Tag Archives: teen writing

Setting: The Difference Between Oz and Kansas

And once again, the Teens Can Write Too! blog chain rolls around. Since I left TCWT, this is the last time I’ll get the last spot on the chain, if not the last time I’ll ever participate. Hopefully this will live up to any expectations that happen to exist. This month’s prompt was:

“How much does setting affect your novels and stories? What are some of your favorite ways to portray setting?”

As anyone who’s been in a middle or high school English class knows, setting is one of the fundamental structures of literature. But, as we all also know, English classes are famous for destroying everything that is enjoyable about reading and writing. For every writer, setting should be more than something old Mrs. Whatsherface made you write three paragraphs on back in sixth grade. What’s a story without a setting? It’s a narrative floating in air, a conflict with no battleground, featuring characters with no hometown or destination.

Certainly setting has great effect on my novels and stories. Setting helps define my characters–their origins, current locations, where they travel, and where they ultimately want to be. Location always manipulates conflict in some way. One of my novels is based around land feuds between humans and dwarves. Setting doesn’t always have to directly influence the plot, but undoubtedly, it’ll be present in some way, even if it’s just a few hints of local culture sprinkled throughout or a passing mention of the scenery as the protagonist and his buddies drive through town.

I usually find telling the reader about the setting in a story tedious, and after all, as writers we’re supposed to “show, not tell.” Local culture fascinates me, and I think it’s the perfect way to give readers a strong sense of setting, and it lends an almost visceral atmosphere of place to any work of fiction. Characters’ ways of speaking, what people eat and do for fun, architecture, and landscape are all important points to hit on when portraying an area. It’s better to mention details about setting bit by bit rather than dropping several descriptive paragraphs on the reader like a ton of bricks. I always try to blend setting, characters, and action into one rich narrative stew. If all goes as hoped for, these separate elements combine into broad brushstrokes of pure fiction.

It’s difficult to look at different elements of literature as individual pieces, seeing as how they constantly react with each other, push and pull and manipulate among themselves. I’m writing this in my Latin notebook in the car, which is traveling north on the highway at dusk. My setting is affecting my action–both of which are changing me as a character at this moment. I’m pressed to finish this, as I’m losing light and will need to type it into WordPress tomorrow morning, yet I’m making slow progress, as I’m distracted by the changing scenery outside and my music. I’m hoping that my future self will leave this perhaps a little strange example in the post–greetings from the past!

Setting–physical, temporal, social–is one of the most important parts of everything I write. It can certainly be troublesome to strike that perfect balance between sparse and heavy-handed when it comes to description of place. If everything goes well, setting works with all the other facets of a story to envelope the reader completely.

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:

September 5–http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com–Musings From Neville’s Navel

September 6–http://oliviasopinions.wordpress.com–Olivia’s Opinions

September 7–http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com–Miriam Joy Writes

September 8–http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com–Kirsten Writes!

September 9–http://writingbeyondthemoon.blogspot.com–Beyond the Moon

September 10–http://crazyredpen.blogspot.com–Crazy Red Pen

September 11–http://ebonquill.wordpress.com–The Ebony Quill

September 12–http://realityisimaginary.blogspot.com–Reality Is Imaginary

September 13–http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com–This Page Intentionally Left Blank

September 14–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

September 15–https://allegradavis.wordpress.com–All I Need Is A Keyboard

September 16–http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com–Teens Can Write, Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

The Business of Gods and Kings

It’s time for the Teens Can Write Too blog chain! This month, we were asked to write a retelling of a fairy tale, myth, or legend. I chose the story of the fatal flight of Icarus. I wanted to explore the idea of the gods being much more selfish and manipulative of mortals than usually portrayed–I also questioned the true motives of Icarus and his father, Daedalus, throughout the story. I had planned to extend this retelling to include the death of Perdix as well, but I quickly went over the word count limit.

“You are a despicable creature.”

That was the last thing Minos said to me before my son and I were dragged away. Minos had informed his advisors and the public that he was having me, the great Daedalus, locked away to prevent information of my labyrinth from spreading. The truth was that nary a thought of secrecy had crossed the king’s mind before he figured for himself that I’d been the one who had created the Minotaur. The only rightful person to blame for it all was Minos himself. But of course the oh-so-just-and-mighty king would be looking for a scapegoat, so it all fell on me. Poor old Daedalus—I’m an inventor. I should never have to deal with the business of gods and kings. It’s funny how they never seem to be able to figure things out for themselves.

