I worked to put together a collection of random generators to help with writing projects. I tried to cover a lot of genres, and included generators to help with character creation and development, plot development, and world building. There are also quite a few name generators on the list as well as a few general resources that I thought could be useful, but didn’t quite fit into the other categories.

Also note that if something is in a particular category, it doesn’t mean it can only work with that category. The story ideas and the world building categories overlap quite a bit.

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Legendary Wolf.


In general, I prefer to write boy protagonists.

I have nothing against girl/women protagonists at all, I dearly love them. I just feel that it’s important to make boy characters that were designed with Feminist Ideology in mind too. 

I dont feel like our commercial children’s literature is saturated with enough feminist boy characters. That there are certain aspects of boyhood that a lot of other writers don’t feel like expressing. And even more aspects of boyhood that are directly subverted. Whether out of (un)intentional sexism, or forgetfulness. 

And it bothers me. 

I just.

I need books where boys are allowed to announce when they’re scared. 

Boys who deal with self image issues.

Boys who like a girl and never ever tell her ever because they’re so fucking nervous.

Boys who have women role models, or see women/girls as inherently powerful.

Boys who love and identify with their mothers without there being negative drama about that.

Boys who are caretakers.

Boys who can be both gentle and strong.

Boys who respect the girls around them. Who listen to them when they’re talking and value their input.

Boys who think girls are cool without simultaneously having a crush on them or wanting to sleep with them.

Boys who ask for help when they need it, who don’t think they have to shoulder everything and lead.

Boys who get embarrassed and don’t have to lash out to live it down.

Boys that cry when no one is looking. Boys that cry when everyone is looking.

Boys that are uncomfortable with sex and being sexual. 

Boys that are really comfortable with sex, but who are really into consent.

Boys that aren’t 100% confident in their current sexual preferences.

Boys that can have close and emotional friendships with other boys.

Boys that decorate themselves and care about the way they look. WITHOUT it being a plot device or indicator of sexual preference.

Boys who are discovering themselves and their bodies.

Boys that let girls protect them when they need protection—without making a huge deal about it. 

Boys that understand the patriarchy and stand up for their girl friends when it is damaging them. 

Boys who can be emotionally vulnerable with other characters without it detracting from their leadership narrative if they have one. 

Boys who are written as “popular” working really hard so that people will think they’re cool.

Boys who don’t think they’re entitled to any of the girl characters’ affection and don’t lash out when they’re rejected.

Boys who don’t relentlessly and stalkerishly pursue a love interest after rejection. AND books where that narrative isn’t designed for a reader to perceive such behaviour as romantic.

Boys who don’t fall in love with anyone in the book. Who are all about getting the job done and being a supportive friend.

Boys who are very tender and fall in love easily and quickly. 

Trans boys and everything that that narrative entails.

Trans boys in a story that isn’t sad.

More than one YA/MG series springs to mind where a lot of these are taken care of very neatly (Ranger’s Apprentice, The Golden Compass, Anything by Garth Nix, Anything by Lemony Snicket, The Pendragon Adventure, The Hunger Games). But there are much more where these traits simply aren’t there. Or boys are doing really problematic shit that is just never addressed by the narrative (Harry Potter, Anything by John Green) .

In order for boys to grow up feeling comfortable doing and feeling all of those things, we must work to change their portrayal in our popular media. Because Sexism Hurts Boys Too and often times, damages them irreparably. Children and teenagers learn from what they see and read. We need to be showing and giving them characters who are designed with care. Or they will grow up into adults that we are ashamed of. 

I write characters with these traits because I’m really not that old, and I know boys in real life who feel and do all of those things, but who hide it or dismiss it because they feel that they shouldn’t or aren’t meant to.

And that always breaks my heart.




What is Physics?


My husband will have mad frisbee skills


i found the original pilot script for “hannibal” and i’m laughing because


winston is not an isolated incident


Since my WIP, Illuminate, is also the thesis project for my graduate program, I don’t have as much time as I’m used to for fiddling around and rewriting stuff.

The logical response? Go absolutely crazy.

Step 1: Make Character Arcs for Everyone.

The Interwebs contain lots of great information about character arcs, so in brief: In the course of a story, characters will respond to conflict on an external and internal level, and by the conclusion characters will undergo some sort of change. This creates story arcs.

