Tuesday, 29 December 2009

I hope I don't regret writing this post

So fandom, we're at it again, are we? Another racism conversation? Great.

Look, yes, Racism is bad. *isms at all are bad, but they happen. And there will always be people who don't care. Because of this, *isms won't go away. It also won't go away because you keep bringing it up.

I watched Avatar the other week, and guess what? I loved it. I thought it was beautiful and, given the subject matter, done with class. Why is Avatar, which is an obvious allegory for the settlement of the Americas racist, but Schindlar's List a movie with a message? Both events happened, historically (More or less), so why is one racist tripe while the other is not?

Yes, Transformers II is blatantly racist. I'll give you that. You don't have argument from me on that.

What about Star Wars. They're aliens. They look and act completely un-real and unfamiliar. I never saw Jar-Jar as racist because he, just like Jabba, and Yoda, and Sebulba and Chewy and countless other creatures in Star Wars looked and acted otherworldly. I never realized that Jar-Jar Binks was problematic until Lisa Simpson pointed out that he was "A tired Stereotype".

And that's what Avatar had: Sterotypes. Everyone was a steriotype. A trope. And that's ok.

Of course, if this movie made me think of any other race, it made me think of Gelfling...

I understand the concept of voting with your wallet, and I respect it, but just because you find something to be racist, doesn't mean I do, nor does it mean that you have the right to make me feel guilty for enjoying a piece of artwork. Because that movie, like it or not, was art.

And here's another thing, The biggest argument I always hear is "People keep making these movies because people keep paying for them. Stop paying for them and they'll stop being made." But guess what? It's not just the viewer's responsibility. What about the writers writing racist characters? What about the directors, the makeup artists, the costume designers?
What about the actors accepting racist roles? Why don't they show their self-respect and put their foot down and say "This is wrong. I won't do it."? They have more power than we do, bucket-loads more. Appeal to them, and leave me alone.

Monday, 14 December 2009

In the new year...

I am so totally registered for this course!

In the new year, I'm going to try to finish a page of A Girl Called Kermit every 2 weeks. I've broken it down into chapters now, one for each health issue I want to address. My main problem with AGCK before was that it was too "And then this happened and then this happened..." so I'm hoping that by breaking it down into chapters that will relieve some of the monotony in the narration.

Last night I lay awake pondering how the same mind who created AGCK could also create NecroRaver. If Project C got published, would it's questionable content make others upturn there nose at my other works? And then I remember that Clive Barker has written children's stories and Julianne Moore starred in movies with incest and also wrote Freckle Face Strawberry. But I am not a celebrity.

Welcome to my morning thoughts.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Black Matrix: All of the work for a fifth of the price!

So, as anyone who cares about the publishing world knows by now, Black Matrix's pay rates are 1/5th of a cent per word. ONE FIFTH of one cent. Per word.

And some people are ok with this.

Seriously, people? Seriously?! Are you so desperate to get published that any little acknowledgement is good enough for you? That one word you crafted, let's say it was the best damned perfect word in your entire manuscript, isn't even worth a whole penny?

Why are you selling yourself so short? It makes you appear that you have no confidence in your work or respect for yourself.

Others still, are defending Black Matrix, insisting that "We can't all be multi-published authors and we're just struggling little folk trying to make it, stop being cliquey!"

...I am not a commercially published author by any stretch of the word, though I am trying hard to be. But come on, guys! I'm longing, I'm hoping, and I'm wishing, but I'm not an idiot. No matter how much I tell people "It's not about the money, I just want to get my stories out there." doesn't mean that the Powers That Be can walk all over me and not pay me what I deserve for having put in the time, effort and love (and hate) into the project.

Here's a fun fact! On Elven Lacryment I have two ad-spots provided through Project Wonderful. I've set the ad's base prices to 10 cents and 5 cents respectively. Currently, as I'm typing this, one of the spots is earning 20 cents and the other is earning it's 10 cents. I am earning 30 cents on my webcomic right now, just by running ads. Of course, some days it's less and some days it's more, but the website manages to sustain itself. I'm pretty sure that the comic's entire run has less than 1000 words in it. My comic earns more online, unpublished, than it would if Black Matrix touched it.

They're not helping you, they're preying upon you.

Did you know that one of the requirements for a publishing company to be part of SFWA is to have a pay rate of at least five cents a word?

How can you not see what a dis-service you're doing to yourself and your story? How can you treat your characters, your world that way?

