lenora_rose: (Default)
(Note: I have since edited this entry to reflect the slightly different background details of characters through the drafts.)

I have this problem.

When one writes a book in which one uses real-world minorities, it's a good idea, naturally, to have someone *of* that minority look over the book and point out places where one has screwed up royally. Even if one has attempted to talk/listen to people of that minority, done research reading, written the character first and the minority second, and done all the other things right one can do in the draft.

Except. That someone can't, usually, be a random someone. They have to be from a background where they could also, theoretically, critique the book *as* a book, and point out the other stupidity in the midst. They shouldn't be asked just to poke at the one aspect. They should also lend intelligence on most other aspects. If not writers, they should be well read and critical readers who can point to why they like, or don't like, a scene or character.

I have been terrified to ever find anyone to critique Bird of Dusk.

It's like this:

- The main character is gay. (Also, Irish, Welsh, and occasionally avian.) He's not part of the gay subculture, but I'm trying fairly hard not to make him come across as a girl in drag, even though he is also not traditionally masculine.
- However, there's another major character who is Anishinaabe (Sagkeeng First Nation) *and* gay. And I write from inside his PoV at points.
- And another, major PoV. She's Saulteaux/Vietnamese. She's divorced from both cultures, and has bought into mainstream cliches about both cultures (to the point where she actively makes bad choices "on screen" based on wildly incorrect assumptions about Vietnamese ideas of shame/dishonour). And she suffers from a mental illness similar to Schizophrenia. (Not intended to be related to either of her cultural backgrounds, but you can't help have it be in the eyes of readers.) The cultural divorcedness does come out in the end as a bad thing, and the Anishinaabe character mentioned above catches on and takes on a positive role in that part of her life. But that's late.
- Every character, of every cultural background, is intended to be Broken in some way (Some more obviously than others; see above.)
- I'm also occasionally concerned about the various other minority bit parts, at least mildly accurate teenagerness, and the fact that so many of these characters are from lower classes or from the street.

But also, this story doesn't take place in the 2000's. It's early-mid 1990's.* Technically, it doesn't take place in Winnipeg, but Damina-Riel has a similar, though not identical, culture. Except for the magic.

So, in short, I need someone at some point who is familiar with at least some of: mid-prairie First Nations, the gay community, and/or the 1990s as a teen or an adult. *And* is an avid reader. Of fantasy. Who can critique.

I can think of at least one possibility, and there might be more (I've been surprised before by fans I've known for years but never knew were also writers), but nobody whom I would feel comfortable approaching out of the blue.

Part of this is that I am instinctively timid about approaching people with anything that might cause them to find me annoying and wish me gone. Doubly when it involves questions of ethnicity, culture, religion, or other social groups who have suffered discrimination, or something else where they might have a right to be offended.

Part of it is also that I am still terrified about sending books off into the wild, and this one is a difficult book. I need to have some reason I can trust them, be it "They're a professional", "they're a friend" or some combination thereof. A friend might be able to recommend a friend of theirs, if the recommendation is glowy enough or I have at least a nodding acquaintance. But any further? I get the squidgy nerves. (Nonetheless: I disagree strongly that books are like the writer's children. When I send a story to someone to critique or reject, I'm not worried they'll hurt the story, as I would be if sending off my child. The story will sit there and be just fine; red pencil only mars the page. I'm worried the crit will hurt *me*.)

My reaction to this dilemma has, until now, been to keep this story close to my chest, so that the only person who has ever critiqued a draft of it is my mother. To just never ask anyone else to read it over at all, because I might be getting things so wrong they would get offended, not helpful. Because, well, how do I ask?

(And who?)

Of course, first of all of this, I have to finish more of the book. I started entering some of my hand-writing from the trip into the computer, but I'm not actually any further at all this whole week.

______________________________________

* Few cellphones, home computers and internet not remotely as pervasive, especially among lower classes. Major differences in school safety policies and parental surveillance expectations. No Gay Marriage; being out in school was considered vastly brave or vastly unlikely, as teacher or student. No 9/11 or W. And significantly less of my music collection.
lenora_rose: (Default)
(Note: I have since edited this entry to reflect the slightly different background details of characters through the drafts.)

I have this problem.

When one writes a book in which one uses real-world minorities, it's a good idea, naturally, to have someone *of* that minority look over the book and point out places where one has screwed up royally. Even if one has attempted to talk/listen to people of that minority, done research reading, written the character first and the minority second, and done all the other things right one can do in the draft.

Except. That someone can't, usually, be a random someone. They have to be from a background where they could also, theoretically, critique the book *as* a book, and point out the other stupidity in the midst. They shouldn't be asked just to poke at the one aspect. They should also lend intelligence on most other aspects. If not writers, they should be well read and critical readers who can point to why they like, or don't like, a scene or character.

