Choosing Your Title (Plus a Mini Astrology Lesson!)

I’m not a big fan of following book trends. From content to covers to titles, what will catch a reader’s eye this year will make them wrinkle their nose at the cheesiness next year. The influx of vampire novels around 2008 anyone? You should write about something that holds meaning for you and that you are passionate about. Your title should reflect that, as well as what your story is about.

Not to say that this is an easy task. I went through a whole slew of potential titles, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I am incredibly persnickety. The title had to have meaning to me, make sense with the tone and subject of the book, as well as my lead character’s life, personality, and interests. Trust me, it was a process and a half just to narrow down the subject I would draw from; then another process and a half before I finally landed on a title I love.

Ascendent, part of it, is about that old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. That’s where the mini astrology lesson comes in. Your ascendent sign, also known as your rising sign or your first house cusp, is the part of your personality that you present to the outside world. It’s the first part of you that people see. But, it’s a small part of you as a whole. (Side note: this is an extremely basic definition of your ascendent, and disregards planets in your first house, along with aspects being made to those planets and to the house itself.)

So, if I’ve interested you in astrology, here are some resources:

Birth Chart (you need to know your exact time of birth)

Aries ascendent

Taurus ascendent

Gemini ascendent

Cancer ascendent

Leo ascendent

Virgo ascendent

Libra ascendent

Scorpio ascendent

Sagittarius ascendent

Capricorn ascendent

Aquarius ascendent

Pisces ascendent

Thank you for reading and tell me what you think in the comments. Bye!

Image does not belong to me (I couldn’t find who it belongs to, if you know please tell me)

There’s Nothing Sexy About an Adonis.

DISCLAIMER: I am cis and heterosexual, that is what I am basing my opinion and examples on. If you aren’t, I would love to hear how your opinions differ.

You didn’t think I wouldn’t talk about love interests, did you? Imagine this, you’re reading a YA fantasy and the wonderfully flawed heroine has just met the love interest. She’s instantaneously in love with him because he’s so hot. That’s it. That’s all there is to it, the only way for him to be identified. He’s super fucking hot. Oy.

In the same vein of Is Your Protagonist a Plot Device?, you have to give your love interest human characteristics. Maybe he laughs at inappropriate times and doesn’t think before speaking. Maybe he makes terrible jokes that only he finds funny. Maybe he’s an accountant. There are myriad directions for you to go in, you just have to pick one. Because, if your love interest is hot and nothing more, why would your reader believe the romance?

But, as important as it is to imbue your protagonist’s love interest with fallacies, for the love of all that’s holy don’t make him physically perfect. Unless the character is actually a Greek god, reading about god like perfection is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Maybe he’s short, but incredibly charismatic. Maybe his eyes are too close together and he has a beak like nose. Maybe he has a man bun to hide his male pattern baldness. When describing Elias in Ascendent, I built on the basics, like height and hair color, with imperfections. “…a faint snore… The bump in his nose, the slight upward slant of his mouth, …”. Instead of perfection, he snores, there’s a bump in his nose, and his mouth is crooked.

Thank you for reading and tell me what you think in the comments. Bye!

Image does not belong to me (I couldn’t find who it belongs to, if you know please tell me)

Is Your Protagonist a Plot Device?

When writing YA, particularly YA with a female lead character, one of the biggest and most complained about pitfalls is the Mary Sue. The infallible martyr with inexplicable allure, despite being so dull and plain. You know, the one that makes us roll our eyes until they fall out of our heads. Of course, this also happens with love interests; but I’m going to focus on female driven YA. Seeing as that’s my personal experience.

One thing that always stands out in my mind when thinking about this, is my Creative Writing professor using her pen to illustrate how often YA heroines are black holes that exist solely to move the plot along. Which doesn’t sound all that exciting now that I’ve written it, but was actually hysterical in the moment. The two examples she used was the OG, Bella Swan, and Katniss Everdeen. I’ll pause for a moment for all the Twilight and Hunger Games fans.

The reason for writing about this in the first place is this: You have to ask yourself and you have to be honest. Is your character a plot device? We, as human beings, can be loving, hateful, kind, erratic, hot tempered, vulnerable, delusional, and make appallingly stupid decisions. Just to name a few things. You have to impart this to your characters. Its uninteresting to read and impossible to connect with a character who’s flawless. I’ve always felt that, a reader feeling kindred with your imperfect character is so much more impactful, and makes a longer lasting impact, than a reader wishing to be your perfect character.

On the flip side, I can understand the appeal of writing an implausible character. Presumably, it makes for a significantly less frustrating writing experience. When I was writing Ascendent, there was many a chapter when I wanted Sabine to react how I would. I am notoriously candid; my protagonist is not. Being upfront instead of internalizing everything would have undoubtedly saved her some angst, but that’s not who she is. Not to mention, changing such a big part of her personality would have diminished her growth as a character. By making your character perfect, you are eradicating one of the most satisfying parts of a book to read and to write.

I know what I’ve written hasn’t exactly reinvented the wheel, but it seemed fitting for my first post. I want to thank anyone who took the time to read it. And, if anyone is interested in the book I not so casually mentioned writing, details about the publishing date will be coming soon. Bye!

Image belongs to NASA