Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “Mummy On The Orient Express” (Co-written With Alexandrina Brant @ Miss Alexandrina)

Alexandrina Brant:

As promised, a reblog of Engie’s official post of Mummy on the Orient Express review #2. It’s pretty overview-y, but we quote a few things and watch a few things, and, as usual, I say a lot. Enjoy. ;)

Originally posted on Musings From Neville's Navel:

Good evening! I’m a lizard woman from the dawn of time and this is my wife and I’m* reviewing the latest episode of Doctor Who, “Mummy on the Orient Express,” with Alexandrina Brant from Miss Alexandrina. She’s a pretty cool blogger and we have more than a few interests in common, including books, photography, and Quidditch!

*SORRY NOT SORRY. I saw my chance and I took it, all right?

P.S. You can find previous collaborative reviews of Doctor Who‘s eighth series here.


Alexandrina Brant is a second-year psychology and philosophy student at Reading University, England, which means she alternates between planning experiments and critiquing history. When not polishing her fantasy romance novel about time travel, she’s cosplaying steampunk, singing, and playing Quidditch for the university team. She has authority in writing this review because she’s River Song’s doppelganger, hair and all. You can catch her blogging at Miss Alexandrina

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“It’s hardly a perfect 20s recreation if Queen is playing!” (Mummy on the Orient Express Review #1)

My Private Notebook

Fair warning, this is long – but you are treated to gifs along the way. If you don’t like gifs… *shrugs* - though I have now taken from it most of the remarks and paragraphs made in the shared review. Too, it’s rough, but that the entire idea: my random spontaneous bizarre thoughts as I experience what I’ve now decided was a bizarre episode of cult favourite Doctor Who. If you want to see more of my thoughts, go to Nevillegirl’s post.

I originally tallied down my thoughts for Engie whilst watching Mummy on the Orient Express, but they got so rhetoric, dry (as in dry wit) and random that I decided not to share them with the review I was doing with her. A silly sense of humour that requires spontaneity is awesome, but not when one has to be in pair. Hence, review #1. #2 I’ll repost that sometime this week. Sundays are meant to be my days off… #toomuchtodo

Obviously spoilers. As with my review of Into the Dalek, I also had my good friend and Doctor Who conversationalist @EmuCat live tweeting alongside me, which made for some interesting tweets, the conversations of which I’ve included. Then we’re good to go! Without any further ado…

Oh, sorry, wrong fandom.

A bit overdramatic a pre-titles opening, though the concept of the ticking clock is interesting.

“Is there a Doctor?” Here’s where I expect The Doctor to jump out. Oh, look, a wild TARDIS appears.

I still love those opening titles. A perfect balance between Classic and new Who, me thinks.

“But in space.” You don’t say.

Don’t Stop Me Now. How appropriate. Are they really travelling at the speed of light? I doubt it. Give me proofs and figures.


Indeed he was. I haven’t talked about the setting here, but you can find it in the other review.

Oh, hi Clara. *not impressed* But is this just an ulterior Clara? “It’s like you’re malfunctioning.” Four for you for the robot reference – I’d actually be interested in seeing a version of Clara that’s actually a robot. It would make the frequent death/resurrection interesting.

Oh, okay, it’s her last trip. I see. Interesting conversational dynamics between them – anger, but restrained and kept together, in the way Clara is great at doing. Plus, there’s that scene of talking whilst trapped in the carriage. This is almost a third draft I’d write. Okay, cruel comment. But the thought stands – Doctor Who gripped me more when there were less emotional complications. Even Martha put the alien-fighting before her feelings.

The Doctor is doing his best to avoid the conversation again.


Thought I recognised it. Nevertheless, it’s a very 30s phrase.

Ooh, some science. This makes me happy. Excelsior Life-Helping :D I’m not gonna say I want one, ‘cause that would be Playing God, but I’ll admit that it sounds like a cool piece of tech, especially for the context.

