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BJ Kurtz

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Strong vs Weak Female Characters – Mostly Books Workshop – October 15 –

Here’s a taste of what we’ll be discussing at the workshop! Hope to see you there!

Mostly Books, Tucson
Signing and Writer’s Workshop presentation alongside Tara Majuta
October 15th 2pm-4pm

Strong:

  • Kate Daniels (Ilona Andrews Magic Series)
    • Independent Mercenary hired to assist magical cases
    • Not seeking a relationship
    • Ability and role as a fighter and investigator respected by male counterparts (to a point)
    • Let’s actions speak for themselves, nothing to prove
    • Still has feminine emotions, not a robot
    • Flaw: Rashness when responding to situations. More reactive than proactive
    • Note: she changes midway through series when finds a “mate”

 

  • Karrin Murphey (Jim Butcher Dresden Files Series)
    • Director of Special Investigations at the Chicago PD
    • On a mission to defend the city at any cost to her own detriment, but is smart
    • Her unit is mocked by others, but she is competent in her job
    • Goes up against monsters with her human abilities and is successful
    • Doesn’t lust after any man, although has love interests as well as attraction to main character
    • Has feminine emotions of vulnerability, but hides it behind rough exteriors
    • She’s competent, a great shot, always accepts responsibility
    • Takes on a supernatural “guardian”-type responsibility even though doesn’t want to
    • Flaws: Sometimes rash in her “human” logic and longs for companionship of some kind, is described as attractive
    • Note: she also changes midway through series when she loses her self-confidence
  • Other Examples (recommended, but not necessarily read)
    • October Daye from self-titled series by Seanan McGuire
    • Harlin Quinn from Suicide Squad comic only
    • Jane Yellowrock from self-titled series by Faith Hunter
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Weak:

  • Common Character Traits
    • Lust after male characters, or not complete without them
    • Need to be saved somehow (from incompetence)
    • Respond to what happens, never attempt to take control
    • Sexualized in skimpy/suggestive clothing
    • Are “fighters,” but not much to their characters…they’re flat
  • Lena Duchannes (from Kami Garcia’s Beautiful Creatures)
    • 15 year old new student in Gatlin, South Carolina who chooses to isolate herself from society with uncle
    • Shares dreams with main character Ethan Wate before she arrives.
    • On her 16th birthday, she will be “chosen” as a light or dark witch, has no control over which.
    • Responds to situations
    • Never bucks-the-system like expected from teen-drama
    • Undertone that somehow Ethan Wate (weak on his own) can save her
    • Ethan has more complexities: popularity through sports but likes the outsider, has goals and ambitions outside of school
    • She can’t plan anything past being “chosen” because she doesn’t know who she’ll become
    • Note: she is not sexualized since it’s YA, but follows Gothic dressed outsider
  • Other Examples (recommended, but not necessarily read)
    • Any early Disney Princess
    • Lucinda from Lauren Kate’s Fallen series
    • Rene Russo from The Thomas Crowne affair
    • Harlin Quinn from Suicide Squad movie

Mostly Books – Book Signing

I am happy to share this time with a childhood friend and fellow author. Please come out and celebrate some strong female characters in literature. And feel free to include your own examples!

Mostly Books – 6208 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson AZ Saturday, October 15 – 2-4 p.m.

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Tucson Festival of Books

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Come join me at the Tucson Festival of Books on March 15th! I will be at booth 148, 12:00-12:45 p.m. Thank you Mostly Books for hosting me. So excited!

Confessions of a Quitter

So, I know the title of this blog is a little dramatic, but I wanted to sit down and write a few confessions down. I remember going to writing conferences and listening to women in their 60’s and 70’s who had given up on writing due to the demands of life, only to return once retired and regret the years they spent away. At the time, I remember thinking that I would never be that way. Then, I turned 30 and my life became more demanding (and I don’t even have a family yet!). I had no more “time” and writing was put on the shelf.

This happened before when I went to college, but something was different this time. So, here’s my confession. About a month ago I had decided that I was going to stop writing. I wasn’t reaching my goals (which are probably still a little too outlandish). I was struggling to find the time anyway. And, let’s face it, life would just be a little easier. Imagine. No more book signings. No more haphazardly trying to figure out how to market. No more editing and social media. No more writing. The thought used to make me cry, but this year I was ready to give in.

Then, on my long commute, a scene from the novel I had abandoned began to take shape in my mind. I realized what I had already known…I am a writer. That is a part of my design. And it is something I don’t think I can ever “turn off.” I happened to flip to Barbara Walter’s special on the most fascinating people and I saw Michael Strahan. He said something that struck me. She asked if he was a natural talent (in football and on television). He said no. He worked hard. And then he said he thinks so many “natural talents” get passed over by those who work hard.

This really hit home for me. I had always heard that the persistent win. I had also recognized that the world honors those who work hard…most times. But I had never thought of the alternative. Natural talent won’t get you there. You won’t just be “discovered” one day if you patiently wait, because, after all, you’re talented. Why are there so many bestselling books out with writers who are arguably not the best? Because they worked hard. That’s the requirement. So, the reason I gave up is also the requirement for having a shot at persevering.

The question becomes, am I willing to accept that it is just a shot? Am I willing to accept that I may work hard and never reach my full potential? As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, this angers me. And yet, sitting in that car living in a world I created…that is who I am. It is not a choice for me. For me, the question is: can I live with myself if I never even tried? Today, that answer is no. And, I hope that is how it remains.

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