The Burden of Destiny:Elven Quest

The Burden of Destiny:Elven Quest
book 1

Monday, June 19, 2017



Happy Endings:


I am a sucker for a happy ending, but in novels, movies and shows it is a difficult balancing act to write an ending that is both happy and realistic. When I was writing the Elven Quest series I had a vague idea of how I wanted the story to end. That is, I could imagine what Isobel and Mauve and the others would be like when they were older long after the conflict with Madeara had ended. But, I did not necessarily know how I was going to reach that ending. The ending came along on its own as the story developed. However, I knew that the Afterward was a happy one, but I also knew that in life, things do not always turn out the way you want them to and they do not always turn out happy.

Being a huge Potterhead (aka Harry Potter fan), I was of course devastated when major characters in the Harry Potter stories died, (spoiler alert), like Dumbledore, Lupin, Fred, Sirius, Snape, even Hedwig’s passing made me cry but did that make me put down the books and stop reading? No, of course not because I held faith that the book would end happily and JK Rowling didn’t disappoint.










Keeping all of this in mind, I was torn at times with what would be too cheesy or unbelievable to put in the book and what would be believable to add. So, I guess in terms of advice I have to be vague here and say that it would depend on the author, the story, and the writing style whether or not the book that the author is writing should have a happy ending. My advice would be not to over think it too much. Let the story and the characters talk to you and tell you what they want their ending to be. I know this might sound crazy but for me at least, this is the way it is writing a novel. The characters literally talk to me. They are like real people and as I type, their story just comes out. I hardly have to think about it at all.

My biggest issue with writing stories is not so much trying to write the story but more what to edit out after it is written. That for me was very difficult. When I originally finished the first novel it was over 480 pages and I knew that it was way too long. So the question then became what do I cut that would not hurt the integrity of the story? I started with repetition anything that I thought had been said before that really did not need to be reiterated I cut out. Then I went through it again and tried to decide what else was necessary. I also asked advice from family and friends that had read the book. I spent over a year editing the book. Some of you may think, “Isn’t that what an editor is for?” and yes, to some degree that is true. But the business of being published is an extremely competitive one so before you even begin to send out query letters to agents or publishers you want to make sure that your manuscript is the best you think it can be. An agent and/or publisher can tell just by the first 20 or 30 pages whether you have done any editing work and if they receive something that is full of mistakes or has too much content or will be too much work to edit they will most likely pass. I know this because when I first started sending out my book I had not edited much other than running spell check over it. I received quite a lot of rejections, fifteen in fact and more no answers.

When the no’s poured in I knew it was just a part of the process, but I also wondered if that meant that I needed to do some work on the beginning chapters so I edited them some more. By the time my book was accepted by my publisher and went through the actual editing process, the time it took the editors to go through it was fairly short in comparison to other authors I have heard of. One author wrote on his blog that his manuscript took three years to be completely finished with the editing process after it was accepted and he had signed the contract. My book was edited and set up for E-book format within three months, quite a big difference for wait time. Whether that was due to my previous editing or whether that is due to my publisher’s style and standards of operation I do not know, maybe it was a bit of both. But I do know that it never hurts to make sure your manuscript is in the best shape it can be when you are trying to get it published. Don’t just rely on others to do the editing work for you, that is lazy, take some responsibility yourself. When you do, your characters will have a happy ending and hopefully you will have a happy ending too and become a published author. Until next time remember, writing=happiness ;).

Sunday, June 4, 2017



Write what you know:


You’ve all no doubt heard that old saying just “write what you know” to be a successful writer. I find this saying a little misleading if we all wrote about only what we know or what our experiences have been then we wouldn’t have fantasy novels about magic, elves and other magical creatures or science fiction novels about other planets or other times and space. And I would assume there would be no murder mysteries or very few anyway. To me, this saying is not a literal one. It does not literally mean write only about what you know or what you have experienced. On the contrary, what it means is write about the feelings or the experiences you have had but change them, use them as inspiration for a story. It is okay to draw on real life experiences but change the details to match the story. In fact, I believe most authors do this. I definitely used this skill while writing my series Elven Quest.

