I have questions….

(Note: I started writing this a few months ago before I got sick. It had some good points about story telling so I thought I’d share it. Also… SPOILERS.)

picardI just watched the new episode of Picard and I have so many questions.

Why isn’t the Dr in the brig?

Why is everyone saying Data is Soji’s (sp?) farther, not the doctor that created her?

Does anyone else find it utter cringe to call Picard “JP”?

Why did elf boy hug Seven? That seemed so out of character. For both of them.

There were a few things I actually enjoyed. Seven joining the cube was visually awesome (though it was a fast let down since it ended up not mattering what so ever). I could even see her disconnecting since she wasn’t actually part of the collective, but it wasn’t explained well. But I find it telling that my BF, who isn’t as familiar with the borg, had an immediate reaction of “that’s not how the borg work.”

The casino planet seemed out of place, and out of touch just like the casino planet in Star Wars (can we just stop it with the casinos in sci-fi?). The whole sub plot of the child on the casino planet made no impact what so ever on the entire thing and just made Raf look like a bad mom, and a junky. I feel like they could have done something with this, like had them make up at the end since she proved her conspiracy theory was real. But instead it was just a plot point to get her on the ship and didn’t actually matter.

And that’s the way the whole thing felt. Nothing actually mattered. Dr kills someone with no consequences. All the borg die with no consequences. The droids try to kill every organic being in the universe…with no consequences.

Consequences give the story gravity. It makes it matter. And the biggest consequence could have been if Picard actually died at the end. Instead they created a deus ex machina and gave him a new body. He lived, he got rid of his old ailment, and everyone is happy.

Actions should have consequences. Without them what’s the point? Everything is retconned anyway, and nothing really happened, except now androids can dream of electric sheep again.

Anyway, if you enjoyed it… well great. Every story has an audience, so they say. This clearly wasn’t for me and I have no interest in further Star Trek. I’d rather watch Axanar.


Write the Story You Want to See

The latest controversy in the book world is JK Rowling and the lack of a gay character story line. She said Dumbledore was gay in a tweet, but he is not explicitly shown as gay in the new movie. Of course the new movie isn’t even out yet so we don’t know if it references it at all, or even if it’s relevant to the plot.

Of course people are upset because of representation or personal desires on how the story should go…and I have to say as a writer this worries me just a little.

Right now LGBT books are flying off the shelves pretty fast. If you watch booktube most of them will talk about books that are LGBT quite often, and go into detail about how it effects them emotionally or mentally. And that isn’t a bad thing. I would even say it’s good for those authors to get exposure to the people most likely to read their work. And it’s awesome that people are interested in this subject matter and have so many books to choose from.

The part that bothers me, and has always bothered me, is when rabid fans love a franchise so much that they want to force their ideals on the creator.

This is not an exclusive thing to (or a characteristic of) the LGBT community, or young adult fiction, or books even. This is usually a small, but vocal, subset of a much larger group. For ages we’ve had Disney fans pushing for changes to Disney characters. Or rabid Star Wars fans upset about the new movies. Or the backlash over the Witcher being all white characters.

It’s one thing for people to write an article about how they didn’t like it because x, y and z. It’s one thing to have fans write in or tweet or Facebook that they would love to see x, y and z. But it’s an entirely different story when people start attacking because “this thing I care about isn’t in your story”, or brigading, or stalking the author, or threatening her, or…. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Write your stories.

I started writing because I didn’t see characters like me. Meek young girls coming from an abusive past that made a new life for themselves. Girls who had their voices taken from them and fought like hell to get them back. Women who loved, and hated, and hurt over and over again…. And learned to stand on their own two feet.

I couldn’t find those stories so I started writing them.

And I started looking for them a little harder, in unlikely places. And I found them.

Vote with your dollar. Go buy LGBT stories from authors and find new franchises you like. You don’t have to force someone else to put something in their story that they feel doesn’t fit, or they can’t write, or they aren’t able to do justice, or they just don’t want to do. I don’t write erotica for that reason, and I’d ignore anyone that told me I had to write it, too. It doesn’t fit who I am. I haven’t published an LGBT character yet because I haven’t finished the story. But does that make my other stories less valid?

