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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

Monday’s Quote: JRR Tolkien

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”~ J.R.R. Tolkien

photo taken from his Goodreads Profile

This is such a simple quote, and yet it is complicated to apply. I commonly find myself questioning some of the paths I’ve decided to embark on. I wonder if different decisions would have led to a “better” life. And yet, I also wonder if this is the path that will eventually lead to all my dreams…I just haven’t traveled far enough yet.

I think the hardest thing in life is to decide what to do with the time we have. Is work and success important? Is building a family and legacy important? Should we spend our time cultivating and changing society? Or is our time better served pursuing childhood aspirations? What is the “right” choice? And is the “right” choice always the “happiest”? These are just a few of the thoughts that circle my mind. I have never been good at decision making.

I have been known to go through three outfits before I am able to decide what I want to wear. I ask everyone’s opinion just to gather my own thoughts. And I am always second guessing my decisions until I see them actually play out. That’s probably why this quote spoke to me. It sounds so easy…and yet is the hardest thing I have to do. The only thing I’m sure of is that we need to have a path to travel. Otherwise, this time will be wasted.

What The Giver has That is Lacking From Current Dystopia Novels

There are a lot of mixed reviews about the new movie adaptation of “The Giver.” I actually enjoyed the movie very much since all changes didn’t really change the plot. One of the criticisms I heard is that the movie was turned into the typical teen dystopia novel popular right now. I think they are getting that from the little romance that was added to the script. 

I would have to disagree with that statement. In fact, I liked the movie because it had some key factors that made it different than the dystopia movies out today. 

First, the movie is marked with innocence. Today seems to be saturated with movies depicting character sex lives as well as violence. It was nice to have that lacking. In fact, some sections came off almost dorky. For instance, Jonas shares a kiss with Lilly. A couple boys in the theater giggled at the character reactions of timidness and uncertainty (I actually think that Lilly should have been way too confused). Yet, letting a kiss be an important event in a teenager’s life is refreshing. 

Likewise, the revolution held the same innocence. So many teen novels are littered with loss of life. I remember feeling numb at the end of reading the Hunger Games series. Likewise, I remember thinking in the Divergent series that I was getting tired of meeting a character just to have them die. Death is so much a part of life as it is. It saddens me to think that this has become so prevalent in YA literature. There is still a struggle and there is still a “revolution,” but it is more a power of wills. 

Second, there is an appreciate of life. I loved the sequences where Jonas received memories. It actually reminded me a little of hallmark commercials where images of cultures and joy and family are gathered in a montage. Yet, I loved how the movie meshed that with those images of war and destruction. It really took the full scope of the human life—the good and the bad—and put everything into perspective. Life is not perfect. Life has joy and sorrow. And yet, even with the bad images, it is still better than those in the society who lived in ignorance. 

Third, and finally, there was a lack of selfishness. So many characters—and people—are living for their own agenda. Jonas’ agenda really was centered on what was best. He was concerned for the baby in his family’s care. He was concerned for restoring life to the civilization. He was not working for himself. Again, in a world that is very centered on personal goals, this was refreshing to see. 

Whether the movie is viewed as a success or failure, I think something can be taken away from this adaptation: we need a little more innocence and a little more appreciation, even in literature.

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