Your art deserves better than that.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

The Cat Piano

A short animated film produced and narrated by my beloved Nick Cave

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Movie Reviews: Franklyn and Ink

I watched two artsy movies last night. The first one was a disappointment. The second one was one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen.

The first one was Franklyn, the story about three un-connected characters joined together by fate.

It had some good ideas, but there felt like  something was missing. I think it was production value. Seriously, this movie is Watchmen meets Magnolia, two movies I very much like (Well, actually, I find Watchmen to be kinda Meh). It had some good ideas, I love the concept of Meanwhile City, where every faith ever imagined exists, and Mister Another Brick In The Wall Face there, who's real name is Preest, is a man with no faith at all. It had interesting concepts but it failed. Mostly because most of the characters were dull, and Preest was Rorschach-Lite. Seriously, the guy could be V's little tag along brother.

This movie could have been so, so much more. Instead it just seemed to falter after coming up with the idea that "Hm, Super-heroes are big right now..."

Now, the other movie I had the extreme pleasure to watch last night was Ink

Emma is a little girl who is stolen away one night to the world of Dreams and Death by the creature Ink, and a small band of dream-people have to rescue her or else she'll die in the real world. This movie is shiveringly creepy at times and beautiful at others. During the first 11 minutes I could barely breathe, it was so haunting and beautiful.

I never realized that I so badly craved a modern fairy-tale. This movie brings to mind both MirrorMask and Pan's Labyrinth, the two most modern fairy-tales I can think of. Ink did it better.

I don't know what it is, but I find Neil Gaiman's work very dull. I love watching his interviews, but his work never gripped me. It's all too depressing and dry. Even MirrorMask just seemed to plod on and on (and on and on and on...)

Ink however, took the basic feel of MirrorMask and made it, y'know, entertaining.

Pan's Labrynth is a great movie, but the problem with it is that there are too many holes in the fantasy story. The princess wanted to run away, so she did. But now she wants to go back to the fantasy land. Why? No, really, why?
Looking it up on Wikipedia, apparently she was curious about the human world. Fair enough, but that didn't seem to communicate well during the film.

Anyway, Ink is a beautiful, unique and original movie, if you can, I strongly suggest purchasing it, as it is a completely indie film.

(Just a reminder that I have A GIRL CALLED KERMIT Prints for sale. All money goes to Childsplay Charity. Email me at AnarchicQ(AT)Gmail.com for more info)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Reworking Elven Lacryment

You've probably noticed that Elven Lacryment hasn't updated in what seems like forever. Alex's laptop died. (I know, first my adventures in Laptopness and now her!) and she's supposed to get a new one next week. So here's hoping.

Meanwhile, I've been tinkering with the script. I've added new elements, and I hope that it will provide a new experience for old readers.

Also, last night I had an idea about ShadowWolf and her true purpose. She's a selfish being and I've thought of something that really makes her selfishness shine through. It also manages to tie certain plot points together better.

I need to update the site to the latest version of Wordpress and Comicpress. A Girl Called Kermit at FRIENDS 4 EVER!!! are on the latest version of Comicpress and it is so easy to use, once the design is implemented. I just don't want to have to re-CSS the layout again. But it would be worth it in the long run.

As for a schedule, it seems that concept is just a pipedream. Maybe EL should just default to 'updates whenever' status. I know comics do better on a schedule but with all the options for notifications, RSS, email and things, I don't think it would be a huge disaster.

I want an Elven Lacryment t-shirt.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

OTW's archive has been open for not even a week...

And there's already wank about it.
I too, have a problem with the warning labels omiting 'dubcon'. Sometimes I'm very uncomfortable lableing something "Noncon/rape". One fic I have up there has the warnings "Noncon/rape" and the tags "Comfort/Angst" and "hurt". It gives me a squicky feeling.

Yes, I can put my own tags in, I can warn for "dubcon" or "yuri" or "beastiality" or "watersports" if I want. But I shouldn't have to. These aren't tags, they're warnings. A tag is "AU" or "WAFF".

I realize that the fic is in closed beta and not everything is set in stone, but where is our promised ideal system. Hell, FFN has more options than AO3. AFFN has more options than AO3. My Repo! and Silent Hill archives sure as hell have more options than AO3.

Looks like this is going to be the last great wank of '09.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

When Appropriation is a Good Thing

A few days ago, I did a google search for some of my works, just to see how out there I really was. One of the things I googled was "NecroRaver", because my resident villain can pop up in the most unlikely of places.

Like MySpace.

Yes, boys and girls, there's a 21 year old German guy going by the name of NecroRaver, complete with art by me and my dear long lost friend Sara.  Look it up yourself if you want to see.

Anyway, I emailed the guy, using small words because I didn't know how much English he could speak. I told him I created Necro in 2001, with Elfwood (Elfwood!) links to show it, and that the other drawing he used was done by Sara. I asked if he could either credit us, or remove the images.

And then, on a whim, I emailed Sara, whom I had not heard from for years because she left the Internet due to personal reasons. I told her the situation, and asked her, a fluent German girl to try to talk to MyspaceRaver as well.

Colour me surprised that she actually got back to me! And now we're talking again on a regular basis! And NecroRaver and I are so HAPPY!  Necro is seriously on cloud..eh...7? Because Sara happened to have a character he was utterly intrigued by. Plus, this is  the woman who spray painted A Girl Called Kermit all over Germany. (I still have pictures of that. I have to re-upload them). That was our friendship.

As for MyspaceRaver? He's thrilled to talk to us. He found the pictures of Necro seven years ago, when he was 14, and printed them out. Since then they got removed from Elfwood, and he couldn't find them, so he rescanned them and posted them on his MySpace. He has since credited us and has friended me on MySpace, not that I ever use my account.

So thank you, MyspaceRaver, for re-connecting me with a dear friend.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

C'mon! Fit!

I had a thought today. A wonderful thought. A brilliant thought. I had the great idea to add an important scene to Project C, a scene which filled in a nice gap of background info. The only problem is it doesn't fit anywhere.

Oh, wait.

If I re-arrange...AHA! Fix'd! Also, it lets me add another bit of going on. Huzzah for inter-weaving plots.

Oh, I am far too pleased with myself right now.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Further Education and Future Planning

Some of you, probably know that for the last month I've been taking a course on how to get published. It helps the students write query letters, CVs, synopsis and so forth. I'm enjoying it immensely and I want more.

I like that I like school and learning. I was crap at it back in, y'know, school. Mostly because I didn't care. It didn't interest me. But now everything is more or less falling in to place.

I am considering two courses. One is about manga and graphic novels, and writing them, and the other is the writing for children one that I was all ready to take in 2007, but couldn't due to illness.

Why these two? Because I want to really, truly and seriously want to take a real shot at A Girl Called Kermit and I think these two courses could be a powerful force in it's realization.  AGCK needs to be completely torn down and re-structured. It's messy and old. Kermit herself has changed design slightly to become a clearer entity. I have to separate it from what it once was. There was too much emotional constipation involved with it. I could only work on it if I was in a bad mental and emotional place and that's no longer a constructive way for me to work. Unless of course, I happen to be writing NecroRaver, but let's ignore that right now.

AGCK is now a thing for kids to know that they're not alone. The goth revolution of late-late 90's and the new millennium has passed and AGCK is no longer a dark and edgy thing. It's now a message. It's my version of Everybody Poops meets The Maxx. AGCK will never forget it's roots.

Progress on other works continues to go on. I re-wrote the first issue of Elven Lacryment because I had a brainstorm.

Project C needs to be tweaked a bit before I send it out to more publishers.

Next to Godliness is on pause yet again, because I'm having difficulty with an aspect of it. On the plus side it's over 14,500 words in it's current state, when I was aiming for about 20,000 and I'm not even at the whole point of the story yet. It might manage to make it to novel length.

Today I worked on a chunk of something a bit new called Blood in the Water. Going back to play in post-apocalyptic badlands. I just can't seem to leave those places  behind. I'm considering sending it to magazines if it is small enough.

Anyway, I'm mostly writing this for my own benefit, and to give some new content to this desert of a blog.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Bechdel Test and My Worlds

Well, it appears that Project C fails the Bechdel Test. At least, I think it does.

The Bechdel Test is simple. To pass the test the story needs to meet 3 simple points.

1. It has at least two women,

2. Who talk to each other,

3. About something besides a man.

There is one scene where two female characters are discussing a man, but it's in the past tense. (i.e.: he's dead.) Another scene has two different females talking about a man as if he were a bargaining chip. That's still a fail, isn't it?

What about Next to Godliness? NtG gets a pass I think, because I can think of a few scenes where two females talk about things other than men.

Elven Lacryment gets a pass. I know that right now. To say more would be spoilerish. EL is really more reverse-frigging anyways.

Keep What you Kill passes, so far, but only margenally.

