but i just want to publish it and be done with it

Rick Riordan won a Stonewall award today

for his second Magnus Chase book, due to the inclusion of the character Alex Fierro who is gender fluid. This was the speech he gave, and it really distills why I love this author and his works so much, and why I will always recommend his works to anyone and everyone.

“Thank you for inviting me here today. As I told the Stonewall Award Committee, this is an honor both humbling and unexpected.

So, what is an old cis straight white male doing up here? Where did I get the nerve to write Alex Fierro, a transgender, gender fluid child of Loki in The Hammer of Thor, and why should I get cookies for that?

These are all fair and valid questions, which I have been asking myself a lot.

I think, to support young LGBTQ readers, the most important thing publishing can do is to publish and promote more stories by LGBTQ authors, authentic experiences by authentic voices. We have to keep pushing for this. The Stonewall committee’s work is a critical part of that effort. I can only accept the Stonewall Award in the sense that I accept a call to action – firstly, to do more myself to read and promote books by LGBTQ authors.

But also, it’s a call to do better in my own writing. As one of my genderqueer readers told me recently, “Hey, thanks for Alex. You didn’t do a terrible job!” I thought: Yes! Not doing a terrible job was my goal!

As important as it is to offer authentic voices and empower authors and role models from within LGBTQ community, it’s is also important that LGBTQ kids see themselves reflected and valued in the larger world of mass media, including my books. I know this because my non-heteronormative readers tell me so. They actively lobby to see characters like themselves in my books. They like the universe I’ve created. They want to be part of it. They deserve that opportunity. It’s important that I, as a mainstream author, say, “I see you. You matter. Your life experience may not be like mine, but it is no less valid and no less real. I will do whatever I can to understand and accurately include you in my stories, in my world. I will not erase you.”

People all over the political spectrum often ask me, “Why can’t you just stay silent on these issues? Just don’t include LGBTQ material and everybody will be happy.” This assumes that silence is the natural neutral position. But silence is not neutral. It’s an active choice. Silence is great when you are listening. Silence is not so great when you are using it to ignore or exclude.

But that’s all macro, ‘big picture’ stuff. Yes, I think the principles are important. Yes, in the abstract, I feel an obligation to write the world as I see it: beautiful because of its variations. Where I can’t draw on personal experience, I listen, I read a lot – in particular I want to credit Beyond Magenta and Gender Outlaws for helping me understand more about the perspective of my character Alex Fierro – and I trust that much of the human experience is universal. You can’t go too far wrong if you use empathy as your lens. But the reason I wrote Alex Fierro, or Nico di Angelo, or any of my characters, is much more personal.

I was a teacher for many years, in public and private school, California and Texas. During those years, I taught all kinds of kids. I want them all to know that I see them. They matter. I write characters to honor my students, and to make up for what I wished I could have done for them in the classroom.

I think about my former student Adrian (a pseudonym), back in the 90s in San Francisco. Adrian used the pronouns he and him, so I will call him that, but I suspect Adrian might have had more freedom and more options as to how he self-identified in school were he growing up today. His peers, his teachers, his family all understood that Adrian was female, despite his birth designation. Since kindergarten, he had self-selected to be among the girls – socially, athletically, academically. He was one of our girls. And although he got support and acceptance at the school, I don’t know that I helped him as much as I could, or that I tried to understand his needs and his journey. At that time in my life, I didn’t have the experience, the vocabulary, or frankly the emotional capacity to have that conversation. When we broke into social skills groups, for instance, boys apart from girls, he came into my group with the boys, I think because he felt it was required, but I feel like I missed the opportunity to sit with him and ask him what he wanted. And to assure him it was okay, whichever choice he made. I learned more from Adrian than I taught him. Twenty years later, Alex Fierro is for Adrian.

I think about Jane (pseudonym), another one of my students who was a straight cis-female with two fantastic moms. Again, for LGBTQ families, San Francisco was a pretty good place to live in the 90s, but as we know, prejudice has no geographical border. You cannot build a wall high enough to keep it out. I know Jane got flack about her family. I did what I could to support her, but I don’t think I did enough. I remember the day Jane’s drama class was happening in my classroom. The teacher was new – our first African American male teacher, which we were all really excited about – and this was only his third week. I was sitting at my desk, grading papers, while the teacher did a free association exercise. One of his examples was ‘fruit – gay.’ I think he did it because he thought it would be funny to middle schoolers. After the class, I asked to see the teacher one on one. I asked him to be aware of what he was saying and how that might be hurtful. I know. Me, a white guy, lecturing this Black teacher about hurtful words. He got defensive and quit, because he said he could not promise to not use that language again. At the time, I felt like I needed to do something, to stand up especially for Jane and her family. But did I make things better handling it as I did? I think I missed an opportunity to open a dialogue about how different people experience hurtful labels. Emmie and Josephine and their daughter Georgina, the family I introduce in The Dark Prophecy, are for Jane.

I think about Amy, and Mark, and Nicholas … All former students who have come out as gay since I taught them in middle school. All have gone on to have successful careers and happy families. When I taught them, I knew they were different. Their struggles were greater, their perspectives more divergent than some of my other students. I tried to provide a safe space for them, to model respect, but in retrospect I don’t think I supported them as well as I could have, or reached out as much as they might have needed. I was too busy preparing lessons on Shakespeare or adjectives, and not focusing enough on my students’ emotional health. Adjectives were a lot easier for me to reconcile than feelings. Would they have felt comfortable coming out earlier than college or high school if they had found more support in middle school? Would they have wanted to? I don’t know. But I don’t think they felt it was a safe option, which leaves me thinking that I did not do enough for them at that critical middle school time. I do not want any kid to feel alone, invisible, misunderstood. Nico di Angelo is for Amy, and Mark and Nicholas.

I am trying to do more. Percy Jackson started as a way to empower kids, in particular my son, who had learning differences. As my platform grew, I felt obliged to use it to empower all kids who are struggling through middle school for whatever reason. I don’t always do enough. I don’t always get it right. Good intentions are wonderful things, but at the end of a manuscript, the text has to stand on its own. What I meant ceases to matter. Kids just see what I wrote. But I have to keep trying. My kids are counting on me.

So thank you, above all, to my former students who taught me. Alex Fierro is for you.

To you, I pledge myself to do better – to apologize when I screw up, to learn from my mistakes, to be there for LGBTQ youth and make sure they know that in my books, they are included. They matter. I am going to stop talking now, but I promise you I won’t stop listening.”

On The Adventure Zone Graphic Novel, Blue Taako, and Representation

 Yesterday, we revealed some pages for our graphic novel adaptation of the first Adventure Zone arc, and received some criticism of the direction we went with for Taako’s coloring. This artwork reveal came some months after the first reveal of some of our characters, for which we also received criticism of our three leads, all of whom were white in these initial designs. Us and the graphic novel team realized that, yes, that is extremely bad, went back to the drawing board, and had several long discussions about how to best rectify this situation, resulting in the artwork revealed yesterday.

More or less all of the criticism we’ve received centers on Taako, whose skin is a pale blue color in these designs. What we’ve heard most is disappointment that Taako is not realized in these pages as a person of color — or, to be more specific, a Latinx or explicitly Mexican character. There was concern we had failed to follow through on an opportunity to get better representation for Latinx listeners, instead opting to take a safe route, and make Taako a fantasy color without any kind of real-world connection. Much of the criticism also focuses on how that color (or, to be more specific, green skin) has anti-semitic connotations.

This conversation was happening in certain corners of our fandom long before the graphic novel art reveal took place yesterday. We’ve heard criticism from some folks over our policy of not having canonical visual representations of any of our characters — a policy that has resulted in a genuinely humbling ocean of fan art, but also some instances of in-fighting between members of the community who take umbrage with one another’s disparate interpretations of these characters. Another criticism of that policy is that it inherently does not foster good representation, and in fact represents a noncommittal way of handling racial representation on this show.

Here’s the truth of the matter: I think all of this comes from this underlying friction between where The Adventure Zone and us, its creators, were when we started doing the podcast, and where we, the show, and you, the community, are at now. 

Keep reading

that feeling when you’ve been reading all those gentle soft happy fanfics where everyone is gay and in love and it’s not a big deal and their friends all support them.

and your favourite superhero couples and detectives and kings and warlocks are just domestic and happy.

and then you emerge into the real world and it’s just not like that.

you walk into your job in the morning and know that if anyone knew, you’d be out the door. kids use the word ‘gay’ as a slur and it might be silly but it makes something hurt inside your chest. you look at your mother and think of the words she’d use to cut you with if you told her. the disgust on her face. you have your family around you and you know it could all be shattered in a minute and it would be you who’d done it.

everyone assumes your straightness. people look at you strangely when you use ‘they/them’ pronouns when asking what their fiancé’s name is, bcs you don’t want to make the same mistake that others make with you. you file forms with spaces for the mother’s name and father’s name and wonder how you’d fill them out if you had a partner and a child. you work with children and wonder what they have to hide about themselves.

and then, sometimes, you go home and read some more fanfic. maybe you write some, or draw fanart if that’s your thing. that’s the best thing, that we’re dreaming about a better world. maybe we’re not famous or published or earning money for what we do. but writing and reading fanworks like this helps a heck of a lot of people, including me, feel happy and comforted and like it’s possible that they might belong one day. that it gets better.

thank you, everyone who creates fanworks where being gay is simply treated as normal. your work is healing and wholesome and full of heart and goodness. and much as i may love the canon, it’s not the canon - it’s the fanworks that are a safe haven to retreat to and recover and heal.

Major Discovery: BotW’s Adventure Log = Link’s Diary?!

SERIOUSLY.

(Spoiler Alert)

At this point, our beloved game Breath of the Wild has been out for around half a year already. If you have played the game, you are probably very familiar with the Adventure Log feature in BotW that helps you keep track of all your missions and side quests. Or else its pretty much impossible to remember if you were catching chickens for this guy or collecting weapons to show that kid who’s boss.

