Okay, one more post about writing. Just one more and then I’ll do some more awful fan fiction, because that’s way overdue. ^^”
On my never ending debate with my friend from China, she recently asked me how I feel about certain things that I claimed to annoy me about Twilight and Fifty Shades. If I actually consider these things ‘literary no-nos’ or if they only bothered me in the context of those books. Welp, yes and no. I thought I should talk about these things and my particular feelings here, since most of you have seen me rant about it in at least one occasion. So let’s do this.
Okay, let’s start with the most obvious one. I’ve never hid my annoyance with vampires. I’ve just recently mentioned my disgust at seeing Luckas compared to one. Although in Luke’s case the ’emo’ part is more offensive.
When I say I don’t like vampires I mean it in the sense that I don’t seek out stories containing vampires. However I can say the same for zombies and The Walking Dead is one of my favorite TV shows, so I don’t rule anything out; ever. And I’ve enjoyed things with Vampires in it. Being Human (the British version), for instance, was a show about a Vampire a Werewolf and a Ghost living together in a house. It’s the kind of premise that would make me go “Fuck no!”, but I watched it once with my sister and I actually really liked the characters. All of them. And the vampire was almost my favorite (not to mention pretty yummy >.>).
My issue is not with vampires in particular, but with what they’ve come to represent in recent fiction, which is an excuse to have a character act like a misunderstood tortured soul without actually having to give them a full personality. You could do that with a great number of character types, but in my generation vampires have gotten the worst of it, and that made me see them as those annoying characters immediately, until proven wrong.
If I’m perfectly rational about it, and never ever tell my friend I admitted to this, Luckas could have easily been that type of character if I didn’t put as much effort into him as I do. I’ve always tried to not portray him as a sad brooding figure, even if in some ways, internally, he is. And I’ve always tried my best to make it a point that the things he suffered don’t excuse the things he does and that even when he claims they do, he knows that’s not entirely true. I’ve tried to write him that way even back when the plan was to not reveal a thing about his past. I don’t know to what point I’ve succeeded, but I sure as hell was aware enough to try. ^.-
To reiterate, because I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before at least once, my problem with Twilight was never the vampires. My greatest problem with Twilight was that Bella was an unlikable sack of annoying blandness and Edward was just… Bland. I’m not sure which is worse, because at least I could mock Bella’s crap of a non-personality.
And, funny, you know who I liked in Twilight (the book)? Every vampire who wasn’t Edward. Even Alice with her (debatably) useless visions. Actually, Alice might have been my favorite. >.>
My novel is in first person. Why do I criticize it so much then? I’m such a hypocrite, oh noes! *snort*
I’ve put almost ten years of work into my book. Do you know why I criticize first person in some works? Because I think an author should understand how flipping difficult it is to write through a character’s eyes without turning them into an annoying pile of whine in moments of conflict. You want to feel the character’s emotions and not feel like you’re listening to someone complain to you about their problems or rambling about their crush (when in romance scenarios). And you know what, that’s a pretty difficult thing to accomplish and I’m pretty nitpicky when determining whether or not a particular piece of writing is successful in doing so. That includes my own pieces, obviously.
Recently, I’ve liked one book written in first person (for the most part) and it was Ordinary Handsome. I was reading Divergent, but I won’t officially say I like it until I finish it. 😛
I never mentioned this one when talking about Twilight or 50 Shades, but I think I should address it all the same.
So, POV changes: Are they needed? Are they relevant? Are they well executed? If yes to all three… Then I’m perfectly okay with them. The main issue with POV changes for me is that you HAVE TO differentiate between narrators without having to name drop every time you switch. If you have to tell the reader whose POV it is, you’re not doing it right. The tone of the narration needs to change as if the reader was suddenly listening to an entirely different voice telling them the story. Again, that’s pretty difficult to pull off. As for relevance and necessity… If you change POV just for the sake of having someone else describe your main character… Don’t. Just, please don’t. I understand the urge, but you don’t need that.
