Thursday, December 31

Thank You

January 1,  2016 is only 11 hours and 705 minutes away. This blog is realativly new, only being started in July of 2015. I want to say thank you to everybody who has either stumbled across the blog accidentily, or come here with a purpose. It has meant a lot, to write for basically complete strangers and hear your comments and questions. Whenever I was sad or annoyed, I could use this blog to write or rant about something or other, and it made it all the better to know that people were reading my writing. So far, there has only been six days out of this entire six months where nobody visited Stylus. Thank you everybody, and happy New Year (almost).

Reading List #9

Here is the ninth installment of my Winter Break reading list. I will be posting a series of my top ten winter break books until January 1, 2016.

9. Polly Wants to be a Writer

If you want to be a writer like the main character Polly, read this. If you do not want to be a writer, keep reading this. It is NOT an instruction guide, some moldy old textbook. It is a novel that is unlike any other, with writing tips and exercises embedded in the pages. This is an amazing piece of work that combines fiction, well-plotted characters, and detailed settings.

Wednesday, December 30

Reading List #8

Here is the eighth installment of my Winter Break reading list. I will be posting a series of my top ten winter break books until January 1, 2016.

8. The Thing About Jellyfish

“Twenty three people are stung by a jellyfish every five seconds.”
The Thing About Jellyfish is an amazing, inspiring book that makes you cry and think deeper than the usual surface of things. This book is great for anybody who has experienced a loss in their life, and for people who are deep thinkers. The Thing About Jellyfish will change your life to look beyond the ordinary and protect those who have little power in this great big world of ours. At reading this work of art, you'll never forget the pain, joys, and bitter reminders of mistakes that were inside these pages.

Tuesday, December 29

Reading List #7

Here is the seventh installment of my Winter Break reading list. I will be posting a series of my top ten winter break books until January 1, 2016.

7. The Land of Stories

Description: When the twins’ grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book, they have no idea they’re about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.
But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven’t ended in this magical land—Goldilocks is now a wanted fugitive, Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom,and Queen Cinderella is about to become a mother!
The twins know they must get back home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?

Review: The Land of Stories is a hilarious book that brings back the beloved charcters from Grimm's fairy tales and takes a whole new spin on them. The uptake is fast, the charcters are detailed, and the adventures are told so realisticly that you can hear the clang of sword as Goldilocks fights the Big Bad Wolf Pack, or the rush as Conner and Alex dive from a cliff... Read this book, and you'll never be bored again!

Monday, December 28

Reading List #6

Here is the sixth installment of the Winter Reading List. I will be posting these recommendations until January 1, 2016.

6. Ungifted

Description: When Donovan Curtis pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students.
Although it wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, the ASD couldn’t be a more perfectly unexpected hideout for someone like him. But as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything), he shows that his gifts may be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed. 

Review: Ungifted is a heart-warming story that has the spunky tone of genius kids, average kids, and teachers alike. Telling the story of the ungifted Donovan Curtis, we can look into the views of all the characters, and find out what truly makes each one gifted. It is a great story that shows how even if our IQ tests don't support the fact, we are all gifted-- in many different forms.

Writing Blogger's Network

Do you have a blog and want to share it? Do you want to get published? Well, the perfect website has arrived! The Writing Blogger's Network, a site created by two sisters makes all of that availble to young writers. You can become a member, and be published as many times as you would like, or be a guest blogger, and do the same as a member, yet with more restrictions.
This is also a chance to revise other people's work, and visit blogs of other young writers. A great website that was recently created, Writing Blogger's Network is a great stepping stone to bigger things!
Here is the link, and happy writing!

Writing Blogger's Network

Sunday, December 27

Reading List #5

Here is the fifth installment of my Winter Break reading list. I will be posting a series of my top ten winter break books until January 1, 2016.

5. The Book Scavenger

Description: For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game. 
Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold's new game―before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.