I have been terrified to ever find anyone to critique Bird of Dusk.

It's like this:

- The main character is gay. (Also, Irish, Welsh, and occasionally avian.) He's not part of the gay subculture, but I'm trying fairly hard not to make him come across as a girl in drag, even though he is also not traditionally masculine.
- However, there's another major character who is Anishinaabe (Sagkeeng First Nation) *and* gay. And I write from inside his PoV at points.
- And another, major PoV. She's Saulteaux/Vietnamese. She's divorced from both cultures, and has bought into mainstream cliches about both cultures (to the point where she actively makes bad choices "on screen" based on wildly incorrect assumptions about Vietnamese ideas of shame/dishonour). And she suffers from a mental illness similar to Schizophrenia. (Not intended to be related to either of her cultural backgrounds, but you can't help have it be in the eyes of readers.) The cultural divorcedness does come out in the end as a bad thing, and the Anishinaabe character mentioned above catches on and takes on a positive role in that part of her life. But that's late.
- Every character, of every cultural background, is intended to be Broken in some way (Some more obviously than others; see above.)
- I'm also occasionally concerned about the various other minority bit parts, at least mildly accurate teenagerness, and the fact that so many of these characters are from lower classes or from the street.

But also, this story doesn't take place in the 2000's. It's early-mid 1990's.* Technically, it doesn't take place in Winnipeg, but Damina-Riel has a similar, though not identical, culture. Except for the magic.

So, in short, I need someone at some point who is familiar with at least some of: mid-prairie First Nations, the gay community, and/or the 1990s as a teen or an adult. *And* is an avid reader. Of fantasy. Who can critique.

I can think of at least one possibility, and there might be more (I've been surprised before by fans I've known for years but never knew were also writers), but nobody whom I would feel comfortable approaching out of the blue.

Part of this is that I am instinctively timid about approaching people with anything that might cause them to find me annoying and wish me gone. Doubly when it involves questions of ethnicity, culture, religion, or other social groups who have suffered discrimination, or something else where they might have a right to be offended.

Part of it is also that I am still terrified about sending books off into the wild, and this one is a difficult book. I need to have some reason I can trust them, be it "They're a professional", "they're a friend" or some combination thereof. A friend might be able to recommend a friend of theirs, if the recommendation is glowy enough or I have at least a nodding acquaintance. But any further? I get the squidgy nerves. (Nonetheless: I disagree strongly that books are like the writer's children. When I send a story to someone to critique or reject, I'm not worried they'll hurt the story, as I would be if sending off my child. The story will sit there and be just fine; red pencil only mars the page. I'm worried the crit will hurt *me*.)

My reaction to this dilemma has, until now, been to keep this story close to my chest, so that the only person who has ever critiqued a draft of it is my mother. To just never ask anyone else to read it over at all, because I might be getting things so wrong they would get offended, not helpful. Because, well, how do I ask?

(And who?)

Of course, first of all of this, I have to finish more of the book. I started entering some of my hand-writing from the trip into the computer, but I'm not actually any further at all this whole week.

______________________________________

* Few cellphones, home computers and internet not remotely as pervasive, especially among lower classes. Major differences in school safety policies and parental surveillance expectations. No Gay Marriage; being out in school was considered vastly brave or vastly unlikely, as teacher or student. No 9/11 or W. And significantly less of my music collection.
lenora_rose: (Goblet and inhabitant)
Er, hi. There seem to be some new people reading. Welcome.

(Confession: This always gives me the thought, "Uh, oh, am I in trouble now? I'm going to be boring and they'll hate me." Especially sicne most of you look further along on this writing thing.)

New or longtime, out of curiousity, what drew you here?

_______________________________________

Not much to say abotu real life. I got in the essay about the Faerie Queene, though I finished about two minutes before class and had to get it printed out after.

Confession: We only read the one book of the poem, and it wasn't that painful. It had bits that dragged (Yeah, we got that Elizabeth is, like, teh cool) and bits I read through fairly happily. It wasn't good enough to make me want to read the whole (I read bits of books one and two for the essay, but we're talking about 3 10 stanza segments, only one of which I referred to.) but it wasn't so bad that if I ever had to, I'd run screaming.

But the essay was murder. It fought me like few pieces of writing ever have, even essays I didn't like. Funny, because I knew much of what I was going to say in advance - and it still didn't want to get pinned to the paper.

Otherwise:

Had a good get together with a pair of friends (and a baby) on Thursday. This would be the second time [livejournal.com profile] _aura_ has threatened to give me henna in the last two weeks without it actually happening, but both times, it's because we played board games and chatted instead.

