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On Writing Women. Looking for honesty...

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Heliotrope, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. I might check them out. Thanks.
  2. Dark Squiggle

    Dark Squiggle Troubadour

    LotR does not win in this category. I didn't think it won with anything other than with the familiarness of the hobbits, Gollum, the fact that it sort of started the genre and the perfect ending it has.
    I found Dune to be disturbing. It was a good book, but not enjoyable. I guess the complaint discussed here could be part of it. I tried to read God Emperor of Dune, also, as I found it lying around, and it was just torture.
    This is not just a problem with fantasy, but with all literature. Women are scarce, truly normal people are scarce, and normal women scarcer.
    It actually annoys me when female authors write male-dominated books, because they are in the best position to balance things out, and yet many of them don't.
    It also annoys me when male authors use female characters in undeniably female ways (not things that are just about 'being people') because I feel lied to.
    I know he is a big part of this thread, but Phillip Pullman does not annoy me at all with his Lyra, and neither does Terry Pratchett with Tiffany, because I can relate to their characters as people, I could say "Yeah that's me", or "I'd've done it differently" as if I were standing where they are in the books, and yet I always know they are female.
    I know this is being blindly gender binary, but I expect there to be a difference between male and female characters, and if I feel a character is in the wrong body it irks me as well.
    Heliotrope likes this.
  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    Me too. It's a good story in an interesting setting. I also copied a lot of the paladin concept for my own paladins.
  4. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    She's totally a Susie Q though. Lovely story. But the heroine was too perfect.
    Heliotrope likes this.
  5. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    I know. I'm not articulating myself well because I am seriously flying by the seat of my pants and thinking out loud about all this. It may not be the best example, and it is totally true that there are TONS of characters who are all special in their own way. I guess it's just that she feels a bit like a token? Like Elle wasn't going to be there with them for a lot of the season so they needed a token "girl" to balance stuff out? But Lucus doesn't have to have any special abilities (other than being the token black kid, I guess), and Dustin certainly doesn't have to have any special abilities (other than being supernaturally stupid, perhaps)... lol. It just sort of feel unbalanced to me. Lots of testosterone.

    But I LOVED the show. So I'm not complaining, merely pointing out something I am now paying more attention to.
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Okay, I can get that. I don't know about "token" and all the baggage that comes with that word, but it was pretty transparent that they were replacing El. In season 1 the team was three boys and El. In season 2, with Will back from the Upside Down, it's four boys, and El's away. I don't think anything would've made her inclusion for that reason any less obvious. But honestly, what else could they have done? I don't think the video game thing makes any real difference.

    I'm sorry, though, I didn't mean to derail the thread. These conversations have a way of getting sidetracked by arguments over the examples people use. There was just something about that one line - but nevermind it all.
    Heliotrope likes this.
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I don’t agree.
  8. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    That's fine. You don't have to. :D
  9. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

    To the book's credit (sort of), I felt most of the characters weren't very fleshed out.
  10. Dark Squiggle

    Dark Squiggle Troubadour

    The only thing that was fleshed out in Dune was the violence and cruelty. I think Herbert was trying to say that it was the natural state of things, or maybe he just hated his characters, but just about everything in the book felt like a backdrop to Paul Atreides, either to make him brave and powerful, or to justify what he did, so maybe it just happened to be that way because that was the way the main character demanded it.
  11. Russ

    Russ Istar

    Not sure I totally agree about Stranger Things. While the central cast is very male heavy, I don't see Max as heroic, the skill in video games is really just character colour and does not give her any advantages in the plot. I think she was written that way, Tom boyish to give her a way to relate to the young male stars, who are at an awkward age with girls and would have trouble relating to more traditionally feminine characters. I am hoping her role will be expanded in the next season.

    But with Eleven, well...she is who she is. And I think she is amazing.
    Heliotrope likes this.
  12. noob of the north

    noob of the north Minstrel

    It clicked with me in a major way and I was slightly nibbled on by a plot bunny army approaching on fellbeasts. I'd read the crap out of something like that. What if I beg and sing "The road goes ever on"? :D
    DragonOfTheAerie likes this.
  13. I will write it down and try to see if i can make it come to life! The only thing is, I am in the middle of a WIP and several short stories and have like twelve story concepts gestating, including a couple graphic novels and a novel in verse O_O
    noob of the north likes this.
  14. glutton

    glutton Inkling

    I'm a straight male but I always had a thing for heroic female characters and feel sad when in fiction female characters "sold" as being awesome often lose their relevance and end up playing second fiddle to males. That's why I've tended to take more inspiration from video games than books, when there are playable female characters they tend to be able to handle the monsters and big bads on par with male heroes (since, you know, the player playing as them would be dissatisfied otherwise). Case in point:

    Little girl with a mace as big as her torso knocking monsters 5-10 times her size high in the air and off the screen, juggling them, crushing them with a move called "Gigant Hammer" etc. for the win!
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
    Heliotrope likes this.
  15. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    I think what this comes down to is that art has to speak to our individual humanity. Even the best works will miss the mark on someone, mainly because it's impossible to reach everyone.
  16. ^Well said.
  17. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    Hmmmmmm, yes. I think this is it.

