Everyone no doubt has an opinion on the topic of gay marriage.
To me, it's about equality.
A little over a hundred years ago, marriage was often a business transaction; it was about money, family, making the right connections, the bloodline. You might not have even had a say in who your spouse was. In countries around the world today, it still is about that.
A little over a hundred years ago, a man could be sentenced to life in prison for the act of 'buggery' (in Britain). Before 1860 in the UK, the act held a death sentence. In other countries, such as Germany, Brazil and the Netherlands, it was a criminal act until the early 1800s.
In Australia, we forget that we've only had the freedom to choose our partners for a relatively short time. And that we (if you are heterosexual) can get a divorce whenever you want.
But you have the right to get married, to get divorced, to make these public and legal statements on the status of your relationships.
But if you're gay?
No, you don't get the right to legally declare your love for another person. And to me, that is just wrong.
It's about allowing people to show their love for one another. How can it effect the moral fibre of society when being gay is accepted as normal? (For most of us). It's legal, it's consenting and most of all, it's fair and equal.
Other countries have legalized it, why is Australia so behind?
Here's an awesome video from a NZ politician on why gay marriage should be passed through parliament.
The short list for the 2012 Aurealis Awards has been announced!!
The list looks fabulous this year - tough competition all around.
A special yay for Bloodstones making the cut for anthology and for Jo Anderton's 'Sanaa's Army' making the short story lists twice!!
Full short list is here.
Winners will be announced at the gala ceremony in May.
Then there's work, which is good. But I travel a lot, which makes it hard to organise anything. I came back from leave (from when I was working on the house) and then was away the following week for 2 weeks. Got back for the weekend, but you guessed it, I was renovating and seeing family.
And speaking of family, they haven't all been in the best of health, as I've mentioned before. And I've had a chronic illness...which is better, but flares up from time to time. But yeah. This is beginning to sound like a whinge. But it's not, not really. More of an explanation. I made a mention in the 'NEXT BIG THING' post I did a while back that I would be doing a Bloodstones sequel, called Singing the Blood. And I will. Just not for quite a while. I had hoped to open submission calls around now, but it is just not going to happen. I still want to do the anthology, but the time it will take in order for me to do the best I can by my publisher and the authors is just too scarce at the minute.
Cos on top of all that, another person in my family has just been diagnosed with cancer. In addition to my step-dad, who already has cancer. I don't really want to say too much more, but yeah. It's been a crazy year and it will continue to be a crazy year. Prognosis is good for the new diagnosis. But it's shit. I know way too many people who have suffered from this and it sucks bad each and every time I hear the word.
So please bear with me if I drop off the radar. I'll be back to editing at some point, and sorry to disappoint if you've been keen to submit to Singing the Blood, but just keep the idea. It will happen eventually.
So over the past three weeks Tom and I, plus my parents and some friends, have been renovating the new house. It's been hectic, as I was doing 12-13 hour days, but worth it!
We moved in last night. Cats got introduced at 11 pm to the new house and have been settling in since. Saxon is a veteran at moving pads, so he's had a great time investigating. Lily is bewildered and hasn't quite come to terms with it, but she will.
We still have heaps to go, and the kitchen is sitting in pieces on our lounge room floor. But we'll get there! And it's back to work for me tomorrow.
Now, I kind of like A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands. It came recommended on Goodreads, so I thought I'd give it a go. I haven't finished it yet, but just came across a scene where I had to stop and say: NO, sorry, it doesn't work like that.
I guess it's the editor in me. Or maybe just common sense.
You see, in Lynsay's paranormal world, vampires exist. Sure, I'll go with that. They drink through their teeth (yeah, like straws, it would be a slow process to get a litre or so of blood, but that's beside the point), and are actually the products of an Atlantian experiment. Apparently they were injected with nanos that repair any and all damage but use blood to do so. Again, I can run with that.
So, the main character, Lissianna, is having a sleep about 2/3 of the way through. Then she gets staked. The hero, Greg, finds her, freaks out and decides the best thing to do is remove the stake.
First thing first aiders get taught: if someone is impaled, leave the fucking thing there.
In normal circumstances, a human would die from a staking, so it'd be pointless removing the stake from a chest impalement (if it was through the heart).
So Greg then picks Lissi up and carries her to the bedroom where he makes plans to get her somewhere safe (the staker has obviously gone by this point). He decides on a black shirt for her to wear after hatching a plan and THEN goes about looking at and bandaging up her wound.
So she got staked. He took the stake out. We presume she's survived (he hasn't checked to see if she's breathing or has a pulse at this point). Now, there should have been a LOT of blood when he removed the stake. It was presumably a heart-wound, or if not, it would still bleed badly. There wasn't. Even magical nanos would have trouble healing a wound when a foreign object was still there.
But when he goes to bandage the wound, eventually, she's still bleeding. Which means the nanos aren't quick enough and she's losing their food source. It just doesn't make logical sense.
And Greg is a psychiatrist. Which means he'd have a medical degree (at least in Australia), so he should know pulling the stake out would be a bad idea. Then Lissi is bleeding and not as much as she should, which you may attribute to the nanos, but just leaving her there to keep bleeding and lose the nanos food source? Dumb.
Ah well, I'll still finish the book.
