Wordy Wednesday: Raising the Stakes

It’s been a busy week.

I had my first day of work at the bookshop Thursday, then promptly found out that my roommate Hannah needed someone to go to Chicago with her for an emergency trip to the Brazilian consulate (don’t ask). So I traded off Ch1Con Chat duties for the night with the incredible Kira and off we drove to Chicago.

We spent a good part of Friday running back and forth between the consulate and other places, then we got our reward for enduring all of that: a few free hours in downtown. We ate lunch in the cafe in Millennium Park with the Bean as our view, then took the river walk to Navy Pier, where we sat for a while and watched the boats and waves. Afterward, we took the water taxi back to the Magnificent Mile, and from there spur-of-the-moment decided to do a river boat architecture tour. We finished the afternoon with stops at a candy shop and Garrett Popcorn for provisions for the long drive home, then headed back to Michigan.

Despite the fact that in total we were only gone for around thirty hours (and we spent almost half of that in the car, another seven hours or so sleeping, and the entire morning doing the emergency consulate stuff), it was a fun trip. We listened to the Order of the Phoenix audiobook on the way there and back, and got to hang out for the first time since winter semester ended, and yeah.

Then on Sunday my family decided to go into downtown Detroit for the day to celebrate my brother’s recent birthday (HAPPY TWENTY-FOURTH, DUDE), so we hit the Detroit Institute of the Arts to see the special Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo exhibit, then wandered around Campus Martius and Greektown and got dinner. And it was a really wonderful day.

However, what both those trips meant was that come Monday, I was insanely behind on everything. So I’ve been playing catchup with all my various jobs and responsibilities ever since. Fingers crossed that in the next couple days, I finally get there (because then next week is BEA/BookCon, which means I’m going to get behind again).

Anyway. This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post.

So this week in my screenwriting class, we’re sharing something called our “five minute pitch.” (The name is pretty self-explanatory.)

I’ve pitched projects a billion times before, between telling literary agents at conferences about my novels and sharing ideas at meetings. But doing the five minute pitch for class was honestly terrifying, because here’s the thing: We haven’t worked on our scripts at all yet.

AT. ALL.

We’d just finished sketching out some quick character profiles and our loglines, and all of a sudden our professor wanted us to have our entire plot ready to go–with all the twists, subplots, and character development fleshed out.

I’m a pantser and a procrastinator, so of course I went into class (assigned to pitch first) with next to nothing prepared and just winged it. And it went pretty well for me making up the story as I went.

However, in the critique afterward my class pointed out a pretty big flaw in my idea. This is a flaw I regularly run into, and probably the fact that my class got the very roughest draft of the plot for my screenplay made it even more apparent than usual.

I’m bad at stakes.

Not always, of course. Within stories themselves, my here-and-now stakes are generally pretty solid. (In the case of my screenplay, a girl’s best friend has been kidnapped and if she doesn’t find her fast, the kidnapper will kill the BFF.) But my why-is-this-story-happening stakes often need help.

Generally, we call this type of stakes “motivation.” Why is someone doing something? Why would they approach the issue in this specific way? What do they hope to obtain from it or fear will happen if they don’t succeed?

It’s that last question that transforms a character’s motivation into a form of stakes, but it’s the combination of the three that I have trouble with. In order for a motivation to feel realistic and justifiable to a reader/viewer, it has to be a single thing that realistically and justifiably answers all three questions.

When pitching my screenplay idea, I talked about how the kidnapper wanted vengeance on the BFF for something she’d done in the past. So, technically I’d answered the first question–but my pitch didn’t really cover the other two, and I hadn’t really thought about those yet.

And, unfortunately, my answer to Question #1 wasn’t the greatest, either.

“The stakes aren’t high enough,” my professor cautioned. My classmates offered ideas for ways I could make the kidnapper’s motivation stronger by making the BFF’s past mistakes worse.

