The Smurfette Syndrome

characters_smurfette_002

I took a Women’s Studies class in college, in part because it fulfilled a credit requirement, but I quickly learned it was one of the best classes I would ever take.  It really opened my eyes, and it was then that I slowly began to look at the world differently.  I would also learn that I am a bit of a feminist, but don’t let that sway you. :)

I don’t think I made a conscious effort to alter my writing, but the types of stories I wanted to tell were definitely intended more for women.  The majority of my scripts have predominately female casts.  Those were a conscious decision.  The funny thing is, this started long before I learned that there was a growing problem in Hollywood, the place I want to be a part of, in the continuation of a lack of a female presence, both in front and behind the camera.

The Smurfette Syndrome aka “the token” girl has continued its prevalence according to the numbers this summer at the movies.  I saw this article about the trend and felt it deserved a share.  There was also this article from a little while ago from the NY Film Academy.  I can’t remember if I shared it before, but it also discusses the inequality in the numbers.

So what’s my point?  Be sure to include the other half of the population in your storytelling, and not in just some token capacity.  Create an opportunity to balance out the scales.  Since many novels are now the basis for films, it would be wonderful to see a surge to encourage a change.  I’m not saying that you have to change all your characters from male to female, but be aware of stereotypes, and don’t perpetuate the trend.  Think of the younger generation.  How they need more role models in their literature and entertainment.  I mean seriously, no solo Wonder Women movie yet?  The fact that Disney is not planning on releasing any further Princess Leia merchandise?  Maybe the lower numbers at the box office is the start of this awareness.

I guess the phrase “change starts at home” might be some of the most useful advice to encourage diversity.

Write well, my friends!

From Far Away It’s Okay, But Up Close It’s A Big Ol’ Mess

Write&LiveI was a little absent this week.  I had a bit going on, had let some things slide then had to play catch up, and now it’s Friday.  I have a few things to share, so I’m going to lump them in this post, and then post this week’s Writing Prompt separately.  Yep, I’m behind…

I had fallen into a little bit of a rut the past couple of weeks, and on Sunday, despite protests from my sister, took her to Downtown Disney for a little getaway.  Disneyland is our happy place, and since we got our little pups (2 years ago now), we haven’t had an opportunity to go because they have little bladders and can’t be left for too long.  That’s going to change.  I realized walking amidst the throng of people how much I missed it, even if we were only Disneyland adjacent.  Lego had put up a couple of new displays that made me squeal like the girl I am.IMG_1124  *Excuse the lighting, my iPhone camera sucks in the dark.  But yes, that is Maleficent the dragon fighting Prince Philip.  There was also Beauty and the Beast.  Again, insert squeal.

And I also got to see Lady Gaga this week, so there’s that. :)

So here are the things I’d like to share:

1. Bang2Write is offering free downloads.  Although primarily for screenwriters, there are a couple of downloads that would prove useful to all writers.

2. There was this funny post about “You know you’re a writer when…” #17, #22, and #29 all made me laugh aloud.

3. I came across this interesting article regarding Writer’s Block from Chuck Wendig.

I have more, but I’ll leave them for another day. ;)  And yes, that is a Clueless reference in the title.  I felt that the jumble that is this post was deserving of such.

Happy Friday!  Have a wonderful weekend!

5 Reasons I Wish I Was At Comic-Con

Comic-ConComic-Con started today, and I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that another year has passed and I still have not gone.  This was going to be the year!  I signed up and still couldn’t make it happen.  Ugh.  For those of you who have been in the past or are there right now…don’t rub it in. ;)

Why would I want to go?  You might ask?  Especially now since it has grown into this behemoth of an event…Here are a few reasons:

1. Cosplay – Who doesn’t want to dress up as one of their favorite characters on a day other than Halloween?!  The only reason I had any trepidation about attending this year was because I didn’t have anything to wear.  There are too many fandoms, too many decisions, and I am no seamstress, so getting one outfit together might be a challenge, let alone multiple since the Con is a four day event, and you know I want some choices.  Of course I want to do something from Dragon Age (but even that I’m having trouble narrowing down), and then there are ideas like my sister and I being female versions of Thor and Loki (and not the slutty kind :) ), or a female Sherlock, or something from Star Wars because my sister is a walking SW encyclopedia, or something princess-y (for me, anyway), and that’s just off the top of my head without a whole lot of thought, because every time I start to think about it I get overwhelmed.

