January’s Over And I Dunno How

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Yup, I’m still trying to figure how that happened too. But 31 days have passed with the blink of an eye and we’re fully stuck in 2019.

It’s been an interesting month, that’s for sure.

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We welcomed the New Year the proper way: getting two big bags of popcorn and watching Lord Of The Rings.

I got to go on a retreat- and that was pretty relaxing. Fun. Peaceful. Plus I got to photograph the stars. 😀

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School started and we all collectively died.

Started working on secret project that’s pretty fun/death inducing.

The Long End aired and I DIED. BUCK- JULES- THE MELTSNERS- SKINT- WOW. Like wow. Mindblown. Mom wondered why I was screaming after the first part aired.

Started reading through the New Testament- and I’m in 1 Corinthians now! I think. Ish. Wait, maybe that was another translation.. huh..

Speaking of the New Testament, really enjoyed having Bible studies over videochat. 😉

A couple times I was sitting down to write posts but ending up watching something with my family instead. The posts can wait. But not my family, Incredibles 2, The Last Jedi, Antman & The Wasp, or Black Panther. Incredibles 2 was AWESOME. Also, if you haven’t checked out the short Bao DO IT. *dies* It’s so good. I’m watching that whenever I can, it’s just really really nice to have some non-stereotypical representation you know? 😀

There were 2 gigantic snowstorms and thus, two snow days. Which means freezing cold and beautiful pictures.

It also means getting to go sledding… even though.. uh… technically..

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I’m pretty sure that sign’s décor. Right? I mean, you can’t be a Canadian and not sled. Sorry. No can do. It’s like taking away Tim Hortons. As a citizen of this fine country, I was exercising my right-

Okay. Okay. Still, it was fun though. Hanging on for dear life as the elements attack you? *thumbs up*

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Had a bunch of people ask me why I was wandering around the premises in the dead of winter, wind blowing, camera out, in a skirt (as if that’s a bad thing) no less, taking random pictures. I guess I did look kinda weird- but honestly, I’m past caring. XD besides, I got good pictures. B)

Interviewed a bunch of kids and failed dramatically.

Released a new audio drama! 😀 Which you can check out on the Audiosmiths page here.

I guess this month has been about finding a balance. Some stability. I’ve had a hard time figuring out school, and as you know, blogging has been random, and there’s just been so much to process and sometimes, taking that one step is tricky. Y’know?

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But I think I’m getting there. Over time. 🙂

Anyway, it’s February now. Also the month I started blogging. *hollers and shrieks* how has it been one year since I started into this vast and crazy and wonderful and strange thing called blogging? I don’t know.

So I’m looking forward to that. As well as secret project 1 and secret project 2. And yes I have two. And no, I’m not telling you what they are. Yet. 😛

I think this post is done.

Oh wait, I still have to pick faves. Right. XD

Favorite Book

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I borrowed this way back in December and only now got around to reading it. smh I wish I read it sooner- it’s an sweet story about a girl who has OCD, and honestly, I really connected with her, even though we couldn’t be anymore different. I’d love to write this kind of book one day. 😀

 

 

Favorite Song

Do I honestly have to pick? You know as well as I do that I caaaaan’t XD- I actually have three.

Rend Collective’s Life Is Beautiful is beautiful. I think after like, the 20th time listening to it, I got my brother to use it for praise & worship- it’s that good.

And uh…. this is mushy, but I really liked Falling Slowly from Once the musical..

and  38 Planes/Somewhere In The Middle Of Nowhere from another musical, Come From Away. But I’m not linking that, too much mush for the day. XD (Actually, you probably shouldn’t check out anything from either of these musicals except The North Strand from Once. That one’s catchy. XD)

Favorite Quote

I think I like musicals more than I care to admit. XD

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Now this post is done. XD Seeya on the next one!

Life is a highway,

Jo

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Hopes, Dreams, and Unrealistic Aspirations

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WARNING LONG POST AHEAD PROCEED AT OWN CAUTION

Hi again, lovely people of the internet!

By the time you read this (since I was waay too verbose last time) it’ll be January. 1. 2019.

*screams*

“I wasn’t prepared for this. We can’t let them know anything.”- Kira

Truer words have never been spoken, Kira. But I *am* letting you know some things… not quite sure why.