Sunday was Siegound's birthday party (His birthday's today), which meant getting together with friends I otherwise hadn't seen in a while and having much fun. Siegound and Rachelle's best man was, shall we say, boisterous, and usually enlivens things.

Some archery has been done but my focus has been iffy and thus my shooting has.

It doesn't help that I have myself actual muscle aches playing with the Wii.

The headache progresses apace. The eyestrain from forcing out the essay Did Not Help, but it seems otherwise at a low ebb.

Fiction writing? Not since the last journal entry. Let's get Friday's quiz out of the way first. I've written four pages of study notes and got through an eighth of the material. Though I've been thinking hard about this stuff. A question obviously not related to Soldier:

Anyone actually had to *use* a fire extinguisher? I've picked one up, gone through the technique except for the spraying part, so i know the weight and feel and where on the fire to point, but it's the spraying stuff I need to know. If someone tried to target as small a space as possible around a specific stack of paper (Roughly centre of a 3' x 6' work desk space; all the obvious thigns in the vicinity are compressed wood and papers; there's no computer in the area, so the extinguisher would probably be water or foam), how much of the desk would be coated? Even water extinguishers have some other chemical content; would this ruin any other papers in the vicinity (On the desk, on other tables in the office) or would things merely "soaked" or caught with a sidelong bit of spray be salvageable?
lenora_rose: (Goblet and inhabitant)
Er, hi. There seem to be some new people reading. Welcome.

(Confession: This always gives me the thought, "Uh, oh, am I in trouble now? I'm going to be boring and they'll hate me." Especially sicne most of you look further along on this writing thing.)

New or longtime, out of curiousity, what drew you here?

_______________________________________

Not much to say abotu real life. I got in the essay about the Faerie Queene, though I finished about two minutes before class and had to get it printed out after.

Confession: We only read the one book of the poem, and it wasn't that painful. It had bits that dragged (Yeah, we got that Elizabeth is, like, teh cool) and bits I read through fairly happily. It wasn't good enough to make me want to read the whole (I read bits of books one and two for the essay, but we're talking about 3 10 stanza segments, only one of which I referred to.) but it wasn't so bad that if I ever had to, I'd run screaming.

But the essay was murder. It fought me like few pieces of writing ever have, even essays I didn't like. Funny, because I knew much of what I was going to say in advance - and it still didn't want to get pinned to the paper.

Otherwise:

Had a good get together with a pair of friends (and a baby) on Thursday. This would be the second time [livejournal.com profile] _aura_ has threatened to give me henna in the last two weeks without it actually happening, but both times, it's because we played board games and chatted instead.

Sunday was Siegound's birthday party (His birthday's today), which meant getting together with friends I otherwise hadn't seen in a while and having much fun. Siegound and Rachelle's best man was, shall we say, boisterous, and usually enlivens things.

Some archery has been done but my focus has been iffy and thus my shooting has.

It doesn't help that I have myself actual muscle aches playing with the Wii.

The headache progresses apace. The eyestrain from forcing out the essay Did Not Help, but it seems otherwise at a low ebb.

Fiction writing? Not since the last journal entry. Let's get Friday's quiz out of the way first. I've written four pages of study notes and got through an eighth of the material. Though I've been thinking hard about this stuff. A question obviously not related to Soldier:

Anyone actually had to *use* a fire extinguisher? I've picked one up, gone through the technique except for the spraying part, so i know the weight and feel and where on the fire to point, but it's the spraying stuff I need to know. If someone tried to target as small a space as possible around a specific stack of paper (Roughly centre of a 3' x 6' work desk space; all the obvious thigns in the vicinity are compressed wood and papers; there's no computer in the area, so the extinguisher would probably be water or foam), how much of the desk would be coated? Even water extinguishers have some other chemical content; would this ruin any other papers in the vicinity (On the desk, on other tables in the office) or would things merely "soaked" or caught with a sidelong bit of spray be salvageable?
lenora_rose: (Player)
I don't know what to say about Mike Ford's passing, but I can't - quite - leave it unacknowledged. I figured the first thing to do is put the Dragon Waiting next on my queue to read, since it's on the shelf of books I own but haven't. But I don't know when I'll ahve a chance to read fiction,a s the essay reading has kicked in.

___________________

So I need to post about three reviews (The Billy Bragg concert [livejournal.com profile] forodwaith invited me to Tuesday, Blood and Iron so [livejournal.com profile] matociquala can link to it and make another joke about stalkery writer behaviour (As if I don't give her enough fangirly behaviour right back) and some comments on Lust Over Pendle vs. HP& the Half Blood Prince as reading experiences. (For the last of those, a taste: I take back one aspect of the fanfic's characterization. Draco is appropriately a sneaky bastard much of the time, but Hall has him convert to "Muggles=Okay (at least some of them)", too easily. But I really like the way Harry's own habit of leaping to conclusions until Hermoine points out the logical gaps is played - where in The Half Blood Prince he goes off even more wildly and is Right Right Right abnout everything and how dare they doubt him because he isn't being logical {Recalling, of course, that in the first book they're all Wrong, and that Rowling used to know how to do this}.)

Anyhow, that's not what I meant to talk about.

This particular school year is even more designed for the books I'm planning to write soon than intended. Okay, okay, the math isn't, but math is a good thing to refresh my mind in anyway.
The Medieval World is the next-least useful course writing-wise, but since quasi-medieval is such a default setting for so many books, it's somewhat helpful in reading my genre, and who knows, I may try to do something Byzantine or the like yet. 16th Century Literature has such an emphasis on court life and roundabout ways of saying what you mean it *has* to be good for the Serpent Prince - especially as the essay topic I'm working on requires me to read even more about how court life influences everything, especially poetry and honesty.

The Biology class, being all about the environment, is of astonishing help with Labyrinth, never mind just how much it matters in real life, since that's what Heather does as a day job when she's not on mystical adventures.

The one thing I'm missing is apparantly something for about the time in which i was born, give or take a bit. I have a character who hasn't seen the world since aroudn the days of the Iranian Hostage Crisis. I have some of the historic details and a bit of the general mood. Briefly, I poked at Wikipedia regarding 1979, and I didn't get the things I need most. I have yet to Google or do other online poking about for the things I need -- at least facts wise, current albums, current events, technology or lack thereof. Facts are easy.

But I'd like to request some book suggestions for the mood and feel of the culture(s) of the time -- particularly as seen through the eyes of a pair of 20 year old male presumed hetero college students who aren't into the disco craze -- or at least, not heavy into (I do wonder if Thomas or his fiancee wouldn't own a disc or two.)

Help?

Gotta go, or be late to Bio.
lenora_rose: (Player)
I don't know what to say about Mike Ford's passing, but I can't - quite - leave it unacknowledged. I figured the first thing to do is put the Dragon Waiting next on my queue to read, since it's on the shelf of books I own but haven't. But I don't know when I'll ahve a chance to read fiction,a s the essay reading has kicked in.

___________________

So I need to post about three reviews (The Billy Bragg concert [livejournal.com profile] forodwaith invited me to Tuesday, Blood and Iron so [livejournal.com profile] matociquala can link to it and make another joke about stalkery writer behaviour (As if I don't give her enough fangirly behaviour right back) and some comments on Lust Over Pendle vs. HP& the Half Blood Prince as reading experiences. (For the last of those, a taste: I take back one aspect of the fanfic's characterization. Draco is appropriately a sneaky bastard much of the time, but Hall has him convert to "Muggles=Okay (at least some of them)", too easily. But I really like the way Harry's own habit of leaping to conclusions until Hermoine points out the logical gaps is played - where in The Half Blood Prince he goes off even more wildly and is Right Right Right abnout everything and how dare they doubt him because he isn't being logical {Recalling, of course, that in the first book they're all Wrong, and that Rowling used to know how to do this}.)

Anyhow, that's not what I meant to talk about.

This particular school year is even more designed for the books I'm planning to write soon than intended. Okay, okay, the math isn't, but math is a good thing to refresh my mind in anyway.
The Medieval World is the next-least useful course writing-wise, but since quasi-medieval is such a default setting for so many books, it's somewhat helpful in reading my genre, and who knows, I may try to do something Byzantine or the like yet. 16th Century Literature has such an emphasis on court life and roundabout ways of saying what you mean it *has* to be good for the Serpent Prince - especially as the essay topic I'm working on requires me to read even more about how court life influences everything, especially poetry and honesty.

The Biology class, being all about the environment, is of astonishing help with Labyrinth, never mind just how much it matters in real life, since that's what Heather does as a day job when she's not on mystical adventures.

The one thing I'm missing is apparantly something for about the time in which i was born, give or take a bit. I have a character who hasn't seen the world since aroudn the days of the Iranian Hostage Crisis. I have some of the historic details and a bit of the general mood. Briefly, I poked at Wikipedia regarding 1979, and I didn't get the things I need most. I have yet to Google or do other online poking about for the things I need -- at least facts wise, current albums, current events, technology or lack thereof. Facts are easy.

But I'd like to request some book suggestions for the mood and feel of the culture(s) of the time -- particularly as seen through the eyes of a pair of 20 year old male presumed hetero college students who aren't into the disco craze -- or at least, not heavy into (I do wonder if Thomas or his fiancee wouldn't own a disc or two.)

Help?

Gotta go, or be late to Bio.

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