Monthly Archives: February 2013

Things You Shouldn’t Do

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Well, not as in “Never, ever do it or you’ll get your face eaten by a rabid grizzly bear”. Although there are things you should avoid in order to escape that particular fate… like hugging rabid grizzly bears.
Nope, this is just a list of my personal Don’ts when it comes to writing fiction. It’s not so much about style and rules and stuff, but about content. Like, what should NOT happen in your story if you want me to read it.

 
1. Teenage Protagonists Acting Like Adults

I already ranted about this one before, so I’ll keep it short. Basically, when the protagonist is seventeen, I expect them to act like they’re seventeen. Certainly NOT like they are actually thirty-five and just look seventeen to better sell it to the adolescent audience.

 

2. Love On First Sight and The Love Triangle

Okay, seriously, what’s with all the instant romance in fiction? How often do you see that kind of thing in real life? It might happen, maybe, sometimes, but it seems like every single romantic relationship in the books I read lately has some kind of instaRomance. Even Divergent, which in comparison took forever to introduce the actual romantic relationship, did this. It’s not that noticeable when you read it, it happens later in the book, but looking back, the whole story happened in about… three weeks? And the MCs didn’t spend that much time together. And when they did, the guy mostly yelled at the girl (for good reason, but still). What the hell?

The love triangle scenario makes this even worse. We are just expected to believe that the innocent, average, clumsy heroine suddenly holds the interest of not one, but two flawless hot guys. Said guys would very much like to maim and/or kill their rival, but don’t for the heroines sake, because she likes them both so much (she just doesn’t know whom she likes more). What makes this completely ridiculous is the fact that, no matter what, the girl will always, ALWAYS end up with the dude she first fell in love with, even if #1 runs off (or gets seemingly killed or something) and the girl actually got over him and found another guy who is actually much nicer than the first one. The whole point of The Love Triangle is to show that your first love is also your One True Love, no matter what. Really? How many people actually stick with the first person they dated? God, had I done that, I’d be pretty much screwed. (Well, not in the good way. Or maybe I would, I don’t know, we never did it. Anyways.) The point is, the fact that it always ends like that makes this scenario boring and predictable, so even if it weren’t overused, it would still be a huge turn-off for me.

 

3. The Mary Sue In Disguise

I assume we all know what a Mary Sue is by now (random fact: a male Mary Sue is called a Marty Stu or Gary Stu; I prefer the latter. It rhymes :P). It’s basically a no-no for every fiction writer. Even in fanfiction, where you generally get away with a lot more, Sues are frowned upon. So why on earth are published books full of them? I’m not going to talk about Bella Swan here (although she IS a fine example of Sue-dom). I’m talking about the MCs who don’t seem like the perfect, pretty and skilled Mary Sue, but if you look closer, all her flaws either turn into “endearing quirks” or just plain vanish because the heroine (or hero, but in the books I read, Sues are more often the MCs than Stus are) learned her lesson and got over them. Again, how often does that happen in real life? I mean, yeah, you can get rid of annoying habits, but our real flaws, the facets of our character that make life harder for us, won’t go away that easily. If I were a run-of-the-mill YA heroine, I’d be described as “socially awkward (but in a very cute way, and talking to The Guys That Matter isn’t a problem)”. In real life, I’m more of a hermit crab than anything. I used to be afraid of people! It got better over time, but it’ll never entirely go away. Same goes for that tendency to yell at people and run off fuming when I get into arguments I obviously can’t win, or for my habit of getting all teary and whiny and close to giving up when I screw up, even if it’s just a stupid test at uni (doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s bad).

The Sues in the books don’t seem to have that kind of traits, ever. There is nothing about them that will stay with them all their lives, that will be a constant obstacle and make life harder every single day. When they encounter something that poses a problem, they miraculously find a way to make it go away with very little effort, or they find out they have a hidden skill that just now comes in handy. That. Doesn’t. Happen. So please don’t mock me by making it seem like it does – just not to me. How can I possibly relate to someone who never has to struggle, when I have to all the time?

