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Ignore the Trends


I see the posts on Facebook and I used to read them. Authors asking what literary trends readers are tired of. The most recent list was filled with comments like, insta-love, love triangles, billionaires, dominatrix’s, and alpha males that are really just a**holes and not alpha at all.

I try to avoid reading these lists. Why? Because whether I like it or not, people influence my writing. I try not to let it happen, but invariably it does. I read that people don’t want to read about billionaires, so then I want to make sure I never write about a billionaire, no matter how much I want to write the story or how awesome I think the character in my head is. My knee jerk reaction is to delete it.

But then I read that people WANT to read about billionaires and I’m torn. Which crowd to I cater to? Do I write about billionaires or not? At this point I’m running in circles…NOT writing anything for fear of writing the wrong thing.

I stopped reading lists of what readers want and don’t want. I’m going to write my books the way I want to write my books. I’ll create the stories that are inside me and morph them into something hopefully totally awesome. Something I hope people will read and enjoy. That’s it. That’s all any of us can do. We can only write the stories that are inside of us. We can’t reach around into everyone’s head and write the stories they all want to read.

We can’t please everyone, so I’ll start with pleasing myself and hopefully the world will follow.

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Seven charts show how Bollywood depicts women.

An international study finds that women in Indian movies are made to emphasise their sex appeal, but are unlikely to have professions.

Much has been made of the objectification of women in Indian cinema but here’s a study that actually quantifies how Bollywood treats its female characters. An analysis by the Geena Davis Institute on Women in Media finds that at least a third of the women characters in films released in between the beginning of 2010 and the first half of 2013 were some sort of scantily dressed.

The study analyses popular films from the ten countries with the most profitable motion picture markets and the role of women in them. For most part, women are far less represented than men in front and behind the camera. In almost all film industries a large number of women are used for supportive, decorative and sexualised roles and universally, women in films cannot escape the emphasis on their looks.

India lags far behind other countries in simply the number of women characters in films. The study finds that less than a quarter of all speaking or named characters were women and none had lead roles.

In India, far more than in other countries, women have to be attractive or be made attractive to be on the screen. The study defined attractiveness as “verbal/non-verbal utterances that communicated the physical desirousness of another character”. India was also above the average in terms of the percentage of female characters that were shown wearing something skimpy or with some nudity. Other countries with movies that emphasised sexiness are Australia and Germany.

What Indians don’t care too much for is having thin women on screen. Only 18% of female Indian film characters were thin as opposed to the average 38% in other film industries.

What’s perhaps most reflective of the supporting roles that women play in most Indian movies are their professions ‒ or rather lack of them. The study analysed how many female characters held jobs in technical fields like science and engineering. Indian films don’t score well, at a meager 8%.

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How do I make or establish a demonym for a ficticious country?



Demonyms are an interesting aspect of naming a location. Let’s look at what makes a demonym.

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A love story, at least a convincing one, requires three elements - the lover, the beloved, and the adventures they have together.
— Jane Smiley (via infamoussayings)

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If I had the power, I would ask all the authors in the world to do Yuletide or something like it every year. Sign up for a fic exchange and write some porn for a stranger; tailor your stories to an audience of one, let go of the long-form plots and the careful wide-spectrum appeal, embrace the joy of spending a hundred words on Carlos’s perfect hair or Buffy’s perfect shoes or Jo’s perfect knives. Remember the joy of waiting for one person to open a story and see what it contains.

Because fanfic is joy. Fanfic is fixing the things you see as broken, and patching the seams between what’s written and what is not, and giving characters who got cheated out of their happy endings another chance. There was a time, not that long ago as we measure things, where all fiction was what we would now call “fan fiction.” Shakespeare didn’t come up with most of his own plots. He wrote plays about the stories people already loved. We didn’t get a thousand versions of “Snow White” accidentally: people changed that story to suit themselves, and no one said they weren’t storytellers, or looked down on them for loving that core of red and black and white, of apples and glass and snow.

Seanan McGuire, “Let’s Talk About Fanfic.”

(hat tip to kassrachel for the link!)

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Nothing is too cliche. Write your story. It will have similarities to other stories that have been told before. All stories have those. There is nothing new under the sun.

Video games have been peddling out the same grizzly, white, male protagonist for decades without seeing even a hiccup in sales. No one getting ready to pitch their game is up there thinking, “Is this too cliche.”

It will only feel cliche if your characters aren’t fully realized. If your world is painted two dimensionally. If the emotional existence of your work isn’t strong enough to make readers forget everything else they’ve ever read.

If you’re going to run this plotline, you have to make it good.

ask response, Pseudo, motivation for moving beyond your writing habits, 2014.

emphasis mine.

(via aintgotnoladytronblues)

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…we’ve shown different sides of Dukat over the years and that you get the feeling from the cumulative episodes… is that he might evolve into one of the good guys given the right circumstances. And there’s a strong temptation to do just that — to turn him into a likable rogue who helps out our characters and redeems himself in the eyes of the audience. That’s the traditional TV approach — any bad guy on screen long enough will become a good guy if you start showing “humanizing” aspects of his character. However… doing that in this case would be to deny the backstory and the character that we’ve established. He oversaw a brutal and murderous occupation. He sold his people to the Dominion. He waged a war of conquest against the Federation. He was willing to kill his own daughter if she went against him. He’s a bad guy. A fascinating bad guy, but a bad guy… He may help us on occasion, he may save a puppy from being hit by a truck, he may even make us laugh and feel good about him in an unguarded moment, but those things only round out his character, they do not salvage him as a character.
— Ronald D Moore (via airyairyquitecontrary)

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You must be unintimidated by your own thoughts because if you write with someone looking over you shoulder, you’ll never write.

Nikki Giovanni


(via gradientlair)

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As a male writer, do you feel your work distracts from your traditional role of hunting and killing wild animals?
— (via cannedmonster)