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Re: Third rail of the Forum: Gender in stories
Phase 3: Women are people who have goals, loves, hates, heroism, cowardice, power, weakness. They are heroic (or evil) on their own merits. See “A Crown for Cold Silver” and those “City of” books.

and then:

To me, the ideal Phase 3 female character is Rita Skeeter. She's just an ordinary woman (by the setting's standards) doing a fairly ordinary job. She's not "beat you up" powerful or a fanatical exponent of some out there philosophy. She's admirable only in terms of her competence and drive; in all other ways not at all. She's irritating and amoral. Not a hero, but not some terrifying villain either. Just a relevant and interesting character, typical of her society, who feels a lot like an ordinary person.

I can think of lots of male characters like this. Female ones? I'm struggling.

I'm not sure if that's the point of "Phase 3", at least not in my eyes. As in, you're defining well fleshed out, realistic human characters, but you seem to make a point that she can't be powerful.
I mean, I'm reading fantasy so I can follow people who have magic and weird abilities. Otherwise I'd read lit fic, which is full enough of normal, realistic females.
I have no problem reading about a totally OP lady, or a very heroic one, or a really villainous one, so long as she remains realistic and has a well plotted arc.
Are you saying that an ordinary person in a fantasy setting who has no powers is inherently better than one who is powerful in that world's magic or influential in it? 

Every female character in Becky Chamber's work is like that, the ones in NK Jemisin work, The zombie girl and her teacher in MR Carey's first novel, Circe in Miller's upcoming Circe is the perfect female protag, Ann Leckie's characters, Robin Mckinley's heroines and princesses, Marie Brennan's dragon naturalist and memoirist, The heroine of Uprooted, Lyra Bellaqua, the MC of Scott Hawkins' Library At Mount Char is fucking awesome, etc, etc...
I see good female characters around me who have great powers and remain "ordinary women" in their emotional depiction. Some have powers, others just make important decisions, some loose their humanity and have to regain it, some are simply heroines because of their perseverance and scientific minds, some are the victim of magic, others learn to master it... Isn't that phase three for you? Shouldn't it be about the quality of their character arc over the detail of their in-world power?

March 26, 2018, 12:46:27 PM
Re: Third rail of the Forum: Gender in stories
Nobody died. Nothing caught on fire. Gender in stories is not a third rail. It's just another topic we writers talk about. Like prepositions. And incomplete sentences. :)

I beg to disagree, in so far that the depiction of gender is important, whereas prepositions and incomplete sentences can be used any other way to the writer's discretion and it comes down to taste, almost.
Hopefully the healthy depiction of people of different colour/religion/gender/gender identity remains a general topic of interest to readers and non readers alike, and progresses.
Incidently it's also why I think this is wrong:

Types of character that are already present don't need championing.

I certainly don't think that's true. What is present right now isn't a staple or a regular thing. You can't stop championing good female/gay/trans characters just because we've gotten some decent ones. It'd be like stopping to worry about female rights because we get to vote now. I feel like plenty of books and movies still get made and published that depict women negatively or carelessly. Bea will strongly disagree with me, but I was recently appalled by the use of depthless female characters in John Gwynne's work, where female are only vehicles to move around rooms where non pov males discuss the plot, or a love interests. They had the life of mono-cellular organism and they made me depressed that there are still people to publish that sort of stuff in this day and age.
Let go of the issue and before you know it we're back to square one.
Especially since bookshops keep the classics across time. I mean, just look at my shop, where a massive racist like lovecraft has an entire shelf to himself!
If we could put on magical glasses that look at the shelves and shine in blue when a book has no realistic women or they are only vague supporting characters or love/sex interest, or no women at all, I still think the majority of the shelves would be blue. We have a lot of old-timey sci-fi and fantasy. Again, tolkien has an entire shelf to himself, and whatever you call his work, it's not exactly proactive for female characters.
So yeah, I feel like it's an issue we shouldn't let go, and I'm unsure if that judging method of phases is all that wise.
You can sum it up by wondering whether the female has an arc of her own, whether her role is dependent on the male, or use the Bechdel test.
Spoiler for Hiden:
The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.

March 27, 2018, 06:24:22 PM
Re: Third rail of the Forum: Gender in stories
Serves me right for trying to be clever. I was trying to say that it's not a third rail in the sense in which that phrase is normally used. It does not mean death to discuss it. The discussion here has been reasonable and civil. Gender in stories is an interesting and worthwhile topic, not a third rail.

I got that part fair and clear, I only expended on your point. You are right, we like to discuss the topic, but I wanted to point how much more important it was than that, how even if it were a 3rd rail we still ought to discuss it.
Also to be honest Jmack is entitled to think it a 3rd rail as we've had some wild conversations on the topic before that went close to insult.

March 28, 2018, 07:47:26 AM
Re: What are you currently reading?
I'm trying to read City of Blades but the present tense is just like fingernails on a chalkboard.  I was on the toilet and I actually put it down because I preferred to look at the wall.

Wait. Do you read all of city of Stairs in present tense fine, and the second book is unreadable somehow? What's different with city of blades?

March 28, 2018, 07:49:32 AM
Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Voting Thread Well I voted since and carter as well, so that's 9.
March 31, 2018, 03:22:07 PM
Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Discussion Thread
Despite JMack's...enthusiasm for the new topic, I almost fear what comes about when a topic is born on the alignment of April Fool's Day and Easter. What mischief shall be born when pranks and bunnies emerge as one.

Oh no. Please, no bunnies, no lambs... Please please please

March 31, 2018, 05:43:58 PM
Re: Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss Fuck you guys!! By the second post I was biting full into it.
April 01, 2018, 04:02:11 PM
Re: Winds of Winter by George RR Martin Fool me once...
April 01, 2018, 04:02:40 PM
Re: Those of us with non-writing jobs - motivation comes from?
I see the majority of writers write in the mornings, too tired in the evenings?

Ahaha! I'm the total opposite. I'm a natural night owl, and waking up before 10 is already a chore to me. I'm not a creatively disposed person until my brain has fully woken up and warmed up and that's another couple of hours. I think the only times I wrote anything before midday were when I had no choice due to time limit. Otherwise I write in the late afternoon, evening or night. I can easily, when struck with inspiration or necessity, come home from my job and spend another 6 hours writing to wrap up my short story submission.
I wish I were so dedicated to my other work.

April 05, 2018, 10:44:07 AM
Re: To name or not to name like a pornstar... Listen, there is a published SFF author called Konar, and it sounds the same as the very strong french insult, "connard". I can never escape an inward chuckle. However I'm not immature enough to shun his work because his name sounds like a french insult.

You're called Darewood - not whorson or festaring or dicksir or morninwood. At worst your name evokes a crazy scary wood to me, where kids would dare each other to enter. the dare-wood.
Take a pseudonym by all means, but if you don't have good reasons, I find this motivation odd.

I will not write under my true name, because it's foreign and I also strongly dislike the family who gave me my last name. I would not gratify them by being published under it, if it ever happened to me, that is!
Plus, as a woman, we have the sad option of publishing under initials to fool the still widely spread idiots who won't read anything written by a woman.

I don't think you have anything to fear for your name.

April 06, 2018, 04:57:10 PM