Friday, August 5, 2016

Will the Real Jasmine Brown Please Stand Up?

*meanders on in*

*flicks on the light*

*grabs a broom*

*vacuums the floor*

*dusts off bookshelf*

*powers up the computers*

Well, it's been quite a while, hasn't it?

I mean, I turned twenty only five days ago. No longer a teenager. Still an author, though!

Welcome back, everybody! I've got tons to catch up/catch you up on, but for now let me just stretch my legs and get back into the game! Like I said, it's been a little over three years, and I've grown. Not literally. Still five-five. Whatcha gonna do.

I'm going to attempt to keep up with all this lol, but I've got a few tricks up my sleeve. I'll continue with my Writing Wednesdays, but now Tuesdays are going to be reserved for editing tips! And I'm thinking Sundays can be updates on my books, sound cool? (I don't know why I'm asking. It's my blog and I'll ruin it completely if I want to.)
Also! I've entered Pitch Wars! If you're unaware of this beautiful contest, hop on over to Brenda Blake's and check it out. Super rad, lots of fun, and this is the first year I FINALLY get to participate in it.
Why's that? I'm glad you (may or may not have) asked, reader. Are you ready?

OH YEAH. Five years, six drafts, and more editing you can shake a stick at, and I'm DONE!

Well. Sort of. I've been querying without much luck, hence Pitch Wars. But I'm not out yet! I'm gonna introduce Lucky to the world if it's the last thing I do!

Dramatics aside, I do have some polishing to do, some things to add, but all in all, my book is on the verge of entering the world. I'm so excited.

In addition to the whole writing bit, I'm also kind of getting into politics. Specifically, mental illness and disabilities and how they fit in society. So I'm thinking I might do some politically-based pieces every so often. Nothing too contrary--this is still me we're talking about--but I've got plans and I intend on keeping them.

All in good time! For now, I'm gonna be doing some cleaning up, but all in all, it's good to be back.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


*clears throat*


Nope, I got nothing. BUT I'm back now! And... yeah, Atticus, man, you and I need to just make a planned date and just... I dunno, feel free to torture me relentlessly until I finally am able to interview you and put you up on my blog. I apologize profusely. Love you?

ANYWHO, hi guys! I've been AWOL but it's all good 'cause I got tagged and you KNOW how much I love talking about myself, and so here it is! Getting to Know You, part three thousand, two hundred, ninety-six!

((PS. I was tagged by Avonlea, my very good friend from our SHIFT adventures. XD ))

((PPS. This is for The Lucky One trilogy, which I am hard at work on. I'm focusing on this rather than Death and Other Things I Fail At because I've stared at that one too long and Lucky's feeling neglect (even though I write him allll the time in SHIFT. *eyeroll*).))

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book (or story)? The Lucky One, The Last Seraphim, and The Phoenix Rider
Where did the idea come from for the book? It wasn't supposed to be about angels and demons at all. At first it was just about a boy who had like really bad luck and fell in love with the guardian angel who saved his life many a time. But then I was like, "What if the angel was a demon? What if the boy was more important than just being unlucky? And wouldn't it be hilarious if his name was actually Lucky?" And you know, with these questions, it sort of evolved from there.
What genre does your book fall under? Erm... good question. I think it's light YA Urban Fantasy, with elements of Supernatural and Humor. And the second and third books could be darker YA  Urban Fantasy with the same elements. It has a lot of different supernatural creatures in it that could be classified as Fantasy or Supernatural or Paranormal and it's hard to find a place where they all belong. :P
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Luke Anthony Freeman AKA "Lucky" - Jake Abel OR Justin Hartley. I'm leaning towards the latter, although he looks a bit older (I know, it's weird, just bear with me here) because his hair is perfect. XD

Ava Jean Rafferty - Galen Hooks. You guys don't know her, unless you watched the Ne-Yo videos for "One in a Million" and "Beautiful Monster" from his album Libra Scale. Soon as I saw her I knew she'd be perfect for Ava-- drop dead exotic beauty that didn't even seem real, an attitude that totally matched my character's, and an air of superiority that just screamed "succubus." 

