Saturday, February 24, 2018

Straight Shots: A Look at February and a Call to our Readers

Bow arched, tightened, the archer releases and his arrow whirs with speed and agility piercing whatever surface it is aimed at.

Our words are arrows, and everyday we must ask ourselves what we are shooting out into the world.

This month has been incredible for RW. From our shots to the shots we've been getting back.

I want to thank our reader's for your comments, your time on this blog, and your dedication to this movement. I also want to thank every single team member for pressing on and fighting through some of life's busiest time and still finding time for RW. You all are incredible.

Keep shooting those fiery arrows!

How are we growing?

Let's check the stats.

We now have

16,028 page views in all!

 We're reaching the whole world, check out who's reading our blog!

United States: 11,405
Israel: 1,839
Russia: 694
Australia: 625
United Kingdom: 396
Canada: 317
Ukraine: 263
India: 132
Ireland: 103
Germany: 83

This month at Rebellious Writing
Book Scout Bulletin #3

An incredible resource to find new reads reviewed rebelliously by our readers and team members. This month features opinions on Renegades, The Blood Race and other books.

Fill in the Blank: Combating Vulgarity with Vocabulary

What's causing a rampant rise in bad language and how can we combat it? Catherine takes on this problem from a fresh standpoint. A great call for us writers and also readers to expand our vocabulary.
You Think This Happens Everyday? - Romance and Keeping it Real

This post is a delightful mash up of princess bride and the lack of reality in teen romance. Definitely one to read if your YA incorporates romance!

A Call to Our Readers

This month I want to specifically extend a call to our readers. Though our schedule is booked until April, we need posts to fill this summer as our team takes a break and works on improving Rebellious Writing.

Bloggers, we want your posts on Rebellious reading and writing on our blog
 Writers & Authors, we want you to share your books & experiences.
Readers, we want you to share books that changed & shaped you

We would also appreciate any words of encouragement, ideas or suggestions our fellow rebels have.

To learn more about guidelines and the submissions you can make please visit the following page.

Rebellious Writing isn't just a movement, it's a community. Help us grow!

Let us always aim straight so that our shots may fall onto hearts and grow seeds of change.

Ad Meloria

- Anna C. S. -

Saturday, February 17, 2018

You Think This Happens Everyday? // Romance and Keeping it Real

"This is true love," Westley tells Buttercup, his beloved, at the beginning of the classic film The Princess Bride. "You think this happens every day?"

This is enough to convince Buttercup that she can follow Westley to the ends of the earth. If you've seen the movie, you know that while Buttercup can be rather damsel-in-distress-y and Westley can be overly perfect, they are one of the most shippable ships of all time, and everyone (even the other characters) know it.

That last line, however, is one that people seem to have forgotten. And by "people", I mean YA authors.

"You think this happens every day?"

In The Princess Bride *minor spoilers ahead*, Westley and Buttercup fight their way through dozens of obstacles, including but not limited to quicksand, murderers, the unwanted third member of a love triangle (sort of?), giant rats, and even death itself. They share some wonderful and passionate kisses. Westley promises at one point, "I promise, I will always come for you."

"Not one couple in a century has that chance," one of the other characters tells Westley at one point in the film, referring to the romance that Westley and Buttercup have. So why is it that it seems every high school fling in fiction is "true love," something that doesn't happen every day?

In almost every contemporary I've read, the characters are in high school and are about 16. The girl (usually) has a hopeless crush on the boy, who is either way out of her league or isn't single. Then something happens that throws them together. And from there, the relationship is portrayed as absolutely perfect.

Until it randomly isn't and they get in a huge fight that will make or break them for the rest of their lives. Because apparently that's how high school dating works.

I'll be quite honest with y'all and admit: I've never dated. I'm in high school, and I see no reason to waste my time on shallow relationships that won't last. I can't wait to get married someday. But I don't really mind if it takes a while to get there, or if I haven't had a ton of flings between now and then.