As punishment for my perceived crime, Minos ordered my son Icarus and I locked away in a tower for the rest of our days. Icarus was angry at me—he believed the word of Minos. When the tower doors slammed with the finality of the Underworld, he turned on me.

“You stupid old meddler!” he shouted. “What did you think you were doing?  What do you ever think you’re doing? You aren’t a god. You’re a man.”

I slapped the boy for his insolence. “Shut your mouth,” I ordered. “You know nothing.”

“You just took away my life!” Icarus howled. “I could have gotten myself out of your shadow! I could have gotten a girl! Now I’m going to rot in this blasted tower with you.”

“No, you’re not,” I said. “Be quiet. You were correct in one thing—I’m not a god. But I’m not a man either. You know I’m the son of Athena.”

Icarus glared.

For days we didn’t speak.

My mother spoke to me in the night, appearing in my dreams in the form of an owl. She told me that I must escape.

“Daedalus,” she said, in that voice so distant and divine, “save yourself and your son. Such ingenuity is wasted locked away, and I cannot abide by it.”

I tried to reply, but as always, I found myself paralyzed and mute. The vision ended and faded into normal, jumbled dreams.

The next day, upon awakening, I returned to the type of inventive thought that I had abandoned. Athena wished us to be free, and I could not defy her. I sat down and stared at the sea for hours while Icarus looked on curiously. I was observing the flight patterns of some seagoing birds when inspiration took hold of me: wings. I could construct wings, and my son and I could fly across the sea away from this wretched place.

Icarus told me I was mad when I explained my plans to him. “It’s impossible,” he scoffed. “Men stay out of the sky for a reason. It shouldn’t be done.”

“Hush, boy,” I said. “Do you want to escape or not?”

Icarus pouted. “I want to get out of here.”

“Then do as I say. We need to gather hundreds of feathers—we’d best start immediately.”

One balmy evening, I began threading feathers together for a pair of wings. Suddenly, I was overcome with drowsiness and fell fast asleep at my work. I immediately began dreaming. I was confronted by a powerful figure—a god whom I immediately recognized as Poseidon. This was not the first time I had encountered him in my visions.

“What you have done warrants me to kill you where you lie,” the god rumbled. His eyes flashed from beneath his wild, seaweed-laden hair.

I tried to speak, but, as always, found myself paralyzed. My spirit quaked. I had always feared Poseidon, an enemy of my mother, above all other deities.

“Need I remind you of how I have spared you so far?” Poseidon said. “You have defied me repeatedly in these past months—supporting Minos and Pasiphae, and now imprisoning my Minotaur. I demand repayment.”

“Now you seek to travel across my sea,” he continued. “You presume to venture into my realm. I will not let you pass without a sacrifice. Give me one of your lives—you or your son—and the other shall fly safely. Do this or your tower will crumble into the sea and you will both die, child of Athena.”

I woke, still trembling. Of course I took the threat seriously—what else could I do? I had no choice but to obey the orders of my mother and fly into the clutches of the god who hated me, who would see me and my son both dead.

Icarus was standing at the window, gazing out at the sea. He was a lanky youth, really only a boy, and he was my son. How could I let him fall into Poseidon’s hands? It had to be me. I had to be the one to die. I would set Icarus off flying, and then jump into the sea. I nodded to myself. It would be done. Hands shaking slightly, I returned to my work.

“Icarus,” I called, “come help me. I need you to hand me feathers as I string them together. And get the wax, will you? I’ll need it later on.”

The boy sighed and sat next to me. He wasn’t foolish—he understood what I was doing, and gathered the largest feathers from the pile, handing them to me without my prompting. He was easily distracted, and fiddled with the feathers and wax.

That night, Athena spoke to me again. “I have been informed of Poseidon’s bargain with you, and I have no way of stopping it, but I cannot let your genius die. Give him your son.”

Now the gods had told me exactly what I had to do. Icarus and I had to try and escape, and I had to let him die. I woke at dawn the next morning and saw my son sleeping on his pallet. His mouth was slightly agape, and his eyelids flickered. A lump grew in my throat at the thought of sending him to his death. But I had no choice—I was completely and irrevocably trapped. I just had one last, desperate attempt to make: beg.

