amandoline said: What does an average comic script look like format wise?
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.”
Anonymous said: hi! i know you said you read a lot of lesbian literature. do you think you could make a rec list of your favourites (or just... all of them). it'd be awesome, and thank you in advance if you do, but obviously i understand if you don't want to, are too busy, etc :)
Sure I will!
The first thing to say as that most, if not all, of these books are in some ways imperfect in terms of representation (e.g. be that falling into racial tropes etc.), but none have done so in a way that has seriously impacted on my enjoyment of them. Some of them are also clearly not wonderful works of literature, but none of them are awful either. Those books I never finish so aren’t on the list. I’ve grouped them by vague genres/categories. I should also point out that these books would more correctly be labelled as ‘queer women’ literature. This list is by no means complete. I may make a second list in the near future.
Historical Fiction (and by historical, I mean anything pre-1980s):
- The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer | This book chronicles the story of Persephone, taking us from her first love to her life in the underworld with a Hades. As you can probably guess from this being in a list of ‘lesbian’ literature, this Hades is quite different from the Hades in popular myth. This book isn’t the most elegant of reads, but it does tell a sweet story. Everything is a little simple and easily resolved, but it isn’t long, so I wasn’t expecting anything different. | Rating: 7/10
- Alcestis by Katherine Beutner | This is another book which revolves around Greek myth, and again portrays Persephone, but in a very different manner. Alcestis is the daughter of a nobleman and marries another nobleman, Admetus, who is favoured by Apollo. When it is time for her husband to die, she instead goes to the underworld in his place, becoming embroiled in Persephone’s world. | Rating: 6.5/10
- Map of Ireland by Stephenie Grant | Contrary to what is suggested by the title, this story does not take place in Ireland, but in Boston, USA in the 1970s. The story follows Ann, a 16 year old girl from an Irish family who struggles with discovering her sexuality and her identity in the midst of the desegregation of the school system. And of course, she falls for one of her teachers, Mademoiselle Eugenie, and unwittingly becomes involved with the Black Power movement. | Rating: 8/10 (mostly for writing style)
- Bodies of Water by T. Greenwood | This novel is split between modern day and the 1960s. Billie is somewhat disgruntled housewife whose life is turned upside down when the beautiful Eva and her family move in across the road. The story follows their love affair and the echoes of the aftermath in Billie’s old age. | Rating: 8/10
- Time of Grace by Gabriella | An English girl travels to Ireland in 1915 to work as a governess in the home of an English family in the countryside somewhere near of Dublin. There she falls for the family’s feisty maid, Grace, an ardent Irish republican (for American and other readers not familiar with Irish politics, this is very different from US Republicans. It is, most simplistically, a person who believes in a free Ireland). Their relationship is tested in the lead up to the Easter Rising, in which Grace is determined to play an integral part. | Rating 9/10
- The Spanish Pearl by Catherine Friend | When Kate, a struggling artist, finds herself magically transported back in time to the Moorish occupation of Spain, she is horrified by a world lacking in coffee shops, femminism and mod-cons. She is taken prisoner by a group of Christian soldiers and taking to a Moorish court where she is kept prisoner in the harem (yup, she’s confused too, and wishes she’d paid more attention to her - annoying - historian girlfriend). When her developing feelings for the charming Christian soldier Luis Navarro sends her into an identity crisis and the arms of a Moorish princess who is not used to the word ‘no’, she finds a marriage of convenience anything but inconvenient. | Rating: 9/10
- The Crown of Valencia by Catherine Friend | Sequel to The Spanish Pearl. I’ve only just started reading it.
