Tag Archives: Books

Female characters: The Enigma of the Writing World

Time to take a break from Disney bashing and take the opportunity to discuss female characters.

While slaving away at SPSS (a stats software), during my breaks where I’m allowed to experience what sunlight feels like I’ve abandoned that privilege for something better: I’ve been catching up reading A Song of Ice And Fire book 4, A feast for crows. Recent chapter-character perspectives and my Disney Princess bashing posts, I got to thinking about female characters.

The sole purpose of my existence: To read all the books!

The sole purpose of my existence: To read all the books!

In Game of Thrones, we are presented with several female characters. From the typical all girlie and all “princess-y” Sansa Stark to Asha Greyjoy “Man with breasts”.

images (1)

asha-greyjoy-game-of-thrones-30919471-600-902

The problem with most media is that female characters are often on two extremes of a spectrum. We got the Sansa side (Disney Princesses, Welcome) and on the other side Asha Greyjoy (one of my favorite characters). A while ago I mentioned there are very few female characters I’ve seen that have managed to be strong and yet retain their femininity without forgoing their individual strength.

Growing up, the media taught me women’s strength (no matter the character development) were the following:

  • Beauty: Duh. 
  • Sex: Cersei Lannister is currently teaching this lesson.
  • The Love interest: What? He’s a badass dude who has loads of superpowers? You don’t need a silly thing called inner strength dear. You got a MAN!
  • Innocence: Yes, this is a weapon. Allow me to explain, throughout certain types of media and even in real life, women have known the value of acting (or not) innocent. The writer will protect her and in the real world, the dudes fall for this tactic.
  • Intelligence: More recently, the ‘nerdy’ girl has been showing up. Cunning and all that jazz is creeping up too but still underplayed.

No wonder there’s no ‘real’ character role model for young girls. As a child, I always preferred the male characters (which made my parents question why wasn’t I like other little girls) because they were more developed, independent and dealt with their faults. Female characters, on the other hand…

Meh, Tiger.

Meh, Tiger.

Don’t get me started with inner conflict issues. Donald Maass wrote inner conflict for a character is important to set them apart and such. Most female characters’ inner conflict deals mainly, on a general level, with the ‘romance’ issues or body/confidence issues. Yet, there’s a variety of literature and other media outlets probably showing every type of inner conflict imaginable.

Yet, every now and then someone wrote a real female character without polarizing the spectrum.

360px-Elisa_Maza Samantha-Carter-samantha-carter-2511923-518-76813307445717974931683.jpeg___1_500_1_500_cb94de6a_

The problem with female characters is its a sort of Pandora’s box of extreme characterizations (Sansa Vs Asha). The other won’t be caught dead dressing or acting like the other. Occasionally  we get the fem fatale type character but that’s used more of the whole sexy but dangerous angle (and again reinforces certain issues about female sexuality). The problem with staying in the middle is that writers’ often write a great female character until Mr. Love Interest shows up.

This has often been the case in society if we think about it.

I’ve seen many young women have all sorts of dreams and goals, but everything gets tossed in the wind when “Mr. Right” shows up and relationships need their dues (compromises) paid.

There was even a research article I came across stating how female scientists’ goals and ambitions change when romance strolls into the lab.

With this in mind, its obvious that the media still wants to cling onto its ‘construct’ of what women want and what will make them happy. Then people watch, get influenced by the media, and the cycle continues.

Rinse. Repeat.

My washing machine has more originality than this. It has lots of buttons for so many options (and breaks down to keep things interesting). Wait a sec…I don’t think that metaphor is right….

Why do we do this? Because its safe, its known, its-

R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C!

R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C!

Happiness, goals, and ambitions cannot be generalized. According to the media and ‘construct’, as a little girl I would’ve wanted to be a princess and have a handsome prince to come to tea or something.

Instead, my parents got a kid who wanted to be a Beast Wars Transformer (I wanted a Fox for my beast mode) or be part of the SG1 team and kick some serious ass. Funny enough, I did own a few Barbies but my sister and I made them part of this magical kingdom (with our other toys) that was always under threat from evil monsters. Their adventures required tactical espionage, using decoys (what the Ken doll was for), breaking defensive positions and I think we even cut off the bad guys’ supply lines at one point.

To make your characters more memorable and realistic in their world and life, you have to find out what will make them happy not what a template says.

The good thing is we’re seeing an emergence of strong female characters based on their individuality, history, family background and circumstances (a quick thank you to GRR Martin and several other writers out there). However, there’s still a long way to go before the playing field is equal.