For the greater part of my first book my two main characters are living entirely separate lives, so, without the POV changes I can’t fully tell their story, but… In the scenes when they are together I always try to ask myself whose voice is better for a certain moment or situation and sometimes I realize afterwards that I probably made the wrong choice. =_=
Romance In General
I LIKE romance. I don’t understand why people think I don’t like rom-… Okay, fine, I guess I do understand why someone would think that. Fair enough. It’s not true that I don’t like romance, but I just don’t feel that romance in itself is enough to carry a story. I’ve covered that when I mentioned Romance RPs, and I feel it’s the same for any type of writing. That’s just my personal preference though. This was never something I believed writers shouldn’t do, it’s just something I don’t like to read. I’m entitled to have a few of those.
And you know… There is going to be some romance in my books, eventually… There is some in the RP also. While I’m not entirely sure I’d call that romantic by any typical standards, Luke and Ess are pretty adorable. As are Annie and Darren… Crys and Jakey… Actually Crys and Jakey are the cutest most adorable of all the couples ever and… I… uh… Moving on. ^^”
This one seemed to annoy my friend. I think her argument was something along the lines of “none of your characters seem to be particularly unattractive, and should I even mention the ‘blue eye thing’?
I’ll get back to the ‘blue eye thing’ on another post, been meaning to talk about that for a while. As for her argument… True. Alright. Ali is blonde with blue eyes, she’s physically well conditioned (she’s an assassin for Bob’s sake) and similar things can be observed with a lot of my characters…. Okay. I don’t have an issue with characters being attractive, my problem is with authors who feel the need to point that out every… other… line. If you have one character attracted to another, you can pretty much assume that they FIND THEM ATTRACTIVE!
Look, since I’ve brought up Jakey and Crys, let’s use them as an example… They’ve been the couple I’ve been writing the longest in my short writing career. And I say that because through most of the time I’ve written Ali and Eric they have not been an item, and much to the contrary at some points… But, Jake and Crys have had at least something going on from day one of their existence.
In almost three RPs and in almost five years of writing them, do you know how many times I have Jake stop and think “Whoa, she’s beautiful!” and actually mention it? Once. I did that once. It was during this fancy party when she arrives, in the moment he first sees her. And I did this because I wanted to bring attention to the fact that, because they were not in good terms at that point in the story, it was painful for Jake to see her there.
There is also one scene where he agrees with Darren that she’d look better than him in a hat, but I’m not sure that counts. lol
The point is, I don’t have Jake monologue about how beautiful Crys is every goddamn time he sees her, because, you know…. You can assume for yourself that because he is in love with her, he must definitely think so. Not to mention the fact that there are TONS of little things about her he loves beyond how physically attractive she is and if I have to choose at any give moment, I’d much rather have him mention one of those.
Pop quiz: other than the fact he’s like a golden eyed God of handsomeness and a creepy stalker beast… what other traits has Bella Swan ever praised about Edward Cullen? Seriously, if you know; tell me.
I’ll admit 50 Shades was a little less terrible in that department, but it was still too freaking much swooning over Christian Grey… Dear Motherfucking GOD!
I guess, this one is enough of a peeve for me to consider it a no-no. It aggravates me. A LOT.
Oh, oh, since I know that’s what my friend would argue if she was here (and it’s possible that when she replies to my email, she will)… Luckas’ nickname for Ess. Let’s briefly cover that. The nickname was gradually shortened to just “Lady”, but it was originally “Pretty Lady”. So yes, every time he says ‘Lady’ he’s implicitly saying she’s pretty, but it doesn’t count. I mean the whole point of the nickname, to Luckas, was to draw attention away from the fact he does think she’s pretty. Y’know, make it not a big deal. So yeah, it doesn’t count. When he calls Jake ‘pretty boy’ that’s just to piss him off so it doesn’t count either. Juuust saying. 😛
I’m not one to try and dictate how other writers do their thing, I’m merely discussing my personal tastes and opinions here. I want to make that clear because I believe that anything can be done well. Some stuff is just…. Eh… Not for me.