“No Boys Allowed: School visits as a woman writer” by Shannon Hale

A quote from the article:

I heard it a hundred times with Hunger Games: “Boys, even though this is about a girl, you’ll like it!” Even though. I never heard a single time, “Girls, even though Harry Potter is about a boy, you’ll like it!”

Source: http://shannonhale.tumblr.com/post/112152808785/no-boys-allowed-school-visits-as-a-woman-writer

This has never actually occurred to me. I’m a girl, and no one has ever said “Oh, you’ll like this even though it’s about a boy.” I’ve never considered not reading something because the book was in a boy’s POV (though I have passed up reading books that I know are by male authors, I am guilty of that). I have thought about how men will not enjoy my books as they are mostly about romance, and that they wouldn’t like my YA stuff because it would all be in a girl’s POV.

I guess it never occurred to me to question it, to say, “Excuse me, I’m a girl and I can read in a guy’s POV, why the fuck can’t boys do the same?”

I urge you to read the original post, especially if, like me, you’ve never thought as deeply on the topic. It just never came to mind.

Thoughts?

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Speed Editing

rush

I’d like everyone to repeat after me: Procrastination is bad. Procrastination is bad. Procrastination is bad. 

I am FINALLY ready to start editing Wildflower Crown. It needs SO much work. I need to stick with the schedule I set to get it published on time, hopefully in May or June. (I forget which day I actually circled on the calender, but it’s set for when the weather is warmer.)

Since I procrastinated so much, I want to have the first draft edited by next weekend, not including scenes that need rewritten or just written period. (That will be for the second draft. I’ll have two weeks for that.)

Sometimes I forget that writing is work. It’s fun and I love it, but it really is difficult at times.

I may be a little absent from WordPress this week, so now you’ll know why. It’s because I’m trying to get my ass in gear. (Also, I’m not going to talk about how much school work I have on top of everything. AND on top of that, I have the hiccups. Poor me, I know. :p )

Is anyone else editing too?

50 Shades of Train Wreck

cxChristian and I dance around the Ball Room gracefully. By some grace of God, I don’t trip, even when Christian twirls me in a spin.

“Are you enjoying yourself, Mrs. Grey?” Christian asks, looking to his mother, who sits in the corner. Exhibitionism is his newest fetish. I hated it, at first, but because it was in our contract, I found that I couldn’t stop it from happening.

Mrs. Grey, of course, declines to answer. Christian made her sign a contract as well. She signed it, thinking highly of her son, knowing he would never trick her, but now she must not speak of what she sees, and she’s legally bound to endure our show. He’s so romantic like that, my Christian. So loving.

Continue reading

Your Characters Should Hold a Grudge

Your characters should be holding a grudge, possibly several of them. Not against you, of course, unless you’re George R. R. Martin, but against other characters. People that they could reasonably hold a grudge against.

I was thinking about how I owe some guy at my school named Nate a big FUCK YOU for something he did earlier last semester (deets here towards the top) and I realized that I am definitely the kind of person who holds grudges. However, my characters aren’t. They don’t remember that one time that girl got them detention in 4th grade for something they didn’t do or the time their “best friend” decided to ignore them for two year to join the popular kids. Now, just like not all people hold grudges, not all characters do. Some forgive and forget.

However, I think it’s much more fun not to have a character forgive and forget. It can give them motivation to do anything, really. Need your character to get to the next city over for the plot to progress? She has a grudge on an old bully and wants to go make him wash her car. Need your character to be caught by the hunky police officer she’s going to sleep with? Have her being caught egging the house of her ex. You know the one, the guy who stole her cat and cheated on her, not the nice one who wore sweaters. Sweater dude made nice pizza.

