Tag Archive | Mercedes Lackey

Gender in Writing

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My son is all boy. He loves to run, ride his bike, play video games and go exploring. Over the New Year break, we went to see a movie. I expected him to throw a fit because it was the new version Annie. There were people between he & I, and what I saw every time I looked was my boy with his feet up on the chair in front of him, a fierce look on his face.

He loved it.

Now, when he takes a hit in daily life he says “It’s a hard knock life, huh, Momma?”

Yesterday, we went to the movies for my (still upcoming) birthday. He wanted to see Home (which isn’t out yet), I wanted to see Cinderella. His beef with Cinderella wasn’t that it was a girls movie (Home has a female protagonist as well), it was that Home was about real life, a real girl, mom! (Never mind the lavender alien and the flying cars). Turns out he loved Cinderella, too.

I don’t think I’ve been entirely fair with my son, at least in terms of movies. He has proven that he sees them as movies– not for girls, not for boys… just movies.

And the same goes for television, btw. He used to watch Sophia the First. He quit not because it was a girl’s show, but because he outgrew it. He will watch Monster High.

Then I started thinking about Legos. Maybe instead of trying to have a line specifically for girls (Except the Disney Princess– keep those!), they should try being more inclusive with in their sets. Adding women/girls isn’t that hard.

So now we get to the beast of the matter. The reason all these thoughts started popping through the percolator is that the story I’m working on, if I write it, will be almost entirely from a male point of view. I know women writers can do it, I’ve read them for crying out loud (Robin Hobb, Mercedes Lackey). But… the question becomes, can I?

In my last point, I talked of writers stretching their voice. Trying new things even if it was scary. I think this is the nextscary for me. Although…. Based on my son’s taste in entertainment, maybe it’s not that scary.

I’ll let you know.

What  are you working on in your writing to stretch yourself? What’s scaring you as a writer about the story?

Keep your mitts off my books!

There’s been a ration of poo slung around this spring/summer regarding women in fantasy fiction and, more recently even romance. I kind of have to shake my head at these posturing potential potenates…. who don’t realize that if the conversation were fictionalized and thrown into a fantasy setting… well. They would not be the hero. Oh, no. They would definitely be the evil wizard/king/crybaby trying to force everyone into their own way of thinking. You shall not pass.

I mean really. Are you truly trying to tell me that Robin Hobb, Lynn Flewelling, Carol Berg and Mercedes Lackey are… lacking? Shame on you! Don’t like the new crop of fiction coming out? Don’t read it. But don’t presume to know what’s good for me.

What really saddens me is that these kind of arguments have been going on for a very long time. Because something is popular with them, the masses, women it must be inherently bad. Suck it up, buttercup, cuz those readers are still going to read the books they want to. They will buy them in droves, propelling them UP the NYT Best Seller list while your own languishes in the stacks. 
 Oh, and by the way? Shakespeare? Wildly popular with the masses. All those bawdy jokes, don’t you know.
While I was at CSU, I often hid what I was reading due to jack asses. Fantasy was fine, but let someone catch me with a romance? I cringed at the thought. Until someone tried to book shame me, in my creative writing class, and the professor said something to the effect of… well… You can support yourself with that sort of writing. Live very well, if you have the talent.
This was the same instructor who told us on our first day not to even try genre fiction (especially horror or sci-fi / fantasy) in his class. I was terrified when I went up to speak with him. But I write fantasy, I said. “Prove it,” he told me.  Turns out he’s not against the genre, just the bad habits of new writers. I wrote my first novel under his guidance, a work of fantasy fiction.
A lot of what I read and write has to do with belonging. About taking what you’ve got and making it work. Finding a way through the darkness. There are books who have held me up (Anne Bishop) during the worst time of my life, and others that echo those days and reinforce that we are survivors (Cathy Lamb). There’s the joy of love (Eloisa James, Julia Quinn), and family and friends.
If you’re so afraid of women in fiction, then I kind of have to ask. What are you so afraid of?
No matter the answer, keep your mitts off my reading material. I don’t need that sort of help.
Ogres need not apply.
 

Mercedes Lackey can do it…

But does that mean you can too?

Please Note: If you are a fan of the Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey and have not yet read the Last Herald Mage (Vanyel) trilogy, or Brightly Burning (Lavan?). Quit reading this. Right now. Unless you are ok with unwanted spoilers. And these are huge.

Because there’s something Mercedes Lackey can do that most of us cannot. Well, she does a lot of things mere mortal writers such as us can’t do, but this one is very specific and very, very spoilery. In that it might, literally, spoil the novels for you.

 

Are you still here?

I love Mercedes Lackey, I prefer some of the earlier books but I’m still reading her, she can still catch up my imagination and keep me firmly in the grip of the novel. But there’s something she has done in not one book, but two that has floored me. Yes. She did it. It should have made me flee from reading her books ever, ever again.

Ok. So here it is.

She killed her heroes.

I know you guys know I am a firm believer in happily ever after. So how on earth can I stay with an author who routinely does this to me? I’ll tell you why. Because it was the only possible ending to the respective stories. Vanyel and Lavan, being who they are in the books, could have done nothing else. It broke my heart, both times. Made me sob. I gave up reading for a day or two while I processed my grief. Yes, I felt grief.