Perkins! Oh, hey, Frank Skinner. *waves* Great character. Very rounded. Very witty. His choice to walk away is very poignant – reflects Clara, and foils every past companion. The not-companions. He’s a great intelligent mechanic, too, and it’s been a while since there’s been a side-character with such attributes, even if he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with The Doctor on so many levels.

This is almost Dieselpunk in itself – technology and electronics in a world run by steam(ish) and gorgeous archaic decoration. Otherwise, the world would be dark and cold, I suppose, and that would be poor evening TV performances.

That smile <3

Call me Gus!

I liked Gus. I like optimism in death. I like computer voices, disembodied souls, even if they leave obvious doubt in everyone’s minds as to their Good-Sinful orientation. Will we ever meet Gus again? I hope so. I want to know the history of this train.

But the sonic isn’t working! Oh, hi, I was right: transportation of artefacts. Funny that it’s here because of the mummy, rather than t’other way around.


Now I wans’t convinced by the sacrifices. They didn’t give us long enough to know the captain or the expert – “can we get a new expert?” yes please. I don’t even remember his name – before they were claimed by The Foretold.

Clara’s dress is nice. Good choice of muted colours, even if they match her hair. Call it cliché of the era, but I want that dress. So pretty! And it suits her. If only life had costume designers.

I didn’t like Maisie. She irritated me. I didn’t see much point to her character but that of ‘the one to save’ or ‘Clara’s friend’. Umm… Bechdel test anyone? I know, I know, it’s been commented that some characters do need to get things off their chest this way – but I, a girl who often fails the Bechdel test in life, was sitting there, thinking “can we please move on now? I’m bored.”

Her makeup. It’s terrible, and I mean that it’s deliberately so. It reflects her life – and what a twisted, non-paranoid life that was! It also suggests more of the falsity behind the entire set up of the train. Not only are the guests playing dress-up with their imaginary, faulty 1934, but the train is playing dress-up with them, right down to the holographic passengers. That begs the question, though – what role was Maisie meant to be in the scientific investigations? She must’ve had some mind on her, but with the trauma, she was shown to be nothing but weak, and the stress of her overdone makeup showed that.

But I couldn’t connect to her. I didn’t see the depth beyond her exterior, and isn’t that writers are meant to make us see?

The occasional cutting back and forth to the clock in the corner was disorientating.

Conflict: you can’t run from The Foretold (which makes sense if one retrospects to the phase-shifting science). Good. Another time-pressure level.

It’s almost 11.30 in the captain’s cabin.

Okay, that was an interesting – if a Christie-esque cliché – turn of ‘who is the one behind this?’. This is the peak in the story, the pick up of pace in a slow episode. And, of course Gus is morally questionable. You’re aiming to catch and/or kill this phase-shifting creature, after all.

Oh, wow, it’s not a train. And, oh look, more fake scenes. This seems to be a running line of interest – a possible link to Missy and the final episodes? So who invited them onto the train? And they didn’t know? A bit of continuity stuff here. Give me facts, numbers, eras!

A good use of the lab and lab-rat settings, though gruesome. I prefer the idea now that’s a set experimental scene, rather a façade where nothing fits. Is that a homage to At Bertram’s Hotel? It also pokes some fun at the forced falseness of the 30s class system, even when the times are changing I guess, for links like that, this episode gets cookies, but links and references are not enough to sustain me.

The use of The Doctor to work out the pattern – and now the pace does increase. Randomness. Or not. But the Mummy is trying to help…? Oh, no. He’s just trying to kill the enemy.

Ooh, phase shifting (not musical). I knew that if they explained science they’d do it well. The addition time pressure that they will all eventually die is worth it, I think, but, for me, it’s a little too late. I wonder if The Doctor, having two hearts, would be the last to die in that situation.

The implication of picking off the weakest – now, is that hardly fair? I mean, good tactic – we sometime video-game players use it to slaughter the enemy, but in real war, one’d probably want to try and knock out the big man first. One swipe from him and you’d be dead. Just kick away the mini men at your ankles.