Dominic Henry Williams AKA "Dom" - Lee Thompson Young. Another person I found perfect to play one of my characters. He's old now, but still. Slap some glasses on him and he's the perfect Dom! XD

Tyrone Brock AKA "Brock" - Houston MacPherson Had a tougher time with this one. I didn't have a set image of him in mind, and I didn't want to be mean with googling "Old ugly actors" so I settled for "Actors over 50" and got this. Heh. Sorry Houston?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Lucky Freeman was never normal, and that was before he learned he's a half-angel, half-demon hybrid with a destiny to save all of mankind... and the Supernaturals who hide from it.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? An agency I hope! I have a friend who self-published though, and she's very successful. If all else fails at least I have a template to follow, right?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? One month. Yeaaaaah. NaNoWriMo writing. Lots of fun. I'm on the second draft now and it's slightly less terrible? I think? *cringes*
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Oh gosh. It's like a cross between Percy Jackson (Rick Riordan (but who doesn't know that?)), and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Lish McBride), and The Gatekeepers (Anthony Horowitz)... and maybe even elements from the TV series Supernatural. Yeah. It's a jumbled mess. XD
Who or what inspired you to write this book? I really loved the climax to Lish McBride's Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. I wanted something similar and literally built an entire series around that one scene. Haha it was crazy and when I first wrote it I literally had no idea what I was doing, but I wrote it and it's there and I'm really very proud of it... even though it's terrible.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Well if you think angels are good and demons are bad, you're in for a shock. The story is really just an old fashioned adventure, with cliches you'll see coming and plot twists you don't, in the spirit of YA in every aspect except, you know, the gross kinds. It's a ride, for sure, but hey-- Meg Cabot liked it! And no, I will never let that go. :P

TA-DAAAAA, I do love me some interviews. XD There you go, my novel in a nutshell! You can find the cover and a few chapters of it when you click on the "Connect" button on my blog page, and then click on "My Books". Enjoy loves! Be back soon... hopefully with Atticus in tow. XD

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

AAAAAH ANOTHER AWARD! *claps hands to cheeks* The HORROR-- okay, not really, 'cause it comes from Helen Boswell and I know all you lovelies who've read MYTHOLOGY are fangirling on the inside 'cause yeah, she and I are like totally tight. *cool chick nod*

Atticus... I am so sorry hon. I promise you can kill me after I tell everyone eleven facts about myself. XD

(Picture to come. Maybe. For now just have a trophy:
  • List 11 random facts about myself
  • Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated me
  • Nominate 11 people for the award, along with 11 questions for them to answer
This'll be interesting. XD And now, without further ado... (yes, I just like saying "ado") GETTING TO KNOW YOU, PART... um... what are we on again?
11 Facts About Yours Truly
1. My middle name is made up. No joke. It's Rashae. My dad said if I was going to have a princess-y first name, I was going to have a "ghetto" middle name. If this were Twitter, I would hashtag "blackgirlproblems".
2. I went through a phase like three years ago when I wanted to be an Air Force pilot. Had it all planned out: I'd apply for the Air Force Academy, serve for eight-ten years, come back and go to school and get a degree in creative writing. Then I realized I have an issue with authority figures and that I also would not last through boot camp so. Dreams were dashed. I still have a high respect for the military though, Air Force especially, and I fully intend to get my pilot's license someday. Preferably when I'm rich enough to own my own plane.
3. My brother and I have a pretend sitcom called "Life with JC" just so we can use all of our hilarious one liners on each other. Yes we're pathetic, but let me tell you if I ever become rich and famous you'll laugh at everything I say. Hopefully.
4. I can't eat Asian food without chopsticks. Apparently it's common knowledge, because Santa left me a bag of chopsticks in my stocking last Christmas. XD
5. I cannot cook for the life of me. BUT I can bake! Pretty well. I know it makes no sense. Just roll with it.
6. I am an ASL student (American Sign Language). This is ironic because I'm very loud and loquacious so you wouldn't expect me to hold a conversation without actually using my voice, but HA! I totally can! And I've met tons of deaf people and it's fascinating to learn about their culture and I even have a name sign, which is a huge honor in the deaf community, so ha. *sticks tongue out*
7. I found out a couple of years ago that I do have a type of guy I like. Latinos. Don't ask me why. I just find them insanely sexy. I have like three Latino characters: Jay, Javi, and Raphael. And Maya and Nani if you want to count Latinas.
8. My house is totally haunted. Our whole town is built on top of a cemetery (small town, big cemetery) and the ghost's name is Charlie. At least I think his name is Charlie. He's evil. In the fun sense. He's the fun sort of evil. XD
9. I'm allergic to dogs, specifically my pitbull, Deezel. He makes me itch. And sneeze. And break out in hives. It's really depressing. *sniffles*
10. I don't like nuts. Except pecans. Well, and peanuts. And cashews. But that's it.
11. I was once stuck in an elevator for two hours. I was like six. Believe me when I tell you NOT TO TRY THAT AT HOME.
Eleven Things Helen Asked Me
1. Favorite flavor of ice cream? Depends on where we are. If at home, Vanilla Bean. If at Cold Stone, Cake Batter. I have a sweet tooth, but mostly for vanilla. XD

