Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is Gentle the New Strong?

    This month I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. It happens. Sometimes I am full of ideas and other times, not so much. I turned to my trusty resource bank, the internet, to see if reading a few good writing blogs would suddenly ignite some inner hidden spark. Not sure that happened, but I did come across an article I found interesting in one of those “not sure how I feel about this kind of ways.” Maybe that just happens to me, but I doubt it.

    I focused my reading on character development. I think with the endless amount of Halloween costume ads and commercials right now I have characters on the brain. So I googled “strong characters” just to see what would pop up and happened upon a blog post by a woman named Sophia McDougall entitled “I Hate Strong Female Characters.” Well that got me intrigued! A female blogger raging against strong female characters? I had to be missing something.

    I reviewed her post to find McDougall’s issue is more about how women are either strong or weak and very little in between. In her opinion, labeling women as strong puts them in a box, continues to isolate, and prevents audiences from seeing them as equals to their male counterparts. It’s a rather long post but if you would like to check it out, here you go:

     And now my thoughts, for whatever they're worth. I found a good portion of this blog post rather frustrating. McDougall primarily focused on women’s strengths only in regard to their physicality - their ability to punch, kick, fight, etc. It was not until the very end that she finally connected strength with broader (and more important) ideas of peace, intelligence, compromise, resilience, perseverance, and commitment.

    When I think of strong female characters, Charlie’s Angels don’t come to my mind. Neither do any of those superheroes. To me, strong characters include the likes of Jane Eyre, Hermione Granger, Anne Frank, Prim Everdeen, and Jo March.

    What makes a female character strong in your opinion? Got a few favorites?

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's that time again

Ever thought about writing a novel? Does the idea race through your brain only to be kicked to the side by tiresome thoughts of laundry, dinner-making, grass-cutting and the like. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to give that notion some real thought. Mush it around up there in your ole’ noggin, stew on it for a bit if you will. Why? Well, because next month is November and that means it is Nanowrimo time baby!

Sorry, maybe you thought I miswrote – never did take typing lessons. I wrote “NA-NO-WRI-MO” - short for National Novel Writing Month. We get a whole month dedicated to trying this crazy idea of writing a complete novel or at least a large chunk of one. 

Nanowrimo runs from November 1-30. You need to write an average of 1,667 words per day to complete 50,000 words by the close of the month and complete this awesome quest. It can, in fact, be done. Here is the basic lowdown. Novels can be on any theme, in any genre of fiction, and in any language. Planning, outlining, and extensive notes are permitted, but no earlier written material can go into the body of the novel, nor are you allowed to start early and then finish 30 days from that start point. You have to stick to November! 

I’ve done some checking and sadly, Nano-leave is still not covered by private insurance or FMLA. So if you work, well, you still have to go to work. But those of you already retired or exploring career options, you are set! And those of us not, we need a good kick in pants to put our butts in the chair and write anyway. 

Now I know what you are thinking…. no one ever actually finishes this or does anything with their manuscripts. Oh contraire my blog reading doubters! Perhaps you’ve heard of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern or Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen? Yep, awesome Nano-novels!

Visit to join in on the madness, er, fun and see what you can accomplish. The official Nano forums provide a place for advice, information, criticism, support and an opportunity for what they lovingly call "collective procrastination.” The forums are already available since sign-up has begun as well.
There are already 49,137 people signed up for this year’s quest, quite an increase from the 21 people who originally took the challenge back in the first year (1999). An expected 200,000 writers will take up their pens (or tablets, laptops, etc) this year. 

Will you be one of this year’s Nano-ers? Come on, you know you want the t-shirt! 

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