Okay, I’ll admit those are pretty sharp. *cymbal crash somewhere far in the distance*

Oh, no, Clara don’t go off on one. Not now, when people have 66 seconds to describe a being that will consume their entire energies at the end of that minute-six.

Cinematography: beautiful, luscious train, in contrast with the haggard, bandaged brown-grey of the mummy. The deep, dark colours of the captain’s cabin intrigues me – does it reflect his darker past and personality? I don’t like him personally, but I like the arc his character faces.

And the brown of the mechanical bay – a reverse reflection of the lab atmosphere, which is surprisingly bright against the dark under-train discoveries…almost as if the more the characters learn about the creature and their position, the more their surroundings reflect the growing knowledge. The blue and whites of the lab are very…stark. Cold, but a safe kind of cold. The use of light is great, too, especially in those final scenes. Another stark change. Unsettling. Irritating.

The TARDIS too is looking very blue today. Electronic. In a nice way. That’s a nice bookcase. Gets points for space symmetry.

The ending… I don’t know what to say. I’m kind of gaping at the screen. Clara’s ‘wobble’. Hmph. She’s still there. I’m not convinced.


The Doctor. He lies. Of course. I guess it would be interesting to know whether he did or did not save those people, and the idea of him being a monster again. I feel this episode nevertheless veiled its darker moments, so that one could enjoy the science and the sci-fi without, for the most part, having to contemplate the social and ethical dilemmas nearly all of the characters go through… Clara and her want to leave; the captain and his desire to ignore what’s in front of his nose, probably a symptom of his PTSD; Maisie, who’s bottled up her dislike of her gran for so long (she’d be a good Christie murder suspect); The Doctor and his cold, harsh nature here. Can I just point out how quickly the scientists walked away from the window after the cooking team was decompressed? I know they have to work for their lives and not mourn, but nobody says two words about Gus’ methods of persuasion and lack of mercy, least of all The Doctor.

Who is the greatest monster in Mummy on the Orient Express? I don’t think we will ever know.

People have been saying about this reference/foreshadowing:

I’m not sure about that being a foretelling, though. Goddess. After all, the other Christie-esque episode had ‘foreshadowing’ where The Doctor says to Martha just before she leaves him that they should visit Mrs. Christie.

The more I think about Mummy, the more I want to write huge paragraphs of why I didn’t like it. My biggest criticism/disappointment was that it wasn’t fun. Sure, it was entertaining and there were a selection of passable one-liners, but I didn’t find it fun in the way I did the Unicorn and the Wasp.

Dark, though. Dark and deep.

Overall, a very weird episode. Not what I expected at all, but impressive. 3.5/5. I’m sure you’ll find loads of other blogger reviews if you Google. Two analytic ones I liked were New Who For You Too!’s live Tumble of the episode and Doctor Who TV’s look at the 12 Great Moments from it. Do check both of them out, as they look at the episode in a much more positive light (I’ve tried and I do think it was very clever, I simply couldn’t get myself to enjoy it, as sad as that was, and one must go with the gut instinct on a review), whilst also touching on some of the more in-depth points and themes that I, in either of my reviews, have not spent enough time on to pull apart. Oh, and do check out the Doctor Who Extra program on YouTube. This, of course, allows for admiration of costume, set, lighting, filmography etc without my questioning of the overall arc and plot and me with my analytic magnifying glass :D

Mummy on the Orient Express will certainly be one of those episodes that stands more as a stepping stone to the characters’ actions and overarching series plot than one that I’d watch for its solo merits (contra Unicorn and the Wasp).

Have a good day.



Predictions on The Orient Express

She's waiting for the Express

She’s waiting for the Express

*Greeterings, my name is Lady Summer Chronaire and I’ll be your Dieselpunk conductrice for this journey. Your exits are here, here, and here, but please, ladies and gentlemen, do not open the carriage door whilst in flight. The Orient Express will take your breath away. Literally.*

I wrote that after I saw the episode trailer for this week’s Doctor Who episode, and, yes, I’m fully aware it’s packed with clichés. My first thought was actually – Oh, my gosh, Space Train! Can I just steal that idea, please? *big eyes* Please? It would go so well with the Steampunk novella I want to plan. TRAINNNNSSS.