    I think it's the lack of variety that bugs me. I'd love to see more individual humans (*cough cough* women) in speculative fiction.
  18. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    That is it, but there’s more to it than that. Half of that humanity (and more) has been systematically overlooked... It’s not about laying blame at the doors of individual authors or works, but rather recognizing that, particularly when it comes to classics, books have been biased by publishing houses, editors, marketing boards that valued one picture of life over any other. Anyone can prefer to read what they want to, what resonates with them. But when the makeup of an industry is biased, particularly at the executive level, not all readers’ desires will be met. I’m glad this has been changing. I benefited from what I think was a wave of “girl power” YA fantasy in the 90s—if I hadn’t read Dealing with Dragons and Sabriel I might never have gotten into fantasy, though my dad read me Tolkien from a young age. I hope the genre becomes more and more inclusive as time goes on, and there are great signs that it is.
  19. Speaking of, we have a female Doctor now. I'd say that's something to celebrate.

    If no one has any idea of what I'm talking about, that's okay, too.
  20. Alora pendrak

    Alora pendrak Scribe

    No even as a girl gender never mattered to me if the characters and plot are interesting that's enough for me. This whole i couldn't relate to the character mentality never made sense to me since if the writer was good i could slip into the skin of someone else easily and their pain, fear, desires i understood them even through i never was in their situation becuse they like me had emotions. I actually read many fantasy books with girl characters Enchanted Forest chroncicles, books with girls raiseing dragons i don't remember the names of,Artemis fowl, Harry potter, Percy Jackson ect........ so to me their are lots of girl characters in children's books. The problem is once you get to YA Fantasy and then adult its mostly self inserts due to writers realizing thanks to Twilight its an easy copy and paste fomula that sells and the general backlash aginst female characters due to this whole girls cann't be this or that becuse it reflects badly on women mindset.
    I honestly hate average characters boys and girls they bore me have little to no defined personalities and honestly are never actually average or the outcasts they pretend to be. Wendy Darling from the Peter Pan novel is a key example of an aggravatingly average but everyone fawns/obsesses over her for no reason character ( i think JM Barrie had severe mommy issues so the idealization of her makes sense from an author standpoint). I personally never saw Wendy as leaving Never land as any kind of realization that she didn't need peter or wanted to grow up. She just seemed freaked out over the through of her parents forgetting her and was fine useing peter to get away from her mundane life once a year during Spring Cleaning. i honestly think she was still trying to get Peter to grow up so she could marry him, the whole time until she actually grew up and gave up on that idea. Then again i see Wendy as the girl version of the nice guy, so i'm biased although Hook and the 2003 movie versions don't help Wendy's case.

    Am i the only one who hates the female warrior character? I blame the book two princesses of Bamarie, which i loved becuse the cowardly, shy more girly sister Abbie had to save her brave, cocky warrior sister Mytle from dying from an illness and Myrtle the bad ass sister tries to keep her illness from running her life, by doing the opposite of what it wants. Mytle even breaks down crying at one point but then pulls it together and says " Its fine crying is part of the adventure" She even gets nasty and viciously pushes her sister away and later admits she wanted it to be easier on Abby when she finally died. Mytle isnt even the hero of the story, but her love for her sister and unwillingness to give up without a fight is what inspires Abby to become the hero, and even when the battle is about inner strength Mytle fights to the end dispite the fact deep down she's a scared teenage girl who's faceing the fact she's most likely going to die. Since then i cann't get behind these leather clad, ass kicking posers who manage to take out ten guys without breaking a sweat, have everyone bow to them, put other women and men down for not being as strong as them and rarely haveing any personality. There are a few exceptions but usually these female characters seem to be to girls what Wolverine is to boys a mix up of things people think are bad ass like fighting authority when really it just makes you a pig headed jerk with little respect for others. Even the game of thrones warrior ladies who i liked in the books were turned into these stone cold anti non warrior women anti intellect, disrespectful machines for the tv show.
    Believe it or not older fantasy has some pretty awesome female characters if you know where to look that often get overlooked becuse there's this assumption female driven narratives are a new thing. The vilkings and Greeks have powerful goddesses, there's a Chinese myth where the princess was captured by the dragon becuse she caused him problems, she has to be rescued but depicted as an respected male ally aiding his female general afterwards they both team up to take out the dragon. Molly Whuppet is about a girl who tricks an oger to save her and her sisters. fairytales pre brothers Grimm were actually a lot more interesting in terms of women being clever/saveing themselves there's versions of Cinderella, Little Red Ridding hood where they outwit the villian's no hero required. Even the Brothers Grimm have stories like Clever Manka and stories where the rescued Princess keeps the witch at bay while her and the hero run. Even in Hansel and Gretle, Gretal saves the day not Hansel. Also everyone overlooks the fact Rupunzel was abandoned by the witch in the desert while pregnant and still managed to survive despite liveing her whole life in a tower,Rupunzel is the most hardcore fairy tale princess ever in the Grimm's version. Also Hans Christian Anderson's the Snow Queen and Little Mermaid not to mention all the female fairies and monsters that exist throughout fantasy.
    DragonOfTheAerie and pmmg like this.

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