amandaink: (Default)
So! Good news first! I decided to make a blog for book recs over on Tumblr since I like the accessibility of it and I think it's a good way to meet fellow book nerds. If you're interested:

http://amandaslibrary.tumblr.com/

There are only two recs up so far and they're two that are already on this journal. But there will be more to come. I will likely only be adding a select few here.

If I stay here, that is. That's the bad part. Like many other users, I hate LJ's recent changes and I heard a few minutes ago that even more changes are in the beta process. I reserved an account over at dreamwidth (no invite codes, this week only if you want to do the same!) because this website is going down the shitter. LJ hasn't responded to the backlog of complaints but apparently dreamwidth is working on updates for members who are jumping ship, or so I've heard. course, I'll stick around long enough to see if it sinks or gets back on its feet but I'm not expecting much. I'll tell you if I move for good, of course.

Either way I'll be trolling around the internet somewhere. And I hope all of you are well.
amandaink: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelleat Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.



amandaink: (Default)
Since the wipe of the entire NaNoWriMo website is coming in roughly ten days, I thought I'd post my 2010 novel info here. You know, for posterity and such.

Red Words
Horror/Supernatural


At eleven years old Ashton Casey learned that he’s not like most other people. Most people don’t see letters in color. They don’t identify voices by their hues and they don’t associate the shrill sound of their mother’s car alarm with even shriller yellow. At seventeen he has a name for it--synesthesia.

His previous life--a small home on the lower class edge of the suburbs, a little sister getting ready for her first year of high school, and a single mother struggling from paycheck to paycheck--is uprooted in only a few months’ time. His senior year finds him cushioned in the unfamiliar luxury of The Queen’s Theatre, the apartment suites located on the upscale side of town, paid for in full by his mother who just earned her fortune launching a chain of highly successful coffee shops. Charlotte, his little sister, died in a bus accident at the beginning of summer and Ash is thrust into grief counseling. Through all this, Ash clutches tightly to his best friend Ethan and the colors that stay mercifully familiar even in this new life.

But his precarious new reality takes a shift with a single envelope found in his pile of mail one morning--an envelope meant for the room above his. He delivers the letter to the enigmatic inhabitant of room C-14, a gentleman of unknown origin and fortune. Days after their encounter, Ash can’t get him off his mind. He’s stuck on this man who speaks in gorgeous red, who’s seen more of the world than Ash knew existed, whose refined taste masks dark ideals, and who will ultimately unravel Ash’s life strand by fragile strand.


Last year was my second year doing NaNo and my first time winning. I reread this beast earlier this year and it was a lot better than I remembered. It still sucked all over the place but after a few rounds of editing, it's actually not half terribad. It's still never going into the world though. It's staying right in my binder for my own amusement.
amandaink: (Default)
A while ago, back before this account existed, I took stock of the female-male equity in my high school reading courses. Here were the final results:

Total number of books: 26
Number of books written by women: 2
Number of books with female protagonists: 3

However, one of the books in the last category was Romeo and Juliet, which also features a male protagonist so count it or discount it as you like.

There’s this pervasive idea in our society that most things can be separated into “boy” things and “girl” things and “boy” things are by definition superior. Books written by men about men are literature. They have Important Things to say. Books written by women about women, however, are chick-lit. The very term “chick-lit” comes with this dismissive connotation that a piece of work produced by a woman which explores the life, conflicts, friendships, relationships, and growth of a female protagonist is inherently inferior to a similar such work from the opposite sex.

Men are the default in our society. That’s why “chick-lit” isn’t taken seriously and that’s why most of my high school reading list was a fucking sausage fest. The idea is that something from a male point of view is easily accessible to every demographic but something feminine is automatically polarizing to men. Estrogen levels are just too high, I guess. They might even—gasp!—have to be confronted with the reality of menstruation.

As much as women are expected to identify with men, it’s treated like a big deal when a man can venture out enough to enjoy something targeted at a female demographic.

And this is why I hate bronies. The ~edgy male fans of predominantly female media—like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic—feel the need to call attention to how subversive they’re being just because they like a girl’s show. This also leads to some “fans” bleating, “But what about male representation? Because, let’s face it, I’m expected to sit down and enjoy the “boy” stuff not only because men are expected to be universally relatable but because most of the shit out there is male-centric and I don’t have much other choice.

In short: I’m mad. I want women-centric media to be taken seriously. Fuck obnoxious men.

To make this entry a little less ragey, let’s talk by-women-about-women books that deserve to be taught in schools. I’ll start.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

Additionally, how did your high school reading compare to mine?
amandaink: (Default)
So I'm reading Blue Moon, the eighth book in the Anita Blake series.

