J. Sevick

Just Write.

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The Second Draft: The Stage of Doubt

The Second Draft: The Stage of Doubt

So I finally got back on the revision track, with fits and starts as is my life. Why has revision been so much harder, mentally, than writing the first draft?

I’d always thought that getting through the first draft was the hardest part—that wide open expanse of blank pages, the unknown length of time to finish, pushing through the complete crappiness. And while I did have doubts and stresses…

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Filed under doubt perfection revision second draft style writing psych

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The Young Hero and the Chosen One Trope

The Young Hero and the Chosen One Trope

Most people with any passing familiarity with the fantasy genre know about the “Chosen One” trope. In its most popular incarnations, like Harry Potter and Star Wars, it follows a young man with a prophesied destiny of defeating the villain (or performing some great act the villain would like to see stopped, etc.). It’s not a purely gendered trope, though; my favorite female iteration is Lyra of H…

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Filed under childrens chosen one prophecy protagonist tropes young adult

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Romantic vs. Problematic Tropes

Romantic vs. Problematic Tropes

I’ve written in the past about my love/hate-to-love relationship with the romance genre. The problem is that romance novels can be so problematic—and it’s the problematic elements that are often the most fun! Take those away, and the story is much better for society… but not nearly as entertaining.

Without getting too deep into why that is (I think I discussed it here), I wondered if there might…

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Filed under internalized sexism problematic romance sexism tropes

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Social Anxiety and Decision-Making

Social Anxiety and Decision-Making

Someone who has never dealt with anxiety (or any other mental illness) may not fully understand just how difficult it can be to go against the anxiety-based instincts and thought processes ingrained into your mind. Just identifying which thoughts and feelings are coming from anxiety, and which are coming from your own personal preferences and personality can be nearly impossible—sometimes I’m not…

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Filed under choices decisions encouragement mental illness social anxiety support

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My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.

And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.

Elizabeth Bear - My Least Favorite Trope (via feministquotes)

While I COMPLTELY agree with the quote/post above, and feel that too often kick-ass ladies get shoved to the side into caretaker/love interest roles—I can’t help but wonder if ‘Mary Sue’ type characters fulfill the female version of the ‘ineffectual’ Chosen One. Generally, they have little agency in choosing to be the Chosen One, they do little to ‘earn’ their specialness, and they are often aided by mentors and more efficient colleagues. And they often achieve a final victory/power boost with either self-love, believing in themselves, or a self-sacrifice (as a corollary to the apparent male ‘Take Responsibility’, be a leader, or stop being selfish).

I guess what I’m saying is that these hapless Chosen Ones are just Gary Stu characters—but they are normalized, whereas Mary Sues are called out and ridiculed. So we either need more mainstream Mary Sues to balance the bumbling dudes (perhaps along WITH awesome female mentors), or more main characters of all genders who are active, skilled, and purposeful.

(via gingerhaze)

Filed under mary sue gary stu character tropes feminism chosen one character arc

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This post has been a long time coming (which sounds a lot more dramatic than it needs to be; what can I say? Writer).

The first couple months of this year, I was low. I don’t know what it was, although I think the majority of it was dissatisfaction at my job and fear for the future. I also hadn’t written in forever, and worried that I never would.

I applied to grad school, got in, and prepared…

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Filed under career dreams living the dream quitting my job writing psych

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Arguing with Privilege

Me: I read this article online, with these interesting facts about sexism/racism.

Person: That can’t be true. Where do they get that information?

Me: Well, I can find the link with the graph and send—

Person: No, no. It’s online. That’s not a reliable source. This vague, sweeping statement about ‘known’ reality is the truth.

Me: What’s your source for that?

Person: I just know it; everyone does. You’re just naïve to the ways of the world.

Me: *sigh*

Filed under privilege arguments sources sexism racism

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Should We Ever Listen to Writer’s Block?

Should We Ever Listen to Writer’s Block?

Some say writer’s block is a myth. Perhaps they’re right.

But I believe that difficulty in creating is found in artists of all kinds, and it takes a multitude of forms. At its most basic core, a “block” as I see it is the overall or underlying feeling of wanting to create—but the immediate feeling of not wanting to create (or being unable to).

Why, when all we do is talk about our dreams and…

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Filed under apathy career creativity doubt writer&039;s block writing psych