December 2016 Recap

Writing Days: 16
New Words:

Books Read:

  • Updraft by Fran Wilde
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkniss
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  • The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu
  • The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

December fell into two parts: a writing sprint, and then reading/recharging.

I started writing a second novel in 2016 while polishing up the first one I wrote. There were hearts in my eyes. I was in love, and off to a racing start when the US election happened. My heart didn’t want to work right for a while. I almost gave up, because suddenly this quiet, sweet, haunted town story I was working on, didn’t seem to fit the world anymore. Thanks to the urging of a few friends, I grit my teeth and finished it, because if I stopped, I know I’d never find the end of that story again. So it’s done, but I’m going to let it sit for a while to give it some breathing room. I think I will revisit it someday, but not just yet.

And then reading. The rest of this post is going to get rambly because, I do have some thoughts on the Harkniss novel.

So it turns out I don’t have much patience for the alphahole trope in romance. In a nutshell, an alpha-asshole is a possessive, stalker-like romantic interest, who isn’t very likable, does’t trust the main character to take care of herself, and orders everyone around. I get it though. Some folks get the thrills when someone else takes charge. It’s just not my thing.

Also a pet peeve, because I watch too many nature documentaries, is that if you’re comparing people/werewolves/vampires to wolves, the whole notion of the ‘alpha wolf’ has been debunked for quite a while already. The head wolves in a pack are typically the breeding pair or in other words: mom and dad. So what you really should have, if talking about wolves as a reference point at all, is family dynamics. There is no biological free pass for being an asshole.

Now, we get to the ‘huh wut?’ section of this not-a-book-review.

If an author is going with a forbidden marriage trope, because the pair in question are from two different species and people are worried about what monster mixed children will result, you’d think most authors and readers would notice the metaphorical parallels to to segregation and racial mixing, (FYI The last state to legalize interracial marriages was Alabama in the year 2000.) right?

There’s nothing wrong with this, but it can cause really weird dissonance if practically all the characters and creatures in a story about segregation are white. There was an Indian yoga instructor, but she wasn’t material to the plot in any way and only appeared twice with less than a handful of speaking lines. It makes me wonder about the intent here, you know? I really don’t get what the author was trying to accomplish at a metal level. (I doubt this is a metaphor for LGBTQ marriage equality, because there is a lesbian couple presented positively, and biologically mixed children resulting from such a union wouldn’t be an issue.)

Maybe it was never intended to be a metaphor?  But I can’t imagine that no thought went into the possibility it might be read that way, because judging by the rest of the writing, the author is clearly intelligent and thoughtful. Was this passive oversight, because plenty of well meaning people say “I don’t see color” (Problematic in many ways) and no one (agent/editor/writer) noticed it?

I don’t know. I fell into a metaphorical hole and it wouldn’t let me out. This big pit looks pretty glaring to me.

Anyway, I still enjoyed the story enough that I may be tempted to pick up book two if I’m bored enough. It wasn’t the romance that captivated me, but the scientists, alchemy, and old manuscript love. I got my escapism in the parts where the main character got to sleep in, and fed well, because, as a busy mom, hah… yeah. It’s really kind of funny that it’s not the man or the magic I’m interested in.

OH and I LOVE guys. It’s so useful. I’ve been writing more now that I have charts and word count targets that I can adjust whenever I want. Daily, weekly, whatever. It would be awesome for Nano, or just tracking word counts over a month. Plus it’s free!

Did you have a good holiday? Making plans for the new year?

4 Comments to “December 2016 Recap”

  1. Alphahole? I’ve never heard this one before! I don’t think I could tolerate reading a story with a character like that for more than, like, one chapter.

    I was looking up Goodreads reviews on the Witches book, and there’s one by a “Jenne” that’s just hilarious. Almost want to read the book just to see how accurate her parody is!

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