I got out of bed and shuffled carefully past Icarus, then ascended the ladder to the open top of our tower. The sun was just peeking over the horizon, painting the sky red. I could hear the crash of waves against the rocky cliff face, and the cool, salty air stung my eyes. “Poseidon!” I called boldly, although my hands were shaking. “I would have a word.”

“I do not mean to disrespect you,” I continued, “but I wish to strike a bargain.”

“You don’t bargain with gods, Daedalus.”

I whirled to see Athena, not Poseidon, standing behind me. “Mother,” I said, and quickly knelt.

“I am sorry that Poseidon is forcing you to compensate him for the imprisonment of the Minotaur, but there is nothing either of us can do,” Athena said. “I simply will not allow you to kill yourself. Your son must die.”

My eyes filled with tears. I was temporarily blinded, and by the time I managed to blink away my tears, Athena had disappeared.  When I moved to go back down the ladder, I saw Icarus dart away. I froze. He must have heard it all.

When the wings were ready, I said nothing regarding the sacrifice we had to make. I knew that Icarus was aware of it, but I had settled that I would not kill him with my own hands under any circumstances. If Poseidon wanted my son, he’d have to take him.

The wings worked perfectly, as I knew they would. None of my inventions have ever failed. We did not rejoice in our freedom, for we knew that only one of us would make it to our destination. We flew for hours, and nothing came to knock Icarus out of the sky. My son pulled back to fly beside me.

“He must be waiting for us to do it of our own accord!” Icarus shouted over the wind, the first time he had spoken of the sacrifice we had to make.

“No!” I said. “I will not have it.”

“Father, I’m sorry!” Icarus cried, his face full of anguish. “But I cannot let us fall even farther out of favor with the gods.”

With that, he shot up into the sky. I moved to pursue him, but couldn’t fly fast or hard enough. I watched in horror as my son ripped off his own wings. He seemed suspended for a moment, then, screaming, he plunged towards the waves below.

“Icarus!” I shouted.

There were two splashes in quick succession below as my son and his wings were swallowed by the ocean.

I kept flying.

August 4 – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com – Musings From Neville’s Navel

August 5 – http://crazyredpen.blogspot.com/ – Crazy Red Pen

August 6 – http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com – Lily’s Notes in the Margins

August 7 –http://oliviasopinions.wordpress.com/– Olivia’s Opinions

August 8 – http://snippetsandslicesandscenes.blogspot.ca/ –Snippets, Slices, and Scenes

August 9 – http://markobrienwrites.blogspot.com – Mark O’Brien Writes

August 10 – http://onelifeglory.blogspot.ca/ – One Life Glory

August 11 – http://www.astoryofadreamer.blogspot.com/ – A Story of a Dreamer

August 12 – http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com/ – Life, Among Other Things

August 13 – http://maybeteenauthor.blogspot.com – Blog of a (Maybe) Teen Author

August 14 – http://theteenagewriter.wordpress.com/ – The Teenage Writer

August 15 –http://scribblingbeyondthemargins.wordpress.com – Scribbling Beyond the Margins

August 16 – http://otherrandomthings.wordpress.com – Dragons, Unicorns, and Other Random Things

August 17 – http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com/ – Kirsten Writes!

August 18 – http://laughablog.wordpress.com –The Zebra Clan

August 19 – http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com – Miriam Joy Writes

August 20– https://allegradavis.wordpress.com – All I Need Is A Keyboard

August 21 –http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

August 22 – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)


Stories Are Everywhere, And It’s Driving Me Mad

It’s time for the Teens Can Write Too blog chain! The prompt for the month was:

“How has writing changed your perception of the world?”

Being a writer, at least in my experience, is a constant collection of thought. Whether you’re in the actual process of writing or not, you’ll be thinking about stories: characters, plot twists, bits of humor, tragic points…Anything that you put in a story will be on your mind one way or another. Usually, I’ll be untangling writing-related issues in my head, so even if I didn’t write that day, I feel like I worked on my novel or short stories. Consequently, I’m often a rather distracted person in my day-to-day life, and it’s easy for me to slip away from the present time and place and into the writing world.  Sometimes all of these problems I’m working on build up on my head like water behind a dam, and I’m forced to ramble at an innocent bystander until they feel they’ve been bludgeoned by my writing issues.

