Of these four ways to ruin your novel, I pick this one:
2) Stupid Gas! Let’s split up to explore this haunted house!
The other three hurl-the-book-aside sins according to Susan Morris at Omnivoracious are:
1) leaving in too much stuff you should have taken out
3) preaching to the reader, and
4) providing your hero with a cardboard cutout for a love interest.
Any of those strike you as worse than Stupid Gas?
Also! Here’s a nice post from Kate Elliot about woman characters in historical fantasy. Because the problem with saying: If you’re building a world with fantasy things like dragons in it, why does the role of women have to be authentic? is that a society that is supposed to feel historically accurate will in fact feel false if you try to equalize gender roles in that society. Though I love The Book Smugglers (really! My very favorite book site!), I don’t think they’re right about that one at all. About how even constrained woman characters can have agency, yes, but not about the equalize-gender-roles-what-the-heck-it’s-your-world-and-you-can-do-what-you-want thing.
Because, hello, there HAVE NEVER BEEN ANY HUMAN SOCIETIES EVER where gender was not important in determining social roles? So if you pretend that really gender is not important? Your fantasy world will feel all fake.
Though some authors manage surprisingly well, ie, THE DEED OF PAKSENNARION by Elizabeth Moon. Still not sure why it worked better in that one that it usually does. Have to think about it.
But! You should also keep in mind that building a realistic society that limits the “proper” roles of women gives you something extra for your female characters to struggle against, which as an author is a great and good thing, not a problem. And may also lead to your book making the Amelia Bloomer Project list for books with “significant feminist content”, because struggling against societal limitations is just the ticket as far as that goes, right? Which, just saying, THE FLOATING ISLANDS made that particular list, which is not something I aimed for — setting up problems for my characters to overcome did it automatically.
The INTERN has a hilarious post up — euphamisms for all! My fave: “This is my first book.” I think The INTERN is more or less right about what that phrase really means.
Plus, scroll down, because the INTERN has this to say about the ongoing agony that is picking a title:
The title INTERN had come up with for her novel had been, quote, “roundly” rejected by the Sales Team, who were requesting that a new one be dreamed up, stat.
Roundly rejected! huffed INTERN. They could have at least AGONIZED a little. They could have at least sent INTERN a letter explaining how this decision to veto her beloved pet title had ripped at their very SOULS.
Hah hah hah! Good luck with that whole “Come up with another title stat” thing. Sometimes it’s almost easier to write another book than a title!