Friday, January 20, 2012

Author disgraces themselves over inappropriate use of the word rape

I visit a message board for writers. I came across a thread that had been locked yesterday. Locked threads always arouse my interest because it means that someone has lost their temper and embarrassed themselves about something. It always makes for interesting reading and as a reminder to myself to always be professional on the internet.

The thread had started off about book covers. The original poster use the word rape inappropriately to describe their dislike for characters that appear on book covers. "It rapes my imagination of the characters," they said.

One person complained and said they found their choice of words offensive. Soon more and more people chimed in and politely requested that the poster be more mindful of their words in the future because there were rape survivors on the board and it is very distasteful to make fun of the word rape.

The OP responded and completely lost their mind and whatever professionalism they might have had. They said it was just a word, they didn't mean it that way, and that people should not be so offended. They refused to apologize.

Well things just snow balled from there. People tried to get the OP to understand and reminded them that one of the rules of the board was to respect your fellow writer. A couple of members who were rape survivors joined the conversation and tried to explain how using the word rape had upset them.

This was when the OP went from distasteful to disgusting. The OP began attacking the rape survivors and telling them, all in caps, that they were not going to get an apology out of them, called them pathetic, and a failure at life.

Who does that? I mean, really? Who talks like that to a rape survivor? As anyone who has read my blog knows, I dislike people who are up tight about swearing. I've been in situations where people have politely asked me not to swear after I've dropped the f-bomb without thinking about it. While their attitude does irritate me, I always nod and try not to do it again, because that is showing respect.

How is this author going to react if they find a publisher and their editor dares to criticize their work? Are they going to demand their rights to use whatever word they want then? And damn all who might be offended? Censorship is bad, I agree. But there is a difference between censorship in a book and censorship when talking to someone.

If someone does not like a book they can choose to put it down. When you socialize with a group of people, either online or in person, you must always be respectful of other people and their opinions. Otherwise you'll come across as rude, insensitive and unprofessional, like this person has done.

Another thing to remember when posting on the internet is you never know how many people are going to read your words and once it is out there its like engraving it in stone. That web board is one of the biggest for writing and publishing on the internet. It has around 30,000 members across the world I think. A lot of those are published authors and editors and agents and publishers.

Who can all now read this author's horrible, insensitive remarks about rape.

Another career down the toilet.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Over using description

I'm in the middle of editing/rewriting Deep Embrace at the moment. I hate reading original drafts. You see it with new eyes. Suddenly all of the flaws that you did not seen months ago are dancing in front of you naked. One thing that has jumped out to me about the first draft of Deep Embrace is how much I can overuse description and my characters showing over the top and unreaslitc emotions. It's really quite embarrassing. I have characters shoving fists into their mouths, sobbing all the time and "slashing" their gaze across someone else. It feels really good to rewrite these chapters and tone them down alot. I am always telling other writers that description is a good tool to be used. And it is. I like to read "visual" stories that show character's expressions, their body language, etc. I think it helps to bring them and the book alive. But too much description can ruin it.

Half the time I'm not even aware that I'm over using description. I find writing first drafts real hard. I'm creating everything from scratch. So sometimes I just let myself go. I'll write down whatever comes to me. If I spend too much time agonising over each sentence I know that I'll never finish. So that means sometimes writing pure crap. Which means when I read back over it during rewrites I end up cringing and wondering if I have any talent at all.

What is clear to me is that I am continuing to grow and develop as a writer. My style is changing. I'm trying to avoid doing things like head hopping. I made an effort right from the beginning to always be inside Perse's head in Deep Embrace. And in the rewrites I've made an effort to avoid describing body parts as if they are acting on their own (Her eyes moved around the room) and I've also been making an effort to not spend too much time describing character's phsyical appearances and to always stay in present tense.

I would like to cut down on description too. Do I really need to say something like "Her eyes cut across his face" when I could put it in a much more simpler way like "She threw him an angry look." While the above sentence is okay once in a while the problem with my original draft is I have used that sort of writing too much.

It feels really good to finally be fixing those problems.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Evil shall with...wait, what? That doesn't make sense

I saw the US remake of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Thursday night and I loved it. It was one of the most faithful Hollywood adaptions of any book I have seen. I loved the two main actors in the role. Rooney was in my mind a better Lisbeth then the original was. She was scary and awesome. And her accent was actually good! I hate actors who don't even bother to do accents in films that need them (looking at you Tom Cruise in Valkyrie). I thought Rooney was much more beautiful than the Swedish actress who played Lisbeth. I really hope Rooney gets nominated for an award.

And Daniel Craig (despite not doing an accent) was an adorable Mikel. He fit the role perfectly and looked like how I imagined the character did. The only thing I did not like about the movie was the stupid tagline on the posters!

Evil shall with evil be expelled? Who the hell wrote that? It doesn't make sense as a proper sentence. It should be evil shall be expelled with evil. Who made that stupid mistake? Did they not try to read it out loud before agreeing it should be on the poster? Also what are they trying to say? Are they calling Lisbeth evil? Lisbeth is not evil. She is not a traditional hero. She is flawed (very much so) and violent and does not care for the rules. But that does not make her evil. It makes her realistic and believable.

The old fashioned heroes of fiction who are honorable, brave, and never make a mistake are not realistic. There is darkness and light in everyone. Lisbeth does horrible things to some people, that's true, but it does not make her evil. It make her an anti-hero. She does good and bad things. She is neither black or white. She is grey. She is intriguing as hell because she is so unpredictable the reader never knows what she is going to do less. Is she going to break the law for her own benefit....or is she going to stop a murder?

I read that the director doesn't think that Lisbeth is a hero and doesn't like people calling her one which is probably why that tagline ended up on the poster. Lisbeth is not a traditional hero, that's true, but does that mean we have to jump straight to calling her evil? She's not that either. She's a victim of sexual and physical violence who learnt at a young age that the only one she can depend on is herself. She lives by her own rules and will not hesitate to defend herself and to dish out her own special form of revenge on people.

Her actions are morally wrong and questionable...but understandable.