Thursday, 19 June 2014

Didn't you know...?

Evil Women are Sexy

What? You didn’t know? Come on. Haven’t you seen the red lipstick ladies with the arching eyebrows, dark eye shadow and sultry stare? No…? Ah, must be an on screen/in book cliché then.

And I know, men go through it too. Snarky. Sauvé. British. Or his counterpart: Brutish (not British!). Silent. Dumb.
But the one I’m going to talk about today is the Sexy Evil Woman.
Sitting down with my daughter and watching the Sexy Evil Woman swish into a cartoon is kind of odd because…well, it’s a kids cartoon. But she's still there and she's still sexy too! 

So I began to asking myself about the combination. Why are those two things synonymous when depicting antagonistic women? Why are they Evil and Sexy?
So I did some research and what came up surprised me as it had little to do with sex. 

Sexy isn’t evil, make-up is. Apparently, those who wear masks only do so to lure people in and cover up their true intentions. Also, Evil isn’t sexy, it’s supposed to be ugly, hence the need for make-up in the first place. Take a look at those old Disney movies and what do you see?

Snow White and Aurora both have pretty plain make-up, if any. In fact, I think that’s supposed to be their natural beauty we’re seeing. Whereas if you look at women like Maleficent or Ursula (from The Little Mermaid), there’s a lot going on in the make-up department, no?
Another interesting thing about make-up is that way back when, cosmetics were pretty poisonous, yet some women still went on to wear the stuff. This caused people to see make-up users as vain enough to risk their lives for beauty.

But for me, it’s not just the make-up cliché that drives me up the wall; it’s the attitude of the Sexy Evil Woman. Her borderline role-playing voice that gives us cues that she’s evil. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then check out these YouTube vids:

Fed up of hearing that long tonal drag and sarcastic laugh yet? Yeah, me too.

Sadly, when we think of antagonistic women, we can’t help but think of them like this. And to be fair, it’s been fed to us over generations, though when sprinkled here and there, they’re not too bad. But they truly are everywhere and often in the pages of books, too, which makes for predictable, cardboard, and dare I say it, “Boring Evil”.

For some reason, the one-eyed villain who strokes his cat while exposing his devious plans is a bit of a joke, though the Sexy Evil Woman is still going strong.

But hey, we can start changing that, right? We can give her some substance, can’t we?

Friday, 13 June 2014

Blog Tour!!

Infected by the wonderful Tex Thompson, I now give you....

#My Writing Process

What am I working on?

I’m working on a commercial Sci-Fi, or perhaps better described as a soft Sci-Fi novel. Basically, thur be no descriptions on FTL here! Hopefully I’ve taken an old cliché of dystopians and switched it up nicely. My beta readers will let me know…

It’s told from the first person POV of a twenty-something-year-old rich boy turned not-so-rich-anymore cyborg hunter. Look, don’t make me turn this into a query, you know how hard those things are! There are rotting cyborgs of a suspicious nature, governments of a suspicious nature and a virus of a suspicious nature, not to mention an awkward romance consisting of my MC, his dead girlfriend’s sister and guilt. The romance wasn’t planned but I’m starting to like the idea…

It has sex in it, like detailed sex, so I’m going to go ahead and say it’s not for the younger audience. It's either classed as NA or Adult, which sounds safer.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It differs because I’m not sure it even belongs there. I want anyone, mainly the non-sci-fi type, to pick this up and get the backdrop instantly. 
I don’t want them getting confused, feeling the way I do about hard Sci-Fi. 
I don’t want them pausing, trying to work out what that cat-dog-bat creature is. 
I don’t want them lost with my MC standing at some future high-tech super-duper terminal baffled by the description of the hover trains engine, or on some misty planet known as Acgkermatia talking to his indigenous mate Dklaarki or some other name that makes the reader squint.

So how does my Sci-Fi differ from others? It might not be one. I’m just hoping it’s soft enough that even the most weary Sci-Fi readers feel at home with it.

Why do I write what I do?

Because if I don’t, the voices in my head will take over.
Because I secretly want to live another life.
Because I desperately want to live in a fantasy world.
Because it’s a way of exploring the many sides of myself.

Because it’s a form of therapy, then. 

Because, I dunno… I just have to.

How does my writing process fail each time work?

Here’s the thing: I have a sneaky suspicion it doesn’t. Maybe it does, but I never feel like all my stories are complete. I keep that to myself though, and tell people otherwise because I know that at heart, I’m a perfectionist. I mean, first draft? What’s that? My first draft is the equivalent of your final draft when it needs that extra bit of working on. 

I’ve never written a first draft since the days of pencil and paper. I can’t help but aim to finish a final draft then work on it from there. So wait….is that a first draft? Oh man, what was I saying about that sneaky suspicion?

Anyway, thanks for listening. I now pass on the lurgies that is the #My Writing Process Blog Tour to three other authors/soon to be authors.