2. Sneak Peaks – I am one of those who doesn’t mind a little spoiling of insider details, especially if it’s something I’m really into.  Right now I am so not in the know, that it would be nice to feel a bit ahead after a few days of being inundated.

3. Sightings – I feel I need to preface that I’m really not a stalker, but I wouldn’t mind a brush past Benedict Cumberbatch, who is there this year, by the way.  His first time.  It could’ve been ours too.  Again, ugh.  Or past the lovely Tom Hiddleston, who delighted the crowd by showing up as Loki last year.  Here’s a link to a short video if you haven’t seen it yet…YouTube.  There’s also the casts of tv shows and movies I’m a fan of…In addition, there are the other cosplayers.  Some of these people spend a great deal of time of their costumes, and how can you not be in awe of their work?  I’m not going to comment on those that attend just to expose as much flesh as is legal in the state of California, because really?

4. The Swag - From all that I’ve heard that takes place at the Con, this would be a great place to get my geek on; to discover new things, to meet with the artists, to add to my collections, and obtain items only available at this venue.

5.  The Fun of it all!

If you’ve been, I’d love to hear your stories.  If you’re there now, I’d still love to hear about the awesomeness that you have been a witness to, but don’t take it badly when I reply with a tinge of resentment. :)

Happy Thursday everyone!

An Odd Sense of Accomplishment

DA-MageFirst of all, I’d like to thank you all for your continued support while I’ve posted and rambled about this particular topic, for what seems like days on end.  I appreciate having such a kind and welcoming space to share in.

So…Chapter One: The Brecilian Forest (a fan fiction story based on a video game, Dragon Age), is complete.  Yes, chapter one.  After some thinking and the revelation of the pleasure this story gave me, I’ve decided to continue the story of my mage according to the game’s timeline; just snippets of events that could have or may have happened while on this adventure.

Potentially 7 chapters overall, with each chapter a different location visited in the game; Redcliffe Village & Castle, Orzammar, the home of the dwarves, The Circle Tower, the home of the mages and my character’s former home, and finally Denerim, the capital city of this fictional land.  A lot happens in Denerim, so I’m thinking this will be broken into two chapters, one earlier on in the timeline, and another chapter wrapping up the story as this is where the final battle in the game takes place as well.  And then I was thinking, I may need to do a “what happens after all the fighting is over” chapter.  I want my happily ever after, or what ever that might mean for my characters.

There is a scene near the end of the game in which a decision must be made that could have a tremendous impact on the characters, and this is something I have always wished to explore, the emotional ramifications of that choice.  In the game, there is a short conversation, a snippet of a scene if one choice is made, then it fades to black, never really to be discussed again.  Nope, not having it.  I want to explore the potential pre and post conversations more in-depth.

BrecilianForestCaveThis became so much more than I ever intended.  One writing prompt image of concept art started it all.  I just started writing.  I had no idea or concept for the story, no outline, no timeline, or a vision until last night.  It all sort of just came together, and now this part of my hero’s journey is complete.  It’s a little over 6,500 words and it wrapped up nicely.  Well, I think so considering the lack of vision.  If you’ve been following along as I’ve posted, I did a little rewriting, so there are newly added scenes.

