Monday, June 29, 2015

Don't Freak Out. (I Did).

In case you haven’t noticed, writers tend to freak out a lot. Good books, bad books, revisions, story ideas – you name it, we can find a way to freak out about it. I had a great reason to freak out this weekend. Pre-sending-to-beta-readers, I was formatting scene breaks and discovered that the end of one scene led right into…not the correct follow-up scene. I was missing three whole scenes.

I’ve been doing a lot of cutting and revisions, so I knew I had them somewhere. I hadn’t pasted them in, and then I had to track them down in a previous draft . They were only partly polished.

*cue hysterical laughter*
I hope the people in the coffee shop enjoyed the pained faces I was making at my computer screen.

I had a choice: postpone my entire writing schedule and go back into cutting and revisions, or send that version, as planned, to my beta readers. I shrugged, thought, “Eh, it’ll be fine,” and sent it off.

And then I freaked out. What if they hate it? What if that whole last part is confusing because of those three dumb scenes? Oh, man, I should tell them not to read it. I’ll bet I can speed edit a lot of it, and re-attach a new version tomorrow. No, I’m too busy tomorrow…Monday? No… mid-July. OK, OK, I’ll leave it. I needed some editing direction in the last third anyway. It’ll be fine. Fine. …………OH MY GOSH WHAT IF THEY HATE IT???

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what goes through a writer’s head every day. Fear -> logic -> confidence -> acceptance -> fear. It’s an ugly cycle. Now I’m stuck in this weird limbo between “You need to know where to focus edits, anyway” and “But it wasn’t my best!”

I need to remember that to me, nothing will ever be perfect. There will always be something to tweak or move or delete – but that doesn’t mean readers will feel the same way. I think it’s important for me, especially, to hear how people feel about this draft before I make any other changes. I’ll just keep freaking out about it, but more quietly. 

What have you freaked out about lately?

In case you couldn’t tell, Michelle is one of those weird people who sets a strict writing/editing schedule – here’s to querying agents by the end of summer!

Friday, June 26, 2015

RP Confessions

I have a confession to make. I haven't been writing much lately. At least, not on the things I should be writing. I've been kind of hip-deep in multiple text-based roleplaying stories instead (yes, I'm a nerd, but surprise).

For those of you who don't know, a text-based RP is basically writing a story with other people. Each of you has a character (or ten) and you each take turns writing what that character is doing and how they're interacting with the others and the world and the plot. It's very similar to tabletop RPs, except without the rulebooks and the dice and seeing each other in person.

I know I should feel guilty about spending my writing time on these collaborative stories that will never get published instead of working on my own short stories or novel ideas. But I think there's something valuable in the RPs, too. It's still getting words down, still practicing character development and plot creation, and it's a good way to be surprised by a story. When your writing partner does something totally unexpected, you have to take the time to figure out how that affects the story and your characters and your plan for all of it. Which, honestly, I think we should all do in our own work anyway. As the saying goes, if the author isn't surprised by the story, the reader sure as heck won't be.

Obviously, roleplaying isn't going to get novels written or published. It's not going to make you the best writer you can be, because certain patterns arise with RP partners that encourage your own weaknesses in certain areas (for example, my writing partners tend to be very good at developing/driving the plot, so I don't think about it as much, even though that's one of my personal writing weaknesses). It also takes a lot of time and brainpower away from more productive projects. I can't tell you how many times I've fallen in love with a RP character to the point where I just want to write their story instead of the one I'm supposed to be working on. It's baaaaaad.

I guess this whole ramble goes back to something Giles said a while ago: roleplaying and telling stories with other people forces you to think creatively, which can pump up your juices for whatever other projects you're working on. Just don't get completely lost in the campaign.

Emily started writing text-based roleplay stories almost a decade ago (eek) and has had some incredible ideas pop up from it. She even wound up co-writing a webcomic based on one of these stories! Now, if only she could figure out a way to get paid to be a nerd full-time...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writing Playlist?

A lot of people talk about their writing playlists, and I do quite a bit of musical listening when I write. However, I don't think I've put together a real playlist in a long time.

Here's what I've been listening to, though, as I write my new book. Maybe it will give you as much inspiration as it's given me.

Forrest Day by Forrest Day
Question Bedtime by MC Frontalot
Megaran 9 by Random
Title by Meghan Trainor
The Complete Works of RUSH

There you go. Simple, eclectic, and easy to track down. Add Chemistry Club in there, and you have an epic soundtrack for ANY book!

Giles is jammin' out to some awesome beats with killer melodies. Mega tunage will flow from his speakers any time he needs to sit down and write.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Reminder

It’s nearly Monday night, and I’ve only just realized that Monday = blog day. It was one of those weeks. And because I have something really heavy on my mind, I’ll totally understand if you choose some lighter reading, such as this list of gateway animes or this article about an adorable octopus. But in case you like a balanced diet of cute animals AND philosophical thoughts, read on J

While I was watching Jurassic World with my sister and her boyfriend last Tuesday night, my grandfather passed away. By Saturday morning I was in Logan, Iowa, listening to a bugle boy and an 18-gun salute in a cemetery on top of a hill.

Iowa is pretty, green, and humid, and my family is weird, crazy, and fun. I can’t remember the last time we were all together. Here’s something I learned from them this weekend: let it go.

If someone in your life has wronged you, let it go. Forgiveness is healthier than bitterness, and a life of anger is poisonous. It poisons families and drives people to tantrums and gossip. I love my family. I love that we all are dry-humored and that we will do crazy things together, like go for walks on the side of highways in weather that’s 90 degrees and chock-full of humidity.

My grandpa is one of the reasons I feel confident doing as many things as I do. Writing, podcasting, drawing, running…these talents and dreams came in part from him, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Be thankful for the things you’ve gained from your family, but don’t be afraid to improve on them. When you dream something, go after it. When you love someone, keep up with them. Nothing is sadder than a life spent distancing yourself from the people and things that make you who you are.

Now, on to cuter things

Michelle doesn't miss the humidity, but she would have been OK with hanging out with her awesome cousins for a few more days. Totally OK. :D

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Creating Opportunities

Opportunity rarely falls into your lap. Sure, we can point to a few anecdotal examples of people who were just "walking along," and then BAM! Life-changing events catapult them to glory. We can also anecdotally point to people who have won the lottery, but I'd be more willing to bet that the statistical odd of either happening to the average person are about the same.

Let's take Barbara Corcoran, for example: she worked tons of jobs before she started the PART TIME business that turned into the most profitable job she's ever held. This didn't happen through waiting around for an opportunity. She set herself to work, strove for success, without listening to anyone who told her it couldn't work. And now look at her. All because she didn't wait for opportunity to come to her.

Over the past year, I've learned that lesson several times over, and I can thank Kevin J. Anderson for opening my eyes to it, even if he didn't mean his comment in our first interview to hit me so drastically.

This week, we have Jim Butcher, Josh Vogt, and Senda from She's a Supergeek. Jim Butcher has been my favorite author for eight years. Josh Vogt is someone I've been aware of through the Denver writing community and twitter for a couple years, and I'd never heard of Senda's podcast before DCC (mostly because it's so new). Last year, I made the TERRIFYING decision to ask Jim (through his WONDERFUL assistant) if he would let us interview him. At first I thought there'd never be a way he would join us. Unless we got SO huge that HE sought us out. IF that ever happened. But I asked, and he said "Yes."

So when I found out he was coming to Denver Comic Con, I asked again, and he said "Yes" again. Now the awesome bit: Josh Vogt recently had two novels published (his debut and a second novel in a different series through another publisher a few weeks later). In an effort to put himself out there, he contacted us to see if he could come on our podcast. We'd met at Anomaly Con, so he knew about us. But putting yourself in the hands of others, regardless of their "size" in an industry is always scary. Asking someone to help promote your work: that's terrifying!

Of course we said "Yes." He has GREAT experience and a lot of stuff to talk about. Stuff I think our listeners would really enjoy. And who turns down an opportunity to get good content?

At Denver Comic Con, Senda came to us to get her name out there. She only has a few episodes out as of now, so cross-promotion with other podcasts is always a great idea. And we REALLY dig what she's doing!

Where does all of this come together? Well, Jim Butcher doesn't need our little podcast to help promote his career. If anything, he might've been better-served using his time at DCC to go to a bigger "media" outlet. But he's here. We get to talk to an awesome author, and we get some exposure. AND...! Josh and Senda get their names out in front of a HUNDRED people (just yesterday, since the episode dropped) who may or may not have ever heard of them. Not to diminish what they do or who they are, but the internet is HUGE! There are hundreds—literally HUNDREDS—of role-playing podcasts. And even with the niche that Senda is aiming to fill, it's an uphill battle. Josh has experience getting his name out there and is working with two awesome publishers who will push and push and push to help him grow his author brand. But MILLIONS of books are published every year.

Why am I telling you this? Not to brag or puff myself up. I'll be the first to admit that we're still working to grow OUR brand. We're making progress, but we're not The Nerdist. I'm telling you this because Josh, Senda, and the three of us at Beyond the Trope took a chance. We asked for something that could have easily been denied for any number of reasons (both logistical and pride-related). For that matter, Jim Butcher did the same thing when he started pitching The Dresden Files. None of us got to this moment by sitting back and waiting for it to happen.

And Beyond the Trope is going to continue to pursue and create opportunities for ourselves (or try, at the very least). There are going to be failures, but hopefully you'll be with us the whole way. Hopefully we can help create opportunities for some of you. Or at least point you in a direction that allows you create your own opportunities. But don't wait for it! Because even if it DOES drop into your lap, you gotta be prepared to seize that opportunity, or it'll be wasted.

Giles is exceptionally grateful for each and every regular, old-school, and new/visiting lister and reader. Beyond the Trope would be nowhere without you. Some day, maybe they'll get to meet you. At a con or a live event (if they ever happen). Until then, thanks for listening and reading.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The People We Kill

I do all kinds of unspeakable things to [pretend] people: blow them up; shoot them in the head; throw them off of cliffs. It’s done less for catharsis than the sheer joy of making things up*, but sometimes I wonder if all these deaths are good decisions. For those that happen in the book, I need to know that they’re moving the story forward. For those that happen during edits for the book, I’ve got to have a sense that the “death” sets the plot free from something that was holding it back. But can you ever really know if you’ve chosen the right kind of death?

Assuming I actually win at this lottery game of getting published, most people will never know about the characters I killed off before they had a chance to say their first line. They’ll never meet Claire** or Arturo***, because they only exist in a computer folder labeled “Draft One”.

But it’s for the better. Some characters just need to die – even the ones you love writing. I loved writing Claire and Arturo, yet it took me just one read-through to realize they were superfluous. I’d created them because they were fun, not because they were essential. When I cut them out and gave their plotline duties to someone else, everything got sharper and more succinct. I know it was a good decision because the story moves along just fine without them.

If someone dies during the story, it shouldn’t be for shock value or some terrible “mwahaha” tendency – a death should do something. My critique group jokes about how I love to kill people, and I’ll admit that I tend toward the “mwahaha” end of the spectrum. The feeling is not unlike playing a prank on someone and then watching their face as they realize what you’ve done. In reality, however, most of the characters I kill die between Draft One and Draft Two. The incident must push my protagonist toward action. Otherwise, why write it?

What do you think? Are there types of deaths you try to avoid in your own writing?

Michelle only kills pretend people, which makes her wonder how the phrase "It's the thought that counts" really applies to her. Hmmmm....

*I’m sure there’s a psychologist somewhere who’s willing to argue that point.

**An obituary for Claire: Ah, Claire. You and your glares will be sorely missed. I’m sorry I killed you before you could ever experience the awkward love from your much younger sidekick. I’m sorry you never found your sister. I promise she is alive and well. Rest in peace, you mean little cynic, and have fun giving all those other annoying dead people a piece of your mind.

***An obituary for Arturo: My dearest Arturo…*sigh*. I can’t lie: I wanted you to be real. You were funny and kind and called the mean people out on the mean things they did. You were brave, too, though perhaps not the smartest. But, alas, there was already a class clown, and he was taller than you. I’m sorry I couldn’t make you more important.

Friday, June 12, 2015

In the Name of the Moon, You Will be Punished!

My roommate and I have started re-watching Sailor Moon. Because nostalgia and nerdery. Fifteen episodes in, I've realized that there's a great opportunity to talk about some good and bad storytelling habits here! Of course, it's also a great excuse to remind you all how geeky I am, but I don't actually need excuses for that.