In the first book The Burden of Destiny we meet the main character Isobel who is a fourteen year old that lives in a small village. Her father owns and runs a farm and her mother has past away so she takes on the role of the woman in the house cooking, cleaning, helping to take care of the farm and take care of her father. Since it is just the two of them and has been since she was very small she has a close relationship with her father. He can be a stern, no nonsense father at times, but they enjoy their time together too and he loves Isobel very much. But Isobel always feels a little bit different from her father and from the other villagers. While they all seem happy and satisfied with their lives and their simple way of life, she often feels bored and out of place. For myself, I can remember growing up in a small town. I remembered how I felt during those years, the things that I liked about it and the things I did not like. I never lived on a farm but I did live a country life and did do some manual labor so I could relate to Isobel on that score. Luckily, my mother is alive and well and I grew up with two parents not one, but I can relate to the fact that Isobel has a close relationship with her parent. I had and still have, very close relationships with both of my parents. 
(A couple of examples of what I imagine Isobel's cabin to look like)

 
 
I am sure every pre-teen or teen at some time feels that they are different than their friends and relatives. I can remember feeling that way at times. I can remember thinking, “no one can possibly understand how I feel, I am so different from everyone else.” I probably was no different but at that time, my feelings were very strong. In Isobel’s case some of her feelings were her age but some were due to the fact that she is different, (spoiler alert if you haven’t read the book.) Isobel finds out that she is half elven. That is why she feels different than her human friends and has abilities that they do not have. As you can see, while writing the story I tried to remember how I felt at that time in my life and translated that into the story, obviously with some differences added to it.

One of my favorite parts of the first novel and the part that was probably the easiest for me to write because I was very much drawing on my own feelings and memories was the part when Isobel leaves home. When she actually leaves her small cozy farm and her comfortable village that she knows so well and when she finally has to say goodbye to those she loves. I went through all of that myself when I got married, (which I did young at 23,) and then immediately had to move away to be with my husband who was in the military. When all of that happened I can remember very well the feelings that I felt of sadness at knowing that I was leaving my childhood home behind. I also felt excited to see new places and experience new things. I also felt a huge sense of doubt. I worried that I would not be able to make a good life for myself or be successful. I worried that people would forget me or that I would lose my close relationship with my parents and siblings. Isobel feels all of these things and for her there is an added sense of danger and the knowledge that her journey is part of her destiny, it is something she must do. In a way, I guess my journey was similar. It was something that I was destined to do, (luckily for me I didn’t have to battle scary Carachi on mine.) 😊
(Some examples of what I imagine Isobel's land to look like, these were taken at a friend's land in VT.)
 


Anyway, I feel like if you understand the old saying, “write what you know” then it can be very useful to remember. For myself it was very rewarding to think back to a time in my life when things were changing or when I felt out of place and use those memories and feelings to describe what my main character was going through. Although every character in my novel has tiny pieces of me in them, I know that Isobel is like a shadow version of my old self. So when writing, do not be afraid to be honest with yourself about feelings you have had or memories from your past and use those things as inspiration for your story. I hope this works for you dear readers. Until next time remember, writing=happiness ;)

Friday, May 19, 2017



Editing for life:

Okay readers, let’s talk editing. A major part of being a writer is editing your own work. It can be difficult to decide what to remove of your writing and what is working and should be left in. But the hope is that after editing, your novel, or story etc. will be the best version of itself that it can be.


Thinking about this made me pause and consider; what if we all spent time editing our lives like we do to our stories? What if we took the time to be honest with ourselves and decide what in our lives is not making our life the best version of itself that it can be. We should review everything in our lives from beginning to end, the relationships we have, the hobbies that we have, the personality traits we have and we should ask ourselves if we should be changing any of these. Are any of these things dragging you down? If so, even though it may not be easy, it will more than likely make your life better to press that delete button and remove those things. Just like editing a novel this will take time and honesty with yourself. You will no doubt have to review whether or not your steps toward improvement are working and if not change them again. But, it feels great when you delete a section from a story that is a little boring and instead replace it with an interesting event that makes your story soar with excitement and you realize that that is what the story was missing all along.


