Literary Tropes

It bothers me quite a bit when, in order to make a female character interesting, writers make her some sort of damaged goods.  She’s been raped, beaten, her father never loved her, her mother never loved her, she’s an orphan raised by wolves/hateful relatives/on the streets, she had an affair with a prominent member of society and his bastard baby was stillborn, she murdered her abuser and buried his body in the garden, etc.  And from the pain of this backstory she manages to pull herself up by her bootstraps and carry on and this makes her beautiful/desirable/interesting.  It makes me a little ill that writers resort to this sort of storyline.

Are they really telling me that a woman can’t be interesting without being damaged in some way?  She can’t be interesting because she’s smart?  Because she reads?  Because she invented something?  Because she made a scientific discovery?  Because she’s really good at fixing cars?  Because she’s spent twenty years studying ballet and is now considered the world’s greatest dancer?  Is a woman really only interesting because of her sacrifices, because she’s overcome some sort of diversity?

I say all this because it’s true: but also because I’m a little annoyed with myself.  The story I’m currently crafting, which I really like, involves my protagonist’s (somewhat) dark past.  She never talks about it, and I don’t really want it to come up at all, really.  But I want it implied that she left America, in part, because she was leaving something [someone (a man)].  But she also leaves America (and this man) for herself.  I want that to be abundantly clear.  But she was also leaving someone and that is actually important.

The real trouble I’m having is plot.  I don’t know what causes the rising action or the climax.  I’ve had a number of ideas that bring her past into the story, but I don’t like that idea.  I don’t want to dredge it up because I don’t want her to only be interesting because of something she’s done before the story starts.

I think I really need to flesh out the rest of the characters.  Maybe something will develop there.

I also don’t want it to be a romance, or about the “friendzone” even though it sort of is.

I’ll keep working.

Advertisements

Using Fiction to get a grip on Reality

It’s what we’re meant to do as writers, yes?  We write about something we’re struggling with to better understand it or cope with it.  Why not write a story about a dead uncle with whom the narrator never really had much a of relationship?  Maybe it’ll help.

Reasons I’m terrified of being a “real writer”

Nobody wants to hear the ramblings of yet another middle class white girl from the suburbs and her middle class white girl problems and read about her self-centered narcissistic whinging and whining about how she feels like a misfit and boys don’t like her and she’s soo over high school or college or the assholes in her life and how her family drives her carzy but they let her live in their homes rent-free after she can’t find a permanent well paying job after college and she ends up babysitting her friends kids while they go on date nights with their spouses and she goes home to her cat, her laptop and illegally downloaded british television.

This is why Post-Grad was such a shitty movie.

America is over this shit and, as both a writer and a reader, so am I.

(but if its my story, what am I supposed to do?)