Is it a made up word? Sure. Is that going to stop us from using it? No.
What we’re getting at here, on this page, is the backstory for every one of our candle’s names. If you’ve ever been curious as to why we’ve named our candles the way we have, read on.
Kill Your Darlings
Kill your darlings is an expression used in the world of writing that advocates for judicious, objective revision.
Do you really like that turn of phrase you wrote, but are now finding beta readers think it’s confusing? That’s a darling that must be rephrased or set aside.
Have a character you absolutely adore but later discover doesn’t contribute to the forward movement of your plot, your main character’s development, or the scene in general? That’s a darling as well, and it’s time to remove them from the manuscript in question.
So much more can be said about the phrase, and we said some of it in this blog post.
Happily Ever After
“And they all lived happily ever after.“
Or so end the fairy tales with which so many of us are familiar. This phrase, however, isn’t confined to the realm of the Brothers Grimm and Mother Goose. In fact, happily ever afters are a genre-defining prerequisite in the world of capital-R romance—by which we mean the books shelved in the romance section of your favorite independent bookstore.
The term is so ubiquitous that it’s more likely spotted in the wild by its acronym (HEA), which contrasts with HFN, or happy for now.
Can a capital-R romance end with an HFN instead of an HEA? That’s a debate we won’t touch with a ten-foot candle wick, but what we can tell you is that our Happily Ever After will certainly help you illuminate the path that guides your characters to their HEA.
Dramatic irony is a literary term that’s best summarized as a phenomenon that arises when readers know something a character does not.
Are you privy to the machinations of a scheming character while another, hapless, stumbles their way into the former’s trap? Relative to the latter, then, you have a relationship of dramatic irony.
Did one character privately declare their intentions to ask for another’s hand in marriage? When the hour arrives for the proposal, you’ll be in a state of dramatic irony relative to the character receiving the proposal.
Anticipation, inevitability, and foreboding fuel dramatic irony, and we like to think we captured its essence in our candle by that very name.
Bow-and-arrow-wielding teens who upend fascism. Moisture farmers who detonate star destroyers. Software engineers who become masters of the simulation in which they live.
These are but three examples of the chosen one trope, a perennial favorite in literature and film. Whether chosen by ancient prophecy, family heritage, or random chance, chosen ones are, as the name implies, the only ones who can banish the darkness, slay a legendary beast, or restore peace to an otherwise warring land.
Oftentimes, chosen ones come once in a generation, century, or millennium. We won’t make you wait that long for ours, however: our Chosen One returns once a year as the savior of the fall season.
Perhaps among the most ubiquitous of writerly terms, writer’s block is best described as the feeling of being, well, blocked. Writer’s block can manifest as a perceived lack of ideas, having countless ideas but being unsure how to start, or even as a symptom of impostor syndrome.
It’s often said that the cure for writer’s block is to simply write, to push through and get words on the page, come what may. Others will advocate that writer’s block is best overcome by trusting one’s inspiration to return and seizing the moment when it does.
Our opinion on the matter? Pursue the path that feels most natural to you.
That said, we do like to think keeping a KYD candle burning won’t hurt you in your quest to vanquish your writer’s block. We believe so long as one of our candles burns at your side, your words can burn through you.
Diverged In A Wood
Robert Frost is perhaps the most well-known American poet of the 20th century. As the only poet to have ever won the Pulitzer prize for poetry four times, it’s no wonder his work remains widely celebrated.
Our Diverged In A Wood candle takes its name from the Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken.” This poem inspired us to create a candle with a name that celebrates writers, who, almost definitionally, must take roads less traveled if they’re to see the world in the fashion that is oh-so-frequently expected of them.
So celebrate the bravery required to take the road less traveled by; burn bright with one of our seasonal Diverged In A Wood candles while they’re here.
Ah, yes, the blank page: a space of endless possibility, a source of abject terror.
A writer’s relationship to the blank page is complicated: to stare it down is to embrace the challenge, to channel the courage required to participate in the act of creation. That said, courage alone is often not enough to see one’s dreams distilled into life, at least not in the earliest of drafts.
Our Blank Page, however, is here to help. It invites you to use your imagination, to remind yourself that all books—including those written by our favorite bestsellers—started somewhere.
