Ava Jae

Obsessive writer. Insatiable reader. Perfectionistic Artist.


Thank you, Microsoft Word. You’ve turned my character into a snazzy southern woman who don’t need no importer. 

(via writersrelief)

fangandclaw asked: I understand that you don't want to steal from studio ghibli by watching streams online of their work, but isn't it a little unfair for people that don't live in areas where ghibli films are shown or who can't afford the (insanely expensive) costs of ordering the movies online? The studio is financially stable and internationally known. Using torrents and streams doesn't hurt them, while it does expose their work to a larger audience. People will still buy their work if they can afford it.



Using illegal torrents and streams doesn’t hurt them? Seriously? Did you really? If you want to download their films, by all means, go ahead, but please don’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt Studio Ghibli. And the fact that you’ve even gone a step further in suggesting that it actually benefits them… unbelievable! Yeah, the Studio is so financially stable that just before the release of Arrietty, they were considering CLOSING DOWN the Studio if Arrietty was not financially successful. And while they may be “internationally known”, if you go out in the street now and ask random passers by if they know of Studio Ghibli, I bet the majority wouldn’t have a clue what you were on about. I very, very rarely meet people who know of Studio Ghibli. I’m actually surprised when I do. Like I said, if you want to download or stream, then feel free, but the reason that I don’t post these links on my blog, is because I have an audience of over 40,000 people, so doing so would definitely hurt Studio Ghibli. It takes a lot to get me upset, but wow, unbelievable.

Piracy! Making it harder for creative people to afford to continue being creative!

In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Cornelius Fudge tells the Prime Minister that the previous one “tried to throw him out the window.” HBP is set in 1996, the PM was John Major. Before him it was Margaret Thatcher.






I’m sure at least for 20 years we will continue to find minor details like this about Harry Potter series

Guys, you just made my day… I’m going to laugh for a whole week thanks

(via yahighway)

Writability: How to Choose Book Comps

If you’ve been researching query tips for some time, chances are likely you’ve probably heard someone suggest that you use a book comp within your query (and if you haven’t heard, you’ve heard it now).

For those who don’t know, a book comp is a comparison of your manuscript to one or two books, movies, TV shows or authors (or a blend thereof). Usually these are some sort of mashup, for example, x book meets x book, or x book meetsx element.

Book comps are great for several reasons:

  • They show the agent/editor you know the market. 
  • They give a specific sense of the uniqueness of your book. 
  • They show there’s a potential audience for your manuscript. 
  • They’re fun. (Well. To me.)

When you’re first starting out, choosing a book comp can sound a little terrifying—there are so many books to choose from, and initially and it can seem a little overwhelming to have to choose one or two that fits your manuscript. But once you get the hang of it, choosing book comps isn’t nearly as difficult as it may seem.

Before I go on, here are some actual examples that were used successfully, whether to land an agent or book deal (or both):

So when you’re trying to come up with book comps, here’s how to begin:

  1. Make a list of books/TV shows or movies similar to your book. By similar, I don’t mean “exact.” What you’re looking for are elements that could be pulled from a book that your manuscript has. For example, if you wrote a Middle Grade Fantasy with a humorous vibe, you may comp the Artemis Fowl series, or if you wrote a YA Fantasy involving time travel and medieval-like assassins, you may say Hourglass meets 
    Throne of Glass
    . A YA Contemporary Fantasy-like Beauty and the Beast retelling could be Cruel Beauty in the 21st century. The possibilities are pretty endless. 

  2. Figure out the unique aspect of your book. Remember, the idea isn’t to say how your book is exactly like another book—it’s to say your book is similar to another book, but different enough that it’s unique. You can explain this by mashing two books together like some of the examples above, or by adding a twist like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens” above.
  3. Start mashing. It might take a couple combination attempts before you figure out something that really fits your book, and that’s okay. Bounce some ideas off your beta readers and critique partners to see if they think it fits. Play around with a couple options until you settle on one you really like. Once you’ve chosen, you’re done! Yay!  

Some things to keep in mind:

    • Stay away from mega-bestsellers. The problem with using hugely successful books, is it doesn’t really show you know the market (because everyone’s heard of that book) and it also insinuates that you have mega-high expectations of instant bestsellerdom. Which hopefully isn’t true. 
    • Make sure it makes sense (or explain if it’s a stretch). Be careful when you’re choosing your comps that they’re not so out there that it doesn’t make sense. For example, Vikings meets House is a bit of a stretch, however if you can concisely explain how it works, more power to you. 

