Hi guys! This past week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, WriteOnCon 2014 took place and as always, it was awesome! So today I'm sharing my notes on what I learned and experienced during this free online kid lit conference. If you couldn't attend this year, I super recommend it for next year!
From the Forums
One of the hallmarks of children's lit, which many people are working hard to mend, is an absence of family. Lots of children in fiction are orphans. Like, lots of them. To an extent, this does make sense--kids like to imagine being independent, and it makes it easier for the child to be heroic. You might see siblings once in a while, and that's valuable, but it's also uncommon, and the parents are almost always absent.
Recently, in Twitter chats, children's book authors have been discussing it and talking about how we can revamp this, because it is important to tell stories about family as well. After all, it's a huge part of our lives! So I thought today I'd talk some about portraying family in YA lit.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of family in YA lit is The Hunger Games. This may or may not be because that's one of my favorite books ever, but for me, the relationship between Katniss and her sister Prim is one of the best I've ever seen. Prim is what drives and inspires Katniss. Katniss does so much to protect Prim, and as Prim grows, she comes back to help Katniss, too. That kind of familial love is very true, honest, and real. You don't get that a lot in YA lit, because so much of it focuses around boys and friends, and family is seen as a nuisance. But there are many teens, me included, who value their family a lot. Seeing Katniss and Prim have that kind of relationship meant the world to me, and I know it does for plenty others, too.
What are some other powerful familial relationships in YA lit? Naming siblings is easier than parents. In The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder has a great love for her adopted younger sister, for example. There have been some really fun ones with brothers, too. I can even name a couple of cousin relationships that have been really strong in YA lit. But good parents are hard to find. You can find some, but they fade into the background, and more often, you get the dead/sick/drugged/mean parents instead.
A while back, I did a post in which I showed you all my ModCloth wishlist, the ModCloth clothes that I really like and will never have, because of the moneys. But another thing my writing friends and I like to do is find the absolute worst clothes on ModCloth and laugh about them--there's plenty of material for it. (Haha, clothing pun.) So today, I thought I'd give you a fun sample of exactly how bad ModCloth can get. Ready? Set? Go!
*Note: This, of course, has a factor of personal taste to it.*
As a psychology geek, one of the things I really love is personality quizzes. The one that's definitely my favorite is the Myer-Briggs type, because for me, it's always been supremely accurate. The Myer Briggs test has four scales that then make up a four-letter type. These scales are Extroversion vs. Introversion, Sensing vs. iNtuitive, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving. The last one is the most confusing to people when trying to understand the test, but basically it focuses on whether you're active in choosing and doing things or if you just like to observe and live life as it comes. *For some more thoughts on introversion, read this post.*
My personality type is INFJ, and I have regularly gotten that same result in many versions of this test, which doesn't always happen on personality tests. Admittedly, it doesn't always happen on this test for some people, particularly if you're right in the middle of one of the scales. Nonetheless, this is the personality test that I enjoy and trust the most.
Here's a good version of the test, if you'd like to get your type. For the kind of detailed profile I showed above for myself, go to this site and locate your four-letter type. Then tell me what you think! I'm going to go into more detail here in a minute about my thoughts on mine, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on yours.
I'm not going to go into much detail on the actual traits of my type here; suffice it to say, the profile I linked above covers everything I think is important about this. What's interesting to me is the other information you find as you research your personality type. There are plenty of sites out there that can take that profile and then look at careers, conflict management, relationships, and more.
Today I thought I'd give some recommendations for some books that I really really love that I feel could use a bit more attention. Some of these I've recommended before but wanted to emphasize; others I haven't recommended and am happy to finally recommend now! Hope you enjoy.
Neal Shusterman's Unwind Dystology
This four-book series (the fourth book still on its way) takes place in a dystopian future where, after a big war over abortion, a compromise decreed that teens could be sent to be "unwound", or taken apart as organ donors, if they didn't prove useful enough in society. This is only one piece of the incredible political and social commentary of this series, which I find brilliant, relevant, and engaging. This one really makes you think, and it's full of action too! Multiple points of view, which I hope doesn't throw you off, because seriously, it's so good! You can learn so much from this series.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
This book, about the son of a notorious serial killer fighting to stop a new serial killer in his town, is one of the most brilliant and effective psychological thrillers I have ever read. It's incredible to see Jazz utilize the horrible things his dad taught him for good, and also just to watch him navigate human life and relationships while dealing with all the stuff that's in his head. This book says a lot about how our parents shape us, but also about making our own choices. Also, serial killers. If you can handle some disturbing stuff and enjoy psychology and/or thrillers, absolutely read this one. *Graphic content warning*
Today is another video post, in which I give you a better look into the life of my new emotional support kitten, Spartacus (as mentioned in this post)! Because cat videos are cool, yo. I've definitely done better on this video than the last two! Also, as you can see, I recently revamped the design for this website! I'd love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments!
Thanks for watching and come back next time for some book recommendations!
So today I thought I'd write some of the reasons why I think Twilight isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. (Though it's also not nearly as good as other people make it out to be. Chill out, Twihards.) A great deal of this defense is based off of the theology of the LDS church, which Stephenie Meyer and I are both members of. If you don't think you can handle that, off you pop! *Spoilers ahoy*
I've been a Twilight fan since I was in middle school, when one of my friends introduced me to it. At the time, I was struggling from a severe bout of mental illness, and Twilight, for me as for so many others, was an escape. I also had a great appreciation for the voice, which I still do today.
After a while, my friend went kinda crazy about it--a definite Twihard, trying to become Bella--which made me distance myself. I still liked Twilight, but I have to admit, there are a lot of people out there who get way too obsessive. There are plenty of reasons why this isn't a good idea: for one, Bella and Edward's relationship does match all the red flags for domestic violence (which surprised me at first--I consider myself to be very educated about abuse, but hey, turns out, I missed it here). Also, as much as I love fiction, let me make this clear: you should never try to be anyone but yourself.
Hey all, and welcome to both August and our humor post! For those of you wondering, I did win Camp NaNo, the closest win I've ever had, and accomplished my editing/writing goal plus an additional 5000 words that I'd added to the goal halfway through. I haven't finished SORROWFUL yet, but I'm sure I'll get back to it soon!
Thanks for checking in, please enjoy, and I'll see you next time for a post in which I write a defense of the Twilight Saga!
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. More than anything, stories are my life.
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