And sitting there in front of the class, furiously taking down editorial notes, I realized something: The mistakes I’d already assigned the BFF were deplorable, so it wasn’t that they weren’t realistic or justifiable motivation for the kidnapping. It was that they weren’t for a kidnapping in fiction.

If this story was happening in real life, the best friend wouldn’t need to do as bad of things to justify someone kidnapping her. The kidnapper wouldn’t need as much riding on her decisions. Real life allows for chance and illogical actions and spur-of-the-moment choices (like Hannah and my one day road trip). But while real life certainly thrives on order, fiction needs it to survive.

You don’t need justification in real life, because it’s really happening. That’s justification enough. But because fiction is, you know, fictional, the reader/viewer no longer is required to believe what you’re telling him/her. So it becomes your job to make it just oh so painstakingly without a doubt believable that s/he has no choice but feel that what you’re telling him/her is the truth.

And this is the part that I’ve had issues with in the past. I know how to justify things IRL; it’s a whole other story to do it in fiction.

The easiest way is to quite simply raise the stakes. Make what’s going on bigger, worse, harder to come back from.

In one of my novels, I was dealing with an organization of dastardly vigilantes that the government wants to shut down. I originally had them at only a couple hundred members, which my critique partners immediately said they couldn’t believe. (“Why would the US government care about an organization that small?” they asked.) (Because, yeah, the real life United States totally wouldn’t care about a couple hundred unknown people running around with guns, killing whoever they felt like.) So I upped the number by a couple hundred. Then, when that still wasn’t believable, had to up it again.

Your in-story motivations have to be larger than life. They have to be impossible to disprove or disagree with. You have to move beyond realistic and justifiable–to indisputable.

So: raise the stakes.

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

Dissonance Cover Reveal!

I’m psyched today to participate in the cover reveal for a super cool indie book!

Mariella Hunt is a fellow young writer. We’re both beta reading a manuscript for a mutual friend, and Mariella is so sweet I had no choice but to offer ze blog when she said she was looking for places to host the cover reveal for her debut YA novel Dissonance.

About the book:

Fifteen-year-old Allie Grant lives crippled by her illness. Though kept in isolation, she’s never alone: A spirit named Song lurks in the silence of her bedroom.

When Song reveals its dark nature on the night of her recital, the show ends in tragedy. Verging on death, Allie’s taken in by an uncle she’s never met.

Julian claims to be a Muse with power over music and answers that’ll heal her. The cure she needs is rare, requiring of him a difficult sacrifice. Allie soon suspects her uncle has a secret that’ll turn her world around.

But with days left to live, she might fade without learning the truth…like the finishing chord of a song.

About Mariella:

Mariella Hunt is a writer with a strong love for coffee and guinea pigs. She likes using big words in everyday speech, and keeps journals of quotes from the greats.

Most days you’ll find her on a well-loved armchair, reading–or working on one of her many projects. As she cannot stick to an outline, she rewrites way too much.

Find Mariella Online:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mariellahuntauthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mariellahunt

Website – http://mariellahunt.com/

And Finally, the Gorgeous Cover:

So pretty, right? Dissonance will be out soon!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Characters and Plot

I found out yesterday that I landed a part-time job at a local bookstore! I’ll be working there for the rest of spring semester before moving to NYC for my internship in July, and I’m super excited.

Also, I’ve got a guest post up today on Newbie Writers (which is pretty cool), and tomorrow Ch1Con is hosting our monthly live video chat at 8:00 PM eastern. We’ll be discussing world-building. You can check it out on our Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/ChapterOneConference.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post.

Earlier today I was working on a screenwriting assignment when I ran into a bit of an issue. I was supposed to write a two hundred and fifty word character profile for my protagonist; in theory, easy enough. I ran through all the tips of things to discuss that our prof had given us (speech patterns, backstory, character arc, etc.). I filled out one of those character questionnaires with which the internet’s obsessed. I thought I had a really good handle on my protag.

Then I tried writing the actual profile, and it kept coming out sounding like, well, plot instead of character.

