thesilversiren: (Default)

Last night, Gail Simone (the comic book writer/creator) tweeted the following statements. “DC, we need more female creators, stat. Really. Let’s make this happen.” (In the reboot era, there will be two. Gail and… trying to find the other name. Sorry!) “We all still want comics to be a meritocracy. But there are more than two female creators who are qualified and talented.”

Not surprisingly, this became a hot button issue as male creators and just casual fans added in their two cents. Some people who worked accepting submissions at DC and Image commented that only about 5-10% of the submissions were from women.

Which led me to tweet a bit, wondering about statistics. Usually with a pool of individuals, if you start weeding out the less talented, the percentage of the demographics should feasibly be the same. So it does seem a little odd that in all the books released by DC for the reboot, that only two women are involved creatively.

Bradley Timm (@DoctorFlux) and I started to talk. He wondered if it wasn’t a conspiracy, or if there just isn’t a general interest by women to write superhero books- if they’d rather write indies, pointing out that of the comic reading women he knew, that’s what they preferred to read.

So I looked back on my own pull list over the years. And admittedly, it’s a bit lacking in the capes department. I’ve tended to buy books that reflect what I write- supernatural books, indies, and the most mainstream books I own runs from are NextWAVE, Tales of the Unexpected and JSA. Considering that the Tales of the Unexpected run involves pirates and a Nazi Gorilla, I think that’s still not very mainstream.

Yet, I’m a huge fan of the DC trinity. I have seen every single episode of every Batman animated series (as well as the Superman adventures). I keep up with what’s going on – I just haven’t bought the issues. Why? There’s a lot going on. Both in the books and in my life- at the time I was buying Tales of the Unexpected, I was well, expecting my first son. Which meant I had to cut back a lot once he was born. Having bought the odd collection from webcomics in the time between, I’m easing back into it with the DC reboot.

Would I want to write comic books? Um, yeah. But I admit that my voice isn’t geared towards capes. Well, not unless I’d get to write something either like Tales of the Unexpected/Doctor 13, NextWAVE or Runaways. Okay, Runaways is a bit more mainstream, isn’t it?

I know a lot of women who write. And a lot who read comic books. For some, those categories overlap- and it’s true. I haven’t heard aspirations of writing books. Usually they just buy whatever Gail Simone or Amanda Conners’ are currently writing and talk about how great they are. Which they are. Now, I know there are more women who have created for DC and who write for comics currently still- they just aren’t on the books for the reboot.

So why? Is it a lack of passion? Is it weeded out of us as kids when we’re told to watch Disney movies instead? I bring that up because I know that I’d mentioned wanting to write James Bond novels when I was 14 and was told that nobody would buy a spy book written by a woman. So I wrote a spy novella my junior year and proved – that I wrote like a 16 year old girl who didn’t quite understand what she needed to to write something better. I wasn’t deterred and when I revisited the story years later, realized that it wasn’t that I was a bad writer. I just wasn’t ready for that genre. Now

Digression aside, though, I can see that in the 90s there probably weren’t a lot of people suggesting that girls think about writing mainstream comics. Which would mean that the women who might be sending in submissions for stories might not have been mentored the way that some of the male creators have been. It’s true- you find a lot of female artists in the indie category, and most of them have distinctive voices that don’t fit a typical superhero story. Nearly all the female artists and writers I follow list Disney and anime as the thing that inspired them.

Is it just a perfect storm of circumstances that are keeping women out of mainstream comics? It seems like it’s all part of the larger cycle of issues with Girls and Comics. Publishers complain that women just aren’t buying comics, but they don’t try to nurture all ages books or girl-centric books that would lure in all ages of female readers. And of the girls who read comics, if they’re mostly reading indy books- that’s probably what they’re going to want to write. So unless something changes, it doesn’t seem like the number of women who want to write superheroes are going to increase.

I really would like to hear your thoughts on this. Obviously, this isn’t something that I have the answer for- but something that I really think we should consider more. The more and more I think about it, the more I see the problem as two sides of the same coin. You won’t get more female creators in mainstream comics without having more female readers.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

Sometimes writing isn’t about what you write.

That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Of course writing is about writing. It should be so easy. You sit down and then… squirrel!

If you’ve seen UP and remember Dug, that’s pretty much what being a writer can be like. I’ll sit down to write and then, suddenly think of emails I haven’t returned. Or realize I haven’t checked Twitter in a half hour. Or decide to make myself a somewhat time consuming meal.

I’m very good when it comes to procrastinating. I’ll sit down and think of a hundred things that I’d much rather be doing, and then do them. Or a show I haven’t seen, and in the interest of emptying my DVR, watch. (With the necessary distractions I have, I’ve managed to forget that I was writing this several times, in fact. 8 to be precise.)

So for now, it’s about writing whatever I can. Whether it’s a tweet, a blog post, or some bit of fiction that I don’t think anyone would care about. That’s why writing isn’t entirely about the content, just about writing.

So what have I written this week in lieu of my still unnamed Adventure Serial Project? I have written 5 blog posts (two of which were deleted), including this one. I wrote twenty-eight pages of a revised draft that I doubt anyone will ever see- unless you really want to.

You see, once upon a time, I ran a Star Wars role-playing game online (along with my best friend). It ran for years and I have some of the transcripts. Sadly, it ended with a couple adventures in progress. Which means, those characters are still active in my mind. When I sit down to write, I usually spend 15-20 minutes placating them, so that I can move on to what I would prefer to work on.

I was in the middle of my daily exorcism, when I realized that everyone’s dialogue was much too long. Much too flowery. I’d been watching Sense and Sensibility and had just finished reading Mansfield Park. Looking at the dialogue, it was as though Jane Austen had been writing Star Wars.

On a whim, I snagged a transcript and rewrote it as a mashup- Regency dialogue and some societal conceits mixed in with the game. It was surprisingly easy, and the rewrite just flowed out of me. Granted, I wasn’t changing much- but even for revising a draft, that was a lot of work to do in one day.

So nothing new on Project X, sadly. Except a bit of a confession about the detours I take. Next week I promise to have something of substance- deciding what types of characters I need.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

For whatever reason, I love picking projects that require a lot of research. One is set in so many time periods that I might as well get a degree in history.

So this is my break from that. Since it’s an action/adventure serial similar to Indiana Jones and the Mummy (and all the wonderful novels and radio show that inspired movies like those), I get to play a little fast and loose with history.

It’s the same way that movies like “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” succeed. They give you just enough indication of the time period that it seems like it could be realistic without making it a true historical piece. Contrast the first Pirates movie with the third. In the first, it was established that pirates were hunted and the penalty was death. It was established that some groups branded pirates. However, it was just enough to establish some of the stakes that the pirates faced, but didn’t focus on them. It focused solely on the treasure and the Black Pearl. The third movie, on the other hand, became bogged down by details. While there were elements of the fantastic- Davy Jones and Calypso, the majority of the plot was about pirates being squeezed off the seas, trade agreements controlling governments. The series went from being a supernatural movie set in a historical time period to a period piece with supernatural elements. One was successful, the other… not so much. (And for the record, I did love the third one, but I’m a history nut. I don’t think it was as well written as the first.)

This story has a couple things that are tricky. There’s my MacGuffin, which is rooted in a historical time period (go artifacts!). So I have to make it fit without giving so many details that it seems fake- since too many details makes me feel like someone thinks I won’t believe it otherwise. Then there’s the timeline that the story is set in.

I want the location to feel believable, but at the same time, I’m not writing a travelogue.

Things I’m researching:

Alexander the Great
Nazis
South East Asia in the 1930s

The picture for this post is of Amice Mary Calverley, who I discovered while looking for inspiration in pictures from the 1930s. If it weren’t for real women like her, fictional characters from Marian Ravenwood to Evelyn O’Connell (nee Carnahan) wouldn’t have been plausible. I’d never heard of her until this week, but honestly- what an amazing woman!

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

So this week I’ve been working on characters. Names, rough backgrounds, personalities. But I’m not going to share that yet. Sorry. But you know, there’s a lot of other stuff that I’ve worked on already that I thought needed documentation.

Inspiration comes from a lot of places for me. For the projects that I have notebooks for (and there are several) I have been inspired by television programs, dreams, movies, and even collaborations that fell through.

But this project? This one takes the cake. My inspiration came from a character that I’d worked up for a performance. And not just any performance… an ongoing performance that I did 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for almost 3 years.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

I suppose I should explain. I have strange dreams. Dreams that not many people I know have- the elusive narrative dream. Not the Alice in Wonderland sort, where things are surreal. But quite frequently, the sort where it feels like it should be a TV or movie, where things are just logical enough to make sense, but odd enough that I know it’s a dream.

For your consideration, last night’s dream.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

On Writing

May. 18th, 2009 05:15 pm
thesilversiren: (typewriter head)

I have been a stay at home mom since April 2008. I left my job in advertising, telling my co-workers that “at least now I’d have a chance to finish that novel I’d put off.” But I am the Queen of Procrastinators (the sad truth: this is the third post that I’ve written this week, but only the first I’ve finished). I became wrapped up in getting the boys settled into their new surroundings, getting a schedule set up, and addicted to dozens of TV shows.

Then I found Facebook. I started playing a game in December of 08 that proceeded to suck up what free time I had. Not that I can write during the day while taking care of the boys, but the game managed to sneak into the very corners of my mind and kept me awake. So in March of 09, I quit. Told everyone that I needed to write, wasn’t happy without writing- which was true.

Have I written since then? Not much. Worst yet, I’m asked weekly (almost daily) how the writing goes. Yes, for established writers, it is a daily job. However, it’s been years since I’ve written regularly, so I’m retraining myself to set up to write, shut out the world and just go.

Also, and most importantly, writing isn’t my only job. I am first and foremost, the mother and primary caregiver of two wonderful children. Their care, and my relationship with my husband have to come before my writing. Makes for slow goings, but even if the books don’t sell, I’ll still have my marriage.

Do I fault people for asking? No. I admit that how people write intrigues me, and I always want to see More More More from my favorite authors. I just wish that it didn’t make me feel like putting on the brakes.

So here’s my writing status:

Pirate book - In progress. This is currently my main project.
Supernatural romance - up in the air. I was working on this, but found myself having horrible horrible nightmares. I might outline this one and let someone else do the actual writing.
Epic Supernatural romance - On the shelf. This one I want to finish someday, but part of me feels it’d be best done as a graphic novel.

I do have about three other projects that I regularly jot down notes for in the hopes that someday I can outline it and get to it.

I don’t mind being asked how I’m doing with the writing. I do mind being asked on a weekly basis as though one asks how the renovation of a house is coming.

Originally published at Whitney Drake. You can comment here or there.

4/5/09

Apr. 5th, 2009 03:54 pm
thesilversiren: (Default)

It is a quiet Sunday afternoon, one that feels like Spring. Walking down the street, seed pods from city planted trees litter the street by the hundreds- like tiny little maces.

Seed Pods

My boots don’t usually make sounds on sidewalks, but it’s so quiet that every step seems to echo.

It’s so quiet, so still, that it almost feels (save for my footsteps) that time is standing still. The streets are narrow. The people who planned this area and its post WWII sensible suburbia didn’t anticipate families owning more than one car, much less that the tiny seedlings they planted would tear up one smooth cement, or that the branches would grow up and around the power lines.

I’ve left our quiet little side street, but other than additional traffic, it is still strangely quiet. People walk past, absorbed in their lives. They don’t meet my gaze.

The loudness of modern life doesn’t seem to begin to catch up until I stop for a burger and fries at a Mom & Pop joint. Their TV blares the local sports show, anchors dissecting the Lakers’ chances for the playoffs. An arcade game bloops in the corner, begging to be played.

These places are a dying breed, as much a relic as their Ms. Pac-Man table.

The nostalgia and stillness of the afternoon has been nice. I feel guilty as I open the door to my last destination.

“Welcome to Starbucks,” the barista chirps.

Originally published at Whitney Drake. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

This was a blog post that was supposed to have something meaningful in it. Not a rant on the media continuing to give Nadya Suleman just what she wants by covering her life constantly. Not a rant about gender inequality in movies, not even my review of Watchmen.

I was going to talk about the world at large, and my place in it.

While we don’t realize the world is spinning as quickly as it does, it moves awfully quickly. And because of this, I’ve completely lost track of what I’d meant to stay.

So instead, I’ll leave you with this:

Leila walked down the street, frustrated that she’d had to park a block away from the club. While it wasn’t in the worst neighborhood, something made her feel very uncomfortable.

The Stranger was across the street, and for just a moment, it seemed like the light disappeared around him completely. But only for a moment.

She looked ahead, pulling her cap as low as possible.

Originally published at Whitney Drake. You can comment here or there.

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