Just as often as I retreat into my own head, however, I turn to the outside world and open up to it. I mentally filter through everything, albeit subconsciously, searching for things that would make a suitable element of a story. News stories, people at work, school, and on the street, dishes in restaurants, music played in stores and people’s cars–all of it has a few nuggets of good story material. In order to make sure nothing interesting gets lost in the dregs of my memory, I maintain a daily journal in which I record my most notable experiences and observations. I frequently read my journals from years ago entry by entry, bringing back old memories and long-dead emotions, and with them, fresh story ideas. An adverse effect of this is that it’s sometimes very difficult for me to let go of the past; my entire experience on this planet has been mixed into one big slurry from which I can pick and choose sparks of inspiration. However, it’s impossible for me to look at it objectively, and I’ve learned about the truth behind the stereotype of the tormented writer.

I tend to pay more attention to my everyday habits and activities. How does the water feel in the shower? How strong is the tugging of my hair as I’m brushing it? Do I really like how this cereal tastes? What’s running through my head as I check my inbox, my Twitter, etc.? All of these things that I usually disregard might come in handy for a scene in a later piece. I try to see how written descriptions would translate to real life scenarios, and vice versa. It’s funny how writing has made me both live inside my head and make me pay closer attention to my surroundings.

The most profound change that writing has wrought upon my being is purely internal. Writing forces me to imagine things that I never have and perhaps never will personally experience. It’s made me grow up. I’ve had to acknowledge nasty truths about the world that otherwise, I’d probably like to ignore. Writing has made me go through and has helped me with various personal battles that I won’t go into now. Overall, I feel that writing has made me a more interesting, complex person, even if I am a bit crazy.

Want to follow our blog tour? Here are the participating parties, day by day

July 7–http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com–Miriam Joy Writes

July 8–http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com–Musings From Neville’s Navel

July 9–http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com–This Page Intentionally Left Blank

July 10–http://maybeteenauthor.blogspot.com–Blog of a (Maybe) Teen Author

July 11–http://scribblingbeyondthemargins.wordpress.com–Scribbling Beyond the Margins

July 12–http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com–Lily’s Notes In The Margins

July 13–http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com–Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish

July 14–http://laughablog.wordpress.com–The Zebra Clan

July 15–http://realityisimaginary.blogspot.com–Reality Is Imaginary

July 16–http://a-myriad-of-colors.blogspot.com–A Myriad of Colors

July 17–http://anmksmeanderingmind.wordpress.com–An MK’s Meandering Mind

July 18–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

July 19–https://allegradavis.wordpress.com–All I Need Is A Keyboard

July 20–http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com--Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

Why I Write

This post is for the Teens Can Write Too! blog chain. The prompt for this month was:

“Why do you write?”

Unfortunately, I have no right to complain about how broad and difficult to respond to this prompt is, having come up with it myself. Curses upon you, past self! Why do I write, anyway?

Well, I write because I have ideas. For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve had stories, characters, and strange lands floating around in my head. When I was very young, I used to walk all around the house, talking about impossible scenarios and imagining all the potential outcomes. I didn’t really learn to channel these trains of thoughts into any tangible form until elementary school. That was when I made my first attempt at writing a novel–that one about the girl and her unicorn, remember? Regrettably, I didn’t have the attention span to complete any of these stories at the time. As soon as I wrote a page or two, I would feel that the idea was spent and get bored with it. I have, of course, managed to remedy that.

I write because I feel that I’m tolerably good at it. I might get sloppy when I write these blog posts, but when I put a decent effort into something, I’m usually pleased with the results. I am by no means saying that I’m a shining talent. Even if I’m not all that wonderful at writing now, the more I practice, the better I’ll get. I write in the interest of improvement. I don’t play sports, I’m not much of an actress, music is only a casual hobby of mine, and my spatial art is retina-burning; writing is “my thing.” It’s what I do outside of school to keep myself motivated and believing that there is, in fact, a point to my existence other than learning something, studying it, and taking a test on it, in an endless cycle.

I write because I want to contribute to the world somehow. Building on that last idea, I don’t have any other means to leave my mark. (Unless you can think of something I can do with Latin besides being a teacher…) Sure, I could always go to business school, be an office worker, and have a perfectly comfortable existence–yet I honestly can’t stand the thought. I want to do something more with my life. Writing could allow me not only to entertain, but to get new ideas out there, to make people think. I would love to be the kind of author who changed someone’s life with her work.