Yes, I got in the flailing gif! This is so me, actually. Just get me the face-paint for Hallowe’en. Sprague is one of the league of golden haired people, like me and Alex Kingston. #socool

In preparation for reviewing this week’s Doctor Who episode with Nevillegirl, I’ve put together some thoughts. Obviously, I’ve only seen the trailer, so these are more general things.

I’m looking forward to:

The Doctor alone. Whilst Ten and Eleven tended to go wild when left on their own, Twelve has that ‘loner’ aura that means he operates as well without a companion as well (though, bear in mind Twelve’s only had Clara).

Also – slight deviant case in point, it wad nice to see the companion get sick of The Doctor before something outside them stole them away.

66 Seconds to live… I love time as a conflict because it’s out of anyone’s control, even a Time Lord’s. DW has previously followed the line of time being at least semi sentient, and, though not the point in this particular episode,

The Orient Express itself and her aesthetics. It’s still on my bucket list to travel the entirety of The Orient Express route, especially if I get to do it in costume. By naming their episode in homage to that famous book, the producers have set the bar high. Just like The Unicorn and the Wasp, which divided audiences, I’ll be looking at the fun and Christie-fangirl factor of this episode, as well as how it fits into the rest of the series.

The science. I want to see how they explain a mummy on a space train – though, it’ll probably be an artefact being transported for some dubious reason.

My not-so-impressed face looks a lot like this.

Or maybe it’s this. This one has a flying machine in it. #toomanygifs, not enough references.

I didn’t draw explicit parallels with Voyage of the Damned until Nevillegirl pointed it out, but I’m hoping that it won’t be another ‘experience the past in the future!’. Highly unlikely an idea, but I’d enjoy seeing people secretly transported into space in the 30s (see my Dieselpunk idea above). I’m not going to try and second-guess the episode, though. With the great lack of double episodes except the finale this series, one-off and spontaneous episodes like these have more gravitas. On the other hand, they can also be quite rushed or dry, as a couple of the previous episodes this series have been to me.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the time-being. We’ll just have to see how things turn out tonight. I’m waiting in anticipation. :)


Jazzy Thursday

For your Thursday, instead of my normal re-blog, here’s a Jazz song I heard whilst I was manning the Reading Swing Dance stall at the Fresher’s faire the whole of today (and my feet now kill): It’s All Right With Me, this version performed by the great Ella Fitzgerald. Her voice is lovely, and those lyrics are wonderful.

Have you got a favourite song recently, jazz or not? 

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Steampunkish Fashions


Following from Monday’s steampunk post, I’m going to dive into real life for a moment and talk about Steampunk fashion as I might wear. Fair warning, this is quite a picture-heavy post. :D

The Typical Steampunk

Of course, we’ve got the goggles and cogs stereotype, but I’m going to focus on the dress sense of the fantasy genre. Yup, you know the kind – short dresses, leather and pistols in belts, and the sort that make me pull a face in that traditional aspect. And, uh, external corsets. Yeah, it’s quite a clever way of linking the Victorian aspects to the modern movability and the punk of women being able to breathe and move more easily, but it’s not the kind of style I’d personally associate with Steampunk. Why do we have to show everyone that we’re wearing a corset? (It’d be pretty obvious from our shape anyway). That’s like the Victorian version of wearing our underwear outside of our clothing! xD I’m no Superman, thank you!

But I’m not to judge on the typical Steampunk. It does suit those who wear it, especially when surrounded by others at conventions.

But I can’t afford conventions, and there aren’t so many in England that I’d go to, either.

The Neo-Victorian Way

As you may know, I love myself some NeoVictorian living. But I cannot, in a practical manner, wear my long black dress every day. And I only have one dress for the time-being. Yus, sirree, I’m waiting on another dress. A la When the Clock Broke’s Aidelle and Zara, I dress my modern outfits into Victorian themes, or I loosen the Victorian outfits into something less conspicuous on a daily basis.

