Beautiful People #27 ~ August Edition

Hey, everyone! Guess what? It’s time for another Beautiful People post! This awesome meme is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. These are some of my favorite posts to do on the blog, so I hope you enjoy today’s. 🙂


What is the Beautiful People meme?

From the Beautiful People FAQ on Paper Fury:

Beautiful People is for writers. Every month, we post a list of 10 questions for you to answer about your characters. It’s designed to help you get to know your characters – their quirks, their personality, their flaws, and who they are.


DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee that everything here is or will be canon in the future. I have spent a fair amount of time developing these characters, but some stuff is still unclear in my own mind, so I will try to answer the questions as best I can.

Also, the character I’ll be using for today’s post is from a super-secret project that I have yet to officially announce, so some details about the characters and plot will have to remain secret, for now…

Enjoy the post!


The Character

chalis007-189517

Mae Ki-Nari from my super secret sci-fi project. Photo by 胡 卓亨 on Unsplash

The Question

1.What are they addicted to/can’t live without?

Mae loves listening to music. It helps her focus and drown out the crazy world around her. She also likes to have a piece of technology by her side at all times. She’d be lost without her laptop or phone!

2. Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.

Positive: She’s smart, straightforward, and very persistent. She likes to see things through to the end.

Negative: She is very snarky and sarcastic, she doesn’t relate well to people, and she tends to completely overthink everything.

3. Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?

She’s definitely holding on to her resentment (and also her idealism) of her past life and her fear of the future.

4. If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?

I think Mae would probably fall somewhere in the middle, maybe somewhere around 5 or 6. She doesn’t actually try to be super organized, but she owns so little that her living space is rarely ever messy. Most of her life is online, so that’s where she spends the bulk of her time. There’s not a lot in the real world for her to mess up or disorganize.

5. What most frustrates them about the world they live in?

Mae hates surveillance. She’s lived for most of her life in a place where you can never be sure if you’re being watched or not. She wants online information to be free and uncensored, and she wants to be free herself from always looking over her shoulder to make sure no one’s watching.

6. How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?

For a night out, Mae would probably dress up as little as possible. She doesn’t like going out anyway. Maybe she would put on a dress (if she owned one) and brush her hair a bit, but that would probably be all. Unless she was going out with that special somebody, and then she would be looking up makeup tutorials online and she might actually care about if her shoes match her outfit, and get really stressed out about how she looks.

For a night in, it would be just whatever she was wearing; probably old jean shorts and a t-shirt from the secondhand store. She literally does not care about anything most of the time. 😂

7. How many shoes do they own, and what kind?

I would hazard a guess that she owns like one pair of sneakers, and that’s it. Maybe some boots too, but even that is probably stretching it.

8. Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?

Mae has never owned a pet in her life, and she probably never will. If she had to own a pet, though, she’d probably get a cat.

9. Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?

Mae resents a lot of people. It’s hard to really explain why and what happened without spoiling some of the story, but she definitely does resent both her parents. She never really had a good childhood.

10. What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?

Soda, energy drinks, synthetic food that provides all her daily vitamin and protein needs. She’s not a fan of ‘real’ (non-processed) food.


Thanks so much for reading this month’s Beautiful People post! I hope you enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to share more of this story with you as soon as possible. Right now, I’m in the middle of rewriting a bunch of it (I just got an amazing new idea today!) but hopefully I’ll be publishing the first book sometime next year.

Be sure to check out Cait’s original post, where you’ll find links to other writers who have done this meme, as well as the list of questions and a place to link up your own Beautiful People post.

Once again, Beautiful People is hosted by the amazing Cait and Sky.

Beautiful People

Unpopular Opinions: The Thirteenth Doctor

On Sunday, the 16th of July, 2017, the BBC announced their pick for the new Doctor on Doctor Who. One of the longest running sci-fi shows in history, Doctor Who has been broadcasted for over 50 years. In all those years the main character of the series, the Doctor — a time-traveling, double-hearted, slightly mad alien Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, who can regenerate into a new body whenever he is about to die— has always been portrayed as male. Whether sporting a bow tie or a trench-coat, a multicolored scarf or a fez, whether carrying a celery stalk or a supply of jelly babies, the Doctor has always, always regenerated into a man.

