Tuesday, February 3, 2015

No Damsels in Distress

100% Damsel in Distress Free


My novels and stories are 100% Damsel In Distress free. It wasn't a conscious choice, something to be avoided. I simply haven't encountered that many damsels in my life. Those I have annoyed me. I'm a big believer in being the solution to your own problems. I have daughters and I've tried to instill that idea in them just as I have always put it into my characters.

That is not to say that my female characters are not feminine or are male characters in dresses. What I hope I accomplish is avoiding those simple characterization boxes that make writing bland. Not all of my female characters are good at solving their own problems but they try. Sometimes they get in their own way. Sometimes they need to be saved. Sometimes they kick ass and take names. The point for me is to make them people first, female second, then the list goes on from there.

Not all of my females are born female. Gender is a huge issue in the lives of some pretty wonderful people and one that is hard to ignore when you are looking for complexity in the world of your novel. In the case of the transgendered people I have written I still go with people first, identified gender second...

When it comes to being saved I aspire to make it plot necessary, or dramatic, never character defining. Peril is a necessary thing in the kinds of books I write. I love mayhem and dangerous situations and seeing how characters react. But if you ever see me use a character as a peril device, someone who simply exists to be rescued by and show off the prowess of the male lead- call me on it.

You may be saying who cares, big deal, or I don't even read your books, why should it matter to me? My point is, writers, even a poor hack like me, along with filmmakers, musicians, even video game developers, create, bit by bit, our culture. It's a responsibility. I believe that culture is akin to the ocean in which we all live. It undulates and ripples, in places there are currents and zones of interaction and conflict. There is a burden to it as well. Every negative we rain into that sea is a weight someone has to carry.

There is a huge dialogue going on now about gender roles in video games. I don't know a lot about gaming. I won't say anything about it. Sticking to what I know- what I say and how I say it matters to certain people. And my characters can be weights on the backs of women or can be bubbles under them. I make my choices not because women, or anyone else, need me to save them. I choose what I believe is better writing and because we're all swimming in this ocean together holding hands.

Monday, February 2, 2015


I'm one of those people that are both always writing something and always reading something. The thing about good books- they inspire not just feelings or ideas for my own writing, but the desire in me to write. They simply make me want to on my butt and work. Part of that is connection with the author. I want to make those kinds of connection myself. Part is competitive. Not in the sense that I want to be better than them or sell like them, (although sales are always nice.) When someone writes something that really moves me I want to write that well. It makes me want to improve. And I do.

It doesn't do to imitate. I can't take their phrases or their stories. They simply wouldn't work for me. Writing style seems, to me, to be like a pair of boots you have been walking in for years. Sure you can put someone else's boots on but they won't feel right and your gait will be off. What I can take is the energy, the force of voice and the depth of character that they bring to their writing. When the hairs stand on the back of my neck, I ask how did the author get me here? When I understand that the journey is not really the one across the landscape but the path through the main character's heart or mind, I need to know how.

Lately I have been reading a lot of Joe Lansdale's books- characters with the energy of a thunderstorm. You know what? I don't like modern day monster stories. Vampires in the real world, urban fantasy. But the V Wars series by Jonathan Maberry sucked me in. There are so many more that have inspired and shaped my writing. I mention those two because of the wonders of technology. The internet, or more specifically, social media has allowed me to reach out to those men and say thanks for the great books over the years.

It is one of the things that I decided to do when I started this blog. It would be so easy to post things about my own writing and books. Promotion is essential. But better for me is to acknowledge those that light fires for me. I'll continue to do that as I go along on this trip.


The Deep by Nick Cutter.

The Deep

I'm at 50% and loving it. Scary good read. This isn't supposed to be a review. This book doesn't need my review it's a hit. This is just a reader saying this one works for me. It makes me want my books to work for someone this well. It makes me keep trying.