But here’s the thing- Have you ever thought about the Adventure Log’s origin? Who or what is helping Link keep track of his missions?

If your answer is the Sheikah Slate or the “system”, which is what I’ve always thought, I’m gonna go ahead and assume you own an European/American copy of the game. Because apparently, in the Japanese version of the game, there is evidence that shows that LINK is the one who wrote the adventure log to keep track of his own journey.

“Ok… So what?”

So Link wrote the Adventure Log. Big deal. It’s not like this is gonna change the gameplay in any way.

…True. However, Link didn’t JUST record his missions in the Adventure Log. According to the Japnese version, Link would often type up some of his own thoughts and comments on what he was doing aside from his current objectives. This could give us a deeper insight of Link’s character.

Here’s an example:

This is what shows up after you complete The Hero’s Sword quest. The content of the two versions are very similar, but notice the use of “自分” (myself) in pic 1. This is evidence that the adventure log is written by Link, who’s talking about himself in first person narrative, instead of “the system”. With that in mind, the Japanese version can be translated to:

(I) Finally retrieved the legendary Master Sword. (I) Don’t know if it’s just an illusion, but the sword itself seems to be delighted about this.

To this moment, Princess Zelda is still inside Hyrule Castle, fighting to suppress the Calamity.

She is still holding on to the faith in me, believing that I will definitely come for her…!

But with the power (that I have) now, can she really be saved (by myself)…?

You see what they did there?

The English version replaced every first person pronoun Link has used with “you”!

As someone who owns an American copy, and has never set the system language to Japanese, I was absolutely SHOCKED when I was told about this (credits at the end).

Remember how we could find diaries of NPCs all across Hyrule? Link’s was right under our noses this whole time!

Now that you know about this, does your adventure log seem a bit different from before?

(I) finished visiting all 13 of the locations in the old pictures. I remembered everything I’ve been through together with Princess Zelda.

In those memories (of mine), Princess Zelda always strived to complete the task burdened onto her…

Even if it’s just a moment sooner, (I) want to save her as quickly as possible

(I) want to see her smile again, with these eyes (of my own).

The translation on this one is just OFF. I can’t believe the English version completely omitted the last part, and replaced it with some kind of mission instruction.

Link has been fighting all this time to see Princess Zelda’s smile again with his own eyes.

 …*sniff*

Not to mention those side quest logs. Once you realize that all of the entries were written by Link himself, the seemingly trivial information recorded in those suddenly opens up so many more hidden sides of Link. It basically re-introduced Link as someone with normal human emotions instead of the silent hero depicted throughout the game.

The caring Link, who was worried about a girl he only met twice for putting herself in danger:

…(I) ventured inside and found part of the Royal Guard’s Series, famous among equipment collectors.

When those were shown to Parcy, the traveler at the stable, her curiosity about it seem to be provoked more than ever (by me). (I) Hope she won’t do anything reckless…


The compassionate Link, who felt glad for other peoples’ happiness:

As a sign of appreciation for bringing the town together and as compensation for the work done (by me), a hefty amount of gems that were unearthed during the town’s construction were given by Hudson (to me).

(I) wish the couple could live happily ever after.


The reckless Link, who apparently felt thrilled when he managed to knock out some monsters with his new companion:

(I) captured the giant horse in Taobab Grasslands

So that’s why. It’s indeed a really big horse. It trampled whatever kind of monster in its way with ease when it galloped. That was really cool.  

When it was brought back to Straia (by me), he was very surprised.


Link the foodie, who carefully noted down new recipes he learned along the way for future use: 

(I) brought Kiana the goat butter and hearty blueshell snail required for cooking seafood paella. She shared some of the dish (with me) as thanks!

/////Recipe/////


The playful Link, who tried to mimic the way Gorons speak- by adding “goron” at the end of every sentence- after he passed the Test of Will and became one of the bros:

……

Ah… (I) kinda want to write down Kabetta’s Bro Motto, but there’s not enough space goron?

That’s too bad goron…


The empathetic Link, who felt nervous for the guy in this side quest, then relieved when the couple finally got together:


…and… THIS:

The last line on the left is the Japanese equivalent of What the heck…

I guess the statue is a bit too weird even for our great adventurer.


Finally, we have the entry that shows up after you complete the DLC trial:

(I) finally conquered the merciless Trial of the Sword.

……

(I believe that) Princess Zelda would be quite happy about how much I’ve improved


As we all know, Breath of the Wild is a game that focuses a lot on the freedom given to the players. Even the main story line is broken down into the form of memories, waiting for the players to find. As the players venture on into the wild, they would eventually find the information they need to learn about this world. The amazing amount of details you can find about Hyrule and its people is an important reason why BotW is so attractive.

On the contrary, the info available about our protagonist is very limited. The only piece of description that directly describes Link is in Zelda’s diary, where she points out that he is a very quiet person, and that’s it for our hero.

…NOT!!

Link had always had the most extensive character description. Right under our noses.

Nintendo got us. They got us GOOD.

But now we know.

SIX months after the game’s launch.

…Better late than never.

End.


P.S.: Fun fact about BotW Link- he seems to like the sand seal game a lot. Of all the entires about racing minigames, the sand seal game is the only one where Link wrote “(I’ll) try to get a better score next time!

He’s so adorable I can’t //////


CREDITS

Disclaimer: I did not discover this.

This discovery was made by a Chinese gamer @atomaruU about a week ago. To make sure that her theory is correct, she cross referenced the English version of the game, only to discover that the language is completely emotionless and robotic. Therefore, to allow more people to see who Link REALLY is, I was asked to write this post based on the Chinese article she published. 

Her Twitter: https://twitter.com/atomaruU

Tweet Link: https://twitter.com/atomaruU/status/902172455661211649

Chinese article Link: http://weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309404145837893616605

Pic credits: @lulubuu0609 (She’s an amazing artist btw check out her blog)

Hope you enjoyed this :3    

theguardian.com
The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked
A shadowy operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign heavily influenced the result of the EU referendum. Is our electoral process still fit for purpose?
By Carole Cadwalladr

Okay.

It took me days to get time together to read this whole thing, but I have finally done it.

This is it. This is the one article you need to read to understand just what is going on in Britain, America, and Russia.

This is the one piece of writing you need and can use to reference the very chilling reality that these countries have been tied together in the machinations  of just a few billionaires, and how Facebook and Google tie in insidiouslyi.

I keep telling y’all to stop fucking with facebook but that’s moot now. It’s so much bigger than this.

“Was that really what you called it, I ask him. Psychological warfare? “Totally. That’s what it is. Psyops. Psychological operations – the same methods the military use to effect mass sentiment change. It’s what they mean by winning ‘hearts and minds’. We were just doing it to win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules.”Why would anyone want to intern with a psychological warfare firm, I ask him. And he looks at me like I am mad. “It was like working for MI6. Only it’s MI6 for hire. It was very posh, very English, run by an old Etonian and you got to do some really cool things. Fly all over the world. You were working with the president of Kenya or Ghana or wherever. It’s not like election campaigns in the west. You got to do all sorts of crazy shit.”“

This is not just a story about social psychology and data analytics.

 It has to be understood in terms of a military contractor using military strategies on a civilian population. 

Us. David Miller, a professor of sociology at Bath University and an authority in psyops and propaganda, says it is “an extraordinary scandal that this should be anywhere near a democracy. It should be clear to voters where information is coming from, and if it’s not transparent or open where it’s coming from, it raises the question of whether we are actually living in a democracy or not.”

“And it was Facebook that made it possible. It was from Facebook that Cambridge Analytica obtained its vast dataset in the first place. Earlier, psychologists at Cambridge University harvested Facebook data (legally) for research purposes and published pioneering peer-reviewed work about determining personality traits, political partisanship, sexuality and much more from people’s Facebook “likes”. And SCL/Cambridge Analytica contracted a scientist at the university, Dr Aleksandr Kogan, to harvest new Facebook data. And he did so by paying people to take a personality quiz which also allowed not just their own Facebook profiles to be harvested, but also those of their friends – a process then allowed by the social network.”

Read this. Read the entire thing. It will take you a while and it’s a lot to digest but you need to know.

Signal boost.

@sunderlorn we’re finally completely united in propaganda, isn’t that nice!?

mynormalusernamewasalreadytaken  asked:

Do you know when "canon," like as a concept, became like a standard nerd thing?

The amazing thing about the term “canon” is that it didn’t bubble up from the undifferentiated mass of fandom (who actually knows who came up with memes?). We know exactly and specifically where the word comes from when used in this context: an essay written by a Sherlock Holmes fan in 1911, who compared the wild and crazy veneration that fanatical Holmes fans have for the original stories, to holy writ. Another name for the books assembled in the Bible was the canon, as opposed to other books that, for various reasons, were left out of the Bible and “didn’t count.” In other words, the term was originally used ironically and in a self-deprecating way to talk about the almost religious intensity of Holmes fans. 

Part of the reason the term canon caught on was because, even in the 1910s, the public was so mad for Sherlock Holmes that there were all kinds of illegal imitators and non-Conan Doyle authors and knockoffs, and yes, there were even amateur works that were distributed by mail (what today we’d call “fanfiction,” some of which even survives today), so a crucial distinction began to arise between the stuff that was “official” and the stuff that wasn’t. So, here we have the three things that we need to even have the concept of canon as we define it: 1) a group dedicated enough to actually care, who can communicate, 2) a necessary distinction between “official” and not, particularly due to the presence of amateur works (what today we’d call fanfiction), 3) a long term property that could sustain that devotion. 

Now, of the three, which do you think was the one that was absent from a lot of science fiction fandom’s first few decades? It’s actually 3. Canon only matters if it’s something other than just a single story, which the business model of the pulps discouraged. Like TV in the 1960s, every story had to be compartmentalized and serial storytelling was mostly discouraged.