Ohhh, right! Because I thought it would be a good idea! *facesmacks* It doesn’t seem too bad right now, so… uh…here goes. 🙂

2019 Goals

Life Goals

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  • Get a job. Somehow, someway, I’d really really like to work and save money for even more future stuff- if that’s what God wants. But even not, doing some thing that’s a little more serious than a fandom. 😛
  • Wake up early and get stuff DONE. For Christmas break, my gift to myself was slacking off on everything. Including important, essential things like devotions. And I don’t want to admit that, but I have to. Because starting now, I want to change that, and start being productive.
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With my feet propped up, a’course!
  • Read the whole New Testament and get into Bible Bee’s Summer Study. Last year (which feels like yesterday, probably because it was) I was so blessed by digging deeper into God’s word, and I don’t think I can explain that. It’s so awesome to study the Bible not because anyone says you have to, but because you want to. So I’m looking forward to this!
  • School. Crush it. Defeat the boss villain, move to next level. ‘Nuff said. Oh, and start seriously learning French. And look at ops around.
  • Train.  And by train I mean exercise. Because I’d love to get stronger in that area.
  • Learn as many life skills as I can at this age. They’re life skills. I’ll need them. Some of em are fun!
  • Go to a buskerfest. And get a buskering permit. I doubt I’ll crush this goal, but it won’t be for lack of trying. *grabs hammer*
  • Get offscreen for more than I am on. As much as I love Pinterest, I won’t let it take away time I could use to use other worthy things. Besides, I don’t want to be that kid that never sticks her head out to see the sky.
  • Develop my photography. Compared to my first picture here, I’d glad to say that I’ve grown a tad in the mastery of the lens. But I have a long way to go. So I’d really like to learn to use manual. XD
  • MORE ANDREW PETERSON MUSIC YES BOIII

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Wordy Goals

  • read 100 books. I’m really, really looking forward to this! And I’m counting books of the Bible so technically, I’ve already read four of the hundred I have to read! 😀 But yup, 100 books. Some of which may include War and Peace (HA!) some YA, and alphas. I really love the alpha part XD
  • finish, edit and rewrite Just Come Home. Ahhh, my wittle baby WIP is a year old already! *sighs* It’s gonna take some work, but I’m so doing this. You can’t stop me. It’s not your funeral, after all.
  • look into publishing. O_O WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT DID I SAY WHAT. I hve no clue where to start, I mean, it’s almost 100% sure I’m self-publishing, because honestly, who would take that? But again, if this doesn’t happen, it won’t be because I didn’t try!
  • write at least 500 words a day. I wish I could be meta and go for 1k1day, but I need to LIVE XD so I’m gonna set a reasonable amount for myself. I don’t know what I’ll write, but I’m looking forward to it! (fanfic, short stories, and poems, most likely *cough cough*) (maybe a novel or two) (I haven’t forgotten you Mirages)
  • actually respond to pen pals. 
  • join NaNo. Crush NaNo. Die in NaNo. 
  • Fill up my old notebooks. I have a bunch of old, good notebooks that wouldn’t be used. But I’m gonna take them. And write. Probably drek like on this blog. But it’ll be better than mindlessly scrolling through the web, right?
  • write in this lovely!

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The cover the cover da coverrrrr yay!

I can’t wait to write in it!

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Blogging Goals

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“Awwww yay!” you cry. “The actually fun stuff!”

Ha. Well, what do we have here…

  • have a blogsiversary.  >:) *laughs evilly* I’ve been blogging for practically a whole year, how?? But I know what I’m doing to “celebrate”. And it will be fun. 😉
  • start writing quality posts. I’m the lord of the random, and everything on this blog and this blog itself, is a result of that. So I wanna up the ante and make it a tad more purposeful.
  • enter a few contests and challenges. Like BIBPC. Ohhh and speaking of, Megan, I GET TEN EXTRA POINTS BWAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH Because this is my picture for Category 4!

Jo-Team Bear- Category 4

I couldn’t change the file name.. but THAT IS A DONKEY. And I’ve saved that just for you since March! 😛 HA! HA! HA! *is so happy right now*

Ahem. Moving on.

