Diverse Characters Don’t Have to Earn Their Keep

Glenn from TVs The Walking Dead

Glenn from TV’s The Walking Dead

Although I’ve never watched the show The Walking Dead, it recently became the subject of lengthy conversation in my writers’ group.

The discussion had to do with two specific characters: Michonne (whom I’m told I should consider cosplaying for Halloween) and Glenn, who is Korean-American.

That is to say, the discussion had to do with diverse characters.

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The Shortest Story I’ve Ever Written

For the record, I don’t like short stories.

Once upon a time the endI’ve written about 10 of them over the course of my writing “career” thus far, and almost all of them are flops.

Not because the writing is bad per se (although some of them were written while I was still in high school, so neither is the writing deathless prose). Rather, they don’t work because they aren’t really short stories at all.

They’re novel back stories masquerading as short stories.

That just seems to be the way my brain works: my stories come to me novel length.

(If my WIP is any indication, my stories come to me trilogy length.)

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Character Study: Sarah Manning from Orphan Black (and, yes, a hero IS a special snowflake)

I first learned of Orphan Black when it was just an obscure, homegrown program on Canada’s Space Channel.

And in my customary inability to pick a winning horse, dismissed it without watching a single episode, deeming it just another sci-fi show on Space – a network whose programming quality, let’s be honest, varies.

But recently, my blog-buddy Eric J. Baker wrote about Orphan Black, recommending everyone give it a try.  Plus, with the second season having recently started, news of Orphan Black and its success was everywhere in Canadian entertainment news.

So, I decided I’d watch a bit, and thus far am halfway through season 1.

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Character Study: Raleigh Becket from Pacific Rim

So, I finally saw Pacific Rim a couple weekends ago.

I opted to give this movie a pass when it came out in July, believing it to be just another dumb summer blockbuster involving robots, a la Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise.

(I loved the original 80s Transformers cartoon, yet there’s so much to hate about those movies.)

As a reader at heart, I tend not to like most movies I watch, especially those that come out in the summer.  If I watch a summer flick at all, it’s usually on video, and for the benefit of some mindless entertainment after a tough week at work.

But Pacific Rim surprisingly gave me a lot to think about, particularly with regards to its characters.

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Strong Female Characters Who Fight Silent Wars

When I was in grade 5 or 6, I read a young adult fantasy novel entitled The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.

This book was the third of a quartet by the wonderful Tamora Pierce about a girl named Alanna who disguises herself as a boy in order to enter training to eventually become a knight of her kingdom.

I loved this book – loved the entire series – and from that moment, a obsession with female fantasy characters who could fight was born.  I couldn’t get enough of stories where women wielded swords, shot bows, fought empty-handed in any sort of martial art, worked as mercenaries, commanded soldiers, and never had to fear for their safety or worry about being disrespected, for they knew how to put jerks in their place.

Stories featuring – as they’re often portrayed within the genres of fantasy and sci-fi – strong female characters.

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