Every book has at least one major arc. I personally like Doug Tenapel’s advice to split stories into three acts, each with their own arc.

Here’s how I did it.

(keep reading)

not without you.


Within the last few weeks, the  New York TimesEntertainment Weekly, and CNN have all published articles examining the lack of diversity in children’s and young adult literature — and next month, School Library Journal plans to publish an entire issue devoted to diversity. While all this mainstream interest in diversity is to be applauded for bringing more people into the ongoing conversation about diversity, they still largely fail to tackle the problem of how we can change the status quo.

We at Diversity in YA obviously don’t have all the answers, and we aren’t the first people to talk about these issues. This conversation has been going on for decades. What we do have are ideas for how you can change the status quo right now. If you’re an ordinary reader, you don’t have to wait to show your support for books that show the world as it is. Here are five ways you can help make positive change right now:

1. Look for diversity. 

Make a conscious effort to seek out books to read that feature characters of color, LGBT characters, and/or disabled characters. They may not be front-and-center at your local Barnes & Noble; you may have to look around a bit or go online to find them.

2. Support diversity.

Support the diverse books that are published today by buying them, by checking them out at your library, or by requesting that your library buy them.

3. Recommend diversity.

If you use Goodreads, Facebook, social media, or have a blog, talk up the books you love that happen to have diverse characters. Tell your friends! Word of mouth is still key in bringing awareness to books. And remember: You don’t need to recommend them solely for their diversity — they’re great books to enjoy, plain and simple.

4. Talk up diversity.

When discussions around diversity in literature occur online, join in the conversation if you can to express that you do want more diverse books to read and that the issue is important to you.

5. Don’t give up.

There will always be people who dismiss “diversity” as meaningless. They are the reason we must keep fighting for representation. We’re all in this together.

* * *

Want a list of diverse YA books you can get started reading right now? Here are a dozen YA books of all kinds (contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery — something for everyone!) that happen to have characters of color, LGBT characters, and/or disabled characters.

Want even more book lists? Here’s a link to all of our book lists.


A Diverse Dozen

Looking for some YA books that just happen to have characters of color, LGBT characters, and/or disabled characters? Here’s a diverse dozen titles with something for every reader — contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery too. (Descriptions are from WorldCat.)

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (Tu Books) — In a world that has barely survived an apocalypse that leaves it with pre-twentieth century technology, Lozen is a monster hunter for four tyrants who are holding her family hostage.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert (Putnam) — Four years after Theo’s best friend, Donovan, disappeared at age thirteen, he is found and brought home and Theo puts her health at risk as she decides whether to tell the truth about the abductor, knowing her revelation could end her life-long dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer.

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levine Books) — Seventh-grader Lewis “Shoe” Blake from the Tuscarora Reservation has a new friend, George Haddonfield from the local Air Force base, but in 1975 upstate New York there is a lot of tension and hatred between Native Americans and Whites–and Lewis is not sure that he can rely on friendship.

Fake ID by Lamar Giles (Amistad) — “An African-American teen in the Witness Protection Program moves to a new town and finds himself trying to solve a murder mystery when his first friend is found dead.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Simon & Schuster) — Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent.

Pantomime by Laura Lam (Strange Chemistry) — Gene, the daughter of a noble family, runs away from the decadence of court to R.H. Ragona’s circus of magic, where she meets runaway Micah, whose blood could unlock the mysteries of the world of Ellada.

Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books) — In an adventure reminiscent of Homer’s Odyssey, fifteen-year-old Odilia and her four younger sisters embark on a journey to return a dead man to his family in Mexico, aided by La Llorona, but impeded by a witch, a warlock, chupacabras, and more.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (Candlewick) — One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away?

Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Nancy Paulsen Books) — An eighth-grade girl with Asperger’s syndrome tries to befriend her new neighbor, facing many challenges along the way.

More Than This by Patrick Ness (Candlewick) — A boy named Seth drowns, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

Prophecy by Ellen Oh (HarperTeen) —A demon slayer, the only female warrior in the King’s army, must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord to find the lost ruby of the Dragon King’s prophecy and save her kingdom.

Far From You by Tess Sharpe (Hyperion) — After Sophie Winters survives a brutal attack in which her best friend, Mina, is murdered, she sets out to find the killer. At the same time she must prove she is free of her past Oxy addiction and in no way to blame for Mina’s death.