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 “Why Write “Strong Female Characters”?”

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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 “The Secret To Being A Better Writer”

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 “I Skip The Boring Parts”

You Aren’t Perfect: Abandon the High Horse

Not many people know this, but the best way to mess with someone on their high horse is to steal their ladder.
Not many people know this, but the best way to mess with someone on their high horse is to steal their ladder. Take that, society.

Being an artist is tough. Whether you’re a painter, photographer, digital artist, author or whatever else, you’re under constant pressure to do your best. If you’re doing it right, you should always be improving, or at the very least discovering your weaknesses so you can work on getting better. Being an artist means never stagnating. Since art is so fluid, it’s rare that anyone will hit their “skill ceiling” and never be able to do anything different or better ever again.

One of the most important things you’ll ever learn as an artist is that you are not perfect. Some of us grow up hearing about how great we are, how we have so much talent and potential and oh my gosh we’re just so good. And hey, compliments are nice. But eventually you learn that those can be pretty nasty traps. Once you start believing that you can never get better, you find no reason to try to improve. After all, you’re already the best. Continue reading “You Aren’t Perfect: Abandon the High Horse”

It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Fear not. There's always fanfiction! Actually that might have made it worse, sorry.
Fear not. There’s always fanfiction! Actually that might have made it worse, sorry.

Most people who have visited my blog will have noticed that I have one of my books advertised over in yonder sidebar. This particular book is the first of three, and it is the series that I have fallen in love with the most. The world, the characters, everything. More than any other cast I’ve created, this is the one that I have experienced the most joy writing. Tears have been shed, laughter was had, and overall this world and everyone in it has given me an experience I don’t think I can ever recreate.

And now I’m coming to terms with the fact that very soon I will be saying goodbye to it forever. Continue reading “It’s Time to Say Goodbye”

An Open Letter To My Characters

Dear Lovely Characters of Mine,

It’s about time we had another chat. No, you aren’t in trouble, but it’s been a while. I have very little time to write, so I don’t get to spend as much time with you as I usually do. That saddens me as I’m sure it saddens you. Though you should know that I’m working hard to fix that. If I get some time off work, you’ll be the first people I hang out with (much to the chagrin of those in my life who actually exist, to be sure [also, no offense]).

Beth is quite a force to be reckoned with. She's extremely short-tempered, though that may be due to constant exposure to David.
Beth is quite a force to be reckoned with. She’s extremely short-tempered, though that may be due to constant exposure to David.

But there are so many of you. How will I spend time with all of you? Pretty much all of you deserve equal attention! You’re pretty fantastic. (Not to toot my own horn, but I’m quite proud of what the ol’ noggin came up with when it comes to you lot.) What to work on first?

To the cast of the Worlds series, I’ll get back to you eventually. I know, you starred in the first book I ever finished, and then I started other series. I wrote a second book, then a third, then a fourth, and all the while I only managed three chapters to your sequel. But I’ve been thinking about you all lately. And hey, David gets a cameo in every book I ever write, so that’s something. Free publicity! That’s good for you, right? Also, you might be getting new cover art. That’s also cool. Continue reading “An Open Letter To My Characters”

Coming Back From (Almost) Death

time_by_danielkoeker-d56ir9dI suppose it was a good thing that there weren’t any working guns in the house. Had there been, I’m pretty sure that would have been it for me. They were the first things I thought of when I started to realize that I wanted to die, but I didn’t have that option. So I was forced to think of something else. It wasn’t that I wasn’t determined, but I was scared of feeling pain. It was all or nothing. If I failed, not only would I still be alive, but my life would be worse. Everything would change, everyone would try to “help.” That was the last thing I wanted.

I’ll spare all the details about the plans I finally came up with. All I knew is that as soon as I had it locked in my mind that I was going to do it, everything got better. I felt cheerful. I had no more worries. Everything was going to be just fine. I went out with friends, I had a great time and people noticed how much better I was feeling. I couldn’t tell them why. I assumed that would kill the mood. No pun intended. Continue reading “Coming Back From (Almost) Death”