I couldn’t figure it out. The entire thing was definitely about my protagonist. I talked about her defining characteristics and hobbies. I brought in her backstory to show why she is the way she is and discussed the way she’ll have to change from the beginning of the screenplay to the end in order to achieve her goal. But when I read the profile all together, it reeked of plot.

Getting desperate, I turned to a couple of my writing friends for help (which is really what I should have done in the first place, because those guys are brilliant). After reading the profile, the always intelligent and wonderful Kira replied that I was right that the character profile felt like it contained plot. But I was wrong that that was a bad thing.

Because, as Kira reminded me, for a story to work, your characters and plot need to be so tightly interwoven you can’t separate them. Your characters need to influence your plot and your plot needs to change your characters. The reason my character profile seemed so plot-heavy was because I included my protagonist’s character arc. And a character arc is literally how a character changes due to the plot.

This is important to remember. When writing a story (whether it be a screenplay or novel or something else), you need to think about not only why you’ve chosen to write that plot, or about those characters–but why you’ve chosen to write about those two in conjunction with one another. If you could change your characters without greatly affecting your plot, or vice versa, something’s off.

Characters and plot should be in a reciprocal relationship with one another. Removing one should irredeemably damage the other.

So, try some writing exercises. Write character profiles for your protagonists and antagonists, and write out the arc of your plot. If you can successfully talk about one element of the story without the other, tweak until you can’t. Make your characters and plot need one another.

Then (like I’m going to, just as soon as my screenwriting prof lets us): get writing.

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Thanks for reading!

 

~Julia

The Creative Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated for another blogging award! A huge thanks to the ever lovely Adriana Gabrielle for the nomination.

The Rules:
~Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs
~Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you (very important)
~Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers
~Pass these rules on to them

The Nominees:
Kira of Kira Budge: Author
Ariel of Ariel Kalati, Writer
Mel of The Ultimately Useless Stories of an Average Teenager
Joan of The Spastic Writer
Hannah of Just Hannah dot Rose
Hannah of To Journey Toward
Shelby of Shelby Writes

(Not nominating 15 to 20 people, because whoa that’s a lot. So: even if I haven’t nominated you, if you’d like to complete this tag, go for it!)

The Facts:

1. I’m super into movies. Like, SUPER into movies. I almost ended up double majoring in film (in addition to my creative writing and literature major), but couldn’t quite justify it since I don’t currently have plans to work in the film industry. (Instead I’m a film minor with a bunch of extra film classes just for fun, like the screenwriting course I’m in right now.)

2. I’m trying to get in shape this summer, so I’m currently doing a hundred situps and biking about twenty miles a day. I like biking, because when I’m riding one of the stationary bikes in my building’s gym I can watch endless Netflix. My goal’s to get up to thirty miles a day.

3. As a counterpoint to the getting-in-shape thing, I’m also really into cooking and I put on like eight pounds this school year because I was finally out of the dorms and so had a kitchen at my disposal.

4. I’m addicted to the CW’s crappy superhero shows. The Flash, especially. There’s just something about attractive actors and bad writing.

5. I own a ridiculous number of mugs. It started because I didn’t own any, so I had to borrow one from my parents when I moved to college freshman year. So I bought myself one on a trip, then two–then all of a sudden I had like twenty and people keep giving them to me as gifts and I’m starting to run out of space for them. (But also, like, can you ever have too many mugs?) (The answer is yes. And I’ve just about reached that point.)

Thanks again for the nomination, Adriana! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s facts. :)

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Edge of the World

It’s the first day of spring term! A tiny part of me would have liked to have gotten more than five seconds of summer vacation, but at the same time, I’m taking screenwriting. So, like, spring term is going to be a lot of hard work, but also SO MUCH FUN.

Also, in the last couple days I found out I got a 4.0 last semester (and my overall GPA is back up into a not-terrible position, thank God) and that I got accepted to a special humanities-based committee on campus that’s starting in the fall and sounds amazing. So I’m having a pretty solid week so far.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote a couple months ago.

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[Capo 3]
VERSE1 [C, G, Em, C]
How did we get here,
at the end of the line?
Did we turn the map wrong?
Did we misread the signs?

And where do we go from here,
when I can’t turn around?
I’m a bird afraid of flying.
No, I’m afraid of hitting the ground.

TRANSITION1 [C, G, Em, D]
And I don’t know
where to go-oh-oh-oh-oh
from here,
from here

CHORUS [C, G, Em, D]
Tell me, where is this leading?
I need to know how we’re proceeding.
Left, right, straight ahead—
Will the sun rise on us as good as dead?

Tell me, should I keep believing,
Evening when time keeps leaving?
Up, down, crash into the ground—
Will our screams on the edge make a sound?

Falling off the edge of the world.
Falling off the edge of the world.

VERSE2 [C, G, Em, C]
How did it come to this,
after all that we’ve been through?
Could we have tried harder?
Were we destined to lose?

And how do we move on from here,
when everything’s a fall?
I’m so afraid of dying.
No, I’m afraid of not living at all.

TRANSITION2 [C, G, Em, D]
All I know
is the lights glow-oh-oh
even here,
even here

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE [C, G, Em, D]
Everything is about movement,
but they try to lock you out of it,
and I am just so sick of this—
leaving on a plane, train,
no time to explain

[Repeat CHORUS]

ENDING [C, G, Em, D]
Falling off the edge of the world.
Falling off the edge of the world.

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Thanks for reading!

~Julia

Hair Color and Personality

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I like to do stuff to my hair. A lot.

There was that time I dyed it Ariel-in-The Little Mermaid red. Then the time I dyed it light brown in an attempt to get rid of the red after it overstayed its welcome. Then the time I dyed it dark brown because the light brown hadn’t managed to get rid of the red. Then the time I cut it all off, because seriously, that red just wouldn’t go away. (Also, there was that time I had a full-on pageboy cut back before it was cool, because I was playing an eight-year-old boy in the winter play sophomore year of high school and my director didn’t believe in wigs.)

Most recently my roommates and I played with some temp dye while watching the Golden Globes this winter and I spent a couple weeks with bright pink tips.

However, other than that my hair’s been just my natural color for about a year now. And, despite that, I still have no idea how to describe my hair color.

Which made me hesitate a little when someone suggested I write a post about my hair color and what it says about my personality, in line with how hair dye company Madison Reed believes that your hair color helps represent who you are.

Madison Reed is super cool. They’ve put a focus on making their hair dye healthier, more convenient, and more personalized than other companies–and although I’ve yet to personally use it (again, I haven’t dyed my hair in over a year), I do love playing with their hair profile to get recommendations on what colors would look good on me. They’re the first company I’ll check out once I’m ready to change my color again.

Still, in the meantime. This is my natural hair color:

Julia Byers [Headshot]

Light brown with coppery red undertones.

Also this:

IMG_8114

Golden brown, some of which turns ash blond and some of which turns strawberry blond under direct sunlight.

And this:

IMG_7277

A very uniform medium cool brown, no red or blond anywhere to be found.

When I was little, my hair was strawberry blond, through and through. Then as I grew up, it kept getting darker and darker–then stopped before it could become an official, easy-to-define color. So I’ve taken to calling my natural hair color “hazel hair.”

It looks different under every kind of light and in every picture. Friends regularly ask if I’ve dyed it (and have been asking that since long before I got up the guts to buy that first box a couple years back). When I do dye my hair, my eyebrows seem to magically change color to match the new color.

Like for real, look at this:

hair dye

Boom: Dark brown hair dye. Suddenly my eyebrows–which I didn’t touch–look dark brown as well.

I used to hate my hair. I wanted to be able to easily give a hair color when people asked, and it always drove me nuts when people made claims about it–like they were so sure it was auburn, or so sure it was blond. (You want to talk about friends arguing over what color that dress was for forty-eight hours? Try my hair. For my entire life.)

