Writing Journal: Introducing Sisterhood

492599If you follow me around in real life, on FaceBook, and or read my Blog, you will quickly realize that one of my favorite concepts in stories—right after the idea of the Undeserved Rescue—is Brotherhood. I love action flicks with a core group that would kill for each other. I love stories about enemies becoming inseparable friends. I love stories about cops and their partners. I love war stories because of the brotherhood concept. Band of Brothers is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, but I feel like you see this same idea play out, to lesser degrees, in StarTrek: NG, Firefly, Sherlock, and Chuck. It’s all about the person next to you. It’s all about the guy willing to spill blood to defend you, even his own. It’s what I love about Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. It is what I love about Lord of the Rings.

With all that said, it’s not surprising that my Fairytale has at least two brotherhoods forming in Book 1. I’m diligently working on a brotherhood within the antagonist’s army and a brotherhood centered around my protagonists. Since brotherhoods tend to form in the middle of intense situations like combat, and since I’m a bit conservative and think combat should be left to men, and since it typically has been left to men so men are the ones forming these brotherhoods, my protagonist is a male. In fact, most of the books I’ve written have a male protagonist.

Why?

Most of the books I enjoy reading have male protagonist. It’s not that there aren’t books with lead females out there. It’s not that women don’t have adventures. It’s just that I never find books and stories with lead females as interesting or as fun as I do the ones with lead males. This started back when I had a choice between the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Can you guess which one I picked? (If you guess Nancy Drew you need to start this article over and try again. 🙂 )

Why is this?

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I’ll be honest, and a bit hard on my own sex, I find stories with lead females a bit annoying. Either the woman is doing something completely ridiculous in some vain attempt to prove that she’s just as big and bad as the guys are, or she’s standing in a corner screaming with a phaser not three inches from her hand while her man gets beat to death, or she’s eye candy. There are very few stories where the woman is a woman. And the ones where she is being a woman can be a bit harder to make interesting because they can end up catty, manipulative, and self focused. I just don’t think they’re as fun as male driven stories. (And yes, if you’re wondering, I was a Tomboy growing up.) What it really came down to was boys had adventures and girls had boyfriends. I would rather have an adventure.

Me and my Bestie!

Me and my Bestie!

Then, a dear friend laid down a challenge. She pointed out the many wonderful relationships I have with other women. I’ve been blessed with a wise mother and extra mother, grandmothers, sisters, sisters-in-Christ, wise older women, and a very dear best friend, and many nieces. I have more dear women than I can possibly name in my life right now. I have women who are going before me into old age and widowhood, I have young women coming up behind me into marriage, life, and adulthood. I wouldn’t trade these women for the world. I love each and every one of them. My dear friend, who is a woman, asked me why I don’t have more of those types of female relationships in my books? They are some of the best friendships I’ve had, why don’t I mirror the brotherhood concept with a sisterhood concept? If I hated women being written just to have boyfriends, why was I doing the same thing. (Don’t read this the wrong way, I think loving a man and being loved by him, being married, is one of the most wonderful and rewarding relationships you can have.)

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I was floored. I couldn’t believe how long I’d missed the opportunity to share something that has always been a part of my life. Facepalm.

Again, I find myself beholden to a woman while I write about a man. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be: Women supporting women who are helping men? So now I’m weaving women together. I have a mother and now I have a GateKeeper and a few elements who are women, plus some other girls. I’m shooting for a story that has brotherhoods, sisterhoods, and also some marriages.

I hope to show the positive sides of women and sisterhoods without reducing them down to catty relationships. One of the things I hated most about the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan was his sisterhoods. Every woman in the book constantly manipulated the men around them for their own ends. It grew very frustrating. It was like watching all that is the worst part of you instead of being encouraged to be better. I want to have a story more like Lord of the Rings that makes you want to be a better person when you finish reading it.

With this challenge accepted, I will be working on my female characters. I will be exploring what makes women and men different and how those things compliment each other. I have some good books to read, good movies to watch, and of course some interesting personal experiences to draw from. Plus, I have a whole host of Godly women ready to help me! I’m gearing up and ready to go!

 

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Thanksgiving Post 6

I am thankful for the wise older women God has put in my life.  I thankful for the ones I’m just now getting to know, the ones who only have time to send me a quick text now and again but still do it, and the ones who have been there for me through thick and thin, years and years even when I didn’t want them to be there with wisdom.  I have laughed, cried, been mischievous, grown, been challenged, talked off the roof, had my marriage protected when I was too stupid or angry or selfish to protect it, loved when I was unlovable, supported, encouraged and understood by these women in more ways than I can count.  Young lady?  Never think that you can make it without a wise older women, or several, to help you.

