Friday, August 29, 2014

Tara's death on True Blood was an insult to her character

Now that the final season of True Blood is on the Australian iTunes store I am finally watching it. I'm only a couple of episodes in and it's okay, so far, for true blood standards. I already knew some spoilers thanks to the internet so Tara's off screen death in the first episode was not a surprise to me. Unlike the rest of the internet I actually really liked Tara. I like her sass, her bad attitude, her southern accent, and I really liked it when they made her into a vampire. Vampire Tara was a great move because it took her character in a bold, exciting new direction. I just wish they'd done it earlier in the show and explored the area in more detail. Killing Tara off screen was a really piss poor way to end her character's time on the show. Tara has always been the character to pity on True Blood. She was the one who got the most kicks in the gut. Life was a bitch to her. While Sookie was off being romanced by vampires, Tara was being kidnapped by vampire psychos, raped, or being brainwashed. And it would always be a long time before Sookie or anyone else would even notice.

Tara was a very loyal friend to Sookie and I always felt that Sookie did not deserve her. After Sookie has her turned into a vampire, a very selfish decision on her part, Sookie says "She'll get over it" when discussing how mad Tara is at her. How unbelievably fucked up is that? Tara was kidnapped and raped by a vampire. Becoming one of them was the last thing Tara would have wanted but Sookie was too selfish to let her friend die. She made her into a vampire because she felt guilty about Tara taking a bullet for her. She should have let her die.

Tara deserved more than to die off screen. After all the incredible crap she had to go through in life and death she could have at least been granted the privilege to die in the front of the audience with her fangs bared in defiance.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Should writers be paid a living wage?

I would love to make money from my books. The most I've ever made was five dollars. If I ever cracked $100 I would be thrilled. I would go out and spend it on something shiny and awesome like some books, shoes, or maybe a video game. I would be so proud of whatever I purchased because I got it with money I earned from writing. It's incredibly hard to be a writer. You spend thousands of hours writing a book, then spend thousands of hours marketing it to publishers or agents, and then you have to market it and pray that someone will purchase it. I realized a long time ago that it was just too hard to put all my eggs into one basket and hope to be able to live off writing profits one day. There are too many publishers out there and too many other authors that the chances of "striking it big" and making some actual decent money is very, very slim.

The sad fact about writing was even if I struck somewhere in the middle and sold a decent amount of books to amass a following I probably still would not come close to earning enough to be able to quit my job and live off writing. To be able to do that I would need a smash hit. We're talking Twilight or Hunger Games level of hit.

So I resigned myself to the fact that the chances of that happening was pretty slim. I'm okay with that too. I don't think it reflects badly on me as a writer. It's all up to chance. I'm sure right now there are dozens if not hundreds of books gathering dust out there that could be the next Hunger Games if enough people discovered them. The fact of the matter is it is hard to get noticed and sometimes good writers and good books slip under the radar.

Which is why I think writers need to be realistic about their chances of success and not expect to be able to quit their jobs one day and work full time as a writer and be able to live comfortably at the same time. might happen. You could also win the lotto or find a treasure chest at the end of a rainbow.

I hate writers who whinge about their lack of success like it's the fault of readers or booksellers or something. Write a better book that will get noticed. And get your head out of the clouds and treat writing like a hobby that might if you're lucky reward with a little money one day if you're lucky.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How much violence is too much violence?

I bought an Xbox a couple of weeks back and I've been playing Tomb Raider. It's a great game. It's open world, it's got great graphics, it's dark and gritty, the controls are great, it's got voice acting and is fun. One thing that is starting to bother me about it, though, is the amount of gruesome ways Lara keeps getting killed. I have been crushed under a rock, stabbed, shot, ripped apart by wolves, strangled to death, felt up, beat up and I've fallen off waterfalls.

Lara is also dirty and bloody in every scene and either crying, panicking, or in fear. It's nice the game has a female main character but does she have to be beaten, bruised, and scared all the time? Do the men in the game have to be raping, bellowing monsters? I know the game is supposed to be about how Lara "toughens up" and becomes a great explorer/adventurer later on in life but does it have to be such a brutal coming of age?

I don't mind violence most of the time if it serves a point. I think it can enhance a story well. The problem I'm having with Tomb Raider is how so much of the violence is directed towards Lara and there are only so many times I can see her brutally ripped apart before I start to raise an eyebrow and question is this violence enhancing the game or is it being needlessly graphic just to shock people? How much violence is too much violence?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A realistic romance - how refreshing!

I just finished reading Divergence and really enjoyed it. One thing I liked a lot was the romance subplot between Tris and Four. Unlike in other romance books there was no "our eyes met and stars exploded" moment between the two. It wasn't until 190 pages in that they both realized that they even liked each other. They spend most of the book getting into arguments. It felt real. It made me realize how annoying most romance books are. I've read a lot of them and it's really common for characters to fall for each other at first glance and it's a real cliche. It was nice to read about two characters who don't even start off as friends but then fall in love with each other not because of fate or their insane good looks or a hunger for sex. They fell in love with each other because they realized they were equals. They respect each other. They value things like strength and morals and bravery. Four is not a brute and Tris is not some fragile, ultra-girly flower, who makes cookies and is perfect at sewing and other female things. I even liked that Tris was scared of being intimate with him. It made her so realistic. I liked how she slowly got over her fears of intimacy and warmed to Four. He was just as scared to get into a relationship too which was a good touch. Now don't get me wrong. I don't dislike romances. They are fun escapism. But it's nice to read a story with two flawed characters who act and speak like real people in the real world.