Villains Doing Villainous Things

When I was a child, I could recognize three distinct character types: “the good guy/gal”, “the bad guy/gal” and “the good-bad guy/gal” (what I would refer to nowadays as an anti-hero). What made a bad guy/gal a bad guy/gal? “They did bad things.”

Nowadays, things are a bit more complicated: you can have antagonists who aren’t villainous, and you can have villains that aren’t 100% evil, and you can even have protagonists who do terrible things and yet you still cheer them on, because maybe they did what they had to do, or they had no choice, or maybe it’s just the matter of choosing the lesser evil.

I’ll be honest with you and say that I don’t think I write good villains. My villains tend to either be 100% “kicks puppies” evil or a “they’re a jerkass but they secretly have a fuzzy side” almost anti-heroish type of character. I just can’t seem to find that balance between “this character does bad things” and “this character is sympathetic”.

I’ll come back to my writing in a bit, for now, here are some more random thoughts on villainy:

Bad people do bad things. It always baffles me when someone complains when an evil character does something that’s, well, evil. This, to me, is the whole point of having an evil character, you expect them to lie, cheat, steal, kill innocent people, burn down entire villages, kick puppies, and not look both ways before crossing the street. Now, what is problematic, IMHO, is when the only representative of a particular group of people is cast as the villain (especially a minority). If the only POC in your book/movie/whatever is the villain, Hel yes, you have an issue, because there’s no easier way to say “Hey everyone! X is evil!” than making your villain have X.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course. In a world that is full of people of type X, a villain of type X won’t raise any eyebrows, because type X, in this case isn’t really a defining attribute of that character. Melisande Shahrizai (from Kushiel’s Legacy) is bisexual and kinky, and in the hands of a writer who isn’t Jacqueline Carey, being bi and kinky would be all she needed to be to be handed her villain card, but in Terre d’Ange, practically everyone is bisexual, and the first trilogy is stuffed to the gills with characters who enjoy kinky sex (Hel, the main character is a masochist). Melisande Shahrizai is not evil because she is kinky and bisexual, it’s her actions (committing treason, for one, and that’s not even touching all the crap she does to our protagonist) that make her the villain. This is what I’d like to focus on in my story: making a villain who isn’t a villain because of who they are, but because of what they do. At this point, all I know about my primary antagonist is that he’s male, and he’s done some pretty bad things, but I haven’t worked out the whole story yet so I can’t tell you much more except that it involves a murder and a whole lot of deception.

Sometimes 100% Villainy is Fun Crossing over to video games for a moment, one of my favourite villains of all time is Luca Blight from Suikoden II. (OMFGs that boss battle!) Luca Blight is pretty much completely unsympathetic, so much so that when you hear about his back story, you won’t care (or st least, I didn’t, his mother on the other hand, I felt sorry for her). These are the villains you love to hate, and it feels oh-so-satisfying when they get knocked down a few pegs (unless this is a more cynical work, in which case they never get their comeuppance, because real life is shit like that).

Sometimes, though, 100% villainy is just cartoonishly silly. A good example of this is Dorothea and Hekatah from The Black Jewels Trilogy. There are a lot of [url=http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CompleteMonster]Complete Monsters[/url] in this series, but Dorothea and Hekatah are special, because they are so 100% evil, you have to wonder how fucking stupid the gullible lemmings townspeople are that they really didn’t catch on to their uber-villainy until it was too late, but, oh well, there are other, much more insidious villains in those books (like Greer, OMFGs Greer).

I mean, sometimes even cartoon villains do it better. Have you watched any episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? If not, why are you still here? GO AND WATCH A COUPLE EPISODES! No, seriously, at least watch the ones with Discord (like this one) in them, Discord is an amazing example of a villain who poses a serious threat to the protagonists–all within the bounds of a children’s show. Actually, while I’m fangirling various popular cartoons, the Legend of Korra is doing for slightly older kids what MLP: FiM is doing for younger kids. Seriously, they managed to depict a terrorist attack and still keep their Y7 rating.

