X-MEN & THE TRANS COMMUNITY

 

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From the comics I read as a kid, to the nineties Fox cartoon and then the X-Men film franchise that has been running for the last twenty years they have been there. At college we use to go to the local chip shop during dinner and play on the arcade game there. I was always Nightcrawler, my favourite at the time. (Well there was also Wolverine but my mate was always him)
Wolverine can of course be considered one of the most popular of the X-men. Hugh Jackman has played him superbly in the franchise with three solo movies and a number of cameos. But for me it’s a team thing. The comics, the series, even the X-Men games I still have for the Playstation it’s a group. Cyclopes, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, Beast. Just a few of my favourites.

Now since starting this blog I’ve written a few posts on heroes. From the role models I’ve had over the years such as He-man and Spiderman to looking at Batman, Supergirl and the themes of identity. The X-men then also provide a personal meaning to me. They are a minority group. Created in the sixties it seems obvious that Stan Lee took themes from the racist attitudes that existed. They became metaphoric for people who were treated different because they were different. A theme still relevant in the eighties and nineties with homosexuality and the AIDS crisis. A theme still relevant now because of the issues with Trans people.

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Let’s take a look at the X-men or more precisely the mutant community. Outcasts, feared for being different and not fitting into what people consider the norm. Many of these mutants don’t have the great powers of the X-men or their enemies. Their mutation may be just something small. A little bit different in their identity and all they want to do is try and live a normal life, try to fit in with society.
This is what most Trans people want. When people shout about Trans women using women’s toilet the argument always have someone say ‘Why not have separate toilets for trans women.’ Well apart from the impracticalities, such as establishments having to fit an extra toilet area, the fact remains it marks someone out as different.

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A Trans woman is a woman, a mantra often repeated by many but with good reason. They don’t want to be seen as something different. They are just trying to get on with their lives as the person they are. They just want to go for a pee. There shouldn’t be any reason why they should have to enter through a door marked just for them, a door that advertises to those around that this person is different. A talking point. Someone to stop and stare at. A person who is now open to attack and ridicule. The toilet might as well just have a big flashing sign across the top. What this separate toilet does is force that person to identify themselves just because they need to pee.

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Ok, mini rant over but we’ll be coming back to identity later. On Twitter it is almost like there is a war going on. Trans people and their allies one side. Cis people and allies on the other. Arguing over rights, safety, respect or even the meaning of words. It’s the same as the world of the X-men. A minority group fighting for their rights, sometime to even exist, in the world and the other side against them. Or even just confused by it. In X-men 2 there is a scene where Iceman’s mother uses the line “Have you tried not being a mutant?” It’s a line that has been used against both homosexuals and Trans people. A mistaken belief that it is a choice. Something that can be turned off.
And like the world of the X-men there are different factions. Many are those just trying to live. Others are more outspoken, activists who like the X-men put themselves out there to fight and be visible. Munroe Berkoff, Paris Lee, Dr Rachel McKinnon. Sadly there are others as well who are more like Magneto’s team, willing to use violence (speech) to achieve their aims. The more extremist side. But the same goes for the other side. Many of those fighting against Trans people are just people with concerns about safety, fairness and loss of rights. There is misinformation and there is fear. But there is a few that are more hateful. Rather like the Mutant Liberation Front they don’t think Trans people should exist or if they do they should be segregated from the rest of society. And rather like scenes we’ve seen in those comics, movies and cartoons there are those who would use violence against individuals. Who are quite proud to announce on social media about what they would do if they came across a Trans person. It’s a scary world out there. To think there are people out there who I’ve never met, never spoken to who hate me for who I am and would beat the shit out of me if they came across me.
I’ve seen posts that advocates for Trans people to have to wear a symbol to mark them out in society. Even for there to be a registration. An idea I pointed out at the time was similar to the X-men.

