Saturday, March 31, 2018

Springing from Underground: March Wrap Up and Update

Outside the window, it is rather gray and dreary. It's been raining and cold for the past couple of days. The grass still has a brownish hue. There are no green leaves on the trees yet. The sun is hiding behind the clouds, biding it's time before it breaks forth to warm the earth.

But under the surface of the ground, there is a flurry of activity. Long-dormant bulbs and seeds break forth. Roots shoot into the depths of the soil. Gathering nutrients, the growing stem powers through the dirt and SPRINGS to greet the warm sun.

This winter, and especially this month, there has been a lot happening behind-the-scenes here at RW.  Several book review requests have been sent to the team readers. In the new team discussion platform, ideas are being passed around for expansion and possible improvements on the website (if any reader has some, please feel free to tell us!).

And we are springing forth further into the social media scene. A few team members have done outreach to other writing groups through Facebook and YouTube, with wonderful results!!

All of this would never have happened, however, without our army of supporters, readers, and contributors. For that, and all that you do, I thank you all most heartily!

With that....

What Have We Posted This Month? 

This month, we posted 4 times - 3 related to writing and 1 related to reading. If you missed any of these posts, just click the post image!

Books You Should Read this Month

For our Rebellious Readers, Anna C.S. started this month off with a wonderful bang! Included on this post are mini-reviews of The Giver, Between Shades of Gray, The Lunar Chronicles, and The Inheritance Cycle series!  

Breaths of Power: Writing Antagonists, Part 1

Writing villains is often a weak point for a writer, no matter if the genre is a fairy-tale retelling or a dystopia. In this first part, Melissa Gravitis outlines how to give your villains a source of power - and not just political power either! 

We're all Human Here: Writing Antagonists, Part 2

A common frustration for readers is the abstract antagonist - the ones which seem to discard their humanity. Returning for the second part of this series, Melissa Gravitis focuses on the second villain-writing struggle - how to make villains more human. 

Writing with Emotion: Get Real With Your Readers

Readers love it when a book resonates with them, especially emotionally. Taking the Christian rapper NF as an inspiration, Lila Kims gives tips on how to pack a punch with your writing!  

As mentioned in the introduction, that is only the tip of the iceberg for the activity that the whole team has done this month.

To understand what I mean, let us take....

A Look at the Social Scene



Pageviews: 18,700+


56 Likes, 62 followers

Facebook still is our biggest single source of page hits (on desktop and mobile). A special round of thanks goes to Faith Thompson for taking the time to publish the post links!  


455 Tweets, 627 Likes, 301 Followers

Melissa Gravitis and Audrey Caylin have tag-teamed to create this wonderful hub of encouragement for writers and readers alike. Thank you both for such being wonderful lights!! 


20 posts, 124 Followers

Lately, Anna C.S. has been posting some really awesome quotes and other bookish related images. They are wonderful works of art! Thank you Anna!!   


28 boards, 83 followers

Our Pinterest page is slowly but steadily expanding with some new boards for writing help. Very many thanks goes to our leader Gray Marie Cox, for without her help, this account would not be updated nearly as much as it should!!! 


18 discussions, 59 members

Our Goodreads page has been growing steadily with new readers and writers alike! Lately a lot of us writers have been sharing snippets from our current WIPs - and they are all writing GOLD. Seriously, go check them out!

Special thanks to Gray, Faith and Lila for becoming assistant moderators as we search for a new official GR coordinator (details below!) 



Besides sharing our posts, Lila Kims has been sharing content from RW authors and supporters, and doing an awesome job!! Thank you Lila! 


2 videos, 42 subscribers

With Keturah Lamb at the helm, our YouTube Channel has become active again! Check out our first vlog below, and subscribe for future content! Thank you so much, Keturah!!! 

Once again, a round of applause for all the social media coordinators!!

And now that the sun has come out from the clouds, let us go for a walk....