 

4. The Chosen One

Let me clarify: This is not about actual Chosen Ones, like the Harry Potter kind, or King Arthur. It’s about those characters who aren’t all that important, or charming, or smart, or whatever, but somehow turn out to be the one single person without whom The Rebellion (or any big event, really) couldn’t happen. Sometimes it’s well done, like in The Hunger Games, where Katniss doesn’t even realise what’s going on until someone tells her, and even then, she doesn’t play her role all that well right until the end. And she kind of does set the events in motion with her berry stunt. But then there are the Chosen Ones who clearly aren’t all that important – the author just makes them important to justify their status as protagonist. One example are all the ladies in the Immortal Brotherhood series. Basically, some viking dudes are cursed to be immortal weres (not the good kind), and only love can break the curse. Interesting enough, it’s not the good old “true love”, it’s merely “a woman who loves them even knowing what they are”. So it could be any woman who really loves one of them. And you’d think after a couple centuries, at least a few of them should have found a girl who truly loves them, right? But no, it’s another chosen one scenario: There is only one woman for every guy, and no other will do the trick. Hell, the leader of the group has to wait eight-hundred years for his woman, simply because she won’t reincarnate any sooner (or something like that, we’re just at volume three, but it’s strongly implied).

I just find it hard to believe that there should be no-one else in the entire world suitable for the job. That’s just so totally unlikely…

 

Well, that turned out way wordier than I intended oO

Also, sad news: Otfried Preußler is dead :´( He wrote some of my favourite books from when I was little…

 

*achem* Right. Now, for some lighter mood at the end: random randomness!^^

 

Underrated fantasy WHAT

Well, I was going for “novels”, but apparently, a bazillion others before me had a different idea…

 

And I still find it incredibly funny when a TV show references Myspace as THE hottest website where everyone has to be^^

 

 

-Ricarda

 

 

€dit: Also, I would so watch this XD

Fandom goes w00t?

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“Peeniss”

Wait, what?

Seriously? Of all the possible ship names, you chose “Peeniss”? oO

I mean, I’m all for properly naming our beloved ships, but couldn’t we make something… less awkward out of “Katniss” and “Peeta”…? I mean, like, Katta sounds weird, but at least it doesn’t make it sound like every single fanfic in the Hunger Games fandom is porn…

/end random comment of the day

 

…I think I’m gonna go write some Hunger Games fic now. I kind of want to, and maybe it gets me motivated again to work on my other WIPs.

 

 

-Ricarda

Too AU? Never mind, nbd :)

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Anecdote time!^^

This actually happens.

This is what happened to me. More precisely, this is how my last NaNo novel came to be :) It started out as a songfic when I first heard a new song from my favourite band, became a generic fanfic involving a very Sue-like protagonist and a supporting cast that looked suspiciously like a few certain musicians, and then, while I was working on a different project and not looking, ran away with some crazy sparks of imagination and produced a healthy, happy novel idea some nine months later. Sort of.

It’s really weird how things turn out if you don’t pay attention for a while. I really wonder just how many published novels out there started out as something entirely different. Cheesy poems maybe, or a rant about why soy milk is evil, and rice and beans are great. Or maybe even grocery lists. With strawberries and apple pie at the very top.

I should eat lunch now.

But I still think Stephen King’s CELL happened because his cell phone broke when he was in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire, and he decided to write the manufacturer a flaming letter of hate. Which then turned into a book. Because good old Stephen just can’t keep it short.

 

On a different note, I hate my job. Well, I wish it were a job, actually, not just a hobby-that’ll-hopefully-turn-into-a-job. Anyways. Do you know that feeling, when you try to decide on a narrator? I really, really hate writing in first person (partially because I hate reading it; too many books use bad first person narration these days…). But I think for the rewrite of Runaway, first person would be kinda interesting. And now I need to decide quickly, before I lose all motivation I managed to come up with… *sighs* I should’ve become a librarian or something. At least I wouldn’t have to deal with those damn decisions…

 

 

-Ricarda

Fake Geek Girls and why this whole debate is bullshit

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A warning beforehand: This is going to be a rant, and it probably won’t be coherent. You have been warned, now carry on :>

 

Not sure if this so-called “fake geek girl” thing is even popular enough to be widely known. Basically, it’s about girls who call themselves geeks and subsequently get called posers by the so-called “real” geeks. Yep, it’s like kindergarten, but that’s the fun of the internet, right?^^

So yeah, maybe I’m kinda behind on this, but I just now realised how much this thing escalated. Honestly, I didn’t really expect this level of hostility from those who got ostracised as kids for loving what they love. C’mon, shouldn’t you know best how that feels?