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It’s here that we can return to the point about identity. Why do Trans people need to wear something to mark them out? Why is it important for people to be able to recognise them in the street? There is only one answer and it’s because they are seen as wrong. They are seen as dangerous. “Oh right, yeah you can exist as a woman but we need to know you were born male.” Is it so you can stop your children conversing with someone Trans? Is it so you know not to walk on the same side of the street? Does it matter that such a move would identity Trans people out to the more extreme elements of society, resulting in bulling, beatings and possibly death. Where is the concern for safety now?
The only thing such actions such as separate toilets and wearing symbols does is it makes it easier for people to identify. There has already been cases where women have been accosted in restrooms by people who believe they are trans. A woman accused of sexual assault in America resulted in some on Twitter pointing her out as Trans. When I argued what evidence they had for this the reply was “My eyes, she looks like a man.” Even Kira Knightly has come under scrutiny with some believing she is secretly Trans because of the way she is built. Fear and hatred allow such things to happen.
These themes in the X-men comics have been going for fifty years, I’m hoping it doesn’t take fifty years before Trans people are allowed to live in relative peace. Hopefully we can find a common ground. A way to provide safety where needed for both sides while allowing Trans people to live the way they want. It’ll never be perfect. Last year (2018) a man refused to sit next to a black woman on a plane. Gay couples are still refused rooms in some hotels or cakes made for their wedding. There are still calls for conversion therapy.

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I spoke in the previous blog about how I hope X-men movies still get made and with the wealth of stories out there why there is no reason they couldn’t. One of my ‘favourite’ stories is God Loves, Man Kills’. It’s hard hitting. From the very start two mutant children are killed and strung up just for being different. There is hatred spread throughout. It’s emotional, it’s hard and it deserves a movie version. It ends both on a note of hopefulness, An act of kindness from one human, and a bittersweet note as the fight to exist is only temporary halted before it begins again. The battle won but not the war. A brief respite before the arguments begin again on whether they should be allowed the same basic rights as other human beings.

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For those that are not X-men fans and are more DC then I would recommend the latest season of Supergirl. (Season four) It currently has the same themes although between humans and aliens. There is an obvious parallel with themes of immigration but also those themes of being discriminated against for being different. Given that it now features a Trans woman as a superhero it certainly highlights these themes and out of the four CW series at the moment it’s the one that I’m most into at the moment.

The X-men, Supergirl or any number of super hero stories out there can highlight injustice in the world. Call out hate and bigotry and gives us role models to look up to. But it also has to be said someone doesn’t need to have super powers to make a stand. To give respect to others and fight for peoples right to live in this world.

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Should the X-Men films be rebooted

 

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Recently I was sorting through my superhero DVDs, sorting the MCU films into a chronological order to watch rather than release date. Trying to do the same with my X-men films proved a little bit more problematic.
You have the original trilogy. X-Men, X-Men United and Last Stand. Then Wolverine Origin came out. No problem put that to the front. Then First Class. So far so good. The Days of Future Present? After First Class? After Last Stand? Ok I went for after Last Stand. After all it follows on from The Wolverine which follows on from the events of Last Stand and we see Logan’s actions change future events of Last Stand as well as a few other points. So already we have a soft reboot.
But then came Apocalypse. Were the hell does that go. Obviously before the events of X-men but after Days of Future past which is after Last Stand which no longer really exists. Suddenly I’m starting to get a headache and we’ve not yet gotten to the upcoming Dark Phoenix which seems to be a revamped version of Last Stand.

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Maybe it doesn’t really matter and with Days of Future Past how much of X-Men and X-men reunited were changed. Perhaps those films are now an alternative timeline.
But I have other problems with the franchise. First Class is set in 62. Days in 73, Apocalypse 83 and Dark Phoenix 93. While it’s a sort of cool gimmick jump a ten year gap with each movie with the next instalment set just seven years (or ten) before the first X-men movie and with 30 years pasting since first Class one has to wonder about the characters being portrayed here. Xavier and others don’t seem to age that much especially given that he is supposed to be looking somewhere like Patrick Stewart by now. In fact Wolverine Origins has a Cameo by Stewart’s Xavier and that’s is set in 79. No wonder Deadpool has to question which Xavier Colossus is taking him to see.