But here’s the thing: Everything about me is in between. I also have hazel eyes (blue and green), skin that once almost sent an employee at a theatre makeup store into hysterics because he couldn’t find a shade that matched me, and a height that’s somewhere between 5’2.5″ and 5’3″ (and has forever doomed me to not knowing what to write on forms).

And as annoying as it is to never be able to find anything that fits me quite right, whether it be makeup or clothes or an answer option on a Buzzfeed quiz, now I kind of like how in between everything about me is. Because my personality lives a lot in the space between black-and-white-obvious as well.

Every time I take a Myers-Briggs test, I get a different answer. Politically, I’m independent. I’m a writer, so I technically work in a creative field, but some of my favorite parts of the job are the ones that require me to be really analytical and, well, not-creative.

I can be really shy and quiet, and I love spending time alone, reading or watching Netflix or hiking. Those things, as far as hair color stereotypes go, feel brown to me.

However, I also love acting and singing and playing guitar. Hanging out with friends and having awkward dance parties with my roommates. Those feel blond.

And I’m an adventure addict. I love exploring, trying new things. Laughing. Those things feel red.

The reason I haven’t dyed my hair in over a year is less because of how atrocious it was to get rid of that Little Mermaid red (which, really, was atrocious) (thankfully, that dye did not come from Madison Reed), but because I’m learning to love all the in between, not-quite-one-thing-or-another parts of me.

I have hazel hair and I am a hazel person.

So, what does my hair color say about my personality? It says I’m happy to be me–and I’m embracing all the shades of grey (or in this case, brown/blond/red) that come with that.

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Writing Tips from Other People

Sorry this post is going up so late! Today’s been kind of crazy. (On the upside, as of like a half hour ago I officially have housing in New York, so yay for not being homeless!)

Since I’ve been writing a billion blog posts lately (again, if you want to check out any of them, here’s a coolio list), I figured I’d do something different for this week’s Wordy Wednesday. So, instead of sharing my own writing tips, here are some of my favorite blog posts with other people’s tips.

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Voice” by Ava Jae

Voice is so difficult to talk about, which is ironic. But Ava does an exceptional job here.

“Things I Do Wrong (But You Don’t Have To): Redundant Sentences” by Veronica Roth

I got absolutely addicted to VRoth’s blog freshman year of college (I blame the proximity to finals) and ended up reading every single one of her writing advice posts. This is one that really stuck with me and I’ve worked hard to apply to my own writing.

“The Words of the Writing World” by Kira Budge

My CP Kira put together a writing/publishing dictionary and it’s super helpful, especially if you’re just starting out.

“Tackling Revisions” by Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard is a queen of writing advice (find more on her blog here), but I especially love this post she did on Pub(lishing) Crawl. It’s an overview of her revising process and brilliant.

“How Well Do You Know Your Characters?” by Sarah Faulkner

Sarah tackles the myth of character questionnaires here and gets down to the good stuff for learning about your characters.

“Creating a compelling story” by Victoria Marini

Victoria is a literary agent who also has a wonderful blog. In this post, she talks about the bones of what makes a story, well, compelling. And it’s fantastic.

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Well, that’s it for now. Have an idea for a future Wordy Wednesday? Feel free to share it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

News and Stuff!

Okay, so this post is going to be a little bit of a garbled mess, because there are like a billion things that I need to tell you. Bear with me.

First off: A new teen book blog chain is starting!

The chain’s founder, Kate Gold, emailed me about it a while back and it sounds really cool. She’s going to have an info meeting on what exactly the chain will be and how to get involved on May 17th at 2:30 PM eastern. You can find more details here.

Second: We are currently 101 days away from Ch1Con 2015!

Aaand we might do some fun stuff to count down those last one hundred days. Stay tuned. (Also, want more info on the conference and/or to register to attend? Check out our website: www.chapteroneconference.com.)