It is the same in life. I am not a perfect person by any means and there are many things that need to work on changing or improving to make my life better. I know that when I have done this in the past, it has always improved my life as a whole. For example, for a long time I forgot about writing. I forgot how wonderful it made me feel to put my thoughts down on paper. I told myself I was too busy, I was in school trying to get my masters degree. I was working and living life. During that time I did not think about trying to write anything and I felt like something was missing in my life. A couple of years later when I had the idea for my Elven Quest novels, at first I ignored it, thinking that I didn’t have time to write. However, the idea kept popping into my head with more and more detail, so eventually I sat down and started writing. For the next few years I made the time to write, despite what else was going on in my life. I wrote some of my book every day or every other day and I felt so fulfilled again. I finally felt like that piece of my soul that had been pushed out of place was in place again.

After I finished the first and second novel, I again had that feeling that something was missing. When I tried to sit down and write it felt forced and so for a while I did not write anything new. Instead, I focused on editing those two books and working to try to get them published. Eventually, that nagging feeling that something was wrong and that a piece was pushed out of place again returned. I started to wonder what I was supposed to do now. What was I supposed to write? Then like a dream, some story ideas for continuations to the Elven Quest series came to me and I began writing again and this time it was not forced at all, it just clicked and worked. But it was because I sat and did some reflecting and I asked myself, what did I want to have in my life to make it more fulfilling and a better version of itself? That is when my gut told me to put aside some of the other writings that I had started and instead focus on these new ideas. Once I listened to my gut, I felt much happier at my keyboard and in my life. Now I feel the same about blogging. I thought that I would hate it at first. I talked myself out of doing a blog because I told myself I was a novelist I write long books I can’t write a short one or two paged blog. But when I finally listened to my inner editor and added this exciting new venture into my life I found more and more that it is improved and continues to improve my life and my personal story.

My newest aspiration is to help other writers on their journeys to telling their stories. So, in order to fulfill this goal for myself, I have exciting news. I have joined Upworks.com as a freelance editor, proofreader, ghostwriter, and mentor for other writers. Feel free to email me at my outlook email or write to me at Upworks if you need my help dear readers, I would be honored to help you.


So the lesson here is, don’t be afraid of editing readers. Learn to embrace your inner editing critic and when they tell you to delete something from your personal life’s story or add something new in, just give it a try. You do not have to be an expert at something in order for it to give you a sense of fulfillment and purpose. If you try, free of judgment, you might find, to your surprise, that it does make you happier and more fulfilled and that feeling is definitely one you should all strive for, to be the best version of yourself and to have the best version of your life that you can possibly have. Try new things, shine your personal light, and until next time dear readers remember, writing=happiness. ;)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Visit to Cardinal Spellman HS



Recent events:

Recently, I spent the day speaking to students at Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton MA. The Media specialist at Spellman, Linda St. Laurent was a former student at the same college that I went to for my masters program. Although Linda and I were not at the school at the same time, both of us were on their Facebook Alumni page. Linda saw my post on that page about becoming a published author and Linda knew that she wanted to bring an author in to speak to her students. However, she also knew that she wanted someone professional who would be a good fit for their school. She did her research, read about me and read my blog, then she bought and read my book, as did several other teachers at the school. I was so flattered when I found out that all of them loved the book and were all in agreement that they wanted me to visit. We told the students about how she found me because we felt it was important to show them a positive that can come from utilizing social media in the right way. We also felt it was a lesson that showed that you never know where you will make connections or with whom.

