Writing help.

Discussion in 'Writers' Corner' started by Kframe, May 4, 2015.

  1. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Well this is probably the most out of character thing to hit me in my entire life. I have not really read any books in years. So just a few weeks ago i found by accident a website full of Scifi fan fiction.

    Now most of it was horrid, written by 13 year old boys, so ill leave that to your imagination as to how bad it was. However by accident i stumbled on to a small subset of writers who actually were being serious about writing good stories and not just their alien version of 50 shades of grey, and used the site as a way to practice their writing in a safe place.

    One of the trilogies i read sucked me in so hard that i have read each of them 3 times in the last week and a half.(the stories are as thick as books) I mean it was such a fantastic story.

    Well im not particularly bright but reading that trilogy and some of the other more serious writing has sparked a desire to write my own story.

    Now its not the mechanics of writing or anything im worried about, as i have been doing much reading on writing websites regarding proper structure. Im needing some advice regarding female character development.

    I dont want my female co main character to be some caricature of a woman. I want her to be tough yet also have a deeply loving and soft and caring side. Qualities that i associate with femininity.

    Part of me wants a feminist to read it and say that was a well developed female lead.
    How does one balance the attributes? Maker her tough as nails yet soft as a feather? Rip your face off one minute and cuddle you to death the next?

    The stories i read, that i enjoyed approached this as basically a combination of masculine and feminine qualities.

    I can give more details of my story if you need, its only going to go up on the fan fic place so it will mean nothing to no one, but that does not mean i want it be crap.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  2. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    laconic minimal-thought answer: write a "person", not a "woman"?
     
  3. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Start with something like this.

    Role:

    Values:

    Goal: Makes these concrete. Think along the same lines as SMART planning.

    Conflict: Both internal and external


    Spend some time writting her life story so that you know as much about her as possible, that way you have a guide as to how she might react to certain situations. Go as deep as possible into her backstory so that you know her as well as you can.

    Start with a sentence that outlines her, then expand to a paragraph, then a page and so on.
     
  4. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Dont have a choice, her people are all female. Not one single male among them.
     
  5. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

  6. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Does that mean they see gender the same way as you do though?

    Already you are trying to make them fit human views on what they should be. See what I'm getting at?

    :)
     
  7. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Well if you want a good idea of what inspired me read these fan fictions.

    Start with this one Astral link. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8224679/1/Astral-Link

    Then read Golden Door. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10185410/1/The-Golden-Door

    Lastly finish with Heart of the Hive. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8749226/1/Heart-of-the-Hive

    This trilogy sucked me in and is what inspired me and my question.

    So focus on her back story and write the person and not the gender. However the question i have, is it against modern ideas of gender equality to have a female with maternalistic and softer instincts? Looking over the feminist thread i get the feeling its wrong to write a woman with a softer side.

    I have a vision of what my girl will be. Territorial, protective, desire to provide, tough and vengeful. Yet compassionate and soft touched and gentle as a feather around the people she loves the most.

    So my overall design for her has definite masculine qualities.

    I intend gender roles to be a big yet secondary conflict in my story.
     
  8. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    I see your point, and no they dont see gender like we do at all. They all tend to have a mix of traits, with individuals being either more masculine or feminine. Though they are all deeply passionate and caring for their own and those they trust. Outsiders usually end up eaten...
     
  9. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I think Fish was aiming for the idea that you should write the person not the gender, or you risk writing stereotypes not characters. :)

    Mitch
     
  10. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    If the entire race is female then the male/female dichotomy (I am sure there is a better word for it) really isn't an issue and then there really isn't such a thing as a "feminine" perspective for the individual it.

    Do they reproduce by parthenogenisis? So certainly they could retain what we would consider maternal instincts, though how you would then separate that from paternal instincts I don't have a clue, they are both protective parental qualities defined by gender.

    Just write a person, one that has the traits you are looking for, but since it is genderless it will be hard to run afoul of gender stereotypes.
     
  11. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Well normally you would be right Blindside, the male/female dichotomy would not even be a factor. However She isn't going to hooking up with a member of her own(their aren't any more that she knows of yet) but a male human. A male who is most definitely in the male stereotype. Hence the nature of the secondary conflict of my story. His whole world is shattered by her.