I wrote the story in the first person because I liked the idea of it almost being like a journal of this character; to see the world through her eyes, to hear her thoughts, to feel her emotions.  As a screenwriter, I have to write almost removed from all that because of the style and technique that screenwriting requires.  And I truly believe that writing this has helped my writing overall.  I was excited to sit down and write, which, as my fellow writers can attest, can sometimes feel like a chore.  Sometimes writing is painstaking, a challenge, and we can sit for hours without accomplishing much more than a few sentences.  I sat down a few times and wrote 6,500 words.  Me.  That’s why I entitled this post “an odd sense of accomplishment”.  I’m kind of proud.

I’m not sure how to post it, so I’ve added it to the Excerpts section here.  I broke it down into 4 sections, but it is all on the same page.  I’m also thinking of adding it to the fan fiction website I mentioned the other day, Archive of Our Own, in an effort to be a part of that community.  And if you’re wondering how this all began, you can read my post about my Dragon Age Obsession here.

Have a wonderful and productive weekend everyone!

And thanks again!  xx, Rach

Review – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I have been horrible at watching movies lately.  I have Netflix, but I’ve been on a kick of watching tv series (serieses?  What is the plural?  Is it like sheep or Lego?) and my movie watching has fallen by the wayside.  Then I got the notice from Redbox – free rental.  Well then, let’s take advantage of that!

So, yes, this review is a good six months after the premiere, but if you’re like me, a little behind, then you might find this useful, or at least interesting…I hope.

My sister suggested that I write reviews.  When I countered with, “but I’m so behind, and nothing would be relevant”, she replied that reviews don’t require a time frame.  She also reassured me that because I always had a clear understanding of what I liked or didn’t in something that others may be inclined to watch a film they hadn’t considered before, or not.  I don’t care for reviews that offer big vocabularies and technical terms to make the writer of the review proud of themselves.  I like honest reviews that tell me if I’m going to like the film.  My goal is to write a review as if I were talking to friends, which I am. :)  So here is my first go at a review…which I will now be sure to keep shorter since I rambled.

Also, I will need some sort of catchy title for my reviews, like, Geeky Girl Reviews “said film”, or Discrepant Writer Reviews…any thoughts?

I should first preface this review with the fact that I have not seen the first Hobbit in the series in its entirety.  I am a fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although, that is neither here nor there, but it is one of the reasons I was compelled to watch this series.  The other, Benedict Cumberbatch.  If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you are probably aware of the love my sister and I bear for this actor.  Looks aside, and yes, he is incredibly sexy (if you need proof, and are among one of the last people on Earth to hear about his work on Sherlock, it’s on Netflix, go watch it immediately, and all will be understood), he is an amazing actor with a voice so rich in timbre that it makes 99% of all women weak in the knees.  I’m not sure if that fact is true, but it sounds accurate. ;)

Hobbit:SmaugPosterLet’s try out one of the titles…Discrepant Writer Reviews - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Quick overview: The dwarves are trying to reclaim their homeland currently occupied by the dragon, Smaug.

I read The Hobbit many years ago.  So many, in fact, that I couldn’t tell you that the movie I was watching was even remotely related to what I had read.  Nothing seemed familiar, except for Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and the ring.  The movie had the feel of the Lord of the Rings in design and scope, which was a welcome sight that they had not detoured from appearances (I’m looking at you George Lucas).

We are again transported to Middle Earth, and there are some familiar faces, even if some of them shouldn’t be there – Legolas, I didn’t realize how much I had missed you, until just now.  There are plenty of new, pretty faces – Evangeline Lilly as the elf, Tauriel, Lee Pace as the elf king and Legolas’ father, Thranduil, Richard Armitage as the dwarf king, Thorin Oakenshield, and Luke Evans as the human smuggler, Bard – the only ones whose character names you might be inclined to hear and remember.  The character of Bard reminded me quite a bit of Aragorn, the human with a noble lineage who is a “more than meets the eye” type.

