Saturday, April 28, 2018

April Showers: April Wrap-Up and Update



They say March goes in like a lion and out like a lamb. But where I am, the winter has only just decided to go away. Some springs, the winter eases out on a gentle slope, every day growing slightly warmer until all the snow has melted and the grass begins to grow again. That's not always the case, though, as with this year, when we'd have a warmer day, then three inches of ice, then a day when everything was so hot all anyone could think about was breaking out the T-shirts and shorts. Until, of course, the next morning, when everything was back to freezing and snow.

Our fight for clean YA books is similar to this winter-to-spring cycle, I think. There are days when it's freezing cold and the fight seems hopeless--but then there are days when all I have to do is look at my bookshelf, see the clean indie novels and even mainstream novels, and feel like maybe there's a way for us to accomplish something. And soon, the winter of fighting will turn into the spring of victory, when clean books won't be a rarity, but the norm.

This month there's been a lot going on here at Rebellious Writing, so let's dive right in!

This Month's Posts

RW Team Members Keturah and Clare report their thoughts on Ronald Pisaturo's The Merchant of Mars, a sci-fi play that received a pretty high rating from them. 



Do you really have to write smut and dirt? Clare A.'s brief but powerful post on the power of encouraging good in our writing is amazing and definitely worth a read. 

Not every teen lives the sort of lifestyle depicted by most mainstream YA books. Clean YA fosters hope and calls readers to be the best that they can be. Audrey Caylin defends these points and more in this brilliant post.




Social Media and Stats

Website

85 followers
20,128 pageviews all time

Facebook

56 likes, 62 followers

Twitter

311 followers, 474 tweets, 642 likes

Instagram

20 posts, 126 followers

Pinterest

24 boards, 90 followers

Goodreads

60 members, 18 topics 
We're still on the hunt for a Goodreads coordinator! We'll be selecting a candidate very soon to take the position. 

Google+

24 followers

YouTube

46 subscribers, 2 videos


Around the Blogosphere

Allison Kennedy's blog post, Bad Language Used in Christian Fiction, inspired some very interesting conversation amongst our team members and is definitely worth a read. 

The Beautiful People Meme has come to a close, and Rebellious Writing teammates Catherine Hawthorn, Lila Kims, Faith Thompson, and Melissa Gravitis all took part in the final link-up. Definitely worth checking out! 

Clare A. over at Movies Meet Their Match has given us a ton of tags and reviews this month, including the Disney Princess Book Tag! Super fun posts all around.

Anna C.S. hosted a poetry week over at her blog A World Through Her Heart--lots of talent over there.   

Keturah Lamb did an amazing post at Keturah's Korner on how to make a blogging schedule. If you're a blogger, read it--lots of helpful tips and experienced insight. 

And finally, Audrey Caylin has hosted four different guest posters this month on her blog! All of them have super cool insight into different parts of writing and they're awesome. 



Final Thoughts

We're still looking for a Goodreads coordinator! See last month's wrapup for more info on how to apply for that position.

Also, it's not too late to submit a guest post for us for this summer! If you would like to submit a guest post, please go to the "Collaborate" page and fill out the Google Form. Note: There is a glitch in the Form where guest posters are forced to fill in the Book Review page before it will submit. Just put in 1 star and N/A where applicable (unless you care to give us a review - then we will showcase it in the next Book Scout Bulletin!).  

I know that it can be hard sometimes to keep fighting, especially when it seems like a losing battle. But when it comes down to the wire, winter will one day give way to spring, just as it does in Northern New England. The snow's strength may seem invincible--but it isn't. We're all in this fight together, and one day, maybe not even that far away, we'll have victory. You know what they say--April showers bring May flowers. 


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Lights in the Dark -- Why We Need Clean YA


Writing clean YA in today’s publishing market can be tough. Most often, it’s the dark, gritty stories that make their way onto the bestseller lists. This can be discouraging for authors who want to write wholesome YA. If the dark stuff is selling and that’s what the readers seem to want, why keep writing for the light?

That’s a legitimate doubt, especially if your career is being a writer of clean YA. While writing clean YA might instinctively seem like “the right thing to do,” what are the concrete reasons that spur us to write stories that are nearly counter-cultural?

It’s these important reasons that I want to tackle here today.


Reason 1: Readers Can’t Always Relate to Characters in ‘Unclean’ YA Books

Many of the protagonists in unclean YA books seem to find themselves in situations that young adults and teens face in the world today.

