In Honor of NaNo… Have some Fiction!

So, I have been gone for a long time, and I am so very sorry for that. My health got bad again, and it is, in truth, still bad. Because of this, I didn’t do NaNo this year.

However, I did stumble upon some short fiction I wrote a while ago for a contest. It is fanfiction, as the characters are based in WoW. It has had very little editing done, as I wrote it like, a day before the contest closed. I didn’t win, but I hope you enjoy. (Constructive criticism is always welcome.)

I don’t own the characters, but the writing is mine, so don’t be a jerk, ok?

The Rise of Scholomance

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Some Musings About Feminism and Writing

In case you didn’t know, I am a feminist. The shortest possible explanation I can give of what that means is that I believe in equality for women. It doesn’t mean I don’t like men, it doesn’t mean I want to take their rights away. Feminism is so misunderstood, it is kind of sad.

Most feminists will know about the women-in-refrigerators trope. In case you aren’t familiar with it, I will give you a quick rundown. This trope indicates that a woman’s place in a narrative (literature, TV, movies) is for the sole purpose of having horrible things done to her. The other side of this is that a woman is more likely to have horrible things happen to her in a narrative simply because she is a woman. We see this with serial killer stories where the serial killer targets women. We see this with a male main character who falls in love only to have his love brutally raped and murdered, thus giving him the motive he needs to exact revenge, etc.

As I am reading the latest NetGalley selection I requested, I realized something. I am noticing a disturbing trend, especially when it comes to fantasy. If I were to name the trope, I would call it the constructed-patriarchy trope.

When you write, and especially when you write fantasy, you have the right to create whatever world you want. This is part of why I love writing, and a bigger part of why I write fantasy. I love not being constrained by the world as it is now. If you want to dispute that a patriarchy exists in the world today, I suggest you take a look around. Because it is there.

But, when you are writing, and especially when you are writing fantasy, you have the freedom to make your own rules.

So why, then, are writers pitting their female characters against a patriarchy of their own making? What is even more distressing to me, is that since I have registered that this is happening, I have noticed it is a lot of female authors that do it. Now, I am not just going to sit here and point fingers. I recognize there might be a few reasons for this… so I am willing to explore those a little more.

Reason 1: Art imitates life.
This is the simplest reason I can think of. Women are oppressed, and it comes out in their writing. They want to break free of the patriarchy, and writing is the easiest way to do that.

Reason 2: The authors want to inspire feminism.
This kind of ties into reason one. But perhaps authors are looking to inspire readers to fight their own patriarchal oppression through their characters’ actions.

Reason 3: The authors are trying to write strong female characters.
Unfortunately, with what our world looks like today, a strong female must fight against a patriarchy. This isn’t actually true, though. I have read many books where the female main character is awesome, and there is no detectable patriarchy in sight.

Reason 4: The author wants the book to be relate-able.
The author may fully recognize they are creating a patriarchy, and they may be doing it for the sake of relate-ability. There is a patriarchal problem in the world today, therefore having it reflected in literature makes the literature that much more believable.

Those are the four reasons I came up with. And honestly, while they are forgivable, none of them really justifies (in my mind, anyways) the creation of a patriarchy.

So. Is this a trend that you have noticed? Am I late to the party? What do you think about the creation of a patriarchy in fiction?

On Sexism, Misogyny, Feminism, Literature, Video Games, and Maybe More.

Trigger warning: I will be blunt in this post. I love all of my followers a lot, and I don’t want to offend any of you. I will be talking about rape culture and sexism and my own personal beliefs on them. I will be linking to other sites that talk about these things. If you might be triggered by any of this, please step away now. I will still love you even if you don’t read this post. More so, in fact, because you chose to protect yourself.

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An update!

So, this past week has been a really big week for me. I finished up some time commitments, and I am really happy to be done with them (though a little scared to see what will happen without them in my life). I chopped off all my hair. I had an MRI (more about that in a bit) and I signed up for two Very Exciting Things.

Very Exciting Thing #1 is an art class. I usually do digital art, and I decided an online art class would be fun and a good way to help broaden my horizons. It is seven weeks if I remember correctly, and I get a certificate at the end and everything. I am really excited.

Very Exciting Thing #2 is a writing class. It isn’t just any writing class. It is the 2013 Summer Writing Class with Brandon Sanderson. Linky: http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/2013-summer-class/ If you are interested in writing, especially fantasy, I encourage you to check this out. It is free. It is Brandon Sanderson. It will be epic!