Cut for matters concerning rape. You don't have to be familiar with Anita Blake to understand my outrage. )

ON A HAPPIER NOTE. I already have a nice spark of an idea for NaNoWriMo. Yes, I'm excited already. I reread my story from last year and, honestly, it's not as bad as I expected. Of course, it's still pretty cringe-worthy but there were parts I genuinely enjoyed. Specifically, the dialogue. I always hate my dialogue when I write it but end up liking it once I reread it a few months later.

If I choose to stick with the idea I have now then come November I'll be writing a fun, creepy story involving lesbians, cupcakes, and the supernatural. A winning combination if I've ever heard one. ♥
amandaink: (Default)
It might just be me, but as someone who hangs around review communities (for stimulating discussions) and sporking communities (for shits and giggles), I've found that the term 'Mary Sue' has lost its meaning somewhere along the way. It was a pretty elastic term to begin with what with the plentiful crop of types to choose from and the lines that blurred between, well, a powerful character and an unrealistically powerful character. But there are Sues and Stus out there and there are several ways to identify them.

But Mary Sue is a spectrum, not a dichotomy. So in some cases when someone cries "SUE!" someone else might be inclined to say, "I disagree with your assessment, good sir/madam." Some characters have Sue traits. Some good characters have Sue traits. But does that make them Sues? Well, in my opinion, no, but as subjective a term as Mary Sue is, someone might say that no good character could possess a Sue trait at all. I would say, "Your favorite character was marked at birth as the Chosen One, has the dead parents angst going on, got selected as the youngest Quidditch player in a century, often gets to flout the rules with little to no consequence, routinely saves the day, and is generally well-liked by everyone but the bad guys. Those are all Sue traits and yet Harry Potter is not conventionally considered a Sue." (“You’re calling Harry Potter a Sue!” someone yells from the back row. “Read my paragraph again,” I respond.)

The one thing I've noticed lately is that people tend to lose sight of what a Mary Sue actually is despite the broad definition. People use Mary Sue when they simply mean a flat character (which a Mary Sue often is, though these things are not synonymous). Or they use it simply when they mean, "I don't like this character and that makes her a Mary Sue, right? RIGHT?" No, it doesn't. Sometimes people don't want to expound on Sueness. They're in a main character position, they get screen time, and I disagree with what they do or how they are portrayed. Isn't that enough? Bad Character = Sue. Original Character in an Already Established Universe = Sue. New Girl At School Who Has a Mysterious Secret and Snags the Heart of Male Character A = Well… probably a Sue.

My other problem with the Mary Sue spectrum is the misogynistic structure it creates. The Mary Sue’s BFF, the Gary Stu, does get face time but nobody goes into a movie or starts a book expecting to meet Gary Stu. But when a medium has a female protagonist it seems going in examining her for Sue traits is the savvy thing to do. More powerful than the men in the series? Must be a Sue. Hypercompetent at what she does? Sue alert. A crush on the super attractive male protagonist who has some romantic subtext with Male Character B? SUE. (And a whore for good measure.)

The same treatment is rarely—if ever—given to male characters. I once saw a compelling argument (alas, I don't have a link) that stated that if Harry Potter were a female character then the books wouldn't have half of the fanbase that they do now. Why? Because Harry would be labeled a Sue of course.

Another example most of us can relate to: we all agree that Bella Swan is a Mary Sue—every other time I see a Twilight discussion I can always, always count on "lolol sparkly vampires" and "that Mary Sue bitch Bella Swan." But it's so rare that I see Edward get tacked as a Gary Stu even though he so obviously is. It’s no secret that a good portion of fandom gets its jollies demonizing female characters. (And, unfortunately, it’s a common hallmark of my fellow slash fans.) But the Mary Sue archetype has become so ingrained in the fandom mindset that any strong female or any prominently featured woman or any girl that gets the guy is likely to be scrutinized for their imperfections and then painted over as too perfect, too strong, too magical, too easily forgiven.

It’s lost its meaning. It’s become a catch-all for an unlikable character and, too often, it stands in for critical analysis. Female characters I find generally likeable or well-rounded are getting the shaft for their perceived Sueness. In some parts of fandom, it’s morphed from a legitimate complaint into a witch hunt. I, personally, will not be using it from here on. I know it would be ridiculous to expect everyone to follow suit but I’m adamant in my belief that it’s a term that hurts more than helps. The most I can hope for is that it falls into disuse as the internet and fandom evolve.
amandaink: (Default)
I'm not even going to bother to friends lock this shit since clicking an extra button is too much hassle and I don't have anything exceptionally private to say. DO YOU HEAR THAT, CREEPERS? I WELCOME YOU WITH OPEN ARMS. I'm switching everything over to this journal since I like things that are fresh and new and I didn't happen to brainstorm the username in a haze of painkiller brilliance.

Also I'm going to, like, use this thing for what a journal is for and, like, post in it. This is sort of like my goal to be less socially awkward. You know, that one that won't happen.
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