There are other things I want to say, but it’s late so, yeah, this will do.

This Should Be Interesting….

I just submitted the first page of my Big Story to the website Dear Author. They primarily review works in the romance genre, but they do occasionally review fantasy fiction. TBH, I’m not expecting many will like it (it’s fantasy, definitely not a romance, and as queer as, well, queer theory), but if I see it up on the website I’ll shoot you the link.

Free Fiction….er…..Saturday

I finally finished my novellette, so, as promised, I’m going to post it here for everyone to read. Before I do, however, a couple caveats. This is part of a larger work (still in progress) so the last couple of paragraphs might not make a whole lot of sense, because foreshadowing. I suppose I could spoil the plot point, but what if I become rich and famous and someone sees this post?

Yeah, I wish….

So anyways, if by some miracle you like it and are kind enough to not steal it, there’s more coming eventually. I’d originally intended it to be a bit more cynical in tone, but what I got was a love story–go figure.

Oh, and there is some sex in this novellette and the pairing is….well….”unconventional”, it’s not that graphic, but in case you don’t want to read it, I’ve separated those scenes out using a bunch of asterisks, so whenever you see these (*), like this:

******

Just skip to the next set of them and you’ll skip the sexytiems.

Also, like all my work, this story is raw, so expect plenty of grammatical errors, but hopefully few spelling errors.

Anyways, enjoy the story, and don’t worry if you don’t get all of it, just think of it as a nice coming-of-age tale featuring two people who are in love with each other–and then one marries a god, but don’t worry, it’s all good!

Hit the jump to read the story!

Read More »

The Trouble with Urban Fantasy

If you’ve read almost any of my posts under the categories “Books” and “Writing” you’ll know that fantasy is my genre of choice when I’m shopping around for a book to read on a rainy day, or well, a book to read in general. I’ve flirted with horror, historical fiction, science fiction, romance, even a little erotica actually my ereader is full of erotica but I keep coming back to fantasy and all it’s wonderful subgenres.

Today, I would like to talk about urban fantasy, but more specifically, I want to talk about where urban fantasy is going these days–straight off a cliff.

First, a definition, broadly speaking, I would define urban fantasy as “fantasy that takes place in an urban setting” (that’s, you know, the “urban” part). Most of the urban fantasies I’ve seen on the shelves these days are set in contemporary urban environments (like, let’s say, present day Toronto) but they can be set in the future (as Lilith Saintcrow’s books are) or the past, but the primary requirement is that they take place primarily in a city.

Lately though, there’s a particular trend in urban fantasy that I think is now ubiquitous enough to merit it’s own name, I’m going to call it “BAMF [Bad Ass Mother Fucker]” Urban Fantasy, if someone knows another name for this trend, let me know in the comments.

Here are some characteristics of BAMF UF:

  1. Usually written by women (though not always) and usually has a female protagonist, said protagonist will inevitably be one of these things:

a) be the only person of their kind in the area

b) have at least one missing parent

c) be mixed-race (chances are, they get their  powers from their  Magical Negro parent of color), despite their heritage, they are seldom subject to racism or classism

1a. Job-wise, the BAMF protagonist is usually one of the following:

a) Law enforcement (especially if they’re part of the branch of law enforcement that handles crimes of a fantastical nature (ie. illegal vampire feeding, rogue witchery)

b) Private eye (for those who want all the thrill of law enforcement without having to deal with pesky regulations)

c) Bookstore owner

d) Occult/magical supply store (which often contains a bookstore)

e) Bartender, waitress, bouncer

1b. BAMF protagonists usually do not get along with law enforcement (even if they ARE law enforcement, especially if they are law enforcement)

 

 

2. A BAMF protagonist, by their very nature of being a BAMF, will seldom have:

a) close friends

b) if female (which is the case, most of the time) they will seldom have any female friends

 

3. There will be a love triangle at some point, love triangles usually work out in this way:

a) Necrophilia vs. bestiality Vampire vs. Werewolf

b) alpha male vs. nice guy

Notice how I’m constantly referring to guys as love interests? That’s because the vast majority of BAMF UF heroines are heterosexual (more on this later).

