Crickets

Crickets

Silence is golden.  Right?  Not so much if you are a writer whose characters and plot ideas roll around inside your noggin.  It’s gotten so quiet in my head right now; I can hear crickets chirping.  I know I sound crazy, but I was the book worm who lived her early life through the pages of books.  My imagination was a constant companion, and sometimes it got me into a bit of trouble as I drifted into my made-up world.  My parents would get so frustrated with me.

I love to tease and tell people I have a split personality disorder and hear voices in my head.  Then I smile.  I love freaking people out!

Yoga and 5-7 mile walks tend to bring out the creative voices within me.  I’m still getting some material I like out on paper, but the raging river is a drip, drip, drip right at present.  I’ve retreated to the library to write, hoping Clare and Wyatt or crazy Natalie and her buddies will wander out of the dark recesses of my cobweb-strewn attic of a brain.

So far, not even a mouse skittering across the dusty floorboards…

One beautiful thing about being part of a writing network like the One Million Project, in addition to the charitable aspects at the core of our group, is the camaraderie between the members.  A simple post about a writing issue, etc. and one or more fellow writers will be there to support and offer advice.

You discover you aren’t alone.

Writers can be introverted.  I know I am.  I love people and spending time with friends, but I don’t necessarily search them out.  I’m comfortable being alone.  And with the typical Grand Central Station chaos in my head, that might be for the best (LOL!), but when my mind is an echoing canyon and the only voice is my own yelling, “Where is everybody, everybody, everybody…”

Instead, Keith Urban sings sweet, sad songs through my ear buds while I look through the decades of pain, heartaches, love, joy, and passion I’ve collected over the past 56 years.  I pull at the memory strands belonging to my 26-year-old self.  At that stage of my life, I had more in common with my female protagonists and a little sliver of me lies at the heart of those characters.  How would I deal with the issues facing these young women?

If the younger me pined for the man who’d left me behind, would I move on or attempt to find my absent love?  If I was heading off to Columbia University, what would I be feeling?  Would I love The Big Apple or wish I was home in Corpus Christi, Texas enjoying the beaches and sailing on the Gulf of Mexico?

Is that a little stirring of response?  Lordy, I hope so.  It’s lonely in here with only the crickets for company.

Stop Saying It’s About Feminism

Written by Melissa Volker

Fandoms are passionate. Some more than others. It might seem odd to pen a piece about a fandom’s reaction to casting, because, well…it’s a TV show! But I am a fan and the cultural response is worth looking at.

The bruhaha over the new choice for Doctor Who has stirred the fandom pot with Traditionalists simply crossing their arms with a firm, simple, “No”, Change-Avoiders having panic attacks, hugging themselves and whimpering, “No no no no”, Haters (who aren’t true members of the fandom, in my opinion) who will hate no matter what, and yes, Sexists who simply state that a woman has no business playing that role.

I’m intrigued by all of these negative reactions. I understand some of them. I agree with none of them.

But what is most bothersome to me, to be honest, is the slew of women coming out swinging with a feminist rant. Accusing opposers of the choice of wanting to keep women in the shadows, oppressed, that by their thinking women should still be barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen.

I’m sorry, WHAT? No. Just no. Please, ladies, everything is not a feminist dig and making it so diminishes the things that are.

Doctor Who has progressed with female characters throughout its run. Rose Tyler was no wallflower or pushover. Donna Noble pushed the Doctor around and saved the world. River Song – excuse me…but if ever there was a character that was most like The Doctor but female…there she is.

That’s not what this casting choice is about. It’s about more. It’s about less.

Casting a woman as Doctor Who is on one hand a choice to move the show overall in a different direction, to stir the pot, keep it new, create challenges that will keep the show interesting and save it from growing staid and stale.

Cries of ‘mythology foul’ because a child was sired in the past doesn’t make sense on many fronts, not the least of which is that if the show stayed true to original mythology then it would be over, as Matt Smith’s Doctor had run out of regenerations.

Mythologies can be creatively tinkered with.

Foul that ‘he’ has “always been a man” rings about as valid to me as “it’s always been done this way”. Both arguments, used alone as a reason, are almost always certain to lead to doom.  What’s more The Master had been a man as well, but recently regenerated into Missy but the same uproar wasn’t heard. Why? And if anyone needed proof that a canonically male character could be played by woman, she was it.

But back to the feminism thing. Here’s why it’s not about feminism…

The entire last season dropped hints and laid seeds on something else: gender. The first openly gay character became The Doctor’s companion. That openly gay character ended up flying off into the sunset with an alien who had kept its human form — a female. The end of the series dropped all sort of hints:

 

DOCTOR: She was my first friend, always so brilliant, from the first day at the Academy. So fast, so funny. She was my man crush.

BILL: I’m sorry?

DOCTOR: Yeah, I think she was a man back then. I’m fairly certain I was, too. It was a long time ago, though.

BILL: So, the Time Lords, bit flexible on the whole man-woman thing, yeah?

DOCTOR: We’re the most civilized civilization in the universe. We’re billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes.

 

And near the end:

MASTER: Do as she says… Is the future going to be all girls?

DOCTOR: We can only hope.

 

This is not about feminism. It’s about gender. About what gender means. The Doctor can be in a female body (just like Missy), but still must be The Doctor — with the same memories, the same personality traits, the same struggles and approach to her role in the universe. She will move in a female form but Who she is must remain constant. It speaks to what gender really means and how little an impact it could (perhaps should) have. Gender fluid, non-binaries already get this. It’s Who they are. This could very well illustrate it for the rest of us.

It also offers tremendous story opportunities in reconciling a new female body with his/her past. River Song, for instance. Which again, ties back to gender identity/fluidity.