I spent the entire day at Spellman and my time was very well spent. The welcome that I received from everyone, students and staff was lovely. They treated me like an honored guest and I was very excited to be there. I spoke to four classes as well as an afterschool book club that day and the students were wonderful, very engaging and kind and they asked insightful questions. I wish I knew his name but there was one young man that, had I been giving out an award for the most creative question, he would have won. I told the students that I did not go to college for writing. I majored in Sociology and received a masters in Counseling Education. My novel was written simply because I have always enjoyed writing and thought up an idea that I thought would be a good novel. I spent the time after work and on the weekends writing my novel and before I decided to publish I spent a lot of time researching to understand the different styles of publishing so that I would know when I was presented with a contract if it was legitimate and if it was the right fit for me. This young man then raised his hand and asked, “So, do you think if you had gone to school for writing and been a trained writer that the publishing would have happened quicker? Or do you think it would have changed your writing style at all?” Wow……those two questions were so well thought out, they really made me think. Even after I answered him, I thought about those questions for the rest of the day. My answer to him was that, in my case, I learned a lot of life lessons going through my life as I did and I think those lessons are now reflected in my writing. I am therefore unsure if I would have learned them had I been solely focused on writing from the beginning. 



The afterschool book club was fun to be a part of too, especially because one of the students in the group had already read my book. I didn’t want to say too much in-front of the others and give anything away, however, I had to ask this student what was her favorite part and who were her favorite characters and why? It was fun for me to hear what she thought about each character. To be able to discuss them like they are live people with someone else is such fun. They’ve been my friends and involved in my life for years, so to share them with other people and have them tell me how much they too enjoyed getting to know my friends is a thrill.

After school, I was interviewed by a young lady who told me she is a senior. She has worked on her school paper for years and she is going to be going to college for writing. We sat and she asked me some questions, below is a transcript of that interview. I hope you enjoy dear readers and if you ever get a chance to speak at a school to students, I hope you’ll take it. It’s so fulfilling and fun to do. Thank you Cardinal Spellman for hosting me, as always, remember, writing=happiness ;).

An Interview with Laura E. Thompson: Author of The Burden of Destiny: The Elven Quest Book One by Mary Geoghegan
Question: Where did you get the idea for your book first?
Thompson: My book was inspired partly by J.K. Rowling and Tolkien and other fantasy style writers, but partly just my own imagination. I thought about growing up in a small town. The
main character grows up in a small town where everybody knows everybody. She feels like she’s a little different than other people, like she’s destined for something a lot bigger. She comes to find out that her mother, who has passed, is tied to an elven race and she has the ability to perform magic and can manipulate water if she studies and practices. Then there’s a whole storyline wrapped about that, which has to do with her bringing people together to fight an evil that’s coming their way.
Question: What themes do you try to convey in your writing?
Thompson: I try to talk a lot about communicating with other people, even if you are different than
them. Just because you have some differences, that doesn’t mean you can’t work together to accomplish something. I also try to talk about the damage that our natural world has taken and how we need to work together to protect Mother Nature. On top of that, there’s some romantic stories rolled into it, there’s good and evil. There’s choices and things like that all have to do with believing in yourself. I think it’s a story that has many layers. It’s something you could get something different out of it every time you read it, depending on age.
Question: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Answer: It has made me take it more seriously. I look at it as part of my career, not just something I like to do for fun. But, with that I still try to have fun with it, that’s why I still work a full time job and do this on the side. I feel like doing something full time and having a strict regiment takes the
fun out of it. If I get to a point that I’m blocked or not feeling the story, I will put it aside and work
on another project. Then I go back, and I re-read, and I edit, and I critique myself.
Question: What books inspire you?
Thompson: There are a lot of books that inspire me. I’m a big reader, I have been my whole life.
I love to read. Obviously, Tolkien is the father figure for fantasy. He was a huge inspiration. J.K.
Rowling was an inspiration because of her imagination and the things that she created that were
very different than anything else out there, up to that point. I’m was a huge fan of LM Montgomery
and Laura Ingalls Wilder as a kid. Mainly because those stories revolved around small towns and
small town characters. I like Dan Brown mysteries. I don’t know if I could ever write like him, but I
enjoy his style.
Question: How do you deal with writers’ block?
Thompson: Writers block is tough! For me, when I get blocked and really don’t know where to go
with a story, I do one of two things. I either put that story aside for the time being and I research
and read other things. I will work on other projects and write a blog post. I never give up on it,
sometimes rereading from the beginning helps me remember where I was going and creates new
ideas.
Question: Who has helped you grow the most as a writer and what advice has really pushed you farther?
Thompson: My English teachers were both big influences on me. Then in my college years, a
professor who I talked to about publishing, because up until then I had been too afraid to share my stuff with other people, and I talked to him about that. I asked him how I could gain confidence and asked if he thought I had the potential to be published in the future and what it was like. He gave me great advice on the publish industry and what to look out for. It’s tough because there are scams and fake publishing companies out there. You do need to spend time research and keep track of who you are sending what to and their responses. Before I signed the contract that I currently have, I made sure to research them as a company and the type of contact I was signing to make sure it wasn’t a fake. It’s a little scary but you need to believe in yourself and your writing style. I think you can be a successfully published author in any style, any format, you don’t necessarily need a publisher. I know a few people who have done self-publishing and are very
successful. It’s a different style and there are risks involved with that.
Question: What time of day are you most motivated?
Thompson: My evening time is the best time for me. Sometimes it’s between seven and eight at night is when I feel super creative because it’s after a long day and I’ve thought of things throughout a day. Sometimes it’s weekends and I’ll be bored and not doing anything. I’ll pull out my laptop in the middle of the day and suddenly it’s late. It’s one of those things where once it started flowing you don’t want to stop it. I think it depends on the day and the factors of that day.
Question: Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to become an author?
Thompson: Yeah, I would say always read. Reading helps you stay inspired and keeps your creative juices going. Even if you don’t like a style of writing, that’s actually good too because it can teach you how not to write and what to avoid. I think that practicing your craft, doing something related to writing every day is a good thing. For me, I don’t always have time to sit down and write down an entire chapter. Instead of forcing myself to get through a chapter, I’ll go and reread and change some of sentences or write a blog post. You just need to practice it every day, it’s like a muscle. If you don’t use it for a while you can lose it

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Guest Blog Post

Hello Dear Readers, recently I was lucky enough to be invited to be a guest blogger on a fellow Fantasy writer's blog. http://wp.me/p4Dwoa-1h6
Since I believe in paying a good thing forward, I invited another fellow writer to be a guest on my blog. I am happy to introduce to you Timothy Robare who has recently self-published his first Novelette (which is a word I love by the way, its so fancy). Timothy's novelette is one that I have read and love! Because I enjoy his writing so much, I am offering my editing services to him for his upcoming novel. We will see more of him in the future, I am sure. For now, enjoy his post below and check him out on Amazon and Facebook, links below. 




Born December 22nd 1989 in Burlington, Vermont, Timothy graduated with a degree in writing arts from Plattsburgh State. His love for writing started as a young boy writing lyrics and poetry and then moved to short stories and plays until he began to read novels such as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” which really inspired him on the impact novels can have. Writing inspirations range from Shakespeare to Hemingway to CC Humphrey’s and others. 


The path of self publishing: By Guest Author: Timothy Robare

The road to writing is filled with different paths and like Robert Frost said, “I took the one less traveled, and that made all the difference.” Writing is never easy and starting out you glorify it and think it is just a hobby. A lot of work goes into writing, as I have learned. A lot more goes into turning that writing, that beautiful creation that you’ve worked on and worked on until your mental capacity was ready to crash and burn, into the hottest flame ever known. Edit, re-edit, then do both twenty times more and continue doing it; which some nights makes you want to throw your computer at a wall.

An important part of writing, as I learned, is who you surround yourself with. A good support group is extremely important in my experience. People who are willing to give you feedback, (honest feedback). People willing to help you edit, and people telling you that you can do it and that you are doing a good job to keep you going. I know personally, that fits of melancholy plague me often as I write. I had a great supporting cast on my path to self-publishing. I was very conflicted whether to self-publish or not, but finally I talked to multiple sources and decided that it was my best bet currently. I have a main novel that takes most of my focus, but little projects on the side give me breaks that are much needed. I wanted to publish this one, my novelette, “The Story of A World War II Vet”, so badly that I decided to self-publish through Amazon’s programs, Create a Space and KDP. After much contemplation and research I decided it was a good opportunity and exciting. More work was involved but it was so real and it was all me at that point. The final click after creating the proof was a terrifying moment, but also extremely gratifying. Seeing your final copy, searching it on Amazon and having it pop up, is a beautiful moment, one that is nearly hard to believe it is even happening.