Perfectionism: The common cold of the writing world

One the worst diseases in the writing world is the common cold   author perfectionism.

Knock knock, new chapter, knock knock, new chapter, knock knock rewrite

Knock knock, new chapter, knock knock, new chapter, knock knock rewrite new chapter

There’s a book I’m dying to write, but every time I get around to actually writing it… I end up re-writing the whole damn thing.

I, too, suffer from the crippling disease of author perfectionism. When you overcome it, a new strand of author perfectionism infects you. This is another reason I haven’t chained myself to my laptop to write Ladders Into the Grave properly.

Any antibiotics out there? As your quack author doctor, I prescribe one book for you. Read it daily and tell me how you feel after 90 days and I’ll prescribe you something else.

41AsVnidC-L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-63,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_

This is your fee for the prescription. Please fill it out on the way to book/kindle store.

Pretty please? Or else I’ll have to resort to the internet’s number one strategy!

Its low, its immoral but an effective tactic

Its low, its immoral but an effective tactic


Climbing the Publishing Ladder: Why reading books from other cultures is a hidden treasure

Think about it.

Maybe it might be my skewed perception, but most (fiction) books I see on the shelf are from English speaking authors. We do have books from Haruki Murakami and Paulo Coelho to tingle our exotic reading tastes, but I was always concerned with the lack of availability of countries’ treasures.

Classics are translated, of course, cause…they’re classics. But, still there are some translated classics out there not as popular or as widely read.

I never moved into a new sardine can (dorm) without this book on my shelf

I never moved into a new sardine can (dorm) without this book on my shelf

Reading books from other countries helps understand other people’s culture and what they value in stories

It might also help avoid certain stereotypes.

My apologies to American readers.

My apologies to American readers.

Glagoslav Publications is a publishing house dedicated to translating Eastern Europe’s hidden treasures to not only western Europe but the rest of the English speaking world. Modern Ukrainian literature seems to be one of their priorities  since it is at its “peak of renaissance, and the post-1991 period has seen an incredible diversity of literary genres and themes.”

They’re also going to be publishing books by authors from the “culturally diverse former USSR.”

The books mentioned in the article are examples hidden treasures providing a rich and cultural look into certain cultures, time periods and perspectives.

This is one step into creating more availability for these hidden treasures and their authors!

In business school, the other students and I were always being told about GLOBALIZATION and DIVERSITY. We rarely got some decent examples.

I’d say, this is one.  A very important one.


Nostalgia Critic best sums up Twilight

A blogger discussing Twilight these days is as old of tale as “Once a upon a time, an internet troll started a flame war”. It’s a dangerous risky domain for any blogger to enter.

Proceed with Caution

I made this sign 😀 I’m so proud!

But if you’re a MANLY blogger, you have to go. You have to get your numbers up. You have to piss off half the internet at one point in your blogging life. This doesn’t mean you can’t proceed with caution.

1001 things to do on the internet before you die: Contribute to the One does not simply Meme. CHECK!

1001 things to do on the internet before you die: #24 Contribute to the One does not simply Meme. CHECK!

Sooner or later I was bound to write about it and contribute to the discussion without sounding like the two most popular arguments:

I couldn't find a 'good' argument pic for Twilight

I couldn’t find a ‘good’ argument pic for Twilight. I don’t want to try too hard.

The only argument I can find for the ‘good’ part is the usual escapism stuff.

Yes, we know, we know:

Twilight is popular and the sales figures speak for themselves.

Twilight is bad because it sets women back 100 years (I agree).

All these arguments have been said and written, discussed and fought over long before a certain blogger decided to enter the scene.

Before I go on, I’d like you to watch Nostalgia Critic’s short editorial piece on Twilight

I’ll just…help myself to avoiding my PhD work in the meantime.

How to avoid PhD work

Done?

I agree for the most part with the Nostalgia Critic. He mentions towards the end of the video that (I’m paraphrasing here) ‘for every moron that believes Twilight represents what life is, dozens are moving on’.

I don’t agree there Mr. Nostalgia Critic.

Last post I linked everyone to a certain book which discusses how media does affect young people.

Yes, people do move on and do change, however, people unconsciously believe what the media portrays there is some underlying truth applicable to their life.

Maybe you don’t believe me. Fair enough. So I’ll ask you this, just observe the people around you and yourself. Especially when it comes to their love life.


Attention all writers: Before making your characters fall in love, first learn about Stockholm syndrome

There’s a reason why I don’t like most mainstream romances.

Its not their impracticality.

Its not their perfect endings.