Not so now.

Actress Jodie Whittaker was just announced as the new star of Doctor Who. She will be taking over the role from Peter Capaldi, the Twelth Doctor. “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,” she says, “Because this is a really exciting time and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. This is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”


I was honestly not quite sure what to think when I heard that a woman would be taking over as the Doctor. On the one hand, according to show canon, a Time Lord can technically regenerate into a person of the opposite gender. At the moment, the world is charged with massive conversations about diversity and equality and feminism and equal representation in the media. This would appear to be the perfect answer to that conversation: the introduction of a woman into a role that has always been played by men. At least, many people would say so.

I have nothing against diversity, as far as it goes (i.e. not making every character in your story white and male). But there is something about this contemporary thrust for ‘diversity’ in the media that feels extraordinarily off. As a writer myself, a creator of characters, I have come to understand that if you force a character to be something that they are not, it can wreck the entire story. Trying to force two characters into a romantic relationship; trying to force a character to feel happy in a situation where they would, in fact, be resentful; trying to force a male character to be female, and vise versa… these things will never work as well as leaving the character alone to be who they are in the first place.

Characters are funny creatures. The best of them are like people, fully formed personalities that you uncover bit by bit, like getting to know somebody in real life. When you force them to be something they are not, you destroy that illusion of reality. You have hijacked a character, a story even, for your own purposes. Stories evolve and grow and change naturally as you write and discover what exactly they are about. They are not meant to be manipulated into saying something else.

The BBC’s decision to cast a woman as the Doctor feels, to me anyway, like forced diversity, the manipulation of a story into conveying a message. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against women having leading roles in television or movies. I don’t think women should be disrespected, or paid less than men for doing the same amount of work, or forced to prove themselves to be just as good as men, because somehow that is a measuring stick for this sort of thing. But there is no one size fits all technique when it comes to diversity. Doctor Who may play by a very esoteric set of rules, but the show’s own lore is fairly contradictory on the point of sex-changing regeneration, and there are a few other objections I can raise to the casting of a female Doctor.

But lets take a step back for a second and really look at this show. It’s not as if Doctor Who isn’t diverse or doesn’t portray strong female characters. Some people seem to forget that the Doctor’s female companions, at least in the reboot, aren’t poor, damsel-in-distress types. Martha and Donna are probably some of the strongest characters in the show. Rose, even though she gets a lot of flack for some reason or other, is creative and brilliant and so, so strong in times of hopelessness. Some people also seem to forget that the female companions of the Doctor are not always there to be love interests. Some people forget that the Doctor had rich platonic relationships with not only Martha, but Donna, Amy, and Clara as well; four out of the five female companions in the reboot (I can’t yet count Bill, as I haven’t seen any of her episodes, but I gather that she isn’t a love interest either.)

Are we out to destroy all shows and books and films with male leads? Have men suddenly become evil, or alien; nonhuman? Look me in the face and tell me that this outlook, rampant in our culture even if not expressed in so many words, is not sexist. Sexism can go both ways, and right now many people are extremely angry at men for being men. Isn’t that exactly what they accuse men of being; angry at women for being women? Aren’t we being slightly hypocritical here?

The dynamic of the Doctor — the mad man in the blue box— and his companions, both male and female, platonic and romantic, his friends and his family, his wife (don’t you forget River), his relationships with the people he meets on his journeys… you could say that it is these dynamics that make the show itself. And this is where I say something that many of you will not like: men and women are different. They are treated differently, because in some situations they have different roles. They act differently. We like to plaster over these differences in the name of ‘equality’, but all it does is cause confusion. But gender, whether we like it or not, is intrinsically tied to personality, to who we are as people, to what we do and how we act. Women will always act in certain ways, see the world in certain ways, be different people than men.

And by changing the Doctor into a woman, the BBC will have changed him into a different person entirely.

