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Envisioning Female-Strong: Reclaiming the Feminine Heroine of Young Adult Literature

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As a writer and reader of young adult (YA) literature, I find it is impossible to ignore the rise of traditional masculinity within new, adolescent heroines. In the 21st century, readers have seen the rise of supposedly strong female characters—heroines

As a writer and reader of young adult (YA) literature, I find it is impossible to ignore the rise of traditional masculinity within new, adolescent heroines. In the 21st century, readers have seen the rise of supposedly strong female characters—heroines who carry assault rifles and avoid their emotions. By relinquishing their emotions and their flaws, these heroines have sacrificed the qualities about themselves that initially made them appear so interesting. My desire to see more realistic heroines like myself developed into a creative fiction project that follows and acknowledges the voices of feminine heroines. I call these protagonists “female strong.” My project—a collection of linked short stories—is peopled with the types of heroines that are severely lacking in YA novels and in the film industry. In my own short stories, I have embraced the narratives about young women who are both strong and emotional. I wanted to create memorable female characters that the reader could root for simply because of their feminine strength, even if their flaws were naivety, or lack of confidence, or even if they failed to achieve their resolution in the end. Female-strong characters are vital because they present a view of women who aren’t purely fantasy; they are placed in the real and are feminine, too. In other words, they don’t have to be a gorgeous, knockout model who can kick butt; instead, they can derive strength from their intellect, or their intuition, or perhaps even from their emotion.

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2018-05

The Aster Trilogy: The Staff of Vanadu

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My thesis is a creative project. It is a full-length fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy, with the first draft being over 80,000 words. The novel is about a girl named Aster in a world called Aevenora. She is

My thesis is a creative project. It is a full-length fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy, with the first draft being over 80,000 words. The novel is about a girl named Aster in a world called Aevenora. She is nineteen. Her father just died, giving her a rock-like object with his last breath and telling her to bring it to her great-grandmother, who lives on the other side of Aevenora. Aster and her friends, who join her on her way to her great-grandmother's, are fighting against the Underground throughout the novel. The Underground is a group of people dedicated to regaining wealth, technology, unity, and power that Aevenora had a millennium ago, in the Golden Age. But they have a sinister side to them: they force all magic users (including Aster) to join their cause or die. A theme throughout the novel is Aster's struggle with death. From her mother's death at a young age, to her father's death, to using self-defense and killing humans herself, Aster wonders what the point of death is and why people she loves have to die. This struggle is one philosophers have long grappled with, and one I hope to provide a philosophical answer to by the end of the trilogy. Because novel-writing is a long and involved process, I am submitting only the first draft as my thesis. It is not yet publishable, but I will spend a year or two revising it, then send it to agents and hopefully publish it. I request the embargo option, so that the first draft of the novel will not be released until I have completed the final draft and sent it to agents.

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2016-05

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A Song of Richard III and Feudalist Values

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This paper focuses on feudalist structure and values within this system in George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and Shakespeare's play King Richard the Third. The paper is structured into three arguments that

This paper focuses on feudalist structure and values within this system in George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire and Shakespeare's play King Richard the Third. The paper is structured into three arguments that focus on different characters from each work. The first argument is focused on Tyrion Lannister and Richard III's deformity, and how they violate feudalist values. This argument ultimately comes to the discussion of whether or not these characters are monstrous and by what values. The second argument is focused on Daenerys Targaryen and Margaret, discussing why both authors give these women a supernatural power. The authors give women these powers because they believe that women should have power. Martin argues that women need to remake the structure, while Shakespeare believes women can change their place in the structure through collective action. The last argument focuses on Petyr Baelish and Richard III, and how they both represent a chaos attacking feudalism. Petyr is a chaos that comes outside the system, exploiting the values of the system, while Richard is a chaos within the system because he violates feudal values, while trying to hold positions where he needs to embody feudalist value. The authors come to different conclusions of what is trying to take down feudalist structure and how this could be fixed. Martin finds feudalism cannot be fixed and that other systems are not much better because they still create violence. Shakespeare comes to the conclusion that feudalism cannot be fixed because people continue to violate its values, so a new system must be put in place.

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2015-05

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Veil Us in Believability: An Exploration of Placemaking and Collaboration in the Development of Fantasy New Works

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This creative project is a reference document explaining the fictional fantasy world of the in-progress novel Veil Us in Gold by Shepard Adkins. Using the framework of the anthropological concept of placemaking, I describe three countries featured in the manuscript,

This creative project is a reference document explaining the fictional fantasy world of the in-progress novel Veil Us in Gold by Shepard Adkins. Using the framework of the anthropological concept of placemaking, I describe three countries featured in the manuscript, including information on history, government, daily lives, and more. These descriptions were influenced by collaboration with Adkins and historical research on Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, and Enlightenment Russia. After completing the reference document, I interviewed Adkins to see how our collaboration in worldbuilding has shaped the revision process of their novel.

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2022-05