Cover image with a "Do Not Enter" sign and text that reads "Breaking My Own Rules"

Breaking My Own Rules

(Although, is it really considered “breaking” them if you’re the one who created them in the first place?)

There’s this saying that I was taught when I was younger: “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.” I’m still not entirely sure what it means, but it’s usually stated before someone goes and does something potentially rule-breaking, as if saying it absolves them of their crimes.

But anyway.

We all have rules for ourselves, right? Even if they’re not written down anywhere, we all have certain rules we set for ourselves. For example:

  • “I can’t use [insert social media] until after I finish my work for the day.”
  • “Every time I get paid, I will save this much of it.”
  • “I will only buy gas from XYZ Gas Station.”

Most of the time, these rules can be good for keeping ourselves accountable, especially when there’s no one else around to do so. I limit the times I can use social media so that I don’t waste my morning away reading the same three tweets over and over. I save money from every paycheck so I don’t randomly wind up broke someday. Rules help me keep my life together.

I also break my own rules, though.

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Cover image with thank you note and text reading "A Thank You Note: International Women's Day 2019"

A Thank-You Note

I had different post planned for this week, and then my body decided we were due for another cold. I spent most of the weekend sleeping and chugging DayQuil, and I didn’t really feel up to writing what I’d originally intended.

But since International Women’s Day was this past Friday (March 8), I thought it would be nice to write a little thank you note of sorts:

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Image with raindrops on a window and text "Songs for Sad Days."

Songs for Sad Days

Let’s talk about being sad.

No one wants to be sad, but sometimes, life is too much. There are days when it feels like we’re carrying an elephant on our backs, or it’s sitting on our chest, keeping us from getting out of bed. This happens to some of us more often than others, but I’m sure all of us can think of a time when we felt weighed down by life.

Not long ago, I found myself “stuck” in one of these periods, when I felt like what I described above. There were a number of things that helped me push through, but I relied on my music a lot. Music in general has always been a comfort to me, but there are certain songs that help me the most when I’m going through a hard time. I know we all have different tastes in music, but today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite songs to listen to when times are tough.

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Winder scene with text "February 2019: Month in Review"

February 2019 Month in Review

I was going to make some kind of remark like “wow, the month went by really fast!” before I remembered that February is in fact the shortest month of the year so of course it went by fast. Anyway, even though it was short, February was a good month with a lot of cool stuff happening.

Before I get into that though, if you missed any of my blog posts this month, I blogged about…

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my 1 Second Everyday compilation for February!

 

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Photo depicting a beach with the text "The ABCs of Percy Jackson and The Olympians"

The ABCs of Percy Jackson & The Olympians

Look, I didn’t want to be a blogger… alright who am I kidding, of course I did. But if you’ve ever read the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, that opening line might look familiar.

I recently re-read The Lightning Thief, the first book in the series, and I just saw the musical adaptation of the novel (which you should definitely check out if you have the chance), so I figured now was a good time to present to you the alphabet, according to the Percy Jackson series.

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Character figurine with duct tape over his mouth and the text "Don't give up on silent protagonists"

Don’t Give Up On Silent Protagonists

Technology is amazing, right? In early video games, we were lucky if we got a few strings of text to move the plot forward. Today, we’re presented with cutscenes that play like short films, complete with voice acting and animation. This growth has been great for gaming, but the increased use of voice acting has often left one of my favorite tropes in the dust: the silent protagonist.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a silent protagonist is a video game character does not have dialogue. They may interact with other characters through facial expressions, gestures, or “assumed” speech (in other words, there’s a pause in which the protagonist is assumed to have spoken, but they’re not given explicit dialogue). Silent Protagonists are most often seen as player characters. A few examples would be Link from The Legend of Zelda, the player character in the Pokémon series, or Chell from Portal.

As voice acting becomes more common in video games, the silent protagonist is less common. After all, it would seem weird to have everyone else talking except for one individual character!

But I still think there’s a place for the silent protagonists in our video games, if for no other reason than the way they provide a playing experience that other types of protagonists cannot.

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Chalk heart with text "Where are the single people in YA fiction."

Where Are the Single People in YA Fiction?

Around this time last year, I wrote a post about my favorite fictional couples (which you should definitely go back and read if you missed it the first time around). I thought it would make a nice parallel to do a similar post this year, but focusing on characters who aren’t in relationships.

And then I ran into a slight problem: I couldn’t think of any.

I know, I was pretty surprised too, but let me explain. The single characters I could think of usually didn’t work for one of two reasons. One, they were not main characters, so the audience isn’t expecting to hear much about their relationships unless it’s directly related to the plot. Two, the character is the “token” single person in a cast of characters who had romantic relationships, so there’s a heavy focus on how they’re different from the other characters. There were still a handful remaining after I completed that criteria, but certainly not enough to write a whole list like last year.

That got me thinking – where are all of the single people in our stories, specifically in YA fiction?

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Nintendo Switch with text "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC"

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC

If you follow video games at all, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – released barely over two months ago – has become Nintendo’s fastest selling game. The multiplayer fighting game is a hit with hardcore and casual players alike, with its colorful selection of stages, items, and characters setting it apart from the crowd.

Since the original Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999, the character roster has grown from twelve to over seventy different options. Of course, we’re still waiting on the new DLC (“downloadable content”) characters. Nintendo announced that Joker from Persona 5 will be joining the roster in February, but the other newcomers remain a mystery.

I understand the speculation train has long since left the station, and everyone and their cousin has put out a video or article about who they want to see in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I’m going to do my own anyway. After much deliberation, I’ve compiled a list of five characters I think would be good fits for the SSBU stage – not necessarily ones I think are likely to make it there, but if I were in charge, I’d pick them.

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January 2019 - Month in Review

January 2019 Month in Review

Congratulations on making it through the first month of the year! I don’t know about you, but January seemed to go by fast for me… which I can’t say I’m feeling too upset about, since it’s been bitter cold here in Pennsylvania for most of the month. Despite the below-freezing temperatures though, I had a great month!

Before I share all of that though, here’s what I blogged about this month in case you missed it:

  • What I want to accomplish in 2019 (and what I did in 2018)
  • Cleaning a bunch of books off of my to-be-read list (in two parts!)
  • What we can learn about writing from Avatar: The Last Airbender

By the way, I’m also back to doing my 1 Second Everyday videos! You can watch January’s compilation below:

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Writing Lessons From Avatar: The Last Airbender

There’s a stereotype of children’s entertainment being overly simplified and poorly written, and unfortunately, that’s true for a lot of children’s shows. Every so often though, there comes someone who puts time and effort into what they create, because they understand that children can be just as smart and perceptive as adults.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of those shows, and today I want to talk about just a few of the things we writers – even adult writers – can learn from it.

Beware, spoilers ahead!

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