Its not the unrealistic sex scenes everyone wants to try out.

Its the (in)direct applications of psychological issues.

How many movies/books have you seen where the girl is kidnapped by the ‘hero’ and after a few days of impromtu-togetherness-time they fall in love?

I expect to be killed by school girls and nostalgic young women tomorrow

“Blogger killed by Disney school girl fans and nostalgic young women” is tomorrow’s headline

A while back I published on this blog the ultimate writer list which had two rules I’d like to follow up on:

“22. Stockholm syndrome does not mean its true love.

23.When writing a romance piece, I will pretend that the male character is not in love with the female and if he sounds like a stalker/murderer/rapist, then I will rewrite the story.” (Myself, THERE APA! HAPPY? YOU WILL NOT HAUNT ME HERE)

Stockholm Syndrome happens when hostages express positive emotions, empathy and sympathy towards their captors/kidnappers. This syndrome has been widely discussed in media and stats show that a majority of victims do not associate with their kidnapper/captor. Despite the criticisms and stats of Stockholm syndrome, I think its important for any author to keep a mental note of it.

Objectively speaking, stories are generally about the exceptional characters in sometimes exceptional circumstances in whatever world the author has built. Many ‘romance’ stories have been built using the trope of kidnapping someone and then falling in love. By definition, these characters are the exception to the rule.

And most likely to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

If you think tropes like these (among several others) are harmless, think again.

Before writing any romance genre, please read this first.

Before writing any romance story, please read this first.

References and other links to look at:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1920301,00.html

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AbductionIsLove

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Romance-Mass-Media-Communication/dp/0805848320


What every writer should sleep next to

You see this?

Your new Teddy Bears

Your new Teddy Bears

You will kick out your teddy bears, hot boy/girl friend and sleep next to this. You will eat dinner with these books, you will compliment them on their covers matching their inner beauty, you will take them out to a cafe or library while you write and you will keep all your promises about being in a committed reading relationship.

Donald Maass’s book and workbook are extremely useful in uncovering the potential of your novel. These books will help you overcome what you are afraid to write and shock your readers. In a good, not deranged we’re-going-to-hunt-you-down-Mr/Miss-author way.

But its easy to be overwhelmed about what you should do with your characters in your novel. After I read the book, I felt that I needed my characters to do every little thing Maass mentioned on every single page of my manuscript. My advice is to practice using short stories and get a feel for your own voice.


Climbing the Publishing Ladder: Korea’s alternative

The dedicated writer will spend hours at her cafe spot trying to create the perfect story for her beloved fans:

"No! David doesn't love Michelle! Where do these fans get these ideas?"

“I just published my ebook yesterday! How did they write these fanfics so quickly!?”

However, the publisher sits on his throne and decides the fate of your book, regardless of your fans, your dedication, your story.

"I am not pleased with this installment."

“3 installments? Make it 8. Not including Novellas between books.”

In the first segment of Climbing the Publishing Ladder, it was heavily focused on the nature of the e-book industry and concerns over the printed market. There’s also the question of leftover book stock.

Think Toy Story 3, but with books. And they don’t make it out of….You know.

So how to solve this problem?

Provide readers with a delicious cup of coffee for their body and that little extra something for their Seoul.

Publishers in Korea have opened up reading cafes to sell leftover stock at a discounted price. A better alternative to destroying all those books. These cafes have also become a great place to hold literary events and political events.

Despite the changes in the publishing market and several speculations about what will happen to printed books, Korea has provided an alternative. Just as musicians can make money through digital music and tours, perhaps, printed books can do something similar: Create an amazing reading experience. A physical space for writers, readers and anyone else to meet in person.


Women Write About Comics

Seriously, A Lot

marion is connected

Personnal website where I blog about everything that interest me. Includes, but not limited to: travel, Digital Marketing, Photography, Social Media, Music, Fluffy Animals

Itsrane's Legacies

Where too much free time meets The Sims

attheinterface

Stuck between academia and a hard place

The Daily Informant

Bringing you the latest news, before it happens!

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Ecanuspublishing

Our Journey Together

Nephele Tempest

Writing and Rambling

Nerdy Words

Writing ~ Grammar ~ Book Reviews ~ More

Words Fusion

Exploring countries across the world

moonshinemedia

Shining on those with a story to tell.

Taylor Jorjorian

Photographic Artist

My Goal = Education

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." Albert Einstein

Writing Excuses

Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.

Hyperbole and a Half

A writing experiment

Gaijin Chronicles

Just another American smashing his way through Japan.

%d bloggers like this: