I have been told repeatedly that it is important for a writer to have an internet presence whether they wish to self-publish or take the more traditional route. I have only just begun to build my presence. For those writers out there, how have you built up your internet presence? What tools have you used? How do you feel about allowing the public access to your personal information and, if your not comfortable with it, what have you done to protect your info?
Also, what are peoples personal experiences with publishing and spreading word about your books?
The other day I came across an article titled “Writing and Gender.” I tried to leave a comment, but of course my internet chose right then to act up. I lost the article and could not find it again, so I decided I’d write my response here. The article discussed the prevalence of gender in writing and the authors hope to write a novel in first person while attempting to avoid making character gender obvious. I applaud the author for their willingness to attempt such a feat (if you read this, I’m sorry but I can’t remember who wrote the post). I also have a similar goal in mind. Gender is a big issue for me, and I attempt to always write characters that defy gender roles. I have also dabbled in some short stories where I avoid gender simply by using gender-neutral names and the singular of they. It is not an easy task, but it’s doable. My end goal is to do a graphic novel where the characters all look gender-neutral. I want to see how people respond when they look at the characters and can’t determine their gender. My curiosity arose from a study done where parents dressed their infants in gender-neutral clothing and refused to tell people their gender. In the study, some people where driven so crazy by not knowing that they would go as far as to try to undress the children to find out what their sexes were.
How would you respond to a story where you were unsure of the characters gender? Would you care? Would it take away from the story or distract you? Why?
Would you be willing to write a story where you refused to gender the main character or all of the characters? Do you think it would be possible? How would you do it?
Today my partner and I went to the new movie Transcendence. After the movie, we began discussing how so many dystopian stories contribute to the fear of science. In Transcendence it’s AI technology, In Divergent it’s mind control, In Hunger Games there is the fear that the elite will control all the technology and use it against the rest of the population. These fears see to follow fears held by the average person. But are these fears right? Or are they simply brought about by a lack of understanding of science and technology? What if there were a dystopian novel/movie that went in the opposite direction? Are there any that already have?
I am trying to decide if I should post some of my writing on my blog. I know that a lot of other writers do. But I am currently in the middle of a huge writing project and don’t know if I’ll have time to work on anything to post here. For those writers out there, what are your reasons for posting or not posting your work?
Writing has become difficult as of late. I have tried to write as much as possible since I finished my book in February, but it has been difficult. My school semester is wrapping up now, so I am finding myself busy with papers and finals. I also spent a good portion of March feeling ill. As such, I have not been writing daily. It has been hard because I want to finish my second book in May so that I can make a second attempt at a writing contest (my first try failed miserably, but now I can fix up that book and hopefully still get it published).
I have been struggling a bit with my emotions lately. I find myself unable to care about school. I just want to write. I am considering taking a year off of school, but I am really close to graduating. It is hard to determine what is the best choice for me. However, I do have fairly big plans for my writing. I want to finish my second book in May and then write a third book (for another contest) for July. Then I intend to write a series of short stories for September (for a third contest). Hopefully I can do well in, or, better yet, win, one of the contests and get published. But if not, then I will fix up the three novels and all the short stories and try to get published in a more traditional fashion. My goal right now is to be published by 26, so I have a little over a year to accomplish this.
My plans for the future are unclear right now. I don’t know what I want to do other than get published. I used to have a plan. I intended to graduate, get married, travel for a year, move somewhere to settle down for my career, get financially stable, and start a family. It was my “by the time I’m 30” plan. Now I want to write. I want to get published. But few of my other plans still matter to me. I hope that I can get my motivation back soon.
My writing lately has been quite experimental. I have been testing the waters and trying to decide what I like best. I really like reading fantasy, and I enjoy writing it too. But I am also interested in different genres. My first novel has been completed and is currently entered in a contest. I doubt that I’ll get very far as this is the first contest that I have entered, but I thought it worth a try. It will take a while before I know how I fared. That novel was a fantasy novel. Now I am working on two short stories that I also intend to submit into a couple of contests. They are both fairly philosophical. One is about falling out of ones faith and one is about gender non-conformity.
One thing that I have learned through my writing is that I like writing gender non-conforming characters. I like characters who do not fit into societal norms in general, but gender non-conformity is my favorite so far. I know that this could limit my target audience, but I am fine with that. I don’t think that there are nearly enough fictional characters out their that are outside of the norm. People like the average Joe because they can relate to that character. But what about the people who can’t relate to the average Joe? I would like to offer characters that those people can relate to. And if I ever become a well-known author I would like to help create a society where those who don’t fit within societal conventions can feel safe and aren’t at greater risk for depression and suicide.
This, however, isn’t just something I want to do for gender non-conforming people. While I think that they tend to be the most likely to be discriminated against, they are not the only group that is not represented in today’s media. I am hoping to write another short story where the main character has autism spectrum disorder. I am intending to write most of my stories with main characters that fit outside of societal norms. It is important to me to work towards a society where finding oneself outside of the societal norm doesn’t make one the ‘other’.
Words are used as though they are the most simple thing ever. We assume that the things that we say mean the same things for everybody. But words are far more complex than that. Two people can grow up in the same city, go to the same school, take the same courses in University, and belong to the same religion but they will interpret the same words differently. This week has been filled with examples of this for me. Today I was discussing “faith” with a group of people in an interfaith environment. We are all apart of the same group, we were discussing the same book, but we didn’t all agree on what “faith” means or its value as a word. As an atheist, “faith” has a vastly different meaning for me then it did for those that I was with. This has lead me to question what the phrase “I have faith” actually means to the person who says it. What are they trying to convey? What message do they want to send me? How does that differ from the message that I receive?
Earlier this week I was dealing with even more problematic words. On Tuesday I was discussing “sex” and “gender”. What do we mean when we say “I am a woman” as opposed to “I am female,” or “I am male” as opposed to “I am a man”? What message are we trying to convey? How do those phrases have different meanings. For me, they are vastly different. When I am discussing my sex, I simply mean the label that I was given by the doctor when I was born. There is no deeper meaning and it holds no significance. When I am discussing my gender I am discussing how I feel about myself. How I label myself, and how I want others to label me. But many people use sex and gender interchangeably.
So what problems are caused as a result of different people interpreting the same word differently? What does this say about how we communicate? What should we do to eliminate miscommunication? All these questions keep rushing through my mind and I am curious to know how others feel about these issues.