Who is the Antagonist of Moon over Manifest: Conflict in Slice-of-Life

The Curious Case of Google Queries:

Be careful on those tracks!
"Antagonist in Moon over Manifest"
"Who is the antagonist of Moon over Manifest?"
Ever since I did an extremely brief review of Moon over Manifest back in September, I had been receiving these Google queries, with several other variations.

These minor results were quite curious, but it makes sense this blog are receiving them. It's a Newbery book, and therefore prime classroom and out-of-the-classroom material. Plus, there is little to no Internet buzz about it.

I re-read the book just to answer this question. It feels wrong to ignore it, if I keep being asked it indirectly for months.

So, for the elementary and middle school students who asked this question, along with the readers who picked this book up on your own accord here's your answer!

(And for the regular blog readers...stay around! I have something for you guys also!)

The Short Answer:

"Who is the antagonist of Moon over Manifest"?

Short answer: It's not one person.

Conflict in Slice-of-Life:

Get it? Slice-of-pizza!
First of all, consider Moon over Manifest's genre. It's a slice-of-life.

I'll take a page out of Ms. Hardy's book and define it as this: a slice-of-life story is a chronicle of a character's growth through a series of event.

That isn't the only incident, as there're plenty of other stories with ensembles where the point are the incidents, but in a novel, a character arc of any sort is essential. In this case, it's Abilene, who has been sent away by her father.

Her journey is to find her father's place in the dying town of Manifest.

Setting in Moon over Manifest:

What's unique about this book, which makes it a prime example of what deserves a Newbery (as opposed to another certain story I won't mention that purely relies on you crying), is the fact that there are two timelines:

  • the "present" story (Great Depressions' 1936)
  • the "past" story (World War I's 1918)

Both are fleshed out with their cast of characters, with plenty of incidents and events happening in both. The 1918 timeline is being told in-story by Ms. Sadie, a "diviner".

And what makes the whole "who is the antagonist" case even more tangled up is the fact that there is a second protagonist in the 1918 timeline, Jinx.

And since Abilene and Jinx's stories and character arcs are separate (although related), it further complicates the case of who is the antagonist. Spooky, huh?

Conflict in Incidents:

Sort of like this.
At its core, a slice-of-life is a series of incidents. For the most part, they're often self-contained or tangentially connected, which is more obvious in the 1918 timeline. Like scenes in most plot-driven books, each incident has their own opposers, the ones that create the conflict. 

In a way, many slice-of-life stories can be considered a series of closely related short stories, although Moon over Manifest's incidents have an overlying arc binding them together.

For instance, are the mine owners to blame? How about that person that almost cheated Ned out of the shell game?

How about the nun that assigned Abilene a story for the summer? Or Ms. Sadie, who makes her work her yard to pay off breaking that pot?

Technically, there can be those many antagonists, but it's too complicated to think of it that way.

The Long Answer:

Spoilers ahead!

In my opinion, to find the true "anatagonists" for the timelines, we have to examine the character arcs.

So, let me do a little work for you:

  • Abilene's Character Arc: Find her father's place in the town of Manifest.
  • Jinx's Character Arc: Stay away from his uncle by staying int he town of Manifest.

While it's obvious Jinx's uncle, Finn, is an antagonist, it's a more complicated situation with Abilene. Her father, Gideon, is practically absent from the 1836 timeline. However, he's the one that sent her daughter to Manifest and start off the entire plot of the present story in the first place.

And considering that Gideon was Jinx...


While the above was a little confusing, I hoped I was clear enough on explaining this. Moon over Manifest is a great book, and I want to have a hand on helping people understand it more.

So, if you happen to receive an assignment to pick the antagonist of Moon over Manifest, you have two answers: "there is no one antagonist", or "Gideon and Finn". Use the information you find here to provide an explanation, and don't forget to use your own knowledge of the book for details.

If your teacher objects, feel free to show him or her this post.


If you found this  helpful, please, please, please comment below! You don't need an account or even an e-mail in order to give feedback. 

