Standing Against Plagiarism

Okay, so I have apparently been living under a rock for the last few days because this only came to my attention today – and you all know how I feel about plagiarism.

I’m not going to repeat the whole story because it’s pretty complicated and I’m worried about getting something wrong, but basically author Rachel Ann Nunnes has just discovered that her entire novel A Bid For Love was plagiarised (with added kinky scenes) by a writer calling herself Sam Taylor Mullens (I gather from some exchanges that it’s a pen name, but I can’t be 100% certain).

The fallout was…..pretty extraordinary – with one person going so far as to tell Nunnes that she should be pleased that someone stole her work.

Sigh.

You should all go and have a look for yourselves – it’s pretty weird reading though, and I don’t see an and to this tale anytime soon.

http://rachelannnunes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/standing-against-plagarism.html

I hate thieves.

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sex in Fanfiction Part 3 – Trends – Omegaverse and Knotting

Lately it seems that pretty much every fandom is being hit by the Omegaverse wave. Don’t know what that is? Well, it’s basically when the characters take on certain wolf like characteristics including biting, snarling, scenting etc, and usually includes a strict hierarchy:

Alphas – These are the head of the pack, the strongest, the ones in charge.

Betas – Account for the majority of the population. Quite often in fanfiction I’ve seen Betas having fertility issues etc which is part of what makes an Omega so valuable. Often and Alpha may have a Beta mate AND and Omega mate and this is usually considered acceptable for all involved.

Omegas – Generally I’ve seen Omegas being treated as a valuable commodity but with no real respect – Omegas are generally portrayed as being subservient, weak and useless for everything except breeding. In many fandoms and stories male Omegas are very rare and extra valuable, and often this leads to mpreg elements. It’s also common for the Omega to go into heat, at which point every passing Alpha gets a bit rabid with lust. It’s a common element of these stories to have the Omega take some form of suppressants to stave off heat, or to hide their Omega status completely.

(mpreg for those who don’t know is male pregnancy, which has led to some rather interesting biological explanations on how that happens and, more importantly, how they get the baby out. Explanations range from male omegas have a vagina as well as penis, through to the baby coming out via the rectum. hmmm.)

Basically, the more I read of stuff in Omegaverse, the more it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I mean, I get that the nature of the whole thing is about control and leadership and possessiveness and dominance etc. But there’s something I don’t really like about seeing people treated as a commodity purely because of how they were born. It’s all a bit primitive I think. And there’s a fine line between dominance and abuse, and some of the fics I’ve read have really crossed that line. Which wouldn’t bother me if it weren’t for the edge of glorification to it.

I will admit though that I find all the biting to be just a little bit sexy.

The knotting, however, I could do without.

And what is knotting you ask? Well, I’m gonna tell you, and then you are going to wish you didn’t know.

But first, consider the penis.

Some canine animals have what is called a bulbus glandis at the base of their penis which is sometimes called a knot. This is basically a gland which swells up during arousal and during intercourse the females muscles clamp around it essentially locking the male and female together. This knotting usually lasts a couple of minutes, but can last for up to 30 minutes, during which time the male can ejaculate several times.

Now, humans don’t have this. Unless you are an Alpha in the Omegaverse. And 30 minutes? Ha! That’s nothing. It’s quite popular among fic writers to see our pair stuck together for hours at a time.

Which sounds sexier than it actually is.

Consider that this is most common in m/m slash and then you will see the problem – that is going to be a very uncomfortable couple of hours and no matter which way you lay or position yourself to prepare for it, someone is going to end up with a dead arm.

Often the knotting is a sort of ‘bonding’ rite that will see the pair bonded together as mates. Sometimes the same effect is achieved with a bite – often called a claiming bite – a physical sign of bonding. Either way, it seems that others are able to tell when someone has been bonded and so they know to stay away – usually something to do with the smells changing.

The majority of Omegaverse fiction I have read tends to be humans, but there are some werewolf AUs out there, but strangely they tend to be in the minority.