Still on Ch1Con for a moment: Our 2015 blog tour is in full swing!

You can check out the schedule here. We’re sharing lots of giveaways and awesome behind-the-scenes info, so make sure to peruse the posts that have already gone up as well as our remaining tour stops.

Next: I finally know what I’m going to do this summer!

So I finished winter semester on Thursday, which means it’s technically been summer vacation for me for almost a week now. (Additionally, I’ve been technically a senior in college for almost a week now. Which is, you know, the weirdest thing ever.) Despite this, I’ve had absolutely no idea what I was doing or where I was living for the next four months, so it’s felt less like summer and more like a twenty-four/seven panic attack.

HOWEVER, as of this afternoon I have plans for my summer. So, drum roll please.

I’m going to be interning at a literary agency in New York City!!!

I am so, so excited for this opportunity. I’ll be spending May and June at U of M, taking a screenwriting class during spring term and interning remotely for the agency. Then at the beginning of July, I move out to NYC to intern in person for two months!

I AM MOVING TO NEW YORK CITY. (Yes, it’s only for two months. But I’ve never had more than a few days at a time there before, and New York is one of my favorite places on the planet, and I am SO EXCITED to call it home for a little while.)

And one last thing (although really the internship was my biggest news): I’m in the midst of a crazy period of interviews and guests posts going up on other sites, sooo in case you’re interested in keeping up with everything at all, below is a schedule of my content going up elsewhere from April through the end of May! (Sorry a few of these already were published a while ago.)

Wednesday, April 15: Interview as part of the Ch1Con blog tour on Ariel Kalati’s blog.

Saturday, April 18: Interview on my writer friend Brett Michael Orr’s blog.

Monday, April 27: Critique giveaway as part of the Ch1Con blog tour on Teens Can Write, Too!

Monday, May 4: Guest post as part of the Ch1Con blog tour on Pub(lishing) Crawl.

Wednesday, May 13: Guest post as part of the Ch1Con blog tour on Newbie Writers.

Saturday, May 16(ish): Post on Teens Can Write, Too!

Tuesday, May 19: Interview and critique giveaway as part of the Ch1Con blog tour on Yvonne Ventresca’s blog.

Thursday, May 21: Interview as part of the Ch1Con blog tour on Allison the Writer.

Saturday, May 30: Interview on my writer friend Adriana Gabrielle’s blog.

Aaand somewhere in the middle of all of this, I’ll hopefully have my first post go up on The Huffington Post as well!

So, lots of stuff going on, and I am now thoroughly amped for this summer.

Talk to you tomorrow for your regularly scheduled Wordy Wednesday!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: The Trickster Figure

Here we go. Last couple days of the semester!

Yesterday was my twenty-first birthday, which I celebrated with lots of unhealthy food and people I love (and just a little champagne at midnight, because while I am far too much of a control freak to ever want to even get buzzed, I’m cool with a little celebratory champagne).

My last final of the semester is tomorrow, then I’m freeee. Finally. I loved my classes this school year, but I need a break.

One of the classes I took (and absolutely adored) this semester was Fantasy Literature. We read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. We dissected excerpts from The Lord of the Rings, short stories by Ray Bradbury, and an episode of The Twilight Zone. We watched Pan’s Labyrinth, Doctor Who, Star Trek, The Matrix. Basically: it was amazing.

More than anything else, what stuck with me from this class were our discussions about the Trickster Figure.

We used the term in relation to the Jungian archetype, and defined it as being someone–usually of some sort of lesser status (a child, or someone from a lower class, etc.)–who defies the rules of society in a way that is cunning (and often entertaining). For example, a classic Trickster Figure is Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

The other thing our professor pointed out, though, was the way Tricksters weren’t always that obvious. In fact, most Fantasy protagonists fit the role (as well as a lot of YA protags).