Character relationships will break down. Certain dynamics will no longer be possible. The Doctor will be a completely different character. No writer can change that. Or they might try to force it, and run the risk of ruining things entirely. The show will change, and probably not for the better. Change is often good. Variety is the spice of life. But you cannot change the way the world works, no matter how much you try, and I would hazard a small speculation that this change will not do the world longest running sci-fi show any good. In fact, it may doom Doctor Who in the end. The writers will end up trying to push a message so prominent in our culture today: that no one is bound by truth, that you can be absolutely anyone, literally, regardless of gender. And, unfortunately, this message is just not true.


Philosophical arguments aside (for the most part), the show’s own lore seems to contradict itself on several points when it comes to sex-changing regeneration. Please note that there will be some spoilers ahead for River Song’s story arc, so if you haven’t watched this part of the show yet, please proceed with caution!

Spoilers

When a Time Lord is about to die, they instead regenerate into an entirely new body. This is why there are currently thirteen different ‘versions’ of the Doctor (not counting the War Doctor from the 50th anniversary special), each played by a different actor. Although the Doctor says several times that Time Lords can regenerate into people of the opposite gender, there are also very clear differences between male and female Time Lords. One major difference is that female Time Lords (or is that Time Ladies?) can actually control aspects of how they look when they regenerate. Male Time Lords cannot. This is established both by the Doctor (who complains after various regenerations about the size of his ears, his ‘new teeth’, and, most often, that he’s not a redhead) and the female Time Lord River Song, who can concentrate on a dress size or other feature during regeneration and achieve it in her next form.

For there to be specific differences between male and female Time Lords, there would first have to be such a thing as male and female Time Lords. If you were born male, you would not be able to predict or control the physical characteristics of your regeneration. If you were born female, you could. You might still regenerate into someone of a different height or weight or ethnicity, but these are all physical characteristics. And although the current culture would have us believe otherwise, gender is much, much more than physical characteristics.

So, these two things are not logically consistent. If male and female Time Lords have different traits that set them apart, how can a male Time Lord regenerate into a female one? Has he suddenly crossed over that boundary? Can he suddenly control his regeneration? And the reverse is just as confusing. If a female Time Lord regenerates into a male, does she suddenly lose her ability to control her regeneration? Can she concentrate on becoming male in the first place, or is that just random like it seems to be for a male Time Lord?

I would love to see a black or Asian Doctor, or a Doctor of any ethnicity. In fact, it would be an amazing opportunity for actors of different cultural background to bring something new to the show. But a female Doctor, especially at this particular moment, just feels far too much like a blatantly political decision, not a decision which retains the integrity of the show itself. It might even contradict show canon. And any piece of art, be it a novel or a show or a film, should never be made to force a political opinion. That defeats the purpose.

All of this goes to say that I am not thrilled about the new Doctor. But I think I’ll give her a chance. Who knows? Maybe something amazing will happen. I have only one request: that instead of turning this into an opportunity to rant and hate on men or women, we instead judge the character not by their gender or ethnicity, but by their portrayal. Women should not be inserted into the media just because they are women. They should be portrayed because they are people, and a legitimate part of humanity. If the writers of Doctor Who can do that with a female Doctor, and not lose sight of the original message of the show itself, then they will have won.



Thanks for reading this unpopular opinion! What are your thoughts about the new Doctor? Are you excited, or nervous? Do you think that Jodie Whittaker is a good choice for a female Doctor? Let’s talk in the comments below.

See you again next time!

🙂


The Thirteenth Doctor Edited

Beautiful People #25 ~ June Edition

Hey everyone! Today I’ll be doing another Beautiful People post. This awesome meme is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. I had so much fun doing one of these posts last month, so I thought I’d give it another go. Enjoy!


What is the Beautiful People Meme?

From the Beautiful People FAQ on Paper Fury:

Beautiful People is for writers. Every month, we post a list of 10 questions for you to answer about your characters. It’s designed to help you get to know your characters – their quirks, their personality, their flaws, and who they are.

Last month, the meme was themed around parents, because it was Mother’s Day in May, but there’s no real theme this month. (If you want to check out my May Beautiful People post, you can find it here.)


DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee that everything here is or will be canon in the future. I have spent a fair amount of time developing these characters, but some stuff is still unclear in my own mind, so I will try to answer the questions as best I can. Enjoy the post.


The Character

adad87c2-ac32-4c5d-9c26-25128a2bdf31

Princess Esmeralda from Behind Her Mask was Death. Gorgeous artwork by S. Meghan Fedor.

The Questions

1.What’s their favorite place they’ve ever visited?

Esmeralda has never been outside of her country of Plutch, and has hardly ever left the capital city, but when she was younger she traveled to the coastal city of Foundry in order to meet the royal family of Skring, who were arriving by ship there. She loved this city, as she’d never seen the sea before, but she didn’t get to explore nearly as much as she wanted, as there were formalities to attend to.

2. What’s one mistake they made that they learned from?

Esmeralda often shuts people out, thinking or pretending to herself that she doesn’t need anybody. She keeps on making this mistake over and over again, and it is a vicious cycle, but she always comes to the realization that she really does need friendships with other people in order to be at all happy with her life.

3.What was their favorite subject in school? Or favorite thing to learn about?

Esmeralda despised school. She was taught at home by a governess or tutor, and learned mostly about etiquette and manners and diplomacy and how to embroider and sketch (she sketches very badly) and play piano (she doesn’t play very well either). What she does like to do is to study other people; how they speak and act and think. She is a very good judge of character.

4.What’s their favorite flower/growing thing?

Esmeralda doesn’t make it a point to notice flowers and things like that very much, but I think she would like lavender, because it would make her think of Devon.

5.Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?

Esmeralda has never really made anyone cry. She has had a lot of good cries over other people, but always alone in her room or one of her secret corners in the city, where nobody can see or hear her.

6.Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?

Esmeralda is fairly reliable, although she might be prone to twisting the facts a little to justify some of her more impulsive actions.

7.What do they dream about at night?

Esmeralda doesn’t always get a lot of sleep, and when she does she’s often so tired that her sleep is deep and dreamless. But if she does dream, it would most likely be bad dreams about things she fears, or old memories brought up from the very back of her mind; things she’s tried to forget but that will never really go away.

8.They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What would they eat?

Probably cake or sweets of some kind. If Esmeralda was going somewhere by herself for a ‘special meal’, she would almost certainly get something as tasty and sugary as possible.

9.What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?

Go sailing or swimming in the ocean. Visit the great city-state of New Calvin. Go anywhere in the world that wasn’t her homeland. Esmeralda loves to explore and go adventuring. She could never run out of things to do and places to go.

10.Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?

Does getting in trouble count??? 😉 Besides her penchant for judging others’ characters and personalities, her greatest talent is doing the exact opposite of what she’s told to do; bending or breaking the rules, making crazy decisions or doing crazy things on a whim.


Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to check out Cait’s original post, where you’ll find links to other writers who have done this meme, as well as the list of questions and a place to link up your own Beautiful People post.

Once again, Beautiful People is hosted by the amazing Cait and Sky.

Beautiful People

Beautiful People #24 ~ Parental Edition

Hello, everyone! Today I’m doing something a little bit different and joining the Beautiful People meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. I only just discovered Cait’s blog yesterday, but from what I’ve read so far, it’s a wonderfully quirky and just aesthetically gorgeous blog about books, writing, and more books! 😛 So go check Paper Fury out, like, right now.


Okay, what is this ‘Beautiful People Meme’ you speak of?

From the Beautiful People FAQ on Paper Fury:

Beautiful People is for writers. Every month, we post a list of 10 questions for you to answer about your characters. It’s designed to help you get to know your characters – their quirks, their personality, their flaws, and who they are.

I’ve seen a couple of other bloggers I follow do some Beautiful People posts, but I never really thought about jumping in until now. This month’s theme is Parents, because Mother’s day is coming up, so I thought it might be fun to apply these questions to the parents of Behind Her Mask was Death‘s main character, Devon Lavender.

The reason I haven’t really done any posts like this about characters or stuff I’m working on is because I’m always super nervous that I’ll never actually finish my WIPs, and if I tell people about some of the stuff in them they might be disappointed if I never finish the books. However, lately I’ve been growing more confident in this area, and getting better at actually finishing things, so I thought I might try this meme out at least once, just for fun.  Devon’s parents, Vanessa and Augustus Lavender do not actually appear in Behind Her Mask was Death, although they are referenced. A prequel featuring them is (tentatively!) in the works, but for now let’s jump into the questions!


DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee that everything here is or will be canon in the future. As I said, I’m working on that prequel, and I have spent a fair amount of time developing these characters, but some stuff is still unclear in my own mind, so I will try to answer the questions as best I can. Enjoy!

Also, there may be a few minor spoilers ahead for BHMwD, so be forewarned!


The Character

55834b1b-2135-4cc7-a6be-89baad79bb1e

Devon Lavender in Behind Her Mask was Death. Gorgeous artwork by S. Meghan Fedor.

The Questions

1. Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?

It really depends on what point in time you’re talking about. When he was younger, Devon and his mother, Vanessa, were basically inseparable. He adored her. His relationship with his father Count Augustus Lavender, then and now, is more formal and distant. After Vanessa’s death when he was just twelve, Devon has withdrawn even further away from his father, and even though he still lives in his father’s house in BHMwD, they tend to keep away from each other in daily life.

2. Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?

Devon grew up with both his parents, but, as I said, his mother Vanessa died when he was young. This has effected both his relationship with his father and his own personal life very deeply. Devon’s friends have helped him cope with the loss, but he has still become quite lonely and withdrawn from the world in the years following her death.

3. How did their parents meet?

Vanessa and Augustus grew up in almost opposite situations. Vanessa is the daughter of a fisherman and trader in the island nation of Archipelago, and Augustus is the son of the wealthy, influential Lord Lavender. The Lavender family are members of high society in the city of Kips Capper, but Augustus despised his moody, sometimes cruel father and frivolous friends and left the city to travel. One of the places he went was Archipelago, where he met Vanessa.

4.How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?

It would really depend on which parent you said he was “turning out like”. Augustus Lavender is a rather emotionally distant, cynical man, and it would be a real blow to Devon’s own security and self esteem for people to think that he was turning out to be like him. He wishes and aspires, however, to be kind and caring and joyful like his mother, and to take a real, genuine interest in people the way she did.

5. What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?

(Devon is twenty-two in BHMwD, so I’ll use his age in the WIP prequel for a more interesting answer.)

At age twelve, Vanessa would have been helping her mother cook and look after the other children, as well as swimming in the clear, blue-green sea on sunny days and sometimes taking long, silent walks with her grandfather down the beaches. Augustus would have been in school, or perhaps his father would be forcing him accompany him and his sister Annaliese to some high-society function or an evening at the theater.

6. Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

(I am taking this to mean something that the two parents disagree about, although it could conceivably mean something that the character and his parents disagree about, but, you know…)

 Augustus is a cautious, rather cynical man, disinclined to trust people until they give him a good reason to. Vanessa is an open, caring person who feels best when she can be helping others. Being a Countess in a rich, important family meant that she had the means to help others in ways she couldn’t before. While Augustus did reluctantly let her travel into the poorer, rougher parts of the city to give aid and food to families there, he refused to let her bring Devon with her, or to even tell him where Vanessa went.

7. What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?

Devon is usually quite reserved and gentle. If he does get angry, however, he can sometimes find himself saying or doing things he would never, ever do normally. He also has a tendency to conceal his feelings, so that he doesn’t ‘bother’ anybody with them, sometimes making it quite difficult to tell when he’s been hurt or upset.

8. What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?

Devon will always remember his mother’s voice as she spoke and read and sang to him when he was young. His most vivid memory…? I’d love to write it here, but then it would spoil the prequel, and I haven’t even written out the scene yet, so… Sorry. You will have to wait and see…

9. What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

I think Devon would have been a fairly shy, quiet child. He probably learned to speak before he could walk, and clung close to his mother in times of trouble.

10. Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?

Devon’s full name is Devon Augustus Lavender. He is named in part for his father, of course, but also for his mother’s wise, beloved grandfather, Devin Oshar. His name reminds Vanessa of her home and the people she loves and misses.

(Literally just made that up. But I like it! That’s definitely canon as of now…)


Thanks for reading! I had so much fun doing this meme, and who knows, maybe I’ll try it again next month… 🙂

Once again, Beautiful People is hosted by the amazing Cait and Sky.

Beautiful People