If you have any objections or corrections, feel free to vent them toward me! It's better than empty air. ;)

yMusic: First Impressions of "Breath of Life"

First of all, I would like to apologize for waiting this out until tonight, when it's almost Monday and the "craft" post will be posted next morning. Stuff happened, I was lazy again, I missed a concert, and had a repeat of what happened in spring break, but on a wider scale.

So as an apology, I'll present you with a song most of you would most likely not have stumbled upon:

Florence + The Machine's "Breath of Lie", from Snow White and the Huntsman's soundtrack. It's coming out June 1st, but several sources already treated us to this epic song.

This is Ceremonial's "Heavy in Your Arms", the soundtrack song that will certainly be seen in concert for a year to come, and deservedly so. I listened to it today, and I'm typing this review while listening to it.

First of all, the hook is one of Florence's best. It starts with drums and horns. Florence then enters with a layered howl cleaner than "Rabbit Hearts" chorus. She then comes in with a piano a voice similar to "Only If For a Night". The back vocals also recall Kayne's West "Dark Fantasy" at first.

One thing that slightly bothered me about this song that its structure is a bit unusual. It's hard to pick out the chorus, which mean that it was on the same level than the "verses".

At the middle of the song, there's a cinematic interlude,  which includes swashbuckling strings, howls, a Latin choir, and an instrumental hum.

And the last

The ending is a bit sudden. I expected a repeat of the hook.

But it's a true build-up verse. It gradually crescendos and crescendos, and climaxes. It's inspirational, cinema music at its best, and hopefully the ending credits song. And it better get an epic music video with souring shots and hopefully some fighting sequence.

I'm not exactly sure about the meaning of the song. But it's likely this song was meant for the album, yet there's a meaning behind it I will surely keep a look out for.

But I bought it.

Buy "Breath of Life" on iTunes!

EDIT: Due to the previous version being taken down, I replaced it with a lyrics video. Hopefully, this one will stay up and make you want to buy it for your iPod/iPhone/iPad/iSomething.

Weekly Round-up: 4/27/12

A quick observation: This round-up has gone far since last November. None of the blogs featured here were on my blogroll when I first started, and there are no repeats. It's a great sign about what direction this is going. 

While at some parts I slacked off and provided less-than-awesome content, with over one hundred potential candidates, I'm getting closer and closer to getting the best stuff every time.





Guest Post at Mystery Writing is Murder!

To My Minions Regular Readers:

As I said Wednesday, my guest post at the writing blog Mystery Writing is Murder is up! Feel free to take a leap and check it out.

The title of the guest post is "Don't Kill ‘Said Bookisms’ On-Sight". Cool headline, huh? And hopefully, it hooks too.

Please leave a comment, as I will be monitoring them throughout the day.

To Incoming Traffic Readers:

I bet a few of you have already arrived via my guest post. Welcome! Please sit down, browse through the latest blog posts, and leave a comment. Your brief time here won't be wasted.

Don't forget to read tomorrow morning's Weekly Round-up! It's not as impressive as Twitterific, but it's worth checking out. Sometime during the weekend, I'll most likely post a detailed commentary on at least one of the links.

Writer's Update: 4/25/12

I'm typing against the clock, so this will be really, really, quick.

Guest Blogging

After a few months of not guest posting on other blogs, I just arranged a spot on one of my favorite writing blogs, Mystery Writing is Murder. I found that if I put enough effort into writing the post and then revising it once or twice, it's likely it will be accepted. Guest posters don't grow on trees, after all.

I think it's planned for this Friday, if I'm correct. I'll tell you guys once it's up.

Also, there are plans with another blog to post something over there, although progress on that has been slowed by a large inbox on the blogger's part. Hopefully, that post will rear its head around May.

Prepositional Phrases of the Young Writer of the Blog

From the wise words of a starfish.
Created completely with MS Paint. Really.
And yes, you did see this on Twitter.
This is more of a quirky grammar convection than anything, but have you ever written a phrase where you have a prepositional phrase (of a prepositional phrase [in a sentence])?