Either way, it’s a trend that is fast gathering pace in the fanfiction community and I’m still not sure what I think of it.

You?

Until next time,

Love, etc

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sex in fanfiction part 2 – playing it safe

Okay folks, following on from my little rant yesterday, I’m going to retouch (oh, poor choice of word) on a topic that I covered briefly a little while ago. A lot of you might remember the post I wrote about sex in fanfiction ‘The Good, The Bad and The Awkward.’ It got a really overwhelming response and if you haven’t read it then check it out here: http://clairewriteswords.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/sex-in-fanfiction-the-good-the-bad-and-the-awkward/

In it I touched very briefly on contraception and safe sex in fanfiction, something that I think is often overlooked. A couple of years ago there was a big push in fanfiction communities, perhaps as a result of more adults being part of those communities now, to show the use of contraception.

Contraception has been a hot button topic in fanfiction for a long time and can cause a conversation to dry up with lightening speed. People are awkward talking about contraception in real life, something that is result of the social conventions of the generations before us. In our parents and grandparents day it just wasn’t something that you talked about. Ever. There were all sorts of religious and social issues surrounding it and it just wasn’t something that nice girls talked about. Instead it was something scandalous whispered between you and your doctor. As a result my generation was brought up to think that it was a slightly taboo subject and when I was in school it was something we got a single class about – with the boys and girls separated – and that was that.

I feel very strongly about contraception and the options available and I think that we need to take more responsibility for our own sexual health, especially in a modern age where people will have multiple partners over a shorter space of time instead of saving virginity for marriage and then a lifetime of monogamy. It’s just not realistic to expect that of people now. Sexual liberation has brought with it a need to consider sexual health.

And that means that we, as writers, need to consider our social and moral obligations to our readers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should be preaching to readers, far from it, but I do think that we need to consider the issue in terms of how we deal with the topic of sex.

I know, I know, contraception isn’t all that sexy and stopping for a condom can be a real mood killer and can jar a scene. I get that. We all do. But that doesn’t take the issue away.

So, in fiction, fanfiction, whatever, there is a responsibility to deal with the issue at least to some degree.

I, as you all know, read a scary amount of fanfiction, and I’ve noticed in certain fandoms that contraception is used more than in others. I guess part of it that the certain fandoms in question tend to be populated by an older demographic, which I guess changes how we see things like contraception.

But one thing that, as a writer, a reader and a mother, is hearing the phrase ‘it’s okay, I’m clean.’

Wow. Just. Wow.

Trust me, I’ve heard it in real life too, and I’m not believing it then either. But in fic when a character says it, the other character tends to just agree and go with it. I mean, seriously. In real life you wouldn’t just take someone’s word for it, would you? I get that it’s only fiction, but it’s also saying that it’s okay to take those risks, to gamble with your health and to show a startling amount of gullibility.

I have noticed that m/m slash writers are generally very good when it comes to contraception, especially at the start of a relationships. In established relationships I’ve noticed a lot less use, which is cool. I mean, you’re with someone for a long time and things change over time.

I’ve also noticed that there is a very definite difference in how contraception is handled based on where the writer is from. Writers from the US (which has a much better sexual health attitude and openness) tend to be more open about talking about and including contraception, while UK writers often don’t deal with it very well, or with a level of awkwardness that corresponds with the way contraception is generally dealt with in society here. Which raises the issue of how the UK deals with sexual health, especially in schools, but that’s an article for someone else to write.

How you deal with contraception doesn’t have to be too elaborate or graphic or overly obvious, personally I’ve found something simple like ‘he reached for a condom’ to be sufficient to cover the issue without breaking the flow of a scene or killing the mood.

But to write about and deal with contraception we first need to get over our own hang ups about it. I’m 31 and I know several people who are embarrassed to even say the word ‘condom’ and instead tend to blush and say ‘things.’ Which generally makes me want to go and slap their biology teacher, or their mother for instilling in them the idea that sex is something to be embarrassed about. (And yes, they are certainly even more embarrassed after a conversation about sex with me).