Around the Blogosphere

One of our followers, Amy @ A Magical World of Words, has written a blog series on Romanticized Abuse. Go check out her posts on Abuse Being Romanticized and Bad Boys, characters from works such as Twilight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and Phantom of the Opera (my personal favorite of her posts) as well as other posts on TV shows, movies and other books!

Along similar veins, R.M. Archer recently wrote a post called "Why the Literary World Needs Better Romances (And How to Write Them)". This post is a wonderful inspiration for Rebellious Writers who are sick of the shallow and abusive portrayals of romance in the YA genre! 

Throughout the entire month of March, team members Gray Marie Cox, Lila Kims, Faith Thompson, Keturah LambCatherine Hawthorn as well as RW follower Danielle (Snaps) @ Snapper, joined Order of the Pen writers Julian Daventry, Sarah Rodecker, Evangeline Diasimah, and Jem Jones in an epic 5-Part Writing Special, in which all published matching posts about their current Works in Progress! 

Also as we speak, Gray, Faith, Anna, Lila, and Catherine, as well as several of our followers are madly prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo, which starts....TOMORROW!! *panicked screaming*

And now, a few...

Final Words

Recently, our beloved techy guru Abby has asked to step down from her position as Goodreads Coordinator for personal reasons. Hence, we are looking for a new team member than can take this role over.

The only requirement that we ask is that the coordinator has a Google and a Goodreads account. Preference will also be given to those individuals between the ages of 15-25.

Duties will include: moderating all Goodreads discussions, expand the Goodreads group and RW influence on GR, coordinating with the Book Scout Coordinator (myself), and participating in team discussion and volunteering for admin posts. Time commitment is about 2-5 hours a week at the most.

For more information or to apply, please email us at

Also, we are still looking for guest posts for this summer! Please email us or use the Collaborate Form to submit your guest posts to us!

Please take note that there is a bug in our Google Form that requires guest posters to fill out the Book Review section of the form before submitting. Just place 1 star for the ratings and N/A for the fields if you run into that. We've been aware of the problem for some time but haven't been able to address it as of yet (sorry!).

Our battle is going well, but the war rages on. Fight on, dear rebels!

~~Catherine Hawthorn~~
Catherine Hawthorn is a writer in her early 20's that is in love with the traditions of the Catholic Church. Discovering in her teens that the creatures from her ever rebellious imagination had escaped to paper, she became an authoress. By day, she sings as she battles filth and immoral literature. By the firelight, she patiently mends plot holes and spins tales of historical fiction and fantasy  You can sample her writerly creations and follow the mishaps of her characters on her blog, The Rebelling Muse.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Writing with Emotion: Get Real with Your Readers

Rapper NF has slowly risen in fame over time. In fact, he is currently super popular - his hit song “Let You Down” is all over the radio, and millions upon millions of people are watching his music videos on YouTube.

But the question of all questions is this: Why? Why does everyone love his music? What is it about his songs that draws so many eager ears?

The more I listen to NF, the more I see the answer: It’s because his music is real. And because it is real, it has emotion. Because it has emotion, it has power.

We, as writers, want readers. We release our stories to the world in hopes that the world will like them, in hopes that they will resonate with whoever picks them up. The world seems to like NF’s music, and it certainly resonates with many, many listeners.

As a matter of fact, at least two characteristics of this particular artist’s music can be compared to good writing. To real, emotional, powerful writing.

Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

1. Pour you into your stories.

NF writes his lyrics based off real-life feelings and experiences. Take his song “How Could You Leave Us,” for example. The story behind the song is completely true, and it’s obvious how the experience pierces his heart. And because of that, it pierces the listener’s heart. (It stabs mine, in case you were wondering. It’s one of the only songs that has ever made me tear up.)

How could you leave so unexpected?
We waited, we waited
For you, but you just left us
We needed you, I needed you

I am of the firm belief that every writer pours little pieces of themselves into their writing, whether they realize it or not. But even so, I believe it is even more powerful to take advantage of it, to take something about yourself - like an experience - that means something fierce to you and incorporating that into your story. To base an entire scene, an entire character, an entire plot on that small flame of your heart.

Of course, everything must drive the story forward, so you don’t want to wedge it in when or where it doesn’t belong just to say you’ve done it. That’s not the way to go. But I’ve read books which are clearly the result of the author’s heart bleeding onto the pages.

In the case of NF, he doesn’t have to be subtle about sharing his experiences, and he isn’t. In fiction writing, however, you can’t suddenly switch to autobiography style. Even though you must weave it in indiscreetly, it doesn’t have to be any less powerful. It isn’t going to be. The inexplicable realness behind the words adds a layer of depth.

Get real with your readers.

I don't get it Mom, don't you want to watch your babies grow?
I guess pills are more important, all you have to say is "no"
But you won’t do it, will you?

2. Make every sentence matter.

NF’s lyrics pack a punch. Every single one of them means something, and that draws the listener in. (I know it’s hard for me to do something like chores while I’m listening to NF. Usually all I can do is sit there, close my eyes, and drink in the lyrics.)

I’m not saying you should find a DEEP meaning to pour into every single sentence. That’s kind of impossible. In fact, most sentences in a book are pretty normal. Nothing special, in a way. “I don’t know,” Bob said. << Not much, right? Thing is, though, it’s not so much about the sentence itself, but how you string multiple ones together. And it’s also about context. A normal sentence like “I don’t know,” Bob said can be full of meaning, all depending on its relationship with the previous sentence(s), and on the situation Bob is in.

In a good story, the impact of a sentence will make the reader eager to read the next sentence. And then that sentence will make them eager to read the next one. “Intro” is one of the many NF songs that draws me in like that - each lyric ties in with the ones before it in such a way that I’m eagerly awaiting the impact of the next one, and then the next one, and the next one, and so forth.

Giving specific tips on how to provide that desired effect is a bit tricky. A lot of it is instinct - stepping back, reading, and tweaking as your reader’s mind instructs. Which leads into the next piece of advice… Read read read! The more you read, the better idea you’ll get of how sentences can interact to make every one of them matter, to make each one pack a punch.

Rapping is not the same as writing, obviously, but as time goes on, the more I realize how different types of art can relate to one another. I remember seeing someone comment on NF’s music saying something along the lines of, “I was surprised when I saw that NF was Christian. Then I realized how clean his music is - it’s so powerful that I didn’t even notice he wasn’t cussing or singing about vulgar things.”

That resonated with me deeply. Whether you’re Christian or non-Christian, if you’re a Rebellious Writer, you are for clean writing. And I don’t know about you, but I want my stories to have that effect on people. I want them to be so drawn in that they’re not even paying attention to the fact that my writing isn’t filthy. I don’t know about you, but I want to pour my heart into my stories, and I want readers to be moved by that. I want my words and sentences to pulse with a heartbeat of their own.

I want to fill my readers’ hearts with an emotion that pulls them into the story - something that gets them thinking, maybe even something that changes their lives.

NF’s art does - has done - all of these things, which is why his music is so inspiring to me as a writer. I aspire to inspire like that, by pouring my heart into my stories, by being meaningful. And you know, it’s really nothing to stress about. Sit down in front of your work-in-progress ready to bleed your soul into it… and then watch it happen.

I put it all in the open
This is the way that I cope with all my emotion

~~ Lila Kims ~~
A follower of Jesus and a lover of words, Lila Kims has been writing stories since she was ten and reading books for as long as she can remember.  When she isn't busy having adventures in other worlds, she enjoys playing soccer, listening to Owl City, or simply gazing up at the sky.  One of her firm beliefs is that God always does amazing things in those willing to rebel against the norms of this world. You can visit her at her blog, 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

We're All Human Here - Writing Antagonists Part 2

It’s impossible to pinpoint what exactly makes a person, well, a person. We can list off features such as their personality, appearance, behavior, movements, ways of thinking, their feelings...and we would barely be scratching the surface. No person can fully understand people, or themselves, in my opinion, which poses a question for writers -- if we don’t understand what makes a person a person, how can we create a fictional one? How do you make a character who readers find realistic and worth rooting for? For a protagonist, the answer seems easy: make them sympathetic, or make them relatable. Make the reader like them. But what about antagonists? As a writer, aren’t you supposed to make the reader furiously wish for the antagonist to meet his or her downfall? Here’s my thought: you can have the reader root for your protagonist, and root against your antagonist, and still make both sympathetic. One of the elements necessary for my above statement to play out, is to have a protagonist to root for, and the other, having a human antagonist. The latter is the focus for the second part of our series. Now that you’ve given your antagonist power to wield, you need to strip them back. So what are some ways you can do that?
#1 -- Give Them a Hurting Core

I have yet to meet a person who has never been hurt by anyone. Every person deals with being hurt, criticism, and pain differently. If it’s not dealt with a healthy way, it can significantly alter a person’s character, belief system, and behavior. How has your antagonist been hurt by others? Finding their reaction, and how they did or didn’t deal with this pain, will tell you much about them and their past. Examples: - Antagonist was discriminated against by a people group, and so rose to a position of power, to discriminate against said people group - Being abandoned by parents led them to believe family is a lie, and seek to destroy other families as a ‘favour’ - Were hurt by others, so feel they have the right to hurt others in return.
#2 - Find the Why
All motivation comes from one of three standpoints -- emotion, logic, or a mix. Personality types can often affect which one the antagonist leans on to explain their actions to themselves. Even is someone says they did something “for no reason”, there is a reason. As a writer, it is your job to find out the why behind your antagonist’s actions. No human is evil simply for the sake of being evil -- there must be some consequence that they enjoy (remember, consequences can be positive as well as negative). Playing into this is values. Actions are done to achieve an end goal, and are often driven by a motivation to achieve something they value -- eg, power, money, love, or family. Examples: - Antagonist desperately wishes for a family, and so kidnaps children - They want revenge on someone who killed their past love - To be able to impress their parents, manages a crime ring so they can buy a mansion, and invite their parents to stay in it
#3 - Give Them a ‘Hesitation Point’

It’s my belief that no person is completely evil or good. We are all a mix, and we may fall more on one side of the scale, but people cannot be completely one thing. Your antagonist can be the cruellest, most terrifying person, but at some point, even for a second, it’s important to show that they’re not a writer’s vending machine for evil actions to anger the protagonist. Even better, give your protagonist a reason to hesitate before, for example, killing the antagonist. Give the reader a reason to hold their breath, and not be sure who they should be rooting for in that moment. Your antagonist too should have something they hesitate to do -- how far will they go to win, and at what point will they stop? They may go far to pursue their goals, but there should be a line that even they won't cross. Examples: - Antagonist has a family that he/she loves, and that depend on him/her - They express regret for their actions - Antagonist explains their hurting core, drawing up sympathy - They won't hesitate to kill adults, but they'll never touch children
There are many ways to make your reader connect on some level to the antagonist, and feel sympathy for them as well as fear. These are just some of them, but I hope this week’s post has given you inspiration on how to turn your antagonist from a solid black cut-out, to a person. After all, we’re all human here.

Let’s chat! Do your antagonists have hurting cores? What kinds of motivation do you like to give your antagonists? How is your writing going?

~~Melissa Gravitis~~
Melissa Gravitis is a Christian teen writer with a Thai heart, Aussie heritage, and international blood. Growing up overseas, she developed a passion for following dreams, and crafting Young Adult stories with vibrant worlds and characters that pop off the page. Though she doesn’t own any pets (yet), she has imaginary friends called Characters that she spends most of her days with. When she’s not with them, she’s jamming to music, or burying herself in books. You can read her thoughts and follow her writing progress on her blog, Quill Pen Writer.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Breaths of Power: Writing Antagonists, Part 1

We all know the cliche villain -- the evil lord, with a black cloak, who cackles maniacally. Yet unless he actually does something to hinder the protagonist’s goal, he causes no fear in the reader, and weakens the stakes. Threats might cause tension, but if the reader knows the antagonist has no power to carry them out, they’re just empty words.

