Sep 15

How to suppress women's writing in the age of social media -


Inspired of course by by Joanna Russ. And not set off by anything in particular, just an aggregate of comments and a good friend being treated terribly for posting some of her fiction for free online.image

She tweets and tumblrs so she must not be working.
She never tweets…

Another quote from WIP:
“Ignorance was not, in my mind, a proper attribute of a lady. A lady did not listen when a husband told her not to worry about money for the future. She could make sums on her own, and she demanded to see the books. She did not accept that others would “do well” for her. She did well for herself, and she did that by facing the truth. If it was bad, it was not made better by being ignored. And if it was good, well, it had better be good for her, as well.”

Quote from WIP where pov character is—well—difficult:

"Those who think that happiness matters more than money should spend time with an aching stomach and see how much they sing then or write poetry about the joys of privation. Happiness cannot exist without money, which I well knew. Love does not survive the first touch of the day’s reminder that the body must be fed, clothed, sheltered, and offered hope for the future."


“Wherever perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun. Perfectionism is not about healthy striving, which you see all the time in successful leaders, it’s not about trying to set goals and being the best we can be, perfectionism is basically a cognitive behavioral process that says if I look perfect, work perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid shame, ridicule, and criticism. It’s a defense mechanism.” — "Why Doing Awesome Work Means Making Yourself Vulnerable"

(Source: kelsium, via deservingporcupine)

Sep 12

“…the older I get, the more I see how women are described as having gone mad, when what they’ve actually become is knowledgeable and powerful and fucking furious.” — Sophie Heawood  (via brosetta-stone)

(Source: featherfall, via seananmcguire)

Children should remain silent, and they are ‘good’ when they’re quiet, but ‘bad’ when they are not, because they are disturbing the adults and causing trouble. This attitude runs through the way people interact with children on every level, and yet, they seem surprised when it turns out that children have been struggling with serious medical problems, or they’ve been assaulted or abused.

The most common response is ‘well why didn’t the child say something?’ or ‘why didn’t the child talk to an adult?’ Adults constantly assure themselves that children know to go to a grownup when they are in trouble, and they even repeat that sentiment to children; you can always come to us, adults tell children, when you need help. Find a trusted adult, a teacher or a doctor or a police officer or a firefighter, and tell that adult what’s going on, and you’ll be helped, and everything will be all right.

The thing is that children do that, and the adults don’t listen. Every time a child tells an adult about something and nothing happens, that child learns that adults are liars, and that they don’t provide the promised help. Children hold up their end of the deal by reporting, sometimes at great personal risk, and they get no concrete action in return. Sometimes, the very adult people tell a child to ‘trust’ is the least reliable person; the teacher is friends with the priest who is molesting a student, the firefighter plays pool with the father who is beating a child, they don’t want to cause a scene.

Or children are accused of lying for attention because they accused the wrong person. They’re told they must be mistaken about what happened, unclear on the specifics, because there’s no way what they’re saying could be true, so and so isn’t that kind of person. A mother would never do that. He’s a respected member of the community! In their haste to close their ears to the child’s voice, adults make sure the child’s experience is utterly denied and debunked. Couldn’t be, can’t be, won’t be. The child knows not to say such things in the future, because no one is listening, because people will actively tell the child to be quiet.

Children are also told that they aren’t experiencing what they’re actually experiencing, or they’re being fussy about nothing. A child reports a pain in her leg after gym class, and she’s told to quit whining. Four months later, everyone is shocked when her metastatic bone cancer becomes unavoidably apparent. Had someone listened to her in the first place when she reported the original bone pain and said it felt different that usual, she would have been evaluated sooner. A child tells a teacher he has trouble seeing the blackboard, and the teacher dismisses it, so the child is never referred for glasses; the child struggles with math until high school, when someone finally acknowledges there’s a problem.

This attitude, that children shouldn’t be believed, puts the burden of proof on children, rather than assuming that there might be something to their statements. Some people seem to think that actually listening to children would result in a generation of hopelessly spoiled brats who know they can say anything for attention, but would that actually be the case? That assumption is rooted in the idea that children are not trustworthy, and cannot be respected. I’m having trouble understanding why adults should be viewed as inherently trustworthy and respectable, especially in light of the way we treat children.

” — Children Talk But No One Listens – this ain’t livin’ (via unsungtale)

(via seananmcguire)

Sep 11

“Never be afraid to apologize to your child. If you lose your temper and say something in anger that wasn’t meant to be said, apologize. Children need to know that adults can admit when they are wrong.” — American Humane Society (via maninsun)

(via lismock)

Sep 10

Drastic Manuscript Word Loss

I am a bloated writer. My manuscripts always end up 20-30% longer than my publisher wants them to be, and that much longer than they need to be or should be. So after a first draft, I go back through every manuscript and I cut 20-30% of the words before I let anyone else read it. Here are the things that I cut:

1. Extraneous scenes. This is the biggest bloater of manuscripts. I like my characters to stand around and talk. I think I’m good at character development. Nonetheless, when your characters are sitting around saying, “What should we do next,” it’s a good hint that it’s you, the author, coming through and that though it might have been necessary for you to write that scene to get to the next one, your reader does not need to read it.

2. Rambling. I admit it, I ramble. My characters tend to ramble. I get into their heads deeply and they take control of my fingers and type the words that they/I think. If the rambling is a sentence or two, you can let it stay. If it’s longer than that and doesn’t reveal important character information or hint at plot development, take it out.

3. Repetition. You’d be surprised how many words can be cut from a manuscript simply by taking out words that mean the same thing or sentences that echo the same meaning. I swear, I write a lot of things twice and I’m hitting the reader over the head. There is no need to assume they are too stupid to get it the first time, just because I was too stupid as a writer to formulate it right the first time.

4. Information from a second pov character that we already have from another pov character. If you’re doing multiple povs, be careful that each one says distinct things. And really, resist the temptation to retell a scene just because another character has a fun take on it. You only get to tell a scene once.

5. Too much too soon. Sometimes when I edit for word count, I find that I’m also doing wonderful things for my tension. Just because I revealed to myself what a certain character’s motivations are, that doesn’t mean that I need to reveal that to the reader at the same point. Lots of the time, it’s better to hold back.

6. Less is more. If you’re giving details about a physical description, a history, or anything else, just the right detail. A lot of the time, a single word that is precise is better than a vague paragraph.

7. Cut adverbs as ruthlessly as possible. If you’re using a shortcut in dialog, telling the reader the character’s emotion through adverbs rather than through the actual words of the dialog, cut the adverbs and then rewrite your dialog better. Which brings me to dialog.

8. Characters in a book have snappier dialog and more meaningful conversations than most people in real life. Get to the meat of it. You don’t need all the chatter and small talk that you’d feel necessary if you were there (or I would). Think about it as the movie version, which can only be 90 minutes long.

9. Don’t feel obliged to make whole sentences. If a fragment works, take out the rest of the sentence. This is true in dialog, but it can also be a great way to get voice. People who think in full sentences are often boring narrators.

10. Combine sentences when possible. Commas are your friend. Semi-colons and colons to put sentences together rarely are. I’m not talking about making longer sentences here, really. Just see if your two sentences can be put together into one shorter sentence by using just a phrase from the first or second sentence.