Of course it isn’t as great as getting a large publisher in many people’s eyes, but that can be a future project. Self-publishing made me realize how many people actually support me and that I can do anything I need to do in regards to accomplishing, creating a real living book. Friends, family, and people I don’t know that well, helped to spread word of my book and it was a very humbling day to watch so many people care enough to support me in something that means so much. Perhaps it’s not as spectacular as being published by a big company in many views and aspects, but it is equally as beautiful and wonderful in different ways that are difficult to put into words. I personally was terrified and the writing journey is different for each person, which is part of its allure, but there’s always a way to accomplish your goal and your dream, as long as you want to badly enough. If you’re considering the path of self-publishing, no it isn’t a glamour filled journey right off, but nothing is just happens and becomes a best-selling piece. It is a different path than I had originally anticipated, but I do not regret one second of it now. All you can do is follow your heart and your pen, (or keyboard, I suppose). From what I have learned as a writer, that will lead you to where you need to be. In closing, I will leave you with another beautiful quote.
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”—Enid Bagnold 


https://www.facebook.com/authorTimothyRobare/

Friday, March 31, 2017



Keeping the motivation:

If you have never read the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel, I highly suggest reading them. Classic stories that describe real things in life that we all might face such as being self conscious about how we look in a bathing suit or wishing you had enough will power to stop eating sweets. One of my favorites is the story called Tomorrow. Toad does not want to get out of bed because he knows his house is a mess and he needs to clean it but he does not want to. He wants to take life easy. So he refuses to pick up his clothes or wash his dishes or sweep and dust but then he sits on his bed and says “Blah, I feel down in the dumps. I’m thinking about tomorrow and all of the many things that I will have to do.” 



Sometimes when you are a writer you may have a day like this. A day when you think, I know I should go through my media sites and post things or make some calls to local schools to schedule book signings or speeches. Or even tougher, I know I really should be writing, working on the next chapter of my story. But when you sit down and look at an empty page you may feel like my friend Toad, “Tomorrow! I will do it all tomorrow!” Toad shouts. What Toad realizes and what I have come to realize about life is that if you do a little bit here and there today, you will have less things on your to do list staring you in the face tomorrow. Thinking of life this way can help make you feel less overwhelmed, even by the dreaded “blank page”.

That is not to say that it will be easy or fulfilling to write or manage your other tasks for your career. But if you sit down and try to think of what may happen next in your book, you re-read the previous chapter to know where you left off or perhaps you look at some notes to remind yourself of where your story is going. (Whatever your process may be, every author’s is different.) If you do all of this and you still can think of nothing for your story try putting that book aside for the time being. Instead, write a few paragraphs that you could use for an article or a talk or blog. Or jot down other story ideas that you may have in your head, even if you do not think you will ever use them. I find that writing whatever comes into your mind is a bit like dusting a dirty house, it helps to clear away the cobwebs that have been gathering and makes you feel a little bit happier and lighter. Then, with your head clear and your body relaxed, you will probably notice that the next time you open your book and begin to write, the story flows onto the page all on its own.

If all else fails, if you try to jot down some story ideas, or write an article or blog and still nothing comes out, then you could always try reading. I find that reading other people’s work, even short children’s stories helps to stimulate your own writing ability. You will pick up and store things that you liked about that authors writing style and discard what does not fit you. When you do this, it helps you to create your own style and voice. A writer’s voice is uniquely theirs but we all gain inspiration from one another too and that is okay. So yes, as an author writing on a consistent basis is important, but so is reading and so is doing whatever it takes to clear out the cobwebs in your mind to keep it clear.  So do me and yourself a favor dear readers and don’t be like my pal Toad and simply say, “I will do it tomorrow.” Instead, start with some small tasks and remember if you do a little bit today, it will be less that you will have to do tomorrow. And the good thing about that is that then, when tomorrow comes, you will be able to “Just take life easy.” Until next time remember…writing=happiness. ;)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017



Super Girls: Role Models

With so many women’s marches going on and women’s rights being talked about in the news, it is impossible to ignore the fact that women are still feeling like lower class citizens in a lot of respects. I think that women’s issues and women’s rights have come a very long way when you look at where we came from. But, it many ways we are not where we want to be yet and so we continue to speak out.