Lastly, I write because it lets me channel my emotions into something mildly productive. If I’m angry, I could go storming away, throwing punches at random objects and potentially sustaining painful injury to my hand. Instead, I can find a way to spin the situation into a story or scene in a larger work, and use my feelings to make the characters’ reactions more realistic and powerful. The same goes for almost any other emotion you can think of. Even if I don’t write about my teenage angst in a fictional form, I can get it down on paper in a journal. However, I always feel better after using the emotions for a story. Maybe it’s because I can imagine that the situation that incurred these feelings in the first place has become fictional, as well.

That’s the best attempt I can make at describing why I write. Why don’t you see what everyone else had to say?

May 5–http://towerofplot.blogspot.com–The Leaning Tower of Plot

May 6–http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com–Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish

May 7–http://cassidymarierizzo.wordpress.com–Cassidy Marie Rizzo

May 8–http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com–This Page Intentionally Left Blank

May 9–http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com–You Didn’t Really Need To Know This…

May 10–http://inklinedwriters.blogspot.com–Inklined

May 11–http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com–The Word Asylum

May 12–http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com–Lily’s Notes In The Margins

May 13–http://laughablog.wordpress.com–The Zebra Clan

May 14–http://planetaryelastic.blogspot.com–Tangential Bemusings

May 15–http://realityisimaginary.blogspot.com–Reality Is Imaginary

May 16–http://otherrandomthings.wordpress.com–Dragons, Unicorns And Other Random Things

May 17–http://lonelyrecluse.wordpress.com–The Lonely Recluse

May 18–http://delorfinde.wordpress.com–A Farewell To Sanity

May 19–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–The Incessant Droning Of A Bored Writer

May 20–https://allegradavis.wordpress.com–All I Need Is A Keyboard

May 21–http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com–Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

The Writing Glasses and Other Habits of Mine

This post is for the April Teens Can Write Too! blog chain. This month’s prompt was:

“What are your writers’ habits and eccentricities?”

As far as young writers go, I’d say I’m pretty normal. There are very few things I do that most other writers don’t. There are some things that might make me seem a tad eccentric, though–and here they are.

I have a pair of clear-lens, non-prescription glasses that I like to have on when I’m writing. I originally bought them for cosplay purposes, and I’ve gotten rather attached. I put them on whenever I need to focus; it’s as if an alternate frame of mind goes along with putting them on. Wearing my glasses basically tells me, “Enough with the distractions. It’s time to get to work.” I put these Writing Glasses on for my fiction, for schoolwork, for blog posts–I’m wearing them at the moment.

I strongly prefer music to silence when I’m writing. For some reason, listening to music curbs my need for further distractions. If I don’t listen to music while I’m writing, without fail, I will jump online and waste about an hour, starting checking my email and ending up watching kitten videos. Music helps me live inside my head a little more, which is somewhat contradictory, since music is yet another layer of information coming into my mind from the outside. Logic aside, this is extremely helpful to me when writing fiction. I sometimes put together little “soundtracks” for whatever piece I happen to be working on, and this helps to keep the ideas flowing.

When working on my novel, I have to give myself little pep talks on what I’m going to write about. I mutter to myself as I open the Word document, select the proper music, and don the Writing Glasses. “OK, Allegra. She’s going to go into the library now and discover the book on the creation of the monarchy. She has to be really interested but morally disgusted by her findings. Don’t leave out those mood-setting details. All right. Deep breath. Remember to make the text sound archaic.” I often have to pause for these little soliloquies in the middle of writing, as well. It’s not the best for when other people are in the room, so sometimes I just assume a meditative air and address these issues internally.

I often spend my hours lying awake at night constructing “trailers” in my mind for my various planned and in-progress works. I try not to make the “actors” (all of my own invention) look exactly like my characters–usually they’re a bit older, since nowadays it seems that 20-somethings are playing teenagers more often than actual teens. I pick the action-y scenes, a humorous line or two, and of course the all-important romantic moment, and mash them together into an artistic montage. Then I pick some soundtrack music and play it back to myself a few times. At the end, that really fast voice says “comingsoonratedPG13.” I suppose all of this is just a product of my own over-active imagination and unrealistic hopes and dreams.

That’s about it for anything that be considered strange about my writing life and habits. Why don’t you see how eccentric everyone else is now?

