Should I Take a Pen Name?

Selene, should I adopt a pen name? And if I don’t, how do I worry less about what people will say about my work and just CREATE IT? –Sarah Rose

I think that it’s entirely obvious that I’m a super massive fan of pen names, but instead of telling you what you should do, I’ll just give you some thoughts that I have on the matter along with some articles that list pros and cons. But instead of being like every single other article on pen names, I’m going to go into some of the current uses and talk about issues surrounding pen names.

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Post Lineup

Monday, I’ll post a fairly lengthy article about pen names!

With any luck, I’ll post an article the next Monday on the 2017 MLA Presidential Address “Boundaries of Culture” by Kwame Appiah complete with full (probably still biased) summary since this article isn’t available anywhere without payment, but if I can somehow upload a link to a Google Drive, I’ll do that.

The next article after that will either be a guest article or a shared article if I can’t manage to finish the article on Writing Marginalized Characters.

Shared From Others

on being stone

Wonderful tidbit!! Worth a read.

butch coming home

The concept of “stone butch” is sort of taboo, or at least shrouded in mystery. Part of that can definitely be ascribed to the fact that we (stone butches) ourselves don’t talk about it much, not even with each other, maybe especially not with each other. That, and when you google it, its all in the sort of graphic exotifying language that nobody would ever use to talk about someone they knew firsthand, let alone their own sex life. Its the way I might write about a weird bug. Coldly. Details focused on its alien body behavior, vagueness when it comes to what its like to BE that bug.

Even within lesbian communities, stone is not well understood. Isn’t that antithetical to the kinds of pleasure we’re famous for being able to give each other, isn’t that antithetical to feminist ideals of reciprocity?

Not to me.

Before realizing that I…

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Guest Writing · writing

Heather, Heather, and Heather: Quality vs. Quantity in Representation

By Alexi Scheiber (@AlexidoesArt on twitter, instagram, and tumblr)

Selene was kind enough to let me write a guest article! I study animation, and representation is a constant topic that I grapple with in my writing and filmmaking. I talk a lot about these issues with Selene, but this was one I’ve been thinking about expressing myself for awhile, and the catalyst that made me want to intrude on my friend’s writing blog was the new trailer for Heathers, 2018.

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The Essence of Story

I’ve been struggling with my work, and I’ll be the first to admit that. However, I know I’m not the only person that struggles with finding worth in what I write. This isn’t a rehash of “Is It Worth It?” but, rather, a look into what I find is the essence of any story, which ultimately allowed me to have a breakthrough after three stagnant months with my work.

Personal growth and personal fulfillment.

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Praising Mediocrity

This might as well have a subtitle that says “A Reflection on Ready Player One” or “Ready Player Don’t.” I’ve been trying to find the words for weeks and weeks to write a post, but really, I’ve had no inspiration other than to be completely utterly incensed by the dreadful mediocrity that is a bestseller and, now, a movie.  It’s not just confined to this one work, by any means, but I feel like this travesty of 385 pages is exemplary of the exact problem that plagues the writing field.

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Fearing “the Male Gaze” in Your Own Writing

I ended up agonizing over whether or not something I’d written was through the lens of sexual objectification rather than a loving exchange between two characters. I ended up getting a few sensitivity reads, but I didn’t exactly trust their judgment because I thought there was something so inherently wrong about what I’d done that it couldn’t be right. When one of my friends asked me what exactly was bothering me, I couldn’t tell her and went around the issue over and over again because I didn’t know what it was. Something was off. Eventually, knowing me like she and my partner do, they guided me into explaining that I was afraid of emulating the male gaze, which for those of you who aren’t sure what that is, it’s essentially presenting women as objects for consumption by a typically male audience.

I had a miniature existential crisis because, for all my talk and writing, I was still afraid that after over 500k words of sapphic writing, I was still trying to make my female characters appealing for men (which might I say, I would rather die than do. )

So why do I question myself? Because of the media with which I have grown, certainly.

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Violence in YA Fiction

I think that violence has become a way of life for almost all young people, whether it’s physical violence or violence of hatred (which can also be physical, but I also mean the mental strain on minorities). It seems that now, of all times in my life at least, there’s more violence than ever. Recognizing that aspect of daily life and inserting it into YA fiction makes it more widely available to provide escapist and cathartic outlets.

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For Bi’s Sake

So, how can you recognize a bisexual? There is a presumption in Western cultures that all people are heterosexual, expanded somewhat in this century to the presumption that all people are either heterosexual or become homosexual. Bisexuality, for the most part, remains invisible—invisible, that is, except as a point of conflict or transition. In other words, an action or event must occur to make bisexuality visible to the viewer. Thus, with rare exceptions, the only bisexuals who are seen as bisexual are those who are known to be in relationships with more than one partner (of more than one sex), and bisexuals who are leaving a partner of one sex for a partner of a diff erent sex. Bisexuals whose lives are celibate, monogamous, and/or without conflict or triangulation are rarely read as bisexual by the outside viewer, but rather are seen by others as either straight or gay. Hence, there is an inevitable association of bisexuality with non-monogamy, conflict and transition.

— “Finding Bisexuality in Fiction” by Robyn Ochs

But is this a problem solely in literature? Definitely not. But, most tropes that fall under the Questioned Bisexual end up coming from a point that originated in literature as seen by the vast majority of what we consider “classic” literature as having underlying queer themes. You can deny it all you want, but Virginia Woolf is everyone’s queer mom, and you know it in your heart.

Eighteenth and nineteenth century literature gave rise to many different tropes – the vampiric man-eating woman, the childlike and naive full grown woman who is only a play thing for men, the woman who must die for loving her best friend and having an extramarital affair with a younger man when she also gambles and wears pants…

And still, there are others in the year two thousand and seventeen that don’t believe bisexuals exist and believe it a transitional period between heterosexuality and fully realized homosexuality. Yes, I am talking about someone specifically here, but I’m not going to name names because I’m a better person than that. We all know there are plenty of people who feel this way.

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Liverpool Student Radio

Fragments, Recovered is getting a feature spot on Liverpool Student Radio today, October 19, and will be read by a great and dear friend Scottie Jolly who will be doing a reading of some poetry in conjunction with their creative writing radio show.

This week focuses on introductions, beginnings, first impressions, and first lines!

Please go support their radio broadcast by listening here at 8-10 PM (GMT) / 4-6 PM (EST)!