Then again, is the criteria different when the lead character is not a male?

  • The lead character in Project C is male.

  • The cast of Next to Godliness is ensemble, but I would lean towards saying, in fact, that the lead character is male.

  • Elven Lacryment is a slight ensemble of 4, but just by vertue of ShadowWolf being the first real character introduced to the comic, and being the oldest character of mine in EL, I call her the lead character. She is female.

  • Keep What you Kill has a male and female duo.

Also, does the criteria change if the two females are mother and daughter, talking about father? What about two sisters talking about their brother? What if it's two high school girls talking about the (male) president?

Does a story get a pass if mom and daughter talk about how dad beats mom? How sisters are talking about their brother cheating on his girl friend? Two high school friends discussing their project about the president? What happens if one of them coments on how the president was kind of cute? What if little 6 year old Jane runs to 13 year old Debbi and tattles on 7 year old Bobby for teasing her? Bobby is not a man but a boy, does he get a free pass? DWhat if there's one scene where two women talk about something other than a man, but in all the other scenes they do talk about men? Does this test have a sliding scale?

And that's me thinking out loud.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Racefail and how it applies to my worlds.

Alright, so if you don't know what Racefail is, it was a big, huge debate that occurred in early '09 about writing and race and racism and all that stuff. I didn't really pay much attention because I was dealing with my own crap and I didn't want to expend the energy debating it. No matter what side you took, the other side would keep fighting you.

So, last week, wank stirred over a book a writer I grew up reading published where-in North America was discovered, but there were no indigenous people and another debate is brewing. Also, coincidentally, I was thinking of my stories and just how much of an equal opportunist I really am.

Elven Lacryment received a review commenting that all the elf's body types were basically the same. This is true, and then I really thought about it... They're all also either white or black. And the black ones are 'evil' because they are basically drow elves. Is this racist?

However, ShadowWolf herself is not really a hero. She herself is an unabashed racist. A white skinned racist against orcs, part of the dominant, elven race. On the other hand, she's also that world's version of a melting pot, a sub-species of elf that came about from sub-species-A and sub-species-B making sub-species-???. Lacuna elves are sort of a grab bag of chance.

Issues is prejudiced against the Glenney (drow elves). I don't want to say racist exactly, but he thinks ill of them until proven otherwise. (But then again, Issues seems to dislike everyone upon first meeting them, so there we go!)

The Glenney think themselves better than the other races, and that's purely from their own arrogance and heritage.

That's Elven Lacryment, but what about everything else?

Last night, while trying to fall asleep, I was thinking about Project C, and the races within that.

  • The main character is Latino, though he doesn't know it because in his world there is no racism, only classism.

  • His wife is white.

  • His sidekick is an Asian female.

  • His other sidekick is a white female.

  • His mentor is a white male

  • Two more friends are white males.

  • One acquaintance is a white gay male.

Does the fact that the title character is a minority give some cred? Or does it even matter? Should it?

Then, for shits and giggles, I evaluated Necropolis.

  • NecroRaver has been puttering around in my mind a lot lately, and while I know he is European (at least in ancestry), I was toying with the idea of throwing some native American in there.  But he's not. He is, however, white, male, bi-sexual and holds all the power.

  • Gail Ng is half Cantonese, half black. She's a female of considerable power, and Necro's right hand woman.

  • Melissa From is a white female and apparently a-sexual. She is also high ranking of Necro's lackeys.

  • Mary Jane is a bi-sexual, cross-dressing white male. He used to be high ranking, but that shifts sometimes.

  • Ends is white and male.

  • Panacea is a white, straight female.

  • Puzzle is white and hetero.

  • Sadie is Irish and apparently pan-sexual. A blatant sex object of Necropolis.

  • Stagger Lee is black, female, and heterosexual. She's an antagonist to NecroRaver.

Here's where it gets tricky. NecroRaver had a rival in his past named Royce from whom he acquired Gail Ng. Gail was this guy's mail order bride and he used her as he would use furniture. At times he even made her wear a head to toe robe, very similar to a burqa.  She was Royce's servant and 'obedient' wife. There to wait on him and be a willing sexual partner.

The problem is, I'm considering making Royce Middle Eastern, and that could be a problem in today's global climate. Also, I know very little of the Middle East, and don't want to muck it up and show my white privilege or anything.

I am a white, single, heterosexual, disabled, agnostic female, an Italian with red hair and green eyes.

And this is why "Write what you know" doesn't work.

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