So, in conclusion, contraception should be dealt with on some level. It’s an important topic and whether we like it or not, what we write about it influences how other people think about it. It doesn’t have to be a lecture, it doesn’t have to be elaborate and it doesn’t have to be any more than a few words. But it should be something. It’s as much a part of sex as any other part of the process.

Until next time, if you can’t be good, be careful.

Love, etc,

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Overused phrases and tropes and why fanfiction sometimes sucks

Due to ongoing illness I spent most of the last four days safely tucked up in my sofa nest with a bottle of wine, excessive amounts of junk food and a truly staggering amount of fanfiction to keep me company.

Today I am a little pissed off.

The reason?

Well, after my massive fanfic glut this weekend I started to become hyper aware of some particular phrases, situations, lines and just….things that keep coming up over and over and over and really started to annoy me by teatime on Saturday, and had me wanting to kill dead things by four am this morning.

Some choice examples:

Green Eyes/ Violet Eyes

Most common in OCs (original characters – bleh. NO ONE likes OCs!). They all have green eyes. Almost every. Fucking. One. Of. Them! Now, I have green eyes. Honest to god real green eyes, so perhaps this is part of why it annoys me. I am the only person I know with green eyes. The only one. See, there are very few of us. In fact only around 1% of the entire population of the world have green eyes, and the majority of us are female. So when EVERYONE in fanfictionland (and yes, in other fiction land too, but I’ve noticed it most in fanfic) is sporting a pair of ‘bright emerald eyes’ it makes me teeth squeak.

ETA: Someone pointed out the violet eyes thing in a lot of fic, so I’ve edited this to address that too. Violet eyes do exist, but not in the way we think they do. A lot of people say ‘violet’ when they mean ‘blue’ – the colour effect of the ‘violet’ usually showing in photographs due to the interaction of light with the low levels of melanin in blue eyes. True violet eyes are caused by an incomplete form of albinism and are extremely rare, not that you would know that due to the scary amount of them present in fanfiction.

‘Coming undone’

The first time I ever heard this phrase used in relation to sex I actually thought it was a pretty good term to describe that wonderful moment when you literally lose control and fall apart. Clearly, everyone else thought it was a good term too and I have read it in pretty much every fic I read this weekend (yes, I was reading a lot of explicit fic, but that’s sort of beside the point.) We really need to find some new phrases.

Chapped lips

Mostly used in m/m, and I really don’t understand how chapped lips are supposed to be sexy. They are sore to have and uncomfortable to kiss. But I swear that I have read it in all my fandoms. It’s not pleasant. It’s a bit gross.

Skinny people with huge appetites

Okay, this one is usually a girl, she will be tiny and thin and eat more than three men without gaining a pound or developing IBS or at the very least severe constipation. Now, well ALL know someone who seems to stay the same size no matter what they eat, but they are the vast exception to the rule and bear in mind that we are not privy to all their eating habits. So just stop this one. It’s annoying.

Everyone climaxes at the same time. Every time.

Yeah. Enough said really.

Sex written by people with blatantly ,little sexual experience

Now, sometimes this doesn’t annoy me as much, after all, we all sometimes write about things we don’t have a lot of experience of, but I’ve noticed this most commonly in m/m slash regarding anal and it’s usually written by women. And after reading somewhere close to 200 different sex scenes this weekend, it seems that everyone writes it the same way – spit, one finger, 2 finger, stretch, three finger, prostrate, pull out, cock, burn, wait, push, repeat, come, cuddle. Can we change it up a bit because, and I never thought I’d be saying this, but fanfiction sex is getting pretty boring lately folks.

Tasting of musk

Honestly, this is not something I really paid much attention to until this weekend, but having read this phrase over and over and over it’s actually turning my stomach a little. It really just makes me think that the guy has a smelly ball sack, and that’s just not sexy.

Passing out after climax

Seriously. They need to see a doctor.

 

In my experience this is usually the precursor to an asthma attack. See above point.

