In today’s Journal
* Well, crap
* Nothing much
* Topic: Inanities and Definitions
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers
The PWW post from yesterday posted today at 9 a.m. So I guess eventually the post for today will post. Maybe tomorrow. Whenever. In the meantime, I encourage you to check http://prowriterswriting.com each day to see what’s new.
Nothing much of real value to write about today, and nothing much for “Of Interest” either. And I’m not in a good mood, primarily owing to my own stupidly high expectations.
So the following is what you get for today. Some would call it a “rant,” but I spoke to it earlier and it confided to me that it self-identifies as a topic.
Topic: Inanities and Definitions
As another blogger wrote in the opening of his blog a few days ago, “Oh look. An axe. Let’s grind it.”
I stumbled over two such axes this morning, and both in the same place.
The title of a post on one blog I check each morning opened with a weary, untrue, and “cutesy” cliché, my least favorite kind.
Usually, a cliché is at least a truism, albeit one that has been repeated so often it’s lost its overall effectiveness. That being said, it’s still a truism. So once you get past the rolling-your-eyes stage, you can at least generally know it’s good advice.
That was not the case this morning.
The title was “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus — Writing the Opposite Sex.”
Bam! Just like that, a ridiculous cliché followed by a wrong-word usage (in my admittedly stubborn opinion). The title alone moved the needle on my Mood-O-Meter from Okay So Far to Slightly Peeved.
Still, I didn’t mind it so much because at least it would lead to an informative article. Right? Right?
The entire “article” (again, derailing my excessively hight expectations) was only twelve words long: “What are your biggest challenges in writing characters of the opposite sex?”
That’s it. That’s all. Nothing else.
And my needle shot from Slightly Peeved to a frowning, audibly muttered, right-posted, “Seriously?”
But I came there to read, so I read. And critiqued. And so you are the benefactors of that critique.
Whereas I had happily forgiven both the silliness and the wrong word in the title, now (in my mind) I attacked.
My first thought, directed at the first half of the title, was, “Umm, no. See, men are from Earth and women are from Earth, understand? And come to think of it, the rest of the universe is probably glad they’re confined there, especially when they read nonsense like this.”
My second thought was directed at the second half of the title: “When I write a female protagonist, I’m writing in the voice of the opposite ‘gender,’ not the opposite ‘sex’.”
To me, “sex” is a physical and spiritual act, a bonding, a coupling that results in the release of endorphines that further enhances attraction and the aforementioned bond. In short, it is something in which you engage if you’re very fortunate.
“Gender,” on the other hand, is type, meaning male or female, man or woman, biologically, regardless of sexual proclivities, leanings or preferences.
And yes, I’m aware of modern usages of the term “gender.” Nor do I mind them (not that it’s my place to mind them). By which I mean you can “identify” as a can of soup for all I care. Seriously, I don’t care. None’a my business.
Which brings me to the response that popped into my head when I re-read the question, the twelve words that comprised the whole of the “article.” So you don’t have to scroll up, here it is again:
“What are your biggest challenges in writing characters of the opposite sex?”
My response? I have only one “challenge”: I’m not a woman. I don’t have the requisite parts.
I mean, I am decidedly (and happily) a male. That I will never be able or required to deliver a child from my body remains one of my greatest joys.
However, my status as a male in today’s volatile, offense-motivated society brought to mind another question: Should I even be allowed to write female characters? When I attempt to do so, aren’t I “appropriating” the female culture?
I mean, I already understand I’m not supposed to write about cultures other than my own because if I do, I’ll be appropriating those.
But I suppose allowances must be made. So is it all right that I write female protagonists as long as they’re at least within my own race (or my unique mixture of races)? Or would they also have to have my own hair and eye color? Or be the same height as I am? Or have my same mental problems?
And just like that, my needle got stuck on or… or… or… or….
Then, suddenly, I had an epiphany. Oddly enough, by relying on the new norm I was finally able to stop my racing mind.
The new norm says I can self-identify as whatever I want and everyone else has to accept that, right? At least openly.
So if it’s socially acceptable that I “identify” in real life as Whatever I Want, problem solved.
I’ll identify as a woman when I’m writing a female character, as a Mexican of either gender when I’m writing a Mexican character or as a buffalo of either gender when I’m writing a buffalo character.
I can identify as a rose when I’m writing about a rose bush, except when I’m feeling particularly prickly, like right now. Then I’ll identify as a thorn. The possibilities, endless as they are, caused my mind to begin racing again.
Then it dawned on me: I already self-identify as a writer. Therefore I can write whatever I want.
By the way, happy summer solstice. May it be a great summer for everyone.
For various reasons, I didn’t get to the WIP until 11. I found all sorts of distractions. I think I’m doing that delay thing again. I don’t want the story to end, so I’m putting off writing it.
Incidentally, for those of you who followed the Critical Voice book as I wrote it, this is another example of turning the fear around.
I look forward to seeing where the story will go from here and how it will end, but I don’t want it to end. I have zero fear of rejection, but why would I want something to end when I’m enjoying it so much?
Anyway, I’m still halfway hopeful my characters will throw me a curve today so the story will continue for awhile. I guess we’ll see.
Well, the story didn’t quite wrap today. Nor did the characters throw that hoped-for curve. Yet.
Talk with you again tomorrow.
See “Licensing Learn Along” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/licensing-learn-along/.
See Robert J. Sadler’s “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” at http://prowriterswriting.com/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words/. I suspect this one will spawn some discussion.
See “Editing Overused Words and a Peek at 2019’s Banished Words” at https://terryodell.com/editing-overused-words-and-a-peek-at-2019s-banished-words/. Take along a shaker of salt.
Fiction Words: 1705
Nonfiction Words: 1160 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 3865
Writing of Sam Loredo and the Point of No Return (novel? novella? we’ll see)
Day 1…… 2803 words. Total words to date…… 2803
Day 2…… 1035 words. Total words to date…… 3838
Day 3…… 4247 words. Total words to date…… 8085
Day 4…… 2540 words. Total words to date…… 10625
Day 5…… 2495 words. Total words to date…… 13120
Day 6…… 1591 words. Total words to date…… 14719
Day 7…… 1705 words. Total words to date…… 16424
Total fiction words for the month……… 43760
Total fiction words for the year………… 349865
Total nonfiction words for the month… 22210
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 177770
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 527635
Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 44
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31