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There have been many a movie heroines over the past couple decades but Clary Fray, from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, is a fairly new character. This heroine is not the most popular, but she holds her own amongst a smaller fan base.

Clary Fray is a young adult who is living alone with her mother in a small apartment. She has been living a fairly normal life for a character her age, until everything changes. The world she lived in is no longer the same, and she begins to realize that the stories of fairies, vampires, werewolves, and demons are all very much real. In the novel there are also orders or groups, who work to keep peace in this type of realm. Clary finds that she is a shadowhunter. Throughout the series, readers can find ways to look up to Clary Fray as a heroine and to let imaginations expand into realms were the stories we were told as children are all very much true.

There are many characteristics that make Clary a heroine, but the biggest one is her unique talent as a shadowhunter that give her the abilities to make new rules and magic. She is able to explore her unique abilities as an individual which help her to become independent from her peers. She handles her talent with grace and uses her talent to help save the organization of the shadowhunters, as well as using it to help keep the peace in the world full of the supernatural.

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You probably think documentaries are boring. Even if you actually really like documentaries, this understood fact of society is probably always in the back of your head. If you watch a documentary, you feel like a boring person. If you suggest a documentary to friends for movie night, they tell you to go back to the Library of Congress. But, I mean, who doesn’t want to hang at the Library of Congress?

Maybe these things aren’t true for you! Maybe you have super cool friends who don’t mock your taste in media. But the cultural representation of documentaries is that they are dry, dull, boring pieces of media made for old people who don’t know they’re boring.

These are dirty lies, and I want to talk about why.

This stigma operates primarily on the assumption that facts are boring, that history is boring. Which is ridiculous. Improbably fascinating things happen everyday, and we love to hear about them. But a documentary is about more than presenting facts and history. A documentary is still a film, after all, and therefore a piece of art. A documentary takes facts and history and creates art. A film has the incredible privilege of being able to tell a story at the precise pace that an artist wants, revealing new information only when the artist feels it creates the most meaning for the audience, and for the film as a whole.

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Hello and welcome to another installment of Pick-a-Poem, the weekly post where we feature a poem by a poet you may not have heard of before. Hopefully this adds some much-needed poetry to your day, and perhaps you’ll find a new author to follow. As always, the featured poem comes from Poetry Daily. This week we feature What the Girl Wore by Kathleen Driskell.

According to her bio on Poetry Daily, Kathleen Driskell has written two books of poetry, the most recent being Seed Across Snow (Red Hen, 2009). This book was listed as a national bestseller by the Poetry Foundation. Her work has also appeared in Rattle, River Styx, and Pembroke Magazine. She is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.

What the Girl Wore by Kathleen Driskell

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This is the final few days before National Novel Writing Month begins. If you’re committed to participating and do not yet have an idea for your novel, I’d say you’re in trouble! But where do those ideas come from? Where does any writer get his or her ideas? It can be a difficult question to answer, but it might be the most-asked question that authors get. Every author has a different answer. Before I give my answer, here’s what Neil Gaiman had to say:

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if…?…Another important question is, If only…And then there are the others: I wonder…”

Now, I really respect Neil Gaiman and I love his answer. But I also don’t want to steal his answer, so I’m going to try to come up with my own. Where do I get ideas? If the timing of my inspirational bursts proves anything, then shower water must be where I get my ideas from. I’m sure many of us get ideas in the shower, and I think that’s because your mind is not doing anything taxing in the shower. Your mind is left to wander and that’s when the best ideas come.

But where do the ideas come from? I guess I would have to say that I get ideas from what I read, what I watch, and what I would like to see in the fictional world. If I would like to read about wizards in the suburbs, then that’s what I’m going to write (spoiler alert: that’s my National Novel Writing Month idea this year). Many different sources converge in my brain to come up with ideas, and I think that’s true for all of us. And it takes each of our unique brains to come with our own, unique ideas.

So, go forth and create! And please share in the comments where you get your ideas from.

– Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Just by reading the title of this post, I’m sure you can all guess what’s coming. I have spoken about this piece of advice before, and while I may not always be the best at following it myself,  I still think it’s the best piece of advice that anyone can give to a writer. There can be lots of distractions that come along with writing these days. People may tell you that you should build your authorial brand by tweeting and creating a blog. You may think that you need to pinpoint exactly what is marketable by today’s standards and then write that. You may even be waiting for that ethereal inspiration to shine down on you before you begin to actually write.

But writing is the point of the whole thing. If you want to call yourself a writer, you don’t need a Twitter profile that declares your vocation, or a blog on which you type out your writing woes. All you need to do is write. Just sit down one day and get started. Choose a time each day and get some writing done then. Create a routine for yourself so that you’ll feel weird if you don’t write every day. Get into the habit and soon you’ll be on your way to a finished draft, a first draft, or just a cumulative body of work that you can hold up as your proof that you are, in fact, a writer.