Terri Cerés is an escaped psychiatric patient from a parallel universe who has settled on our planet and now lives among us under the guise of a a writer, poet, student and human trying to become an author, wordsmith, "adult" and human. Approach with caution on her Twitter. She updates her blog Terri Writes on Saturday's and every other Tuesday... Maybe.

By day, Robert Evert is an ordinary university professor bent on stamping out ignorance and apathy wherever they may rear their ugly heads. By night, and during various faculty meetings, he is an aspiring fantasy writer. Living in northeast Ohio with his wife, two sons, dog, four cats, and a host of imaginary friends, Robert enjoys teaching, yoga, hiking, and writing. You may learn more about Robert Evert at his blog where he discusses being a neurotic writer. Riddle in Stone is his first novel.

Sarah Foster is a writer and blogger hibernating in a studio apartment with her fiancé and cat just south of Boston, MA. Her fictional characters take up residency in her brain, so she tends to have a strong, sometimes obsessive connection with them. She writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to, but usually ends up leaning toward Young Adult. She also writes poetry and plays, and hopes to write screenplays someday as well. Check out her blog at The Faux Fountain Pen or on Twitter @Sarah_A_Foster.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Twitter Pitching!


Another Twitter Pitch fest just gone and this time it was #SFFpit for sci-fi and fantasy.
I entered.
I always enter either very early or very late, because UK time means 8am-8pm is actually 2pm-2am. #SFFpit wasn’t as jammed as the better known #pitmad or #pitchmadness which could mean your pitch has a higher chance of being seen...maybe?? I dunno. I’m just looking for silver linings.

Anyway, one of the things I always get into a twist about is categorising my work.
This time around there was more guidance in that department, but I still wasn’t sure, and don’t even get me started on genre, well, sub-genre. I know it’s fantasy but if I had to boil it down I’m not sure exactly where it sits. Urban Fantasy, Magical Realism or Low Fantasy – somewhere along those lines.

I love taking part in Twitter Pitch fests. Usually the querying process is so secretive but on Twitter you get to see what’s working and what’s not, who’s getting faved, what’s popular, all that kind of stuff.
Luckily I’ve always been faved during each fest (I’ve taken part in three) but have never been successful. I always run into the same issues, usually due to writing in a “dead genre” or misunderstandings in regards to the category. I really ought to stop calling it New Adult; as much as the ages of my characters fit in that category, New Adult means something other than age to most agents and publishers out there…and it’s not what I mean.

Another interesting thing about Twitter Pitches is, the same way any writer can join, any publisher or agent can join, too. And I do mean any. So just because you get faved, doesn't mean you have to follow up immediately. Remember, research is your friend. It's easy to get caught up in the rush of things and send your work out as quickly, but take your time, look around, see what other people have to say about that particular agency or publisher, THEN make a decision.
Again: Research. Is. Your. Friend.

So, hoping to join in the next Twitter Pitch fest? I know I am! And this time with a new WIP. In the meantime, check out Dan Koboldt and Ava Jae's very helpful posts on Twitter Pitching.

Upcoming quarterly #PitMad events:

September 9, 2014

December 4, 2014

March 11, 2015

June 4, 2015

September 10, 2015

December 4, 2015

#PitMad starts at 8AM and ends at 8PM (EST or EDT, New York time)

Monday, 2 June 2014

Plot Holes

It’s like this…

…I will never write about time travel. Time travel probably has the highest rate of plot holes and I hate plot holes. The only time I would ever write about time travel is if it involved parallel universes, and even then I’d be too scared to even try. Unless I started to think about time as more of a concept, which it sort of is to us humans, especially if we were to travel through a black hole where time is said to not exist at all...

Anywho, where was I?

Yeah. Plot holes. Frickin’ hate em. When I come across a plot hole, I don’t always know it’s a plot hole, I just know that something is wrong with my story and my brain addresses the problem like this.

Me: “Something’s not right here.”

My Brain: “Ah, I see what the problem is; you’ve written a shit story.”

Me: “Oh…”

And then I walk away and wonder (for the umpteenth time) if I should take up something else. Within a few days I realise the real problem is a PLOT HOLE/HOLES and not the quick solution my brain came up with.

I wish I could write this post and then by the end of it give you some awesome account of how I solve the issue of plot holes. I wish I could tell you how to spot them as well. But I can’t. I just fall into them and maybe you do too. This is why we write drafts. For me, I can sometimes tell when I’m dealing with a plot hole due to three things happening either individually or all at once:

1. I just can not write no matter what.

2. My characters are doing some dumb shit that I never intended them to do.

3. What is this story about again…?

Number three is the major one. That’s not me dealing with a plot hole, that’s me dealing with having lost the plot completely. This is when I scrap the story and start again, regardless of how many words I’ve written already. Sorry I can’t offer any advice here, I just wanted to let you know that yeah, I’m not immune to plot holes. I don’t think anyone is. Not even Faulkner

Thanks for listening.

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