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So where I can believe events changed it is more challenging to me to believe the characters I’m now watching are going to become the ones we see in the original movies. Maybe if First Class had been a proper reboot it wouldn’t matter but Days of Future Past sees both versions of characters existing. Of course there could be some artistic licence here. After all in the comics different artists have put their own vision on the characters over the years and yet they have always remained looking similar over the decades.
So now that Disney now owns the rights and that they may want to use characters in the MCU maybe it’s’ time for an X-men reboot somewhere down the line. And it will definitely have to be a reboot. We have already had a Quicksilver in the MCU so as much as I love Evans Peters version it’s hard to see how he can be used. Likewise as much as it would be good to see Wolverine appear, Hugh Jackman has hung up his claws so a recast is required here. However Jackman has become somewhat iconic with the role it’s difficult to vision another actor take the part so soon. But then we’ve had three different Spider-men in the same time period.

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As a recent you tube video recently pointed out introducing the X-men into the MCU has it’s problems. We have to wonder where mutants have been all this time so it might only be possible to bring in the X-Men with a new modern timeline. Alternative some sort of universe crossover? Two separate Earths colliding allowing for the characters to appear together? It doesn’t sound like it would be a bad idea and I’m already suspecting this might be what is in store for the separate Earths of the DC CW shows next year.
But I do want to see something happen because I remember when X-men first came out around the same time as the Spiderman movies and thinking how cool would a crossover be. Of course given that X-men movies are still coming out it may be that some time is needed between retellings. But then they had no problem with Spiderman. The Flash has appeared in a DC movie despite the TV series and I think audiences today can take different versions of characters at the same time. After all there is over fifty years of comics to take from so there is really no need to repeat recent storylines. Of course they may just take a couple of characters from the X-men to use, maybe just too finally get some interesting villains. But I hope that in some way we do still get X-men movies because the X-Men represents something personal for me that doesn’t come with other heroes. But that’s another blog post coming soon.

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How we (& others) perceive ourselves.

 

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When you look into a mirror what do you see? The person you want to be? Potential? Do you look and think “Hey I’m looking pretty good today” or “Why won’t my hair go right, Is that bags under my eyes, I hate the way I look”?
I suspect it’s maybe the same for most people as it is for me. Sometimes I think I look ok sometimes I hate my looks. I mean when I’m getting ready to go out anywhere I want to try and look my best. Same with what I wear. I don’t just grab the nearest thing to throw on. Does this t-shirt make me look fat? Does this shirt go with these jeans? What earings to wear? It’s all carefully considered to how I want to present myself to the outside world. What message I want to send out to people.

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But it can sometime be a balancing act between what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you look good. Several years ago I sported a goatee and was told by a couple of people it suited me. And at the time I liked it. Now though I find it hard to go outside without being clean shaven. It can make me feel as if I’m not myself. I hate the roughness of my skin. The same with my red hair. Some liked it, some didn’t. And at the moment my hair is rather long. Despite how I love the feel of my hair down the back of my neck I know it looks unruly, untidy and needs a cut. But not too short. A while ago when I was still in a relationship my girlfriend convinced me to let her cut my hair. I do so but regretted it because she cut it shorter then what I had wanted. Why later on when it had grown back I let her cut it again, despite repeating once more not to go to short, I’ll never know.
But the point is this. I felt disappointed because I didn’t want my hair that short. It didn’t feel like me. Now from my girlfriend’s point of view she was cutting it to as style she thought looked good on me. And maybe it did. I can’t deny either that in the past I haven’t sought advice on my looks and style. I had a friend go through my wardrobe once throwing out anything she recommended getting rid of.
Plus I’m the type of person that if I find a style I like, I’ll stick to it or variations of it for a while until my taste change again.
So going back to this balancing act because this is where I’m at right now. I’m beginning to think more about my appearance because there is someone I’m interested in. And my first thought is how can I make myself appear more attractive, plastic surgery not really being an option? And so I begin to look at how to compromise how I like to look with how should I look. Will growing a goatee make me look manlier and attractive? A very short hair cut? Where is the line between what I find comfortable and what makes me look good?

