Category Archives: Teen Writing

Give Up or Get Tough

The Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop
Give Up or Get Tough:
Strong Female Protagonists

What makes a strong female protagonist?

Product DetailsÉowyn from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers, is a shield maiden. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games transforms into a warrior to save her sister’s life. These are obvious examples of strong female characters.

But there other less dramatic examples of strong women.

Elizabeth Darcy dared to marry for love rather than economic convenience as was the tradition at the time. Alice from Alice in Wonderland exhibits strength through perseverance, bravery, and common sense after falling into a strange, new world. Boring traits, you say? Don’t forget that Alice overcomes the ruthless Queen of Hearts!

In my YA novel, Jadeite’s Journey, my protagonist is a bit of both types.

Although she lives in a future society, Jadeite is an ordinary teen girl. She’s not prepared for the attention of a cute boy from school—her first boyfriend. As their relationship continues, Mattie reveals himself to be an egotistical bully. Soon Jadeite feels more like his “property” than a girlfriend.

She hates this guy, absolutely hates him!

Life is perfect in 2616. Jadeite lives in an advanced society that has eliminated disease, war, and poverty. But after she discovers her father has been leading a double life, Jadeite realizes her “perfect” life is riddled with secrets and deception.

. . .her father’s frequent trips away from home. . .the Dark Ridge.
And was it possible—was her father a Ridge Runner?

When she breaks up with Mattie, she soon learns his father is a powerful government official. Mattie has Jadeite’s best friend institutionalized.

“Did they hurt you?” Jadeite asks.
“The shock treatments were horrible,” Electra said. “That’s why
I conform and pretend I’m completely reformed.”

Filled with obsessive jealousy, Mattie refuses to accept the end of their relationship. He also threatens Jadeite’s family.

She has a choice: give up and submit

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Jadeite meets Orion, a boy who is everything Mattie is not.

to Mattie’s power, or get tough and do whatever needed to protect her family. Similar to Katniss risking her life to save her sister, Jadeite steps into an uncomfortable role—a dangerous one—in order to save her family.

 

I believe the best heroines are not characters without fears or weaknesses, but characters who rise above their limitations and tackle overwhelming problems.

New from Inkspell Publishing

Jadeite’s Journey is available in paperback & e-book on Amazon

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A Peculiar Story

I picked this book up, not knowing what to expect except this story would be unusual. Peculiar is a perfect word for it! Sixteen-year-old Jacob has heard weird stories from his grandfather for years. When Jacob was little, he believed in these strange characters–children with special abilities, but as he grew older, he realized the tales were mere fairy tales.

When Jacob finds his grandfather gravely injured outside in the dark, he also sees a monster in the shadows. Or does he? Jacob’s parents send him to a psychologist, thinking he’s having trouble with his grandfather’s death.

But Jacob remembers his grandfather’s dying words, as strange and coded as his many stories, and Jacob is determined to go to the remote island where his grandfather lived as a boy–Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. There he finds the ruins of the building, walls crumbled from an air attack during WWII. But soon he realizes the house is not abandoned!

You’ll enjoy the many real–strange–photographs in the book. The author, Ransom Riggs, perused through vintage photos in flea markets and antique stores, which he used in writing the story. I found myself intrigued with the book, turning page after page. Read the book before you see the movie! If you like series, two sequels to this book are already available: Hollow City and Library of Souls.

Follow me on Instagram at lucindastein. Check out my bookstagram pic for this book!

The Weight of Feathers

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB every Monday. This is a weekly meme where participants have to answer one of the pre-set questions plus a random question.

AM CURRENTLY READING…

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore. One of the reasons I am enjoying feathers-coverthis book is the fact the story comes as a refreshing change from the paranormal and fantasy novels I’ve been reading and reviewing. The storyline is definitely unique. Two gypsy-like families, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have feuded for years. Both family acts travel throughout the countryside, the Palomas dressing like mermaids and performing in the lake; the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, presenting escapades in tall trees.

