Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones

And before you try and finish that line, no, chains and whips do not excite me. Ask someone who's read Fifty Shades of Grey if you wanna know more about that. (Raven quote) Ya nasty.

No, no, this writing gripe is about the overabundance of certain character flaws, namely in a character's family. More specifically, abused characters. Because, apparently, almost everyone who's anyone in popular YA literature gets beat behind closed doors at their home.

Is anyone else noticing this?

Tobias from Divergent, Peeta from The Hunger Games, you can infer many more characters that aren't specifically stated to be knocked around. And half the time, the abuse they're receiving doesn't make any sense.

Case in point: Tobias. Trying not to spoil anything for those who haven't read (if you haven't, I recommend it), Tobias' father 'does it for his own good'. But abuse is a selfish action, believing that someone else has wronged the abuser and must be punished for it. So would an Abnegation man beat his son, when he so prudently swore that his life would be one of selflessness? And what would a beating achieve? Pain is a selfish thing; is it selfless to inflict that upon another? It doesn't make sense to me. Does it characterize Tobias, yes, but it doesn't really serve a purpose other than a sort of guilt trip for us to like him more. I didn't need the guilt trip, Tobias is my favorite character.

Not to mention that there are so many other ways to give a character a bad home life or bad childhood without requiring belts, small rooms, bruises, or cuts. Not everyone has a nuclear family: mom, dad, children. There are stepparents, stepsiblings, half-siblings, love children, single parents, no parents, negligent parents. Perhaps even, like in Harry Potter, guardian relatives. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents. These combinations don't appear often in popular literature to pose a problem, except perhaps for the cliche 'evil stepmother'.

I mean, Collins (of The Artist) has no parents, but has three older brothers. They've taken care of her as her parents, but now that she's older, her independence is causing a rift between her and her oldest brother and father figure, Rowe. Brigham (also TA) has a nuclear family, but with the amount of people in it, he's stressed by having to work long hours to feed them all.

You don't need to have an abusive parent or sibling to have family tension, it can come from even the most wholesome-looking group of relatives. So please, dear readers, by all means, take a look at the character's family the next time you read, or the next time you write. There are opportunities for tension everywhere, there doesn't need to be hurt and pain in every character's past. Can we resolve to find a more realistic form of characterization? Where we don't have to beat the living crap out of our characters to show that their lives are as flawed as ours are? I'd appreciate it, and I'm sure our characters would, too.

Band-aids and Neosporin,

So, Happy Belated New Year, Everyone!

Yes, I've noticed, my blog hasn't been updated since NaNoWriMo was still in full swing in mid-November. The good news is, all this time away from the blogosphere has given me ample time to work on The Artist, and that yesterday I literally spent seven hours doing nothing but writing. Oliver and Collins thank me dearly.

However, unfortunately, I've been away for far too long! It's been almost five months, which is a lot of time in any person's perspective, but definitely a long time for a writer. Usually, most blogs are updated weekly, and I'm hoping to finally get into the swing of that, save perhaps finals week in May. But that's hopefully as far away as I think it is.

Anyways, dear followers, I thought I'd make an annoucement:

I have been accepted to two very prestigious writing programs at Denison University and at Kenyon College in Gambier. You may receive the college's Kenyon Review. They're both intense summer programs, not very cheap, and an opportunity to go out there and meet more writers. We writers are like birds, we flock together when we can. So the chance to meet thirty others? More? That's like a dream come true.

Alas, I must choose only one, and hope that next year when I apply I can attend the other. Or perhaps I might even get into the one offered for rising college freshmen at Yale. That would be fantastic.

So thank you to those who have stuck with me, or perhaps just forgotten to stop following my blog, and I hope to appease you with more posts to come! I hope everyone's Spring Break, whether it's ended, ending, or just begun, was wonderful, and a happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Spring weather and chocolate bunnies,