Anica Lewis (anicalewis) wrote,
Anica Lewis

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Is She the First Girl to Make This Point?

There's a great blog entry here about how frequently fantasy novels portray the First Girl Knight/Wizard/Master Thief/Whatevs, and how infrequently they show the arguably more complex, interesting, and currently-relevant stories of the Second Girl.

Those who follow the one mold-breaker into a field still dominated by men (or by people of a different race, orientation, etc.) still face crazy crazy challenges and prejudice, including whole new issues: Can you measure up to the shining star who went before? Can you prove that she wasn't an exception to a rule, but the start of a new rule - that she wasn't the one girl who has what it takes to be a knight, only the first to be allowed?

There's also an interesting comment somewhere about the commenter's perception of classism in fantasy as shown by how frequently the poor, suffering, lower-class protagonist was SURPRISE secretly a member of some higher order all along, by birth or fate. The commenter seems to be talking mostly about when a character is secretly a prince/ss or similar, but I think you could argue the same for a lot of "Chosen One" stories. Certainly this doesn't stop the character from being awesome sometimes, maybe from earning her/his Chosen One status - I think the relationship between Harry Potter and his own Chosen-ness, for example, is really interesting. Still, I can see how this kind of thing could come off as classist, because high birth/Chosen status could be seen as a prerequisite for awesomeness, just by dint of the infrequency of characters who really are nobodies who make themselves somebodies.


And now, for something completely different! I recently submitted a short story to a magazine, and I got a rejection letter with a reader's comment: "To be honest, the wording of the title distracted me throughout my reading of this story. It just didn't sound right."

The story is called "Silver's Say." I can promise that it makes sense in the context of the story, but I'm aware of the fact that it's virtually impossible to pronounce aloud. I wonder whether this could be what the reader meant ("didn't sound right"). So, I thought I'd ask: would you guys have a problem with the title based on this? I didn't pick it to be hard to say, and I'd be open to possibly changing it, but I think it matches the story very well and would rather not change it without at least understanding what the problem with the current one is.


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