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Now the simple answer to this is, where what you like, look how you want. Be yourself and the right people will like you for being you. And I stick by that advice. But can we trust our own judgement? When I look in the mirror and think “Hey my hair looks great today” that is my own perception. What people outside might see is wild hair all over the place. How many celebrity style disasters have been seen reported in magazines.
So rightly or wrongly we do place a great deal of importance on how others perceive us. I have a Doctor Who scarf, the long Tom Baker one. It is very rare I wear it out because I worried if it looks stupid. But at Christmas time whilst doing some photos I put together an outfit with the scarf that I loved. I thought it looked good, comfortable but not one I would wear out in public.
The reason. Because I liked it along with the wig and makeup. Without it, it doesn’t look right on me. And that’s another thing. Makeup. I’d love to be able to wear it out. And not just as female. There is a guy I fancy like mad and when he wears make up he looks just so damn cute. I wish I could do the same but a lack of confidence both in my skills and my looks stop me from doing so. When I wrote A Girl’s Night Out I found it easy because many of the events that happen comes from my own wishes of what I would love to do.

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There is this fight within myself to go out how I want to and to try and find a way to not look awful. And trust me some of the people I hang around with will let me know when I’m wearing something stupid. I mean I push the boundary. My rainbow laces in my trainers and boots that I got for Pride month a year ago are still on them. I like the look. And I’m happy to wear nail varnish out most of the time, as long as I’ve done a decent enough job on them. So there is already a part of me that doesn’t care what people think.
So why all of a sudden do I feel the need to look my best? Why am I worried about how people see me? Well maybe it’s because I’m falling in love. Yes for the last few weeks I’ve been feeling joy and happiness I’ve not felt for a long time and it’s down to my feelings for this guy. Now before I get too carried away I know there isn’t really much chance of getting with him. That’s not just me being hard on myself but because I’m aware it’s very unlikely to come to fruition and for various reasons. But when I see him I do want to make sure I look good especially if I’m having a photo with them. This brings me to my final point.
We try and present ourselves to the world in the way we want to be seen. Even if you are someone who doesn’t care about style or looking fabulous it’s still a statement saying I don’t care what people think, this is me. But when there is someone you want to look good in front of, that’s when you start to make a little bit more effort. In my past there was a girl I really fell for. It’s been a few years but I have never fully gotten over her. The thing was though because of her I always made an effort to look as good as I could. It was a great motivator to look after myself (although dropping a dress size is currently working for me, I hope).
But I was trying to present myself as someone she might find attractive. I took on her advice on what to wear, how to have my hair. To grow a beard because I wanted to look good for her. And because of my feelings for her, because I was worried about what she thought of me I missed out of some opportunities. Had I confided in her of how I wanted to look maybe I could have been myself instead. She was great at makeup and I always resisted the temptation to ask her for lessons and tips.
So what is the answer for me now? When I next see this guy I want to look good, but I also know I need to be myself. I have to find a balance of looking good and being comfortable. I’m not sure yet how that is going to work out. I’m working on bits of myself I don’t like to try and improve, not just for others but also for myself. It’s a work in progress. Finally today I’ve had new crowns fitted. I can smile again without feeling uncomfortable.

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Crushing on a fictional character

 

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Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? I have. I thought maybe it was just me but no, with a little bit of research, it seems others out there also do the same. There are a few I’ve kind of fancied on and off over the years. Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood, Lucifer from Lucifer and who knows how many female characters over the years. I remember as a kid fancying Cheetara from Thundercats. The very first crush, the first time I dreamed about a character was Lilly from sports Billy meaning I must have been around five at the time. That I can remember the dream still shows how powerful such crushes can be.
But of course I know they are fictional. They are characters within a narrative, they don’t really exist outside that programme. I’m not talking about the actor or actress portraying the character, I’m referring to the actual character. We connect with them, see something in them we are attracted to. Maybe their look, maybe the way they act. Of course there is nothing usually wrong with this, as long as we stay aware of them being fictional characters.

