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Above Water (So Far)

The Great Semiannual Panic has been haunting me and my department. We have managed to survive, and while I didn’t get two weeks of rewatch done last weekend, I got enough that I was able to keep to my schedule. Between episodes four and five I wrote approximately 7,974 words of summary and commentary, and I feel pretty awesome.

I’m honestly astounded at my output. I’ve written over 17,000 words for my Avatar: The Last Airbender rewatch, and I’ve done that while keeping a posting schedule. Granted, a lot of those words are summary, which doesn’t take as much creativity as writing something completely original. However, it does take some creativity and skill, and if you haven’t noticed already, I have been putting a ton of effort into the commentary. >.>

It is a lot of fun to re-experience a story that I love and to think about it critically. For me, it has been a great way to educate myself on different aspects of storytelling: world building, characterization, plots, subplots, etc., especially when I think of aspects that I wasn’t pleased about or that I think could have been done better.

On a completely different level, it’s been a great way to educate myself about what I am actually capable of doing. I’ve completely surpassed all my other word count records on this project. I’m close to averaging 1,000 words a day for the year, which is astounding when you remember that my average for 2011 was about 1,300 a week.

What I need to do now is figure out how to do the rewatch faster (and I have a strategy in place that I plan to test this weekend) so that I don’t have to spend at least four hours on each post. That’s a very conservative estimate. Very conservative. Six or more is probably closer to the truth, but I couldn’t bring myself to time it. Either I need to get faster or my rewatch is going to have to slow down, because right now I haven’t had any time for working on Uncanny Valley.

I hope to have some interesting things to report next week, but in the meantime I’ll leave you with three links I found that I thought would be interesting enough to pass along:

  • An essay by Malinda Lo. She talks about a project she’s working on and how she’s found herself having to pick her way through the minefield of what her female character does/wears/thinks and what that implies.
  • A ridiculous photo post by Jim C. Hines. He attempts to copy the poses of female characters on book covers and hilarity ensues. Of special note is an essay he links at the bottom from a martial artist/contortionist about female superheroes.
  • An essay about how mainstream media depictions of beauty exclude women of color.

3 comments

  1. Duo

    I liked the article by Malinda Lo. I’m trying to figure out how my main character, who may have “given up” on being a girl but is still one, no matter what she decided at a young age, is going to act or react to certain situations. I also have to feel out her real personality that’s going to be buried under the personality she creates foe herself. Do I have to know all this before I start writing, or will some of it come up as I need authentic responses to the plot?

    1. Audrey

      I think it’s fine if you just have a broader outline to start with, especially when you’re looking at contrasts between her real personality versus her the fake one. But I do think you ought to give yourself some maneuvering when it comes to the plot. These characterization questions can be tweaked and refined the more you are comfortable with your work and on subsequent drafts.

    2. Brittany

      I think that, for one, no matter how far your character tries to behave as a man, there are female psychological and physiological factors that still come up. I think it would be interesting to explore how a character like that would deal with those factors. (I can see it being cliche, too, so be aware.)

      Really, I think it comes down to creating a *person* first, with personality and hopes and goals and trials, and then seeing how gender affects those one way or another. By focusing on the person, I think you’ll have a more rounded character of whatever gender.

      I agree with Audrey, though. Have an idea of what you want, but don’t feel like you have to have everything defined at once. Most of the time you have the rewriting stage in which to change directions, or add or subtract gender-specific responses and complications, to make it all the richer when it’s done.

      (PS~ Thanks for posting those links, Audrey. They were pretty incensing. And I followed Jim Hines’ post to the contortionist one, too. Argh.)

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