2. If you could give a copy of your book to any famous person, who would it be and why? (Haha already did that-- Meg Cabot, and she LIKED IT! :D ) Joss Whedon. "Here. Read it. Like it. Make it into a movie. KTHNXBAI."

3. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? To answer this, I need to know what the heck a woodchuck is. *eyebrow*

4. If you could pick a person to play one of the central characters in your story, who would it be? Oh, I dream cast all the time. I have the whole cast for The Lucky One mapped out. Not so much for Death and Other Things I Fail At though... I'm thinking Katherine Heigl would be a good Sophia, if she died her hair red again like in One For the Money.

5. What was the last song you couldn't get out of your head? The Glee version of Any Way You Want It/Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'. That is a song that is required to be played at the highest volume, with hair swinging, air guitars, and shimmying.

6. On days you don't feel like cooking, what is the first thing you think of getting for take out? Cannot cook. Like at all. But I love take out! And sushi. Yum.

7. Dogs or cats? Dogs. I am such a dog person. I don't mind cuddling with cats though.

8. If you could go on a writing retreat to anywhere in the world, where would it be? Oh gosh... I've always dreamed of owning a vacation cabin in the mountains of Montana, where I could do nothing but listen to the silence and write. So there. Definitely.

9. What is the best book you read in 2012? Haaa, Helen, I see what you did there... Actually, I have to say Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride... with MYTHOLOGY a very close second. XD The only reason it trumps MYTHOLOGY is because of the climax. Goodness gracious. It takes a lot to make me cry in a book but I misted in that one, no joke.

10. What is your favorite rock band from the 80's? Ooh, can I say Kansas if my favorite Kansas song was Carry On Wayward Son and is actually from the 70s? I'm a huge Journey fan. Also, Bon Jovi. Also, Queen. And maybe Green Day (they count. Don't they?). Oh man, don't make me choose, that's not fair.

11. Tell us your short pitch for your WIP. Well I just finished Death and Other Things I Fail At for NaNoWriMo, so I suppose it's time to pick a new project. XD
Ivy English is a compulsive liar.
(No, really.)
She's pretty good at it, too, until she gets caught one time too many and is sent away to attend a rehabilitation camp for pathological liars. There she meets Jay, the sexy Latino who secretly drag races motorcycles; Amber, who can talk her way out of anything; and Parker, the camp's overly helpful director who is more than he appears. They all seem like perfectly nice people-- except the fact that they're each skin deep in a lie they can't escape.

And if Ivy wants to help them, she has to first figure out how to pull down the walls she built and tell the truth, to both herself and everyone else.
I don't know if you remember, but this was one of my ideas back in the post "Jasmine is a Hooker Name". I changed the title to something lighter-- it'll be YA Contemporary Humor, so.
Also, I'll also be posting some short stories here on my blog featuring Christina, an English schoolgirl with a horribly boring life, and Nick, an American thief who is both charming and infuriating. They'll have entertaining and possibly (slightly) dangerous adventures together. YA Adventure/Humor, with a little bit of romance thrown in.
AND NOW I must tag people! I don't know eleven people, so instead, I'll tag two of my SHIFT buddies Elyse and Lily, and then point at YOU, reader! :D
Questions for you to answer:
1. Who was the first character you ever wrote?
2. Favorite weather to write to?
3. Most emotional scene ever written?
4. Favorite character in your own stories (or top three if you can't choose)?
5. Favorite character in other fiction (or top three if you can't choose)?
6. What are some things you've taken to saying you picked up from your friends? (Mine are "I kid" and "yep yep". Guess who I got those from. XD )
7. Dream cast for one of your novels?
8. Pepsi or Coke?
9. If you could play one musical instrument, what would it be?
10. What's the best thing you can cook?
11. Favorite girl name? Favorite boy name?
Whew. That was long. XD Thanks for reading my lovelies! <3

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Age-Old Debate Part I: The Hero

Greetings and salutations, readers and writers of the internet world! It is I, Jasmine, your host for this three-part blog chain. Let me tell you a little story before we get started:

Once upon a time there was a girl named Jasmine. She was writing a book called The Lucky One in which her main character, Lucky, totally saves the world in a swoon-worthy, intense, heroic way. She joined a role-play called SHIFT where character and author got thrown together in a bunch of shifting universes and met a girl named Elyse, whose character Emily was (quite literally) polar opposite of Lucky. The differences between the two were noted and talked about frequently, until Elyse came up with a brilliant idea to share our discoveries when writing The Hero (Lucky) and The Anti-hero (Emily).