    I guess maternal instinct was not the correct wording. Its more like, as a society they have zero qualm about showing the whole emotional spectrum. None of the man up and tough it out stuff exists among them. When one hurts they all hurt, so comforting the one hurting comforts all of them. Their exists a closeness in their society that humans can not even hope to approach.

    I do like the suggestion to focus on the character and not the gender. I have a vision of what i want and i should just write that out, not what i think people want. Thank you for that suggestion guys.

    Parthenogenesis lol i didnt even know that existed LOL. No i think that the primary form of reproduction is something more parasitic.
     
  12. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Parthenogenesis is pretty cool. For whatever reason, most of the taxa I can think of that reproduce that way are reptiles. Weird.

    I have a lot of things that I want to write about women in sci fi. I'll be typing them out piece by piece, but in general, I'd say compare Princess Leia to Queen Amidala. Once you know why Leia works and Amidala falls flat on her face, you'll know what's important to writing about female characters.

    Love the advice about writing a person first, a woman second.
     
  13. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    I never actually thought about the differences between Amidala and Leia. Will have to think on that.

    Another question i have is, what constitutes the beginning and do i have to start their? Part of the problem is have not quite sorted the origins of our male hero and the exact circumstances of their fateful encounter.

    However i have a scene in my head that is playing out like a movie and it takes place a while after they meet. However that scene would thrust the reader straight into the conflict. I had originally planned to start at this more intermediate point and then arrange the backstory of how they met and the circumstances of their current situation through flash backs.

    I was consulting some writing blogs and they suggest that starting in this fashion is a dire mistake. However where im foggy and incomplete on beginning of were they met and how im quite clear on this other scene that is set some time after all that.

    I visited my mom and she suggested I use a prologue if i go with my original option.

    Parthenogenesis gives me an idea for another character.
     
  14. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    One is a person who interacts with her world, makes decisions, takes action, changes things and makes out with her brother. The other is a prop.

    The best way to start writing is to write. Period.

    With that said, there are some advantages to thinking of your story structure. What actually happens? Why does it happen that way? How do your characters bring about that thing that happens? What's the conflict (what happens if one person wins or the other loses - what's the cost, what's at stake)?
     
  15. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Of course, the Bechdel test can and should be mentioned here:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Can you put the picture in your post in a link? For some reason Chrome is not displaying it.

    Thanks for the advice Philosoraptor. I think ill write out what i have clear in my head and as my vision for the origins gets clearer i can just insert it into the story at the right time. It should work out well. I need to get something on paper though.
     
  17. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  18. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Watch all of these (some harsh language):

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxKtZmQgxrI"]Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 1 of 7) - YouTube[/ame]

    All of 'em. It's a great illustration of how to tell a story well vs. badly, with references to female characters, but in general, writing sci fi as a whole.
     
  19. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    I don't think gender is your big issue, the big issue is how and why two people from different species are going to interact. Is this a Star Trek style universe where just about all species share the Slot A that Prong B goes into? Why would a genderless species have a Slot A?

    Think about this, your male has more biologically in common with a komodo dragon than they will with your "female" protagonist. Or is he shattered because he is now in hopeless, romantic love with some androgynous alien?

    Actually, better yet, is this a story about how said parasitic androngynous alien implants him with her offspring and forces said manly man to become the surrogate mother of their cute and cuddly baby girls?
     
  20. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    LOL at your last sentence.

    The how and why will be the part that will be the hardest to come up with. Most people writing in this universe use the same setup and i understand why, its easy and ready made. However i dont want to go that direction.


    I'm hesitant to mention the universe its set in lest i get mocked. All i can say is, this alien I'm writing did come from nature at one point but was massively genetically altered eons ago. So while parasitic it also has sex organs albeit sterile and vestigial, at least according to the source material i have been reading. (keep in mind this is a fan fic based on a existing universe, However i still am taking this seriously)

    So as such, its not gender-less just missing the other gender, as it was mostly rendered moot.

    However i see their relationship being more about a emotional romance, falling in emotional love with this person with any physical love being the icing on the cake.

    He is shattered because she is better at being a man then he is. She is his superior in all physical ways, not mention having the psychological traits normally associated with masculinity as well as feminine traits.

    If you have been watching movies for the last 25+ years you have actually seen her race before.. LOL.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015

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