So does it have any value, these crushes? Well they help define us, define our sexuality. I wasn’t sure if I was bi sexual. I’d had a couple of encounters when I was young but for the most part all my relationships have been with women. But then I saw Captain Jack Harkness and wow. Ok I didn’t lust after him but at the time I made the comment, if I ever had to kiss a man it would be John Barrowmen. Ugg that sentence. If I had to. I realise my folly now of course. It’s not if I had to. The real sentence is I wouldn’t mind being kissed by him. This is of course based on a couple of things though. John Barrowmen is an attractive male. But partly my thoughts were based around the character of Captain Jack. His mannerism, his attitude. His open sexuality. Ok John Barrowmen himself is gay but even if he wasn’t the crush can still stand. The character of Jack is and that was who I’d image being kissed by. The same goes for Lucifer. Handsome and charming but I have no idea what actor Tom Ellis is like as a person.
But let’s talk about a more recent crush, one I’ve mentioned a couple of times. Luna Lakes.

 

 
It’s an interesting one. Because this is someone I have seen live, been in the same room as. An attraction defiantly built on looks because I can remember the first time I walked into the room for Drag Wars. She was one of the first people I saw. I didn’t know who she was or that she was one of the acts. So even from the start I didn’t know Luna was a fictional character or she was a person in drag. So a little bit of disappointment there (although my second thought after my first sighting was ‘definitely out of my league.’) Of course I have also seen Luna’s real alter ego. And yeah, he’s funny and kind of cute but no I have no real attraction to him, because again he’s not Luna, I don’t really know him. (Ok since writing this, it’s turned out to be a bit of a lie because I’ve come to realise I find him very cute.) It doesn’t chance the way I feel about Luna, I still look forward to any video with Luna in it. My heart still skips a beat if I’ve come close to her, I worry about what I look or sound like. It’s something which doesn’t happen with crushes on TV, after all it’s not like they can see me so it’s not like I have to worry about sitting around in my knickers and pyjama top. Why is it important that should I go and see Luna perform I look good? Is my hair nice? Am I blushing when she looks at me? Do I chicken out when I have a chance to hang out with her and run to the bar?
But just in case this is starting to sound a little bit creepy, don’t worry. I’m not pinning after her, I know in reality it’s the same as any other character I’ve seen on screen. Just in this case it’s actually someone I could physically interact with. Not in that way!

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It draws parallels to the posts I wrote on role models. We see something in the characters which we connect with. Something to aspire to. We know the person portraying them isn’t the same. William Shatner’s ‘Real Me’ song highlights this perfectly.
So what can we take from all this. Well we could believe we are sad losers, sit on the sofa wishing that person was real, but it isn’t the healthy option. And more importantly we should also keep in mind such characters are created. They may have traits and attributes which are just not available in the real world, so although you may go and a seek someone similar you are never going to find someone who is exactly like the fictional crush you have.
The guys I have mentioned, Captain Jack Harkness and Lucifer. Both tall, dark haired and handsome. A great sense of humour. The kind of person I could happily share a drink with and have a laugh. As for the women I’ve liked. Strong, independent, funny. I hesitant to use the word but sassy comes to mind. The kind of person I could happily share a drink with and have a laugh. Those are bits I can take and think ok, they type I’m attracted to.
And as for those fictional characters, well there’s nothing wrong with a health bit of fantasy

Separating Art from Artist

 

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It’s something that’s been on my mind recently. And before I get started I’m going to be talking about a person who may have created a character or series we like, a celebrity we look up to or even an actor who portrays a character that we like. Let’s start with that last one.

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Recently there have been stories coming out about Michael Weatherly. As a fan of NCIS I liked the character of Tony DiNozzo. Over thirteen seasons I felt I had come to know him. As such I also ended up watching Bull and again found a character I liked. And yet, if recent reports are to be believed Weatherly is not as nice as his characters. I feel betrayed, hurt. Am I a bad judge of character? How can this be the same person as DiNozzo or Bull. The reason is because both those characters are an act. When I see a photo of Weatherly, I see DiNozzo or Bull because I know those characters. I don’t know Weatherly. I’ve never met him, never communicated with him. He is for all intent and purposes a complete stranger to me. We identify with the character, we don’t know the real person behind character. It’s similar to what I talked about in my Musings on Death post.
So maybe Weatherly is not the type of person I’d want to sit down for a cup of coffee with. But does that invalidate the characters he has played. Should I never watch old episodes of NCIS with him in? The new series of Bull has started. Shall I now give it a miss?
Personally for me the answer is no. I still like the character of DiNozzo. He hasn’t changed for me, and Bull is an ass but I still want to see where his character goes next. It’s a case of having to separate reality from fiction. I don’t agree with Weatherly’s actions (if they are true) but it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of a character from a show. But it may stay in the back of my mind while watching, a slight shadow making its mark. But then that’s good. We shouldn’t simply forget and forgive.
But if you look at it in the opposite direction, we may see a character who is a terrible person on screen but the actor themselves as nice as pie. We don’t hate the actor for the character they are portraying.