And so we did!

The Age Old Debate Part I: THE HERO

Everyone’s heard of the five-man band.  You’ve got the basic character slots: the hero, the lancer, the chick, the smart guy, and the big guy.  Together, they make up the squad of unlikely companions that come together to face the big bad, take him down, and live happily ever after.

And for a while, that’s how it always was.  You might not have the full band, or you might have the band plus a few, but ultimately, there was always one structure that never went away: the hero and his foil.

But then came 90s  Batman.  And Daredevil.  And other lancer-like characters holding their own spotlight.  And all of a sudden, the public could start questioning whether or not the ultimate do-gooder hero, like Superman or Captain America, was interesting enough anymore.

So now, for budding writers, there’s a whole new question.  When they start their novel (in any genre other than contemp, which has its own rules for this kind of thing), who is their Main Character?  It’s no longer The Hero by default.  They could pick the grungy, beat up Lancer.  Or they could go even farther, making their protagonist downright villianous.  There’s a whole world of options to choose from.

Which is scary.

But fear not! Because for a limited time only, the genius brains of Jasmine (who has this awesome blog  as well as twitter) and Elyse (who has a fledgeling blog here and a twitter) will be discussing why each choice has its merits and drawbacks and giving you some insight into which one fits your story.

Now for us, our characters, and two things vitally important we’re going to explain here and at the beginning of parts two and three: our definitions of  “hero” and “anti-hero” (often the lancer). Just to be clear, we’ll refer to The Hero with male pronouns and The Anti-Hero with female, to differentiate them and also because the particular characters we’re discussing are male and female.

Quick note: The Anti-Hero is only The Lancer when they’re the foil to The Hero. The Lancer designates a foil, not a personality.


Percy Jackson

The Hero is a guy who’s just unabashedly good.  He is morally superior, a good teammate, cares about his friends, and is often right.  Even when he makes a bad decision, he always learns something from it and pledges to never do it again.  He is usually the leader, because he is fair and just (not to mention likable).  He usually gets the girl. In elemental settings, his power will typically be fire, lightning, or light/spirit.  If he’s not the protagonist, he usually is crazy popular and steals the spotlight.  He is also usually male.


Katniss Everdeen

The Anti-Hero is the gal who makes the tough decisions.  She’s the combat pragmatist, and might have a case of gray and black morality.  She’s cynical, she cares about her teammates but has a bigger goal in mind (in most cases), and is often technically but not morally correct.  She makes bad decisions, suffers the consequences, and comes back bitter.  She often has a Dark And Troubled Past and may or may not get the guy.  In elemental settings, her power is shadow, ice, or in rare cases stone/earth.  If she’s not the protagonist, she probably has a vocal fan following. Also often male.

But first, let’s have some introductions.   Gals, why don’t you introduce yourselves? 

Jasmine: Hello hello! Most of you know me (this is my blog, is it not?), but just in case you don’t: I’m Seattle’s resident teenage author, sixteen going on seven and not ashamed in the least bit. I’m culturally diverse, being African-America/Filipino/Scotch-Irish/Hispanic/Creole and a bunch of other things I dunno about. I’m fairly open minded when it comes to reading, music, opinions and general stuff, but don’t insult my boyband obsessions or we will have words. I’m a junior but I take college classes, so that totally puts me on par in the smarts department with Elyse (HAHAHA I WISH). Despite being generally snarky I like to think I’m a hilarious and outgoing gal, so don’t be too intimidated. –insert sneaky smile here– ANYWHO, my novel THE LUCKY ONE is in its third draft and is the first of a trilogy. I’ve already started on book two, THE LAST SERAPHIM.

Elyse: Hey! I’m a sixteen year old writer from the eastern US, a senior in high school,  and an all-around smart-aleck.  I love to read all good books, but my favorite genres are science fiction and urban fantasy and my favorite novels are ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card and THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien.  (no, at this point I haven’t seen The Hobbit  yet but I’m going to see it tomorrow okay.)  My novel SNAP (maybe LISTEN, I have yet to decide) is in the first-draft process.  It’s planned for a three part series.