Review: the Book Scavenger is an adventure perfect for fans who miss the adventures of Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory, or can't wait for Mr. Lemon cellos Library Olympics to come out in January 2016! Featuring codes, puzzles, bets, and fights, The Book Scavenger is perfect for any rainy day by the fire. Happy coding!

Saturday, December 26

Reading List #4

Here is the forth installment of my Winter Break reading list. I will be posting a series of my top ten winter break books until January 1, 2016.

4. The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein

In the first book of Grabenstein's Haunted Mysteries series, he starts it with a murder, a new house, and a toilet that won't stop spewing out mud-- all the usual things. I would recommend this book to any kid who wants to escape the world of reality and spend time with ghosts, fires, and a trip into a story that you could only imagine in your dizziest daydreams. A perfect topper to the middle of Winter Break, The Crossroads is a thriller that will keep you staying up to read it beneath the covers.

Friday, December 25

Reading List Book #3

Here is the third  installment of my Winter Break reading list. I will be posting a series of my top ten winter break books until January 1, 2016.

3. Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine
This is the perfect book for young writers for the holidays. Containing writing prompts and tips at the end of each chapter, this book contains the perfect breakdown of the parts of a story. It includes chapters that talk all about characters, plot development, and how to publish your work in a way that impresses publishers and gets you a higher chance of actually being published.

Thursday, December 24

Reading List Book #2

Here is the second installment of my Winter Break reading list. I will be posting a series of my top ten winter break books until January 1, 2016.

2. Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage

Possibly one of my all-time favorite books, Three Times Lucky is the story of the charismatic and moter mouth orphan, Mo. In this book she solves murders with her best friend Dale, tries to find out more of her upstream mother, and slits policemen's tires. All in all, it's a wonderful read that wil either bring you to tears or have you falling out of your chair because you're laughting too hard.

The Perfect Submission

When you submit a piece of writing to a publisher, they aren't just looking to see if you are a good writer. They want to see that you have an eye for details, follow their rules, and know how to create a good, well put together story. So, how do you show them that you are all those things? Just follow this checklist, and there will be a high probability of being accepted for what all writers dream of-- publication.

Choose the right words
Readers don't want to work hard to envision the setting, you have to do that for them! If you choose you describe things using words such as "big", "happy," or "fun", you have basically written a one-way ticket to the paper shredder. Be bold! Use words that show the reader exactly what the character looks like, or how large the dinosaur is.

Check, check, and check
Publishers like to be in charge. So when a contest or magazine tells you what they want to see, you're going to have to give them what they want to see. Twelve point New Times Roman font is the standard text format for most submissions, so if you are not sure go with that. Check the publisher's guidelines at least two times, and be sure that their instructions are followed exactly as they are writeen.

No plot-- a huge problem
Everything in the end winds down to the basic, good story. It dosesn't matter really what your story is about, it just needs to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Stories need to follow a plot line, and have a protagonist (the hero) and an antagonist (the villain). Without those points, your story is basically nothing mre than a page with meaningless words written on it.

Don't be this guy!

Wednesday, December 23

Reading List Book #1

Even though winter break is halfway done, it's not too late to start reading a new book. Here are my top ten books to read while on break. All of these books have spirited characters that are sure to drive away the school break blues. I will be posting one book per day until January 1, 2016.

1. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks is a novel about summer vacation for a group of four very different sisters. It will sure drive away the coldness of winter as you read about these girls playing soccer, driving their neighbors insane, and almost being killed by bulls in their daisy fields. Rosalind is caring, Skye is headstrong and blunt, Jane is imaginative, and Batty is well, Batty. This book will give you the time of your life, and is so realistic you can almost feel the wind in your hair as they rush down the soccer field.

The Night by Dorcas W

This poem "The Night" is by Dorcas W, who submitted this through our Guest Blogging system. To find more about it, and submit something yourself, go to this page: Guest Blogging.

