement (barring corrective surgery).

If the bullet tears up the muscle tissue, and it doesn’t heal properly, I think that would result in permanent mobility issues, but I’m not 100% certain how that would manifest.

Again, I’m not a medical professional; my familiarity with gunshot wounds is academic. So, I could be wrong here.


EDIT: I’m going to attach this reblog to the main post because it’s actually really useful, and I did drop the ball a bit last night after tumblr ate my first draft of the entry and exit wounds answer. So, with thanks to Disasterintow.


Gunshot wounds vary depending on the type of round used, special attributes to the round (hollow point, armor piercing, etc), the distance from the shooter. A normal sized male (6’ 180lb) shot at close range to the thigh with a simple 9mm round would be in a lot of pain, but risks only moderate damage to bone, and supposing the femoral isn’t stuck, the most you would to be dealing is a hopeful through-and-through. That way, as mentioned before the most to be dealt with is stopping the blood flow and stitching up entry and exit wounds (the latter of which will be significantly larger). 

Do. Not. Dig. A. Fragmented. Bullet. Out. Unless you are a skilled surgeon, though even these days, a majority of those professionals choose to leave non-life threatening shards inside. Removing the bullet damages muscle tissue, connective tissue, and tears nerves, all of which are needed to counteract the trauma of the initial wound. And you run the risk of more blood loss. 

Now, when it comes to larger caliber bullets and shotgun shells, there is a problem with distance. Up close and personal, a .45 caliber handgun round could shatter bone and leave an exit wound the size of a Granny Smith apple. broken bones (shattered ones, at that) have a very high risk of sepsis, and if not dealt with quickly, could spread to the rest of the body. 

AP rounds - Armor Piercing - go straight through flesh and have very little sign of slowing. There is risk to bones, however, as the amount of power (force) they carry with them hits full on if it meets a hard structure. The kinetic energy alone can fracture shoulder blades. 

As for buck shot and slug for shotguns, those are trickier. They do need to be a certain distance to be effective, but make no mistake: these rounds will break bones and most certainly leave holes in you. Buckshot is pelleted, but deadly in a closer range.

A safe bet would be to say the person was shot by a .40 caliber or lower handgun, or anything around or lower than a .308 rifle round, and that the meat of the thigh took the bullet. If at a decently close range, that person should survive and most likely walk with a little hitch for most of their lives. Nothing too noticeable, however. There would certainly be scarring, and if nothing happened to bone, and no nerves were injured, there should be no loss in range of motion or use. 


When was the last time you stood in a grocery store and just listened to everything around you? Depending on where you are, you probably heard all sorts of different things. Especially if you’re in a city, you’ll likely hear all sorts of different accents. You’ll hear mothers tell off their children, you’ll hear friends laughing with each other, you’ll hear one cashier make some snarky comment. You’ll certainly hear your share of Valley Girl impersonations.

And yet, when you crack open a book, chances are all the characters will speak in the same way. Dialogue and speech patterns are some of the hardest things to duplicate in literature. Part of that is because of the lack of actual sound - you can say that somebody has a Russian accent all you want, but your readers can’t hear it. For the same reason, writers duplicate what they’re used to reading - not what they’re used to hearing. For example, if you’re reading a story by an American that uses a lot of weird little British terms, chances are they’ve been reading mostly British fiction.

The main goal for dialogue isn’t to have all your characters be witty, or have them all be shy, or have them all be anything. Your characters’ speech patterns should be as diverse as your characters themselves. With that in mind, here’s some tips and tricks to help change up your character’s speech patterns.

1. Catchphrases and Verbal Tics

Ever notice that one phrase or that one word your friend won’t stop using? For a long time, I couldn’t stop saying “S’all good.” It wasn’t even “It’s all good.” That doesn’t reflect the reality. It was “S’all good.” A friend of mine used “Fair enough” so often that my mum actually tried to get her to replace it with “That would be lovely, thank you.”

These are great ways to characterize people in books and stories, too. Many of these verbal tics are also connected to locality and accent, so they can give a real sense of place. Ending sentences with “eh” is (stereotypically but also real) Canadian; ending them with “yeah?” can be Canadian or British. Even within Britain, Ron’s “bloody hell” and Hermione’s “Honestly!” invoke complete differently accents.

But be careful! While a few well-placed tics can be good, overdoing them can make your dialogue horrible and clunky. Also, don’t have characters share tics unless they’re meant to share a locale, place of origin or something else important. Otherwise the main purpose of tics - to easily identify a character even when not tagged - is lost.