Mentioning this on twitter resulted in some humourous suggestions of what powers I might develop. To a friend at work, I said that knowing my luck, I'd probably get some spiderman-like power. Which for me, would suck. Badly. She decided that this would be hilarious, and announced the news headline would read: 'SUPERHERO FEARS SELF'.
This concept then lead to me musing about superheros and the phobias that would make their lives rather...difficult. Here is what some friends and I at work came up with:
- Spiderman and arachnophobia - goes without saying really. This would be me if I was bitten by a radioactive spider and then transformed into something rather creepy. I mean, webs freak me out.
- Wonderwoman and dinophobia (not a fear of dinosaurs, but a fear of dizziness).
- Aquaman and aquaphobia - again, this is self-explanatory.
- Jean Grey and necrophobia - being the phoenix and all...
- Superman and acrophobia - would make flying hard: "don't look down, don't look down...just a little longer..."
- The Hulk/Green Lantern and chlorophobia (fear of the colour green) - would make looking in the mirror hard.
- Ironman and magnetophobia (I made this one up cos I couldn't find it) - this would include magnets and Magneto.
- Iceman and pagophobia (fear of ice or frost) - makes drinks 'on the rocks' a painful experience.
- Thor and cryptozoophobia (fear of mythical creatures) - a bit of self-fear never hurt anyone. Right?
- Invisible Man and athazagoraphobia (fear of being ignored).
- Wolverine and aichmophobia - he'd shit himself every time a knife-like claw emerged.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and sanguivoriphobia - being afraid of vampires/blood drinkers could make the job difficult.
- The Flash and tachophobia - or as Tom said when he announced this addition "spear of feed".
PS: Still no signs of superness (well, more than normal). Shame.
One of the easiest ways to avoid having messy plot issues is to sit back and ask one single question: “Why?”
I think the worst part of me watching Prometheus was the fact that I couldn’t understand why the screenwriters hadn't sat down and asked; “Why are any of our characters doing any of the things they’re doing?”
I mean, it was clear that all the characters were idiots. But that isn’t a good enough excuse for the plot-disaster that was Prometheus; because those characters should all have been experts in their fields with a few survival instincts. You can read my rant here about the movie itself, so I won’t get into the nitty gritties again. But the question still stands; why? And it’s applicable to a lot of fiction books as well.
In terms of general fiction, it’s important that your character does something for a reason; and this isn’t solely restricted to just your main protagonist. Every other person in the story must have a rationale for a) being there and b) doing anything.
While it may be easier for your plot to have a character commit murder and then have all the other characters try to solve it...why did the murderer do it in the first place? Were they a sociopath? (And most sociopaths don’t go around murdering people – apparently you’ll find quite a few in upper business management rolls.) Did they know the victim? Why did they kill that particular person?
And it’s not okay to just say they were ‘evil’. After all, Supernatural has a lot of ‘evil’ characters, but there are reasons why they’re evil or went to Hell in the first place. It was never ‘just ‘cos’.
Every time a character does something in fiction, there has to be an explanation for it. And not only that, but that reason has to make sense.
In reality, I know that there are times when things happen that don’t make any sense to an outsider: horrible things such as the Austrian Fritzl case (it makes me seethe just thinking about it). But if you’re writing fiction, these events have to be understandable to your readers. Horror for horror’s sake is often not good enough.
I think that’s part of the reason why Twilight copped so much flack. Yes, yes, I know, it talks about obsessive love and stalking etc. But then, Bella’s favourite book was Wuthering Heights. I think that alone gives a pretty big clue about Bella’s ideas on romance.
Then there’s the whole love triangle happening in Twilight; it felt a little forced to me. There is a trend in YA fiction to have love triangles, yes, but sometimes it would be better if it was just a single love interest that was developed without the extra angst. But I digress. Bella eventually gave birth to Renesmee (I still hate that name), and suddenly, all that desperation and love and resentment and hate just faded away from Jacob. He was no longer interested in Bella: “From the very beginning. We had to be together, even then.” (Yes, I had to look that up.)
It makes no sense. Because if Jacob was drawn to Bella because of the possibility she could give birth to his ‘mate’, then he should have also liked Edward, who was the father of his mate. But it didn’t work like that. And that is one of the big things that bugged readers who actually wondered why the sudden swap-over happened. And let’s not get into the debate as to how it was possible that a sexually mature adult could ‘imprint’ on an infant. Either way, it didn't make sense. The why wasn't good enough (at least not to me, you may have your own opinion there).
But knowing why these things can happen is important. As an author, you don’t have to give everything away. Hells no. You want to be showing not telling, after all. But you don’t want to be showing something that makes no goddamned sense.
The only problem, is that sometimes what comes out isn't actually a word. Rather, it's an amalgamation of two words. Sometimes -- I think -- they're really quite clever. Other times, well, they should probably be taken out to some word-tip and executed for maligning the English language (although some would say all of my creations do that, anyway).
So, at the start of 2013, here are a few of my favourites in no particular order (warning, there is swearing):
- Inventioning - when you are inventing an invention
- Fucket loads - when fuck loads and bucket loads just aren't enough
- Flawproof - plans can be foolproof and flawless, so why not flawproof?
- Smudging bugglies - in Australia, we call speedos 'budgie smugglers'. I turned the phrase around to prevent cruelty against budgies.