Elizabeth: Marginalized Characters

I’ll admit I was sorely tempted to skip posting this week and just binge-watch Hamilton, but since it made me cry every time I saw it live (and I did so several times) or listened to the soundtrack (which I did even more times), I decided to pause that thought and save those tears for another day.

I’m currently taking an online class sponsored by The Beau Monde, the Regency writer’s group that is (was?) part of RWA.  The class, Critical Lens, is taught by LaQuette and aimed at those “interested in learning what constitutes positive representation and how we can respectfully depict communities we don’t belong to.

One of the first topics addressed was “Marginalized Characters” and the session started with a simple description of a variety of characters.  Some white some not.  Some gay, some not.  There were various professions, income levels, and housing choices.  And a young white billionaire.

The exercise was simple:  Which characters do you find believable (and why or why not)? Continue reading

Michaeline: Review of the new Bujold “Knife Children”!

(Note: no spoilers in the post, but there may be some in the comments. You’ve been warned.)

It’s been a bad few years for reading for me. First, I blamed it on my eyes, but now that I’ve had my reading glasses for a little over a year, I have come to realize it’s only partly about my eyes. Next, I blamed it on the internet – short, addictive bits of reading that reward almost instantly – and if they don’t, well, there’s another post or article to read. And hand-in-hand with the internet is the absolute drama of the past two years in the real world. Trump, Brexit, #MeToo – all that drama, all that conflict. Do I really need a real story when I’m sated with cat pictures on the one hand, and gutted by all the real world on the other?

It turns out, yes, a real story does hit the spot, and Lois McMaster Bujold published another e-novella in her Sharing Knife series on January 24, 2019.


"Knife Children" cover

A new book from Bujold! (Cover via Amazon.com)

“Knife Children” has that easy-going rhythm that is part and parcel of the Sharing Knife series. It touches on old Bujoldian themes such as taking responsibility, and the ever-present possibility of redemption. It also deals with the “one damn thing happens after another” aspect of life, and “go lightly over the rough ground”.

On the surface, “Knife Children” is Continue reading

Michaeline: Diversity Beyond Stereotypes

a dwarf drummer statue on cobblestones

A Tolerance Dwarf in Poland. Via Wikimedia Commons, but for more info, check out this Polish site. You may need to click the English toggle. http://krasnale.pl/en/

I get bored easily, and diversity is something I enjoy, both in my reading and my writing. But these days, it seems that “diversity” is a polarizing word. Some people think it’s a PC word for “get rid of white people.” Others, on the other hand, seem to put diversity at the top of their list of things they want from pop culture.

I know a wonderful woman who preferred the first season of CBS’s Elementary (IMDb description) over the first season of the BBC’s Sherlock (IMDb description).  When pressed for reasons, her big one was that she felt Sherlock didn’t have enough diversity. She was missing the strong women and people of all colors in the foreground. Which was true. For me, the most important thing was the way the puzzle pieces fit together in Sherlock – both Sherlock and Elementary are in the mystery genre, so the puzzle is important. I’m not just talking about the mystery puzzle, though, but the relationships.

As I remember it, the first eight shows of Elementary were adequate, but there were so many missing, misshapen pieces. Continue reading