Here’s one I ‘made earlier’ on a whim: simple black trousers (which I tend to wear anyway), with a blue, sequined/embossed short-sleeve shirt under a puffed white overshirt, sharing the Victorian’s love of layers. Do you think those colours match? I do. :D And don’t forget the tulip earrings. I bought those from Steampunk Etsy shop, London Particulars.


In Aidelle’s time in The Continent, woman are still in the floor-dress phase, forbidden from wearing trousers, but the hems have started to rise, as at the beginning of Earth’s 1910s, and, as such, Aidelle finds herself more comfortable in her first outfit, a bolero, a blouse and a knee-length pencil(-ish) skirt.

That’s elegant, but still a bit atypical.

Zara’s time, on the other hand, is fully into the stage of women’s rights and trouser-wearing. When she first appears, she’s dressed in long black trousers, something which, as a Physics’ student, she prefers for ease of work. I, too, share Zara’s wearing of trousers. It’s always good to have a flexible staple piece of clothing, and black is a colour that harks back to the mechanical elements.


Bonus points for the electric guitar!

With Steampunk, You Can Have Your Own Themes

P1010717With me, I always make sure that Lady Chronaire, my steamsona, is wearing metal flower earrings. This metallic theme extends beyond my accessories – have you looked at my belt(s)? The black base one exemplifies the hook-and-eye style Steampunk values – one might want to drizzle some metallic colours and button-rivets to hint of the age of steam and industry.

However, in my ‘casual steampunk’, I also delve to the poorer/simpler aspects of the genre. This picture shows an outfit I whipped up, inspired by the styles featured in the TV show Lark Rise to Candleford. This involves a high-waisted skirt over another short-sleeved blouse and, if possible, tights or bare legs. I used silk for the shirt to add an element of glimmer, a NeoVictorian version of steampunk iron. Of course, in history, the purple and green dyes would have been bought by only the higher classes, but these go well together for a more modern look. I’d play about with colours and see what you get.

Always Accessorize!

YP1010712ou’ll notice I have my hair up in these pictures, too.

Here’s a ‘selfie’ shot of the hair just after I did it.

Whilst my hair is naturally that curly, and I’ve simply tied it into a ponytail and then clipped it with a large butterfly clip, you with straight hair might want to add a few curls, especially around the fringe, since that’s what a lot of Victorian styles feature as base.

Glasses are optional. Personally, I feel more NeoVictorian with the confidence of contact lenses. Don’t forget you can also jazz the modern world up with a hat or two or bows! I love hats. Gloves, too, are optional, but sometimes necessary. Sadly, they are quite difficult to dance in, so one ought to rustle up more practice in that department.


As you can see here, in my casual NeoVictorian gear, I’m not against adding elements from other decades. For instance, in this picture, I took inspiration from the 80s with this vintage denim jacket (it belonged to my mother’s friend); the blue goes well with my blue blouse underneath and the tight shape gives the illusion of a corseted shape, and the silver buttons stand out if one hunts for the theme of metallic highlights.

I take so many brief webcam pictures of my outfits and accessories that I might parade them all across the blog. Haha, maybe not for your own sanity!


Hope you enjoyed that little peek into my everyday and steamy attire! I’m still in Dubai and, hopefully, enjoying myself whilst dressed in normal and smart attire.

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A Lot of NA Novels Are Letting the Category Down

I’ll start this with a quote from Confessions of a Opinionated Book Geek:

What is the formula for new adult fiction? I am glad you asked! I have the ingredients below:

1. College kid in living situation they shouldn’t realistically be able to afford with their background and economic status?

