Ava Jae

Obsessive writer. Insatiable reader. Perfectionistic Artist.

Writability: Discussion: Do (Scary) Books Scare You?

So it’s nearly Halloween! And as is tradition, I’ve barely touched on Halloween-y posts at all, so I’m remedying that right now. With scary things. Sort of.

When it comes to all things horror, I’m a massive chicken. I refuse to watch horror movies of any kind and to this day often look at the floor during particularly spooky trailers in the movie theater. Probably the scariest thing I’ve watched is Supernatural (because hellooo Jensen Ackles) and I haven’t even finished the first season yet. So.

My point in mentioning all this is I have a very low tolerance for scary things. And yet I’ve yet to be scared by a book.

To be fair, I haven’t read all that much horror (with exception to Ten by Gretchen McNeil and House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti which were fun). I have, however, read many adult Thrillers by Ted Dekker, which remain my favorite of his works and were indeed rather eerie. (I mean, creepy serial killers and corpses galore? Yeah).

And yet…I can’t say that I’ve really had a situation where I was reading a book and I felt terrified. Creeped out? Sure. But most of the time when I’ve read something that was supposed to be scary, my brain interpreted it more as exciting and intense than anything else. And well, I like exciting and intense, so I’m not complaining. But maybe I’m reading the wrong books? Hmm.

But now I’m curious. Am I the only easily scared person who hasn’t been scared by a book? Have you had any books scare you? (If so, which?)


making HONEST ANTAGONISTS who believe they’re in the right and firmly believe in what they’re doing is SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING than making them “crazy” because of some outside influence. make villains who believe they are the protagonists

Seriously though, this!

(Source: mikleos, via its-a-writer-thing)

Anonymous asked: Do you use your queue function? I can't figure mine out

Sort of? I schedule my posts (it’s under Reblog) and then just let tumblr do its thing. 

NaNoWriMo and We Need Diverse Books team up!


In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, NaNoWriMo is also providing resources to participants interested in writing diverse representation into their novels.

We’re so excited to be partnering with NaNoWriMo to support diverse books! See NaNoWriMo’s press release here


A lot of people think that writing is this artsy job where we stare into the distance and are struck by the muses to write. 

And I guess? Sometimes? Maybe that happens? 

But usually no. It’s hard work. We have and idea. And we’re just trying to damn hard to make that idea happen. And it’s not just writing it. It’s editing. It’s revising. It’s deleting. And that sounds so simple, but it’s not. It’s really, really not. 

Don’t get me wrong: I love it, even the pain. But it’s not easy. Anything worthwhile rarely is.

Disability in Kidlit seeks reviewers



Since our last call for contributors got such a great response, we wanted to put out another call. Disability in Kidlit is looking for reviewers of MG/YA novels featuring disabled charactersTo cover books on our “review wishlist,” we seek reviewers with the following conditions:

- Tourette Syndrome
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or a similar autoimmune disorder that causes easy bruising
- albinism
- a limp
- dyspraxia
- ALS, or a similar terminal condition
- depression
- limb deficiency/amputation
- blindness
- cancer (any, but particularly leukemia)
- Down Syndrome
- deafness (particularly if you sign)
- autism (especially for a large site event we’re planning in April) 

If you have one of these disabilities, are interested in (teen) fiction and disability representation, and have the time and inclination to read and review at least one novel for us, please contact us at disabilityinkidlit@gmail.com. Experience as a reviewer is not required.

Thanks so much, and don’t hesitate to contact us for questions.

(Note: we’re open to all disabled contributors, and reviews of any MG/YA novel prominently featuring a disabled character. We’re also open to articles about disability representation/experiences/tropes. If your condition isn’t listed or you’re not the reviewing type, but you are interested in contributing, we’d still love to hear from you!)

We’ve had a marvelous response to this—thank you so much to everyone who reached out to us or signal boosted. <3 

I’ve bolded the conditions we’re still in particular need of. 


Trans 13-year-old banned from returning to school as herself


Rachel Pepe is a 13-year-old transgender girl from Middletown, NJ who’s gearing up to go back to school. The problem is that because she’s legally registered with the school as male, officials say she can only return to school if she “acts” and “dresses” as male.

Thorne Middle School says they won’t accommodate Rachel’s request to use women’s restrooms or even the single-stall bathroom in the nurse’s office, and they will refuse to call her by her name. No out-of-district educational opportunities will be made available, either.

"He was going to school last year as Brian," said Angela Peters, Rachel’s mother, adding that her child developed stress-related seizures, depression and panic attacks. "How can I send her back as Rachel? And I am not sending her back as Brian because the depression will start again."

Rachel remained deeply isolated from the rest of the student body but still, her mother said, the children would bully her because she was so quiet.

"She would get off the bus and just cry," Peters said. "Then she would go to sleep for 17 or 20 hours and refuse to go back there."

There is no reason in the universe to treat a child with such hostility and meanness. Rachel is incredibly brave for sharing her story on a national level when there’s so much hate brewing in her own community. School should be a safe place, but it so often isn’t; when a student has to fear mistreatment from teachers for being who she is, the school is failing her.