And continuing the intros, why don’t you talk a little about your characters?

J: Ah, Lucky. What is there to be said? He’s The Hero, Taken Up to Eleven. Blonde-haired, gray-eyed, totes adorbs as far as looks go, and he paints. As if his human-as-they-come personality doesn’t do it in for you, he’s got a dark side—that is, he’s half angel, half demon. And a seraphim. And cursed with extreme unluckiness. And the bearer of the light half of the Ivory Amulet. And the subject of a prophecy in which he saves the world from total destruction by stopping the infinite war between angels and demons, but really, who’s counting? Despite all the pressure on his shoulders, Lucky manages to maintain his happy-go-lucky attitude, his acute sense of right and wrong, and his powers—for the most part—and that’s what makes him this post’s example of The Hero.

E: My main character is Emily, and she’s the antihero supreme.  If you know the Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes, she’s type III or type IV.  As for a little background – Emily, also known as Genetic Finale, was born a test-tube experiment on what the human mind was capable.  She’s tiny, blonde, cute, cynical, and a powerfully manipulative empath.  Adopted by Ethiopian lightning-generator Lt. Colonel Jasmine Powell at the bequest of her daughter, Grace (also Emily’s best friend) at age ten, Emily’s childhood was pretty good (if odd – she was raised in her mother’s military academy).  That is, up until her eighteenth year, when her sister was savagely murdered in front of her supposedly as a recompense for Emily’s lack of power and arrogance.  Bitter and grief stricken, Emily swore revenge against Dr. Karl Eknon and his associate Morning River, and is willing to do absolutely anything to reach her goal.  She doesn’t believe in traditional morality and instead aligns herself on an axis of loyalty versus betrayal.  She would most likely be considered chaotic neutral.  Emily shows signs of paranoia and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, but her main demons come in flashbacks and guilt based in the anxiety disorder PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder, also called shell-shock).

Okay.  This bit is mainly going to be about heroes (even though you just got Elyse’s antihero spiel). We already talked about what a hero is.  Now we’re going to talk about what a hero means.   Let’s start with a hero as a protagonist.

When your MC is a hero, what does that mean to you as an author? How would you describe your relationship with him?

J: Being the hero means being right. All the time. You don’t get to make mistakes because if you do, your leadership is questioned, your judgment is questioned, and your choice-making is questioned. The good news is the hero doesn’t usually make mistakes. He has a rigid moral compass and the instincts to act on and things always work out in the end. It’s an author’s job to make sure he gets there. There are a million different ways a plot can go to turn out okay but not so much for the hero. The path they take is the one of least repercussions, least consequences. When things happen that make the hero question himself as a person, that’s when the confidence slips. Then he’s not so sure his way is the right way. Sometimes the world isn’t always straightforward, the bad guys aren’t the bad guys, the good guys aren’t the good guys. In a hero’s eyes, the world is perfect except for this and this, and this is what he can do to fix it. But of course, the real world isn’t like that.

Lucky’s a tough guy to write. For one thing, I’m a girl and writing guy personalities isn’t the easiest thing in the world. And then there’s Lucky, who’s not like most guys at all. Actually, he’s not even human. But he grew up in a human world, basically isolated from anyone except Dom, his best friend. Taking these factors into consideration helped me write him better, make him come to life. He’s likable because he’s a bit innocent of the world and you can’t help but want to shield him from the bad things, to let him keep that. As for our relationship, it’s mostly evident in the roleplay SHIFT that Elyse and I are a part of. To sum it up, the two of them get along pretty freaking well. Most of the time.

As a reader, how do you react to a heroic MC?

E:  Well, automatically I like him because he’s a nice person.  In Lucky’s case, he’s just this sweet kid, he’s got a lot of potential, I think he’s just great.  I want to see him succeed.  When he doesn’t, it makes me feel like something’s wrong with the universe.  Like, what’s the deal, world? Just let the kid be! And I like seeing him use his powers, I laugh at his lame battle humor, because he’s the kind of person I might want to be friends with because I know he’d help me out in a pinch; I know he’s just going to be a great friend. I instinctively like him, so I want to care about him, which gives you an edge up because the ultimate point of a novel is to get you to care about the MC.