Modern Novels (i.e. set post 1980):
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth | Small town girl falls in love with the popular girl at school and, when they’re discovered, gets sent to a pray-away-the-gay camp. This is a long, rewarding novel. I highly recommend it. | Rating: 10/10
- Empress of the World by Sara Ryan | Nicola goes to summer school, where she meets Battle (forgive the name) and falls head over heals. The style takes a little getting used to, but its worth it. | Rating: 9/10
- The Rules for Hearts by Sara Ryan | This novel follows Battle’s (see above) summer before college. | Rating: 7.5/10
- Between You and Me by Melissa Calin | This book follows Phyre, a highschool student who falls for her teacher and then realises that what she’s really been searching for has been standing beside her all along. | Rating: 6/10
- Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | An intern in set design comes across a secret in the house of a late Hollywood Legend and goes about seeking the actor’s unwitting heir, finding romance along the way. | Rating: 8/10
- She Rises by Kate Worsley | This is your classic maid meets mistress, falls in love, dresses as a man and gets mistakenly ‘recruited’ in the Royal Navy kind of story. Yup, you heard me. This was my first foray into the genre I like to call ‘lesbians at sea’. I may have become a little addicted… | Rating: 9/10
- Branded Ann by Merry Shannon | Branded Ann is a ruthless pirate with a bad reputation and a mysterious past. When she takes a ship and spares no mercy to those on board, Violet, who was on board the ship with her new husband, is taken prisoner and turns Ann’s world upside-down. But there is treasure to be won and both Ann and Violet’s pasts start to catch up with them. | Rating: 8/10
- A Pirate’s Heart by Catherine Friend | Split between a modern librarian on the hunt for a map thief (and a Pirate’s lost treasure map) with the help of a PI, and the life of pirate Thomasina Farris. Thomasina rescues a woman from a slave ship and soon finds her quest for treasure being hampered by her feelings for her new shipmate. | Rating: 8.5/10
- The Sublime and Spirited Journey of Original Sin by Colette Moody | When a group of pirates steal ashore to kidnap a doctor to tend to their wounded captain, they have to settle for his seamstress fiancée instead. Clichéd pirate stuff ensues. | Rating: 6/10
- Adaptation by Malinda Lo | Bisexuals, aliens and non-traditional representations of gender. What more could you ask for in a young adult novel? Seriously, read this series. See also Inheritance and Natural Selection. | Rating: 8/10
- Ash by Malinda Lo | Ash is a retelling of Cinderella with fairies and dashing huntresses. It’s a lovely read. | Rating: 8/10
- Huntress by Malinda Lo | Huntress takes place in the same universe as Ash and is a classic fantasy journey novel with a queer twist. Extra points for racial diversity, which is lacking in YA queer lit.
- Divine Touched by Cassandra Duffy | Female assassins (Calista), sword maidens (Harper), adventuring, ogres, giants, gods and goddesses, Viking-like female warriors, new fantasy races, this novel has it all. I steamed through this novel and its sequel, though I definitely preferred the first book. | Rating: 9/10
- Eternal Autumn by Cassandra Duffy | Takes up where Divine Touched left off. This novel focuses less on Harper and Calista than I would have liked, but it features a poly relationship which makes up for it. | Rating: 7/10
- Nightshade by Shea Godfrey | Princess Jessa is sent to the neighbouring kingdom with her cruel brother to court the son of the kingdom’s King. There she meets Darry, the King’s ‘backwards’ daughter. Lots of longing and romance ensues. I LOVE this book because I’m a ridiculous romantic. One of the main characters is a POC from Arabic/Indian/Pakistani (its not specific) type culture and I should warn that the depiction of the treatment of women in their culture follows the negative stereotype. It’s sequel comes out this autumn. | Rating: 9.5/10 (Would be 10/10 if not for the stereotyping)
- Sword and Guardian by Merry Shannon | When Talon (a woman disguised as a man in order to protect her sisters from their kidnappers) dives in front of a dagger to save the life of her sister, she also saves the life of the King’s only daughter. When her secret is discovered, the King sees the perfect opportunity to gain a guard for her daughter whom he can trust to sleep beside her bed. He didn’t count on lesbians. | Rating: 8.5/10