Take Harry Potter, for example. JK Rowling describes him as being kind of scrawny and gangly. He isn’t amazing at magic (although he is good at the things he works hard at) and he’s not super charismatic. But The Boy Who Lived does manage to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named–by tricking Lord Voldemort.

Likewise, Katniss survives the Hunger Games by outsmarting the Capitol and Tris’s whole superpower of divergence is built on her, you know, diverging from societal norms.

As a society and a generation, we’re in love with the Trickster Figure. The person who’s always one step ahead–unbreakable. We flock to see superhero and spy movies. (And speaking of Tricksters, who doesn’t adore Tom Hiddleston’s Loki?)

Why? You can argue that there’s something exciting about the act of deception. Secrets and cunning and that moment a superhero pulls off the mask. But what does that say about us? The fact that we seem to be so addicted to that excitement?

My first inclination is to say it means we’re bored with the mundanity of everyday life. We’re too set in our rhythms or too scared/tired/whatever to break the rules, so we live vicariously through the Trickster Figures’ adventures.

But while this might be true to an extent, I think more than that it comes back to Robin Hood.

People didn’t start telling the stories of Robin Hood because they were bored or scared. They told the stories about him because Robin Hood, as a character, was empowering.

After all, I doubt any of us want to live through the Hunger Games or go wand-to-wand with Voldemort. But seeing someone–and not just anyone, but an underdog–go up against something so terrible, and succeed, shows us that we could succeed against the antagonistic forces of our own lives too.

All this to say: I think Trickster Figures are awesome. And I’m happy they’re something everybody’s into right now. And while we already have a lot of Tricksters in the books and movies coming out these days, I want more.

After all, I doubt I’ll ever stop loving that squirm in my stomach I get every time a superhero reveals his/her identity to someone s/he loves for the first time.

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Thanks for reading!

~Julia

TCWT Blog Chain: A Letter of Titanic Proportions

Well. This is it. My last Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain post.

That’s right. Next week I’m turning (brace yourself) twenty-one.

While I gain the ability to have a right-side-up driver’s license next week, I also become ineligible to participate in things like the TCWT blog chain–because, you know, not exactly a teenager anymore. (Woe is me. I always knew that dastardly John would put me out to pasture eventually.) I’m still going to be an admin and writer for TCWT blog though, so I’m cool with getting booted from this one activity.

This month’s topic is a fun one: “Write a letter to a fictional couple.”

There are a lot of fictional couples I’d love to write a letter to. I have very strong opinions on a lot of fictional couples. But because Titanic was on ABC Family the other night, and Jack and Rose are by far the worst part of an otherwise amazing movie, guess who I’m writing to.

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Dear Rose and Jack,

This is going to sting (much like the icy waters of the Atlantic), so let me preface this letter with this: I love you. I’ve loved you guys since I was too young to understand that (literally) steamy scene in the back of the car and used to make everyone shut up every time “My Heart Will Go On” came on the radio.

But you’re two of the biggest idiots to ever grace the big screen.

Especially you, Rose. I mean, Jack is an idiot for going along with your idiocy. But you’re the one running this whole circus of crazy.

I get it. You’re oppressed. Your fiance is a d-bag and your mother makes the Thenardiers look like caring parents. But is that really reason to throw yourself at the first cute, decent human being to cross your path?

And I know, I know. “Cute” is an understatement when it comes to 90s Leonardo DiCaprio. I probably would have thrown myself at him too. But you don’t know him. You guys had, what, one real conversation? During which you insulted each other and got on one another’s nerves repeatedly? I’m not saying “don’t have a fling,” because all the power to ya if you wanna go for it. But let’s not be all “you jump, I jump” and “I’ll never let go” about it. You’ve known each other for what, two days? I can understand some affection for one another, but this undying love and devotion is unhealthy and honestly a little bit creepy. You’re actually kind of lucky that ship sank, as far as your relationship goes, because no way it would have lasted.