But in the same way, there’s this danger with a heroic protagonist that they’re way too perfect.  Even with Lucky, who Jasmine was smart enough to give flaws (like he can really be an idiot sometimes, I swear), you sometimes get this Superman-esque feeling like he can do no wrong.  And that’s not endearing.  So with a hero, you really have to be careful, because although they’ll automatically care about the cute, good kid, make them too good or too competent and they lose their adorable status and plummet straight into annoying. Give your Superman a “World of Cardboard” feeling.  (If you don’t know what that is click on the link because it’s fantastic.)

J: Don’t get me started on Lucky’s flaws. They seem mundane—his inability to see the wrong in anyone, his block at learning how to harness his other powers (not just the pyrokinetic side of him, since he tends to rely on that one the most), how horrible he is at lying, how he blushes every time someone compliments him… He’s infuriating, let me tell you. Elyse is right though—Lucky doesn’t do wrong, and every mistake he makes tears him up inside. It’s so easy to break him and, as evidenced in the first book after he nearly takes out Ava towards the end, it’s easy for him to break things too.

As a reader or writer, what are the major benefits of having a hero for your protagonist?

E: Well, like I mentioned above, you have this automatic likeability.  Everyone loves him.  So, as long as he’s not annoying, you have less work to do in the “make me identify with the protag” department.  The girls want to date him, the guys want to be him.  Even if he doesn’t have all the luck in love and war (yes, that was intentional), he’s still a role model.  And better yet, as an author, you like him.  I’ve worked with Lucky.  Not written him, but I’ve interacted with him, and I get him to an extent.  And I’ve never really not liked him, or felt like I was going to give up on him.  That goes for the heroic supporting characters in SNAP.  I can’t say the same for all the antiheroes I’ve written.

J: He’s usually the one who makes the speeches. Lucky’s terrible at speeches. His are notoriously cheesy and usually spoken with more heart than a guy should have, but it’s sweet enough to make you smile even when you don’t want to. For the characters in the story it’s good, because you know he will always stand by your side and is pretty difficult to corrupt, unless you’re Alistair (big bad in TLO series… let’s just say things go seriously downhill for Lucky at the end of the second book). For the readers, he’s usually the one who makes you melt or go “awwww” because not only is he so stinkin’ likeable, he’s also incredibly real. You can imagine falling in love with a guy like Lucky, because as unrealistic as it is he’s the person you want to fall in love with.

How about detriments? 

E: Again, like I said, heroes may be easy to like but in a lot of cases they’re hard to write well.  You can go both ways with them, and that’s the problem.  You can make them too likeable, and then you lose that connection they have with the reader.  The instant a reader feels like they aren’t good enough for the protagonist, they lose interest in the book.  You won’t have this problem with supporting characters as much. Also, you can have the problem of making their awesome their ONLY defining characteristic.  Again, Cinder executes the hero well with Lucky, so this isn’t a problem with him, but again, nobody likes a flat character.  Even when they’re cool.  That’s part of the reason I never really connected with Luke Skywalker. He was nothing but good.  Give your hero doubts, give them demons (who aren’t their girlfriends), give them downfalls.

But be careful.  You can end up going the opposite direction and giving your hero too many flaws.  This turns them into antihero material, except you’re still writing them like a hero.  So the reader is confused.  The work treats the MC like you’re supposed to like them for their virtue, but virtuous moments come few and far between. That’s frustrating, disconcerting, and it just screams “bad writing.”

Since Lucky’s our example, I’ll talk about him again.  See, Lucky has loads of moments where you go “Attaboy! You get ‘em!” but an appropriate number of moments where you’re like “Dude, what are you doing?” or “Gosh, he is a moron.”  Too many of either and you lose your hero into perfecttown or baffleville.


I can explain Lucky’s character arc to give you guys a bit of an idea how to be careful with your hero. Lucky’s insanely fragile. All he needs is to break his own rules and he spirals into darkness. He does this a couple of times: the first time at the end of the first book, when he loses control of his powers and almost kills Ava; the second at the end of the second book, when his grief of losing Dom makes him lose control again and causes him to nearly burn an entire forest down; after he wakes up in Alistair’s clutches in the third book and realizes that Alistair had been using him and his powers to basically take over the world; and a few times in SHIFT, the most noticeable one being when he kills Demi while brainwashed under a computer’s control.