2. Messed up parents?

3. Abuse, most likely sexual, in their past?

4. They are not looking for romance, more they don’t want it, but a guy falls from the sky?

Yup. As you may know, I am an advocate for NA fiction for its moving away from home and learning state – not for its sexytimes. The only reason I removed the New Adult tag from my main novel was a marketing choice. After all, quite a few adult SFF novels have child protagonists or characters of all ages, and I even had one agent say that NA SFF could never exist because it made no sense. That’s a fair point. After all, if one suggests NA is the romance/sex/erotica part, then SFF might have that anyway; if one says it for its crossover appeal and many-aged protagonists…well many SFF books have that anyway.

The review from which the above quote comes concludes by saying that the certain NA big-5-published novel involving a virgin features way too much sex, whether actual or implied, to warrant stressing the virginity of one character.

NA is about age – or is it, really?

Some novels are first pitched as NA and set in uni, but docked down to YA, albeit Upper YA, when they are published. I can see why people would be interested in the age-group of about 18 – about 30, but NA is either too focused on age at times, or not specific enough.

My biggest criticism of NA as it stands at the moment is that it gives a bad example of relationships to those real new adult and YA readers.

Sure, everyone has their faults when it comes to relationships, but so many fictional heroes and heroines of NA fiction are, as the formula above suggests, damaged or damaging, or both, as the way might go.

Sometimes, I’ll admit, this is a useful plot device of romance, but to an extent. These sorts of mental and/or behavioural ‘quirks’ shouldn’t be portrayed or suggested as positive behaviour, not ways to handle a partner. I know we live in a modern world, but I’d like to hope that manners and the traditional values of marriage still exist.

Random titles on Google images

Not only that, but it’s becoming a trope and cliché of NA contemporary. Bad girl, good boy, or vice versa. Never any other combination. But I know good girls in relationships with good boys who still go through the character growth and change that might be novel-like. We all face uncertainty and mismatch and disagreement in relationships without having a melodramatic or [physical or/and emotionally] abused childhood.

I’d like to see a New Adult story that deals with a couple moving in together or something that has no mention of university or abuse. Plus, it would be cool to have a fantasy or sci-fi bent on this idea. An alien moving away from his/her parents/mothership and datarate and starting a life on Earth with their partner.

Oh, and another thing…authors seem to think sexual exploration and that first time are an important part of NA and so they need to advertise if one half of the couple is a) promiscuous or b)a virgin. I’m not interested. Maybe if that story involves the tribulations and steps of marriage…

Just as it’s possible to write NA without sex, it’s possible to write a virgin without carving a flashing sign above them that screams LOOK HERE, I’VE NEVER HAD SEX. Also, the equivocation that being a virgin means innocence? Fallacy. Triangle is primarily a romance story, and, although I know Lucas and Lea have never had sex because of the morals of their religion, something which is a major theme in the novel, I’ve never considered Andrea. I don’t want to know, frankly. The fact changes very little about her relationships.

Being a virgin is not something which alters someone’s behaviour or integral personality.

Another question: can contemporary NA be more than romance? Please? It annoys me that ‘contemporary New Adult’ is automatically associated with sexy times romance or university, rather than using its themes – about exploration of the self as an individual when one is not under the rule of the parent.

As a new adult myself in the true sense of the word (19 and soon going into my 2nd year of uni), I am concerned about the way this category (not genre) is going. Recently, I’ve even reverted and worried about the validity of NA. It’s more than age, yes, but age is a big factor, and, with some of my protagonists being in their early twenties, it’s hard for me to wipe away the thought that I am writing NA, regardless of the genre or romance content.

On the other hand, every story should be about a character’s exploration of theirself, about coping through change, whether as a single unit or as a herd/group.


Heya, this is the first of series of scheduled posts for this week whilst I’m away in Dubai. I promise I’ll take loads of pictures and tell you about it later!


Diversity is Difficult (For Me)

With all the talk of diversity from last month’s Pride month, I’ve got stuck thinking about the topic of all sorts of diversity.

Miriam Joy and I were discussing our Work-in-Progresses recently. Her YA contemporary about modern-day knights is packed with queer characters (to quote Miriam “I’m bad at writing straight people.”) whilst in my steampunk/alternate history, I’m finding it difficult to identify any sort of diversity.