People ‘humming’ during sex / arousal

What are they humming? ‘I’m a Little Teapot?’ Now, I do get what the writer is saying, but honestly, with all this hitching and humming and damn purring going on, my mental image is one of a petting zoo and not a sexy bedroom.

Overquoting the source material

This is most often a problem when a particular phrase or word is lifted and used over and over again in fics. For instance, in Veronica Mars fics you see a massive use of ‘Marshmallow’ despite it only being said once on the show. Likewise, in TWD fics there was an annoyingly huge amount of ‘claimed’ fics to the point where kinkmemes were asking for ‘no claimers.’ (Thank god because it almost put a lot of us off that particular ship)

It’s called a penis

Seriously, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually seen the word ‘penis’ in a fic. No one ever wants to use the word. There is a huge abundance of ‘members’ and ‘cocks’ and ‘heats’ and assorted others, but for some reason people seem afraid of using the word penis – even in a non-sexual way. It’s just weird.

I’m not gay, it’s just him

Okay, so while I will be the first one to come out and say that we don’t have power over who we are attracted to, I’m getting a little tired of hearing one character repeatedly stating that they aren’t gay, that ‘it’s just him.’ Okay, so I can accept that, but having it in every single fic is pretty tiring. Strangely one fandom it does seem to work quite well in Sherlock, perhaps due to John’s repeated declaration of ‘I’m not actually gay’ throughout the series. But on the whole it’s just pretty annoying.

Smelling / scenting your partner

Okay, I know some people get really turned on by that after sex smell – you know where you smell like your partner. But in reality it just means you are covered in their sweat and it’s actually pretty gross when you think about it. Some people like to be clean after sex and not just lie in their partners filth for the rest of the night. Soap can be sexy too.

 

I could go on, but I really need to break this up into several posts so I don’t get myself annoyed. Coming soon – people who can’t or won’t label their fics with the correct tags so you accidently end up with a lot of OCs or they don’t warn you it’s AU.

So my lovely fic writers, especially those in my fandoms, please have a think about the things you overuse and see what you can come up with a replacement.

Love, etc

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Can you smell that?

I’ve another hospital appointment coming up and one thing I have noticed, and that everyone seems to comment on, is the smell of hospital and how is clings to you.

It’s kind of a sour smell, Sharp. And it lingers.

Tonight I’m on call – a favour for a farmer friend who’s got a family wedding and a couple of  late calves and a foal due any day. So I find myself completely sober on this Friday night in the middle of summer. I have had way more caffeine than can really be good for a person and have already exhausted my list of sober, insomniac friends and eaten all the pudding in the fridge. But to be honest, that’s the least of my problems.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been paying way more attention to the small things than I ever did before. And what have I learned?

My garden smells like lavender and tarragon and wild grass.

My favourite place on earth smells like glass polish and carpet cleaner.

My hair smells of cherries and nutmeg.

My horses smell warm and sweet and of grass and hedgerows and hilly streams.

My daughter smells like violets.

My best friend’s house smells’ like horse and sausages and potato.

My living room smells like old paper and ginger tea and cat.

My mum’s house smells like lavender soap.

My old dog smelled of wet dog – all the time!

My grandfather’s house smelled like raspberry ice-ream and Turkish delight.

My car smells like tomato soup and the inside of latex gloves.

My dad smells sweet like old tobacco and coffee.

My doctor’s room smells like bleach and lemons.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how everything, even the most minor of things, can suddenly be of a huge consequence? Would things be easier if my favourite place smelled of wet dog? Or if my doctor’s surgery smelled of roses and chocolate? Smell is a very powerful sense, one that triggers memories and feeling. Oh you might remember something, think about it, but when that certain smell comes around you aren’t merely remembering, you’re reliving. It’s like when you pass someone in the street who’s wearing the same talcum powder that your grandmother used and suddenly you are six years old again. Or that peculiar chemically smell of an ice lolly that takes you back to day trips to the beach.

The point this week is to consider the senses – those everyday smells, sights, sounds that you might not even realise until someone asks you about them. Until you no longer notice them and realise they are missing.