There are good moments too, of course, and the climax where he dies and ends the war between angels and demons and saves the world and all that jazz. The point of those horrible things was to give Lucky a wake-up call. Lucky has this bad habit of thinking things are black and white, and when you break the rules you get punished for it. He has yet to find out that sometimes you don’t have a choice, and sometimes the right decision three days ago isn’t the right decision now (to borrow something from SHIFT). These things teach him—the hard way, of course. There are times when the hero needs to take a step back and look at what he’s been doing, evaluate whether it’s for the greater good.

Of course, if he loses confidence in himself then he becomes the anti-hero, the one who does what he does because he has to and not because he wants to. Lucky’s spirit may be fragile but it sure is resilient, bouncing back as always no matter what happens to him. He matures, he grows up, he’s a little wiser to the world each time, but he knows in his heart the right thing to do and he does it because he has irrefutable faith that everything will turn out alright in the end.

The next part, The Anti-hero, will be on Elyse’s blog next week. 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Tardiness Does Not Equal TARDIS (AKA Blog Chain Time!)

Ohhh, I'm bad. I'm awful. You should all drop kick me off the Grand Canyon.

WAIT NO DON'T DO THAT! Then you'll never get to see what book totally changed my life!

Yeppers, so this is my part of the blog chain that is so very late it's shameful. There, I'm ashamed, are you happy? No? My sincerest apologies. XP


“Is there one particular book that changed your life? If so, why did you originally choose to read it? What impact has it had on you?”

Okay so I have a story to tell you. Gather 'round, kiddos, we're going to venture back into my past, a looooooong time ago (seven years ago in fact) when I was in fourth grade and my teacher, Mr. Barnett, was reading a book called Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis (you can see where this is going, right?). Usually I hate historical fiction but I was totally enraptured by this book. It was hilarious and sad at the same time and involved some culture from my own blood, African-Americans and jazz and Rules and Things and other stuff. I barely remember reading the book-- mostly because we had to listen to our teacher read and to be honest, I'm more of a visual learner than an audio one-- but there was one scene I will never forget.

Bud's with the Dusky Devastators and they're sitting around the table, with everyone talking at once about random, random things and Bud's sitting and laughing and trying to follow each conversation and then, for no reason at all, he starts to cry.

(This is from memory and I was like nine so please tell me if I got something wrong. :P )

I loved this scene because, for one, Bud stressed many times earlier in the book that he couldn't cry any tears and he didn't know why. You had this feeling he'd be proven wrong later but it was assumed that you only cry at sad things, you know? But when Bud cried-- and he felt humiliated and people noticed and hugged him (strangers, he just met!)-- he was realizing that this was what it was like to have a family. A real one, with people who talk over each other and interrupt and laugh and laugh and sing sometimes and it was kind of a really powerful scene, the only one I really remember from the entire book.

Another reason this scene seriously impacted me was how real it was. I've never actually quite felt this way but I think I've gotten close once or twice, so overcome with gratitude that I cry for... well, not for no reason, but it was pretty random don't you think? Sweet. But random.

So anyway, this is the scene in the book that changed my life. I could see the serious family connection in that one scene and although my family's not like that (like... at all...) I use it as a basis for a "perfect" family, or at least, how a family should feel. And I appreciate, too, what I have because this book is just chock full of how Bud braces himself for the worst of the world and ends up getting the best.

So TA-DA, that's my story, hope you enjoyed. XD Here's a list of everyone else in the blog chain, so feel free to check them out!

January 5th – – Muslim Spirit by Fida

January 6th – – The Teenage Writer

January 7th – – Miss Alexandrina

January 8th – – Between The Lines

January 9th – – Avon’s Babbles

January 10th – – Life.

January 11th – – Inside The Junk Drawer

January 12th – – Notebook Sisters

January 13th – – Musings From Neville’s Navel

January 14th – – The Loony Teen Writer

January 15th – – A Mirror Made Of Words

January 16th – – Epistolary Girl

January 17th – – Inklined

January 18th – – Zara Hoffman’s Blog

January 19th – – SydneyJoTo

January 20th – – Reality Is Imaginary

January 21st – – The Little Engine That Couldn’t

January 22nd – – Writers Response

January 23rd – – John Hansen Writes

January 24th – – Miriam Joy Writes

January 25th – – Teens Can Write, Too! (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Surviving 2012 And Other Life Accomplishments


*ducks flying tomatoes*

I'M SORRY OKAY MY BAD I'M LIKE THE WORST BLOGGER EVER I KNOW. Life got hectic. It does that you know. BUT ANYWHO, I'm back now, and I've got a bunch of posts lined up for y'all.

