Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Genderbend Trend

Genderbent art is everywhere. If you want to find a female Loki or a male Hermione, look no farther than a quick Google or Pinterest search. (Do not hold me accountable for the rating/appropriateness of that search, though.) It’s interesting to wonder how the dynamic of a favorite story could have been changed by the main character’s gender, but I think we should look farther than movies when the urge to genderbend strikes us. I think we should look at . . . our own characters.

This is as artistic as I get.

How are your stories going? I did write mine, I promise. It’s in the editing stage and will be posted before the end of January. I have to admit, this project is looking more daunting than I originally planned. But onward through the daunting-ness! We can and shall succeed!

But anyway, in my limited spare time which I didn’t spend story-writing or YouTube-surfing, I came up with the inklings of a fantasy novel that I maybe perhaps might write someday. I was toying with a female MC and playing with a couple minor characters as well.

Then I came across an article online that suggested writing male main characters into YA fiction, and just to see what would happen, I genderbent my MC.

Entire. Dynamic. Changed.

Character traits that had once been stereotypically female became interesting male quirks. A prospective love interest is now toeing the line between friend and rival. Instead, another minor character took the romantic role.

This could have something to do with the fact that the male point of view has always come more easily to me. However, genderbending is awesome for the following reasons:

  1. Destroys stereotypes. No matter how hard I try, some stereotypes always creep into my writing. (Especially with girls.) If, after establishing a character, you swap their gender, you turn unconscious stereotypes on their heads.
  2. Challenges gender roles. This kind of goes with the first one, but it also plays into worldbuilding. Say your male MC is a general of a large army. Genderbent, you have a female general, which is not unheard of, but definitely more rare. The nice girl who works in the nursery becomes a guy with a love for kids.
  3. Opens new doors. As I mentioned above, romances can blossom between characters you never thought were compatible. Perhaps the gender roles in your world forbid a woman from living her life at sea, but encourage a man to do so.
  4. Reveals more about your character. There are more differences among the genders than between them. Genderbending will probably result in further discovery about a character than actually changing their personality. Guys and girls express themselves in different ways, but at the end of the day it’s ultimately a unique self that they’re expressing.

I’m definitely going to try this with some more of my characters. I might even re-bend my MC after more of his/her personality has developed. Leave your thoughts below, especially if you’ve ever genderbent a character, and tell me what you think are the benefits (or disadvantages) of genderbending!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Plotting the Project

A friend of mine pointed out that there’s no point in starting the project if we don’t have instructions. (You know who you are.) So here you go.

January: Whatever you want.

Okay, that’s vague, I know. Here’s a tentative schedule for what we’ll be doing the rest of the year, although it’s by no means set in stone. Feel free to use any of these prompts for your January work.

February: Romance
March: Action/adventure/thriller
April: 500 words
May: Fantasy
June: Mystery
July: Comedy
August: Fanfiction
September: Children's fiction
October: Horror
November: Historical Fiction
December: 100 words

All of these are suggestions to get you started, and they’re what I’ll plan on writing, just to see how things go. Other recognized genres include angst, tragedy, Western, and any others you want to throw at me in the comments.

Short stories aren’t as complex as novels. describes a short story as “fiction of such briefness that it is not able to support any subplots.” 

According to the almighty Wikipedia, “the term short story most often refers to a work of fiction no shorter than 1,000 and no longer than 20,000 words. Stories of fewer than 1,000 words are sometimes referred to as ‘short short stories’, or ‘flash fiction.’” 

The article which inspired me to start this project says that lengths of 500, 2500, and 5000 words are all worth mastering. (I’ll cite it again at the end of this post.)

If you want to share what you’ve written at the end of the month, feel free to follow me on Wattpad, where I’ll probably be posting mine. It would be fun to discuss and review our works before moving on to the next month.

Give it your best, guys!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Year's (Late) Resolutions

It's a little late to be making New Year's Resolutions, isn't it? And yet here we are.

I love writing. It's why I'm starting this blog. It's why I write novels in my spare time and neglect my homework to dream about worlds that don't exist. I've even dabbled in the land of poetry from time to time. However, one impressive form evades me.

Short stories. Every time I'm assigned a short story for school, I get really excited -- after all, it's just like a novel, right? Only shorter. Right?

Wrong. Very wrong.

Made with and pixlr

Short stories are one of the hardest forms of fiction to master because every word counts. No lavish descriptions, little time for backstory, and no dawdling. Given that I like to make life harder for myself, I decided that I need to spend time mastering this art form. This morning, I decided I needed to make a blog about it and invite people to join me on this wickedly hard challenge that just popped into my head.

Yes. I said this morning. I don't spend a lot of time waiting.

And since I don't spend a lot of time waiting, here's my idea: write one short story each month of the year, starting this January, and ending in December. We'll go through different genres and word lengths, hopefully refining our techniques and discovering our voices as we go.

I say 'we' and 'our' because I assume there are people out there crazy enough to join me on this venture.

The inspiration for this sudden inspiration came from a article called "Storyville: Why Write Short Stories At All?" that I found online. (I'll stick the link at the end of this post.) I strongly recommend reading the entire thing so you can get an idea of what I'm getting myself (and possibly you) into.

I'm a college student. I don't have a lot of time on my hands. But given that all told, a short story can take only 10-20 hours to write (citing another excellent article which I will also link to below), I think this is doable.

Anybody with me?