Even with my inexperience, I'm willing to bet that high school relationships don't tend to end in marriage for the rest of your life. I've seen high school relationships, and I've seen that it's very, very uncommon to have one last for long. In college, long-term relationships might not be so rare. My own parents met, dated, and married in college, and are approaching their 21st anniversary.

I do have friends who have dated in high school, however, and on average, their relationships last a few months. I had one friend who was with the same girl his entire senior year, but last I checked, they're both single again.

This is reality. The "true love" of high school is not reality. Only 2% of couples will marry their high school sweetheart--and that's usually once they're already adults (18 and up.) True love doesn't come along in high school, and if it does, it usually takes a while to recognize it. What if the teen dating scene was portrayed realistically in fiction? I understand that that makes it less interesting, but at the same time, couldn't it be more interesting?

And another thing--the physical aspect of intimacy? There really isn't anything wrong with waiting. Someday, I'd love to see a mainstream novel where not ONLY is there no steamy making out or sex or anything like that, but the characters who aren't doing it aren't portrayed as goody two-shoes who just don't want to have any fun! (Looking at you, Caraval.)

Believe me, I'm not at all bashing romance here. I'm all for ALLLL the romantic subplots, especially when the characters are mature and maybe a little bit older. But the idea that YA books seem to be propagating is that you WILL meet your true love when you're sixteen. And this leads to unfulfilled expectations, unhealthy dating habits, and broken hearts when it doesn't work out the way the books tell us.

What if there were more books where this unreasonable standard wasn't so prevalent? That's my challenge to you today: If you're a writer, write a book about teens who don't have any romantic relationships and are still 100% fulfilled and doing something awesome with their lives. If you're a reader, try to find such a book on the shelves of your library. One that I'd recommend right now that has very little romance (and what there is is between mature adults) is All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater (which does pretty well by RW standards; only a couple of cuss words and no physical lusty attraction.) If you've found a really good book where there's minimal or mature romance, let me know about it in the comments! I'm always looking for that sort of book. <3

Let's raise the standards. Let's allow our books to show life as it really is--real and messy and not always perfect. Let's help teens focus on the things that are valuable for them now.

Let's write and read rebellious.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fill in the Blank: Combating Vulgarity with Vocabulary

You’re holding an ordinary conversation with your best friend. You’re chatting along and then all of a sudden….

Your mind just…blanks.

On one stinking ordinary word. That for the life of you, you can’t seem to spit out.

You stare at your friend in a confused manner. You sss-sstutt-er as your mouth finally figures out that your brain has had a temporary shut-down. You snap your fingers, trying to get your scrambling brain cells back into order.

At best, it turns into a game of charades as you gesture what you’re trying to say to your friend.

Then your friend finally says, “Do you mean {that word that you just spent 5 minutes racking your brains for}?" And as your brain sings the Hallelujah Chorus, your mouth shouts, “YES!!! THAT WORD!!”

Now I admit that the above situation can, and often does, take a comical turn. But now imagine that instead of being with a friend in that situation, you are being interviewed for a job.

In most cases, the interviewer will either pass it off as a bad case of nerves or alternatively, makes the assumption you're just plain stupid. Either way, it's embarrassing and rather nerve-wracking for all parties concerned.

It would just be better if that "blank" was filled in the first place, right?

Of course, that is logical.

Now what exactly to fill the blank with?

Well, according to the old dusty English textbook, it would usually require either a noun, verb, or an adjective or adverb.

Okay. Now let's say after some careful deliberation, we find that we are in need of an adjective or an adverb.

Now, in an ordinary everyday setting, those would look like this:

"That's s*&#@y." - in response to a really crummy assignment.

or this:

"That's (f-bomb) awesome!!" in response to a really happy engagement announcement.

WHOA WHOA WHOA. Hold the bus. That can't be right!! WHY are those words used as adjectives and adverbs in a normal everyday context????

The answer may be a lot simpler than we had previously thought.

During a Mass earlier this year, I heard a sermon on the prevalent use of vulgarity in society. Quite a good topic, considering that dirty language has become so prevalent in society that there is no need to bleep them out on TV or that they constantly soak into our literature.

Father's main point is one that set me to thinking:

We use vulgarity because we don’t know how to express ourselves in any other way.

I’ve (unfortunately) been in that situation. I couldn’t figure out what word would fully sum up a guy’s behavior, so I called him a rather dirty word. It shocked my roommate, as she knew I didn’t swear or use vulgar language. I admit that if I had a better command of my own language I probably would have found a better word, even if I had to explain what it meant.

During that sermon I mentioned, the priest mentioned the fact that Shakespeare had a vocabulary of 40,000-50,000 words; and compared it to our generation of young adults, which has an estimated vocabulary of 200-3000 words.

Why does our generation have such a small vocabulary?

The priest placed some blame on the smartphone and texting. There is truth in that.

Back in the early 2000s when texting first became available, there was a limit on how many characters could be in a single text. The size of the text might have been affected by the number of characters too (don't quote me on that, I wasn't texting at that time).

Back then, it cost a fair penny to send multiple texts and you were limited by a specific number of texts per month. And teens often paid for their own cell phone usage out of their high school job wages, which even then weren't all that great. And if you were texting with a flip phone, there was the risk of having multiple texts being sent out of order. I do know of THAT particular scourge...

With social media and chat forums of the same time period, it was the same story - there were character limits. 140 characters seems like a lot until you actually start writing. And discover that you can't get two full sentences in there. You can't convey a complex idea without shortening something or having a multiple stream of messages, which could get separated to goodness knows where. It's worse than sticky notes sometimes.

And then there is the other side of the coin....

Teenagers, being the smart little sloths that they are, noticed that it was much faster and required much less effort to use shortened words and less vocabulary. And the teen on the other end usually was smart enough to decode it (or at least, knew where they could find the answer if they didn't).

So, for the sake of teenage economics and teenage laziness, vocabulary was replaced by a system of shortened spellings, emojis and acronyms. Some of which (e.g. WTF, WTH, LMAO, etc.) reflected the crass language that was creeping into the teen vocabulary.

Now that cell phone companies have unlimited texting options and social media is starting to expand their character limits, there is no excuse to NOT use complete sentences or start using more vocabulary.

Swear words and vulgar words are not adjectives and adverbs. 

Nor should they be used as such.

There are thousands upon thousands of words that are relatively undiscovered by our young generation. As writers and readers, often act as trailblazers and explorers, bringing back unusual treasures. What if one of those treasures was a word...a word that has rarely seen the light of print?

I therefore challenge all writers and readers reading this post to expand your vocabulary by one word every day. Follow a word-of-the-day series. Go on Pinterest and follow language and words boards (including RW's board HERE!) Play the dictionary game on a rainy day. However way you do it, let us all lift the veil of linguistic ignorance once and for all.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Book Scout Bulletin #3

There is nothing more comforting than a blanket, a hot drink and a large book.

If you talk to a lot of bookworms, a lot will probably agree that winter is the perfect time to catch up on the TBR pile.

Well, RW is here to help with that - whether to grow or shrink it. These book suggestions were placed in our Contact form between November 15, 2017 - January 30, 2018 by our loyal book scouts! We cannot thank you Scouts enough for these book suggestions!

Let's take a peek, shall we? Sidekick's Tale 

Author: Elisabeth Grace Foley
Language: ✩✩✩✩✩
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩
Lust: ✩✩✩✩✩
Review of the Book: ✩✩✩✩✩

From the quirky,outrageous characters to the hints of romance, this book kept me thoroughly entertained. I dearly love to laugh, and this book made me laugh aloud time and again. It reminded me so much of a screwball comedy from the 1930s and '40s -- you know, the kind with an impossible situation that just keeps getting worse and worse until everyone gives up all hope of ever extricating themselves, and then somehow, everything turns out okay in the end.