Grudges are a great way to add some depth to your character. Is Judy more relaxed but Sally is confrontational? Show that through a conversation about how Sally hasn’t forgiven her first grade teacher for playing favorites and Judy trying to talk her into forgetting about it. It can also add humor to a scene when Sally recounts how incredibly unfair it was that Timmy was given FOUR gummy bears but she was only give ONE. (And yes, these can be adults. Adults can be petty, and all characters need flaws.)

So, Nate, in honor of upcoming Valentine’s Day, here is my gift for you:

f

So now I don’t have to worry about flipping you off it I finally see you around campus, because all of my followers now know that I’m crazy.

What’s something one of your characters has held a grudge for?

DEAD

You know who I am. I’m the person no one likes. I’m the person no one wants to sit with at lunch. I’m the person who everyone knows is bad news. I’m the one person that you will always hate, even if you don’t know my name. I’m the freak, the loser, the weirdo. The one who’s different. I’m the one who no one will ever give a chance. The one who just can’t take it any more.

And you know what? I’m everywhere.

And you know me. Don’t pretend like you don’t. I’m the girl you tease because I still have braces. I’m the boy you shove in lockers just because I can’t fight back. I’m the girl you call a lesbian just because you don’t like me. I’m the boy you strip naked and tie to a goal post just because you want to have a little fun.

Because, really, we’re all just having a bit of fun. That boy you spit on for four years straight is having a real laugh with his therapist. That girl you teased until she took a blade to her wrist will smile proudly as she shows the scars from when she tried to take her own life. Its all just fun. Nothing serious, just a little joke.

That’s the problem with the world. Teenagers shouldn’t be taken seriously, as everyone knows. We don’t know anything. We’re just hormonal. There isn’t anything for us to be depressed about, we’re just kids. We can’t be so pressured to get into good schools and make good money that we have mild psychotic breaks, because our moms still cook us dinner every night. Our problems aren’t real, because we’re the children of middle class families. Our fears are simply foolish, because what we fear is nothing compared to the horrible reality of life. Our tears don’t matter, because a little name calling isn’t enough to knock the earth off it’s axis. Our love isn’t real, because we haven’t lived yet. We haven’t lived yet, and some of us won’t live at all.

5000.

That’s how many teenagers will kill themselves each year. But its not that bad, right? It could be worse, right? It could be 5500, or 6000, or 8000, right? There are billions of people in the world, so 5000 doesn’t matter, right? No one liked those 5000 kids anyways. They were just the kids who had bad hair and wore the wrong clothes and talked with a lisp and couldn’t play sports. They’re just the boy you make fun of and the girl you trip in the halls.

500000.

That’s a much bigger number, right? That’s the number of teens who try to kill themselves each year. Do you know how big a number that is? No? Think of Wyoming. The state. Look it up. See how big it is? About 500000 people live in Wyoming.

But its okay. No one really likes that state anyways. It’s nothing compared with California, Pennsylvania, or even Idaho. Wyoming is just a nothing little state. It’s unspectacular in every way. No one would even notice if everyone from Wyoming just died.

Excuses.

Would anyone notice if you died? Would the football team be able to find a new running back? Would the cheerleaders be able to complete their pyramid? Would your funeral be filled with crying friends and family? Would that girl that hates herself so much that she starves herself be missed? Or how about that boy who everyone is nice to, just nice, not friendly, because they all think he’s going to come to school with a gun?

Are you going to take teenagers seriously now?

I know I’m not. We’re just a bunch of whiners. I can’t think about killing myself without picturing someone saying how dramatic I was by jumping off the bridge. Or hanging from a tree. Or laying on the floor with an empty pill bottle in my hand.

Dead.

5001?

Isn’t it sad that down to my death I’m thinking only of what others think of me? I can only think about if maybe someone will talk to me or even smile at me or even wave at me just so that I could have a little hope. Shouldn’t I be able to go through life a strong, singular person?

No. I shouldn’t wait for friends or life or happiness. I should be that strong person and take matters into my own hands. I know how to stop the name calling. I know how to stop people from stepping on me. I know how to make just about every unpleasant thing in my life stop.

By stopping my life.

So here’s my plan. I’m not going to take anyone down with me. If someone else wants to stop their hurting, they’ll have to have the guts to do it themselves. No, what I’m going to do is make as many people hurt as possible. Not physical hurt, mind you. Just guilt. Remorse. Sadness.

I want you to feel as bad I do. I want everyone to read this. I want you to go to bed at night wishing that you could die too because it was you who killed me. You are the knife that cuts my wrist. You are the rope that stops my breath. You are the bullet that blasts through my brain.

Oh my. A gun. I wonder if I could get that into school.

So, will you take things seriously? I wouldn’t if I were you. I mean, 5000. That’s it. Today, I’ll be one of those 5000. You won’t see anyone at my funeral. You won’t see anyone asking me why I did it. You won’t see anyone missing me.

You’ll just see yourself in the mirror. Can you see yourself now? Look at that face. The face that everyone loves. That is the person who helped kill me. With your hate. With your actions. With your words.

Fat. Ugly. Freak. Faggot. Idiot. Spaz. Weirdo. Douchebag. Slut. Dumbass. Whore. Moron. Bastard. Twat. Skank. Dipshit. Asswipe. Asshole. Dult. Fatass. Bitch. Dork. Pussy. Jackass. Loser. Loser. Loser. Loser. Loser.

So after reading this, go to the empty classroom on the third floor. I’ll be there. I’ll be there and I’ll be waiting to burn the image of my dead body into the mind of all the students in the school. Has someone, a teacher perhaps, stopped people from going in? Push past them. Push into the classroom to see me dead. A real live dead person. Is there a lot of blood? And I a swinger? How did I do it? I don’t know yet. But you’ll know. You’ll know and you’ll remember it forever. Are the cops there yet? Did someone call the police? Did anyone scream? Faint? Puke? I bet you’ll faint if you haven’t seen me yet. You big chicken. Go look at me. I can’t hurt you. I’m dead as dead as dead. Someone trying to keep you out again? Tell them I sent you. I want you to look at me, no matter what! I want you to help everyone else get a look at me too. Step right up, folks, and see a real dead person! No gimmicks, no scams, and it’s only five dollars!

Just kidding. I won’t take your money. You can’t buy anything when you’re dead.


 

If you’re having suicidal thoughts please call 1 (800) 273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

This is a complete work of fiction. 

Where are your stories set?

This might seem a little redundant to say, but when I write high fantasy, I’m writing about a fictional place. However, I didn’t just make it up out of nowhere. I roughly based the continent in Kiss of The Fey on America’s geography. I imagine the north being Canada, the south being Florida, and I base the weather and the seasons accordingly based on where the story fell between those. It’s a lot easier that way, rather than making up all the geographical features, the weather, the seasons, and distances from one city to another.

When writing anything else, I tend to write a pretend, vague version of a real location. I live north of Pittsburgh, so I tend to write stories based in Pennsylvania. I don’t flat out say the town that it takes place in, but I describe it as a rural area north of Pittsburgh and make up schools and mom and pop-type hangout spots. I don’t see the point of setting a book in a location you know nothing about just to make it seem shiny unless it’s relevant to the plot.

Where do you write your books? I’m interested in knowing how you do about creating the setting to your story?

Editing Disaster

So I was all ready to edit Only in Whispers. I had everything printed and ready to go. I printed it a while ago, actually, but let’s not talk about how long I put off starting.

Editing the prologue? That was fine. Prologues are short. No big deal.

The first chapter? I realized oh, there are a lot of mistakes. Oops. I got out notebook paper to write down all the notes that didn’t fit on the page.

I got to the fifth chapter, and I realized I made a terrible mistake. You see, editing Kiss of The Fey was a very drawn out affair. I started the very first draft back in high school, but it was just published this September. I had a few years to run through it a few times and get rid of all the nonsense things before I actually printed it out and looked hard for errors.

Only I forgot that I did that. So now I have a printed first draft of complete poo. (Well, not complete poo, but it’s poo enough when trying to edit it by hand.)

I am officially throwing in the towel and typing up the corrections I made so far then doing the rest digitally. It will save me a lot of time and grief.

the horror

the horror

You know not the level of my hatred for 50 Shades of Grey

Alright, folks. Cosmo is running a 50 Shades of Grey fanfic contest on Wattpad. Or something. Found out about it from here.

Because I do so love writing weird fan fics, I entered as well. I titled it “Train Wreck” because that’s just what it is. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy now, but here’s my entry. If you want to assist in derailing the contest, feel free to write your own piece.

Why I Enjoy Writing Diverse Characters

It’s too often that I find a historical romance novel I enjoy and when I check out the author’s other work, the characters are all the same. The heroine is a beautiful, graceful woman who doesn’t know she’s beautiful, who is caring and kind but “strong” (I say it in quotes because for a woman to be strong she just needs to be more masculine) and smart. The hero is a big muscled hunk who is clever and honorable. Sure, there will be a few minor differences, like the heroine will have a “temper” or the hero’s lust may overcome his honor when he seduces the heroine against her father’s wishes, but mostly, they’re the same.

I understand that you want to write what your readers want to read. If they liked book one, why not make your second book follow the same formula?

Only… that’d be shit to write. Your characters would be the same. They’d never surprise you, never do anything other than what was planned in your outline. I know that some people argue against this type of creativity, saying that writers are crazy if they think that the characters control the story, but those people take the saying too literally. Once you start writing a character, you get a feel for behaviors. A scene you once thought would be serious turns funny when you realize that your character would crack a joke to ease the tension. You may have thought that your character was too strong to weep for her dying dog, but then you realize how much affection she showed the dog, and that she was be depressed for weeks about it.

I plan characters by thinking of how I could make them different from my current characters. My only published book, Kiss of The Fey, features the outspoken clever Johara and the introverted Xenos. I decided that my next book would feature Wren, who is strong-willed yet silent and Ferran, who is very gentle. Next I thought that I would create Wild, who enjoys things like a child and is very naive, and Daivat who holds honor above all else and is very serious. Another book I have planned is between Orion and Kasmira, both of whom were featured in Kiss of The Fey. One is an alcoholic and the other hates everyone and has a terrible temper.

The important thing to remember when creating a character is that they can’t always have attractive flaws. I have yet another book planned in which the main character will be a quiet, caring girl who isn’t afraid to cry, and her love interest is going to be an impatient asshole who thinks all women are weak.

I enjoy lining my characters up next to each other and seeing how they compare. When they come too close (Johara and Wren became too similar, so I started cutting Wren’s dialogue until she was a much quieter person) I change things, and I even try to make their physical characteristics different. Ferran has very dark skin, Johara is tan, Wren is tall and extremely skinny, Orion is a skinny ginger (who isn’t strong at all), my unnamed man will actually be shorter than the unnamed woman… you get the picture.

I know we all love our characters, so it’s important that you love them for their differences, not because they all have big hearts or kind souls. Quite frankly, Kasmira is a bitch, but it’s my job as a writer to show how her and Orion came together, and to make you like her despite her flaws.

On a more unrelated topic, I’ve found a really awesome character creator here. It’s a little confusing at first, but I’ve managed to start making characters and now I’m only stopping because I need to make food. The only real limitation is that if you want to change body types it’s a pain in the butt, so I didn’t bother. Here are some examples:

johara

Johara

Xenos

Xenos

Kyald

Unnamed Male

Elianna

Unnamed Female

I’m sorry if this post seemed scattered, but break is finally over and I’m still trying to get back into the grove of things, including finishing everything I said I’d do over break and getting back to blogging for realz (and not just posting book reviews, because that’s really all I’ve done over break).