Wednesday, June 30, 2010


It's that time of year. Leafkin submissions are due today. Which means Drea commences the bulk of her editing tomorrow, which means that I will commence (read: be drowned in) line editing in just a few more days. Then author meetings then .... Formatting.

I've familiarized myself with Adobe InDesign but this will be my first major project. I gotta say, I'm nervous. It's one thing to move simply move around and make minor corrections to a file that's already been formatted. It's another entirely to start from scratch.

In between bouts of editing I'm gonna try to read up on it as much a possible

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The System

I want to talk to you about women in Fantasy. From the Kick-Ass Heroine of Urban Fantasy to the Strong-Minded Woman of Epic Fantasy there seems to be a vogue on for women that are Taking Names and Bucking The System. And it's kind of annoying me.

Don't get me wrong. There's some really great stuff out there of that exact variety. I, for one, love Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson novels. And Steampunk pirate chicks are just plain cool. 

But sometimes it seems like authors create social systems just so their female character/s can tromp on it. Or, worse, they've stuck their characters into a world with the gender roles we've come to expect for no other reason than the fact that its normal for fantasy and have their female characters prance about high-kicking the established system with barely a nod to the fact that this is going on. If you want to have a world where women use swords and curse and do all sorts of what-have-you then do it. It's fantasy. You can make it that way. Really. And if you don't want that to be your world, then how about seeing some consequences. 

I'd like to see some strong voices from female characters who are living in The System. Dealing with it. Hell, even using it. Because, quite frankly, even in our days of Womens Lib and Feminist ideals, that's what most of us do. The System is different for us than it was, say, 100 years ago but that doesn't change the fact that we're still living in it, and, on a day to day basis, doing very little to challenge it. 

There are some examples in this in contemporary fiction, mostly, I think from the epic/machinations-of-power sub genre. But a lot of these women are either appendages to men or, quite frankly, manipulative bitches. I'd like to see a woman of the straight up heroine variety deal with living in The System. I'd like to see what that means for her. And, okay, so maybe she's gonna have to high-kick it a little. After all, isn't that what heroes do?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Niggling Self Doubt

I just finished Reading Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding, which, I must say, is an excellently fun book. Steampunk pirates, what more could you want? Well there's also some good characterization and lots of humor, if you want to be greedy. (I'm always jealous of funny authors. I'm not funny. I try and all I get are weird looks.)I haven't so thoroughly enjoyed reading a book in ages. Granted there are flaws in it, but they are easily over shadowed by everything that is right with it.

And it has made me realize something. That which I enjoyed so much, may just be lacking in my own writing. Now, I've always been a pretty words sort of girl rather than one of swashbuckling derring-do (or drunken-do as the case most often is in Retribution. Seriously, you should read that book. It's great.) and I'm fine with that. The interesting, fast plot and the well-drawn, vivid characters - each of which had doses of both the despicable and the grand swirling about in them - all swept together with a sort of freeness in the writing itself has made me take a good hard look at my own efforts toward story telling. 

As I said, anything I came up with would be much, much different from Retribution. But there are certain skills, certain elements that are universal. My favorite books have them in spades. Question is, do I? Does my story?

Now, I love Lauryn (my protagonist) but she's not terribly charming. Nor is she terribly fun. And while I am thoroughly entertained by my cast of characters, would anyone else be? Am I capable of creating fully realized characters, not just paper-thin puppets manipulated for my own amusement?