About the Author:
Ever since I realized I had a passion for reading, I have had a passion for writing. Whenever there was a school writing project, if I had an inspiration, I always put it in the book. When we started the Debra Holmes group, I was more than happy to help write the Fanfiction series for Warriors. Mostly, though, I have to give credit to my friend BH for showing me how interesting random thoughts can be. She does talk about half rhinos and hippos a lot...

The Night
As I lift my head up,
I gaze at the stars.
Twinkling little orbs of light
Illuminating the night.
I lay back on the grass
While the comforting light
Of the multicolored stars
Shines on me.

I shift my gaze onto
A large spherical shape,
The silvery crater-filled
Wondrous moon.
The leaves block the stars
And leave the moon to be seen,
As if the trees themselves
Will me to worship
In the beautiful light of the moon.

As I lay there all night,
Entranced by the beauty
Of God's creation-
The lesser lights.
Then as Dawn approached,
Spreading her wings,
The lesser lights faded
And the Greater light appeared.

How to Write Your Novel

The time is here. You are finally ready to go one step further and do what many adults cannot do. You are about the write a novel. You have a killer plot, great characters, and a head full of descriptions and dialogue so real they'll make readers cry. It needs to be put onto paper, except for one thing. How do I write it?
If you type in those search terms into google, most of the articles that come up say things like, "10 easy steps to create a great novel", or "How not to write your novel". But truly, no one is going to write it for you. The way to write your novel is to sit down, turn on rain or thunder sounds, and make yourself write 1,000 words or more.
So,  in other words to answer the question: sit down and write the stupid thing!
You can, of course, get tips on how to organize it, to edit it, but really, nothing will tell you how to write it. Only you can write your novel.
Start by putting a piece of paper or laptop in front of you, and a pencil. Let your imagination run loose. Nothing is imposiible when you're writing. Frogs can become princes, maids can become princesses, and anything you can dream of can be put to paper.
Lets get started.

Tuesday, December 22

The Dragonfly Pool

The Dragonfly Pool By Eva Ibbotson
5 stars

This book, a stand-alone novel by the author Eva Ibbotson is a tale of beacons of hope that shine in the darkness of World War Two. It is a laugh-out-loud comedy, a book that makes you cry, and an inspiration to do something in this world. The writing is descriptive and tells the tale of two unlikely friends in the midst of war. 

Monday, December 21

Words by Pippa Liber

This poem "Words" is by Pippa Liber, who submitted this through our Guest Blogging system. To find more about it, and submit something yourself, go to this page: Guest Blogging.

About the author:
My name is Pippa Liber, and I work at the Pippa Liber Words Company, where I write all day! I feel like writing makes you feel like you are alive and part of something. It really helps you learn to be your own person! I also enjoy boating, reading, acting, making pottery, advertising, and cooking.
You can find her blog at: Read. Now. Today


I love words. 
Imagine how hard it would be to survive without them.
 Each word is unique, like a fingerprint 
Sweet like peppermint. 
We need every word in this world. 
Try choosing 10, even 50 to keep. 
You couldn't do that. 
Losing a word is like losing family. 
And then there are bad words. 
Swear words. 
No-no words. 
What makes them so bad? 
What is their story? 
And then there are good words. 
Pleasant words. 
Yes-yes words. 
What makes them so good? 
Could you make a yes-yes word a no-no word? 
Every word has a story 
Just like every person. 
Every word has a personality. 
Just like you and me. 
We can dig deeper and see. 

2016 Writing Goals

  1. Write a 50,000+ worded novel this year
  2. Write one short story or poem each month
  3. Post something on my blog every day
  4. Read a majority of genres and types of books


I just finished reading Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish, a book that has been nominated for several awards, for maybe the fifth or eighth time.
Jellyfish are amazing creatures, and her book captures the combination between fact and fiction so well that the words seem to rush together as you read the book, and never lets you look up until the last words have been read.
It is an amazing novel, and I strongly recommend you to read it. Now, some facts about the creatures of the deep themselves: Jellyfish.