  • Design some blogs. If you’re interested, I put up a Services page, so if you want to redesign your blog or need a new button, header, signoff, widgets, or whatever, I’d love to work with ya! And Rebekah’s helping me out too, so I won’t mess anything up! 🙂
  • Keep things running at Welcome To Odyssey. As you know, AIO is my fandom and my fandom is AIO, so I love ranting about everything under the sun that even remotely has something to do with AIO, so I’m looking forward to this!
  • figure out my YT channel. It’s pathetic.

 

B9EF66FA-B504-491B-A2BD-B0E1A3ECDE3BRandom Fun Goals (we’re almost over, hang in there :P)

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  • record more songs and make more audio dramas as part of the Audiosmiths. As bad as my voice is, I love singing.. and I love acting, so win-win! XD
  • beat someone, ANYONE, at checkers! My good friend Denise gave me this awesome set for my birthday, and then proceeded to beat me at checkers.

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WAH.  But ahem. Learning, and playing more offscreen games in general is a plus I’m looking forward to. 🙂

  • go outside more. 
  • dream. 
  • try to keep a thankfulness journal. 
  • eat bacon.
  • make someone smile. 

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Yesterday, I got this framed from a friend.

And I think that’s gonna be my… quote of the year, or whatever.

Call to Me and I will answer you. And show you great and mighty things which you do not know. -Jeremiah 33:3

From the looks of everything, I have it all under control (HA!) But the truth is, I don’t know just what’s going to happen. But God does.

I’m looking forward to the great and might things He has for me, and until then, I’m gonna trust Him and keep driving this hard drive. It has some awesome views along the way.

May the roads be as bumpy as you can handle, that you’ll find rest, and you’ll be fueled up for a hard- but joyful drive. 🙂

 

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When I Can’t Even, I Can’t Even- The Year Is Almost Done, My Friends//Recap + All That Lovely Stuff

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Okay, I’m really trying not to go into excited squealing panicking nervous wreck mode, but the struggle is real: Today is the last Sunday of 2018 AND the second to the last day of 2018.

I just have one question.

WHERE DID THE TIME AGO?!?!?

This year has been one of the most craziest in… ever for me, huge changes that I had no clue would happen, people I didn’t think I’d meet, goals I didn’t think I was crazy enough to actually crush. It’s been a weird ride, but so far, God’s been a great driver of it all. There’s been a ton of bumps and curves along the way and I am semi-shook that I still survived.

Also I’m semi shook that it’s taken me this long to actually get down and write. Bad YouTube. XD Anyhow. This is real. This is happening. The year flew past my eyes. *shudders*

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January- Ummm… things literally started changing for me with New Year’s Day. I started writing novels, not just poems (which were terrible), I got into photography, and dreaded freshman year. So helpful. I played spy a few dozen times, and oh, oh, I started my resolution to listen to more AIO!

I also seriously started thinking about blogging. So there’s that.

OH AND MITCH

I STARTED TO LIKE MITCH

HOW COULD YOU MITCH

LEAVING CONNIE FOR BUDAPEST

Ahem.

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February- THE WORLD CHANGED!

Okay, not the world, but I did start blogging. I pulled out a laptop, googled best blogging platforms, picked WordPress, stole my brother’s email address, and started on this crazy adventure of documenting my thoughts and life experiences and random bacon crumbles. I picked a hideous theme and thought it was great. That’s it. That’s all that matters.

XD Ha! No, my brother had a birthday, and I was unofficially hired at a church dinner to play violin. And I broke 4k on Just Come Home, then called The Click Of The Lens, which was my highest wordcount back then.  So there was that too. But February was the month of new changes.

If I only knew, you know?

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March- March is kinda a filler month, if you ask me. At least for the most part. It’s not quite winter anymore but it’s not spring just yet and it’s most definitely not summer and it couldn’t possibly be fall and it just IS.

At least for the most part.

Not this time.

The same day I put up my first poem here , my mom had surgery on her thyroid, the doctors having found cancer the previous month. Thankfully, Mom doesn’t have it anymore, I think. I don’t know quite sure what’s happening even now. But that month, I came to know the inside of a hospital pretty well. That month, I started to take life seriously. Even though Mom’s cancer wasn’t fatal, it wasn’t all easy as pie. That month, I started to realize that there are things I can’t control or understand, but God does.

