Thursday, July 21, 2011

Profanity: How do you feel about it?

The heroine of my work in progress is an agoraphobic mage and a native New Yorker. She has a lot of pent of rage and she swears quite a bit. Some of this is the habit of lifetime, and some of it is a way to express a visceral feeling without losing herself so completely that she sets fire to New York City.
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on HBO. A swearing king.
I’m also a native New Yorker, and I swear a lot, too. Since having children, I’ve mended my ways a bit (only a bit) and I’m pretty sure my kids think, “Dude!” is a terrible word, because it’s what I say when someone cuts me off in traffic now. This is a far cry from the two word phrase I used to use, which referenced the sucking of male genitalia and things one shouldn’t do with one’s mother. 
Personally, I love swearing. Maybe it wouldn’t matter to me so much if gutteral cries of rage were in vogue, but people seem to expect us to use language--except--if I’m in the middle of a totally non-rational state of pissedoffedness (my word, you’re welcome to use it) then the last thing I’m up for is a little rational debate. 
So how do you feel about swearing? Does it bother you? What about in fiction or in films? I feel like there are people who swear and people who don’t, so I’m cool with characters being true to themselves, but I also don’t write Young Adult books or make children’s movies. 
Is swearing the failure to make full use of language, the last refuge of the irrational mind, a bad habit? Or is it a fun part of the language which allows us to express ugly feelings? 
You tell me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Do We All Love the Bad Boys? (And yes, Lucius Malfoy IS SEXY)!

Photo: Warner Bros
I would never marry the proverbial Bad Boy. I rarely dated them, ahem. 
But in fiction? On film? Sexy villains, Regency rakes, suave con men and fist-first, talk-later beefcake boys? Love ‘em. 
Why is that? 
Well, I have a few theories.

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox
1.  Throw you against a wall sex. Yes, you read that right. Everything about the Bad Boy screams, “In bed I’ll be the guy who is totally happy to have you every way there is and make you like it.” Spike and Buffy, anyone? They wrecked the freaking HOUSE.

2.  The allure of the forbidden. We all want what we can’t have. Women, especially, are told to be “good” from a young age. It’s not bad advice. Going against what society considers to be good behavior for women can have disastrous results: unplanned pregnancy, disease, rape, poverty...NOT BEING LIKED. (More on that another time). But breaking the rules? There are thrills in that. There’s fear in that. There’s really awesome sex in that. (Do you see a trend here)?

Photo: MGM
3.  Bad Boys don’t expect you to be good. You’re not going to disappoint them when you screw up. Unless you have a weakness for the honorable bad boy, in which case, sorry, you’re screwed (but hopefully, well). When Catherine Banning doesn’t trust Thomas Crown enough to go with him at first in The Thomas Crown Affair, he doesn’t hold it against her. He understands human foibles. Okay, he’s one of those honorable bad boys, I know. Did I mention I have a weakness for those? Oh, yeah. Which brings me to...

4.  The promise of redemption. Yes, I know. You’re not supposed to try and change a man. But let’s be real. The allure of the reformed rake, or the bad boy made good is POWERFUL. There’s a saying that men want an angel for the daytime and a whore at night. It’s not just men. We want it, too. But when you’re looking at that fine, upstanding man, the noble hero, it can be harder to see the potential for throw you against a wall sex. At the moment I can’t think of one character who exudes both a mainstream, stand-up guy image and the bad boy in the bedroom image. I’m sure it’s a failure of my imagination. You’ll all help me out here, right? Name some super hot, wild man heroes for me, would you? 
Oh, and turn up the air conditioning. It’s getting rather warm in here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Blog at #amwriting

I'm also over at the #amwriting blog today, offering my Top Ten Tips for Introverts to Survive a Writers Conference. Come over and say hi!

Don't you just LOVE Alan Rickman?

Remember back in high school when you just looked around the room and could tell by what people wore and who they were clumped together with in the corner who the cool people were? No longer. Now we have the internet. We have Twitter follower numbers and Facebook friend counts and now we also have Klout.
What is Klout, you ask? Well, I don’t really know. But, I’m using it. In fact, I logged in just a little while ago and was dismayed to have lost a Klout point. WHAT?!?! 
Now, Klout analyzes all sorts of things across various sites, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc and gives you a score. And the only possible reason I can come up with for losing points is that I failed to blog about Alan Rickman this past week. 
You see, Klout tells people what subjects it considers you to be influential in, and Klout has decided I am influential about Alan Rickman. It is certainly true that I adore Alan Rickman. I loved him in Die Hard. I cheered when he threatened to cut out someone’s heart with a spoon in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. I swooned for him as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. And of course, I utterly adored him as Professor Snape. 
Photo: Warner Bros.
When he took out a full page ad to thank J.K. Rowling for the wonderful ride of the Harry Potter films, I officially added Alan Rickman to my mental BEST PEOPLE EVER list. (If you don’t have such a list, I suggest you get on that). 
This weekend, I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Hands down, the best part of the film for me was Snape. I have a feeling I’ll be buying the DVD and watching Snape crying over Lily Potter about ten dozen times. Unrequited love? A lifetime of hiding ones feelings and protecting a child while wearing a mask of villainy? Redemption? Villains turned heroes? Oh, my God. It pushes every last one of my favorite story buttons. I’m getting heart palpitations just thinking about it. (No, I’ve only had one cup of coffee, friends. Don’t go there).
So in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m blogging about Mr. Rickman because of the evil Klout number drop. But, I’m also doing it because it has been a few days now, and I’m able to write this without falling into a sniveling dripping mess. Because, damn, I’m going to miss that character! 
Farewell, Snape. I can’t wait to see what Mr. Rickman does next.