Those are the things that build a world for the reader – something to cling on to. A sense they can understand. Something they know in a world they don’t yet.

So, your challenge, should you decide to accept it, is to consider what you write, all that you write, and look at how you can yell us MORE without simply ‘telling’ us.

Til next week.

Hopefully,

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Show me the money!

This last week or two has been both good and bad in terms of money matters and art.

On a positive note, I got two unexpected royalty cheques from my German publishers which, although not a large sum of money, was welcome and paid an unexpected bill.

On the negative side, funding fell through for a film project that is already underway, providing much stress and frantic rejigs in terms of schedules (both mine and other peoples) and a minor panic over time that has possibly been wasted and the knock on effects that will have when I try to get people on board in future. So far, people have been good about it, understanding even. After all, these things happen. But oh, does it make me feel like shit.

To top things off, my laptop has decided that Windows 8 is useless (like the rest of us) and has decided to stop working, freezing on the Aptio settings screen and meaning I will have to do a full reboot this evening in order to be able to do some actual work. Thankfully my lovely brother and uncle between themselves and the power of Google, seem to have the necessary expertise to fix it.

In the meantime, following a week of stress, on going ill health and some pretty interesting events over the weekend (more on that later) Mum has poured us a sneaky rum and coke while we watch my father and assorted male relatives burn stuff on the BBQ.

Irish bank holiday weekend folks – rain, bonfires, hyperactive children and solo cups.

Have a good one folks, and here’s hoping next weeks is better.

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Kill your darlings!

Last night I was talking with one of my girls about death in fiction. She’s currently reading the latest installment of a well known series (I won’t name it because of spoilers etc) and she’s been filling me in on the main plot points which include Character A having heart to hearts with his girlfriends brother (who hates him) his parents (who kinda hate him) and his sort of brother (who hates him.) My reaction ‘A is so fucked.’

See, there are three types of death in fiction – the expected, the set up and the unexpected.

Sadly, only two of the three ever really work.

The expected death is the death that you, that you are told from the outset is going to happen, like ‘A Walk to Remember’ where you KNOW what is going to happen, and you start crying at about page 9 and stop about three hours after finishing the book. These sort of deaths work because you know from the outset that no matter what happens, it’s going to happen. It’s all doomed. And that sort of knowledge is painful. You spend so much time and energy willing  it not to happen. And then when it does, it’s just so much more painful.

The hinted at death is the sort of death I mentioned at the start of this article. The character has outlived their usefulness. They have made amends. They are basically redundant to plot. Time for them to go. Some of these deaths are written to ‘shock’ but really, for the most part they have been so set up for the last 100 pages that no one is really surprised.

The unexpected death is one which shocks because of it’s suddenness. And that’s what death, for the most part is. It’s sudden. It’s shocking. In life we don’t get time to make amends. Some writers are better at this than others, but it varies across the genre. Take Michael Crichton, for example, we EXPECT characters to die suddenly in his books. It’s not really a shock, but the methods often have shock factor. 

One of the most shocking deaths I have ever read was the death of Hedwig in The Deathly Hallows. It was unnecessary, unexpected, upsetting, shocking, sudden. All things that death is. And it was at that moment you knew that NO ONE was safe.

There are few things I hate than a character who gets a chance to make amends. As my friend pointed out last night, when talking about deaths in Harry Potter, it’s not like Fred ever got a chance to say all the things he might have wanted to. To make amends, to have one last laugh, one heart to heart. He was there, and then suddenly he wasn’t.

Likewise, once scene in particular from the Walking Dead came to mind – the scene where Amy was bit. She was in a ‘safe’ place, with people looking out for her, right in the middle of her group and all she wanted was some toilet roll. She wasn’t expecting what happened to her. No one was. That’s what made it shocking and upsetting. Even being in a ‘safe’ place doesn’t mean anything. Not really. Take Dumbledore – Hogwarts was supposed to be the safest place there was on earth. But that didn’t change things for him, didn’t save him.