But I got over it.

Because those two heroes and their respective journeys were breathtaking.

I’ve written a novella here the heroine dies at the end. So does the hero. It needs a lot of work, but I’m still not sure that I’ll take it up and try to strengthen it and make it better or not. The ending makes sense for the story, the heroine already knows how it will end. But readers… we can be a finicky bunch. 

Here’s the thing. I’m *not* Mercedes Lackey. I only wish I could grow up to be like her. But you know what, being me isn’t so bad. Maybe I’ll go back one day and edit that story, tighten it up and make it shiney and new. Maybe it will languish in my Word Documents. No matter what, that story is precious to me, as are Mercedes Lackey’s stories. They taught me that the hard endings can be written, can be written beautifully… And i have the courage to try it.

Oh. And one other thing she can do… She completely took me by surprise with Moving Targets (with Larry Dixon). I didn’t catch on until just about the last minute, and i normally can suss these things out. All I can say is make sure to pack extra snacks. He. he. he.

 

BWAH HA HA

Till next time my Lovelies!

 

 

Editing, Endings and Evolution

Well, I “met” my editor for my short story and… It wasn’t as bad as I feared. Me, being me (as it’s inconvient to be anyone else right now), had figured something along the lines of “OMG, they realized they hated the story and don’t know how to tell me… or maybe it’s SO horrible it’s taking so long and they hate me and and and…” Yah, I have the tendency to go waaaay past normal and into worst possible case scenario LOL. (In my defense— I do try not to involve too many people in my drama, and I always ASK someone I trust before I go flying off the handle with all the “nobody loves me” stuff.)

ANYHOO— was very nice. Not very painful, at all. Mostly grammar and such, which I get. Well, I understand that the changes need to be made, and made them and sent it back all neat and tidy. SO… that hurdle was cleared and we’re marching onwards toward PUBLICATION! YAY!

 

Ok. So enough tooting my own horn. Lets get down to business.

Specifically, endings.

I don’t claim to have the secret to great endings. I *know* I’m relatively untried as a writer, however… As a reader, you’ll be hard pressed to name 10 people you personally know who reads more than I do unless it’s for their job. And that’s not even counting the books I put down because I can’t get it to them.

There were two great books, one of them A Vintage Affair by Isabell Wolff and the other was Redoubt by Mercedes Lackey. Books held my interest all the way through… And then the endings.

With Wolff’s book, I hadn’t read one of her’s before. Maybe it’s her style. But I honestly thought I skipped a chapter. On my Nook, no less. I went back and forth, through the chapter thing that you can jump around in,… and nope. No missing pages. But to take a book, a really good book, and blow it like that?

Heartbreaking.

You can’t have the heroine telling someone that she’d found someone, but someone who’s currently only a friend, and then in the blooming next chapter holding hands and planning to meet his parents. If you’re going to end it ambiguous, do that. Don’t put the holding hands and plans for future in there. That would have been fine. F I N E. I personally LOVE a happy ending, but not all great books have them.

They do, however, feel COMPLETE. Not as if the publisher had left a chapter out.

Now, I’m going to throw this one out there. First of all, I’ve got nothing but love for Mercedes Lackey. She is one of my all time favorites. The Foundation series that she’s writing right now? I’ve bought all except the current one. In hard back.

I really like this author.

And it sucks that there’s a niggle of doubt over the e-book version of Redoubt, because it is a great read. Oh.. my… gawd… it gets GREAT. And when he realizes what love is, what it truly truly is deep down inside, you feel like crying.

And then you feel like throwing the Nook against the wall when you get to the end and realize… there’s not going to be a reunion between the friends where they can hash things out. For the first time in the series, it doesn’t end with Bear, Lena and Mags huddled up in the Hearler’s college, trying to figure out what’s next.

Now, that could be cuz these kids are growing up. Bear and Lena have gotten married. The second half of the book really picks up and goes and has you by the throat…. and then Dallen is there and you’re cheering, and then… IT’S FREAKING OVER.

And it’s really only a problem for 2 reasons. #1– it didn’t end as the others had, with the friends together and #2…. Someone posted on B&N in their review posted that the publisher had not put everything that is in the hard cover into the Nook version. That it had been EDITED DOWN.

What the heck?!???!!!!

Now, in the first book, I will say in no uncertain terms that I felt as if Wolff had forgotten a chapter. But for Mercedes Lackey? It might just be that it felt too quick because I was gripped into it and wanted more… I wanted the resolution and the kicking of butts to commence. I wanted to find out what it *meant* to Mags… but this could just be a great cliff hanger for the next book.

However…

I can’t tell. Because the pagination in e-books is wonky.

So….

For A Vintage Affair by Isabelle Wolf: Grade B. Solid book, even if it read weird for me. The romance part of it wasn’t really the main part of the story, and the REAL story was taken to it’s full conclusion.

 

Redoubt, by Mercedes Lackey…. I’m going to grudingly give an A to. It would be an A plus, except I STILL (weeks later) feel cheated. Dang it, Ms. Lackey— WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

 

Sorry I’ve been a little wonky myself on posting. I went to doctor’s yesterday— it’s my annual upper respitory / sinus infection time. yay me. But as I am taking my medication, hopefully will be gone by weekend.

 

Ta for now, my lovelies.