White Clover Productions

Anyone checked out White Clover Production’s Zodiac video series on youtube? You totally should. And not just because they finally got around to my sign ( Scorpio ).  I think all the signs, thus far, have been handled pretty damn well. I’m excited to see how they will pull off the remaining four.

They’ve also served as great research material for the super secret project. 🙂 Astrology plays a very big role in STARS.

But more on that later…

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Don’t Write What Doesn’t Matter

Note to self: ^^^^^^this.

Self to note: DUH.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry I can’t link to the specific video because it’s apart of Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways course. But I can direct you to S. Winchester’s post which, while not talking about the video at all, still gets the gist of what it was about.

Enjoy.

Risks and Representation in Fiction

Yesterday, I talked about (but barely skimmed the surface on) the issue of Erasure in media. It’s a problem, and one I’d like to tackle in my stories.

Which is terrifying from a social standpoint because…

  • I’m a middle-class straight white woman, which affords me some privilege that can’t be overlooked and means I’m more than a little ignorant on certain social issues. A lot of social justice bloggers on tumblr have shed light on these issues, but I’m still far from being an expert on any of it. Which means…
  • There’s a lot of room for SNAFU’s, offending scores of people, and generally making an ass of myself. None of which I particularly enjoy doing.

It’s also terrifying from a writer standpoint.

Let me explain you a thing.

I’m grappling with a decision (well, a LOT of decisions really) regarding a project of mine. It’s a big project, in the literal, figurative, terrifying and thrilling sense. I know I’ve blogged about it before, but I think I’ve kept it straight-jacketed and muzzled for fear of saying too much.

Well, I’ve gotten tired of saying too little, so to hell with that. Super Secret Project has a code name for now : STARS. If my instincts are right about it, it will be a 12 book series centering around the lives of 12 women. More NA than YA. I have rough ideas about who each of them are. Of course, some make themselves known more readily than others. So there are a few I know better than the rest…

But I’m trying very hard to focus on one girl in particular at the moment. The first one. Or at least, the one in the first book.

And I have an opportunity to do some really COOL THINGS with her character and for said cool things to be super meaningful because of the theme and symbolism the books center around…

But it could also potentially piss off a lot of readers. Including the one’s I’m trying to reach.

It’s especially daunting because this would be the first book in the series. The one that most readers will start with and let determine whether or not they pick up the next 11 books. Will the HEA (or HEA for now) crowd feel cheated and decide not to continue with the rest of the series if one MC -the first MC-doesn’t fall in love? Because they’ll assume the other 11 don’t, as well? Even if that’s totally not the case?

That’s just not a crowd I want to alienate or piss off, man. I know my own, we can be very unforgiving.

But at the same time, one of the big cool things I want to do with these books is show that there’s no wrong way to be a woman. We all have different needs, wants, desires, and they are all valid and good. (You know, except when they’re not. Because hey, I need antagonists.)

So is it worth the risk?

My instincts say yes.

I think it’ll depend on the way I decide to market the books. Kait Nolan hit the nail on the head yesterday in the comments: the key is really just to not trick anyone into believing they’re buying something that they’re not. So I’ll have to strike a delicate balance with, not only her theme and how I’ll handle her, but the blurb, cover, etc.

Ever thought of taking some big risks with your stories? What were they? Did you go through with them and how did it work out for the story?

Erasure

S. Winchester recently posted about Writer’s Digest insights into the Paranormal and YA Genre. Specifically referring to romance in YA and why it’s vital to include, at the very least, romantic subplots to attract the young female “relationship-obsessed” audience. (Their words, not mine)

Well, she had a few things to say about that.

And as it turns? So do I.

Though…I feel semi-hypocritical.

On one hand, I love a good romance subplot. Heck, most of the books on my keeper shelves are romance and most of my favorite authors have romance as a staple in their stories in some way or another. It’s the highest selling genre bar none.

Even outside of novels…make me watch any show, I’ll probably end up “shipping” two of the characters at some point. Even if said pairing is non-canon, as in not the narrative or writer’s intention. (And then rolling around in a puddle of my own tears because the shows I watch don’t let me have nice things.) And I’m not the only one. Not by a long shot.

On the other hand…

Writing romance was never a goal of mine. (Adding romantic subplots? Well, that’s a different story… because I’m a sap)

But joining tumblr has made me incredibly and irrevocably self-aware, not only with regards to society’s impact (and how far we haven’t come) with regards to gender, race, sexuality and health, but also as a writer’s role in those very same fields. We writers have an important job: to connect with people we otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. It’s made a big difference in the way I approach my writing as well as character creation.

Kait Nolan recently made a post about trying to read outside her gender, which I found very interesting. She’s actively looking for recommendations on books by male authors but on the grounds that the books must have the HEA endings. Because that is why she reads. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I think most straight women do, but of course there are exceptions.

Personally, while I do like the HEA ending, I don’t need it. So long as the ending is logical and satisfying in some way, I’m good.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the brand I want as an author, the type of stories I want to write, and the people I want to reach. Like S. Winchester, I too want stories about women who can stand on their own. Whose stories don’t revolve around who they fall in love with (again, not that there’s anything wrong with those). I want to write them too. Not just because I’ve always wanted to be that sort of woman, but because…

There is a huge erasure problem in media that needs to be fixed. Such as, but not limited to, where asexuality is concerned. And as Chuck Wendig recently said…fictional representation isn’t created in a vacuum. You, as an author and creator of words and worlds, have to risk fucking up royally and representing those you don’t want ignored.

Because if you don’t, they always will be. Because not everyone is willing or capable of taking those risks.

Of course…there are as many risks with playing it safe as there are with confronting the void. But I’m more interested in the latter, so we’ll talk about that next blog post.

Weigh in with your thoughts. What do you think?