Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A Birthday Party in the Sunset




Greetings, fellow rebels!

August 9 marked the 3rd anniversary of Rebellious Writing's existence. It is indeed a remarkable achievement to have lasted this long.

It all started with this original post by Gray Marie Cox back in 2017.....
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   Have you ever read a book that was good?

       No, I mean really, really, REALLY good! And while you're reading it, you're think something along the lines of this: This book is SO good, I'm going to recommend it to EVERYONE!
     And then you turn the page and the writer starts dropping f-bombs. And you're just sitting there like,
     Well, thank you, dear writer, now I won't recommend this book to half of the people I was thinking of!
        We all have that one book. *Cough, cough* The Fault in Our Stars...

         And look, I'm not going to tell any of you what's too much and too far in, err, swear words usage. Because we all have different views and lines to cross, but here's a clue, if it would embarrass you if your dad read it aloud to your whole family, maybe you should re-think...

         Okay, I know several of y'all right now are thinking, Gray! I write YA, it's not meant for my five-year-old sister!!!  Okay, fine. If you don't want your parents or grandma to read it, because of some *cough* scenes, and some *cough, cough* words..

          Dear writers, (because this rant is directed towards you lovely folks!)

It does not make your book look cool if you drop the f-bomb or any other bombs for that matter! If your character flips off another character in your book, I'm not going to track you down to tell you how cool you are!

          And look, I'm glad you know how re-production works, I really am. But PLEASE, could you not, oh, I don't know, PUT A THOUSAND OVERLY GRAPHIC SEX SCENES IN YOUR BOOKS. Darlings, come here, come closer, let me tell you something very important... NO ONE WANTS TO READ YOUR PORN-TURNED-INTO-WORDS GARBAGE! *Gasps* I know, it's surprising!

          Seriously. Stop it. Get some help.

            "Finally I moved out! Now, I am no longer under their rules. I shall fill my books with profanities and swearing, and Momma can go bleep, bleep, bleep, herself!"?

           And then there's the glorifying things like alcohol and drugs, which, if you do this, I'm sorry, you're just stupid. THIS STUFF KILLS PEOPLE, IT SHATTERS PEOPLE'S LIVES, AND HERE YOU ARE GLORIFYING IT LIKE A COMPLETE IDIOT. Like, do you not realize how harmful this stuff is? Why are you calling it good or fun? Yeah, drugs look fun sometimes, but then when you open your eyes, you see it all. People passed out on sidewalks. People selling their bodies for crack. People with tracks on their arms-slaves to drugs. Children being taken away by CPS because their parents loved a substance more than them. Don't you understand? This is reality. This is the harshest reality, and here you are, calling it good, like the blind child you are.

           So asides from the rant, let's address the true issue, us. I've noticed something, more and more teen writers are joining the dark side and writing sex scenes, swearing, and glorifying things like alcohol and drug abuse. And I just don't understand it at first, but then when I think about it, it hits me...

         They are trying to be relevant, to be cool, to be the hot stuff on the block. But close your eyes, and imagine a world where books are good and wholesome again. Where if books have to have swearing it is used correctly and the sex scenes are only subtle hints that honor the holiness of marriage, not the stupidness of adolescence. Where drugs and alcohol are called out for what they are, a demon in the form of glory. But most importantly, where the innocence and love of friendships flourish in the books.

         Doesn't that sound awesome? Guess what, we can make that dream a reality. We are the next generation. We are the next storytellers. We are the next bestselling authors. We don't have to follow their rules. Let's break them, and make new ones-better ones. Let's break the mold and the stereotype of teens being irresponsible people who can't do anything to change the world, because we can. And we will, whether it's for bad or good. I am tired of being silent. I am tired of letting stuff like this go. I am tired of being passive. It's time to make a change, but I can't do this alone, this is a call to arms.

      What if we started saying "no"?

      No, I will not push your agenda.
      No, I will not be cool by writing cuss words.
      No, I will not write your sex scenes.
      No, I will not write in a way that makes it normal and socially acceptable for teens to hate their family. 

No, I. Will. Not. 

       Dear world, dear writers, dear everyone,

I am a teenager. And I am doing what teens do best, I am rebelling.

Who's with me?
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9 other young women answered that question immediately and within the first couple of months, a website and social media pages sprang up. Hundreds of followers soon also answered the call and even though the faces have changed, we're still starting conversations with other writers and readers!

To celebrate this accomplishment, the RW team has decided to highlight several favorite posts from the three years we've been blogging :)

So, without further ado, let us begin the party!

The Best of Rebellious Writing

Most Popular Post



This post by our founder, Grace Marie Cox, really struck home to a lot of our readers in 2017. One of the things that sparked this movement was indeed our disgust for the language-ridden YA books, that no doubt was a reflection on the general crassness of society. At over 1.9k views, it very well deserves the top spot. 

Best Book Review



Lila Kims reviewed this popular YA book all the way back in 2017 and it's such a classic example of a professional book review. Both the book and the review are such a joy to read, you must check it out :) 

Greatest Guest Post



This post from 2018 highlights several popular tropes on how abuse could be romanticized, especially in supposed "romantic relationships". Amy Nikita uses popular examples like Gossip Girl, Twilight and Once Upon a Time to show what not to do. 

Tips and Tricks



This post from 2019 allowed the team to nerd out a little about one of our favorite Star Wars characters and really highlight how side characters could really have their place in the story's narrative. 


Our Best Team Collaboration Post



We as a team loved to have team discussion behind the scenes and it was one such conversation that lead to this post from 2019 right here. It was a long-overdue one too - we had gotten questions about reviewing magic in YA since the very beginning of the movement. 

Best Encouragement Post



This wonderful post by Melissa Gravitis in 2019 is worth more than one re-read, especially when it looks so dark that it's hard to continue. Every writer needs encouragement and this is a perfect dose of it that is not bound by time. 

The Random Favorite



This early 2019 post (is it really bad that many of our favorites are from 2019??) by Catherine Hawthorn explores why fairy tales have such an important role in society. Stuffed full of quotes from lots of wise people with a dash of wit, the post also explores why Young Adult readers are so fascinated with fairy tale retellings.  

And there ends the list! 

Normally, we would conclude with a note of encouragement and a toast to future writing.

But now, as much as we hate to say this, we have some rather sad news.

Some of you may have noticed that we have not been answering emails for several months. Some may also have noticed that our social media pages have gone somewhat quiet. And still others may have noticed that we haven't posted on this blog since March and even before, posting was sporadic.

The fact is....the RW crew has moved on.

Gray Marie Cox (or we should say, Grace) has moved onto new blogging adventures and is about to head off to college. You can follow her new blog here.

Catherine Hawthorn is on track to publishing her debut novel The White Rose of Duventoliel in Spring 2021. You can follow updates at her blog and at her new Instagram account (@rebellinglass71).

Faith Thompson has been writing a new WIP, Holding Up the Sky and has opened up an art Instagram (@rachel_faith_art).

Lila Kims is working on her own debut, Dusted Red. Updates can be found on her blog.

Julian Daventry, as Helena George, is publishing her debut with Sarah Rodecker, called Secrets, Ships and Survivors, available August 25.

Keturah Lamb has recently returned from her extended stay in Germany and has been helping her father's political campaign.

Clare A. has been heavily working on the complicated part of life called "education" . In any spare minute she has she rants about and reviews movies.

Melissa Gravitis, last we heard, is writing short fiction and still in university.

And one of our original founders, Audrey Caylin, has resurfaced under a new pen name, K. M. Small. You can follow her blog here.

As you can see, the whole team has had many exciting things happening these past several months, and is moving in several different directions at once. So much so that we simply just cannot give this movement the attention that it deserves.

Therefore, we have decided to officially retire the Rebellious Writing blog, the YouTube channel, the Facebook page, the Pinterest page and the Twitter page. Instagram and Goodreads will still be updated occasionally by our admins. Emails will not be answered. As stated, they have not been checked regularly since our email coordinator stepped down several months ago, and we send a thousand apologies to those writers who have been trying to reach us and received no answer.

These three years have been a blast for all of us. And it was really hard for us to make this decision.

But just because we're all singing "Taps" to this blog and most of our social media doesn't mean that we surrender.

Because there is still a war to fight. A war for clean literature for us, and the generations to come.

So how can you resist against language-ridden, abuse-filled and lustful literature?

First - write book reviews! Many of our readers rely on reviews in order to spy red flags, especially in the lust department. Our admins still use our RW star rating system to rate the book in light of those three specific categories we highlight, and we encourage you all to adopt this system as well.
Here is our star system, broken down:

Overall Content Rating
1 star - lots of language (especially the worst words), heavy amounts of abuse or showing abuse of any kinds as good, or lots of sex or lustful relations

2 star - frequent amounts of language, abuse or lust

3 star - moderate amounts of language, abuse or lust

4 star - a little language, a few situations of abuse or a lustful scene or two. 

5 star - no language, no abuse, no lust present in the work.

What do we mean by no language?

We mean that the work has no swear words (spelled out or in symbol talk). Vulgar words such as crap, suck, screw, etc., and euphemisms are not considered swear words, it is up to the reviewer discretion to include them. Phrases that allude to swearing (e.g. he cursed) are acceptable.

What do we mean by no abuse?

If abuse (alcohol, drug, child, animal or domestic) is in the book at all, it is shown in a negative light (i.e. done by the villian) and has clear consequences for the perpetrator or negative consequences for the victim.

What do we mean by no lust?

The books has no explicit sexual scenes (including making out), or any impurity beyond mild kissing between a male and a female. Carnal desire (i.e. desiring someone else's spouse, only desiring the body, etc.) should be treated the same as abuse (negative light and clear consequences).

Second - support clean authors! Follow them on social media and interact with them. Buy their books. Review their books. Recommend their books. Build up their communities so that they're not only supported emotionally, but also financially - it's really tough being an indie author these days!

Third - Talk about clean reading! The only way that issues get resolved is through exposure and debate. Therefore, start the conversation! Post about what books you like or avoid and why.

Fourth - write clean fiction yourself! Whether it's a flash fiction for Havok, or a full 120k fantasy novel, the world could use more uplifting clean fiction.

With these final words, we shall ride to the sunset. This is not goodbye, but as the French say, au revoir. In the meantime, keep fighting the fight - we shall have victory yet!