There, I just provided an example. I'm not sure if it's grammarly correct, but I stumbled (over this) when I was going (over prepositional phrases) (in Comm Arts). Technically speaking, a prepositional phrase isn't a core part (of a sentence). However, this brought (to my attention) grouped prepositional phrases (of a wordy nature)(in my writing).

Okay, I hammered down that point. I'm not saying not to use prepositional phrases, considering how many I used it that last sentence, It's nice to know that there are a lot of them, therefore leading to many cases were they can go wrong.

yMusic: Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: Part 4

Sorry for not posting this on Saturday, but let's just say that The Sims 3 distracted me from finishing this.

This last installment was slightly harder to put together, since the last part isn't played as much as the beginning part, so I'm less familiar with a couple of these songs.

However, time to delve into some slow tunes.

Weekly Round-up: 4/20/12

Sorry, no "Post of the Week" for now. If I have time, I'll pick on article out of this list to do commentary on.



Writer's Update: Holding off a Children's Book

If you're wondering what's with the cheese picture, skip down toward the School subheading. Thank you very much, and read on!

The Hunger Games and the Lack of Section Breaks

You probably had already seen this a thousand times.
What's your reader's peeve?

You know, one little element or mechanic about stories that always bother you? That peeve can lower your enjoyment of a book, or even make you set it down. And then send you onto the Internet to complain about it. Multiple times.

Well, I doubt that most of us get to that last part, but I'm tired of the multiple times.

Remember that forum re-post I did about someone's else's  beef about The Hunger Games? It's time for me to present a totally different complaint.

That's right, The Hunger Games.

I have a complaint against it.

yMusic: Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: Part 3

You'll be seeing this one more time.
WARNING: While I will be censoring most/all language, the album delves into iffy and suggestive topics. Not to mention some rhymes will give some words away. Also, I will use the word chorus, which is referred to a hook by rappers.

Last week, I interviewed the first half of Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (see the first two parts here and here), along with the "Beez In the Trap" music video.

Despite my verdict, I found myself re-watching it a couple more times. Probably because it's growing on me--

--But that's not the point! It's time for us to submerge ourselves into the pop section of Nicki Minaj's sophomore album, along with one song from her mid-tempo section.

TV Tropes Blog Hop!

It's time to prepare for the 1st TV Tropes Blog Hop! Conceived in the Writer's Block subforum, this small event aims to cover a topic we all know well. Not to mention gaining a few more followers in the process.

What the heck are tropes?

I know that a good numbers of readers who stumble onto this blog will have no idea what a trope is. Perhaps I'll let Mr. Home Page of Troperville explain it for me:

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite." In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.

Weekly Round-up: 4/13/12 (and 1st Post of the Week)

I received a request from more than one person to "please provide more commentary" for the links. 

One reason why they're so sparse is because I just settled on either: a) quickly summarizing the post in one sentence or b) being amusing. At the very beginning, I did a paragraph commentary for each link, but that grew too impractical to do.

So, a buddy on the Internet suggested a middle-point: Chose one article and provide commentary on that.

Of course, I took it.

Read toward the end of the post for the first "Post of the Week"!

Random Writing Excerpt from Manifestation Files

Just as I promised yesterday, here's an one-page excerpt from Manifestation Files, my current novel project:


            Finn stood by the porch door, his hand two inches from the wooden handle. He froze into place, wearing a bewildered expression. He was also fully dressed. Stashed to the side was his backpack.
            I found myself suppressing the smile creeping up. I would like to see Finn deny what he was doing under my watch. In secret. For days.
            "It's awfully late, you know." I said, placing a hand against the wall.
            "Umm..." Finn rubbed the back of his head. "I was just getting a midnight snack."
            I nodded tentatively. Flimsy excuse. "Then why are you dressed?"
            "Why are you dressed?"
            I irked. Of course I didn't think that over. Our confrontation was inevitable. So I pulled out another defense and pointed at his backpack. "Then why do you have your backpack here?"
            Finn stared at it.
            This time, he didn't have a counter-attack. I rubbed my sweating palms. Any second now, he would confess. It better had to be worth both of our trouble, or someone was going to be in deep, deep, trouble. Or at least, one of us would have some blackmail material. But it would be dishonorable for me to use that and threaten to show Mom.
            Instead of a confession, Finn looked at me and said. "I think you should go back to your room and go to sleep."
            Shock and confusion. Wait, why would he—
            Drowsiness washed over me.


Now, when I originally sent this, I provided absolutely no context.Not even the title of it (although that would clue on that the drowsiness at the end is most likely magic-induced, or something similar). Yet, I chose this page because it has a large fraction of a scene that's among a chain of events that set off the main action.

Personally, the narrator sounds a little too unsympathetic here, and the prose's slightly dry and compressed, but it was good enough to get me into the club.

YOUR TURN: What are your thoughts on this page?

Writer's Update: 4/11/12

Time to deliver some promises:

Manifestation Files:

Currently, due to wrapping my business with the agent and making a major change in the plot, I switched to Draft 4b. I'm considering contacting my beta readers again, and putting more effort onto getting the beginning down to a T.


Two words: Music video. Artist? Florence + The Machine? Set-up? Three actors, one lip-syncing, with locations all over the school, and a storyboard prone to change. Although the end result won't be completely pretty, I'm going to put plenty of effort into this little artistic project of mine.

Today, I took the lip-syncer outside for some "singer scene" footage. We encountered a few bumps (like glasses gleam), but I'm sure next time we film, we'll be able to wrap up that certain location with plenty of shots.

The end project will be fun to watch. If it isn't a school-induced train wreck.

Out-of-School Activities

I got into this writer's club just by submitting one page of my writing, along with having a mom right at my side.

What I know is very sparse information, but I know these details:

  • The club is led by a writer and a poet.
  • There is a middle school session and a high school session. Of course, I'm in the latter.
  • We are brought various places around the area where we sit down, discuss some writing manners, and do some writing in a more pressurized setting.
  • There are pretzels.
I'll report back on this once the sessions start in May.

One More Thing:

Since I already have the one page I used to get into the club ready I'm posting it as the very first real excerpt on this blog of Manifestation Files.

Read it on Thursday!

Forum Repost: Non-Existant Stuff in 1926

As a continuation of of the last Forum Repost, Crystal Glacia presents another post for people who happen to be writing a story set in the 1920's. This time, I found a more efficent way to deal with that pesky custom code, so just ignore the underlined asterisks. They're called hottips:

40 (Very) Random Things That Normal People Did Not Have Or Did Not Exist In 1926

  1. Penicillin*
     Seriously, people have no idea just how important this stuff was. It was regarded as so integral to battlefield medicine, it was a classified military secret until after WWII.
  2. The polio vaccine
  3. (Successful) Large organ transplants
  4. Contact lenses
  5. Instant food, such as ramen
  6. Photocopiers
  7. Ballpoint pens*
     They existed; they just sucked
  8. Showers outside the military
  9. Firearm Licenses*
     Up until the St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1930), you could get a revolver from the Sears catalogue. Seriously.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous
  11. PETA
  12. Commercial airplane service
  13. Zeerusty depictions of the future and the Science Fiction genre as we know it today
  14. The fantasy genre as we know it today
  15. Comic Books and superheroes as we know them today*
     Superman wouldn't make his debut until 1938
  16. Air conditioning*
     Both those window units and central air conditioning came out close to each other, in the 1940s-50s.
  17. Hair products that didn't kill one's hair
  18. Diapers with plastic coverings that prevented leaking
  19. Tampons (I had to include it)
  20. Implantable pacemakers
  21. Answering machines
  22. Hair spray
  23. Popcorn*
     It existed, but it wasn't popular until the Great Depression
  24. Mickey Mouse
  25. Ibuprofen
  26. Sunscreen and bugspray (NOOOOOOO)
  27. Thick, fluffy comforters
  28. Barbie and other fashion dolls
  29. Bottled water
  30. The shape of DNA and the double helix
  31. Canned drinks
  32. Fancy European coffee drinks, a la Starbucks
  33. Microwaves*
     They're a little Older Than You Think, though- the first one was patented in in the 1940s.
  34. The BBC*
     Seriously. It wasn't established until 1927, a year later.
  35. The pill and other contraceptives
  36. Molotov cocktails
  37. Chemotherapy
  38. Acne medication
  39. Antipsychotics
  40. Modern deodorants and antiperspirants*
     A deodorant called Mum was released in the 1800s, but had to be withdrawn from the market because nobody wanted to admit that they had body odor by buying it. Deodorants and antiperspirants as we know them today wouldn't resurge until 1941.

The last point is...interesting.

YOUR TURN: Let's play a game. Can you find out the invention date for as many of these things as possible?

Forum Repost: 1920's Fashion and Non-Fashion

I'm participating in a forum roleplay called "Game of Lies", which is basically The Hunger Games in 1920's Chicago. With explosive collars. And it's not YA.

Since regardless of their normal time period, all of the characters (including one of my own existing ones) will be waking up in clothes typical of the era, one of our Game Masters, Crystal Glacia, Googled up a list of fashion that existed and not existed in the 1920's. I'm not sure how many of you are writing a story in The Roaring Twenties, but this will definitely be useful to those who do.

Time for the intensive list.

WARNING: Some strong language had not been edited out. I'm also leaving in the white highlight for stylistic (and lazy) reasons, along with modifying custom code that the post had.

20 Fashion and Appearance Things That People Did Have In 1926

  1. What can be termed 'faux' hobble skirts were worn by women. While traditional hobble skirts were tied at the bottom to reduce a woman's gait to, well, a hobble, these skirts had pleats and slits in them that allowed more freedom of movement.
  2. Hand-painted ties became acceptable iterations of the necktie for men, and could be loudly patterned, up to 4 and a half inches wide, and were worn shorter.
  3. This was the era of female liberation, i.e. the flapper. The flapper style emphasized boyishness with the bobbed hair, attempts at flattening breasts, and straight waists.
  4. In addition, men wore their trousers much higher than today, at the natural waist, or about navel level.
  5. Mens' suits got really fucking nice during this time. Also, middle-class men liked fedoras and trilbies.
  6. Dresses were worn straight and loose with no sleeves and were occasionally even strapless.
  7. This era, long suit jackets that went to the knee got kicked to formalwear- if they were worn at all; they started to be viewed as snobby compared to the more popular tuxedo -while the short suit jacket became the norm. Trousers were straight, narrow, often short enough to show a man's socks even when standing, and began to be worn cuffed.
  8. Makeup use got heavier compared to earlier eras, favoring bold, kohl-outlined eyes, blush, and even tans. You could even find waterproof mascara back then.
  9. Horn-rimmed glasses got popular for both sexes, though viewed as ugly or geeky today.
  10. In general, fashion derived itself from French styles. You know that rounded, tight-fitting hat that's associated with flappers? French.
  11. Silk was in high demand as a clothing textile, but since it was in limited supply, stockings were often made out of rayon and held up with garters.
  12. Women started wearing high-heeled shoes, around 2 to 3 inches high.
  13. Methods of fastening clothing became easier, with the advent of metal hooks and eyes, zippers, and snaps in addition to the traditional buttons and lacing. It's small, but nice to know if you ever feel like writing out your character's morning routine or showing part of the disrobing portion of sex just before the Sexy Discretion Shot kicks in.
  14. Tattooing was pretty common back then, moreso among men than women.
  15. Women adorned themselves with Art Deco-inspired jewelry, such as beaded necklaces layered upon one another, pins, rings, and brooches.
  16. Hats were pretty much required wear if you weren't shit poor. Good thing both men and women had some nice choices.
  17. Raccoon coats, long fur coats made out of raccoon fur, became a fad among young college-age men during this time.
  18. Wristwatches started replacing pocketwatches thanks to the Great War. During the war itself, soldiers were issued trench watches, which were basically watches with front and back covers like pocketwatches, but with wire loops on the top and bottom that the band was strung through.
  19. Underwear! Men had button-front shorts and what we would recognize today as panties came about for women to keep up with how their skirts were shortening. Bloomers were also used as underwear, but bra sizes wouldn't standardize until two years after the Game takes place.
  20. And, finally, nightclothes. The nightdress actually still existed around this time, but was worn over nightclothes like how we might wear a bathrobe today. Otherwise, things were pretty much identical to today, but women still wore nightgowns.

And for the non-fashion:

20 Common Modern Fashion and Appearance Things That People Did Not Have or Did Not Do In 1926

  1. T-shirts, (they only existed n the military, and didn't depart into peacetime until after WWII.) Polo shirts outside tennis and polo
  2. Pants for women (Not yet as far as general streetwear is concerned.)
  3. Bloomers (Only as underwear, though.)
  4. Shorts (They were seen as something that only little boys wore, and they wore them with stockings. See Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler.)
  5. Corsets (Social norms regarding women changed, and softer corsets that made the form look more boyish as opposed to feminine were more popular.)
  6. Ponytails in public
  7. Hoodies or sweatshirts (The first thing that we would call a 'hoodie' wasn't introduced until 1930, and was marketed towards laborers who worked in freezing conditions in upstate New York.)
  8. Baseball caps outside of baseball 
  9. The wearing of undershirts outside one's bathroom
  10. Most plastic surgery procedures outside of the military, and safe breast implants
  11. Jeans as casual wear or for those who weren't blue-collar workers
  12. Athletic shoes, even Converses outside of sports
  13. Capri pants and Bermuda shorts
  14. Sandals, even as beach wear, let alone flip flops (Flip flops were actually inspired by Japanese zori after WWII.)
  15. Long hair in general (It just wasn't in style, and was seen by younger women as outdated.)
  16. Pink as a feminine color and blue as a masculine color (Pink didn't become a feminine color until after WWII)
  17. Piercings for anyone respectable, even ear piercings (Piercings were associated with savages and gypsies by pretty much everyone until after WWII. Instead, women wore clip-ons. Also, it's been a tradition among sailors for centuries to wear a gold earring so that the metal could be sold and put towards the cost of a Christian funeral should they drown and have their body wash up somewhere. Interesting.)
  18. The wearing of nightclothes as streetwear (Seriously, what? When did this become acceptable?)
  19. Perms that didn't utterly kill your hair (The only form of perm that existed came to be known as the 'pocket perm', because the hairdresser would have to stuff handfuls of damaged hair into her pocket that had broken off during the process in hopes that the customer wouldn't notice.)
  20. Briefs, boxer shorts, standardized bra sizes, thongs, and other forms of elasticized underwear.

In a very short period of time, I will do a post on what random items didn't exist in 1926.

YOUR TURN: How much do you know on period fashion?

yMusic: Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: Part 2

On Friday, I began reviewing Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.

On Saturday, I detoured for "Beez In the Trap's" music video.

So, on Easter Sunday, I'm continuing reviewing the album with a track-by-track look.

WARNING: While I will be censoring most/all language, the album delves into iffy and suggestive topics. Not to mention some rhymes will give some words away. Also, I will use the word chorus, which is referred to a hook by rappers.

yMusic: Nicki Minaj's Beez In the Trap Music Video

I planned to write the review for the next part of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded--but then Nicki Minaj's new music video came out. I just reviewed "Beez In the Trap" (feat. 2 Chainz) though.

WARNING: Explicit version of song. Video itself is iffy.

Of course her label releases a music video a couple days after her album dropped, but it's definitely...interesting. Not "Lady Gaga" interesting, but "YouTube make 90% porn jokes" interesting. Yes, it's Three Minutes of Writing, and a visual-based video.

yMusic: Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: Part 1

Nice cover, no?
From all the blabber I have devoted to Nicki Minaj, it's not surprising that I bought her sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, off iTunes. Twenty-two tracks for fifteen dollars. And it was worth the money--and Mom seeing it on her credit card bill.

Despite the name, Roman, Nicki Minaj's male persona, doesn't pop up much. His presence is only explicit on 2-3 tracks, with his influence popping up here and there, but it's still Barbie's album. The album's split into two parts: Rap and pop, although many of the ones range the entire spectrum of hip-pop.

Weekly Round-up: 4/6/12