But not everyone faces them.

Not every teen struggles with a drug addiction, two breakups in a week, or an environment saturated in cursing. Not every teen has to pick between two perfect guys while trying to save the world. While it might seem like a majority of teens do, trust me—as a teenager—we don’t. I could probably scrape together numerous names of teenagers who don’t deal with things that fall into the “unclean” category when it comes to literary content.

This is where clean YA has the potential to grow as a niche. There are a lot of young adults out there looking for clean reads—characters in situations they can relate to. Let’s stand in the possibility that unwholesome YA is the result of a world getting darker, but here’s the kicker: not everyone lives in the deepest parts of that darkness. Therefore, let’s give that crowd some characters they can relate to.


Reason 2: Clean YA Calls Readers to Become the Best Version of Themselves

A lot of the characters in unclean YA novels do things that, as young children, we were told not to do. Yet the characters in these novels regularly do these things, and oftentimes don’t suffer the true consequences of them or even show remorse for their unhinged behavior.

Again, this is where clean YA comes in. It provides the opportunity to encourage young adults to aspire to be better people. This isn’t to say that characters in clean YA novels can’t mess up. They can—and they should—but at least then acknowledge that they did 'fall from grace' and either grow from the experience or face the true results.

The niche of clean YA has the potential to encourage its readers to become the best version of themselves.


Reason 3: Clean YA’s Ultimate Message is that of Hope—And the World Needs That Right Now

Pick up an unclean YA book these days, and it seems the endings only offer hollow, cliché solutions to moral and personal problems. They often preach that finding 'true love' makes everything okay or that rebellion against authority—be it parents, family, community, or government—solves all the world’s problems. These types of solutions are misleading because they only offer a false hope. False hope is like a Band-Aid on a deep, mortal wound; it can’t stop the bleeding forever.

Clean YA, on the other hand, offers real hope based on Truth—realistic antidotes that aren’t perfect, but that guide us to truth. Clean YA speaks of people who fight for truth in a world of confusion and chaos, showing that good can overcome evil and that good even exists. It shines light in the midst of darkness, promising that things will turn out okay in the end. This type of hope can truly heal mortal wounds, not temporarily patch them up.


The world—especially the teenagers and young adults in it—needs stories like this; stories with relatable characters, a calling to become better versions of ourselves, and a message of hope. Though it’s ultimately the reader’s choice of which book type of book they pick up, there are readers out there searching for wholesome YA.

Maybe it’s a character flaw of mine, but I believe in hope. When I reach for a book, I reach for one that will offer me what I’m seeking, and that is often words that are like a salve to the sometimes wounded, discouraged parts of my soul. And those words are found in clean YA novels.

I’m not the only one looking for these novels. So writers, let’s saturate the publishing market with light and hope.

Write on,
~~Audrey Caylin~~ 

 Audrey Caylin is a full-time dreamer and aspiring independent author living on words and the wild beauty of life. Somewhere along the way, she began searching for green flashes during sunsets and embraced a mission to bring hope to the world through her writing. Being a ghostwriter for God is now her greatest joy and honor as she weaves stories of faith and feeling for other young adults. She’s a contributor to the Project Canvas book, future freelance editor, and a member of the Young Writers Workshop. When she’s not writing or dreaming, she’ll probably be driving along the west coast with the windows rolled down or with her face tilted to the sky on a rainy day. She blogs at audreycaylin.com

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lights, Cameras, Write!



You don’t have to follow the flow. The things that are good, are not always the popular things.

I would be a fabulous actress, (I’m using myself just for an example). My family has always said so. But, I would not ever be in a movie, because of my standards and values. 

There are hundreds of movies out there. There are the movies that you watch and forget about them. There are the movies that are so terrible you wish you hadn’t watched, and you wonder why they made it. Then there are the movies that make you cry deeply, because they are so wonderful and beautiful, they are “the good ones”, “the classics”, and “the favorites”. Everyone should see the good movies, but there are precious few.

I’m not saying I would demand being the heroine, on the contrary, even the good movies need villains, and I have a pretty good evil laugh. That’s not who I am, but acting is, well, ACTing. It is being someone who you are not.

If I was an actress, I would be the most picky of them all. I wouldn’t ever: say any bad words, were costumes that were “skimpy” or uncomfortable, or do kissing scenes which went too far.

After all, who likes those movies? 

If I really wanted to become an actress, I could submit to their rules, just to get into a movie. But, who would do that? I can become a nurse, writer, or anybody I want to be. 

When you are writing, write the books that make us cry. Write the books that make us think about what happens, write the books that bring joy to the reader. 

“Reading takes us places when we have to stay where we are.” ~ Mason Cooley

Write those books. Don’t give into writing the YA books which encourage all bad things. Aren’t we trying to make the world full of good, instead of bad?

It’s okay, to use the bad things to teach a lesson, as long as they are shown as being bad. Not the “popular” and “cool” choice.

People will read your book, and they will love it. 

So, Lights, Cameras, Write!

Yours &c. 
Clare A.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Review of The Merchant of Mars by the RW Team



RW Disclaimer:  

The Rebellious Writing Team received this screenplay from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are the reviewers, and may not reflect Rebellious Writing as a whole. Rebellious Writing's reviews and star ratings only apply to the work in question, not to every work by the author.

This year, we were approached by Ronald Pisaturo who was wondering if we would read and review his screenplay, The Merchant of MarsKeturah Lamb and Clare A. took up the challenge, here is what they have to say about it!



Keturah's Review:

I chose to read this for two reasons: I'm really interested in scripts and I'm trying to understand the science fiction genre. So this was perfect. It also had a lot of politics, which I loved!

A Merchant of Mars is a story about the United States' president trying to encourage pioneering of mars. And so the offer, "The first man to reach Mars, live on it a year, and return ALIVE shall own Mars" is broadcasted over the world. "Let the race begin," and a race it is... and one man doesn't want the race to happen at all. It's a fantastic journey of a few men striving to make their lives better by taking calculated yet very dangerous risks to build a future of their own.

Review:

Language: ✰✰✰✰✰. No language! Which actually surprised me as the I could easily see this book being full of swearing considering the story.

Abuse: ✰✰✰. Mild violence. Everything was appropriate, but might bother some. The action could be intense at times as there is a man trying to kill the main characters. Also, man is shot and killed. Men lie, plant bombs, or stir others up against the main characters with the intent of war. There is a battle with space ships with shooting and several ships crashing.

Lust: ✰✰✰✰✰. Perfectly appropriate, very much like real life. There is a wedding, husbands kiss wives, though it isn't overly graphic, nothing inappropriate. A young couple communicate a lot, and it is clear that they are in love, but their conversation is always clean, and not mushy.

Overall: ✰✰✰✰✰. The book did not appear to be Christian, though it was clean. A character in the book seemed to be a very strong New Spiritualist, but his beliefs are not shown to be good. I really loved this and would love to see it be made into a movie! The action felt perfectly paced, the (good) characters were all likable and balanced. I was able to grasp the scientific stuff (mostly) and the script was easy enough to follow. Though, one thing... I didn't realize until close to the end that EXT. stood for exterior and INT. stood for interior when the script was describing scene locations. But I think that was just my bad for not catching on. I just skimmed over those abbreviations and was able to understand the story perfectly.




Clare's Review:

I choose to read this because I haven't read much sci-fi, but am always trying to remedy that, and because I have never read a screenplay! It was very fun, though like Keturah it took me a while to figure out what EXT., INT., and V.O. were...

Review:
Language: ✰✰✰✰✰. It was fabulous reading a book with no swearing in it!

BRONSON
What else?

ROCKY
You help the good guys win.

Abuse: ✰✰✰. There is some fighting, death, and people trying to kill each other. Some intense scenes that might get your heart racing.
Lust: ✰✰✰✰✰. There is a mildly suggestive comment. Mild kissing. But those are all appropriate things!
Overall: ✰✰✰✰, it is so clean and a fun read. It would make a great movie.

Frankenstien is telling us it's time to eat.

What I liked:
  1. The whole idea! It drew me in and I was very interested to see what would happen.
  2. All the characters. I love the support they have for each other!
  3. The whole sci-fi theme. It was very well done.
  4. Josie and Roy.
What I didn't like:

  1. Sickle.
  2. That we didn't get more of Farrell's kids: Jill, Bonnie, and Davey.
  3. That this isn't a movie! 
Yours &c.
Clare A.



About the Author

Ronald Pisaturo is an author, former actor and Objectivist philosopher who is living in Southern Utah. Besides writing screenplays, he has also published two philosophical works. More information can be found at his website (http://www.ronpisaturo.com) and he can be found on Goodreads.