novels / Pop Culture / writing

Eat, for pete’s sake, EAT!

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Trying to begin my summer with some reading, some writing. It’s hard to get in the groove after a particularly hellish term, especially with my writing. I’m in the midst of working on a treatment to the TV pilot/show idea I have, and while it’s not difficult to plan the first episode (I know my beginning and end), the thought of what comes after it — the show “bible”, the other episodes of the season (just mapped out) — makes me wonder what exactly made me want to attempt this in the first place. A challenge, perhaps? Well, I’m already a steady 1200 words into the treatment, and that’s not too shabby a start if I do say so myself.

Anyway, my reading list is always expansive over the summer months as it’s the only time I can concentrate on whatever it is I WANT to read. Right now, I’m reading Tom Wright’s Blackbird, a piece of Southern noir that has a True Detective (first season, of course) kind of vibe to it. I’m enjoying the story, and I like the narrator/protagonist for the most part. He’s another complicated detective with a dark backstory or two, but none of it ever deters him from wisecracking when dealing with his coworkers and other locals. However, aside from one character involved in the narrator’s life, I don’t care much for the women in it at all. It’s a problem with men and women writers when they’re just unable to accurately portray male or female behaviors. Instead, they resort to relying on surface observation of (and their own dealings with) members of the opposite sex.

One of those nuances that’s been somewhat distracting for me in Blackbird is one that tends to pop up everywhere: the stereotype of women-as-perpetual-dieters. Yeah, it’s subtle, but even in its subtlety, it’s presumptuous. Wright’s primary female characters in the novel have melon balls and fresh guava juice for breakfast and push aside the creme brulee when offered it. For once, I’d like to see a character, a PRIMARY female character, in one of these works, enjoy eating hearty foods…BUT not that Mary Sue sort of character who eats burgers all the time yet has the metabolism of a ten year old. Again, I understand that it’s seemingly insignificant, but one has to admit that it plays a larger part in displaying a stereotype of female insecurities about body size and overall appearance. It not only displays it, it only serves to enhance the real problem of how women are portrayed in fictional works in books, on TV, and in film and the implications of it as a result.

(Oh, and just how adorable is it when, after grimacing through a breakfast of healthy foods that a female character has put together, the male character sneaks off to a fast food joint to have a couple of sausage biscuit sandwiches?)

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(Hell, yeah)

 

 

 

 

 

In response to the Daily Prompt Healthy

 

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2 thoughts on “Eat, for pete’s sake, EAT!

  1. I admit that often I struggle with female characters. Often you read a book and you think “does this cat actually ah TALK to women? I mean, maybe his mother at least, right?” Anyhoo, rather self-conscious about female characters. I think it might be easy (for a guy at least) to write female characters in a way that they might think is knowledgable but is actually cliche and sterotypical. neither do I much care for Jack’s advice in “As Good As It Gets” — the part about imagining a man and removing this and that. I recently homestretched on a first draft of a novel which features a woman as the primary character. I’m sure there are a few cliches in there (not ready to deal with the mess yet in order to say for sure). I guess im saying I decided to tackle the problem head on. My other contemporaries might wanna try the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not alone in that I struggle quite a bit with male characters in trying to maintain a semblance of believability rather than resorting to using stereotypes. It’s hard. I suppose that deeper observation is key with it, that and obviously writing what you know/have experienced with the opposite sex.

      And CONGRATULATIONS on that first draft of a novel! Are you celebrating? (You should!) What’s the story? What’s it about? Inquiring minds want to know!

      Like

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