In doubt as to which guy the protagonist will end up with? Go with the alpha male, always the alpha male.

 

4. BAMF UF novels will usually feature some of the following fantastical species or extra special humans:

a) Vampires — and they will own nightclubs

b) Werewolves — and the alpha is always the Supreme Overlord of the pack)

c) Fairies — usually arranged into courts, particularly courts named after seasons (Summer and Winter)

d) Demons — pretty much Always Chaotic Evil unless one happens to be the love interest, then we’re cool

e) Spellcasters – some of the more popular spellcasters are witches (usually female) and necromancers (usually evil, because, you know, all that dealing with the dead stuff), BAMF UF protags, when they aren’t shapeshifters, are usually some form of spellcaster

 

5. Typical plot elements you might find in a BAMF UF story:

a) A denizen of the supernatural community has been murdered, it’s up to our protagonist to figure out who killed them. (This is your basic first-book-in-a-series plot.)

b) An anti-non human group of some sort (sometimes, the plot will involve infiltrating such a group)

c) At some point, all of the fantastical species will be out for the protag’s blood (usually because the protag has pissed them all off at once by that point)

d) Relationship woes (see section on love triangle above)

 

This is just a short list of some common elements you will find in BAMF UF. How else can you recognize a BAMF UF? Look at the cover. Here is a handy slide show to help you out (note: not all of these are UF novels, but most of them are). Go watch it, it’s funny and sad and funny:

Anyways, I was thinking of trying my hand at UF, but then I looked at a similar list to this one and was like “Who will read an UF about a gay protagonist who is happily married to a black cop?” and it’s sad that I have to say that, because it seems like every UF novel either has a love triangle or no romance at all. Is it really so much to ask for stories that don’t have trite, seen-it-all-before Romantic Plot Tumors. I mean, honestly, if all you can write about is how your BAMF is so torn between Alpha Male One and Alpha Male Two, why not just write paranormal romance? (Seriously, the paranormal romance genre is in desperate need of better worldbuilding). Seriously, human beings think with more than their genitals. Are all UF protagonists really that unpleasant that they don’t have any close friends? And no, I’m not talking about friends who are jealous of the protag’s uber-specialness, I’m talking about real friends. I’m assuming authors have friends, too, so WTF?

Oh wait, I know what’s wrong. You’re afraid that if your protagonist has too many great friends, they’ll steal the spotlight. No one can possibly be better than your protagonist! Oh come on, this is bullshit. One of my good friends has always been the better writer, another has a easy time learning musical instruments. I’ve tried, I just don’t have the patience to learn the piano.

Each one of us is better than the other at doing something, and somehow, we’re all friends. You have no excuse, UF protagonists, and if it’s really bothering you that much, find other friends, seriously.

Logging Out….

After that post I made in which I posted about my blow up surrounding adoption, I decided it was best to leave the Catholic forum where I’ve been posting. I’m sorry, everyone, I won’t be giving you any more amusing anecdotes re: crazy things Catholics say about Pagans, but TBH, I’ve grown too accustomed to spaces where the majority of posters are Pagan, and while this was the last straw, really, I was kind of bored, and the boredom happened to outweigh the amusement.

I wouldn’t say it’s all been bad, though, but there’s only so many times you can read the same spin about “natural law” bunk and the endless refrain of “but the church isn’t homophobic, we just don’t want non-heterosexuals to marry, and we want to keep every non-heterosexual in every religion (even the LGBT friendly ones) from marrying”.

I never got a chance to say this on that forum, but now I’m going to say it: Who the fuck are they kidding? I’ve never heard such homophobic bullshit in my life! Here’s another thing I never got to say: bigots NEVER want to admit that they’re bigots (except if you’re my biomom, who is PROUD to call herself a racist, WTF how can I be related to her???). Do you know why? Because they know that the INSTANT they’re labelled as bigots, their credibility goes down the toilet.

It goes down the toilet and then it’s used to fertilize Yggdrasil.

So they do everything they can to avoid being labelled with the “b” word. They’ll insist that they aren’t the b word. “But homosexual couples can’t reproduce together? What’s that? There are infertile heterosexual couples? Well, if they’re already married then they don’t need an annulment, because they’re still ‘unitive’ (which basically means that the parts still fit, from what I understand), so if tab A fits into slot B, you’re good to go, but don’t you even THINK about inserting it into slot C! I don’t care if there are nerve endings in slot C that feel oh-so-good. Sex is for babies, dammit! And if you can’t have babies, well, the parts still fit….”

Okay, enough of this. Who wants to see a picture of my dog?

My dog, Cupid

Cupid is part poodle, part golden retriever, and part lab. She just came home from the groomer’s when this picture was taken, so that’s why her hair looks short. She likes being petted and brushed and being petted and playing in the snow and being petted and oh, just keep your hands on her and she’ll be happy.

And because I’m in a good mood, here is a picture of a snow leopard cub:

Two snow leopard kittens, in fact

Snow leopards make me ridiculously happy for some reason. My friend can have her lions. Screw lions, they’re lazy.

On Not Judging

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Internet is home to some weird things. As a Pagan, it doesn’t surprise me that there are Pagans who believe some very weird things. Scratch that, it’s not just Pagans, people believe some very weird things…..

Okay, I’m just going to cut to the chase, you remember the movie Avatar, right? James Cameron’s epic sci fi adventure with blue skinned (surprisingly humanoid) space aliens and a SERIOUS case of Mighty Whitey? Yeah, I loved that movie, in spite of the fact that we’ve seen it all before and HOW THE FUCK DO PEOPLE STILL GET AWAY WITH THESE TRITE MIGHTY WHITEY PLOTLINES? Oh, right, racism….

Anyways, there are actually people out there who believe they are reincarnated Na’vi. Fun fact: You know the Na’vi word for “idiot”? It’s also the Romanian word for “chair”, pronounced exactly the same way). So every time you hear that word, you’ll know that Jake Sully is being called a chair.

I will admit, of all the strange beliefs out there, the concept of otherkin does make sense from a certain perspective. After all, if you believe in reincarnation, and you believe in certain non-human entities, is it really that much of a stretch to think that at some point, in your previous lives, you might have been a dragon or a unicorn, especially if you believe these creatures exist in other planes of existence? I remember hearing about a debate among Buddhists where they were arguing about whether you could be reborn in the past–after all, time is cyclical, or illusory, so who says your rebirths have to follow a linear timeline?

However, I think there comes a point when otherkin go from “strange but not that farfetched” to “loopy”.

I mean, as a Pagan, I consider myself to be pretty accepting of other beliefs, your woo woo is your woo woo, and if you happen to believe that you’re….an elf, from another planet, I *snerk*….I *giggles*….Sorry! Sorry, I’ll just compose myself and, and….

*snerks*

*coughs* As I was saying, whatever makes you happy, I suppose. Who the Hel am I to tell you you aren’t a reincarnation of an all-feminine race from a planet known as Aristastia? I’m just going to go over here in this corner, now.

Okay, seriously now, I’m not in the habit of judging anyone, your beliefs are your beliefs etc. but seriously, WTF?

Runa-Raven Press….

….is closing next week on the 2oth.

I’ve heard some amazing things about the books in their catalogue, so if you want anything from them, buy it now! Or, if you’re like me and unlucky enough to not live in the U.S.–bug your American friends to ship you their books.

In other news of note, apparently today’s Google doodle is of Clara Schumann. Her name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t recall where I’d heard it. Here is a short article about her life. Read it, this woman is made of awesome.

A Note About Adoption

Never EVER insinuate that adoptive parents are not a child’s Real (TM) parents, ever. Especially do not go on to say that same-sex couples shouldn’t be able to adopt because “[the children] are not with [their] biological parents, they aren’t even with a mother and father.”