Right off the bat, I was confused.  I had the volume up on my tv well beyond its normal range and I still could not hear what was going on around one of the initial scenes that takes place in Rivendell between Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, and Elrond.  My mind wandered easily throughout the film, and I think this had to do with the pace (some scenes just lagged or were completely unnecessary), and maybe in part because I was not yet invested with these characters.  This may be because I hadn’t finished watching the first film.  Maybe.

Everywhere the dwarves go, they are captured and pulled along to stand before whoever is the ruler of that particular area, be it an orc, an elf, or a human.  They are considered vagabonds basically, even though one of them is a king by birthright and he is leading a small band of what is left of his people to their rightful home.  At times, I was a little annoyed at Thorin’s behavior, wanting him to be more than he seemed, and maybe he will in the final film.

Gandalf goes off on his own journey to find a wizard called the Necromancer, who everyone continues to comment on can not be a human because humans aren’t powerful enough to control the dead.  There’s a battle that occurs that left me confused, because orcs were present as well, and I didn’t know why any one was even in this particular place to begin with.  Maybe because my mind had wandered earlier.

Cut to, Smaug.  *Side note, I like dragons.  I hate that most of the time they’re referenced as evil, as in the game Skyrim.  You have to slaughter dragons by the dozen, with only two that are actually nice and helpful.  When Smaug speaks, it’s like hearing Darth Vader for the first time.  It’s wonderful and sends a thrill down your spine.  He has lovely dialogue, knows everything, and you kind of hope he wins.  At least I did.

When it cut to black, I laughed, because I knew that what I had heard would be the last line of dialogue and hence the end of the film.  And it was.

Overall, fun to watch if you’re already a fan of LOTR, but it’s a bit long and tedious, and you could probably skip to the end where Bilbo meets Smaug to understand the whole of the film thus far.  The book is not that long, only 365 pgs. vs LOTR at nearly 1200 pgs. which is why it’s understandable that there were three films for that series.  I don’t think The Hobbit requires the same approach.

3of5starsI’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.  It’s well done, but I wouldn’t take my time to watch it again, except maybe for Smaug, and a little more Legolas.  Well, that’s my take.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Feel free to share.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Article: Why Creative People Make No Sense

InsideMyHeadEvery time I come across an article that may be of use to us all, I save it to my computer and mark it with an asterisk so I can find it later.  The other day I decided to take stock of that list, which I then broke down into other lists according to subject matter, some of which require more reading, deleted a bunch that seemed fairly useless after a second go around, and came up with an immediate share list of 15 articles.

Here’s one of them, entitled Why Creative People Make No Sense.  I’ve saved this for some time, actually forgot about it until the other day, then remembered why I saved it in the first place.  It’s a great article, and may settle arguments you’ve had with yourself.  We are definitely a breed unto ourselves.  We are full of contradictions and those who are not creative will never understand what it’s like to be us.  In a way, that’s a reassuring thought.  It also unites those of us that are alike.

I was talking to this person the other day who really has no creative outlet.  They only read non-fiction, usually relevant to their field, they rarely watch tv or films, let alone anything with any sort of “fantastical” or escapist facet, and they have no other source of interest like art or even music.  I find this one of the most perplexing people I’ve ever encountered, because what do you do?  What joy is there in your life?  I may be struggling at times, but I have passion for my work, hobbies and interests, and a desire to enjoy what the creative world has to offer, in addition to my love of history, travel, and all my other little fancies.  I just see this person as incomplete, living a half life.  And this made me even more thankful for my creative tendencies.

So embrace your creative side.  Revel in your weirdness.  Love the things that make you unique.

Best wishes, my friends!

Writing Prompt #34

I still plan on writing something from last week’s prompt, but I’ve been having way too much fun writing my fanfic.  Initially, I thought it might be a waste of time, but it is so freeing to write something so different from my screenplays, so yep, there’s lots more to come…

I find this image so intriguing.  Maybe you do too?  I look forward to seeing your creations this week!

ShanghaiWoman

Happy Writing!

 

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #6

UnderTheGreatTreeI am pleased to share with you this week’s submission from redgypsophila of Adventures in Writing, who accepted last week’s writing prompt challenge, and wrote another inventive piece entitled Jill and the Beanstalk.  Please give it a read and offer her your support.  Again, thank you for sharing your creations!

As for me, I went back to my writer’s group last night – I had taken a small hiatus, and because my computer is on the brink of death, I struggled to write anything.  It’s old.  Really old.  And it strains itself to open each app, sometimes failing.  That little color wheel just spins and spins.  When I realized it wouldn’t be able to open my email and give me access to the newer version of my script, I settled on writing more Dragon Age fan fiction.  From all my time gaming, you’d think I would be better about hitting that little save button, but no…my computer shut down on me mid-type, and I felt those first tinges of fear, that I had lost everything I had just written, about 500 words.

I quickly jotted down, by hand, what I could remember while I prayed to the gods of technology to restore my computer and my words.  It took a good 15 mins. for it to turn back on, its poor little motor wheezing the entire time, but success!  Document restored!  I quickly used the camera on my phone and took a screenshot in case it shut down again.  My writing group friends laughed and mocked my outdated tech, but desperate times and all that.

I haven’t had a chance to really go back over what I wrote, but I’d like to post it anyway.  Once I do a little rewriting, I’ll post it under the Excerpts section.  I hope you enjoy!

III

I called out to my companions as they drew nearer to the creature to not strike at it.  Although it had commanded the spiders and every other facet of this environment, I had the innate understanding that it was only protecting its home.  There was no reason to strike it down, if anything, it may be helpful to our cause.

I couldn’t tell if the being was a man or woman from this vantage, only that it had sacrificed itself at some point to become the creature of flesh and forest before me.  Once the spiders were vanquished and we had the opportunity to regroup, I moved closer to the being to get a better look, despite the protests of my friends.  Although it seethed with anger and vibrated with powerful energy, I was compelled to try to speak to it, something about the idea of it having once been a mage.

Along our journey, Alistair had created a holster for my staff.  It was a leather strap that I could easily wear across one shoulder so that when I was not using magic, I could be free of the added burden of carrying my weapon.  I tucked my staff into its new place upon my back, and gingerly pushed Alistair’s pleading hands aside.  I looked into his eyes, his concern for me so visible, that I had to bite back the smile that threatened to break free.

“It will be all right, “ I reassured him resting one hand upon his unshaven cheek.  I probably shouldn’t have done that.  The heated moment elevated, now fueled further with a desire neither of us was prepared for.  We gazed into one another’s eyes for a moment as we both wrestled with our newfound feelings.  An interrupting cough from Sten was all that was needed to break the spell.  With a heavy, submissive groan, Alistair finally acquiesced and stepped aside.  My fingers twitched at the loss of contact.

I took my first few pensive steps with my hands before me in a conciliatory gesture, all the while my companions still at the ready.  Both Leliana and Morrigan voiced a final word of caution, to which I nodded silently.  As I drew closer, I was able to make out that the being had in fact been a woman at one time.  The body was thin and lithe, with soft curves at the hips and breasts; the remnants of which lay hidden beneath the vines that meandered upwards.  The face was shielded in a mask of mud and flora, but what remained visible were radiant blue eyes, a long, thin nose, and full lips.  Beneath it all, there was still a lovely woman.

I called out softly, in a reassuring tone, that we were not there to harm her.  We had happened upon this cave and we were not there to destroy it, her, or her companions.  I saw as she worked every word over in her mind in an effort to understand something long forgotten.  Her tension alleviated with every word.  I stopped a few feet short, not wanting to scare her away, or scare her into greater action.  She was powerful, and I wasn’t certain I would be able to resist a direct assault.  Her eyes were full of emotion; confusion, fear, and relief.  She reached a hand out to me.  I heard my friends’ voices of dissent.

To be continued….

Have a wonderful week everyone!  And look for the new writing prompt tomorrow! :)