A wonderful friend of mine, who is a life coach and a spiritual healer, (Heather Wood of Body Love, www.fitbybodylove.com), recently did a live talk on Facebook about the kinds of role models that girls see in the media. It always seems that there are two types either, those who try to get ahead using their beauty or shock value or those who try to get ahead by acting like men, tough, and no-nonsense. These latter women are usually called a not nice B word by men and other women, probably because people feel threatened by them. My friend made a good point in saying that girls are often still shown that women, especially mothers, need to put themselves last. That they should do everything else for everyone else before they do what they need for themselves and that if they do this they are a good wife/partner and mother. If they do not do this they are considered selfish by a lot of people. Why is that? Truthfully if a mother does some things for herself on a regular basis she feels better about herself which makes her kinder and happier to others. She becomes a better mother and wife/partner because she’s taking care of her own needs.

This point is proven in the role of women/mothers in Disney movies for example, don’t get me wrong I love Disney, but it is true that the role of women in Disney movies has always been one of two extremes, either dead or non-existent or weak on one side or very strong, very powerful, very villainous on the other side. Think about it, who are the ones who save the day in Disney movies, many men right, if a female does save the day, like Mulan for example, she’s not actually a woman she’s a young girl. The same with Merida from Brave, the same with Belle from Beauty and the Beast. They are all girls, if you read up on what their ages are it is usually between 14-19. Elsa, from Frozen was the oldest at 21 and she was the first to have a strong, feminine presence and not be evil, but she was treated like she was evil wasn’t she? Because she was strong and threatening….Interesting. (Just a side note here, Frozen was written by a woman maybe that is why it has a different tone.) Look at the mothers or older women in all of those movies they are either dead, or weak and easily pushed around by others. What message does that send to young girls?



After listening to Heather talk about this and thinking about it more I started thinking about my own book and whether or not it has positive female role models. I believe it does, but they are very mixed in a lot of ways. The two main characters are very strong, intellectual, brave females, but they are girls, both 15. The villain is also a woman but again fairly young she is only 23. The only thing that I think saves my book from following the same old path that the Disney movies took is that I do have two strong mentors that help the girls along the way. One of these mentors is very old, her name is Alianda, and the other is younger, around 30, her name is Niandrin. These women are both independent and brave they both followed their own paths in life and because of this, in a way they pushed others away from them. Technically neither of them has “it all,” a family, a career and a good partnership. However, they encourage the girls to work toward those goals for themselves. In the second book the 30 year old, Niandrin and Isobel are having a discussion about this and this is what is said;

            Isobel asked, “Do you still believe in love? Do you still think it’s possible to do both, complete ones personal journey and have someone to love?”
            “I know that for me that is not what happened, but that does not necessarily mean the same will be true for you. You will have to make your own choices and maybe you will have both, only time will tell.”

Now I do not want to give too much away so I will stop here, however, I will say that I feel good about what happens to Isobel and Mauve and I do feel that they and Niandrin and Alianda are good role models for girls. Do they follow into the same old trap as Disney characters, maybe in some respects, but I think they are still people that girls can look up to and that makes me very proud. I can also say that in the future I will be even more cognizant of the messages I am sending and try to break the mold if I can.

How about you dear readers, what do you think? Is it necessary to change the role of women in books and movies for young girls or no? Can you name strong female characters who have “it all” the three things I mentioned above. What would your female characters be like if you wrote some? I’d love to hear. Until next time dear readers remember, writing=happiness. ;)