Anyway! Let's start with three good storytelling things Sailor Moon does in most episodes:
  1. The protagonist (Usagi/Sailor Moon) does all the heavy lifting. Even when the other sailor scouts or Tuxedo Mask help, Sailor Moon is almost always the one who deals the final blow to the monsters. 
  2. A wide variety of character types. Each of the sailor scouts has their own unique personality, strengths and weaknesses, which not only helps us tell them apart, but also helps create unique situations and stories. Every story is more interesting when the cast compliments each other and the protagonist.
  3. Balance of drama and humor. If there's one thing Sailor Moon does extremely well, it's making sure none of the episodes (at least so far) get bogged down with too much seriousness, to the point where it becomes tiresome or overdramatic (when it's not trying to be). 
And now some things to not do like Sailor Moon:
  1. Dues ex Machina. Dues ex Machina everywhere.  In every single episode, Sailor Moon gets herself into a seemingly impossible situation, then magically saves the day once Tuxedo Mask says something inspiring or Luna gives her a magical new gizmo, or one of the other sailor scouts suddenly discovers a new power with no explanation whatsoever. Don't do this. Find some other way of writing yourself out of your corner without a sudden, surprise intervention that makes no sense. 
  2. Incompetent villains. Jadeite (the main villain of the first 15 or so episodes) has about a dozen second chances and continues to screw up, pretty epically. Then, when finally gets some useful information, Queen Beryl freezes him solid before allowing him to tell her what he learned. In order for villains to be scary and for your readers/watchers to take them seriously, they need to at least be competent enough to not shoot themselves in the foot every three seconds. 
  3. Obnoxious protagonist. As much as I love Sailor Moon for the nostalgia factor, Usagi is really, really annoying (at least at the beginning of the series, and not just because of her voice actor). She has plenty of flaws, which makes for a good rounded character, but she spends more time sobbing helplessly and complaining than actually trying to get stuff done, and I'm not really sure we've actually seen much character growth where I'm at yet. Which is kind of a problem. Characters, especially protagonists, need to grow and change and develop as the story progresses, and they need to be capable of not falling into the same traps over and over again. (Seriously, if you've watched the first several episodes: the baddies are always opening up new businesses with big, flashy lights to attract young ladies in love in order to harness their energy. After the first two or three times, Usagi should have been able to pick out the pattern.) 
What are some writing lessons you've picked up from television or movies recently?

Emily isn't ashamed to say that she wanted to be a sailor scout so badly when she was little. She's also not ashamed to say that might still be a thing sometimes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vacations are for Nerds

This week, my wife and I are on vacation. As a matter of fact, we're in Seattle! Seattle is home to some awesome museums, including the EMP, which at this moment is featuring a Star Wars costume exhibit.

Needless to say, I spent a good deal of time there, looking around, reading all the placards, absorbing every piece of information I could find. And I learned something about the visual impact of well-crafted costumes: they're just as important as casting and dialogue.

Think about the Jedi robes. The simplicity of them, the way the under-robes cross like opulent silk in a samurai's kimono. Remember the first time you saw Obi Wan with his lightsaber? How awesome that was, and how humbly powerful he turned out to be? Would it have been the same if he wore Han Solo's clothes? Of course not!

This is something writers need to think about, too. Word choice and physical descriptions are to the reader what costumes are to a movie-goer. If we describe a dark cowboy with boots as black as night, there are choices we can make with the description. "His spurs shine with pure silver, a tin star pinned to the collar of his duster. The tip of a toothpick pokes out from the corner of his mouth, and the hint of a smile wrinkles his five-o'clock shadow. He knows a crook's going to hang at noon, and the dark cloud of death is outshined by the glory of justice in his town."

But if we change it to: "A red silk shirt so deep it looks almost black. His vest, heavy as the night, fits him so perfectly he couldn't possibly be a creature of daylight. Coal mines shine more brightly than his boots, and if he wore spurs, they would only disappear in the empty void of his horse's coat. To say that shadow covered the man is to say that light tried to shine on him. But if ever the light feared a mortal, this would be him."

Two different descriptions, almost completely physical, but more is said about their personality through the description than pages of pontification on their inner thoughts. This is something that came out clear in my mind when I looked at the amazing Star Wars exhibit at the EMP Museum.

On a nerdier note (yes, nerdier than an hour spent drooling over Star Wars costumes!), I got to see a first edition D&D Handbook! An entire feature on Fantasy takes up part of the museum, and since that's one of my first loves, I enjoyed every second of it. Pages form the original Sword of Shanara and one of Paolini's manuscripts sent chills through me. Plus a copy of the unauthorized paperback of Fellowship of the Ring. That one gave me mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's awesome to see. But as a creator, I still feel indignant on behalf of the author because someone so brashly stole from him.

Anyway, I can tell I'm rambling, which is fine because I'm on vacation. But I'll be back in the "office" on Tuesday. There may or may not be more stories from my journey, but there WILL be discussions on tropes, nerdery, and creativity.

There are amazing creations in the world, and Star Wars may be one of Giles' favorite. The ONE thing he wanted to see in Seattle was that exhibit. It makes him all kinds of happy to read and understand the choices made by the creators of his childhood fantasy world.

And it inspires him to create worlds that are just as vivid.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Best Villain Award Goes to...