So, yes, I have written posts like this before. But I think it’s an incredibly important mantra to repeat to yourself: just write. If you remember that above all else, you may just finish a story or reach your writing goals.

Not too long ago, the wonderful Chuck Wendig over at the Terrible Minds blog wrote about this topic as well. Here is an extract from his awesome post, Shut Up and Write (Or: “I Really Want to Be a Writer, But…”):

Don’t tweet about writing. Don’t read this blog. Don’t opine about writing or give writing advice or worry about who will publish your book or oh god will you self-publish or will you find an agent and how will you weather all that rejection and will your book cover just be some girl in leather pants with half-a-buttock turned toward the reader no — stop, quit that shit, stomp that roach, cut those thoughts and those actions right off at the knees.

Tomorrow, write more words until you can write words no more.

Then the next day.

Then the day after that.

In addition to this advice, I come bearing some tools and resources that you might find helpful. Firstly, there is an amazing blog on Tumblr called The Writing Cafe that offers tons and tons of research resources and writing resources if that’s what you’re looking for. Highly recommended. There is also Ze Frank’s Invocation for Beginnings, which is a great way to psych yourself up to just get started already. If you need a kick in the pants or some kind of deadline to work toward, consider checking out National Novel Writing Month or the Don’t Break the Chain method.

And if you’re sick and tired of all those trappings and advice, just stop reading this post and get writing.

– Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Good evening, blog readers! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. Thanks to everyone who submitted their work to the Jet Fuel Review in the past few weeks. The submission period is now closed. You’ll have another chance to submit your work on January 1st. For now, while you’re waiting for the next issue to come out, you can read the last issue of the Review right now. And here’s what’s been going on the past couple of weeks on the Jet Fuel’s blog.

In terms of our weekly Writing Advice posts, we’ve had one that covered the topic of pre-writing. Pre-writing can be a great tool to use when you’re just beginning a story to get into the minds of your characters. We had another post about the benefit of finishing a story. Even when you’re working toward a goal such as National Novel Writing Month, actually bringing your story to a sensible “the end” moment can be difficult, but it helps you learn about writing and it gives you a finished manuscript.

We also recently featured a few poems on the blog. We featured The Dream of a Little Occupied Japan Doll by Kimiko Hahn, as well as Sonnet for the Misbegotten by Jill Bialosky.

Of course, we also had tons of new and interesting posts from some of our editors and bloggers. Film blogger Mike Egan wrote about various directors who have had cameo appearances in their own films. He also wrote about films that we attach meaning to at different times of the year. What is your ‘Halloween movie’ or ‘Thanksgiving movie’? Film blogger Miguel Gonzalez wrote about the rise of home theatre as Netflix’s popularity grows and HBO offers an a la carte service.

Managing editor Jessica Jordan featured another literary heroine — this time it was Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games series. In Sabrina’s Book Corner, The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross was reviewed. In her Shakespeare blog, Dominique Dusek wrote a thoughtful analysis of magic and mistrust in Othello.

In the past few weeks, we have also had a new Faculty Feature posted. Dr. Jackie White, of the Lewis University English Department, wrote about the vastness of the world of poetry. Be sure to check out that new Faculty Feature!

Finally, we featured three more of our Jet Fuel Review editors in our weekly ‘Meet the Editors’ posts. Check out these posts to learn more about Brittany Bishop, the Assistant Managing Editor & Art and Design Editor; Sabrina Parr, Poetry Editor and Assistant Fiction Editor; and Dominique Dusek, Marketing & Development Assistant and Submissions Manager.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our posts these last couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more interesting, thoughtful content.

– Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Dominique Dusek

Dominique Dusek

Welcome back, readers! In today’s installment of Meet the Editors, we’re going to meet Dominique Dusek, our Submissions Editors and Assistant Marketing and Development Editor.  In addition to working on Jet Fuel, Dominique actively participates in Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honor Society, and shares her love of writing with the Lewis community as a tutor at the campus writing center. A consummate English nerd, she spends most of her free time if not reading and writing, binge-watching episodes of Sherlock on Netflix, jamming out to Frankie Valli, and riding her horse.

Who are you and what is your role in the Jet Fuel Review?

My name is Dominique Dusek. I’m a senior English Major at Lewis University with a special interest in creative and professional writing and I am currently fulfilling the roles of Marketing and Development Assistant and Submissions Manager for the JFR.

What book might we find on your nightstand right now?

I am currently enmeshed in a book called The Lolita Effect which explores the idea of young women’s sexuality and how it is shaped by the media. So far, it has been pretty interesting and insightful and I would highly recommend it.

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