I think fiction needs to be a bit more like life in that respect. It would be nice if we all had a chance to tie our lives up neatly, to give our loved ones closure and to prepare for the worst. But for most of us that doesn’t happen. We don’t always know when the end is coming.

One of my neighbours lost his wife some years ago when she tripped and fell down the stairs. She was ‘safe’, she was in her own home. She was doing something that she had done tens of thousands of times before. Something that we all do every day without thinking about it. And one day she slipped. Just….gone.

We can all recount stories like that. I’ve known people, healthy, fit people who died suddenly of a heart attack in their sleep, or fell of their horse and landed the wrong way, or who just took a corner to sharply in the rain.

Now, I’m not saying to start killing off your characters just for shock value, but I think we really need to start looking at HOW we kill characters off, how realistic it is, and what sort of a mess they leave behind.

In real life we don’t always get a chance to put things right.

Think about it.

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Barely containing

This week several awesome things have happened-

1. A business matter has been granted an unexpected reprieve

2. Filming began on  2 (count ‘em 2) projects

3. I wrote another 65,000 words

4. They were good words

5. My cat loves me

6. I’m going to comic con next week (Belfast)

7. I’m still alive.

 

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

TMCD Part 2 – Taking a Level in Badass

****Warning – this post may contain links to TV Tropes****

Okay, so I wasn’t going to post again for a day or two, but I had a brief chat with a friend earlier after the first badass post and it led me to think about other characters who have gone the same way – becoming so badass that they sort of steal the show from all the normal people. Once I started making a list, it seemed to just go on and on and on, and every show and series seems to have at least one.

Here’s the thing that I found was really interesting – for the most part they aren’t the main character. They are usually, not always, but more often than not, a secondary or minor character when they start out. In terms of character development, taking a level in badass is one way to do it. I mean, characters change over time, but sometimes it just seems like levelling up is the only way it happens.

(TV Tropes has it’s very own page on this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TookALevelInBadass)

Often it’s not necessarily immediately obvious – especially if done well- and it can take a rewatching / reading or a first and last episode / issue comparison to really see how much the character has changed.

Oh, so you want examples?

No problem.

Neo – The Matrix

‘I know Kung Fu.’ Enough said really.

 

Pretty much everyone in the Buffyverse

I’m not even kidding. But mostly you’ll see the change in Willow – who got all super witchy and powerful (and a bit unstable) and Wesley. Both of them started out at kinda sweet, kinda useless characters, but by the end they were saving the world with gusto.

Hiro – Heroes

Hero goes from sweet, funny office worker to seriously badass in a pretty short space of time, mostly as a result of his girlfriend being brutally murdered by an almost unstoppable psychopath with superpowers. Hiro does the only thing that a mild mannered office worker can do in those situations, he gets himself a big ass sword, a swishy coat and grows a goatee. Hey, I never said it was a good plan.

(speaking of Hiro, and following on from my Daryl post earlier, I’m going to do a post about ‘weapon of choice cliches’ soon – so stay tuned)

Ginny Weasley – Harry Potter

Ginny went from being the shy younger sister of Harry’s best friend who was unable to speak in his presence, to, by the end of the series being a total badass who took on one of the most powerful witches in the world. Although we had hints of this throughout the book, with Ginny becoming increasingly able to stand up for herself, and a rather wicked sense of right and wrong when it came to unleashing curses against people she doesn’t like. It’s no coincidence that Ginny is a fan favourite and one of the most shipped about characters.

Neville Longbottom – Harry Potter

Neville was once the boy who was so pathetic that he was given House points for telling someone they should stay in bed. Throughout the series, as we found out more about him it seemed that Neville was suffering from a bad case of ‘Too Much Tragic’ but by the end of the series he had become something of a dark horse.

Lana Lang – Smallville canon

Lana Lang is generally considered, even by fans, to be a waste of oxygen. She was so…nice. And perfect. And helpless. And then she got possessed, started dressing in black and doing stupid shit like marrying billionaires she hates. It all got a little weird after that. Lana is a classic example of badass through external forces – something which is usually seen when characters come into contact with glowing rocks, radioactive anything, magic etc.