On Friday, I had an MRI for some long-standing health issues. The test was fine, and I now play the waiting game for a few weeks until results come in. But I found it so interesting as I was being shifted in and out of the machine. I now have another life experience to write about. I can write about having all sorts of medical tests done, because that is my life a lot of the time. And now I can add MRI to that list. I know how my body reacts to having an IV in. I know what the bruise looks like and feels like. I know how I felt in the MRI machine (which was very relaxed).

It just really struck me how much life experience plays a part in the whole writing experience. You write what you know, or you write what you think you know. A week ago, me writing about an MRI would have looked a little different from me writing about it now. I wouldn’t have been entirely wrong a week ago, and I could have watched videos and researched, but there is something about experiencing a thing that gives you so much more insight into it.

So, keep experiencing new things.

Edit: I forgot to add this in here. My birthday is next week.

Final NaNo Tally… I am a Winner!!

Well, NaNo this month was hard. November is a hard month for me. Lots going on both inside my head and outside of it. So I found myself really having to force the writing.

But, that said. 52,449 is my final tally for this month! I will be honest, not all 50,000 words is on the project I started with. I was a bit of a rebel, and I finished off doing some character building and some world building for projects I had started previously but lost direction on.

The number one thing I learned about myself this year is that I need to plan before I write, otherwise I get lost, and the story gets convoluted into something that I no longer control. So I will be using the winner’s code to buy Scrivener to help with that planning thing.

And now, onward to Christmas! And more reading, and reviewing!

How did your NaNo endeavours turn out?

Another NaNoWriMo Check-in

So, another week has gone by, and my word count has climbed slowly but steadily. 28,485 words so far.

I have learned a lot about myself as an author this time around, and I know I need to start doing some planning before I write again. The story for NaNo is running away without me, and I am not impressed with it.

I am reaching critical mass for fatigue, and I have been tempted to give up on NaNo a lot… I think it is through pure stubbornness that I am still going. Last night the almost-unthinkable happened. I almost wound up being short on words. I was so disappointed in myself, but when I was sitting here, falling asleep, trying to write… I didn’t have much choice. I decided to finish out the scene before going to bed, and when I did I was ahead on words. So it all worked out.

And now I need to get my words done for the night before I get to the point of falling asleep at my computer again.

NaNoWriMo and What To Read

NaNo is still going well. I am still staying on pace, though I have to say last night I very much didn’t want to. I wanted a break. But I knew as soon as I let myself slack off, I wouldn’t get back on track. And as I have sort of already bought my reward for finishing, I have to be extra sure I finish.

I have an interesting phenomenon occurring while I write. I am imagining ways to edit my story so that it would be better for reading. Not the minutiae of “Oh, that word doesn’t work” but more the broad sense of “I wonder if it would be more effective if I opened with this scene”. And I am not entirely sure what to do with these ideas. I don’t want to get bogged down thinking about this stuff right now, when I am trying to just get the story OUT. But I also know myself, my memory (or lack thereof) and I don’t want to lose what could be good ideas. Any advice?

I am way behind for my reading goal for the year. I got bogged down with some long books for book club, and wound up not catching up. I also have some books to read for reviews. So I am at a complete loss as to what to read next. The goal is important to me. But so is being accountable to the people I promised reviews to. I think I might re-read some things to get me back on track for the reading goal, and then go back to reading for review purposes.

You may have noticed that my list on the right has some books that I haven’t reviewed here. I generally will not review sequels on the blog unless I have reviewed all previous books in the series. It is a minor housekeeping/OCD thing of mine. Otherwise, you can find sequel reviews on my Goodreads. The same goes for re-reads. I will likely be re-reading two series I know I can get through really quickly to give myself a cushion while I work on books for review. (Namely, Twilight and Harry Potter.) I don’t think I will be reviewing them at this time, though.

I was very happy the other night when I discovered that Laini Taylor’s new book Days of Blood & Starlight was just released (the sequel to Daughter of Smoke & Bone). I went to the library website and requested it. I am fourteenth in line, which isn’t too bad. Out of curiosity I checked how many copies they are getting in. Thirteen. I wish the blog had emoticons so I could put an unimpressed face here!

Alright, this is 400+ words I could be putting towards NaNo, so I need to get on that. No more leaving it until 11:00 and then rushing to beat the timer for the day to keep my average up!

Happy NaNo-ing!