And that somewhere? The blank page.
Dragons have long been part of the fantasy mythos. Known as hoarders of treasure and fearsome foes when it comes to blows, they’re the source of much intrigue and fear to this day.
We’ll be honest: our first name for this candle was Dragon Slayer, but despite the oft-heralded achievement that is slaying a dragon, we asked ourselves what would happen if instead of defeating a dragon, we befriended one?
Ergo, Dragon Tamer, a candle that’s much more about flying high atop a foe-turned-friend than it is about laying them low.
Ahh, Meet Cute, the cornerstone of romances and romantic comedies both on the page and on the silver screen. Meet Cutes are so ubiquitous that most people, on their face, might not even recognize them when they see them.
That’s the reason we start this candle’s description with a handful of common examples; sometimes it really has to be spelled out. Fortunately, Meet Cutes in real life need no explanation—at least we hope not, anyway.
But hey, just in case they do—or in case you want to summon more Meet Cute energy into your day-to-day life—that’s what the candle’s for.
It comes as a surprise to no one that Opposites Attract is often paired with our Meet Cute candle. Much like the latter, Opposites Attract is another oh-so-prevalent trope in the world of romance.
Think of those books where the uber-nerd and the captain of the swim team wind up together. What about the exceptionally sarcastic, always dismissive one winding up with the person who’s unflappable in their dedication to the bright side? Yeah, they’re unlikely pairings (because, you know, they’re opposites), but they still find love where most would have never anticipated it.
Sometimes, a trope is what it says it is, and Opposites Attract is just that. They’re opposites that, uh, attract.
Writers are known for keeping to their drinks of choice. With us already having given a nod to those who prefer the harder-hitting stuff with our Writer’s Block candle, we felt it prudent to craft a candle for early risers and night owls who are looking to keep those fingers clacking at the keys.
Enter Midnight Oil. Whether you’re a coffee lover or caffeine-abstinent, this one’s sure to fuel your path to the page as a reader or a writer; sometimes, all you need to do is summon a coffee shop rather than visit one, and—voila—the words appear, the pages turn.
With two words, we’re pretty confident we can explain all that the idea of Hero’s Journey encompasses. Are you ready?
Why those two words? First of all, they conjure images of epic adventure, of mountains climbed and fields crossed. But with “Mr. Frodo” in particular—Samwise Gamgee, anyone? Yes! Samwise Gamgee, who, as Mr. Frodo’s main number one ally, plays an integral role in any hero’s journey.
Hero’s Journey isn’t just about Tolkienesque epics, however. On the contrary, it’s the oft-cited, more common expression of the idea of the monomyth, or the archetypal Western story structure first described by Joseph Campbell.
So—looking to summon the scents of adventure? Hero’s Journey’s your go-to.
You know the expression “lose yourself in a good book?” What you’re really losing yourself in isn’t the book physically, obviously, but rather the Narrative Dream the book instills.
The Narrative Dream has taken hold when you and the author are in perfect harmony, when your imagination embraces every detail they provide while you create your own to fill in the gaps. In fact, when one is truly overcome by the Narrative Dream, there is no author and there is no book.
It’s just you, the story, and the world at the tips of your fingers. That’s the Narrative Dream, and it’s one we want you to bask in every day.
As tropes go, Found Family is all about hope. Whether a character feels alienated from their family, simply has none, or loves and is embraced by their family wholeheartedly, there’s always room for Found Family.
Found Family might come in the form of a friendship long forged. It might begin as an act of kindness from a stranger. It might come in the shape of a similarly struggling acquaintance who, amid their own challenges, finds their way to our protagonist (or vice-versa).
Sure, family is in the name, but Found Family is, at the end of the day, about something just as precious: friendship, and how sweet it is.
On its face, Magic Realism should be an easy one to wrap one’s mind around. It’s magic, but also not magic.
Got it? No? That’s okay. You’re not alone.
Not to be confused with fantasy—where magic runs rampant—Magic Realism (also known as Magical Realism) is about worlds where a few small (or not so small) seemingly magical tweaks are accepted as the norm (or hardly noticed at all) by the characters inhabiting the page.
It’s the feeling of the surreal amid the real, the extraordinary amid the expected—and our Magic Realism candle invokes those very sensations.