One fandom, big from the 1930s to the 1960s was E.E. Smith’s space opera Lensman series. The Lensman stories were so popular that it received 5 sequels, all of which were planned from the outset. Some Lensman fanfiction from the 1940s is actually still available for reading. Part of the reason the Lensman stories were so popular is that it described a consistent world with consistent attributes: Inertialess Drives, aliens like Chickladorians, Vegians, Rigellians, pressor beams, space axes, Valerian Space Marines, superdreadnoughts, “the Hell Hole in Space,” the works. It was way easier to get sucked into this than it was with the usual “one and done.”  Take for example, this amateur guide to the Lensman series, with art by Betty Jo Trimble.

Canon “policy” as we know it today, as a part of a corporate strategy, started with Star Trek: the Next Generation. Before that, there was no “multimedia property” big enough to necessitate it; Star Wars just didn’t care, which is why pre-Zahn “expanded universe” stories like the Marvel comics were so bonkers. There was no reason to believe that the Trek novels, including good ones by John M. Ford and Diane Duane, were anything else than totally official. Roddenberry, though, was deeply angry about losing control of the film series, and due to his illness (hidden from the public at the time), his canon policy was enforced by his overly zealous attorney. In Star Trek canon, for a long time, the only thing that counted was what was on screen. And not even that…the Star Trek animated series, for several decades, was decanonized. (It wasn’t until Deep Space 9 that animated references crept back in, and today, it’s as canon as everything else).

I don’t want to scare anyone, and this is hearsay, but I’ve heard from three people who were there that Next Generation writers, at least as long as Roddenberry and his attorney were around, were encouraged to not think of the original series as canon at all. References to Spock and even an episode that had an appearance by the Gorn were rewritten.

The Star Trek canon policy was so harsh and unexpected that rules were invented deliberately to kick out popular reference sources, like the rule that starships could only have even numbered nacelles, which meant much of the Franz Joseph guides, published in the millions and praised by Roddenberry and others as official, were vindictively decanonized. 

Star Wars canon is interesting because it was entirely created by the West End Roleplaying Game. It was the only major Star Wars product printed in the Star Wars Dark Age, the 5-6 years between 1986-1991 when all toy lines and comics were canceled and the fandom was effectively in a coma or dead. The Roleplaying Game was the first place that information was collected from diverse sources like the comics and novels. Every single Star Wars novelist read the West End game because it was the only time all this information was in one place. 

Marvel Comics canon is a very interesting example because it was a harbinger of things to come: superhero comics were one of the earliest places in geek culture where the “inmates started to run the asylum”…that is to say, fans produced the comics, guys like Roy Thomas (creator of the Vision and Ultron) who started off as a fanzine writer. Because of the back and forth in letters pages, there was an emphasis on everyone keeping it all together that didn’t exist at DC, which at last count, had 5 (!) totally contradictory versions of Atlantis. 

The Dos and Don’ts of Beginning a Novel:  An Illustrated Guide

I’ve had a lot of asks lately for how to begin a book (or how not to), so here’s a post on my general rules of thumb for story openers and first chapters!  

Please note, these are incredibly broad generalizations;  if you think an opener is right for you, and your beta readers like it, there’s a good chance it’s A-OK.  When it comes to writing, one size does not fit all.  (Also note that this is for serious writers who are interested in improving their craft and/or professional publication, so kindly refrain from the obligatory handful of comments saying “umm, screw this, write however you want!!”)

So without further ado, let’s jump into it!

Don’t: 

1.  Open with a dream. 

“Just when Mary Sue was sure she’d disappear down the gullet of the monstrous, winged pig, she woke up bathed in sweat in her own bedroom.”

What?  So that entire winged pig confrontation took place in a dream and amounts to nothing?  I feel so cheated! 

Okay, not too many people open their novels with monstrous swine, but you get the idea:  false openings of any kind tend to make the reader feel as though you’ve wasted their time, and don’t usually jump into more meaty action of the story quickly enough.  It makes your opening feel lethargic and can leave your audience yawning.

Speaking of… 

2.  Open with a character waking up.  

This feels familiar to most of us, but unless your character is waking up to a zombie attack or an alien invasion, it’s generally a pretty easy recipe to get your story to drag.

No one picks a book to hear how your character brushes their teeth in the morning or what they’d like to have for dinner.  As a general rule of thumb, we read to explore things we wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.  And cussing out the alarm clock is not one of them.  

Granted, there are exceptions if your writing is exceptionally engaging, but in most cases it just sets a slow pace that will bore you and your reader to death and probably cause you to lose interest in your book within the first ten pages.  

3.  Bombard with exposition.  

Literary characters aren’t DeviantArt OCs.  And the best way to convey a character is not, in my experience, to devote the first ten pages to describing their physical appearance, personality, and backstory.  Develop your characters, and make sure their fully fleshed out – my tips on how to do so here – but you don’t need to dump all that on the reader before they have any reason to care about them.  Let the reader get to know the character gradually, learn about them, and fall in love with them as they would a person:  a little bit at a time.   

This is iffy when world building is involved, but even then it works best when the delivery feels organic and in tune with the book’s overall tone.  Think the opening of the Hobbit or Good Omens.

4.  Take yourself too seriously.

Your opener (and your novel in general) doesn’t need to be intellectually pretentious, nor is intellectual pretense the hallmark of good literature.  Good literature is, generally speaking, engaging, well-written, and enjoyable.  That’s it.  

So don’t concern yourself with creating a poetic masterpiece of an opening line/first chapter.  Just make one that’s – you guessed it – engaging, well-written, and enjoyable. 

5.  Be unintentionally hilarious.

Utilizing humor in your opening line is awesome, but check yourself to make sure your readers aren’t laughing for all the wrong reasons (this is another reason why betas are important.)  

These examples of the worst opening lines in published literature will show you what I mean – and possibly serve as a pleasant confidence booster as well: 

“As the dark and mysterious stranger approached, Angela bit her lip anxiously, hoping with every nerve, cell, and fiber of her being that this would be the one man who would understand – who would take her away from all this – and who would not just squeeze her boob and make a loud honking noise, as all the others had.”

– Ali Kawashima

“She sipped her latte gracefully, unaware of the milk foam droplets building on her mustache, which was not the peachy-fine baby fuzz that Nordic girls might have, but a really dense, dark, hirsute lip-lining row of fur common to southern Mediterranean ladies nearing menopause, and winked at the obviously charmed Spaniard at the next table.”

– Jeanne Villa

“As I gardened, gazing towards the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug – innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons – and in feeling that warm slime, be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me.”

– Mary E. Patrick

“Before they met, his heart was a frozen block of ice, scarred by the skate blades of broken relationships, then she came along and like a beautiful Zamboni flooded his heart with warmth, scraped away the ugly slushy bits, and dumped them in the empty parking lot of his soul.”

– Howie McClennon

If these can get published, so can you.

Do:

1.  You know that one really interesting scene you’re itching to write?  Start with that.

Momentum is an important thing in storytelling.  If you set a fast, infectious beat, you and your reader will be itching to dance along with it.  

Similarly, slow, drowsy openers tend to lead to slow, drowsy stories that will put you both to sleep.

I see a lot of posts joking about “that awkward moment when you sit down to write but don’t know how to get to that one scene you actually wanted to write about.”  Write that scene!  If it’s at all possible, start off with it.  If not, there are still ways you can build your story around the scenes you actually want to write.

Keep in mind:  if you’re bored, your reader will almost certainly be bored as well.  So write what you want to write.  Write what makes you excited.  Don’t hold off until later, when it “really gets good.”  Odds are, the reader will not wait around that long, and you’re way more likely to become disillusioned with your story and quit.  If a scene is dragging, cut it out.  Burn bridges, find a way around.  Live, dammit. 

2.  Engage the reader.

There are several ways to go about this.  You can use wit and levity, you can present a question, and you can immerse the reader into the world you’ve created.  Just remember to do so with subtlety, and don’t try too hard;  believe me, it shows.  

Here are some of my personal favorite examples of engaging opening lines: 

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." 

– Douglas Adams, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

"It was the day my grandmother exploded.”

– Iain Banks, Crow Road.

“A white Pomeranian named Fluffy flew out of the a fifth-floor window in Panna, which was a grand-new building with the painter’s scaffolding still around it. Fluffy screamed.”

– Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games.

See what I’m saying?  They pull you in and do not let go.

3.  Introduce us to a main character (but do it right.)

“Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don’t-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife.”

– Neil Gaiman, American Gods.

This is one of my favorite literary openings of all time, because right off the bat we know almost everything we need to know about Shadow’s character (i.e. that he’s rugged, pragmatic, and loving.)   

Also note that it doesn’t tell us everything about Shadow:  it presents questions that make us want to read more.  How did Shadow get into prison?  When will he get out?  Will he reunite with his wife?  There’s also more details about Shadow slowly sprinkled in throughout the book, about his past, personality, and physical appearance.  This makes him feel more real and rounded as a character, and doesn’t pull the reader out of the story.

Obviously, I’m not saying you should rip off American Gods.  You don’t even need to include a hooker eating a guy with her cooch if you don’t want to.  

But this, and other successful openers, will give you just enough information about the main character to get the story started;  rarely any good comes from infodumping, and allowing your reader to get to know your character gradually will make them feel more real.   

4.  Learn from the greats.

My list of my favorite opening lines (and why I love them) is right here.

5.  Keep moving.  

The toughest part of being a writer is that it’s a rare and glorious occasion when you’re actually satisfied with something you write.  And to add another layer of complication, what you like best probably won’t be what your readers will like best. 

If you refuse to keep moving until you have the perfect first chapter, you will never write anything beyond your first chapter.  

Set a plan, and stick to it:  having a daily/weekly word or page goal can be extremely helpful, especially when you’re starting out.  Plotting is a lifesaver (some of my favorite posts on how to do so here, here, and here.)

Keep writing, keep moving, and rewrite later.  If you stay in one place for too long, you’ll never keep going. 