Yuna – Final Fantasy

Most of the characters in the Final Fantasy games gained several levels of badass at some point, but none more than Yuna who went from being a mild mannered magic user quietly resigned for her arranged marriage, to commandeering an air ship, loosing most of her clothes and rallying together a host of tough ass people to go find her dead boyfriend. Although hints of Yuna’s forthcoming change could be seen in the first game WHEN SHE THREW HERSELF OFF THE ROOF.

Zelda – Legend of Zelda

Zelda is, for the most part, useless. Sitting around waiting for Link to grow up so he can save her – seriously, if you are relying on Link then you really are in the shit. But then all of a sudden she transforms herself into a super awesome ninja-type fighting machine capable of kicking some serious ass. And then immediately goes back to being all girly and pathetic again. pfft.

John Crichton – Farscape

Crichton starts the series as a bit of a frightened pilot, not really sure what the hell is going on and just trying not to get killed before he figures it out. He’s all about the science and the wonder of the universe. Over the course of four series he developed into a serious power to be reckoned with, known throughout the universe. Admittedly, a lot of his badassery was instigated as a result of someone messing with his mind that sent him a little boogaloo and resulted in some of the best one liners of the series. John could have been too much badass had he not had Aeryn around to show him how it was done, although she softened through the series the further from her previous life she got. John on the other hand really struggled with his actions and just how far he was willing to go and John gradual descent into madness / rise into badassery was one of the highlights of the show and spawned quite possibly my favourite moment:

Crichton: I can’t believe it, I left a nuclear bomb in an elevator.
Chiana: Well that’s all right. You’ve done worse

 

So, that’s taking a level in badass explained.

In all, it’s not a bad thing. It allows for character development, and to be honest, if a character didn’t man up in some of those situations then as vewiers / readers we’d be pretty pissed. It’ kill or be killed folks, and if you don’t grow you die. That said, as I’ve already explained, it can get too much sometimes. It’s about balance. It’s about character.

Now I’m off to watch some Farscape, and for you folks out there who have never seen it, check it out. It’s got some great writing, fantastic acting and some serious eye candy.

Have a nice evening folks,

Catch you tomorrow.

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Too much badassery

Daryl-Season-4-Promo-****THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS AND SNARK******

Okay, so this post isn’t specifically about books, but it is about writing, so bear with me. I do have a valid point to make here, although some of you might not like it.

I’ve been rewatching some of my favourite TV of late, and perhaps it’s just the intensive rewatching in a short space of time, but I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend that actually pains me to point out – it’s when one character takes over to an extent that you start to get annoyed by them, and not only that, but it starts to change the character in ways that you don’t like.

Yes, I’m talking about TMCD – too much character development.

Or, ‘Why I think I hate Daryl Dixon.’

(It was a tank! A frigging tank!)

Case in point, and I run the risk of some friends disowning me here, but take Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. Daryl started out in season one as a real asshole, a hot head living in the shadow of his brother, incapable of keeping his temper and with a tendency to throw squirrels at people. I liked that Daryl. But now, four series later and the character is almost unrecognisable from what he was.

And while that’s not a bad thing, it’s seriously running the risk of turning Daryl into a bit of a joke. For instance, in season one he took on Rick and Shane at once, by season four he took on a tank!

It started really in season 2, episode 5 ‘Chupacabra’ which saw Daryl hallucinating after he fell down a ravine while looking for Sofia, then he pulled an arrow out of his own leg and we all thought, ‘Yeah, Daryl is a badass.’ But then came the ears, and the raw squirrel and the blood and the bullet to the head and somewhere along that episode it was almost too much for one man to be that awesome. Right at that moment it started to become ‘The Daryl Dixon Show.

No one this dirty and bloody should be this sexy

No one this dirty and bloody should be this sexy

The creators clearly latched on early to the fact that Daryl was a fan favourite, and they started to give him more screen time, let him do cooler things, see other characters go to him for the shitty, difficult jobs (like beating Randal, something that the old Daryl wouldn’t have thought twice about, but something that the new and improved Daryl might balk at, or at least have to listen to a heart warming motivational speech from Rick for half an hour first.

