Friday, July 24, 2015

#YAneedsmore, The Mark of Noba and Steven Universe-Thoughts on Self-publishing

Hi to all you awesome folks in the blogosphere. We have some pressing topics we wanted to discuss. 

Silly, fun yet informative.

If you haven't caught wind by now, there's an awesome trending hashtag on Twitter as we speak.

Just enough to start an extremely long, yet powerful conversation. 

If any of you are writers looking to learn more about what people wish they were reading, but are limited to what's out there, please spend an hour, and study what readers, especially young readers, want more of.

Diversity appeared to be a strong topic. We need to see more representation across the board for plus sized, LGBTQIAP, racial, religious, disability, socio-economic diversity, but we also need to make sure the representation that we're giving and supporting gives us positive representation too.

It highlighted a bunch of things I think we(As in Twinjas) could be doing better with our own content.

We're not ready to mention and heavily promote just yet, but our novel The Mark of Noba, after 4 years labor loving it to death, is finally about to be released to the world.

The Mark of Noba is a YA Portal Fantasy/Time Travel about two youths who are spiritually bonded to one another. Accepting the bond is one of the key points to their survival in the planned 4 book series.
This is where we spend two seconds to shamelessly self promote XD

But back to the hashtag. It makes us reflect on many of the things we could work harder to see in future works.

As much as we love it, The Mark of Noba features things we did right, but also has things we need to work on.

Here is where we could improve or work better to do with our next WIP:
@BlkgirlManifest made a really cool point that made us feel on cloud nine about making one of our MCs a Black girl. @diversebooktours made another great point about MCs being white boys who are kinda average, learn they have super powers and get like 9 chicks.

The Mark of Noba has two main protagonists. It'd be really hard to tell each person's story without the other's. We considered making Sterling non-white, but we went for a look that greatly contrasted Tetra's appearance, as a dark skinned, dark haired Black girl. Appearance was just a small part of it, but like most YA stories, where a MC is reluctant to believe "insert problem here", them greatly differing in physical attributes was something we wanted to experiment with. 

@Reason2Write and @nilaffle bring up good points about friendship depictions in YA as well. I think TMON also shows a friendship between two different races and sexes can work. You rarely see Black girls in fiction have friends that aren't other Black girls. This is totally awesome, cuz we need each other, but I can't help but feel, it's some how perpetuated by a stereotype that Black girls as difficult to be friends with.

@RainCityReads made an interesting point about tone and language amongst teenagers. I honestly think this is a hit or miss. Some people don't like swearing in novels. I have reader and writer friends who'll put books down based on swearing. The Mark of Noba isn't excessive, but it does have swearing. That'll probably be a hit or miss for us. @WriteRadically, @iesrec, @SamJBrody, and @diversebooktours also made these great points about queer representation, which you should check out! But I screenshot it, because Tetra, our female MC might not use the exact term, but identifies as gender-queer due to her cultural upbringing.

That can be a hit or miss too. Will people think she's fluid enough? To be honest, we'd never seen her any other way. Since she uses she/her pronouns, and we don't bring attention to it, who knows? To really know if people will connect to her, they'd have to read to see.

@BrigidRose made an amazing point about parents. YA tends to have some dumb ass parents. Like theyre either there financially, or very rarely seen parenting. Sterling's parents are present characters, even if they're not main characters. I think we did pretty cool on that.

@Serendipity_Viv tweeted about teenage carers, which is what Sterling is, since his mother has residual schizophrenia. It builds his character, so he's not just an absorbed teenager, or at least in our opinion. But I fell in love with @BrigidRose's tweet about f/f friendships because Im totally there for that.

We tried our best to show Tetra can make and hold friendships with girls, as well as question gender roles, rape culture and slut shaming. 

When we're ready to go hard in the promoting department, anyone who's reading will be the first to know any updates, or changes and the like. I don't think we're the writer for every reader, but I think our values for representation come out a lot in the book, and we hope we can just make one person feel connected to a story we poured a bunch of soul into for the past few years.

So we're sick of going on about what we did wrong or right! Let's get to the good stuff!
So Im hearing sooooooo much about this cartoon named "Steven Universe."

At first I thought the premise seemed a little silly, but after all the countless articles we've read about body positivity, gender equality and identity, racial diversity, rape culture, we're like...

All this from a show about superheroes? Im not getting positive representation from live action content geared at adults with all that!

We don't have cable, so it wasn't easily accessible at first, but it's on Hulu I hear, so Im considering tuning in tonight!

Who's watched it? What are you favorite points?


  1. Thumbs up for M\F friendship! I'm so sick of the new-boy-at-school-becoming-instant-love-interest trope. Also, parents can't always be conveniently absent or oblivious. I do like the idea of your Sterling taking care of his mom, too. It doesn't sound forced or anything. As for swearing, let's face it - people in the real world don't talk like they are in church. A dose of swearing can't help being incorporated in YA, if just for the sake of making it sound real.

    Looking forward to Noba! :)

  2. @Roberta We definitely agree about the parent angle! But swearing is still not everyone's cup of tea. We totally get it! But in the meantime my characters swear ;p


Thanks for leaving awesome comments!We appreciate and reply to everyone!