Facts About Jellyfish

  • Every five seconds, about 23 people are stung by jellyfish
  • Some jellyfish can never die. They grow old, and then can return to their child-like state of being. And then they repeat
  • One in every 48 people has been stung by a jellyfish
  • One day, the jellies will grow to such numerous numbers that they will drive the whales to extinction
  • When we kill sea turtles, we give the jellyfish more life, because turtles are their main predator
  • Jellyfish make power plants close, because they can get caught in the pipes and stuff. 
  • There is a kind of jellyfish, the Irukandji Jellyfish is very tiny, but can kill you with a single sting. And to make it even more frightening, it is only .2 inches, so you'll never see it coming.

Sunday, December 20

Writing Goals

Writers should always have goals for themselves. A little like New Year resolutions, writing goals give us a chance to push ourselves as writers, to go a little bit farther than we were before. They help us grow and gain more discipline. Also, there is a great thing about them-- we never get penalized if we don't follow them! For example, here are my 2015 Writing Goals:

1. Write at least something every day, whether it is a story, journal entry, or random ideas or thoughts.
2. Focus more on in-depth characters.
3. Finish a novel or novella this year.
4. Use better descriptions and make every word count.
5. Read a lot.
6. Have an open mind about anything I write or read.
7. Save all of my writing.

8. Have one blog post per day.

Really, I truthfully only accomplished five out of eight of them. 4, 6, and 8 all sort of went down the drain. I sort of tried, but didn't really make it. But that's okay! I strove to get better as a writer, and accomplished most of my goals! 
So, for this New Year, I challenge you to make some goals yourself. And, if you wish, you can send them to me and I will publish every single one that I get on my blog, started January 1, 2016.

Happy Writing and goal making!

Guest Blogging

I have been looking at my 2015 writing goals, with the year ending and everything, and found that one of them I didn't keep true. I was going to write at least one blog post every day, and that didn't really work out. This blog keeps me really busy, and it is hard to keep everything running smoothly and generating new ideas.
So, I decided to open this blog up to submissions by other young writers like me! Below this text, there are some rules for guest blogging.


  • Guest bloggers must be aged 16 and under
  • No inappropriate content for younger viewers
  • Must be respectful

You can send me an article (under 5,000 words), short story (under 10,000 words), poem, drama script, or book review (under 2,000 words). If you have something else that is not in those categories, send your idea to me! 
You can send your story, article, ext. using the form on my contact page. After sending in your piece, please wait 2-3 days before a response. If you are accepted to be on the blog, you will be published on Mondays.

What's in it for you?

If you guest publish on my blog, you will get an author's bio that can advertise you and any books that you have written, a link to your website or blog, AND another "published work" that can be shown to publishers. 

Friday, December 18

Weather and Stories

Open a book, any book, and see if there is a reference to weather. Maybe a storm that brings Pegasus, the winged horse upon a child's roof, or a tornado that sweeps a little girl to the magical land of Oz. Weather plays very important parts in stories, whether it be in the inciting event, climax, or just somewhere in the middle.

Why is weather so important in stories?
I really have no idea, but my hypothesis is that, because weather is something that we, human beings cannot control or really understand to the highest potential-- it fascinates us. It is also a source of ancient beliefs and religions. The Ancient Greeks believed that the fierce lightning, sent down from the sky was from Zeus, the king of the gods and the god of thunder and lightning.

Thursday, December 10

I Can See Him With My Eyes Closed

Characters are the most important part of a story. They drive the plot along, not to mention also inspire and encourage readers. Characters are more then fictional creations— they can also be best friends.
Even though characters are incredibly important, one of the most common difficulties of creating them is making them likable and realistic. Here are some tips that can help you turn a weak, two-dimensional character into a person who is so vibrant that readers can see them with their eyes closed. 