That month I saw Allison featured on Discover, and then saw Megan, and finally got into the…neighborhood? 😛 And from there I saw Gracie and Brad and Hope and Welcome To Odyssey changed my life. XD

That month, I broke down because my sister surprised us with a 4 day visit for March Break. Just when I was worried about Mom and it wasn’t all that great, it was like God sent someone to get me back into the game.

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April- April was a good month. It was when spring bloomed up and life was good, and spring cleaning was evil, and I was getting into the blogging thing (Starling had a contest, amirite?).

April was also when I met the awesome, evil author waiting to be a bestseller Rebekah, and got into Camp NaNo for the first time. With a pathetic 7k. It’s not my fault I only found out about three days before it ended! It s a decision that has forever sealed my crazed writer state. Forever.

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May- Things swung into high gear this month. I met a bunch of awesome people, Hope from AG Doll Dreams and Zielle from my Homeschool Notebook (miss you lovelies!) among other people, we drove to Buffalo to pick my sister up, Mom was getting better, it was hopeful. Really hopeful.

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June-  Okay, I want to squeal every time I think about this month. That was the month I got to fly out to Texas for my cousin’s wedding and I got to see family.

Family is a huge thing for me, this huge collective swarm of people that I can’t imagine not knowing. I got to hold nieces and steal donuts with my cousins and feel right at home and that was worth the allnighter and the heat and narrowly missing the plane. XD I started to plan Mirages too, and that’s something else I’m so stoked about.

And I got a DSLR. AH. AH. AHHHHHHH.

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July- July was HOT, people. HOT HOT HOT HOT OUCH HAVE MERCY ON MY POOR SELF.

But it was also awesome.

Camp NaNo started. And I got to be in a cabin. And I got to meet fellow writers and eventually friends. Bible Bee’s Summer Study and the Bored Games happened, and I found myself LOVING God’s word and clinging on to it.

It wasn’t all easy.

I won’t lie, I had a few times where I was shaking so badly I needed to breathe and calm down.

But I wasn’t alone. That helped.

I don’t regret trying to spread my writing wings, because that helped the rest of me.

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August-  Goodness, that was hard. So hard.
I found myself questioning a lot of things, I found myself clinging onto the Bible, I found myself wondering if I was secretly interpreting the Bible wrong, and I found that Mom banned bacon crumbles from the house if I all was gonna do was snack on them.
WHYYYY MOM?!
*sniffs*
Enni and I put our heads together and tried to make sense of the thing that was culture. It’s nice not to be alone for once.
We watched The Greatest Showman and I can’t stop humming A Million Dreams. Ah. *shakes the air*
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September- The dreaded scott known as SCHOOL started again. Need I say more?
This was also pretty hard too.
But we pressed though. God was good. Very good. I learned to trust and spent a lot of time delving into writing and photography and deciding that randomness is my specialty.
Oooh, ooh, I JOINED A FANBLOG YEET YEET HOORAY YAY Odyssians will never ever be the same again! Definite win of the month yet!
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October- October whizzed by so fast I’m a little scared of it. It took the snap of a finger, and it’s gone. Obliterated to complete and utter ash. Gone. Poof!
I started planning for NaNoWriMo, spent bunches chatting with friends, forced myself to get up earlier and actually be productive, cheered Tess on with APADO, and died every Saturday with Album 65 Adventures In Odyssey, really died. Don’t remind me about the time I jumped so hard my mom almost dropped her phone.
Oh, and Audiosmiths’ Radio Theater started. Win!
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November- Also known as the death of me.
National Novel Writing Month was a thriller in itself. I wrote more than I thought I could, yelled more than I thought I could, and basically did a lot of stuff more than I thought I could. And we had to wear jackets. And I got my laptop.
It’s a tad surreal to think It was just last month. It really is.
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December- Have mercy, it is 12: 26 AM and I still have another month to recap?? *sighs* This is what I get for “resting” and watching Youtube vids for like…an hour.
But December moved pretty fast too, believe it or not. I’m going with the latter, because I could sworn I was recording my fiddlings and writing out Christmas cards just yesterday.
25 Days, 25 recordings didn’t go as planned, but I’m okay with that. I’m proud of what I recorded so far, bad though they be. I mean, I edited and released an audio drama! So all ya’ll lovely requests are being saved, dontcha worry bout that. 😉
I turned a year older. Still feel like an immature writer dork. Advent. Wrote short stories. Wrote fanfic (!!!!) Gave gifts. Got more than I gave. Feel a smidge bad about that. but I *did* give!
And uhhh, I went to Parliament! And Montreal! And I wrote!
Yeah, this month has been good.
This year has been about growth. Like my bell pepper plant. There’s been thorns. And nasty flies. And it has been HARD.
But it has been worth it.
I’m overwhelmed by the people who’ve got my back, and whose backs I’ve got, who’re praying for me, and I’m praying for them, by the fact that I am not alone. And even if I never met anyone via blogging, God’s been closer. More real, if that’s even possible.
Okay. I’m done.
It’s been a hard year.
But we stuck through it.
🙂
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A New Month- Torture, Suffering, Pain, Brownies

