“The thing is, once we have reached a certain mastery of craft, craft is no longer the issue. In order to take our writing to the next level we must embrace our strange, unique, and often embarrassing selves and write about the things that really matter to us. We need to be willing to peel our own layers back until we reach that tender, raw, voiceless place—the place where our crunchiest stories come from. We need to get some skin in the game. It should cost us something emotionally to tell our stories. But many of us who come to writing do so because they were voiceless at some point in their lives, so doing that can be the most terrifying risk of all.”—The fabulous Robin LaFevers on second chances in one’s writing career (Writer Unboxed)
Listen to this! We just teamed up with Spotify so you can post tracks, playlists, and full albums from their very extensive library. Search for tracks or paste a Spotify link to embed your music — without the daily limit. :)
To celebrate, we’ve put together this playlist featuring musicians from theTumblr Spotlight. Hit play and enjoy!
“Remember that there are only three kinds of things anyone need ever do. (1) Things we ought to do (2) Things we’ve got to do (3) Things we like doing. I say this because some people seem to spend so much of their time doing things for none of the three reasons, things like reading books they don’t like because other people read them.”—Advice to children from C. S. Lewis. (via explore-blog)
Is it possible to be a perfect writer? “Either you’re an incredibly attractive, charming, popular, successful actor-astronaut, or you’re not, and trying to become the ‘perfect’ person using a mix of makeup and voodoo magic usually doesn’t work.”
“You learn to write by writing, and by reading and thinking about how writers have created their characters and invented their stories. If you are not a reader, don’t even think about being a writer.”—Jean M. Auel (via martinaboone)
The problem that needs to be fixed is not kick all the girls out of YA, it’s teach boys that stories featuring female protagonists or written by female authors also apply to them. Boys fall in love. Boys want to be important. Boys have hopes and fears and dreams and ambitions. What boys also have is a sexist society in which they are belittled for “liking girl stuff.” Male is neutral, female is specific.
I heard someone mention that Sarah Rees Brennan’s THE DEMON’S LEXICON would be great for boys, but they’d never read it with that cover. Friends, then the problem is NOT with the book. It’s with the society that’s raising that boy. It’s with the community who inculcated that boy with the idea that he can’t read a book with an attractive guy on the cover.
Here’s how we solve the OMG SO MANY GIRLS IN YA problem: quit treating women like secondary appendages. Quit treating women’s art like it’s a niche, novelty creation only for girls. Quit teaching boys to fear the feminine, quit insisting that it’s a hardship for men to have to relate to anything that doesn’t specifically cater to them.
Because if I can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and want to grow up to be an archaeologist, there’s no reason at all that a boy shouldn’t be able to read THE DEMON’S LEXICON with its cover on. My friends, sexism doesn’t just hurt women, and our young men’s abysmal rate of attraction to literacy is the proof of it.
(I thought it would be fun to reblog this, since I wrote it in the first place. :D Man, I love tumblr! -SM)
(I was shy about reblogging it since it mentions my book, but what the hey. And of course, I’ll add that Demon’s Lexicon having a boy protagonist did mean that people were like ‘good for boys, yes’ while the next two books having lady protagonists meant people were like ‘oh no, suddenly, girl cooties’ even though there was no diminishing of duels and demons and so forth. SO. Fearing the feminine, all over everywhere.)
“The more I write stories for young people, and the more young readers I meet, the more I’m struck by how much kids long to see themselves in stories. To see their identities and perspectives—their avatars—on the page. Not as issues to be addressed or as icons for social commentary, but simply as people who get to do cool things in amazing worlds. Yes, all the “issue” books are great and have a place in literature, but it’s a different and wildly joyous gift to find yourself on the pages of an entertainment, experiencing the thrills and chills of a world more adventurous than our own.
And when you see that as a writer, you quickly realize that you don’t want to be the jerk who says to a young reader, “Sorry, kid. You don’t get to exist in story; you’re too different.” You don’t want to be part of our present dystopia that tells kids that if they just stopped being who they are they could have a story written about them, too. That’s the role of the bad guy in the dystopian stories, right? Given a choice, I’d rather be the storyteller who says every kid can have a chance to star.”—
“I’ll bet this, though: in a hundred years, people will be writing a lot more dissertations on Harry Potter than on John Updike. Look, Charles Dickens wrote popular fiction. Shakespeare wrote popular fiction—until he wrote his sonnets, desperate to show the literati of his day that he was real artist. Edgar Allan Poe tied himself in knots because no one realized he was a genius. The core of the problem is how we want to define “literature”. The Latin root simply means “letters”. Those letters are either delivered—they connect with an audience—or they don’t. For some, that audience is a few thousand college professors and some critics. For others, its twenty million women desperate for romance in their lives. Those connections happen because the books successfully communicate something real about the human experience. Sure, there are trashy books that do really well, but that’s because there are trashy facets of humanity. What people value in their books—and thus what they count as literature—really tells you more about them than it does about the book.”—Brent Weeks (via martinaboone)
“I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages…the delayed adolescent, the childish adult, but that they are in me to be drawn on; to forget is a form of suicide… Far too many people misunderstand what *putting away childish things* means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.”—
Some insights from Veronica into Tris’ character and a mistake she wishes she could take back from the first book.
This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. And in the past year, I’ve seen a lot of blog posts from very smart people about a new and problematic trend in YA: the “throwaway” sexual assault trope. This trope is included to artificially raise the stakes in a plot or situation, or to further establish how bad a villain is, but it doesn’t actually affect the character all that much moving forward. It is problematic to include a sensitive issue in your work as a plot device only, without making it important for the character. Not just on a moral level, but on a storymaking level, too.
“People with disabilities can be interesting, strong, and capable without being supernaturally gifted - we aren’t all Daredevil. But for some reason disabled characters are often gifted in some way, elevating them above their abled peers. I know this isn’t how it’s intended, but this portrayal is somewhat insulting to the average disabled person, because it implies that we - meer humans with disabilities - are not good enough to be characters unless we have a supernatural ability.”—Kody Keplinger on diversity and disability in literature.