And if you still can’t find what you’re looking for… Write it. Draw it. Sculpt it. Put music to it. Do the art you want to see in the world, and love the art that is already there. You can love the other art for what it is instead of pushing it to be what you want. Or just walk away. After all, if it didn’t sell she wouldn’t be able to keep writing it.

Map Building

PeyllenI’ve always enjoyed building maps, and world building in general. I have a few dozen of them stashed among the pages of old hand written story ideas, their edges smudged over time, and words sometimes faded out WSsmltill it’s illegible. But the concept, the idea of the map is still there.

The journey of Peyllen started with a young girl leaving home for the first time. That was the first book that I wrote in the series, the first book I finished in the series. But it won’t be released for a long time. There are many stories that come before that one, and it will have to be rewritten in its entirety before it ever sees the light of day. But the idea behind it, the world and the magic, remain. You might have already taken a peak at it. It is the same world that my Witch’s Trilogy came from.

map2The very first iteration of Peyllen was a scratchy pencil drawing on a spare piece of paper.

I scanned and copied it into Gimp and started adding outlines, colors, adjusting the land masses, and giving it more definition. I added “The Sea of Tears” since it did not appear on the original maps (though the idea was always there).

peylinPeyllan has grown, taken shape and mass of it’s own in my thoughts. And the stories have grown as well.

I’m getting to the end of book three in the trilogy. I think I’ll take a short break from Peyllan after that to work on a few other projects, but eventually I’ll be back. There are ten more novels in this world waiting to be told. And I bet by the time I’ve finished some of them I’ll find more stories lurking in the world. Maybe some from areas yet uncharted on the far side of the world.

Thoughts about Farescape

I watched Farscape a long time ago. It was one of my favorite sci-fi series, possibly because I didn’t have a lot of them to watch when I was younger, possibly because Chiana was the cutest grey alien I’d ever seen. Either way…

Gregg turned it on today and started watching the first episode while I was writing and I was struck by something I hadn’t noticed before, a theme that weaves itself through the entire series and I never really noticed it; Nature vs Nurture.

It’s most prevalent in the character of Aeryn Sun. When she is charged with alien contamination she is sentenced to death and must either submit to her breeding, to the life that she has always known, or run. Choose a new life. Find a new way of being.

Her entire character arc revolves around the examination of nature verses nurture. Can she be more even though she was bred, raised, and brainwashed to be a specific thing? On top of that the people around her, including other Peacekeepers, are influenced by her actions to break from the Peacekeeper mold and become something more, something new. I suppose you could say that the show teaches that one person who steps outside of the norm can make a difference. Sometimes a huge difference.

The whole story revolves around John Crichton and his search to get home, and his adaptation to the new world. At least it seems to be. Looking back on all the episodes it seems the main story was really about Aeryn Sun, and how John Crichton changed her life, and set her up to change so many other lives. The other characters have their own arcs, as does Crichton, but over it all there is Aryen Sun. The person who seems to be the secondary lead, and yet her entire story and characterization is driving the plot forward more than anyone else’s.

I’d have to re-watch the entire series to see if that holds up throughout, but my educated guess, based on watched the entire series a few years ago, is that I would find even more plot points that revolve and change because of her. It’s a brilliant use of characterization that you don’t even really notice as that at first. All of the other characters, even Crichton at times, are mere window dressing. But Sun matters.

I suppose that is a lesson to me, as well. Make my characters, even the minor one, matter to the story. See how they change the plot, change the direction of the other characters around them, and that will make the story better, fuller, and more complex.

As for the nature verses nurture part, by the end of the series Sun has definitely become something entirely different. She changes far more than anyone else, and chooses nurture of herself over nature she was born with. Crichton, and the others on the ship, encourage that growth, but much of it comes from within herself. And I think that is also attainable in the real world. If we choose ourselves, instead of choosing the culture we come from, or the family we were born to, we can rise above all of that and become something better. Something more. It’s not always easy, and those around you might fight against it (like Crais trying to stop Sun at every turn) but it can be done.

Have any of you watched Farescape? What did you think about it?