leaving Laverne Cox off of the Time top 100 despite the overwhelming support she received is an act of violence and erasure towards trans women
I DONT CARE IM GOING TO SHOUT IT OUT I LOVE CUDDLING SO MUCH I CAN’T STOP FUCKING THINKING ABOUT IT I’M GOING TO MELT INTO A PUDDLE OF MUSHY FEELINGS AND CRAVINGS FOR ENDLESS CUDDLING GOODBYE WORLD
I’ve written about the importance of a novel’s beginning previously on this blog, and in truth, that importance can’t be overstated. Your novel’s opening words have to draw the reader into the book, give him or her something to care about and something to intrigue, something to entice, a reason to keep holding onto the book and turning the pages.
Unfortunately, too many writers think the only way to draw a reader in is with non-stop action. The concept of “hitting the ground running” has been drummed into writers so often it’s not unusual to find a murder mystery beginning with a death in the first sentence. This isn’t always the best way to draw your reader into the fictional world you’ve created. In fact, “starting with a bang,” so to speak, can actually be disorienting at times.
If you watch potential book buyers in a bookshop, they pick up a book, leaf through it, maybe read a paragraph here and there as well as the cover blurb, then either put the book back on the shelf or buy it. No potential reader expects to fully grasp your story situation with one quick leaf through, and they aren’t searching for the inciting incident. Heck, they probably don’t even know what the words, “inciting incident” mean, though you, as the writer, need to.
What a potential book buyer is looking for is the style of the book, the language, that unique something that makes your writing yours and yours alone. That’s what draws a reader in. Flat, vague writing, no matter how many fireworks go off in its midst, causes a reader to put a book back on the shelf. Language that speaks to the reader, along with vivid imagery, pulls him into the story and won’t let him put the book down.
Margaret Atwood, a master writer, used description to begin my favorite of all her novels, the bestselling Alias Grace. This is how that book begins:
Out of the gravel there are peonies growing. They come up through the loose grey pebbles, their buds testing the air like snails’ eyes, then swelling and opening, huge dark-red flowers all shining and glossy like satin. Then they burst and fall to the ground.
In the one instant before they come apart they are like the peonies in the front garden at Mrs. Kinnear’s that first day, only those were white. Nancy was cutting them. She wore a pale dress with pink rosebuds and a triple-flounced skirt, and a straw bonnet that hid her face. She carried a flat basket, to put the flowers in; she bent from the hips like a lady, holding her waist straight. When she heard us and turned to look, she put her hand up to her throat as if startled.
I tuck my head down while I walk, keeping step with the rest, eyes lowered, silently two by two around the yard, inside the square made by the high stone walls. My hands are clasped in front of me; they’re chapped, the knuckles reddened. I can’t remember a time when they were not like that. The toes of my shoes go in and out under the hem of my skirt, blue and white, blue and white, crunching on the pathway. These shoes fit me better than any I’ve ever had before.
It’s 1851. I’ll be twenty-four years old next birthday. I’ve been shut up in here since the age of sixteen. I’m a model prisoner, and give no trouble.
I love this opening, and when I picked up Alias Grace on a table in my local bookstore, it definitely interested me. I wanted to read more of the book. I wanted to read all it, and I did.
This masterful opening provides the reader with a lot of information, and it raises quite a few questions. For example, who is the narrator? Why on earth has she been in prison for nearly eight years now? And at such a young age? She certainly doesn’t seem like the criminal type. She’s obviously very intelligent and observant. She describes the peonies in near-poetic terms.
ok so laverne placed 5th on the final vote count and had the smallest number of “no” votes in the top 10 aside from lupita nyong’o so what the fuck happened
So the internet just gave my tumblr name a whole new (literal) meaning. I was alerted to a photo of me gathering massive attention via a friend who linked me to a Reddit post titled “Don’t worry guys, I’m taking hipster to the next level.”
Apparently some guy on the train uploaded this photo to twitter it has been spreading like wildfire since. Surprisingly when I read the thread on Reddit a lot of it was positive/supportive. I’m surprised by how unfazed and genuinely funny I find the negative comments. People’s theories as to why I am dressed like this, and who I really am are also really interesting.
I’m dressed like this for a number reasons. Firstly, and fore-mostly, I genuinely like the clothes I am wearing. I’ve described my look as “anywhere from hipster chic to kawaii gangsta Harajuku princess”. This is the epitome of the latter. I love sailor moon, I love pink, those converse are kawaii as fuck and yeah fuck you I’m wearing Prada sunglasses. I don’t really dress like this all the time, but I wish I did more often. I mostly don’t because I want to keep the look fresh. I wore this outfit because I had an art exhibition at my college and wanted to express myself.
I also find men’s fashion extremely limiting in both types of clothes, cuts of clothes and colours. Women have so many beautiful options. So I pillage their aisles a lot because I wanna look pretty.
This was also a statement. As an artist I think fashion is incredibly important. This day, I wanted something that not only reflected my personality and artistic sensibilities but also have some social commentary. A lot of my work, or what I want my work to speak about, is sex and sexuality and notions of gender and gender roles. How many of you knew pink actually use to be associated with boys, not girls? Personally I think the idea of “This is a boy colour”, “This is a girl colour” or “Barbies are for girls”, “Power Rangers are for boys” is dumb as fuck. Creating social and cultural boundaries does nothing but limit the potential of a person. By dressing like this I am breaking that boundary for myself and attempting to reflect that sentiment.
Keeps getting better. Rock on, man.