Monday, February 29, 2016

Are You a Closet Sexist?

I read what I enjoy. Books like Wheel of Time. Bonding with the characters—Rand, Perrin, Mat, and the women, Egwene, Min, Nynaeve—tied me forever to them and the story.

The Game of Thrones books/TV show keeps me up at night. I wonder at the depravity and violence. And bonding with a character usually is a sure-sign their death is on the next page.

Deadpool...ho, man, I can’t wait for it to come out on video so I can watch it again.

All the above and more pull me into a story, but... turns out I am a closet sexist, promoting sexism, violence toward women.

According to some in the publishing community, sexism abounds in literature, GoT promotes the rape culture, and strong women are threatening.

The Five Signs Your Story is Sexist is an article by Chris Winkle detailing her opinion on this matter, an opinion I mostly disagree with. In her first example, she postulates the women in WoT and Dune are strong with lesbian tendencies which is threatening to men and therefore sexist. Whaaaa...?

I didn’t get that from the books at all. The genders took turns being all kinds of bad. No need to single out one. And as far as being, lesbian...if so, it did a fly-by on me.

GoT shows warfare and the aftermath in a rainbow of colors. It isn’t exactly my cuppa but IMO it does depict real war, the conquered and the victors. Check out documentaries about WWII or ISIS today. All the gore in GoT and more. Much more. Real battles aren’t unicorns and fluffy bunnies.

The TV program is violent. I can’t watch it because it reaches my limit of depravity in the first ten minutes. But still, I can admit it takes stories out of history and today’s headlines.

You wanna know real sexism? Try this: the studios almost didn’t make Deadpool because the Suits in the Head Office didn’t think it would appeal to women. Yes, it is profane. A lot of nakedness. Blush-worthy sex scenes. Violence. But this woman loved it.

Think of all the good movies not made due to this ‘tude.

Honestly, a person can find offense in anything if they look hard enough. 

So are you a sexist? Do you depict stereotypical characters? Do you care? Or is all this mostly irritating hogwash?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Angela Brown, Unicorn Bell, and Facebook Security

Every now and again, posts and blogs catch my eye and shout out is in order.

Angela Brown caused me to consider the lack of diversity in books.

On the one hand, I agree. More variety is a good thing. There is a market for different takes on life, rationales, and opinions. But I question whether someone such as I—farm girl, introvert, and fantasy aficionado—could deliver a true picture of life in New York City of a Broadway show cast member who loves to party. Or life as a transgender girl in Spain. I don’t think I have it in me. The amount of research blows my mind even if I kept my derriere home and Googled it all. I have no doubt traveling to these spots would be a living and breathing stranger in a strange land experience.

Summary: I fall back on write what you know.

I like twisting my set-in-her-ways mind in different directions. It’s creates flexibility by encouraging the synapses to branch out. But I can’t go down the path of forcing writers to be diverse when the experiences aren’t there.

Compelling works only so far. After a line is crossed, the story becomes awkward, fake, and unbelievable. 
I'd rather read it than write it. But that doesn't help the diversity problem, huh?

UnicornBell lost a fantastic moderator this week. E.J. Roberts is the force behind A Drop of Ink Reviews, a book review site in demand from readers and publishers. Even Random Books wants her reviews. How cool is that?

Our critique site will miss her, but we wish her well and hope to hear many more great things.

Facebook and security. When I edited my profile of FB, I made of point of NOT listing my birthday. IMHO, it gives too easy access to sensitive information. How many sites ask for your birth date as a security measure?

But I have relatives who know when I was born oh-so-many years ago and post happy birthdays galore. Oh well.

Do you stretch you writerly mind with diversity? Enjoy concise, fair book reviews?

Think relatives need to mind their, do you believe posting your birthday is a security concern?

Monday, February 15, 2016

First Page Contest, Deadpool, and The Walking Dead

I don’t usually celebrate Valentine’s Day other than with a "have a happy". 

But yesterday was memorable.

My Sweet Baboo of 42 years doesn’t go to the movies much let alone enjoy the same outrageous stuff that I do. He likes Sabrina and American President type movies. Chick flicks I reckon. I like Galaxy Quest, Star Trek/Wars, and the Marvel universe. Yesterday, he manned-up and took me to see Deadpool. What a sweetie, huh. Not sure he liked it all that much but love was in his heart.

Deadpool...okay, wow. Funny, amazing special effects, and way cool script. I was laughing from the first opening credits to the end and enjoyed every minute. I want to see it again to catch what I missed. So many inside jokes that it doesn’t always connect at first. It is so different from the other characters in the Marvel franchise that it seems a whole new genre.

No spoilers here but keep in mind, this is not for kids. Don’t take your thirteen year old to see this. Absolutely not for the young’uns.

One thing, IMHO, staying for the two teasers after the credits was a waste of time. Not like Iron Man III for example. Or Thor.

And another thing: If graphic violence (of bad guys getting their comeuppance), multiple curse words, nudity, and sexual situations offend you, don’t watch. I didn’t feel any of the above was gratuitous but yanno, that is my opinion.

The Walking Dead premiered its second half of its sixth season with an on-the-edge-of-your-seat shocker. This show just gets better and better, keeps me wondering who will die without killing off too many—aka Game of Thrones—to ruin the ride. 

For writers, it highlights how to plot, divert attention from the real story, and blow up expectations.

Regarding the last, if you can guess the storyline, predict it, the surprise factor is a mound of glue. Surprise, shock keeps the reader interested. Not just via deaths but unexpected plot twists.

First Page Contest. Here is your chance to get your writing noticed, create interest, and build a platform to display your skills. Plus, you win BOOKS! 

It’s a contest over at Unicorn Bell, our critique site. Moderated by the multi-talented Charity Bradford, it gives writers a shoutout. Enter soon and win bragging rights.

Are you a Marvel Universe fan? Want to see Deadpool? Worship Walking Dead? Ready to enter a writing contest?

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Quiet Knock

Ambition waved goodbye several months ago. 

I shrugged and went about my day. The days turned into weeks then months while Shame and Guilt competed to bring me down.

A knock at the door in my mind. I notice a familiarity about it.

Ambition stands there shuffling its feet, not knowing if it is welcome. 

I think I will let it in. Maybe it will fill the space in my heart and crowd out Shame and Guilt. For today, at this hour, I will call it a win and hope it is the turning point.

Maybe the guttering candle flame will blaze into the conflagration it once was. 

And I will name myself Writer once more.

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