As a writer, there are two key things you want your antagonist to do: 1) Make them a strong threat to the protagonist’s goal and 2) make them sympathetic, or relatable. But how do you make them more than an inconvenience? How do you make them sympathetic when they hurt the protagonist?

In my two part series, I hope to be able to give you ideas of how to craft an antagonist that has just as much of a chance, or more, of winning as the protagonist does, and making them human.

Our focus for today is: POWER. Without some form of power over your protagonist, antagonists are useless. Power isn’t limited to government, either. There are many types of power, and an effective antagonist will hold one of them over the protagonist, one that will damage them deeply. (Even better, they’ll have two or more!) An effective antagonist will breathe power.

(Side note: please note these types of power apply to human, or creature, antagonists. This does not specifically address ((but can)) non-human antagonists, such as the weather.)

#1 - Physical

Unless your character is immortal, and can never be hurt, physical power is always a viable option. We’re all mortal, and most people fear death. If your antagonist has the power to physically hurt your protagonist, they can cause them great pain, and this can stop them from doing daily actions, or stop them working against the antagonist’s goals.

- Threaten to kill (or actually kill) protagonist
- Restrict protagonist's movement, such as locking them up
- Maim or torture them
- Control their body, through magical or technological means
- Create famine in the land, ridding their and others’ bodies of food, and so their health

#2 - Emotional

While having power over someone’s body is adequate in hindering their goals, often times, the mind can be a greater force to stop someone in their tracks. Everyone is at the mercy of their brain. If your antagonist can get inside your protagonist’s head, and obtain power that way, your protagonist will be fighting battles both inside, and outside.

- Make protagonist believe they cannot exist without antagonist
- Cause them to doubt their every move
- Negatively affect their mental state
- Threaten to hurt someone they care about (combining physical and emotional power)

#3 - Economical

Economical power revolves around the antagonist hindering the protagonist’s income, or money flow, and in doing so, threatening their means for survival. Defeating antagonists often requires a large amount of resources, from weapons, to food for a long journey, to rent, to paying soldiers. Characters, unless extremely rich, do not have massive pools of money to dip their buckets in whenever they come up short. If the antagonist cuts off their income, they could effectively be crushing any opposition.

- Employed by antagonist, and rely on them for income
- If POV spends too much time pursuing antagonist, loses job, and thus means of survival for them and/or their family (economical, physical, and emotional)
- POV doesn’t have the funds/resources to fight back

#4 - Cultural/Authority

Finally we come to cultural, or authoritarian, power. I’ve combined these two, for if cultures and societies mark a certain individual as their ruler, they then make them an authority, and in doing so give them power. When the antagonist has control over an entire community, they are indeed an extremely powerful force, with many opportunities to harm the protagonist.

- Antagonist is the ruler, and by law can detain/imprison POV without consequence
- Because of antagonist’s community standing, can exile POV
- POV is labelled an outcast or traitor (emotional and cultural)
- Due to traditions of respecting those in authority, any questioning the government’s methods, can be crushed (possibly also physical power, if involves physical consequences)

And those are the four key types of power your antagonist can wield! They can be played around with or combined, to make your antagonist a true obstacle to your protagonist, and their goal. I hope this has helped you brainstorm some ways you can make your antagonist breathe power!

Let’s chat! What kind of power does your antagonist have over your protagonist? Do you enjoy writing antagonists, or protagonists more? Who is your favourite book antagonist?

~~Melissa Gravitis~~
Melissa Gravitis is a Christian teen writer with a Thai heart, Aussie heritage, and international blood. Growing up overseas, she developed a passion for following dreams, and crafting Young Adult stories with vibrant worlds and characters that pop off the page. Though she doesn’t own any pets (yet), she has imaginary friends called Characters that she spends most of her days with. When she’s not with them, she’s jamming to music, or burying herself in books. You can read her thoughts and follow her writing progress on her blog, Quill Pen Writer.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Books you should read this month

Hello fellow bookworms!

I'm always looking for new books to add to my TBR, and the best feeling is when a friend comes to me loving a book and I KNOW it's actually good. In this post I'm going to run through some great popular books, if you'd like to read the the title! Below the title, I insert quotes that I believe represent the books as well as advisory warnings and personal thoughts.

Settle back with a steaming mug of your favorite drink and enjoy!

The Giver
  “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
Lois Lowry, The Giver

The newchild stirred slightly in his sleep. Jonas looked over at him.
"There could be love", Jonas whispered.”
Lois Lowry, The Giver 

 “We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.”
Lois Lowry, The Giver

  “But there was nothing left to do but continue”
Lois Lowry, The Giver 

Genre: Dystopian
Personal Thoughts: One of the many reasons I love this book is because it's good for all audiences, it's an incredible book to share with siblings/children while still enjoying the story. The story though simple is deeply philosophical in nature. The story of a 12 year old boy living in an seemingly ideal world.
Tags: family / love / memories / apple / growing up / baby / utopian society / depth of feeling / bicycles / community / loneliness / dreams

Between Shades of Gray

 “Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch.”
Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray 

 “Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness.”
Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray 

 “We'd been trying to touch the sky from the bottom of the ocean.”
Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray

 “Was it harder to die, or harder to be the one who survived?”
Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray

Genre: Historical Fiction
Personal Thoughts:  Ruta Sepetys is a genius writer that presents real stories in the most artistic beautiful manner. This story is a war chronicle; a bitter, raw, painful story still infused with hope. However some sensitive material is included such as references to..soldiers abusing women / birth / death & abuse. Well portrayed but suggested for an older/mature audience. 
Tags: war journey / sketchbooks / pocket watch / labor camp / train / rising sun / handsome soldiers / mother / family / escape / winter / stone / world war 2 / lithuania

The Lunar Chronicles

“Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would you do?”
Marissa Meyer, Cinder  

“But if there was one thing she knew from years as a mechanic, it was that some stains never came out.”
Marissa Meyer, Cinder 

  “I'm not sure I would label it a 'survivor,'" said Iko, her sensor darkening with disgust. "It looks more like a rotting pumpkin.”
Marissa Meyer, Cinder

Genre: Sci Fi / Fairytale Retelling
Personal Thoughts: Very fun reads with incredible plots. Marrisa Meyer masters fairytale retellings unlike no other. There are some slightly questionable parts in the series, especially in Scarlet and Cress so I suggest reader discretion. Also as brought to my attention, Fairest which isn't a necessary part of the series and one I did not bother to read has inappropriate content (sexual content and homosexual content).
Tags: princess / mechanic / robots / hacker / farm / moon / earth / romance / humour / banter / wolves / action 

 The Inheritance Cycle
  “The greatest enemy is one that has nothing to lose.”
Christopher Paolini, Eragon 

 “Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it's actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.”
Christopher Paolini, Eragon 

 “Into the sky to win or die.”
Christopher Paolini, Eragon 

 “From now on you're going to have to think. There's a reason why we're born with brains in our heads, not rocks.”
Christopher Paolini, Eragon 

Genre: Heavy Fantasy
Personal Thoughts: I personally found this a bit dry and hard to read, but many absolutely love this series. They are great for both genders and are all clean and filled with fantasy, dream worlds, and of course...dragons!
Tags: dragons / magic / precious stones / elves / dwarves / mythical creatures / kingdom / village / 

Hopefully you found something you'd like among this list! I'd like to remind my fellow readers that if you have any book reviews you can always be a book scout and submit for us.

 /bo͝ok skout/
  1. One who scout outs and give us their personal ratings of Young Adult age-range literature, especially for how much swearing, abuse, and lust is present in the work on a 1 to 5 scale.

2.  fellow readers, on a reconnaissance (or spying) mission for Rebellious Writing

Anna C. S.