But what about a writer. Recently there has been a storm of activity on Twitter regarding a comedy writer who has posted, what could be considered, transphobic views. But some of his past series have been ones I’ve enjoyed. I recently watched a couple of episodes of one. It’s still enjoyable but at the same time I felt uneasy I was watching it. And I could certainly see problematic undertones I hadn’t been aware of in my younger days. But there are also the great performances from the actors, the ones who make the characters come alive. The series will never be as fondly remembered by me as it once was and there is a little bit of disappointment in that.

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Talking of Twitter a comedian whose work I enjoyed also showed such tendency as the above writer. I had recently brought his autobiography. Should I now not read it, donate it to the local charity shop or take it out to the garden and burn it? Or maybe I should still read it. At least in this way I’ll get to know this person a little better. Maybe find out why they think the way they do. In the end I suppose it’s down to the choice of the person facing these dilemmas. And, I believe, either way the person goes is valid. I’m not going to say someone is over reacting if they decide to throw out their DVDs of certain series and I’m not going to judge if someone else says they’re a fan of the series.
But it is important to understand there is a distinction between the creation and the creator. Millions, including myself, still love Michael Jackson’s music and watch in awe at his dance moves and epic videos. He made important contributions to music, especially the development of the music video. But obviously as a person there were troubling aspects. So much so that the BBC banned his music from Radio One this week. But loving a person’s work does not mean agreeing with that persons views on life. I’m not a Jackson fan but I do like a lot of his music. I would also love to be able to dance like him, but I don’t idolise him.

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And if the person is damaged by their conduct. If they then struggle to find work, to be able to continue to create new projects then it will be their own fault. I’m not going to feel disappointed then. I’ll simply shrug my shoulders and carry on with my life. If their views are hateful or discriminatory then they must bear the consequences of airing these view in public. That is their choice.
It’s not like we are going to be able to fix them with a simple “Turn it off and back on again” attitude.

Musings on Writing

 

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My blog posts have been a little sporadic recently. Mainly because I’ve been focusing on my novels. The one that I’ve finished had a load of editing to be done after being beta read. The other I took a break from and so I had to go back through it, editing some parts and familiarising myself with the plot and its various strands.
Now I will confess I’m not experienced enough to give actual writing advice to other authors out there. Despite having been interested in writing since I was young and working of these novels for the last three years, I’m still learning. I’m still visiting the various blogs and web pages of other authors out there. I’m on a couple of Facebook pages and forums where I can ask advice. One of the best I have found is Kristen Kieffer at Well-storied.com. (Link below)

 

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This is more a blog about my journey and what I have found, personally, since I’ve started writing. That said I would advise with what I’ve written above which is to try and join a community where you can get advice and (helpful) criticism from others.
I started writing back in my school days. Of course, for me, these stories were short and not very good. I had a whole series planed out, the adventures of Steve Falcon and his team on board their ship. I even had ideas for a spin off with one of the characters, Hawk, traveling through time often with a female companion. Yes these stories borrowed heavily from other fiction I experienced. Thunderbirds, Star Trek, Doctor Who. I think I wrote about forty of the planned hundred and sixty stories. I still have a fondness for these even though I threw out all the exercise books I wrote the stories in years ago. It’s not an idea I think I’d go back to but I regret getting rid of those works. There were still basic ideas there, names, characters that could be developed now. Just the other day I thought about how I could use some of those ideas in a future novel. So my second bit of advice is never throw anything away. There could be something there that can be used and if not then it still shows how you’re writing develops over time.