And simple humanity.

I’m not with the show. I have no idea of intention. But if you look at dialogue, off-hand remarks given by Capaldi’s Doctor this whole last season, I do think the show has chosen to walk the path of gender being unimportant. It is the character that matters. The spirit, the mind, the intention. What body that travels in is irrelevant.

Art has always been a mirror for the world. Doctor Who has been around for so long that in order to survive and stay fresh, to speak to each new generation and build on the fanbase, it must evolve. This is Who we are now. Who we are becoming. This generation is more tolerant, accepting and has more people identifying as gay or, more importantly, in fluid ways than ever before. They are saying that gender is irrelevant. It’s not the focus.

If that’s Who we are becoming, why not Doctor Who.

I will bet that for every angry, petulant and disappointed “No”, there will be a handful of, “Well…duh.”

But beyond all that…it’s just damned cool, it’s a big yay for female cosplayers, and I, for one, cannot wait to see where this Doctor takes us.

It’s a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey adventure! Enjoy the ride!

But please, stop saying it’s about feminism.


ABOUT ME:

Daughter of a playwright/novelist and a poet, Melissa Volker’s debut novel, Delilah of Sunhats Swans was praised by Alice Fulton, Guggenheim Fellow Poet, who said, “Delilah…is a charmer, a being blessed with a charisma as mysterious as it is luminous. You won’t soon forget her.”  It was followed by a collection of short stories and a novella, ‘a life undone’ and in total she has published six novels that include a YA scifi/paranormal and a middle-grade fantasy adventure.

A member of The Straw Dog Writer’s Guild , she recently won Words and Brushes third Collaborative Competition with her short story, ‘Truths’, which can be found on their website.

She is a total geekgrrl, Marvel fanatic and Wonder Woman wannabe (Thor would be cool, too). She cries at commercials and is a proud and loyal Huffelpuff.

 

You can find out more at her website: http://www.melissavolker.

Marketing Tips for Indie Authors by Akje Majdanek

Marketing Tips for Indie Authors              by Akje Majdanek

A lot of writers ask fellow WriteOn members for reviews to boost visibility rather than waiting for organic ones. While it’s supposedly true that more reviews mean more visibility, you could be sabotaging your own efforts. When readers see the same names turning up, again and again, it tells them this is a review circle, and the reviews are fake, so they avoid the books of those authors like the plague. .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

It’s also against Amazon’s rules for friends, colleagues or relatives to review one another’s books.

Amazon gave me quite a bit of grief when I reviewed Mark and Raymond’s books, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why they kept deleting my reviews. I discovered later it was because they suspected I knew those writers from the WriteOn community since all three of us were members. And they were right. My gushing reviews were legitimate, but against the rules, so I’m not going to review the work of anyone else I know from WriteOn, Wattpad or elsewhere. And you know what? Those reviews aren’t even necessary.

There’s a better way to boost visibility that’s endorsed by Amazon in their latest KDP newsletter, or maybe it was Author Insights. In any case, Amazon said it themselves, so it’s got to be okay.

To increase visibility, you must write more books.

The more books listed on your Author Central profile, the more visible you become, or so they say. Have you filled out your Author Central profile yet? Did you post a clever bio that tells potential readers what you write and piques their interest in your work? Have you added a blog feed so they can see your entries and follow your blog? You’re allowed more than one, so add this one while you’re thinking of it:

https://theonemillionprojectcom.wordpress.com/feed/rss/

For any WordPress blog, you simply add /feed/rss/ to the end of your blog address. For blogs at other sites, it’s probably different, but it’ll be something like atom/feed or RSS/feed or some variation thereof. Check the FAQs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

“Okay, so writing more books increases my visibility, but it takes years to write more books! What do I do in the meantime?”

Glad you asked that. Most of you have written short stories, and short stories are books. You offer them separately, CLEARLY MARKED AS SHORT STORIES SO THE READER DOESN’T GET AN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE THINKING IT’S A NOVEL. Seriously, make it clear it’s a short story. The readers talk to one another on Goodreads, LibraryThing, and other reader sites, so don’t ever disappoint them. Bad word of mouth travels faster than good word of mouth. ヽ(゚Д゚)ノ

So let me show you what to do, using Soleil Daniels as an example since I know she’s published a short story collection on Amazon. Images From a Wandering Mind is a collection of 15 short stories, so that’s fifteen books she can add to her profile RIGHT NOW, TODAY! And if she adds a paper edition, that’s thirty new books. See how it works? At the moment she’s only got one book listed, so I imagine she’s darn near invisible. She needs to upload each individual story as a separate book for 99¢ each. It’s unlikely any of those books will ever sell because if a reader bought each one separately, it would cost about $15. Why pay that when you can get the whole collection for $2.99? But she’s not trying to sell those books; she’s trying to sell the entire anthology. The collection now looks like a great bargain, eh?

If you haven’t published a collection yourself yet, but you have some individual short stories, you might want to start publishing those now as you write them and then combine them into a collection later, calling it the complete omnibus or something similar, so the reader sees what a good deal it is to buy the whole works. You could even create additional collections based on themes or genres; for instance, put all your romance stories together in one volume and all your fantasy stories into another, etc.

Now, to be honest, I haven’t tried this myself since I only have one short story at the moment, but the rest of you might experiment and tell us whether it actually boosts visibility or not. ヽ(^。^)丿


OMP Admin Note:  Akje Majdanek is a writer and OMP Network member.  Akje is a guest blogger for the One Million Project website whose creativity is evidenced in her work.  Akje’s books–Der Reiter and Adeline–are available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Akje_Majdanek/e/B00UZSTW74