Best of luck, and happy writing.  <3

✰ * º ❛ even more popular text posts ask meme. ❜

‘  my kink is getting some fuckin sleep.  ’
‘  omg here goes your lil crybaby ass.  ’
‘  the beatles wouldn’t even fucking exist if big time rush hadn’t paved the path for them so shut the fuck up.  ’
‘  don’t start buddy. don’t you dare.  ’
‘  gay rights? true, as a gay, i am always right.  ’
‘  not to vent, but: fuck.  ’
‘  the worst pain is to make small talk with someone you once told everything to.  ’
‘  i think i accidentally break my own heart a lot.  ’
‘  sometimes ‘brb’ stands for ‘be ready bitch’ so you have to be careful.  ’
‘  i want to kiss you in a way that makes you not want to kiss anyone else ever again.  ’
‘  shout out to the people who are still friends with me even though i’m a fucking idiot.  ’
‘  it’s safe to assume that at any given moment i want to go back to bed.  ’
‘  i’m a big fan of anything that will help me chill the fuck out.  ’
‘  i don’t go through people’s pictures on their phone cause i wasn’t raised in the jungle.  ’
‘  i think we, as a people, just need to have a glass of water.  ’
‘  i don’t have enough black clothes.  ’
‘  sweetie, i could sleep for ten years and i’d still be tired.  ’
‘  i would sleep so much better with your arms wrapped around me.  ’
‘  me??? tired??? sleepy??? yes, constantly.  ’
‘  i’m pb&j – petty, bitter, and jealous.  ’
‘  the fact that sloths aren’t extinct somehow proves that if you go at your own pace and mind your own fucking business you too can succeed.  ’
‘  i wish i could be the person i want to be, but i’m too tired.  ’
‘  i always look sleep deprived. is that hot?  ’
‘  just because there’s always room for improvement doesn’t mean you’ll never be good enough.  ’
‘  my heart is a soft and sensitive mess.  ’
‘  all i want is a big garden and no responsibilities.  ’
‘  honestly someone not liking beyonce is a deal breaker and not for any political reasons, but just like you’re probably, definitely really boring.  ’
‘  hey guys, i’m a huge fan of genuine love and affection.  ’
‘  now i’m falling asleep and she’s calling a crab and he’s having a smoke and she’s kissing the crab.  ’
‘  i’ve been ever since i heard ‘lonely’ by akon at 9 years-old.  ’
‘  my new years resolution is to stop.  ’
‘  i’m irritated cause i’m not lovable in a romantic soulmate way.  ’
‘  i hate knowing that people that ruined parts of me still live and function like nothing ever happened.  ’
‘  i know i’m cute, but you can remind me.  ’
‘  hey, just wondering, but are you fucking kidding me????  ’
‘  i can’t wait to be in love with someone who is also deepfuck in love with me and we love each other forever n’ ever.  ’
‘  me? clingy? yes. please don’t leave me.  ’
‘  girlfriend application compatibility question: do you keep your depression pile on the bed or on the floor?  ’
‘  anything heart shaped is automatically 200% better. this is a fact.  ’
‘  today’s agenda: screaming into the abyss.  ’
‘  going from ‘today is a good day’ to ‘i hate my life’ takes me approximately 2.6 seconds.  ’
‘  everyone needs to wash their face and go to bed.  ’
‘  i’m worth so much more than the ways i’ve been treated.  ’
‘  hey, can i claim you guys as dependents on my taxes?  ’
‘  i really just ignore phone calls. like leave a message. i don’t check those either but like  ’
‘  i honestly just want to pack my bags and go travel the world and see and explore everything possible.  ’
‘  remember being little and thinking dandelions were fun or a pretty color or something and every adult in an 80 mile radius wouldn’t let you say that without screaming IT’S A WEED.  ’
‘  why did we just accept catdog?  ’
‘  my ‘stay in bed all day’ game’s too strong.  ’
‘  you deserve to be loved without having to hide the parts of yourself that you think are unlovable.  ’
‘  i always forget that i literally don’t owe anyone anything!  ’
‘  i wonder what it feels like to know what the fuck is going on.  ’
‘  honestly… us girls? us women? we always out here, knowin.  ’
‘  would an alien think i’m pretty?  ’
‘  i love boys, but only as a concept.  ’
‘  why do parents get mad when you sleep in all day? like i’m staying out of trouble and i’m not spending your money like what’s the issue here????  ’
‘  i identify as an inconvenience to the world.  ’
‘  i seriously regret telling anyone, anything, ever lmao  ’
‘  dating me is like dating a five year-old. i need all of your attention and i’m cranky if i haven’t had a nap.  ’
‘  i’m literally tired of myself.  ’
‘  don’t introduce me to ur parents unless you plan on marrying me because they’re going to love me and ask about me for the rest of your life lol  ’
‘  what the hell is a straight person? only straight thing i know about is the edge of my beloved sword.  ’
‘  i highly recommend never having feelings.  ’
‘  self care is going into a cornfield at night to get abducted by aliens.  ’
‘  staying up late with another human is such a weird thing like you get this special bond and a what-is-this feeling  ’
‘  do u ever feel like ur not even friends with ur friends?  ’
‘  um no offense but whom’st’ve going to loveth me?  ’
‘  date a girl who fucks everything up.  ’
‘  not all who mcfreakin wander are mcfreakin lost.  ’
‘  i may legally be an adult but don’t be fooled. i have no idea what i’m doing.  ’
‘  a fun and interesting fact about me is that i’m a fucking idiot.  ’
‘  you can start again anytime!  ’
‘  all you can do is learn your lesson. there’s no point in wishing you had did differently. the past is the past.  ’
‘  i can’t believe an angel like me has to suffer so much.  ’
‘  you’re all so obsessed with love and being loved. what about just going to sleep?  ’
‘  i’m smart, but i do dumb shit anyway.  ’
‘  tbh i never deal with my emotions. i just let them ravage my body and then go to bed and then i wake up and do it all over again.  ’
‘  first of all: i don’t know shit, so jot that down.  ’
‘  i’ll just ¯\ _(ツ)_/¯ my way through life.  ’
‘  i’m tired of things costing money.  ’
‘  don’t you hate it when you’re dead inside and run out of apps to refresh?  ’
‘  who cares? do better, move on.  ’
‘  i don’t need a significant other. just a significant income.  ’
‘  appreciation for everyone who’s ever talked to me bc i’m annoying and dumb.  ’
‘  thnks fr th mntl llnss.  ’
‘  what  hasn’t killed me has just made me overly sensitive and defensive.  ’
‘  i don’t know shit ya’ll!!!!! i’m just out here.  ’
‘  binge-watching is great until you run out of the show and have to start watching it weekly like some sort of medieval peasant.  ’
‘  i’m in the wrong realm and i think everyone can tell.  ’
‘  this might come as a shock but I’m Not Feelin too good my dudes.  ’
‘  i’m alive, but only ironically.  ’
‘  there she goes again being over dramatic and by she, i mean me.  ’
‘  do you ever feel like have tried Too Hard to a friend and now you have become That Obnoxious Weirdo?  ’
‘  lgbt: lasagna! garfield’s beloved treat.  ’
‘  my favorite phrase in the english language is ‘i shit you not.’  ’
‘  i’m a real boring bitch! a snoozer!  ’
‘  i honestly look so good lounging in an oversized t-shirt and no pants. when will someone experience the blessing of domestic living w/ me?  ’
‘  you don’t understand how hard it is to take a selfie when you’re ugly.  ’
‘  you son of a mumford!  ’
‘  hi, i’m here to ruin everything.  ’
‘  you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their hands. for example, if it’s a skeleton hand then they’re dead.  ’
‘  the year is 2020 and i am found guilty of treason against the united states for vague blogging that i hate someone and donald trump thought it was about him.  ’
‘  everybody calm down, we’re going to be fine! :))) we’ve weathered worse than this! :) :) :) :) really all this panic just seems like a huge overreaction imho   ’
‘  no beta readers. we publish our crap writing like men.  ’
‘  i need $$$$$ not feelings.  ’
‘  ‘idk imma see’ = i ain’t coming, never was coming, never considered it, never gave it a single thought, only remembered cause you asked again.  ’
‘  oops, i don’t care lol  ’
‘  why girls always crop the halo out of their selfies? stop being so modest. we know the truth.  ’
‘  maurice, you’re not gonna fucking believe this,  ’
‘  i always get told i look like a bitch bc i’m always glaring while i walk, but i’m not glaring, i’m squinting. i have sensitive eyes. they’re watering.  ’
‘  concept: it’s 3 am. candle lit room. a record is spinning. you’re kissing me. we have no worries in the world. we’re warm and content.  ’
‘  i need to go into the forest and scream for an hour and a half.  ’
‘  pls kill all men who yell at girls from cars.  ’
‘  life really isn’t what i expected it to be. less quicksand. almost no quicksand to be honest. lots of metaphorical quicksand tho.  ’
‘  i have a question for u: like are u done… like is it over?  ’
‘  we all have that one person who ruins your day by being alive.  ’
‘  we all have that one person who ruins your day by being alive. for me, it’s myself.  ’
‘  whenever i see police i always try not to act suspicious and fail internally even though i never did anything wrong.  ’
‘  new years resolution: less bitter, more glitter.  ’

How to Write a Novel:  Tips For Visual Thinkers.