Let’s say that you have a character named Panther, a thirteen year old boy who lives in a small town. In order to make him three-dimensional, there must be four aspects to his character. Panther needs to be vulnerable, imperfect, likable, and unique.
Here are some example passages that could help the reader see Panther with their eyes closed:

A blue tennis shoe sweeps my feet from under me and flips me into a mud puddle. When I look up, face streaming with brown muck and leaf carcasses, the other kids are laughing.
Panther needs to be vulnerable. If he can’t be touched, and nothing would hurt him, what’s interesting about reading that? Even Superman is in danger to kryptonite. Vulnerability makes the reader feel fear for Panther, and drives the plot to evermore greater anticipation. 

Passing by the giant, gold-rimmed mirror I see that my cheek has a smudge of orange on it. I wipe it off, and my clumsy elbows knock the mirror off the wall. It falls to the ground, and I manage to jump back right before the glass shards puncture my flesh.
Panther needs to be faulty and full of mistakes. Have you ever heard the term,”Nobody’s perfect?” That applies to characters, too. If Panther is a little angel that can do no wrong, he isn’t very interesting to read about. If he was perfect, your readers would probably through the book out of the window in frustration.

One bad thing about living in a small town is that everyone knows about your history. Even though it was in third grade, I am still known for pouring snakes on my teacher’s head. For that reason, people stay away from me.
Panther needs to be likable and appealing to the reader. A good way to do this is to make him an underdog. Readers want underdogs, or the heroes to win, and villains to lose. But if Panther is an evil person who strangles baby birds, readers are not going to like him. In fact, they will probably be cheering the villains on. 

My mom is asian, and my dad is Irish. In a town full of brown haired people, I’m the odd one out. Everyone says that it shouldn’t matter—but it does. 
Panther needs to be unique. It doesn’t need to be a huge difference, but at least one trait or fact about Panther needs to be different than everybody else. Just as all people are different, all characters are as well.
Characters are friends that we can play with, people that we can share every memory, every mistake, and every triumph with. Characters are apart of everyone’s life, readers and writers alike. So whether they are in progress like Panther or nearly perfect like Polly from Polly Wants to be a Writer, never forget everything that they give us and their stories.
So if you’re struggling with a weak character, just remember: 

If Polly can do it, so can you.

Monday, December 7

Read. Now. Today

A blog that has recently come to my attention is a very well-written one where other young writers can submit writing to the editor and she will publish it if it is good enough. The blog is called Read. Now. Today, and here is the link to the blog:

A little more facts about Read. Now. Today is that the author has posted some information about her own books, and other writers can contribute to her posts as well, giving feedback and also advertising their own books and stories.
I encourage all of you to visit it, and post a piece of writing!

Tuesday, December 1

Echoes of the Past

Echoes Of the Past by Sylvia Nica
2 stars

Echoes of the Past is a self-published book, so the writing is not as professional as you might see in other, traditionally published books. It is an okay piece of literture. The story is a complex tale of a twelve year old girl who gets trapped in the past. The only bad parts about it is that I began to lose interest quickly, for the writer tends to drag the story on with little or no action. I ditched this book in the middle, and forced myself to read the rest. I would not recommend this book.

The "Now What?" Months

NaNoWriMo calls these next few months, December, January, Febuary, ect. The "Now What?" months. Or otherwise, the months in which you edit your novel. Here are some tips to help you edit your novel this coming months.

1) Print out a copy of your novel and read it through as many times as you want. Make little notes in the margins if you spot a problem, or cross out whole sections if you would like.

2) Remember that you are the master of creativity, not it's slave. If it seems that this is the right way to go, just because creativity wants it-- not you, don't do it. You are the master of your novel, not the other way around.

3) Read out loud and make not of places where the wording seems unsure or confusing.

4) Don't have a saggy middle! If things get slow, kill a character or something. It may be sad, but at least it keeps things interesting.