Specifically, I would like to express my heartfelt thankfulness for these six women:

My Mom: She has stood by me my whole life.  She has gently taken my hand and guided me away from danger both physically and spiritually time after time.  She doesn’t hold back when I need to be told I’m doing something wrong, but she always listens and very gently points me back at the Scripture.  She knows me inside and out, and treats me more like a dear friend than the crazy kid I sometimes feel like.  ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, I am my Mother after All’ is one of the highest compliments I could be paid.  I know no other woman of such grace, gentle strength, quiet heart, and diligent To Do List.  I have sat long at her feet learning both the truth of the hardships of life and sin, and also the glories and mercies of Christ.  I have learned how to order my home, love my husband, and welcome the stranger in from listening and watching her.  Also, Mom taught me to read – there are few gifts a parent can give like the gift of reading.  I’m thankful I’ve had her as my wise older woman since I was born.

Deanna Brown: It just so happened that God laid it on Deanna’s heart to escape her children once in a while.  It just so happened that someone suggested me as the babysitter so she could plan her escape.  Our friendship had flourished since that day.  Deanna, like my Mom, was a wonderful wise older woman because she listened and then often told me what I needed to hear without ever making me feel like a weirdo.  She doesn’t tell me what I want to hear, she tells me what I need to hear.  Deanna has over the years gone from being my “older woman” to being one of my dearest friends.  She is the truest supporter of my writing.  She sees my heart inside my stories in ways I don’t even see it sometimes.  She has made time for me when her own life was literally falling apart, and let me in on that pain when she could.  She has let me see her struggle and through that I have learned even more deeply the beauty of that struggle.  I am thankful for Deanna in more ways than words can express.

Wanda Jones:  It’s not every woman who gets a great Mother-in-Law.  It’s not every woman who gets a friend when she gets married.  I got both.  When you think of your friends and you quantify them by how much time you spend talking with them and hanging out with them, then my MIL is like in my top five.  She is wise, open, funny, helpful, and married to a Jones!  She has been there for me when she didn’t even know I needed her to be.  She has supported every decision we have made even when she didn’t agree with us.  She welcomes me into her home at any hour and tackles any question I have from cooking to plants to organization.  She is filled with very down to earth, Southern, practical knowledge.  Plus we both cry at Hallmark commercials.  I love my mother-in-law so much! Life wouldn’t be half the adventure it has been without her.

Deanell Smith:  Deanell and I like to joke that I’m her extra daughter.  First off, because it turns heads and makes people awkwardly stop and do a double take, but also cause this is our heart.  Deanell is my go to person for a hug.  (A trait her oldest daughter also shares that I miss.) She is always ready with open, loving arms and a welcoming word.  Deanell and I have never been able to take the time together that we want, but she has supported me when I was a fledgling and crazy Mary Kay consultant.  She did modeling work for my boutique, and she texts me big long text, that I love, checking up on me and my family.  She also has the most awesome hats.

Denise Wilkinson:  Denise is probably the newest addition to my Wisdom Team.  (Their like the Avengers but more subtle with their super powers and prone to injuring themselves without any aliens involved.)  She has gone through the steps of widowhood recently.  In my fumbling attempt to express my sorrow and love to her, I found myself being encouraged and uplifted by her.  Since then God has given me several opportunities to work with her and I found a kindred spirit in the beauties of hosting, a well set table, good food, and fellowship.  I look forward to many years of sitting at her feet and learning from her.

Kathy Butler:  Years ago, Kathy sat down and taught me to play the piano.  While my out-of-habit-fingers can barely play my favorite songs anymore, what I came away with was more important than piano playing.  From Kathy I had reinforced all the things my Mother taught me.  From a love of the country, to the amazement of adventure, to the beauty of music, and the beauty of hard work, God used Kathy to let me see that my parents weren’t crazy.  I learned that what they were teaching me was beautiful to watch.  Kathy has been a wise older woman to me from afar.  I don’t often get to sit and be with her, but I watched her as she struggled through the death of her husband, her new marriage, her children growing up, grand kids, and more.  She personifies in my mind the concept of a gentle and quiet spirit.  For that I will be forever thankful.  This is one of the benefits of Facebook.  Some people call it stalking, I call it learning from others. 🙂

There are so many more women who have come along side me, even in my church alone:  Bobbie Shaw, Amy Shaw, Brenda Richardson, Jan Gagliardi, Glyn Vasquez, Flo Woods, Jean Wilkinson, Laura McDaniels, Kim Moelling, Michelle Hodson, Jeanette Cason, Liz Kidd, Joy Hiller, Susan Tittle, Patricia Atterholt, Amy Dawn Downs, Jean King, Jeni Del Rio, and Maria DiMarco.  In my life, God brought Myrtle Fox, Mia, my Aunt Becky, Auntie Laurie, Aunt Debbie, Aunt Jenny, and Aunt Claudia, Tracy Gamboa and Lisa Dickinson, Lydia Muniz, Linda Marley, Abby Bundick, Susan Howe, Debi Blackburn, Randie Garrick, Gail Donell, Ann McCormick, and Pat Curley, my Grandmothers: Doris, Rena, Lou, Winnie, and Caroline.   So many women who impacted me in ways both big and small.  I’m thankful that the Lord so generously provided such kind and gentle hands to guide me over the years.

(I now have this overwhelming fear that I’ve forgotten someone very important.  If you are that important woman, my humblest apologies!)