(via corinneduyvis)

Writability: Fixing the First Page Giveaway 5

It’s time again! For another first page giveaway! Yay!

The first page critiques have been fairly popular, so I’ll keep doing them as long as people keep entering. :)

For those who missed it the first time and second and third and fourth time, the Fixing the First Page features is a public first 250 word critique. Using the lovely rafflecopter widget in this linked post, anyone interested in winning a PUBLIC (as in, featured in a post on this blog) first page critique can enter.

For an example of what this critique will look like, here’s the last Fixing the First Page post (and the one before that and the one before that and the one before that).


  • ONLY the first 250 words will be critiqued (up to finishing the sentence). If you win and send me more, I will crop it myself. No exceptions.
  • ONLY the first page. I don’t want 250 random words from your manuscript, or from chapter 3. If you win the critique and send me anything other than the first 250 words of your manuscript, I will choose someone else.
  • I will actually critique it. Here. On the blog. I will say things as nicely as I can, but I do tend to be a little blunt. If you’re not sure you can handle a public critique, then you may want to take some time to think about it before you enter.
  • Genre restrictions. I am most experienced with YA & NA, but I will still accept MG and Adult. HOWEVER. If your first page has any erotic content on it, I ask that you don’t enter. I want to be able to post the critique and the first 250 in its entirety without making anyone uncomfortable, and if you win and you enter a page with erotic content, I will choose someone else.
  • You must have your first page ready. Should you win, you need to be able to submit your first page within 48 hours of my contacting you to let you know you won. If 48 hours pass and I haven’t heard from you, again, I will choose someone else.
  • You’ll get the most out of this if it isn’t a first draft. Obviously, I have no way of knowing if you’re handing me a first draft (though I will probably suspect because it’s usually not that difficult to tell). I won’t refuse your page if it’s a first draft, but you should know that this critique will likely be of more use if you’ve already had your betas/CPs look over it. Why? Because if you don’t, the critique I give you will probably contain a lot of notes that your betas & CPs could have/would have told you
  • There will not be a round 2 (unless you win again in a future contest). I hate to have to say this, but if you win a critique, it’s NOT an invitation to send me a bunch of your revisions. I wish I had the time available to be able to look at revisions, but sadly, I don’t. If you try to break this rule, I will nicely say no, and also remember to choose someone else should you win a second contest. Which would make me sad. :(

So that’s it! If you’re okay with all of the above and would like to enter to be the fifth public critique on Writability, do the thing with the rafflecopter widget in this linked post. You have until Wednesday, October 22 at 11:59 EST to enter!


[W]e do need more incidental diversity, but it’s often seen as The One True Path to doing diversity right. Review after review praises books for their understated approach to diversity, saying how it’s not an “issue,” the diverse characters “just are,” and how wonderful it is that barely any comment was made about a certain character being queer/Black/a wheelchair user. Sometimes, books only hint at a character’s identity, or indicate it via a throwaway mention or two.

That approach works for some stories. It especially suits fantasy or science fiction settings where authors can build a world from scratch. In real life, though, marginalized people are affected … when [that isn’t] acknowledged in realistic fiction, I notice. When the absence of those elements is praised, I notice especially.

And I wonder — perhaps uncharitably — are diverse characters only OK as long as they’re not too diverse?

“Diverse characters: Corinne Duyvis on the decline of ‘issue’ books” by author Corinne Duyvis (Otherbound) at the Guardian

(via corinneduyvis)

I get very suspicious when creators go on and fucking on about how a character ‘just happens to be’ female or lgbtq or Poc or whatever.

Usually, it’s meant in good faith but sometimes it’s code for “I put no effort into this character whatsoever.”

(via gailsimone)

I wonder if seeing this incidental diversity in popular media is a factor to why idiots like Bill O’Reilly go on and on about how white privilege (and hetero, male, etc privilege) doesn’t exist anymore.

(via mathematicianalias)

(via corinneduyvis)

Some Suggestions from Disability in Kidlit



We’re so glad for sites like Disability in Kidlit among many others for reviewing books about characters with disabilities thoroughly and by those who identify as disabled themselves.

Here are some recommendations, because we love giving recommendations (and getting them)!

  • Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson (features a protagonist w/ OCD)
  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John (features a major character who is deaf)
  • 100 Sideway Miles by Andrew Smith (features character with epilepsy)
  • The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell (protagonist has a “withered” leg)
  • Girl Stolen by April Henry (features a protagonist who is blind)
  • Dangerous by Shannon Hale (features an amputee character)
  • Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge (graphic novel that features character with anxiety)

I’ve edited the orginal to include links to our reviews for those interested! (Our Five Flavors of Dumb and Don’t Touch reviews will go live in November and January, respectfully.)

Thanks so much for the support, We Need Diverse Books! :)



there are people who are praising ahs for being ~inclusive~ b/c they hired a trans woman to play the role of a trans woman in a series titled “freak show” when (a) they were only looking for a man to play this role and (b) she had to audition as a dude to get it.  they only got a trans woman to play the role of a trans woman by accident and against their best efforts, you can stop lauding them as progressive for calling us freaks now.

here’s a source

(via corinneduyvis)