Period: The firm-but-kind father. Though he sets and enforces rules, Period is not too complicated and is happy as long as he is respected.
Comma: The peace-keeping middle child. Because Comma is always expected to solve every problem (even the ones that really should be settled by Period or Emdash) and her expecations are always changing, she has developed some serious issues--but she still bears the weight of breaking up the complicated into the managable.
Semicolon: Comma's best friend. Loyal and sensitive, Semicolon is used to bearing some of Comma's load whenever she can.
Colon: The arrogant cousin. Fortunately, Colon doen't have a lot to do with the family.
Quotation mark: The insecure tag-along. Often overlooked and sometimes abused, Quotation Mark has gotten to a point where she can't go anywhere by herself.
Apostrophe: The college graduate with the crap job. Apostrophe wishes she could find a job that lives up to her high expectations, but she keeps being shunted into places she just doesn't belong, such as plural words without any possessions.
Exclamation point: The annoying little brother! He's always screaming! Or shouting! Or yelling!
Question mark: The down-and-out aunt. Question Mark can't for the life of her get herself together.
Ellipses: The triplets deep in the Terrible Twos. No one can handle them.
Emdash: Comma's little sister. Though likeable, sassy, and artistic, Emdash wishes more than anything to be like Comma and is always battling some identity crisis or other.
Bracket: The uncle who shows up for the food, skulks around for a while, and leaves. Who was that guy, anyway?
Parenthese: The awkward step-child. She doesn't really belong in the family, but she doesn't seem to belong outside of it, either.
In May 2016, my mother and I went to Colorado to visit my sister, and while we were out there, we went to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
This is one of the coolest places I've ever seen, not only because it is a random bit of Sahara between the semi-arid high plains and jagged, still-snowy peaks of the Colorado Rockies, but also for a more personal reason:
This place was taken straight out of my imagination.
My YA series White Stone is set on a desert river surrounded by hills. I looked at a lot of pictures of rivers, desert towns, and sand dunes while writing it, so I didn't exactly make the setting up out of whole cloth, but I didn't know that a place like it actually existed.
It was like someone opened up my brain, created in all ways the desert river I'd imagined for White Stone, and then set me loose to play in it.
How can I describe how amazing it was? The White Stone series has been my main writing project--more than that: my obsession--for years, but I'd never felt closer to it than I did while at the Great Sand Dunes.
It is an unbelievable place, and it was an unbelievable experience. I have no other words for it.
*Please note: This post is full of spoilers*
This Valentine’s Day, enamored men and women everywhere will exchange flowers and chocolate, eat romantic candle-lit dinners—and perhaps, at some point, the mood will be right for the gentleman to get down on one knee and pop The Question. There are a million right ways to ask your lady to marry you, from sky-writing above a football stadium to sitting on the couch eating burritos. But, for every right way, there is also a wrong way. So, this Valentine’s Day, here are my Top 5 Ways Not to Propose to Your Lady.
5. Murphy’s Law
Bernard to Miss Bianca
Disney’s The Rescuers Down Under
Unlike the others on this list, Bernard’s trouble is not with a lousy setup or a poor word choice. In fact, he planned a very pleasant, traditional proposal: a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant, a diamond ring, and a few choice words about love. But then everything that can go wrong, does. He spends the entire movie trying to propose to his lady and always getting interrupted, sometimes even by Miss Bianca herself.
Pesky plot, always getting in the way.
Miss Bianca’s (eventual) Answer: Yes
Lesson Learned: Don’t answer your cell phone at the dinner table.
4. The Compromise
Edward Cullen to Isabella Swan
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga
Girls, is the glittery vampire of your dreams refusing to have sex with you?
Vampires, is the freesia-scented girl of your dreams too lusty for her own good?
Never fear, marriage is here! With a single ceremony, vampires can temper teenage hormones, and girls can get laid by marble gods!
Bella’s Answer: Yes, with one condition
Lesson Learned: If at first you don’t succeed, bribe, bribe again.
Edward Fairfax Rochester to Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
The scene starts off with Jane and Mr. Rochester discussing his imminent marriage to the honorable Miss Blanche Ingram and how, because of it, Jane is about to move from England to Ireland. It ends with Jane and Mr. Rochester engaged.
I’m sorry, did I miss something?
Jane’s Answer: Yes
Lesson Learned: Um...I'm not sure.
2. The Cold, Hard Truth
Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are widely considered one of the most perfect romantic couples in all of fiction, but they certainly didn’t start that way, and never is that more clear than the (first) time he proposes to her. “My social class, my family reputation, and even my own better judgment abhor the thought of you. Marry me anyway.”
Charlotte Lu from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries said it best: that guy really needs to work on his game.
Lizzy’s Answer: Not in a million years!
Lesson Learned: Maybe honesty isn’t always the best policy.
1. The Mandate of Heaven
St. John Rivers to Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
Wait a minute. Last time I looked, Jane was engaged to Mr. Rochester. So who’s this St. John guy?
OK...Jane’s Big Day gets interrupted with the discovery that all those weird things that’ve happened at Thornfield (the fire, the stabbing, the strange noises, the bone-chilling laughs) are the result of the crazy wife Mr. Rochester keeps hidden in the attic, which makes him almost a bigamist, which Jane can’t handle, so she runs away where she’s taken in by St. John Rivers, who is later revealed to be her cousin, a self-proclaimed “cold, hard, ambitious man” who is determined to go to India as a missionary.
St. John wants Jane to accompany him to India because he thinks her diligence and intelligence would make her a good lady-missionary, but she doesn’t really want to leave England, especially because she hasn’t heard a single word from or about Mr. Rochester since the night she sneaked out of Thornfield and she’s worried that his wild, headlong nature has led him to harm since she broke his heart, but she still is willing to consider St. John’s offer because of the whole crazy-wife-in-the-attic thing, so she sort of agrees, EXCEPT...he has a condition: he insists that she marry him first, not because they love each other—a fact he pounds in with a sledgehammer—but because God Himself has declared she must. If she refuses, he says, it isn’t him she’s refusing, but GOD.
Jane, honey, your spunk, intelligence, and moral uprightness make you my all-time favorite heroine. “I must keep in good health and not die” as your plan for avoiding hell is one of the best lines ever written. In a world inundated with girls who let their romantic others walk all over them, your ability to hold your own against Mr. Rochester even when he’s in A Mood is such a breath of fresh air. But, seriously, girl, what the heck is with these proposal scenes?
Jane’s Answer: No
Lesson Learned: “Ordained by God” isn’t a great reason for getting married.
I love YA fiction. The genre has gained some serious (and often deserved) backlash for the piles of trite, boring nonsense it contains, but that doesn't stop me from loving it--because, if you're willing to wade through the nonsense, you can find some gems like Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (which I universally recommend to all people at all times), Gail Carson Levine's Ever (which is probably considered middle grade, but given the whole girl-being-sacrificed-to-her-god premise and some subtle-but-there references to sex could go either way, genre-wise), and Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern (which are the books that showed me it is possible to do strong female characters right).
But then there are the rest of them...
This rant is inspired by my getting Victoria Aveyard's The Red Queen on sale on Audible and discovering in the first few minutes of listening that it contains some of the things I love, and hate, most about YA fiction. So, after all that ado, here are
The Things I Love About YA Fiction:
The Things I Hate About YA Fiction:
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