Speaking of the ship sinking: The two of you LITERALLY SINK THE ENTIRE SHIP. If you weren’t so busy running around distracting people from their jobs, the iceberg spotter people would have been able to see the iceberg in time and the engine room people would have been able to do their engine room stuff more effectively, and the ship LITERALLY WOULD NOT HAVE SUNK. (You know, in the movie. Don’t worry: I get that in real life the ship did not sink because two passengers named Rose and Jack were distracting the iceberg spotter guys by making out on deck.) (As far as we know.)

If anyone on the RMS Titanic deserves to drown, it’s the two of you. Yet we root for your survival until the end as characters much more deserving of life bite it all around you. Why? Obviously not for your flat personalities or selfish natures. I think it comes down to two reasons: (1) You’re the main characters, so duh we’re going to root for you. (2) You’re both ridiculously attractive and Hollywood has conditioned us to believe that pretty people deserve to live more.

But honestly–despite your protagonist status and on point hair, it gets hard to keep cheering for you by the time we reach the climax of the film. This is when you really reveal how idiotic you are, Rose.

The ship is sinking. You know the ship is sinking. You have decided you don’t want to die. Jack has already showed on multiple occasions that he is willing to give his life to save yours–yet you still get off the lifeboat to be with him. He doesn’t WANT you to get off the lifeboat, Rose! In fact, you’re making it harder for him to survive, because having you around means gun-happy Cal is pissed and also now Jack is obligated to drag you around with him and put you first instead of saving his own butt, and wasn’t the point of getting off the lifeboat to help him? What kind of messed up logic led you to conclude that getting off the lifeboat would help anyone?

And DON’T GET ME STARTED on when the Titanic actually sinks! Jack was so kind as to find you that lovely door to lie on, dear Rose. WHY DIDN’T YOU SEND HIM TO FIND HIS OWN FURNITURE-FLOTATION DEVICE? Or hey, when the ship was in the process of going down, WHY DID NO ONE THINK TO TAKE AN AX TO SOME OF THE FURNITURE AND DOORS IN THE SHIP TO MAKE MORE FLOTATION DEVICES SO MORE PEOPLE COULD SURVIVE? Come on, now! The Titanic took a billion hours to go down. Surely you could have spared five minutes in all your drama to lay some insurance for your survival.

This letter’s getting pretty long, so I guess I’ll end here. But if you ever want some more berating, you know where to find me. (I’ll be the one sobbing on my living room couch while watching Titanic for the billionth time.)

Love you guys. See you when you wash up on shore in Inception, Leo.

I’ll never let go,

Julia

**********

Like this blog chain topic? Check out the rest of the posts throughout the month.

5thhttp://www.adventuringthroughpages.wordpress.com/

6thhttp://www.theworldofthewriter.wordpress.com/

7thhttp://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

8thhttp://freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/

9thhttp://miriamjoywrites.com/

10thhttp://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/

11thhttps://introspectioncreative.wordpress.com/

12thhttp://whileishouldbedoingprecal.weebly.com/

13thhttp://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/

14thhttp://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

15thhttp://ramblingsofaravis.wordpress.com/

16thhttp://www.juliathewritergirl.wordpress.com/

17thhttps://clockworkdesires.wordpress.com/

18thhttp://horsfeathersblog.wordpress.com/

19thhttp://from-stacy.blogspot.com/

20thhttp://semilegacy.blogspot.com/

21sthttp://themagicviolinist.blogspot.com/

22ndhttp://www.pamelanicolewrites.com/

23rdhttp://arielkalati.blogspot.com/

24thhttp://irisbloomsblog.wordpress.com/

25thhttp://theboardingblogger.wordpress.com/

26thhttp://allisonthewriter.wordpress.com/

27thhttp://stayandwatchthestars.wordpress.com/

28thhttp://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

and http://abookishflower.wordpress.com/

29thhttp://gallopingfree.wordpress.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Book-Gap/603228309718111

30thhttp://hautehealthhails.blogspot.co.uk/

and https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)