Well this makes me uncomfortable

So, let’s talk women, but that’s not going to get me in trouble at all. Actually, it really does, I’m terrible at writing women to the point I’ve written stories that featured one female character, because I know I don’t do it well.

First of all, let me explain, I’m not sexist, or at least I don’t think of myself as sexist. I just struggle with the perspective, even though intellectually I know we all see the same world, and reactions and motivations are the same – when I write a female character it just doesn’t read back well. Anyway, that’s my problem, it’s something I’m working on, my protagonist is a female badass type, and a mother.

All that being said, over the years I’ve read many bad portrayals of female characters, most are bad because of the stereotypes, perceptions, behaviours and sidelining which belongs in decades ago, if it belonged at all.

I recently came across a  blog post that tackled this in a really clever way, it’s by a woman called Meg Elison and was on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, link here and at the end: https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/if-women-wrote-men-the-way-men-write-women 

It’s entitled, If Women Write Men the Way Men Write Women, which makes as uncomfortable reading as you can imagine. Some of them would make uncomfortable reading whatever the gender of the character, others if it was a man that was the focus, you would accept with few questions, after all lads are just lads, you switch the roles though and you can see why it would feel demeaning. Cads are a fact of life, but a female cad does feel wrong – and yet the behaviours, and the results are the same.

It’s a great thought provoking article, and I highly recommend you read it, it’s definitely worth five minutes of your time. I’m suddenly conscious of all the times the murderess in murder mysteries is somehow always more wicked and evil than their female counterparts, whether or not their crimes were less or more.

As I continue to write male and female characters I’m going to try and keep it in mind. Terrible behaviour is terrible no matter who does it, and if other characters are going to react differently, I’d still like the story to treat them the same.

What if Women Wrote Men the Way They Write Women

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NaNoWriMo Playlist 2014

At least once a year I write a playlist to write to during NaNoWroMo, and there’s a whole logic around my choices which amounts to a few key rules:

  • Music that matches my story, (Starfuckers, Inc just doesn’t put you in the right place for a tender love scene)
  • Has reasonable pacing, (I will write in time to the music, that can have interesting effects on my writing),
  • Is not distracting, (if you have to stop and pay attention to the music in the background that’s bad, it’s a loss of momentum)

Now this year I had this whole plan around have three playlists, so I could better match the music that I’m listening to to the parts of the story I’m writing. One of the playlists would be entirely general music, the other softer more sad or romance inclined, and the last one would be frenetic and angry and gory to inspire a bit of carnage in my writing.

It’s a really good plan, however, I’ve also chosen to change my cloud music provider. Previously I’d been using Amazon music, (£22 a year), and have had no real regrets, especially since their desktop player really took off – but there’s no streaming to ChromeCast, and while the tracks themselves can be picked up by other apps, the playlists can’t.

So I’ve settled on Google Play Music, which confused the hell out of me because I thought it was £10 a month, (£120 a year!), but that’s just if you want a more Spotify like service. I don’t, I have lots of music, of which I add to occasionally, Google will let me upload up to 25,000 tracks gratis. And I can do all the fun stuff like stream through ChromeCast, and stuff.

I did consider going back to Spotify, but I prefer the limited ownership that mp3 has, compared with no ownership offered by streaming only services.

Unfortunately, as Amazon Music playlists aren’t sharable, I’ve had to spend time recreating my major playlists, and rather than spending ages recreating three more, I’ve just done one playlist for NaNoWriMo 2014. I’ll have to wait until my next project to play around with the multiple playlists idea, and single playlists have always worked well enough in the past.

Beneath the cut is this year’s playlist, it’s not in any particular order as I’ll keep skipping the music as I write.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Playlist Continue reading