 

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And just like that it’s November.

Which I refuse to believe, because I swear it was just New Year’s. Where on this earth did the time go? Someone explain. Please.

Am I suppose to recap this month? Probably. So here goes.

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I have 10 crazy assignments and half of them are due tomorrow and I need caffeine of some sort on a daily basis or I will go insane and it’s hot and then it’s cold and I think I’m supposed to be doing NaNoWriMo but school is being mean and I really can’t figure out what Jillian Marshall is up to.

There you have it.

We had thanksgiving, we laughed, we cried, we had pizza, life’s been good, life’s been tough. So lots of stuff going on.

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Been very grateful for good friends who care, and spent hours laughing our heads off. 🙂

Worked and released Izoria’s Choice- which is the start of something that I won’t mention but feel free to wonder XD.

Wrote a retelling, then stopped it, simply because I have got no time.

Got lost on a Saturday and jumped off a tree.

Joined a pretty neat blog tour.

Started waking up early to spend more time with God (Can’t tell you what a blessing this is)

Went skating for the first time in a long time- and managed to borrow 5 wonderful books- 4 of which I managed to finish within 2 days of borrowing it.. 😛

Blogged a lot. More than I normally do.

Ranted quite a bit.

Was a good fangirl and stayed in the loop of every fandom (which is crazy because I spent hours on history and messed up the dates but have no problem coming up with a theory about Connie Kendall’s age)

Listened to some awesome music.

Got homework.

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Life goes on. I am a tired person. 😛 Sometimes it gets really tough, y’know? But there’s grace and there’s chocolate (which I’m certain is an edible form of grace) and we’ll hang in there.

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And well, for this entire monthish, I have picked out, once again, the favorites. You’re welcome.

Playing Faves…

Favorite Song:

Even If by MercyMe

My sister sent this to me on a not-so-good day of mine and.. man. It was, to understate, “my” song. Got me through a lot of hard and easy times.

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Favorite Book:

Again, I hate choosing when it comes to books. Also note that I would gladly pick an alpha-read book but I can’t find the covers 😛 For this month, however, it would have to be…

Anne Of Ingleside, by L.M Montgomery.

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I’ve heard a lot about this book, especially after the trailer for the movie came out, and I finally read it.
To put it simply, it was a heart toucher. Reading how August lived his life, feeling with him as people were the mean hurtful selves they sometimes are- I can’t think of much to not like.
(I was highly tempted to put Anne of Ingleside and talk about how I’ve changed my opinion on the Anne/Gilbert ship but considering how I skipped half if the chapters because it was too wordy, I don’t think I’d do it justice. XD)
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Favorite Quote:

Weeel, to be perfectly honest, there are a bunch of quotes I could come up with, but I’ll just leave you with this one because it means the most. 😉

Eugene Meltsner: He did not die to remove our sufferings. On the contrary, He told us to pick up our crosses and follow Him. In that command, He was telling us that we will indeed suffer, but the suffering could lead us back to God in the same way that His suffering led us all to God.

*nods* Amen, brother. Amen.

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Now. November. What on this earth shall you bring on me? Probably NaNoWriMo. Probably finals. Probably a trip to the library to pay that fine I didn’t have enough change for in July. 😛 Probably a real snow.

And just maybe some extra hope. 🙂

And what with school, a lot of dark nights, and The Ties That Bind, I can use some of that. XD

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Though rest assured, one way or another, you’ll see more of these lens. These slightly skewered, smudged lens.

Goodbye October. It was nice knowing you.