April 5– http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com–Comfy Sweaters, Writing, and Fish

April 6– http://towerofplot.blogspot.com — The Leaning Tower of Plot

April 7–http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com–Lily’s Notes in the Margins

April 8–http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com– From My Head

April 9–http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com–This Page Intentionally Left Blank

April 10–http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com–The Word Asylum

April 11–http://rachelsbookreviews.com–Rachel’s Book Reviews

April 12–http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com–Novel Journeys

April 13–http://delorfinde.wordpress.com–A Farewell to Sanity

April 14–http://swordofink.com–Sword of Ink

April 15–http://thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com–The Dreamers Adventures

April 16–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

April 17–http://herestous.wordpress.com–Here’s To Us

April 18–http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com–Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

A Supporting Character Speaks Up

This post is for the March Teens Can Write Too! blog chain. The prompt for the month was:

“Choose your favorite of any of your own characters. Conduct a ten-question interview with him or her.”

Let’s welcome a certain young lady by the name of Jennet to the blog! Jennet isn’t my protagonist–in fact, she only appears in two chapters of my novel. However, she is by far one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever created, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to interview her before a captive audience. (Someone did remember to lock the exits, right?)

Allegra: Well, I’m happy to have you here, Jennet! Why don’t you say hello to everyone?

Jennet: You seem nice enough, for your complete strangeness. You all talk like you’re from the north or something. So hello. But, the important thing here is, what in gods’ names am I doing here?

A: I’d just like you to answer some questions. Nothing too personal or political. Why don’t you start by describing yourself?

J: If you insist. I’m a dwarf and I’m fifteen years old. I’m from a cesspool of a village along the tunnel systems. I’m not really into politics, mostly I just try to get along and not break my neck, but if you wanted to know, I’m a royalist. I had a real close tangle with a bunch of rebels and some young folks from the capital a few months ago. That was the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a while.

A: What was your impression of these “young folks”?

J: Oh, they were lunatics. *laughs* Well, one of ’em was a dwarf, maybe half-blood. The other two were humans–tall as trees and pale as milk. All about my age. The dwarf girl, see, she was wanted by the rebels or something, so she had her face plastered like it was burned, as a disguise. The humans were dressed like street performers, I’m not sure why. All three of ’em were damn shifty. Not bad folks, really, just trying to lie low. The human boy was attractive.

A: Speaking of that. What do you look for in a man?

J: Just that: a man. Someone who can do work, and who’s capable of defending himself. I can’t stand boys who soil their trousers at the thought of a fight. But if he thinks that I need defending, he’d better think again. I need respect, too. *pauses*  I do rather like cocky, rakish sorts.

A: What’s your main goal in life?

J: First, to get out of my village. Once my younger brothers are settled and all…I’d like to see some other countries. The crowned heads. I’m handy enough with a dagger that I’ve thought of becoming a mercenary. There’s money to be had in crime. My ma would pitch some fit, though.

A: I can see why. How is your relationship with your mother?

J: It can be a bit difficult. She just wants me to help her around our house–my dad ran off when I was just a little bit–but I’m always going off doing this-and-that. But most of the time she’s just looking out for me, I think. And I…look, do we have to talk about this?

A: Um, no. Moving right along. Has anyone ever compared you to an animal?

J: *rolls eyes* Yes. It’s always a crow. Jennet, you’re such a crow. Are you sure you’re not a shapeshifter, Jennet? Oh, you must be a crow the gods punished to become a dwarf. On and on. It’s because my laugh is all harsh and I have this beak of a nose. Also, I really enjoy shiny things.

A: I wouldn’t mind being compared to a crow. What’s wrong with it?

J: It’s damn tiring. You wouldn’t know about that, Miss-Fair-Skinned-Silver-Tongue. And I don’t see a single shiny thing on you. Oh, wait. Pierced ears. Bah.

A: Well, what’s your favorite thing about yourself?

J: Definitely my street smarts. There’s no city I’d want to avoid, and no scum I wouldn’t take on. If I can’t fight ’em, I can outwit ’em or outrun ’em.

A: Impressive. How about your flaws?

J: Over-confidence. So maybe forget about what I just said, eh? Also insensitivity. My looks could stand a polish, too.

A: What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you?

J: This. Right now. Who are you, what am I doing sitting in this room, and what is that glow-y contraption you’re tapping on?

A: Never mind that. Uh, thanks for coming, Jennet! Any parting words?

J: I didn’t have much choice in coming, did I? No parting words. Except, don’t call me Crow Girl, don’t insinuate I’m from the north, and never make me change a baby’s napkin. Now can you please unlock those exits?