My reaction when people talk about diversity in WIP novels

Any pre-millennium author would argue this is because of the setting and a world where not only was homosexuality considered a mental illness, many queer people refused to admit the truth to themselves—but I refuse to take that as an excuse for my own writing. The idea of diversity has to, fundamentally, exist throughout the centuries, worlds and genres. One can’t swipe it away by the idea that some genres or places are ‘immune’ to diversity. That would be ludicrous.

This is, sadly, a trend in my writing. One of my characters was obviously gay to me; and Agnetha is bi, even if she is more heterosexual-homoromantic than anything else; if any of my characters are asexual, that would be Andrew Costello, but even his disinterest is classed as being a confirmed bachelor in the NeoVictorian world*.

As I write, I don’t see my characters as being diverse, and I’m hardly one to shoe-horn in the queerness and the colour; as I’ve briefly mentioned before, I’d be happy to have some of my characters whom I envision as white in my head played by actors of colour, but I am – one might sigh and say sadly – one of those little middle-class white girls with a tendency to write about white girls. And, of course, they’re middle-class, because the upper and lower classes are too often written about.

On the other hand, it’s more difficult simply to make assumptions about characters—

Though I can’t help but want to let my readers decide about the sexuality of my Supporting Characters. With MCs, I tend to be more specific, since I can’t escape writing in romance. For instance, in Horology, Cathy gets engaged to Alexander, though I do accept that the certain fact does not negate queerness of either partner. But they’re straight. Believe me. SCs, however, don’t have to be specific. Of course, I’ll know what I feel they are meant to be, but characters have their own decisions ex libris and I cannot stop them feeling what they might.

Be that as it may, my authorial side has her own opinions/interpretations/assumptions – and it’s here that I find, once I’ve created the cast of a WIP, that barely any characters strike me as queer.

And one has to be aware of stereotypes. I know certain images appear at the thought of, say, the word lesbian, because of the way popular culture has shaped our views, and I have no wish to further the stereotype—yet, characters automatically conform to certain patterns of stereotypical appearance. For instance, I can see how a couple of my SCs in Horology could be queer, but they’re already non-conformist in their jobs and opinions, so – to me, personally, by the way; I fully understand the subjectiveness of the matter – it seems a cop out to have them be queer. That’s almost what the reader expects.

So, what about subtle queerness? But with characters who don’t need to be romantically involved, or are chased by an unwitting ‘straight’ (used in the very general sense) character, how does one show their sexuality without making a point of it? Or without doing a JK. Is it bad if I’m not being explicit? *overthinking*

You know, I’d like to see more diversity in interests, too. Whilst a lot of writers include ‘fun’ interests, like sciencey-things and music and stuff (specific, I know), I’ve not met many, especially non-contemporary, characters who are furries or lovers of inanimate objects or animals (and, no, I’m not talking about bestiality. Bestioromance. You know, in a nice way). Lifestyles that are a little deviant of ‘the line’. I think I’m allowed to raise that point, even though I’m only 50% Live-Action Role Playing.

I guess it’s too early in the Steampunk fashion boom to expect contemporaries with characters who Steam dress and have Steam personae, but I find this sort of ‘cultural’ cross-dressing is absent everywhere, despite knowing two people who, rather than cosplay, do daily dress in their creations.

In summary, I suppose what I’m raising is that I myself should be writing more characters in non-contemporaries who put on the gear of cults/societies/non-conformist fashion without fear of exposure/mockery/plot-device.

And, you know, more obviously queer characters.

I feel I ought to mention the series of Pride posts Nevillegirl did, since those also in part inspired this post and got me thinking about more diversity in my own works.

*Perhaps I’ll further explore the use of ambiguity in prose – both the oh-that’s-a-remark-about-sh*gging-guys and the author-isn’t-meant-to-know kind – when regarding sexuality in another post, since it’s a little off-topic here. In particular, the lives of a lot of the characters in The Continent world (When the Clock Broke) are private even to my eyes. There are some things to which I don’t want to know the answer.


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