Meredith Fayett is a pretty young woman who inherits a ranch, but it's deeply mortgaged, and she soon learns she's going to lose her land if she can't pay down the loan. She could use money her parents left her to pay off most of the mortgage, but she can't touch that until she turns 21... or gets married. So, she sets about getting married to one of the men who works on her ranch, Chance Stevens. Strictly as a business proposition, of course -- the most physical contact they ever exchange is the handshake they give each other instead of a kiss at the end of the wedding. Happily for Meredith, Chance is an honorable gent, and he promises that as soon as she's got her money, he'll cooperate in getting their "marriage" annulled.

But I'm leaving out the sidekick/narrator, Marty Regan. He loans the couple an heirloom ring to get married with, only it turns out that his large and idiosyncratic family has been feuding amicably for years over who that ring actually belongs to. And that's where most of the comedy comes in, as Marty and Chance go through a great deal of rigmarole to try to get that ring back and figure out who it really ought to go to.

Reviewed by: Rachel Kovaciny

Rachel Kovaciny lives in Virginia with her husband and their three homeschooled children. She has independently published her book "Cloaked" this fall, a western re-imagining of "Little Red Riding Hood." In her free time, Rachel writes for the online magazine Femnista, reads, bakes, blogs, watches movies, and daydreams. You can check out Rachel's blog HERE. Blood Race

Author: K.A. Emmons
Language: ✩✩✩
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩
Lust: ✩✩✩
Review of the Book: ✩✩✩✩

The Blood Race takes place in modern California and a sci-fi fantasy world called the Dimension. Following the life of anomalies, called sliders, who have been handpicked to save the world. There is some swearing and while its not completely shown as bad, it is later made a rule that there should be no swearing. Also, some lustful behavior and a brief make-out scene. Very good book for action and adventure, though I would say definitely for older teens and young adults as there are some heavy topics of one character's past.

Reviewed by: Ivie Brooks

Ivie is a storyteller who enjoys weaving words together to make something amazing. She is passionate about realistic books that show the darkness of the world without using swear words. She blogs about her writing experience and How to Train Your Dragon over at

26114524The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You

Author: Lily Anderson
Language: ✩✩✩
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩
Lust: ✩✩✩
Review of the Book: ✩✩

Abbreviated from inside cover: Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic-book store and to place third in her class and knock Ben West down to number four. Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books, but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson vs. West is as vicious as the Doctor vs. Daleks, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in first grade. The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Trixie and Ben slowly start to form a fandom-based tentative friendship, until Trixie's best friend is expelled for cheating.

My thoughts: I love all the geekiness and nerdiness in this book, and that it's not portrayed negatively or made fun of. However, there is a lot of heavy language and dirty jokes thrown in. There is also romance, but nothing beyond kissing. (isn't the cover awesome :D)


Author: Marissa Meyer
Language: ✩✩✩✩
Abuse: ✩✩✩✩✩
Lust: ✩✩✩✩
Review of the Book: ✩✩✩

From Goodreads: Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

My thoughts: I LOVED this book. I absolutely adore superheroes, etc., and while I wasn't a fan of the Lunar Chronicles, I absolutely loved this book. HOWEVER, there are some issues. Two male characters (not the main characters) are in a relationship, and while there isn't emphasis around it, it portrays it as normal or beneficial (if that makes sense). That is why I gave it three stars instead of four. There's also some suggestive comments, but, relatively no language (please correct me if I'm wrong--the book is mammoth so I'm having trouble remembering the details :D). All in all, great plot and characters, but definitely content warning.

CONTENT WARNING FROM THE RW TEAM: Several RW supporters have also read this book, and reviewed it poorly because the homosexual relationship in this book is viewed as a positive and a fairly prominent part of the book. See Faith Thompson's Goodreads review for more details and additional content warnings.

Reviews provided by: Allison

Hi, I'm Allison. I am very excited to write for Rebellious Writing, as I feel that in today's society, the concept of "good" literature for teens and young adults has become twisted. I hope that my reviews will help others find great books to read, and I look forward to seeing other recommendations!

And that concludes the report!

Would you like to be a book scout? Check out the Collaborate page under the Mission header! We look forward to receiving more intelligence from y'all! Also, check out our Goodreads group - we've *finally* got a discussion folder started for Book Reviews!