1.  Plotting is your friend.

This is basically a must for all writers (or at least, it makes our job significantly easier/less time consuming/less likely to make us want to rip our hair out by the roots), but visual thinkers tend to be great at plotting.  There’s something about a visible outline that can be inexplicably pleasing to us, and there are so many great ways to go about it.   Here are a few examples: 

  • The Three-Act Structure
    • This one is one of the simplest:  it’s divided into the tried-and-true three acts, or parts, a la William Shakespeare, and includes a basic synopsis of what happens in each.  It’s simple, it’s familiar, it’s easy to add to, and it get’s the job done. 
    • It starts with Act I – i.e. the set-up, or establishing the status quo – which is usually best if it’s the shortest act, as it tends to bore audiences quickly.  This leads to Act II, typically the longest, which   introduces the disruptor and shows how characters deal with it, and is sandwiched by Act III (the resolution.)  
  • The Chapter-by-Chapter
    • This is the one I use the most.  It allows you to elucidate on the goings on of your novel in greater detail than the quintessential three act synopsis generally could, fully mapping out your manuscript one chapter at a time.  The descriptions can be as simple or as elaborate as you need them to be, and can be added to or edited throughout the progression of your novel.
    • Can easily be added to/combined with the three-act structure.
  • The Character Arc(s)
    • This isn’t one that I’ve used a lot, but it can be a lot of fun, particularly for voice-driven/literary works:  instead on focusing on the events of the plot, this one centralizes predominantly around the arc of your main character/characters.  As with its plot-driven predecessors, it can be in point-by-point/chapter-by-chapter format, and is a great way to map out character development.  
  • The Tent Moments
    • By “tent moments,” I mean the moments that hold up the foundation (i.e. the plot) of the novel, in the way that poles and wires hold up a tent.  This one builds off of the most prevalent moments of the novel – the one’s you’re righting the story around – and is great for writers that want to cut straight to the action.  Write them out in bullet points, and plan the rest of the novel around them.
  • The Mind Map
    • This one’s a lot of fun, and as an artist, I should probably start to use it more.  It allows you to plot out your novel the way you would a family tree, using doodles, illustrations, and symbols to your heart’s content.  Here’s a link to how to create basic mind maps on YouTube.

2.  “Show don’t tell” is probably your strong suit.

If you’re a visual thinker, your scenes are probably at least partially originally construed as movie scenes in your head.  This can be a good thing, so long as you can harness a little of that mental cinematography and make your readers visualize the scenes the way you do.

A lot of published authors have a real big problem with giving laundry lists of character traits rather than allowing me to just see for myself.  Maybe I’m spoiled by the admittedly copious amounts of fanfiction I indulge in, where the writer blissfully assumes that I know the characters already and let’s the personalities and visuals do the talking.  Either way, the pervasive “telling” approach does get tedious.

Here’s a hypothetical example.  Let’s say you wanted to describe a big, tough, scary guy, who your main character is afraid of.  The “tell” approach might go something like this:

Tommy was walking along when he was approached by a big, tough, scary guy who looked sort of angry.

“Hey, kid,” said the guy.  “Where are you going?”

“I’m going to a friend’s house,” Tommy replied.  

I know, right?  This is Boring with a capital ‘B.’  

On the other hand, let’s check out the “show” approach:

The man lumbered towards Tommy, shaved head pink and glistening in the late afternoon sun.  His beady eyes glinted predatorily beneath the thick, angry bushes of his brows.

“Hey, kid,” the man grunted, beefy arms folded over his pot belly.  “Where are you going?” 

“I’m going to a friend’s house,” Tommy replied, hoping the man didn’t know that he was ditching school.

See how much better that is?  We don’t need to be told the man is big, tough, and scary looking because the narrative shows us, and draws the reader a lot more in the process.  

This goes for scene building, too.  For example: 

Exhibit A:

Tyrone stepped out onto his balcony.  It was a beautiful night.

Lame.  

Exhibit B: 

Tyrone stepped out onto his balcony, looking up at the inky abyss of the night sky, dotted with countless stars and illuminated by the buttery white glow of the full moon.

Much better.

3.  But conversely, know when to tell.

A book without any atmosphere or vivid, transformative descriptors tends to be, by and large, a dry and boring hunk of paper.  That said, know when you’re showing the reader a little too much.

Too many descriptors will make your book overflow with purple prose, and likely become a pretentious read that no one wants to bother with.

So when do you “tell” instead of “show?”  Well, for starters, when you’re transitioning from one scene to the next.

For example:

As the second hand of the clock sluggishly ticked along, the sky ever-so-slowly transitioning from cerulean, to lilac, to peachy sunset.  Finally, it became inky black, the moon rising above the horizon and stars appearing by the time Lakisha got home.

These kind of transitions should be generally pretty immemorable, so if yours look like this you may want to revise.

Day turned into evening by the time Lakisha got home. 

See?  It’s that simple.

Another example is redundant descriptions:  if you show the fudge out of a character when he/she/they are first introduced and create an impression that sticks with the reader, you probably don’t have to do it again.  

You can emphasize features that stand out about the character (i.e. Milo’s huge, owline eyes illuminated eerily in the dark) but the reader probably doesn’t need a laundry list of the character’s physical attributes every other sentence.  Just call the character by name, and for God’s sake, stay away from epithets:  the blond man.  The taller woman.  The angel.  Just, no.  If the reader is aware of the character’s name, just say it, or rework the sentence. 

All that said, it is important to instill a good mental image of your characters right off the bat.

Which brings us to my next point…

4.  Master the art of character descriptions.

Visual thinkers tend to have a difficult time with character descriptions, because most of the time, they tend to envision their characters as played their favorite actors, or as looking like characters from their favorite movies or TV shows.

That’s why you’ll occasionally see characters popping up who are described as looking like, say, Chris Evans.  

It’s a personal pet peeve of mine, because A) what if the reader has never seen Chris Evans?  Granted, they’d probably have to be living on Mars, but you get the picture:  you don’t want your readers to have to Google the celebrity you’re thirsting after in order for them to envision your character.  B) It’s just plain lazy, and C) virtually everyone will know that the reason you made this character look like Chris Evans is because you want to bang Chris Evans.  

Not that that’s bad or anything, but is that really what you want to be remembered for?

Now, I’m not saying don’t envision your characters as famous attractive people – hell, that’s one of the paramount joys of being a writer.  But so’s describing people!  Describing characters is a lot of fun, draws in the reader, and really brings your character to life.

So what’s the solution?  If you want your character to look like Chris Evans, describe Chris Evans.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Exhibit A:

The guy got out of the car to make sure Carlos was alright, and holy cow, he looked just like Dean Winchester!

No bueno.  Besides the fact that I’m channeling the writing style of 50 Shades of Grey a little here, everyone who reads this is going to process that you’re basically writing Supernatural fanfiction.  That, or they’ll have to Google who Dean Winchester is, which, again, is no good.

Exhibit B:  

The guy got out of the car to make sure Carlos was alright, his short, caramel blond hair stirring in the chilly wind and a smattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose.  His eyes were wide with concern, and as he approached, Carlos could see that they were gold-tinged, peridot green in the late afternoon sun.

Also note that I’m keeping the description a little vague here;  I’m doing this for two reasons, the first of which being that, in general, you’re not going to want to describe your characters down to the last detail.  Trust me.  It’s boring, and your readers are much more likely to become enamored with a well-written personality than they are a vacant sex doll.  Next, by keeping the description a little vague, I effectively manage to channel a Dean Winchester-esque character without literally writing about Dean Winchester.

Let’s try another example: 

Exhibit A:

Charlotte’s boyfriend looked just like Idris Elba. 

Exhibit B:  

Charlotte’s boyfriend was a stunning man, eyes pensive pools of dark brown amber and a smile so perfect that it could make you think he was deliciously prejudiced in your favor.  His skin was dark copper, textured black hair gray at the temples, and he filled out a suit like no other.

Okay, that one may have been because I just really wanted to describe Idris Elba, but you get the point:  it’s more engaging for the reader to be able to imagine your character instead of mentally inserting some sexy fictional character or actor, however beloved they may be.

So don’t skimp on the descriptions!

5.  Don’t be afraid to find inspiration in other media!

A lot of older people recommend ditching TV completely in order to improve creativity and become a better writer.  Personally, if you’ll pardon my French, I think this is bombastic horseshit.  

TV and cinema are artistic mediums the same way anything else is.  Moreover, the sheer amount of fanart and fanfiction – some of which is legitimately better than most published content – is proof to me that you can derive inspiration from these mediums as much as anything else.

The trick is to watch media that inspires you.  I’m not going to say “good media” because that, in and of itself, is subjective.  I, for example, think Supernatural is a fucking masterpiece of intertextual postmodernism and amazing characterization, whereas someone else might think it’s a hot mess of campy special effects and rambling plotlines.  Conversely, one of my best friends loves Twilight, both the movies and the books, which, I’m going to confess, I don’t get at all.  But it doesn’t matter that it isn’t good to me so long as it’s good to her.   

So watch what inspires you.  Consume any whatever movies, books, and shows you’re enthusiastic about, figure out what you love most about them, and apply that to your writing.  Chances are, readers will find your enthusiasm infectious.

As a disclaimer, this is not to say you get a free pass from reading:  I’ve never met a good writer who didn’t read voraciously.  If you’re concerned that you can’t fall in love with books the way you used to (which, sadly, is a common phenomenon) fear not:  I grappled with that problem after I started college, and I’ll be posting an article shortly on how to fall back in love reading.

So in the meanwhile, be sure to follow my blog, and stay tuned for future content!