I’ve always been a fan of the anti-hero. Jack Sparrow, Robin Hood, Harry Dresden. These rakes practically ooze charm, though if you asked them about it they’d probably deny it. But if I love anything more than a dashing love-him-so-much-I-wanna-kill-him character, it’s a villain.

I’m drawn to complex villains the same way I’m drawn to dark chocolate: with no regrets. There’s just something about a sympathetic bad guy that I fall in love with (I know, I know, something’s probably wrong with me).

My favorite villain right now is easily Daredevil’s Kingpin/Wilson Fisk. Ermahgerd. I would even argue that he’s the best character on the show, although next week I might say it’s Daredevil/Matt Murdock, because he is, of course, an anti-hero and awesome. If you’re not watching this series on Netflix, you should. It’s a bit gory, but the writing of these characters makes everything worthwhile.

So, why is Wilson Fisk so dang amazing? I’m so glad you asked.

He’s a person. And it’s terrifying.
I can’t think of anything weirder than a mob boss who uses car doors as a viable weapon calling up his new girlfriend to talk about her day and see how she’s doing. What. It’s easy to fall into hating other villains because we know so little about them. Ursula from The Little Mermaid has many rumored backstories, but all we see of her in the film is a crazy, power-obsessed sea witch. The Joker is totally insane, and even in comics or movies when he’s given more dimension, it all comes down to just how bizarre his mind has become.

And then there’s Fisk, who gets nervous in front of a pretty girl and taunts himself with icons from his past. He worries and is afraid, and gosh dangit sometimes I actually believe he does want to clean up Hell’s Kitchen.  

He’s explainable. Which is also terrifying.

Growing up, my mom used to say, “Just put yourself in their shoes” whenever I was mad at someone. It helped – when you try to think from someone else’s side of the story, their actions make more sense.

That doesn’t mean I want to understand or agree with a murderer.

Vincent D’Onofrio (the actor who plays Fisk) is brilliant at not just suggesting the audience step into the mobster’s shoes; he practically demands it. One minute you’re thinking, “OH MY GOD HE’S A MONSTER” and the next, “No wonder he’s so messed up. That poor guy!”

That poor guy. An evil murderer with an explosive temper is a “poor guy”???

That, my friends, is how you create a villain. 

This ERMAHGERD VILLAINS! moment has been brought to you by Michelle, who spent about 15 years of her life convinced that "epitome" was pronounced [ehp-i-tōm].

Friday, June 5, 2015

Trope-y Tropes for Everyone!

Last night, I took a baby story idea to critique group and had them brainstorm with me the way we did for Giles when we were guests on the Roundtable Podcast. I walked away thinking "wow, I'm such a trope-y writer!" In this rough synopsis, I had the Chosen One trope, the Surprise Evil Mentor trope, the Storming Out in Anger trope, and about five or six more that got pointed out over the evening. Needless to say, I wasn't exactly thrilled that I had let myself fall into all those writing traps.

But after some time to think, I realized that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Sure, I don't want the final story to be quite so chock full of over-used tropes. But letting myself use them as a building block, a foundation, let me get a basic, malleable outline on the page. Knowing as I was typing that this story was all sorts of cliche and terrible allowed me to keep writing and planning instead of worrying about making everything perfect. And that's important, especially if you're any shade of perfectionist.

I've had moment when I'm halfway through a manuscript and realize that I've hit the "oh, goodness, everything is tropes" moment. That's when I really start to hate my work. A lot. I'm glad that I took a friend's advice and tried actually planning something for once--maybe I'll be able to avoid actually using most of those tired old plot devices that are in the current synopsis.

But if the tropes are what allow you to get an outline or a draft down, use 'em as much as you need! Just don't be afraid to go back and change them up, see what happens if you push your story in a different direction (and don't be surprised when you realize you need to). The most important thing is to keep writing, and if that means falling back on a Chosen One now and then--well, there are definitely worse things.

Emily is attempting to evolve from pantser to planster (you know, a mix between planning and pantsing) and subsequently shaking up her writing routine. Mostly, she just wants an excuse to write on fancy paper with pretty pens.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We Interrupt Your Wednesday...

For a VERY special Squee from Giles.

But first...! Some backstory: Growing up, I got to play computer games like The Oregon Trail, Math Munchers, and Star Wars Rebel Assault II. There was a handful of other games I played, but I can't really remember them. When I got older, of course I played Command and Conquer and Warcraft III. The majority of my gaming experience as a kid, though, came from console games. At 5 years old, I got a Super Nintendo. Followed that up with the N64, then the Gamecube.

So I never played Fallout on a PC. Never happened. When Fallout 3 came out for the PS3, though, I started on the franchise. Life will never be the same.

I played through Fallout 3 a couple times, though only beat it once. It was too glitchy on the PS3 to play all the way through more than once, and because of the way they programmed it, adding DLC would've COMPLETELY destroyed the experience.

Then New Vegas came out. I've played through that game so many times, I could see the fake universe better than the real one the last time I visited Vegas.

For Denver Comic Con, I bought a Fallout lanyard to hang my pass from. When I replaced my favorite hoodie (one I'd had since I was 13), I got a Fallout Vault Boy hoodie. I STILL use my Nuka Cola bottle opener that came with the preorder for Fallout 3, and I'm considering the acquisition of a Nuka Cola hoodie.

So when Bethesda announced Fallout 4 this morning, I basically wished my day job would let me sit in front of my computer and watch the trailer on repeat for eight hours. The fact that I'm writing this blog post on my lunch break instead of trying to get another viewing in shows how dedicated I am to Beyond the Trope. If I could quit my job and play Fallout/write Fallout fiction/review Fallout via podcast and blog, I would. THAT is how much I love this universe!

Why? Well, if you don't already know for yourself, the best thing you can do is go get a copy of Fallout: New Vegas and play through. At least once. Because it's all kinds of AWESOME!

Giles can't wait to reenter the post-apocolyptic world of Fallout, even if it DOES take place in Boston, rather than the FAR superior West Coast. Though Fallout in Denver would be rocking, too! He's already coming up with ideas for how to make time to play through this game.

Oh, wait. Isn't this a literature-focussed blog? Oh well.

Monday, June 1, 2015

"Are you like, feminist nerds?"

As a kid who wanted to be an astronaut/engineer/dancer/dolphin/mermaid/writer/artist, I was never once told I couldn’t do something because it was a "boy’s job". Although I suppose my parents were slightly amused by my wanting to be a dolphin and a mermaid, they went with it. They let me pretend to be Peter Pan and Belle and didn’t blink an eye when high-school-senior me declared I would be a writer.

This fantastic childhood meant that I had no idea how hard many women have it when it comes to entering creative fields. There’re centuries of women who used pen names and relatives to get their work out into the world, but it never occurred to me that in another time, I would have been one of them.  

Here’s a quick, applicable story: When we were at Comic Con last week, I found myself solitarily snarfing a sandwich while guarding our table. Everyone else was out browsing Artist Valley or listening to panels, so I had a few minutes to kick back and watch the people stream past.*

A man and woman approached, glanced down at our business cards and magnets, and asked, “So are you, like, feminist nerds or something?” Somehow they made it sound like being a feminist is like being a prostitute, or maybe a crazy aging aunt with a lazy eye.

My first reaction was to make a classic “Uhhhhhhhhh” face. I couldn’t figure out why their first thought was that we were feminist nerds. Then I looked down the row of podcast tables and realized that, at that moment, I was the only woman in sight. Men were behind every other table.**

The thing is, until Denver Comic Con 2015 I hadn’t really thought about the gender split in podcasting. Yet there are people out there who don’t think I should be the co-host of a podcast unless it’s about cooking perfect chicken breasts or getting grass stains out of soccer jerseys. Or there are those who simply forget that I exist.*** 

This frustrates me. Why in the world would someone judge me based on the fact that I can bear children? Does anyone else see how funny that is? It’s ridiculous. Don’t judge me because I’m a woman writer and podcaster. Judge me based on the content I produce. Is it witty and fresh, or does it bog down in the middle and make you want to puke? If you simply don't like what I make, fine. That's wonderful. But if you're going to tell a girl she can't do something because it's not "girlie" enough, watch out. She'll probably turn into a feminist nerd and prove you wrong.   

* Comic Con has THE BEST PEOPLE WATCHING EVER. Even better than the airport.
**And over the course of the weekend, Emer and I noticed that we were the only females^ (who weren’t interviewees) who got behind the mic. Very strange, considering there were other women around…
^Mind you, there are HUNDREDS of female podcasters elsewhere in the world who talk about all kinds of things. This was mostly an isolated incident of uneven women-to-men ratios.
***Shameless Princess Bride reference: "Women in podcasting? I don't think they exist."

Michelle has an inexplicable affinity for alliteration. She can’t help it – it was love at first sight, and love it shall remain. Oh, and sometimes she gets really riled up about people being silly.