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I think the next story I tried to write was a Doctor Who, Star Trek TNG crossover. (You can see a tread here) The story I had in my head was quite good. (I think) A Time Fracture causes the two universes to connect and the Tardis ends up on board the Enterprise. The Master was going to behind it and it would have featured the Cybermen and the Borg. But if I remember correctly the disk I had the story saved on became corrupted and I lost the work. It wouldn’t have really developed though, this wasn’t a story that would had got anywhere but all this early stuff was practise. Ok I was using characters already established but I had ideas in my head. I was forming plots, working out how the story could develop. So I’d say if you want to write working with already established ‘universes’ then do it. You won’t be able to publish it because of copy write but it will hopefully develop your writing.

Girls night

My first novel, A Girl’s Night out started life as a short story back in college. We had to write a 1500 word story in the first person. I first wrote one that had its main character interacting with the Doctor. It turned out in the end this is how the MC viewed the programme and the character from Doctor Who was a role model. I liked it. But then I also had another idea. I wrote a story about a cross dresser who actually, thanks to a friend, gets the courage to go to a party with her as their alter ego. I loved it. It was a story I was pleased with. It was also very personal to me and this was the one I submitted. I got an A. So pleased with this piece I even considered submitting it somewhere as a short story.
Role on about two years later when in University I took novel writing module in my third year. I was already playing catch up after changing courses in the first year and with my dissertation, I had a heavy work load. The assignment was to write the first chapter of your novel. 3000 words. Now I’ve always wanted to write a detective novel and this was my initial thought. But then I remembered my short story. That was already half the work done. I just needed to expand it a bit more. I did. I passed the course and more so I felt, yes this idea had potential to be a full novel.
And so I did nothing with it for the next three years.
Life kind of got in the way and although I attempted to go back to it I never quite found the time until a couple of years ago. Then I began working on it. I wrote and wrote. A vague notion of where I wanted the story to end up but for the most part I discovered the story as I went. There was a lot of me, my experiences and my dreams in the story and so it just seemed to flow naturally for the most part. I also found it very therapeutic.
So again I reiterated, always keep what you work on.

Marcy
Now I’m working on that detective novel I’ve always wanted to write. The title, The Devil in the Woods, has been in my head for years as is some of the most basic points. But now I was able to develop a character for the lead. Not just some previously created character from another show or a basic copy of one. But a character of my own making. D.C Marcy Bishop. With flaws and a background. A character I’m still adding little bits to, like her love for chocolate chip cookies. A character who is happy with who she is but finds herself still dealing with her past because she is transgender.
But I do find it harder to write this one.
It’s different to what I’ve wrote before. That came from experiences and personal things to me where this deals with murder, police procedural. There is a lot of research to this. And unlike the first novel where I could just basically write what came to me, here I have to introduces suspects, drop clues, head toward the final chapter and the capture of the villain. I simply started writing but realise that in this case an outline would have been handy. Notes to keep track of characters and threads. I realise unlike my first novel, I’ll have to do extensive re writes and edits on this story. I’m going to get the basics down and then go back and expand it, add in some more plots and character development. So I’m still on a learning curve, but it’s an enjoyable one. More than that it’s a path I want to go down. I want to write this novel, then I want to take the character and write another one. And another one. I also want to take this character and add it to some other shows. A Death in Paradise and a Columbo one. Not to publish, but just for fun and to help develop the character more in my mind.