Things started to go from bad to worse when other characters started to lose out on plot or events because they were given to Daryl instead. Such as the death of Dale. This was originally an Andrea and Dale moment and was significant because of the relationship that Andrea had with Dale, and particularly how that relationship was changing. The moment was given to Daryl instead, and while I understand that it was important in order to further Daryl’s relationship with Rick, but it took away from another character. While I appreciate that sacrifices have to be made in the nature of a show, especially when the character involved was not an original character, I think it’s important to remember that there are other characters.

Season three saw further shift into making Daryl awesome. But now he had the crossbow, the motorbike, the leather, he was a proven badass with known daddy issues and a violent past, but dammit he was going to get that baby formula. Episode 5 of season three saw Daryl taking over while Rick had his little breakdown and everyone else just stood around looking gormless. I mean, no one even liked Lori, surely they weren’t all that upset? I watched that particular episode with a couple of friends, and three quarters of the way through there was complete silence in the room. It should be impossible for an unwashed man to look that sexy while holding a baby. But the fact was, there was no need for Daryl to be holding her. I mean, we have no reason to believe that he knew what the fuck he was doing – other characters there have actually had babies, surely it would have made more sense to pass her over to Hershel or Carol. But then we wouldn’t have had the sexy man with a baby fan service. So not only is Daryl a cool badass, he’s also great with babies.

And so it continues. Daryl is the one that people rely on, case in point is when Beth informs Carol that they are ‘weak without him’ and for some reason that angered me. Yes, okay, so Daryl is a badass, but everyone in that prison has already survived several years into a zombie apocalypse. They are all, in their own way, badasses. But no, let’s make it all about Daryl. A guy that none of them even liked. All the bad shit gets left to Daryl, but he also gets to do all the cool shit too. He might get beat on a bit, but you know Daryl is always going to win. And something about that annoys me.

The season 4 mid break finale created it’s very own Daryl meme which I think highlights just how out of control the badassery had become. This dude should have been dead by now with all the stupid risks he takes.

daryl tank

I think that’s why I liked to see him in season three episode 12 ‘Still’ – now, I’m not a big fan of sentimental serious thinking Daryl – leave all that introspective shit to Rick – but I liked to see him getting drunk and losing his temper again, a welcome return to the old days. I also liked his interaction with Beth, both getting equal screen time and equal importance – which was great because up until now all Beth seemed to have going for her was that she was a convenient babysitter with a great ponytail . It wasn’t the Daryl Dixon Show anymore. This was a welcome relief given that just a few episodes before he took out a tank by himself. See:

Now, while I appreciate that characters have to change and grow, sometimes when one character changes and grows too much it can take away from other characters. Rick and Daryl both suffer from the same issues in this. Although Rick has gone the other way, lost all of his hope and instead spends all of his time saying sentimental cringey shit to people who don’t want to hear it.

As writers we all run the risk of doing something similar, especially when we love a particular character, and often we don’t realise we are doing it until someone points it out to us, or until we reach the point where we realise that we are only giving lines to one character in a cast of ten. Now, some characters simply are more badass than others, and that’s fine. But what is it about the other characters that makes them relevant to the plot in the first place? If they aren’t getting lines, getting scenes, then maybe it’s time to cut them loose? Or maybe it’s time to take a good hard look at our main character who is desperately in danger of become a Sue and take action before it’s too late.

So, what do I think? Well, much as I loved seeing Daryl go all Mad Max, I think it’s time to rein it back a little. Make him a little more human again, give us something we can relate to as people, we don’t need him to be an action hero. Let him to stupid shit so Rick yells at him. Let him make mistakes. Let him fail at something again.

And for fuck sake give other characters cool things to do.

And just because she does have a really cute pony tail:

beth_e_daryl_the_walking_dead_season_4_episode_1_by_twdimagenshd-d731rav

Happy Wednesday folks,

C

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized