Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Top Ten Favorite Strong, Fictional Women


I can enjoy reading/watching stories about damsels in distress, but nothing gets me as excited as having a strong woman to look up to. Here are my ten favorites.

10. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre

 Jane Eyre has a deep inner strength that I've admired from the moment I first read the book. I call it the perfect classical romance novel.

Watching her deal with being locked in a room as a child, having to make her own living when it was a difficult time for women to do so, deal with a psycho (literally) wife who wished to kill her, and suffering through homelessness was unbelievable to read about. She never loses her strength to keep trying and to always do the right thing, even when that meant leaving a rich man she was madly in love with and living on the streets as a result.

9. Debra Morgan from Dexter

 She's a homicide detective who is often one step ahead of her colleagues. If it wasn't for her, the police in Miami wouldn't capture half the murderers they do. She's been through a lot, from having an ex-boyfriend try to kill her (Brian Moser) to watching her lover (Lundy) die in front of her while she was hopeless to stop it. And she still always works hard. She has so much inner strength to keep doing what she does and the body to match as well. She is one of the only women I've ever seen who can swear like a sailor, while still staying feminine.

8. Daria Morgendorffer from Daria

When I was a teen, I didn't fit in. I was nerdy, quiet, and I wore glasses. Daria made me feel good about myself. The fact that I hated sports and would sometimes put as little effort into trying to hit the ball wasn't so bad. Daria does in the theme song where she half-heartedly sticks out her hand, but doesn't move. She didn't care what anyone thought and would always speak her mind.

7. Game of Thrones - Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark

I couldn't choose just one character. I am still on season one of Game of Thrones, but I'm impressed by what I've seen so far. Arya learning how to fight like men do and not accepting her role in society or the pressure people put on her has earned my admiration. Daenerys was so weak at the beginning of the series, letting her own brother strip her naked and force her to marry another man, but since then, she's gained her voice and proved her worth. She's a strong woman who was able to adapt to her new homeland and use her power to conquer the men who try to oppress her. Even my boyfriend was cheering for her in the last episode we saw where her brother attacked her and she fought him off.

6. Olivia Pope from Scandal

Every week that I watch the show, I wonder how Olivia Pope will get her clients out of their predicaments and the results make me amazed by how smart she is. She's the kind of woman anyone would want fighting in their corner. She protects people's reputations and keeps them out of jail. She takes such a personal interest in her work that she has a whole staff of broken people working for her. "Olivia likes to fix things" whether they are her friends or her job. And her gut is what? Never wrong.

5. Medusa

The idea that there was a monster out there with snakes for hair and eyes that could turn you into stone with one gaze was nightmare fuel when I was a child. As an adult, she became a fascination of mine and my current WIP is a retelling of her story. I can't wait for you guys to read it!

She really got to my heart when I learned the story of her being raped and turned into a terrifying monster because of it.

4. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

All lists these days of strong women seem to have Katniss Everdeen in them. I love that she's beautiful and yet hates to shave her legs. She certainly doesn't fit the usual stereotype of corset wearing, model-like strong women that appear in most stories. She carried her family after her father's death and can kill anything with a bow. Watching her go through the Hunger Games without losing her morals or her mind set my admiration in stone.

3. Roseanne from Roseanne

I've known a lot of people who claim that the two worst traits a woman can have are being overweight and bitter. Not only is Roseanne fat and sarcastic, but she's proud of it, too. I felt the pressure of trying to lose weight and act like a sweet girl fading more and more as I watched the show. I'm allowed to have a voice and just because I may not look perfect doesn't mean I have no value as a human being. I could never thank Roseanne enough for inspiring me to feel good about being who I am. After all, if she doesn't apologize for it, why should I feel the need to?

2. Charlene Elizabeth Baltimore from The Long Kiss Goodnight

I grew up on this movie. I watched it for the first time when I was eleven years old with my mother, who loved to say "Chefs do that." She probably wasn't the best role model for a tween girl, but she was the first fictional woman I ever admired who could beat bad guys up and would do anything for her family. Goodbye Disney Princesses.

1. Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

She'll always be my favorite strong woman. She has an amazing heart and the ability to beat any supernatural creature she comes across. Usually, I hate cheerleaders, but Buffy wasn't stupid, like the stereotype. She is beautiful and sassy. She cries, but she still looks strong doing it.


Who do you think should have made it to this list? I'd love to hear your opinions!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fantasy/Sci-Fi ROMANCE Writer?

Many people, along with me, have heard about the fact that J.K. Rowling is writing a new book. The Harry Potter series is over, but many were hoping for a new fantasy series. What we are getting instead is a political drama for adults. It's not for kids, it's not based on whimsical daydreams. It's serious.

I plan on reading the book anyway. I trust Rowling; she's proven to be an amazing writer so far, but a lot of other people aren't going to join me. Now that she's wandered so far from her origins, it's turned quite a few people away.

It's because authors are more than just authors, they are brands. Brand names were created for consistency, so you know you will be receiving a certain type of product from them. If you shop at Food for Less you expect groceries. If you go to Barnes and Nobles you expect books. In the same way, when Stephen King writes a book, people expect horror and with Stephenie Meyer, there will be vampires. Not all the books they have written are on these topics, but most of them.

I need to be consistent as well. I can't write every genre that I know of except for mysteries. I have to pick and choose.

I love world building and I love writing romance, so fantasy/sci-fi romance is probably my genre. I feel kind of foolish. Fantasy/sci-fi romance is quite a mouthful and maybe I will have to narrow it down even more. It is something I am giving serious thought to because once I commit myself to a certain area, I need to keep inside of that space as much as possible.

I know there are a lot of authors who write in various different areas and I'm tempted to be like them. It sounds very freeing, but since I so far have been unable to find an agent for my books, I might be going the indie route and the more consistency I can provide the better.

Too bad "writing for women" couldn't be a genre. I'd definitely fit into that one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Fixed Commenting


Someone told me that their comment disappeared. My blog ate it and that I should have pop-ups comments instead. So hopefully this will work better. =)

I also made it so anonymous people can comment. Tell me if you have any problems with it. You can e-mail me at deathauthor@live.com.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

When it all started . . . .

I find it really hard to say exactly when everything started and how much I have done as a writer.

The first novel I ever wrote I started several years ago, maybe 5 or more years ago, I can't remember the date exactly. I knew I wanted to be a writer then, but I didn't yet understand that writing meant doing it regularly. Sometimes I'd skip a month or two and then suddenly write several chapters in a forty-eight hour period. I finished the first draft, but didn't edit it to its completion. I learned a lot from the draft and wound up trashing it because it was so poorly written.

Sometimes I count this as the point I started writing, but sometimes I don't, because at the time I wasn't working on my writing every day like I do now. I never know whether or not to count it as a novel I wrote because I didn't finish editing it and wound up trashing the whole thing.

Around 3 years ago was when I started to write every day. I started a new novel that I called Spirit Speaker that I finished and queried for, but was rejected. I also wrote a short story about a ghost that was rejected by a couple of magazines that I submitted it to. I know these count because I submitted them, but what about all the random scenes I've written for other possible novels in the future. What about the short stories I haven't completed? And the novels I am still working on?

Also, I wrote a story about a homeless girl and a romance novel with intentions of them becoming full length novels, but right now, with their first draft done, they are only the length of a novella. Usually when I go through second and third drafts , I add tens of thousands of words by the time I am finished, so they may become a novel eventually. What do I count them as?

So people who ask me how long I've been a writer and how much I've written, they get some variant of this answer: 3/5 years, I've written 1/2/3/5 novels, 2 novellas?, a few short stories, and a million outlines. I wish I could get it straight so I could tell everyone the same answer.

Does anyone else have this problem? Was becoming a writer such a gradual thing for you that you don't know how to answer the question about WHEN you started to write?

And in what part of the process of writing a novel or short story do you count it as something you have written? I'm editing my second?/third? novel but it isn't done.

I know some people count the amount of time they've been writing as being the same as the amount of time since they wrote their first story ever. If that's the case then I've been writing since I was nine, but I don't think that's correct either.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Peeve of Mine

"That's obviously your first draft."

"You didn't read the article I provided on how to write a query letter, did you?"

"I hate when people write synopses and it's obvious that they never proofread it."

"If you want to be a writer than you need to study spelling and grammar."

I've heard people use this kind of insulting language several times when critiquing people. If you've done it, then please don't do it again. It is not constructive criticism, it is belittling.

Why are these phrases insultful? Because they make assumptions, like if someone can't write a good query, then they obviously didn't study how to. Or if someone's novel is full of plot holes and spelling mistakes, then they MUST have never proofread it.

The truth is, no one can say that for sure how much work someone put into a story besides the person who wrote it. We're all at different stages of learning. Certain aspects of writing come easier to some of us and not others. Just because someone's spelling and grammar is as bad as yours were before you started studying it, doesn't mean they never took the time to study themselves.

If they have studied or proofread, you'll make them feel like an idiot. They'll become frustrated because they did the work but it didn't show. If all it took was work, then it should be fixed by now. They are lacking knowledge and they've come to you because you can provide it. Take the time to teach them what they did wrong. You'll help them more in the long run by showing them how to do it the right way rather than belittling them.

That's why I've been upset by editors that I've heard say,"I won't read someone's story if it's their first draft."

How can they tell? From critiquing a variety of people who've put a lot of work into their novels, I can tell that some are good at grammar, others not. Some can easily create a story, some need a push. Some write clearly, others have trouble explaining or showing things. We're all different.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Avengers, Joss Whedon, and Comic Books

*no spoilers in case you're worried*

I am a huge superhero movie fan. I've already seen the Avengers twice in theaters and it's been out less than twenty four hours. I don't know what it is, but superheros get me all choked up. Watching them save lives and risk their own, push their bodies beyond limits that we can push ours, is really neat.

I also love Joss Whedon. I watched the full series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a week. I randomly sing songs from Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog to my dogs while they wag their tails at me. Firefly is on my to watch list, since I enjoyed the movie Serenity. It's no wonder that I love the Avengers since he directed it and wrote the screenplay. I know people make lists of who they would like as an actor cast for their books if they were made into movies, but in my dream world, one of my books would be made into a movie directed and written by Joss Whedon. I wouldn't even care who the cast was. He'd probably find a better cast then I ever could. I wish I had even half the talent he does.

Anyway, that got me thinking about other movies that have been popular lately like the Hunger Games. While it was a movie that I enjoyed, there was still so much missing from the book in the movie, that I was a bit disappointed. I think comic books make better movies than novels do. They have less internal dialogue, which never translates correctly onto the big screen.

I was at a book club last night and me and a few other women were discussing how we felt like the Hunger Games movie didn't capture the full essence of the story. We still enjoyed it and I'm probably going to go to the midnight showing again when the second movie comes out, but we were still complaining about the ways it lacked in comparison to the book for a good twenty minutes.

And that got me thinking, too. I absolutely love discussing the good and bad of movies I see and books I read. It's very rare that I actually see or read one that I hate, I think I've only given two one-star reviews for books in my life (and ironically, they were both paranormal romance novels.) But I usually have a lot to say when I discuss them with friends both positively and negative.

Is it really so bad to have our books get critiqued by the public? Should I be so hurt if someone says something negative about it? Because maybe they are only commenting on it because they care. Wouldn't they not bother commenting at all if they didn't feel for the book in some way?

That's why I discuss the Avengers and the Hunger games with other people after all. I care about them and what they had to say.

I just hope I remember all this when I get published someday (self-published or otherwise.) It's a good way of looking at things. Bad reviews don't have to feel so badly after all.

(P.S. Sorry if this post was too all over the place. I saw the midnight showing last night and the first showing this morning and because of it, I lost a lot of sleep. Now time to take a nap!)