Apparently, for taking issue with these comments, I am now “hysterical”, a “wacko” and “damaged”. Yes, I do take issue when you pooh-pooh MY PARENTS because they were somehow less “ideal” than the mother who gave birth to me. My two closest friends were both raised by their biological parents, and you know what? Their lives are shit (one due to excessive drinking on one side and mental illness on the other, and the second….I don’t fucking know). Are their lives in any way “ideal” because they live with the people with whom they share DNA?

Children. Need. Loving. Parents. Full Stop. End of Discussion.

For those who are curious, here’s the original post (trigger warning: homophobia, idiocy). The post is in response to my saying that liking gays but being against gay marriage is a bit like a racist liking blacks but not liking interracial marriage:

Not what I’m saying though. I’m not making homophobic remarks. I don’t hate homosexuals. I have no problems with homosexuals. I’m just against homosexual marriage.

Anyway, your problem with contracts is the time it takes to write them? Wow.

As for gay couples having families-it depends on how you define family, doesn’t it? The thing about adoption is that being adopted is NEVER ideal. Being adopted by loving parents is making the best out of a bad situation, but ideally you would live with your biological parents.

So with homosexual adoption you’re not only not living with your biological parents, you’re not even living with a mother and father. That’s the reason I find homosexual adoption problematic.

The “Gay Lifestyle”

I’m in trouble, everyone.

You see, I keep hearing this phrase “the gay lifestyle” and, TBH, I don’t think I’m doing it right (and not just because I’m not gay, not being a guy, but a lesbian). Is it true that we’re supposed to have around 500 sexual partners over the course of our lifetimes? Fuck! I don’t have a partner, I’ve never had a partner. WTF am I supposed to do? I NEED A BIG LESBIAN ORGY, STAT!

Seriously, do these anti-LGBT pundits have any idea how STUPID they sound!?  I don’t even know where to FIND 500 lesbians and/or bisexual women, much less 500 who find me attractive and awesome enough to sleep with me. Seriously, I am being shafted (and not in a good way.

Also, what is this “Gay Agenda”? Who arranged this meeting and why wasn’t I invited? Somebody fill me in on what was discussed. Do I need to change my wardrobe? I love black, it goes with everything. Is there a certain kind of pet I should own? Mind you, I’m allergic to pretty much every furry creature, so no Lhasa Apso for me.

Oh, and is there a “heterosexual lifestyle” I can look at for comparison? I keep looking at my parents and brothers, and I’m not seeing a difference between my lifestyle and theirs. In fact, almost everyone I know is comfortably middle class. Am I supposed to be like, middle class with more rainbows? How does that work? I’m not sure how many rainbow things I can have in this house without having them clash with the decor.

In short, I am very confused by this concept. I just thought I was a woman who liked other women, but now I don’t know what to think. Advice?

Doctrine of Demons

In response to the comment in one of my previous posts that Paganism is a “doctrine of demons”, I thought I’d make a list of all the terrible things I’ve experienced as a result of falling for Satan’s lies, they include:

  1. Being able to coexist peacefully with other religions without screaming about how they’re all going to Hell.
  2. Picking up a book/seeing a movie and not worrying about whether it will “tempt me to sin”.
  3. Not gossiping like a fiend because “Did you SEE  that so-and-so went to communion? I bet she was in mortal sin!”
  4. Making friends just for the sake of making friends (without thinking about whether I need to convert them or not)
  5. Not feeling guilt or shame over my sexual orientation
  6. Not thinking that I am somehow a lesser being because I was born with a vulva instead of a penis
  7. Not having to watch my language: shitfuckcunttwatwaddle!
  8. Happiness and peace of mind
  9. Being allowed to brag
  10. Not having to do mental gymnastics when trying to engage in a theological discussion
  11. Being ethical without a deity having to breathe down my neck/threaten me with the Punishy Room of Punishing if I break the rules
  12. Finding solace in the natural world

Suffice it to say, if Paganism really is demonic, well, I guess I’m on Team Satan. I’d rather this over the guilt trips and misogynistic bullshit, thank you.