That in itself creates a unique story, but both families also possess fantastical traits. The Palomas are born with escamas, dime-sized scales that shine like abalone (fits the mermaid aspect, doesn’t it?). The Corbeaus have black feathers that grow beneath their hair. When these feathers loosen and float on the breeze, the Palomas consider it part of the Corbeaus’ black magic.

Fate brings Lace, a Paloma girl, and Cluck, a Corbeaus, together when a tragedy at the local chemical plant sifts a cloud of chemicals over the small town where both families are performing. Not understanding the danger, Lace is caught outdoors, the chemicals blazing through her skin when Cluck comes upon her. He understands full well the dangers of the chemicals because his grandfather used to work at the plant. Cluck tears at her clothes, knowing the chemical has a violent reaction to cotton material. He brings Lace, severely burned, to the local hospital.

One of the burns forms in the shape of a feather, leaving Lace to think she was cursed by Cluck. She believes the only way to erase the curse is to seek out the Corbeaus who touched her. He is unaware that she is a Paloma and gives her a job applying makeup for the Corbeaus girls before their performance.

Another wonderful aspect of the book is the often lyrical and literary language. Here’s an example from page 158:

“His own words hovered in the air like dragonflies. Even when he went out the back door to hang up his shirt, he could hear the humming of their wings.”

By page 163, where I am currently in the book, romance is heating up between the two rivals. At this point of the story, I have no idea how this can turn out. After all, the families remain fierce rivals and enemies. I’m looking forward to discovering how the story progresses. Even though I’m only a little over halfway through the story, I highly recommend this magical-realism book.

RANDOM QUESTION:

If you were a character, which author would you trust with your life (to write your story)?

I would trust author, Bonnie Jo Campbell, to tell my story. Campbell has a true talent to get into a character’s mind and soul. But what I especially appreciate is the once-upon-a-riverunderlying empathy she holds for all her characters, shallow to complex, good to bad, Campbell will reveal how that character’s life experiences have molded him or her. She would pull out things from my character that I may not be conscious of and would probably surprise even me. Her literary style is, at the risk of an old cliché, the cherry placed on top of her whipped-cream writing. If you haven’t read her work yet, I recommend Once Upon a River and Q Road.

 

Bone Gap

 

I read great reviews for Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, which won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and was a National Book Award finalist. Awards aside,  I was not disappointed after reading this book. In fact, I didn’t want the story to end. It was that good.

Finn O’Sullivan knows what happened to beautiful Rosa. He should. He watched a strange man kidnap her. But when local authorities show him photographs, he’s unable to identify the man. When asked for specifics—what did his eyes look like, his nose, his mouth—Finn is unable to say. Now no one believes him.

Seventeen-year-old Finn lives in the small town of Bone Gap. The community thinks Finn is a little off. Though good looking, he’s always distracted and wears odd expressions. Finn lives with his older brother, Sean, after their mother left them to move to Oregon with a boyfriend. Sean, always ready to help anyone, gives up college to take care of Finn.

Their humdrum life changes when Rosa appears mysteriously one day at their farm, and they take the injured girl in. She refuses to talk about who hurt her or why. Days turn into weeks, and Sean falls in love with Rosa. After the kidnapping, Finn’s brother becomes silent and moody. Worst of all, Finn blames himself for not stopping the abduction.

The book is a unique mixture of mystery and magic with the spine-tingling mood of a thriller. This magical-realism story pulls you in and won’t let go. I promise.

 

Pantser or Plotter?

I’m twenty pages into my new novel. My main character looks over her shoulder and          expects me to follow!

phone pics 100

Can you tell I’m a pantser—someone who writes by the seat of her pants, dives right into the story? In contrast, a plotter carefully plans the plot in detail before they sit down to write.

 

At least, I start out as a pantser, but I’ve learned to consider plot before I wander very far into my story. Main plot, subplots, what the protagonist most desires and what will get in her/his way to obtain that. Those are important things to look at carefully.

The smallest idea can fuel your writing. Do you start with a character, a physical setting, a conflict, or a mystery? Small or big, anything that gets you writing is a good thing!

Happy reading and writing,

Lucinda