Can you believe the world didn't end like we thought it was going to? I gotta admit, I'm a little disappointed. I was all stocked up on notebooks and Snickers and I was gonna write the whole thing out while it happened. Would've made the best book ever. *SIGH* But alas, God has other plans. Silly mortals for thinking we can predict when the world ends. :P

Anywho, now that that's out of the way...

First things first! WE CLEARED 20 FOLLOWERS!

*blows up balloons* *pops balloons* *parties*

Okay, I know I said I'd do a first page critique but I'm thinking starting small might be better. AND THIS WAY, I can get to all of you! So, if you'd like, post the first paragraph of your MS in the comments below and I will comment and critique. Feel free to comment on any others you see!

((If your first paragraph is one line you can go ahead and post the first two. :P ))

Second-- and sorry, poor Atticus, can you wait like one more post? I PROMISE I'll get to you!-- my wonderful friend Avvie ( ) gave me an award! YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!

*points at you* Oi. I hear your exasperated sigh from here. *STICKS TONGUE OUT*


Ooh. Shineh.


1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Link back to the Blog of the Year 2012 Rules page so people can read the real, complete, and fully accurate rules of this slightly different blogger award.
4. State 5 things about yourself.
5. Pass the award onto 6 other bloggers and link to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by pingback.
Here’s the original — The Thought Palette.

Easy peasy. Let's do this thing. *cracks knuckles*


1. My penname, CinderScoria, comes from the volcanic rock with two names. Cinder and Scoria. :P
2. I won the VFW essay contest and went to state, which was both terrifying and awesome. I think it's the most I've ever been fawned over. Seriously, I ended up in like five different newspapers. MORE THAN ONCE. Plus I got $500 for it. (I was also the only Freshman there.)
3. Meg Cabot has read the first 5,000 words of The Lucky One. And she liked it. Well, she said that Lucky's a likeable character (like I didn't know that already). OH, and that she "couldn't wait to see more of him." O__O I'm telling you right now, when I publish TLO the first person I'm signing my book to is gonna be her.
4. I can play piano. Used to be able to play the guitar too, but then I forgot... the fingers are all backwards. :P
5. I make the best brownies ever and your argument is invalid.

Unfortunately, I don't know anybody to tag. :P Can't I just close my eyes and point randomly? *does so* Erm... AUDIENCE, I CHOOSE YOU!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why I Like Taylor Swift

Sorry, Atticus, you're going to have to wait. I have a confession to make to my fellow followers: I absolutely hate Taylor Swift.

Oh wait. My post title says I like her. Well, yes, that too. What I mean to say is, she's kind of sort of really brilliant. I have tons of friends who can't stand her music-- "She's sooooo annoying!" "She can't sing." "Everybody else likes her."

People, I respect others' opinions as much as the next person. But I have to wholeheartedly disagree. I don't find her annoying at all. I think she can sing pretty stinkin' well. And everybody likes her because she has a super epic magic superpower: the ability to understand make people feel what she feels.

It's true. You listen to her music-- take "Mine" or "Ours" (I just now realized how similar those titles are...)-- and while you can't really place your finger on how exactly she does it, you can't deny how the song makes you feel. Hopeful, longing, like you had an epiphany. It's like she stuck her finger and pinned one of the life-long dreams you've ever had.

How does she do that?

In my opinion, the music is only a secondary part of it (although it is a big part, no denying that). Her words are the most important. That's why I like her so much: Taylor Swift is a first class wordsmith. She's brilliant. The way she writes is just like an exceptionally talented storyteller, in music form. Writing is different than storytelling. While writing is simply telling a story, storytelling is an art. A storyteller uses words to make the reader (or listener) feel exactly what they want them to feel.

Taylor Swift uses words. And her voice.

There are other people who do this, too-- Pink and Fun, off the top of my head. But none quite like Taylor Swift.

So why do I hate her?

Well, at the moment, I'm jealous. Also, she wrote a song called "The Lucky One" that, unsurprisingly, is not about a boy who is half-demon/half-angel and expected to save the world. I'm a little disappointed. And irked. Just saying.

I know a lot of writers who are TS fans. What are you favorite lines by her? I have too many to count, seriously, but they'll probably make appearances in my Song of the Day box.

ALSO ALSO ALSO! I am at 18 followers! :D If I get to 20, I think I'll do my first giveaway. Since I have no money to actually give anything physical away, I will happily give away a first-page critique of your MS! Thank you all for getting me this far!