That’s all for now, folks! Any questions you may have for Jennet, she will happily  answer.

Want to follow our blog tour? Here are the participating parties, day by day

March 5 — http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com — Kirsten Writes!

March 6 — http://www.maybeteenauthor.blogspot.com/ – Struggles Of A (Maybe) Teen Author

March 7 — http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com –This Page Intentionally Left Blank

March 8 — http://www.thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com/ – The Dreamers Adventures

March 9 — http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com — Lily’s Notes in the Margins

March 10 — http://www.journeyofascholar.blogspot.com/ – A Box of Letters and a Cup of English Tea

March 11– http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com –From My Head

March 12 — http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com –The Word Asylum

March 13 — http://oyeahwrite.wordpress.com –Oh Yeah, Write!

March 14 — http://delorfinde.wordpress.com/ – A Farewell To Sanity

March 15 — http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com — Novel Journeys

March 16 — http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com — Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish

March 17 — http://oopswasthatoutloud.wordpress.com/ – Oops Was That Loud?

March 18 — http://herestous.wordpress.com — Here’s To Us

March 19 — http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com— The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

March 20 — http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com –Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

On Love Polygons and the Big Kiss

This post is for the February 2012 edition of the Teens Can Write Too! blog chain. This month’s prompt was:

“What are your thoughts on romance for your typical genre? Do you tend to have a little, a lot, or none at all?”


Undoubtedly, my typical and favorite genre in both reading and writing is fantasy/sci-fi and its various derivatives, including but not limited to dystopian, steampunk, paranormal, epic fantasy, and macabre. While it is most certainly possible for these types of storylines to stand on their own merits, I always find them most enjoyable when there’s an element of romance lurking somewhere in the thick of the plot.

In reading these types of stories, I find that a touch of romance in the background–or even a broad brush of it in the foreground–adds that much-needed sense of humanity to the outlandish plot, particularly in YA. Even if a group of teenagers gets involved in a supernatural event of some sort, are they honestly expected to drop all hormones immediately and for all time? Let’s face it–it’s not going to happen. My taste for a bit of romance in reading is also fed by my own secret inner idealist (or hopeless romantic). This is the girl who doesn’t like animated Disney films. And you thought I was soulless!

Writing romance, however, is a whole other evil empire to be overthrown. Reading about love is easy–all you do is soak in someone else’s words. When one has no experience in these matters, as I do as of the posting date, it is decidedly difficult to write about it oneself. How are you expected to write about that fabled Big Kiss when, to yourself, it reminds just that–a myth? It’s like the Forever Alone guy handing out relationship advice. On the other hand, if I could only write just what I know, I would only be writing stories about single high schoolers who are told by their elders that their “intelligence is intimidating” but are probably just awkward weirdos.

So basically what I’m getting at is that the best I can do when writing romance is to take all I’ve read, watched, and heard from others, put them together in a big mental jumble, and use modified versions of the pieces that work best with the rest of the story. In a few years, I’ll probably read back the so-called romantic moments I write now and spray some beverage across the room from laughter.

The one thing I am confident about when writing romance is cliche avoidance. Love triangles featuring two badass guys and a weak-minded central female character have no place in my story, and neither do trouble-free InstaLUV tales. Love polygons of other sorts are acceptable, and two characters can fall in love quickly as long as there’s some amount of conflict later on. I’m chill with it as long as vampires and werewolves don’t both get involved.

Oh no! A Twilight reference! Everyone run for cover before she starts ranting!

All right, I can take a hint, you guys. Why don’t you check out the rest of the blog chain instead?

February 5– http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com –Novel Journeys

February 6– http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com –Lily’s Notes in the Margins

February 7– http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com –Kirsten Writes!

February 8– http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com — Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish

February 9– http://delorfinde.wordpress.com –A Farewell to Sanity

February 10– http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com –The Word Asylum

February 11– http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com –From My Head

February 12– http://estherstar1996.wordpress.com –Esther Victoria1996

February 13– http://alohathemuse.wordpress.com –Embracing Insanity

February 14– http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com –Red Herring Online

February 15– http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com –Go Teen Writers (Honorary Participant)

February 16– http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com –This Page Intentionally Left Blank

February 17– http://oyeahwrite.wordpress.com –Oh Yeah, Write!

February 18–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com –The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

February 19– http://herestous.wordpress.com –Here’s To Us

February 20– http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com –Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)