    • Stick to one or two comparisons, tops. Hourglass meets Cruel Beauty meets Shatter Me meets The False Prince meets Ocean’s Eleven doesn’t work. Why? Because you’re throwing way too much at once, and instead of giving a specific idea of your books, you’re just throwing a bunch of titles in the air to see what sticks. And in that case, nothing is going to stick. It’ll just look like you don’t really know your manuscript well enough to narrow it down to one or two comparisons, and that’s definitely not the message you want in your query. 
  • Bonus tip: come up with your book comp before writing the manuscript. I did this with my last two WIPs, and not only did it make me even more excited for the WIP, it helped me keep focus of the big picture of the manuscript. Also, I had a quick description of the WIP when people asked what I was working on, which helps. 

So that’s it! Now I want to hear from you: what tips for book comps do you have to share?



A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

A question mark walks into a bar?

Two quotation marks “Walk into” a bar.

A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.

The bar was walked into by a passive voice.

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.


(Source: totheend-oftheuniverse, via thewritingcafe)

The Six Defining Characteristics of Strong Female Protagonists


There seem to be a lot of posts about strong female characters on writing blogs. I’m not sure what this means, but it made me think about how I would define this character.

I believe there is a tendency to confuse strength with acting like a man. I don’t want to read about women who act like men, or men who act like women. I think a character’s strength can be measured by his or her ability to get my attention, make me empathise with, and care for, that character, and then to drive the story to its conclusion.

Here are my ideas.

The Six Defining Characteristics of Strong Female Protagonists

(via its-a-writer-thing)

Writability: World-building Tip: The Ripple Effect

So this is something I’ve really had to think about lately, while revising one of my WIPs and preparing to revise another WIP, which is also in need of major world-building. 

Once you’ve established your world-building elements, whether it’s technology, magic, setting, culture, etc., step two is to isolate each of those major elements and think about how it affects your protag’s world.

For example, if you’re incorporating some form of magic into your world, you need to think about the implications. Does everyone use magic? If so, is it considered normal? If so, is it considered unnatural or weird for someone to not use magic? If this is a more modern-day setting, do they have technology that works with the magic, or are they two very separate entities? Do they cancel each other out?

This works the same way with technology or fun gadgets. Say you have a Sci-Fi world with a technology that extends lifespan. How does that affect population growth? Does everyone have access to that technology? Is it free, or extremely expensive, so only the wealthy can afford it? How does this affect society’s perception of youth and old age? Does it affect how society views illness, whether chronic, terminal, or the flu?

The ripple effect demonstrated here, to me, is key to effective and believable world-building. Every element of world-building you write into your novel has some sort of influence on your characters’ world—and sometimes it takes a little extra brainstorming to realize that any one element has more of an effect than you may have originally imagined when you first dreamed up the element.

Can you think of any ripple effect world-building examples from a book, movie or TV show?


Today I got a message that made me rageful.

It was about a scene in The Dream Thieves. I don’t want to be spoilery, so I will just say it goes like so: Boy wants to kiss Girl. He asks her. Girl says no, even though he asked nicely. She does not want to kiss him, Girl says. He does not kiss her. But he is sad about it.

This message (which also echoes thoughts I’ve seen in the online Raven Cycle readership) wanted to know why Girl was being such a jerk. He asked nicely, said the reader. She could have just given him one, as, like, a send-off. She’d wanted to kiss Boy before, after all.


No, she couldn’t have. She said no. It doesn’t matter if we like Boy as a reader. It doesn’t matter if Girl, in the world of the book, likes him as a friend. It doesn’t matter if Girl at a previous moment considered kissing Boy. If Girl has decided she doesn’t want to kiss Boy, ever




Girl never, ever has to kiss Boy.

No matter how nicely he asks.

No matter how sad it makes him.

No matter if she is drunk at a party or he threatened harm to himself or if she didn’t say it loudly or he asks her super, super nicely.

No means no.

And it makes me sad that it’s GirlReaders I see judging GirlCharacter. Yeah, I’m sad he got rejected too. He’s a nice kid. But I would hope readers would do the same thing he did, in the book: respect that her no meant no, and respect that she had the right to say it.