2. Types of Words and Sentences

Building off of the first tip, Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter not only have different verbal tics - they speak completely differently. Hermione, as a precocious bookworm, uses a lot of bigger words and more complex sentences in the first novel than either Harry or Ron. In contrast, Ron is very blunt and to the point. Hermione will preface something with “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before! I had this checked out for light reading, and guess what I found…” and Ron will just go, “Hey, check this out.”

Take note - Hermione isn’t using 7-syllable words. She’s just talking more, and using different structures. Some people will use more complex words, especially if you’re writing scientists or academics. And it’s just as revealing to character when somebody doesn’t understand that jargon. Cosima and Sarah in Orphan Black are great examples of this, when Cosima starts talking sciencey and Sarah’s just like ‘wot?’.

The trick with this kind of differentiation is to make sure that it doesn’t just make other characters come across as stupid. Harry and Ron aren’t stupid compared to Hermione - their skills are just in completely different things. So while their diction and vocabulary will be worlds apart from hers (and theirs from each other, especially when taking wizarding vs. muggle jargon into account), it shouldn’t come across as ‘caveman meets astronaut’.

3. Accents

My general advice with written accents is not to bother. Sometimes it works out, but more often than not, the result is racist, classist and/or annoying to read. However, sometimes dialect - the specific words and slang, rather than the accent itself - is important to include. And other times, there’s a specific voice you want to evoke.

The easiest way to do this, especially for those who don’t know accents/dialects very well, is simply to describe it.

"This is so disappointing!" she cried in a thick Yorkshire brogue, holding the shoe aloft.

This can be kind of boring though. Apostrophes, like italics, can be used to give the reader an idea of the cadence of somebody’s voice.

"This is so disappointin’!” she cried in a thick Yorkshire brogue, holding the shoe aloft.

What you want to avoid is something like this:

"This es so des-app-oint-n’!” she cried in a thick Yorkshire brogue, holding the shoe aloft.

It’s hard to read and doesn’t add anything particularly special to our understanding of what this woman (for the curious, Minister Mason from Snowpiercer) sounds like. (NB: I know JK Rowling did it for Hagrid. I still find it distasteful.) Dialect, however, means using the words and not necessarily using phonetic spelling. For example, a Yorkshire girl in your story, especially one from a few decades, ago, might use ‘nowt’ for nothing, ‘nay’ for no and ‘thou/thee’ instead of ‘you’. In contrast, someone from the American South may talk about having ‘barbecue’ (instead of the act of barbecuing something), say ‘y’all’ and talk about people ‘a-hootin’ and a-hollerin”. These are really recognizable ways to give your character an accent without spelling it out on the page.

4. Humour

This is a drastically overlooked facet of character development, and has more to do with speech patterns than most people think. What kind of sense of humour does one character have as opposed to another? One person might attempt to tell jokes and fail at it (think Marlin from Finding Nemo), another might insert bad puns into everything, another might just make weird, zany connections, another might be a deadpan snarker who pokes fun at everything. All of these are written in completely opposite ways. Compare:

"H-hey guys, you know what’s black and white and red all over?….Me neither, I forgot. Never mind."

"Pirates versus ninjas. How very original."

"Look! Look at the rainbow! Doesn’t it make you think of vomiting unicorns?…Ed, you’re making the face at me again. Why the face? WHY THE FACE?"

"Have a nice trip! See you next fall!…What? Oh, fine, I’ll go help him up. Still funny!"

Even without the necessary context, all four feel like they’re different people. (For those paying attention and spitting out their drink right now, that’s Envy, Russell, Ling and Ed from 1000 Names because they’re the perfect example of this.) Your sense of humour creeps into everything, and that’s important when creating characters who are easily discernable by speech alone.


Under the cut you will find about 120+ small and medium hq RECENT gifs of Hilary Duff. None of these gifs are mine, and credit goes to the rightful owners. Really apologize if there are any repeats. Please like or reblog if this helped you in any way.


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[revamped] theme 02: darkness; by kateargernt
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Race, Ethnicity, and Families

I am not an expert on most of the things I write guides about, but my information either comes from my own experience, or from a ton of research (and no, Wikipedia is not real research). Like everyone else, I can make mistakes, so if I ever get something wrong, please let me know.

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Anonymous sent: Do you have a master list of character skeleton sheets?