Only we are not children anymore, and apparently, adult “geeks” are free to insult everything and everyone they consider a “fake”. So far, I haven’t been able to determine the exact amount of knowledge about [insert random part of geekdom here] that separates the poser from the true geek. Doesn’t seem to matter anyway, since pretty much everyone seems to qualify as a fake in the eyes of a select few who only deem themselves and their devout followers worthy of wearing the badge of “GEEK”. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it sure feels like this is the case.

What I don’t understand is where all this hatred comes from? I mean, those guys (and gals) probably were the kids who got picked on because they went to see Star Wars Five times in opening week and lugged around books that had more pages than their schoolbooks. They likely were excluded because they were different, and now they do the same to others. Guys, do you even see the irony in this? Man, you’ve gotta be stark raving mad… (let’s play Who Spots the Lame Iron Man Joke :P)

Speaking of let’s play, one thing that can serve as a nice example for this selective exclusion is Joe Peacock’s reaction on a reaction on his first article (see link above). He explicitly states that “gaming is not geeky”. (Also, he kind of insults booth babes and claims they only do it for the money. Dude, they probably do, they are paid models, it’s their JOB! /random comment) Okay, fine, there may be various opinions on that one. What irks me is that in his other article he mentions “celebrating great comics, great games, great art, great movies and great television”. Yes, fine, I’m with you on that one. BUT! If you exclude games from the “geeky” spectrum, why not comic books as well? After all those films, they are just as popular as video games; maybe even more so. My mum watches those films with me, but she doesn’t play video games (yet^^). So, what makes comics geekier than games? Is Doctor Who still geekier than Supernatural? And since when has art NOT been geeky, no matter what kind or art?

Excluding one thing because it became “too popular” while simultaneously embracing another which is just as popular just because YOU happen to like it makes you look like an idiot. Just so you know.

 

Now, to enrage the “pure” geek community a bit:

According to this Venn diagram, what do you think I am?

Matthew_Mason_Nerd_Dork_Geek_Venn_Diagram

If you guessed “geek”, you just earned yourself a cookie :>

See, I may sound arrogant, but I am obsessed as well as smart; granted, I’m not totally socially incompetent, but I do qualify as “awkward”, even on my good days (does this mean I’m a geek/nerd hybrid?). Now, this lovely diagram was used by Tara brown (see link above) to back up her point (she’s one of those who hate the “fakes”, in case you’re too lazy to read the whole thing…). So, according to this, I’m a pureblood geek – but according to the rest of her article I’m not.

Did your head explode already?

You see, this is why this whole debate is downright stupid. The geek culture has grown so much over the past few decades, it’s just ridiculous to try and keep it as it used to be. There are tons of people out there who are “modern geeks”, but probably wouldn’t have qualified as one had they been born in the seventies. Hell, I wouldn’t. No, I haven’t read every single comic book that’s out there (mainly because they are insanely pricey around here; we don’t get normal, cheap comics to read and throw away, we get fancy graphic novels to put on our bookshelves that cost a shit ton of money -.-). No, I haven’t played every single video game there ever was. And no, I haven’t had the time yet to watch every single episode of Doctor Who (and I never will watch all of them, simply because I’m too young to have seen the lost episodes on TV :<). Well, sue me. I don’t care what you elitist freaks think – I stand by it, I qualify as a geek, by your standards and mine. And your efforts to exclude people like me to keep “your” culture pure just serves as evidence for how much asshattery is going on in the world, even in your precious geek culture.

Also, I’m wearing a Batman shirt as I write this. Because I love Batman. Or maybe I am Batman. Who knows.

 

 

-Ricarda

 

PS: Just an afterthought… I read in one of the articles against fake geek girls (by the way, why never “fake geek dudes”? oO) that only those qualify as true geeks who contribute to the culture. I wonder what they think about all the “fake geek girls” writing fanfiction…