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I have always depended on the kindness and brilliance of others

This is one of those posts where I send you all over the internet--but it'll be worth it!

First I call your attention to this blog post by Courtney Summers about writing characters, especially female characters who are not nice (though much of what she says can be applied to characters more generally). A sample: " I was so scared to let a girl be angry and unkind simply because she was a girl and girls are expected to. Be. Nice."

And then there's the 2013 Feminist Reads challenge, hosted by The Hiding Spot. As stated in the original challenge post: "any book that features, by your standards, a strong female character or supports feminist ideals is eligible for this challenge!"

I want to take a moment here to thank all the guest bloggers who helped out with my 2012 blog feature, "books of our youth," in which they discussed the books that had an impact on them while they were growing up. In case you missed any of them, here are links to:
Judith Graves on ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
Ann Malaspina on A SINGLE LIGHT
Charity Tahmaseb on the Betsy-Tacy books
Angelina C. Hansen on CHARLOTTE'S WEB
Alison Ashley Formento on MISS SUZY
C. Lee McKenzie on ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Mindi Scott on THE CATCHER IN THE RYE
Laurel Garver on A SUMMER TO DIE
Michelle Davidson Argyle on THE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES
Artie Bennett on Dr. Seuss and ON BEYOND ZEBRA!
Mieke Zamora-Mackay on P.S. I LOVE YOU

Now for three sets of giveaways:
At YA Outside the Lines, there are several book packs, Skype visits, and other swag up for grabs, including some available for international readers. Enter through Jan. 31.
At Beth Kephart Books, you may win a copy of Katrina Kenison's new book, MAGICAL JOURNEY: AN APPRENTICESHIP IN CONTENTMENT. Enter until Jan. 4.
The Story Siren is giving away boxes of advance reader copies, from her stock of review copies. Enter until Jan. 18.

Comments

Thanks for the Courtney Summers post link. Gels somewhat with the realization I had the other day: I have a hard time letting my main characters do stuff I don't like or I wouldn't do. Which is dumb. They aren't me.
I know! It's that temptation to annotate our work: "I don't really believe this." "I don't condone this." "This is my character speaking, not me." But the work has to speak for itself.