writing
There are doubts there. What if this genre isn’t for me? Is this story just as simple and badly written as those Steve Falcon stories from my childhood? This is where that community of writers come in handy. I got someone to look at my WIP and they seemed to think there was potential there. It’s very motivational to have feedback. And now I find the story is coming along quite well. About 30000 words so far and a few ideas on expansion when I go back through it.
My final bit of advice. Keep at it. Find the time to sit down and write and work at it. Especially if it’s something you enjoy doing.
I have ideas for another novel outside this series dealing with a drag artist, and maybe a sequel to A Girls’ Night Out. But they can wait or at least have the bare basics sketched out. Write any ideas down, let them bubble around in you heads but don’t lose focus on your WIP. I found sometimes that I would start something but then have a different idea and start something else. Thus I would never really develop a story. I guess it’s kind of like drawing where you start with a basic sketch. Then full it in more to take shape. Then go back to add details and then finally maybe colour. Its maybe better to do some rough sketches then concentrate on finish one completely before going on to the next.
As for Steve Falcon and his crew on that ship. I was thinking back on them the other day. Were any of the characters any good to use somewhere else. Steve Falcon. Sounds rather like a generic heroic name from a very cheaply made TV series. What if it was a cheaply made TV series? What if Steve Falcon was just a character played by some actor? What if he or one of the other actors were murdered? What if Marcy Bishop is brought in to investigate the crime?

 

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A Promise for 2019

 

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Last year I was tempted to write a blog post about why I don’t do New Year resolutions. It’s mainly because sometimes when I set goals, especially time sensitive ones, I find it puts added pressure on me to complete, taking away some of the pleasure and taking short cuts. However I decided to write this based on a Facebook post I wrote for Christmas Eve.
You see a couple of weeks ago I received some bad news. Someone I knew had died. Someone I had once been close to many years ago but had moved away from. Recently we had reconnected on a friendship level, had meet up for a drink and a catch up. It was planned to do so again before Christmas and a date was set which, due to some selfishness on my part, I pulled out of. Maybe unsurprisingly I didn’t hear from my friend and had planned to rearrange for the 22nd. However that week I saw on Facebook she had died. I was shocked. It was out of the blue. It’s not the first time it has happened, many years ago another friend of ours also died suddenly.
But this time it felt different because this time there was a level of guilt. Because I was due to meet up with her and didn’t I missed that chance and now there is no second chance. So in my Facebook post I wrote about how we should always try to make time for the people who are important to you. Don’t put off that meet up or chat thinking I’ll get around to it in a week or so. Because you’ll never know when that chance might be taken away from you. But that wasn’t my main point of the post.

What I wanted to point out was life can be short and that we should grab it by both hands and just go for it. This is going to be my aim for the New Year. As mentioned there are things I’m working towards. To finish editing my novel and push to get it published as well as continue work on my other novel. To maybe work towards becoming a Drag Artist. Yes I have to find a way to get over my lack of confidence in order to get up on stage and a lot of work to do before I even have the look I want. Hell I even need to find some talent for something. The same as with the Trans issues I have and moving towards HRT. And then there is still the fact I want to get a different job.

procrastination3
I’m procrastinating. I know this. I have been told this many times by many people over the last couple of years. I may lack confidence but I quit my job and went to Uni and actually got a degree. I went on this very blog from thinking I’d never post an actual photo of myself to one in full make up. And this was after going for a full make over and photoshoot. I need to get out of the comfort zone I’m in. Yes it’s scary and yes I might fail, fall flat on my face and get laughed at. But if I don’t try then I’ll end up wondering what if. A few people have told me not to worry about what people think. Be who you want to be and fuck them. Do what makes you happy.
So firstly to anyone reading, please don’t put your dreams and goals on hold. Work towards them and getting to where you want. But also help those friends of yours that are also struggling to make their dreams come true. Just having that bit of support behind you can make a big difference.
Secondly my own promise because this time next year I want to look back on this post and think yeah I went for it. Maybe I won’t transition but I’m going to head towards that way and see what happens. The same for drag. I need to buckle down and really learn how to do my makeup. To work on more confidence and find a way to try it. And there is a few other things I want to try out. On top of this is my writing. After Misty wanting me to write a review of her drag show (which she loved by the way) I want to do more. I’m going to be doing a review of the photoshoot for Trans living magazine. I want to get more articles and reviews published so it’s another road I’m looking at going down.
So Trans, drag, writing, job. Four main goals as well as a few minor ones and all the time working towards getting more confidence. Finding a way to express myself and who I want to be.
To my friend Elaine, This is my promise. RIP. To any readers. Happy New Year and may it be full of hopes and dreams.

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