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What Christian YA Fiction Could Improve On (By Someone Who Has No Clue What On Earth She’s Talking About)

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Some random golf course, taken from an open widow. Man, it was foggy.

Hello world. It’s 11:24 PM, and I should be asleep. But I’m not. Ha!

Rejoice, I’m not smothering you with more of The Ugly Duckling. Though I’d like to. 🙂 Unfortunately though, there’s something called life. And there’s also something called homework. I stayed up til 12 trying to finish it. Let’s just say I’m still muttering the associative property of addition.

I’ve also been reading a lot, which is a little different from the random scrolling on Pinterest I’m used to. And a lot of the reading was mostly Christian YA fiction. Which was great! Just… well..

I just think we could do a little better.

So… uh… oh man, what am I doing? I don’t mean to offend anyone, especially cause we have amazing Christian writers! Please don’t kill me, kay? *breathes in* Well, here goes.

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What we could make better in Christian YA fiction

Don’t assume that because you’re under the label of Christian, what ever you produce is gonna be good.

And this isn’t just books. This is movies (I’m glaring at you, God’s Not Dead 3) and music, and yeah, media in general. If we really are doing everything to the glory of God, we shouldn’t be sloppy with what we write. (Uhh, heh, I’m one to talk, I know..) Poor character arcs, bad plots, and themes that are underemphasized and overemphasized in different places of the story make a bad story. Come on, people you has potential! You can be a whole lot better than this! You better, at least.

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Stop being preachy. Just stop. 

*sighs* I know I opened a can of worms. And I know that this sounds so wrong coming from a pastor’s kid. Well, I’m saying it because this really bugs me in stories. Am I saying you shouldn’t mention faith in a novel? No! That’s just wrong. What I am saying is, don’t have your main character deliver a perfect outline of salvation to some hardened bad guy, reciting Bible verses off the top of their heads, in the King James no less. Unless your MC is a preacher or a evangelist- just, put it where it makes sense for cryin’ out loud! And for goodness’ sake, you can tell if a character’s speech was copied after a tract. You can present the gospel through a charrie’s dialogue without making him so… forced, professional, robotic-y. It just makes the story less interesting.

You want a good example of the gospel wonderfully presented in a way that doesn’t choke? In Search Of Honor, by Donnalyn Hess is so amazing. That’s how you do it!

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Christians make so many mistakes and have so many character flaws. Don’t shape them out to be all perfect and saintly. Even the saints themselves were sinners.

In one book I read, it seemed that almost everyone could recite Bible verses off the top of their heads and talked so eloquently, and had such wonderful Christian fellowship with each other. And that’s nice, that truly is, but so far, nothing has ever made me feel so disconnected reading it. Even if your book’s set in 1860, having people say, “I am receiving an attitude of humbleness gradually and do ask of you-” is the fastest way to making me put the book down. We are sinners saved by grace! We’re proud, we bicker, we do things for us and us along at times! We’re not always so self sacrificing and so up there.

Show me some big character flaws. Show me a Christian who’s struggling with bitterness and has a hard time coming to terms with it. Show me someone who’s having a hard time believing God’s good. Show me an elder of the church having anger problems and desperately trying to curb it. And then show me how God helps them. Because that’s how life is.

Man, that was long.

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Be wary when writing about spiritual topics. Or reading, for that matter. 

By this I mean angels, spirits, the angel devil fight thing going on. As awesome as it is, just be careful? A great deal of that is educated speculation. Especially writing it in dystopian/futuristic novels, that’s a lot of speculation. I don’t mean avoid it entirely. I mean, Chuck Black’s written some awesome books with angels as characters, Adventures In Odyssey’s touched on it with Malachi, and let’s see.. there’s been others. But there have been others that have, well, messed with it. Maybe more than they should have. And I’m saying this from a reader’s perspective, I have no clue how one could make sure the writing of angels is in line with the Bible, but if you could, that would be really nice.

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Huh. That was longer than I thought it would be. I’m sorry it was long and incoherent.

Guys, I don’t mean to be down on Christian YA writers. We guys can praise God through fiction and write amazing stuff. I’ve seen it. But we can be better. I know it. So, uh, if you’re not offended by me yet.. and you’re a writer..

There’s a generation of young Christian readers that need some good books. We’re counting on you.