Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'm pretty sure the birds are twitterpated -that spring state of mind mentioned in Bambi (the movie).  They are just crazy here in Cali.  They flit and fly all over the place making the most hilarious noises. :)

I've been busy every weekend lately, it seems.  There was Easter, then last weekend driving home, and this weekend I'll be in Monterey.  That's right, fellow readers, if you're in Monterey this weekend for the Sea Otter Classic, you might see me and my new(to me) double stroller wandering around the booths and cheering my husband across the finish line.  My parents are joining us to take the kidlets to the aquarium on Friday(hopefully before all the brouhaha) and then for a few races on Saturday.

Needless to say, I will be AFK after Thursday, so good luck to all of you until next week!  Finished my editing.  Did some work on the super secret writing project and I'm waiting for feedback until I continue.  I've heard from all but one of my Aeris readers and I have some minor edits planned out for the start and finish of the book.  Zyander's story is still going to need some tweaking, but nothing as major as a full rewrite.  That's about all I got done this week, thanks to spring.

Ah, spring.  GARDENING TIME!  Nothing gets my blood pumping more than digging my fingers in the earth, planting seed, weeding, and harvesting the delicious fruits of my labor.  I think I must be from the Terris tribe. :) Anyway, everything else fades away while I do it.

But on to other things.  This will be short, but sweet.
There is a lot of hubbub on the internet about the state of women (and their rights) in the US.  Authors and book bloggers have commented on it: HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.  (And that's just a small sample!)

I don't have much to say about it, but I do think a lot about women when I write my books.  I read a LOT of YA fiction.  It seems to me there are a lot of complicated messages about women circling around in the books I write.  What are the proper roles of women in the society of the books they inhabit?  What power (or powers) should they have?  What should they be interested in?  What should they look like?  Who should they fall in love with?

If I were going off some kind of norm in what I read, I would say, there are a lot of confused girls with special powers falling in love with dark mysterious, yet dangerous strangers.  Lots of times, there are even two boys involved.  Many times I find the main characters or the situations they find themselves in to be annoying in the extreme!

I'm not the only person who feels that way, nor am I the most critical of YA fiction at the moment.  But here's the thing that is most disturbing to me.  YA fiction isn't written by other teens.  It's written by adults, mostly women adults.  What does it say about us, the things we are telling young girls about themselves?

"Let a man make all your decisions."
"You will have to fight bitchy cheerleaders wherever you go in life."
"It's okay if a man stands outside your window watching you, because he wants to protect you."
"You should forgive a man ANYTHING he does to you, if he loves you."

I SOOOO get the argument that these are just stories.  It's all fiction, so what's the big deal?  It's what girls want to read anyway, right?  It's not OUR job to be the moral force of writing for YA fiction.

And that could all be true, except why wouldn't you WANT to be?  Why wouldn't you WANT to write about girls who fight for themselves, who extend past the same old stereotypes?  Why wouldn't you WANT to write about a girl who falls in love with the smart and steady guy instead of the damaged loner?  Why wouldn't you WANT to write about a girl who takes longer than 5 seconds to fall in love with the guy of her dreams?  Why would you WANT to write about a love triangle instead of about the statistically more likely story of girl meets boy instead of girl meets boy-boy.

Just something I've been thinking about.
Happy Reading!


Nadja Notariani said...

Oh, Kate! Now I understand your 'without the drama'

I've long had this problem with romance - let alone YA now (I do not read YA, so it's the first I'm hearing about the controversy)

Now I'll admit to liking a bit of drama in my epic romances - I want to read 'not-real-everyday-same-as-my-life-life' if you follow my wordy tag. But I have pondered what message young women (18-22 year olds read romance) glean from the industry. Let's hope they differenciate fiction from real life.

dani said...

I read that article from the atlantic and the two books don't have anything to do with femininity or masculinity. It has to do with background. Both Katniss and Bella are who they are because of the circumstances in their own personal lives. Now it does seem rather silly to look into the sociological background of fictional characters but why not? Without getting too in depth about this, as you did not write the article, Katniss is the way she is because she had to be. Her family needed a leader when her father died. And because Katniss seemed to really idolize her dad she tries that much harder to replace him as the provider for her family. Katniss' mother has a complete breakdown and doesn't look into the emotional needs of her girls. While Bella's mother seems to be one that almost coddles her daughter. In fact everyone seems to coddle Bella. Katniss lost that luxury when her father dies because it completely changed the dynamics of her family. I'm not a fan of Bella not because she is more "girly" but because of her over-all personality. Her annoying dependency of those around her, Edward the most. But to say that Bella is more feminine than Katniss is ridiculous, so is saying that Katniss is more masculine than Bella. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with personality. I find it a little offensive that anyone would compare these two fictional characters as such. As if to put them in these stereotypical boxes that make sense to us. Why can't people just accept these different personalities of both the individual writers and their individual characters as that: Individual! I didn't mean to get into a long ranting Katie. Especially since you did not write the argument. I don't want you to feel as though I am yelling at you. BTW I'm a couple chapters into Compis and it's a very fascinating world you have created so far. I look forward to finishing it.

Kate said...

@Nadja: I'm sure that many DO differentiate fact from fiction. On the other hand, something that is told to us over and over and over again has this way of influencing our culture in a decidedly human way. If all authors have a certain viewpoint and it is the only one expressed, it becomes a society influencing viewpoint. IMO.

Kate said...

Hey Jojo! I can see that this article sparked some strong feelings for you! On my own part, I don't agree with the premise of labeling any character "girly" or "masculine" as I think it tends to belittle the power of the woman character involved. Even if it IS Bella. hahaha

One of the reasons I posted the article (and Kait Nolan's response), is because I think it is interesting to see how people are perceiving and defining female characters in the YA genre. I also urge you to go and share your thoughts on the actual article. They are spot on!
BTW- I don't feel like you are yelling at me. And I hope you enjoy the book.