Don’t Discount the Value of Subtle Representation

Broader representation is starting to become cool, which is great for a lot of people. I for one have been starved for certain kinds of media since I knew how to read, and occasionally, things got a little desperate and I’d find myself searching the bottom of the barrel on fanfiction sites. I’d say those weren’t my proudest moments, but I regret nothing.

The other cool thing is that a lot of people want to get into writing with representation in mind, and while that comes with a host of issues all on its own — e.g., people attempting to write experiences that aren’t their own and falling flat, or accidentally misrepresenting something badly — it’s nice to see that people see the value in it. For a while it was an uphill climb to explain to people just why it was important that everyone see a bit of themselves out there, and how lonely it can feel when not even fictional worlds have people like you in them. Continue reading

Top Four Books of the Winter

When I wrote my list of top five books last summer, I got the idea in my head that I was going to do this twice a year. School has me busy, but I get winters and summers off, so during that time I was going to read a lot and then choose the best five books from that particular vacation and run with it. Seems foolproof, no?

Yet here I am, barely getting started, and I have to break tradition. I read plenty of books this winter, but as luck would have it, I just didn’t enjoy very many of them at all. So here we have my top four books of the winter, and you can blame school for that for starting so early. (It’s actually starting at a perfectly reasonable time, but I’m sad break is over, and I personally feel like my school did not put forth its best effort to alter the space-time continuum, or whatever would make this break last longer.) Continue reading

Top Five Books of the Summer

I spent a lot of time reading this summer, and even though I did a lot of cover judging and reading based purely on recommendation, most of them were pretty great. There were only a few that were bad enough that I won’t be keeping my copies. But a few do deserve some honorable mentions because I loved them that much.

Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis. This was a really cute book with good characterization and development, a fun story, and a satisfying ending. It wasn’t particularly deep or intense, but it had its surprises. I also like a character who is constantly pushed down but ends up coming out on top. It’s definitely one that has guaranteed a read for its sequel. Continue reading

Stop The Elitism

“Look at your hat. Your brain cells are floating right out of it! Meanwhile I require this large hat to comfortably house my far superior cranium.”

You might not be the most well-read person in the world. You might not have seen every TV show known to man. You might have missed out on some popular movies over the years. But darnit if there’s one thing you know, it’s that you—and you alone—have the best tastes in the world. Every bit of media you choose to indulge in is superior to what other people read and watch.

Or you’re another type of person completely. You may not watch or read or listen to anything at all, and this is what makes you such an intellectual. Modern media is for the weak of mind, you think. Let the brainwashed public consume and consume, for that is all they are trained to do! Those silly plebeians are throwing away their freedoms by engaging in activities you haven’t personally approved of. Continue reading

Why Write “Strong Female Characters”?

The question almost implies that such a trait is an unusual abnormality, as opposed to simply human.

The question almost implies that such a trait is an unusual abnormality, as opposed to simply human.

By now a lot of you have probably heard about “strong female characters.” They’re the amazing women across all types of media, seeking out gender roles and smashing them to pieces. They can be found in books and movies and TV shows to the extent that they have a genre all their own. After all, when is the last time you heard of a strong male character, right? They’ve taken fiction by storm, showing that women too can be just as cool as men.

But is that really how it works? As a writer myself I can’t claim to speak for everyone, but I can say what I deeply believe to be true.

The character “category” of strong female character has been growing in popularity, and it has generally been met with positive feedback. But the reason they’re lauded is not because they are so populous — rather, it’s quite the opposite. It’s still a man’s world, and each gender has their assigned roles. The men do this, the women do that, and this often resulted in women being used as support characters or being used as a plot device of sorts. The knight in shining armor is typically a heroic man and the one needing rescuing is a woman. Continue reading

The Secret To Being A Better Writer

For some reason my inspirational poster, "Practice makes slightly less awful," was rejected.

For some reason my inspirational poster, “Practice makes slightly less awful,” was rejected.

There are good writers and bad writers. There are writers who can make people cry by reading scribbles on a page, and writers who put us to sleep, though that was definitely not their intent. While good and bad writing can often be subjective, just like other arts, there are certain aspects and qualities that are more objective.

What I get a lot is, “How do you become a better writer? How did you improve, what did you do?” Getting better at writing always seems so different than getting better at anything else. If you want to become better at drawing, for example, you would think you should keep drawing and practicing. If you want to become a better runner, you keep running. They are all things that have very tangible solutions.

But what about writing? You already know the language, you already know the stories you have in your head. Regardless of how much you write, the individual words are all still the same. “Dog” means the same coming from someone who’s never wrote anything before as it does coming from the most famous author on earth. So what to do? Continue reading

I Skip The Boring Parts

Listen to this cat, he is definitely not being sarcastic.

Listen to this cat, he is definitely not being sarcastic.

When it comes to doing just about anything, I know that I need to spend every moment doing something that’s fulfilling and worthy. That’s why I spend most of my day at work sitting here staring off into space or refreshing the same websites over and over again. I haven’t quite got the time management thing figured out, but I’ll spend time working on that later.

Anyway, when it comes to playing games, watching movies, reading books and writing books, it’s the fun stuff that matters. When I’m watching Lord of the Rings and any part with the ents comes on I have to fight the urge to fast forward. Sure, anything worth saying takes a long time to say, but could you hurry it up please and thank you, I’m on a schedule here. You might be out saving Middle Earth but I’m sitting here and my snack is getting cold. Continue reading