(This one goes out to my friend, beta reader, and fellow writer @megpieeee, who is a tremendous visual thinker and whose books will make amazing movies someday.)

anonymous asked:

I'm sorry to bother you, but do things really get better? I'm 16 right now and everything I know is sadness and exhaustion and anger and then I talk to my parents and they just complain about adult life... is it worth it to go on?

oh gosh, i promise, it’s worth waiting, buddy. i know there are a lot of people who say, oh it gets better. and it does in some ways, but what it really gets is different. the people who are angry and mean and horrible often stay that way. the people who cut you off or who flip you off or who piss you off often are the same people at 16 as at 26. 

i think i hated people telling me “it gets better” because what could get better about being a mentally ill queer cuban girl in a world that wanted to eat me. i got spat out. my writing isn’t published because i’ve been rejected so many times i don’t even notice anymore. i was told a few times “make it less obviously homosexual”. what is going to get better about that, i said to myself. the memory of it will never be a nice one.

things got different slowly. like i didn’t realize until i was far on the other side of it. i wasn’t kidding in that last post when i said today i read my writing at 15 and it was painfully obvious how depressed i was. i didn’t have a diagnosis. like you, all i knew was that i was exhausted and angry and sad all the time and when i talked about it, i was told “everyone feels that way sometimes.” i felt that way all the time. in this story, i don’t suddenly wake up after turning 18 and have a magical life where it is all bunnies and flowers and loving. it took me 3 years of trying before i finally managed to quit self-harm completely. my eating disorder and i are still not on speaking terms, luckily. i’m slowly getting a handle on my ocd. i didn’t realize that the biggest thing that was changing was me.

yeah. being out of the house made it easier. away from where people knew me as a certain person. being someone new or being who i was or being in a room full of people who didn’t care how gay i was. being in control made it better. finding real and true friends made it better. being able to make my own plans and choose my own story and do more than just wait until i was old enough to be taken seriously - it got better.

but honestly it’s me. i learned how to shake hands with depression, he and i are such good old buddies i sometimes see him before he’s even coming. and i’ve gotten so good at getting out of his embrace, because practice makes perfect, same as anything. and i’ve learned things about myself i had no idea about at 16. i didn’t even realize i’m funny. i had never been skinny dipping. my only kiss had been sort of an accident. there was a lot i cared about then that i don’t care about now, because in my new world outside of that, the people i surround myself with don’t care either. i’ve worn a dinosaur onesie pajama set to eight parties now when 19 year old me wouldn’t be seen without her makeup. i wear glasses in public even though i’m nervous they make me look like a bug. i have tattoos and new piercings and a bank account (and no money) and i have love. and i don’t mean with a partner, although i’m blessed enough to say i have that as well - i mean. i just found it. i taught myself how to look for it. i figured - listen, i’m here still, so i might as well, like, try to enjoy it. and it wasn’t overnight. it still goes away sometimes. but i love so much and so easily now. i laugh more because of it. i let myself love dogs and movies and silly things. and this love sort of … makes things better. because it reflects off of everything into you. like a mirror.

at sixteen… at sixteen i was very suicidal. i didn’t know that it applied to me, because i thought i was just annoying and lazy. looking back now i always pull a face at how obvious it was, and how close i got to walking myself into a grave. it was more than a close call. death, like, waved. i actually believed i wouldn’t make it past 18. what was the point? what was the point of anything? i think if i’d told myself then, “it gets better”, i would have laughed. “maybe for you!” i would have said, “you have money and a life and you’re not like this.” but it did get better. in inches. stick around to see it. stick around to see everything wonderful that’s waiting in the wings for you. that knows your name. a fate of beautiful moments that are small and precious, like butterflies landing on fingers or snowflakes on tongues, or just sitting with a good book during the rainfall. hell, stick around to write the book, because (trust me), if you believe in your art and yourself - it can be done.

stick around most of all because what gets better is you fall in love with yourself. the world doesn’t become suddenly sickeningly sweet, even if the people around you become better and you’re given more opportunity. that’s wonderful too but… what happens is that over time, the stuff they told you stops sticking. you realize that just because your nose is crooked it doesn’t even matter because it doesn’t stop you from being the best dang ping pong player in your family. you realize you have a family, even if they’re not blood. you realize you are your own family. and you learn to take care of yourself and yes, it gets ugly at times, but you manage. and inside of managing there’s all these wonderful successes like mac and cheese and getting the bills done and the smell of clean laundry and friends that make you laugh so hard you almost pee and an apartment with plants in every corner and a hairless cat in sweaters or a dog with a bowtie or both and watching movies and reading books and seeing art, all of which haven’t been created yet, and possibly you’re the one who makes them. and managing … managing doesn’t have to be big. sometimes it’s just making a small difference. and sometimes the person you make a difference to is yourself. and that’s amazing.

stick around because, trust me, somewhere in there, you meet your younger self in your dreams and you tell her - oh gosh, i promise, it’s worth waiting, buddy.

Top Misconceptions People Have about Pulp-Era Science Fiction

A lot of people I run into have all kinds of misconceptions about what pulp-era scifi, from the 1920s-1950s, was actually like. 


“Pulp-Era Science Fiction was about optimistic futures.”

Optimistic futures were always, always vastly outnumbered by end of the world stories with mutants, Frankenstein creations that turn against us, murderous robot rebellions, terrifying alien invasions, and atomic horror. People don’t change. Then as now, we were more interested in hearing about how it could all go wrong. 

To quote H.L. Gold, editor of Galaxy Science Fiction, in 1952: 

“Over 90% of stories submitted to Galaxy Science Fiction still nag away at atomic, hydrogen and bacteriological war, the post atomic world, reversion to barbarism, mutant children killed because they have only ten toes and fingers instead of twelve….the temptation is strong to write, ‘look, fellers, the end isn’t here yet.’”

The movie Tomorrowland is a particulary egregious example of this tremendous misconception (and I can’t believe Brad Bird passed on making Force Awakens to make a movie that was 90 minutes of driving through the Florida swamps). In reality, pre-1960s scifi novels trafficked in dread, dystopian futures, and fear. There was simply never a time when optimistic scifi was overrepresented, even the boyish Jules Verne became skeptical of the possibilities of technology all the way at the turn of the century. One of the most famous pulp scifi yarns was Jack Williamson’s The Humanoids, about a race of Borg-like robots who so totally micromanage humans “for our own protection” that they leave us with nothing to do but wait “with folded hands.”


“Pulp scifi often featured muscular, large-chinned, womanizing main characters.”

Here’s the image often used in parodies of pulp scifi: the main character is a big-chinned, ultra-muscular dope in tights who is a compulsive womanizer and talks like Adam West in Batman. Whenever I see this, I think to myself…what exactly is it they’re making fun of?

It’s more normal than you think to find parodies of things that never actually existed. Mystery buffs and historians, for example, can’t find a single straight example of “the Butler did it.” It’s a thing people think is a thing that was never a thing, and another example would be the idea of the “silent film villain” in a mustache and top hat (which there are no straight examples of, either). There are no non-parody examples of Superman changing in a phone booth; he just never did this.

In reality, my favorite description of pulp mag era science fiction heroes is that they are “wisecracking Anglo-Saxon engineers addicted to alcohol and tobacco who like nothing better than to explain things to others that they already know.” The average pulp scifi hero had speech patterns best described as “Mid-Century American Wiseass” than like Adam West or the Lone Ranger. 

The nearest the Spaceman Spiff stereotype came to hitting the mark was with the magazine heroes of the Lensmen and Captain Future, and they’re both nowhere near close. Captain Future was a muscular hero with a chin, but he also had a Captain Picard level desire to use diplomacy first, and believed that most encounters with aliens were only hostile due to misunderstandings and lack of communication (and the story makes him right). He also didn’t seem interested in women, mostly because he had better things to do for the solar system and didn’t have the time for love. The Lensmen, on the other hand, had a ruthless, bloodthirsty streak, and were very much like the “murder machine” Brock Sampson (an attitude somewhat justified by the stakes in their struggle). 


“Pulp Era Scifi were mainly action/adventure stories with good vs. evil.” 

This is a half-truth, since, like so much other genre fiction, scifi has always been sugared up with fight scenes and chases. And there was a period, early in the century, when most scifi followed the Edgar Rice Burroughs model and were basically just Westerns or swashbucklers with different props, ray guns instead of six-shooters. But the key thing to remember is how weird so much of this scifi was, and that science fiction, starting in the mid-1930s, eventually became something other than just adventure stories with different trappings. 

One of my favorite examples of this is A. Bertram Chandler’s story, “Giant-Killer.” The story is about rats on a starship who acquire intelligence due to proximity to the star drive’s radiation, and who set about killing the human crew one by one. Another great example is Eando Binder’s Adam Link stories, told from the point of view of a robot who is held responsible for the death of his creator.

What’s more, one of the best writers to come out of this era is best known for never having truly evil bad guys: Isaac Asimov. His “Caves of Steel,” published in 1953, had no true villains. The Spacers, who we assumed were snobs, only isolated themselves because they had no immunities to the germs of earth.


“Racism was endemic to the pulps.”

It is absolutely true that the pulps reflected the unconscious views of society as a whole at the time, but as typical of history, the reality was usually much more complex than our mental image of the era. For instance, overt racism was usually shown as villainous: in most exploration magazines like Adventure, you can typically play “spot the evil asshole we’re not supposed to like” by seeing who calls the people of India “dirty monkeys” (as in Harold Lamb). 

Street & Smith, the largest of all of the pulp publishers, had a standing rule in the 1920s-1930s to never to use villains who were ethnic minorities because of the fear of spreading race hate by negative portrayals. In fact, in one known case, the villain of Resurrection Day was going to be a Japanese General, but the publisher demanded a revision and he was changed to an American criminal. Try to imagine if a modern-day TV network made a rule that minority groups were not to be depicted as gang bangers or drug dealers, for fear that this would create prejudice when people interact with minority groups in everyday life, and you can see how revolutionary this policy was. It’s a mistake to call this era very enlightened, but it’s also a mistake to say everyone born before 1970 was evil.


“Pulp scifi writers in the early days were indifferent to scientific reality and played fast and loose with science.”

 FALSE.

 This is, by an order of magnitude, the most false item on this list.

In fact, you might say that early science fiction fandom were obsessed with scientific accuracy to the point it was borderline anal retentive. Nearly every single one of the lettercols in Astounding Science Fiction were nitpickers fussing about scientific details. In fact, modern scifi fandom’s grudging tolerance for storytelling necessities like sound in space at the movies, or novels that use “hyperspace” are actually something of a step down from what the culture around scifi was in the 1920s-1950s. Part of it was due to the fact that organized scifi fandom came out of science clubs; Hugo Gernsback created the first scifi pulp magazine as a way to sell electronics and radio equipment to hobbyists, and the “First Fandom” of the 1930s were science enthusiasts who talked science first and the fiction that speculated about it second.

In retrospect, a lot of it was just plain obvious insecurity: in a new medium considered “kid’s stuff,” they wanted to show scifi was plausible, relevant, and something different from “fairy tales.” It’s the same insecure mentality that leads video gamers to repeatedly ask if games are art. You’ve got nothing to prove there, guys, calm down (and take it from a pulp scifi aficionado, the most interesting things are always done in the period when a medium is considered disposable trash). 

One of the best examples was the famous Howard P. Lovecraft, who published “The Shadow out of Time” in the 1936 issue of Astounding. Even though it might be the only thing from that issue that is even remotely reprinted today, the letters page from this issue practically rose up in revolt against this story as not being based on accurate science. Lovecraft was never published in Astounding ever again.

If you ever wanted to find out what Star Wars would be like if they were bigger hardasses about scientific plausibility, check out E.E. Smith’s Lensman series. People expect a big, bold, brassy space opera series with heroes and villains to play fast and loose, but it was shockingly scientifically grounded.

To be fair, science fiction was not a monolith on this. One of the earliest division in science fiction was between the Astounding Science Fiction writers based in New York, who often had engineering and scientific backgrounds and had left-wing (in some cases, literally Communist) politics, and the Amazing Stories writers based in the Midwest, who were usually self taught, and had right-wing, heartland politics. Because the Midwestern writers in Amazing Stories were often self-taught, they had a huge authority problem with science and played as fast and loose as you could get. While this is true, it’s worth noting science fiction fandom absolutely turned on Amazing Stories for this, especially when the writers started dabbling with spiritualism and other weirdness like the Shaver Mystery. And to this day, it’s impossible to find many Amazing Stories tales published elsewhere.

Fanfic author ask meme

My first ask meme, and one that’s been on my mind for a while! Feel free to reblog for your it for yourself, answer them, or ask me for my answers! Read more break after 10/50 to help keep this from clogging any dashboards

1. What was your first fic and could you stand to reread it today?

2. What’s your most recent fic and how far do you think you’ve come?

3. In your opinion, what’s your best fic?

4. In your opinion and without looking at any numbers, what’s your most popular fic?

5. Is there any fic that makes you super happy to reread and remember you wrote that?

6. Is there any fic that makes you super embarrassed to reread and remember you wrote that?

7. What’s the fic you most want to continue (unfinished or no)?

8. What’s the oldest (longest since last update) fic you most want to continue (unfinished or no)?

9. Have you ever written for a fandom without watching/reading/playing the source material?

10. Have you ever written for a fandom without reading other fanfic for it?

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Construction revenge ten years in making and why I will never have another business partner.

Long story. TL:DR at bottom.

A little over ten years ago, when I was a young carpenter, I met a guy who I’ll call “chad” because f*ck chad.

Chad was a new hire by the company I was working for, and became my helper. We got along famously even though he was 10 years older than me, he didn’t mind working under a 23 year old carpenter as an apprentice.

Chad and I had worked together for 6 months when he brought up the idea of starting a business together, he figured between the two of us, we could easily run a crew and build houses.

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malec-go-to-hogwarts  asked:

hi cassie :) i've been a fan of the books since 2010 and it's been amazing to see how much they've grown in terms of popularity and audience. I would love to know whether you came up with the idea to write the eldest curses because of how popular Magnus became and the reaction to him or was the idea in your head from the beginning and you decided to finally write it :) also could i be cheeky and ask for a snippet from the lost book of the white preferably featuring Alec....

I was excited to write the story of Magnus and Alec Having An Adventure and Falling More In Love for a very long time, but my ability to do so was limited by the way publishing and distribution worked back in 2005, when I was initially trying to sell City of Bones. There was a lot more resistance to gay characters in YA at that time. A couple of publishers turned the book down because Alec, a gay character, was in it. The Barnes & Noble website page for City of Bones included a review from Commonsense Media where they gave it a content warning for “sexual content” just because of the presence of a gay character even though he never did anything sexual. A lot of big box stores refused to carry the book, and major children’s book clubs passed it over. 


I always hoped for systems to change. As the books grew more popular, and as times changed, I was able to include more of Magnus and Alec as the series went on. In fact, their presence in the story and on the page made a big jump starting in CoFA, at which point I received a surge of criticism from those who were upset that I was writing about Magnus and Alec more prominently. I remember having my books pulled from libraries; foreign translators cut scenes with Magnus and Alec in them; once I was standing in the middle of the street about to get into a car to take me to a school where I was going to do a talk about my books when my publicist came up and said we were no longer invited: the school had read about Magnus and Alec and they didn’t want me there. Or often, if I was at a school, I’d be asked not to talk about Magnus and Alec while speaking to the students.


I tried to walk a careful line, including Magnus and Alec (and later, Aline and Helen) as significant and meaningful characters, but still managing to keep schools, libraries, and reading groups from throwing the books out or locking them up where the kids who most needed to read them wouldn’t be able to access them at all.


I held onto the hope that attitudes would continue to shift, to allow for more freedom to write characters who accurately represent the population of the world we live in (and represent my own friends and family, on whom Alec and Helen specifically are based). Hope that I’d be able to expand roles for characters like Magnus and Alec, and over the past twelve years — partly as I’ve carved out my career in a way where I can take the sales hits that sometimes result from major LGBT+ inclusion, and partly because of so many brave writers, readers, editors and publishers who’ve pushed for change — I’ve been able to do so more and more. 


When I was writing CoFA, I purposefully left a gap where Magnus and Alec go on vacation, with the idea that someday I could go back and fill in that gap with a story focused on them. For a long time that wasn’t something that companies wanted to buy and publish. I could have self-published the series, but I wanted the books on the shelves in stores, on the “bestsellers” rack with every other book I’ve written, making a statement about how much people want this kind of book and these kind of characters. I chose to write the story now when I did because Simon and Schuster, my publisher, opened Saga Press, an imprint dedicated to expanding what you can do in YA and cross-publishing with adult fantasy/sci fi. It’s Saga that will be publishing The Eldest Curses.

I thought a lot about what to say here because of two things: one, that people don’t like to hear about pushback against writing non-straight characters — it’s depressing (it is), it seems distant, unreal, how can these old systems and thought processes still exist? We’ve had successful books with gay characters in them! We’re done, right? I guess all I can say is that I think there’s a value to illuminating the pushback because it underlines how important it is to keep supporting books with LGBT+ characters because we are not there yet; we’re not where those books are give the same budgets and marketing and push as books with straight casts, and it takes the support of readers and reviewers and bookstore and library buyers to get us there.

I’d also say that I know I’ll get criticism for saying I was careful in my portrayal of Magnus and Alec until I felt like I’d gotten to a place where even if the fact that they were in love, lived together, even had sex was shown or even just implied (as it is in CoFA) it wouldn’t mean the books were locked up in libraries and slapped with warning labels. I guess I can only say it’s hard to navigate a situation where you fear the very kids who need to read about Magnus and Alec won’t be able to. When you meet kids who say “This book saved my life” so many times, and you think “But what if you couldn’t get to it? What if your school wouldn’t carry it, or your library, or your Walmart, which in small towns is sometimes literally the only source of books?) I accept that criticism. We all face hard choices in life and we make complicated decisions we think are for the best, and being criticized for those decisions is part of living and learning.

I guess the only other thing I’d say is whatever shitty things were said to me over the years about Magnus and Alec, they pale in comparison to the shitty things said to writers like Malinda Lo and Scott Tracey who were writing their own lives and experiences in the form of LGB characters on the page — and as Malinda says, their pain at confronting homophobia/biphobia will always be more visceral and personal than mine.

If you go out and buy The Lost Book of the White of course I’ll be thrilled, and a lot of that will be because it’s a way to show publishers that this kind of media and these protagonists are wanted and desired by readers. But I’d be just as thrilled if you picked up any fantasy by an LGB+ writer with LBG+ characters in it. There’s a ton of wonderful stuff and I hope you’ll explore it.

Don’t Doubt Your Writing

Anonymous asked: “Any advice for the crippling self-doubt with writing? I do short stories and I never think they’re good enough.”

Get ready for probably one of the worst pep-talks ever written. The first time I heard someone say (and not to me actually), “No one asked you to be a writer,” was probably the first time I realized I didn’t actually have to write. 

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@Doodledrawsthings’s sweater bendy au is a treasure that should be passed down through the generations ok.  I just wanted to post a headcanon of how Bendy got the sweater from Mabel.

Weeelll, i’m considering burying myself in the backyard now….

Favourite Jikook stories/au’s on AO3

Hope this list helps out! Got some of you asking about it so made a full post :) 

1,  On Patrol - Season 2 by Ragi (season 1)  
Officer Jeon still has his eyes on Mr. Adorable.
Officer Min is a little bit in love with his neighbor.
Captain Kim finds comfort in his new family.
It’s happily ever after for everyone…right?
I mean, really, what can possibly go wrong?

2, Heartwrecker by yuuami
“What if you accidentally fall in love?”
Jeon Jungkook is a full-time student and part-time “Heartwrecker”: that is, he gets paid to break up relationships by seducing women away from their partners. His records, much like his appearance, were flawless.
But when Jungkook is hired to break up the relationship of Taehyung’s childhood best friend, he finds the presence of overwhelmingly attractive Park Jimin a bit more distracting than he could ever expect it to be…

3, Ocean Eyes by BansheeAHo
Jimin spent a long time trying to gather pieces of his heart with trembling hands, only for Jeongguk to stumble and let it fall to the ground again.

4,  My Favourite Kind of Crime by DulcetSmiles
Jeon Jeongguk’s your everyday police officer, working the daily grind and getting through life without much of a care. It isn’t until a certain Park Jimin is transferred to his division that he starts to question things he hasn’t before, coming face to face with feelings he isn’t quite sure of.

Or

That one cliche trope where Park Jimin is so attractive that Jeon Jeongguk finds himself questioning his sexuality.

5,  your little moon face, shining bright at me by cygnus (lucid_wisteria)
“Whoa,” Jimin let his mouth slightly hang open in complete awe. His voice– it was rich and dulcet, a beautiful tone that seemed to enrapture the entire audience as well. There was an airiness to his voice, something akin to tender passion intertwined with a soft spirit, effortlessly undulating through the run of notes and ad-libs. No one seemed to care about the small junctures of instability, no doubt from the anxiety he had from his first time performing in front of others, and it was only the subsequent beauty they could focus on, “he’s–”“Hot.” Hoseok finished for him, eyes blown wide with delight. Jimin frowned and gave him an inquisitive leer. He caught Jimin staring, “What?“

Or

Jimin meets someone interesting during one of their open mic nights.

6, Énouement by Hobimii
In which Jeon Jeongguk is a chauffeur who’s stuck with a guy that won’t stop requesting a pick up from him. Park Jimin refuses to be taken anywhere if the driver is not Jeongguk.
Rich boys are a fucking handful to deal with.

7,Muted love by papa_ya
But the words are silent, falling from his lips and rolling soundlessly down the floor. His mouth moves uselessly, trying to emit sound, and sound. He is a marionette on broken strings.
What the fuck?
Jimin frowns. Concern etches his soft features.
Kookie, what’s wrong with your voice?”

–Or;

Jimin is a model living with his tattoo artist boyfriend. Nine years into their relationship, Jungkook loses his voice. The only cure is to say the thing he has been holding back from saying.

8, Pick me up by Priska
"I’m older, that makes me your hyung.” He explains as if it wasn’t obvious and jungkook has the audacity to actually look offended.
“But I’m alpha and you’re an omega. Age doesn’t matter, I’m above you.”

9, Things Half Done (Things Half Said) by gloomy
Jungkook tries to deal with living 325 kilometers away from his best friend, and finds that he simply can’t.

10, We’re headed to nowhere (but nowhere is somewhere to me) by soxfordcomma
In which jimin’s husband stopped loving him a long time ago, and the universe wants to bring the glow back to the young man’s cheeks. 
(This was published a few days ago but guyyyyys I’m already in love with it. After On patrol and Ocean Eyes this is a must read for me) 

11,  너의 목소리 Your Voice by pinkmonnie

“Is it possible to fall in love with someone just by the sound of their voice?”

Jeon Jungkook is a twenty-three year old young man, starting his tertiary studies at Seoul National University. He is incredibly independent, handsome, and rich. He is mute. The only thing he loves to do is live inside his own little world full of books and music and photographs.

Park Jimin is a twenty-five year old Assistant Professor in the College of Humanities. He moved 3 minutes away from campus just so he could dedicate more time to researching and teaching. His dream is to become an actual Professor and write books about Japan.

They fall in love.

12, Don’t Think, Don’t Speak, Just Smile for Me by Ragi
Jimin’s not entirely certain that he’ll be alive to see his 18th birthday and finally escape from his father’s abuse, but Jungkook’s music keeps him believing that he might actually make it.

13, The Bet by jonghyunslisterine
Where Jeon Jungkook makes a bet that he can get the notoriously single Park Jimin to sleep with him by the end of the semester.Needless to say, things don’t go exactly as planned.

14, Can’t pin me down by busan_brat
Jeon Jungkook is Asia’s biggest pop star and it is Park Jimin’s job to make sure that it stays that way. (This is my forever favourite, it’s super good.) 

15, Once upon a timeshare by namakemono
Jungkook is in desperate need of a vacation, but spending two weeks in Namjoon and Hoseok’s timeshare in Okinawa with his recently separated ex of three years was probably (definitely) not what he had in mind.

16, Nice Guy by drpuffles
Jeon Jungkook is 23 and already the CEO of SJ Group. He thinks he’s got everything figured out, until he meets Park Jimin.Their lives become more intertwined than Jungkook could’ve ever imagined.

17, Can You Give Me My Breath Back by DeadpanSnarker
Six months till the tournament that would decide Jungkook’s future.
Six months where he and his team were in dire need to monopolize the ice-rink that had taken a liking to Uni’s new sweetheart. Where Jimin made a bet with Jungkook, which, if Jungkook lost, he would have to be taught how to ‘truly’ skate.

Or as how Jimin had phrased it, ‘By the time I’m done with you, you’ll have fallen in love with figure-skating’. Surely things didn’t work out in Jungkook’s favour.

In their fickle game, Jungkook is in for sex and Jimin is in for love. By the end of the six months, perhaps he would like figure-skating, but he would have adamantly fallen in love with the figure-skater.

Old Friends, New Beginnings

I was halfway through writing A CONJURING OF LIGHT when I realized I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. 

My characters were on a boat in the middle of the sea, en route to a floating market, when I called my editor, Miriam, and said, “I’m not done.”

Miriam asked if I needed another book in the Shades of Magic arc—an idea we’d floated once or twice, when trying to decide if the series was a trilogy or a quartet—and I said no. There was a story I was telling in Shades of Magic, a story that started with a simple black stone, a story I wanted to finish.

CONJURING was the book where I was supposed to tie off all the threads. Closed the doors. Write the end.

And I did.

But I also took a chance.

As I wrote, I starting weaving in a few new threads. Not many. Just enough to catch the lock, keep the door from closing all the way.

By the time I finished Shades of Magic, I’d started Threads of Power.

I knew I wanted to tell a new story, one that included the cast of Shades of Magic without focusing exclusively on them. I envisioned a set of three interconnecting books, each with its own protagonist—a tinkerer who can pull the threads of magic, a noble who has her birthright stolen, a con artist born with a lucky streak but no power—their lives intertwining against a backdrop where a prince has become king, a thief has become a pirate, and new dangers are beginning to threaten the three Londons.

And here we are.

I couldn’t be happier to announce that the story that began with a peculiar coat and a picked pocket will officially continue. Not because I dreamed it, but because readers have loved Shades of Magic enough to force it on their friends, neighbors, colleagues, because my agent believed and my editor believed and my publisher believed and you believed it was possible.

The first three books in the new deal will be Threads of Power. The fourth will be a project tentatively titled BLACK TABS–about a female assassin in futuristic NYC. Additionally, I’m writing VENGEFUL, the sequel to VICIOUS, and a stand-alone story called THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LA RUE, about a girl who makes a Faustian bargain to live forever, only to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

For full details on the new deal, head HERE

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Sketchy Behavior | Hellen Jo 

Never afraid to speak and/or draw her mind, Los Angeles based artist and illustrator, Hellen Jo and her characters can be described as rough, vulgar, tough, jaded, powerful, bratty and bad-ass - AKA her own brand of femininity. Known for her comic Jin & Jam, and her work as an illustrator and storyboard artist for shows such as Steven Universe and Regular Show, Hellen’s rebellious, and sometimes grotesque artwork and illustrations are redefining Asian American women and women of color in comics. In fact, that’s why Hellen Jo was a must-interviewee for our latest Sketchy Behavior where we talk to her about her love of comics and zines, her antiheroines, and redefining what Asian American women identity is or can be; and what her ultimate dream project realized would be.  

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Okay yeah okay yeah okay 

WARNING: RANT AHEAD

I can’t even pretend it’s anything else XD

so normally I’m like very chill and open-minded about this kind of thing; like okay people give the *probably* hard-working movie-studio a chance, you haven’t even seen the movie yet, let’s not go bashing something before it’s arrived okay.

and I never want to make a big deal out of “not approving of” something, that’s just not my style, nor do I enjoy planting seeds of negativity in a world that’s got enough of that already holy crap XD

but

I’m sorry

you done hit a nerve, Sony. And that’s just me taking it personally, which I don’t have a right to do… but damn it, Sony, you’ve made it kind of difficult with this one. 

As you can probably imagine, I’m a fan of Beatrix Potter’s work; which, fyi, appeared in the early 1900′s as illustrated children’s stories featuring Peter Rabbit and many of the animals seen in this trailer. Needless to say, these stories mean a lot to me… I would go so far as to say they’ve shaped me as a human being, and as an artist; Ms. Potter remains one of my personal patron saints. 

This trailer (at the risk of sounding like a prude) offends me, not because it strays from the classic material (God knows, the written word is no more sacred these days than a hand-me-down sweater), but because it shits on it. It takes the world Ms. Potter created, gives you a glimpse of what it looked like, then slaps you in the face for smiling fondly at the sight of a familiar, jacket-wearing bunny, and proceeds to (very loudly and crudely) inform you of how outdated, useless, babyish, and uncool the old stories are. “But don’t worry, Sony’s here to make them cool again, with CGI party animals, pop culture references, a creepy sexual undertone, and tried-and-true sight gags like ‘naked’ animals and two guys screaming at each other for five minutes!”

In honesty, I wouldn’t have been thrilled, but I could have stomached a “modern times” version of Peter Rabbit. If it had treated the original stories with a semblance of respect, I could have dealt with it. I can deal with the stupid Nick Jr. cartoon that’s been airing (though make no mistake, I’m still bitter about the American accents and significantly, badly altered character designs). At least you can tell it has some respect for Ms. Potter’s Lake District world. 

Unless this trailer is lying to me, it doesn’t appear that this movie has anything resembling respect for its source material, and that is what offends me. Not the dumb gags, the adult angle, or the cultural appropriation (though, c’mon, that’s all bad). It’s the lack of respect for a classic that has been a part of so many people’s growing up, that has changed the face of children’s publishing over the more than 100 years since its genesis. In the trailer, mischievous adventurer Peter is a stereotypical charismatic party animal… he sorta strikes me as a much less well-meaning Ferris Beuller. And Mr. Tod, one of (in my humble opinion) literature’s darkest, most calculatingly evil, and frightening villains is reduced to a bad-tempered tagalong. I could go on, but I’m exhausted already. 

I just

Ugh. 

While we’re crapping on modernizing children’s classics, why don’t we just remake Ted and replace the main characters with Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin?