EXERCISE Taking Exception - Female-Centric Fiction

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Astaroth, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Taking Exception - Female-Centric Fiction

    So, boys and girls. When was the last time you roleplayed as a female character?

    When was the last time your female character interacted with other female characters?

    When was the last time it had nothing to do with a man?

    If these questions sound familiar, you may be acquainted with what has come to be known as "The Bechdel Test". This rule was introduced as part of a comic strip, and is excellently explained here:


    What I'd like you to do is write a scene, and adhere to the following rules:

    1. You must use at least two female characters. Names are not necessary as long as they are established as important characters.

    2. At least two of these female characters must interact. Dialogue isn't necessary as long as there is significant interaction.

    3. No male characters may be directly involved or discussed. Period.

    Can you pass the Bechdel Test?

  2. Re: Writing Exercise: Taking Exception - Female-Centric Fiction

    Maria looked down at Lucy, who was following right behind her. She waited for Lucy to catch up before continuing up the hiking trail.

    "When are we going to stop and rest Maria?" Lucy leaned against a tree and started panting heavily. All she wanted to do was escape her boring little cubicle, but she never thought of something like this. "Seriously," she said in between pants, "I'm sweating like a pig right now." She cringed at what she just stated, but stopped caring as she was too tired.

    "We're almost there," Maria chuckled at her tired friend, "so toughen it out and keep going." Maria pushed back a couple low branches as she trekked through the trail. She loved the outdoors and the forest especially, she basically grew up in a forest. A clearing came into view and Maria suddenly got excited. She ran up the trail, leaving Lucy to follow slowly behind.

    "Slow up you nature freak," Lucy made a bad attempt to jog the rest of the way. She caught up to her friend at the top of the hill and hunched over out of wind. "So what's so important to just leave me behind?"

    "This incredible view Lucy, I mean just look at it!" Maria was so giddy, she resembled a little girl who just got ice cream.
    Lucy stood up and saw an amazing view of the vast forest. It was a far range of tall trees, vast sparkling lakes, and wide clearings. It would have taken Lucys breath away if it wasn't already taken. "You're right maria, it is pretty wondrous." She gazed over the land and tried to take it all in, "it's so calming and serene that I just want to explore it more." She looked down the trail they just traveled on, "I take that back..."

    The girls giggled at one another then decides to sit down and have a quick lunch. "I'm glad you're turning over to the wild side Lucy," maria said playfully while picking up a sandwich. "It was being in that cubicle that turned me this way," Lucy pouted as she ate some chips.

    A sudden rustle was heard coming through the grass and approaching them slowly. Lucy looked in the direction where the noise was coming from, "what's that Maria??"
    "I have an idea," Maria said calmly, also looking over to the rustling grass. A Black rat snake appeared before them and hisses. It was an oddity for a snake to approach people so directly, but maria suspected it was because of their food. Lucy jumped at the sight of the snake and made a shrill shriek. The snake only hissed again and reared its head up. "Calm down Lucy," Maria stood up and stood over the snake. The snake inched away in hopes that it can still get to the food. With a quick and swift reflex, Maria kicked the snake and watches it fly into nearby bushes. "Hopefully that didn't kill it," Maria looked down at Lucy, who was in a shocked state of mind.

    Maria sat back down and they both continued their lunch, as Lucy asked herself when she'll be back in her little cubicle.
  3. Re: Writing Exercise: Taking Exception - Female-Centric Fiction

    She set the teacup down in front of me, and for a moment, I forgot why I was there. My irritation at such a simple ceremony as a pretty tea cup and formal seating drove me to wish to leave. She was so... sweet, so completely trapped in a bygone era. But then, why shouldn’t she be? She was literally from another time. And here we were, trying to get along.

    It wasn’t so simple as that, of course. She wasn’t so much from another time as another world where certain eddies of time flowed differently and the course of history, but mostly etiquette and protocol, differed. Her name was Eliza, and we were sitting in the parlor of her airship, floating along and sipping, of all things, rose tea.

    “Please, do try to relax, Catherine.”

    “I told you, don’t call me Catherine. My name’s Kate.” Ignoring the tea, I picked up a cigarette and lit it, taking a long drag. The walls were paneled in more roses, and I wondered if this woman’s love for them was some symptom of a neurological obsession.

    “Well, Kate, then. I do apologize for taking you from your time, but it is imperative that you be introduced to the tools necessary for your calling with all swiftness.” This time, that polite smile seemed tense, not touching eyes that were held in a worried grimace. “Please, drink your tea.”

    “I like coffee. Tea tastes like muddy water. Sometimes muddy water and milk. Just, get on with things so I can get home and feed my dog.” I crossed my legs, flicking ash onto the floor. She gave me a look of stern disapproval at this.

    “Hrm, right. Well, as I said, it is important, but I must know. Why do you do this? Why refuse hospitality, why sully the floor and turn away offers of kindness? I’ve been nothing but nice to you since you arrived.”

    “Arrived! That’s what you call it? Lady, you kidnapped me out of my apartment. You threw me in a jail cell-”

    “That room is lavishly appointed! Why-”

    “Look, I don’t care how many fancy bits of finery you give me, Eliza. A prison is a prison, even when pretty and pink.” Never mind the fact that I hated pink. I put the cigarette out on the side of the settee, the heat burning through the velvet. There was the satisfaction of seeing my ‘hostess’ look distressed and hurt. Well, it served her right. She shouldn’t have absconded with me in the damn airship!

    “Well, I think I have some finery you will care for, indeed.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a compass, setting it before me.

    “What’s that?”

    “That,” she said with a small show of satisfaction, “is the compass to the greatest treasure in the worlds. It leads to a dimension only one woman, the pirate queen, has ever reached. And you, Kate, are the only one it will work for. You’re going to help me find that treasure.”

    “And why would I do that?”

    “Because. It’s said that the treasure contains a glass bottle that houses the cure to all ills. The elixer of life.”

    My facade of anger faded. So much had happened, so many unbelievable things, that it wasn’t hard to believe in just one more. My mind went to my aunt, lying in a hospital bed and suffering from MS and early onset alzheimers. This could cure her... this could be it. And yet...

    “Why me? Why won’t it work for you?”

    “Please, at least try your tea before it gets cold.”

    It was obvious she wasn’t going to tell me until I accepted her hospitality, so I picked up the cup and took a large gulp. The room slid sideways and I felt myself falling slowly to the settee cushions. I couldn’t move, couldn’t worry, couldn’t panic or fight. As if from a vast distance, Eliza was talking.

    “You are the great descendant of the pirate queen. And we need you now, more than ever.”
  4. Re: Writing Exercise: Taking Exception - Female-Centric Fiction

    I tiptoed, putting my hands onto the banister and trying to see over the hat of the large lady in front of me. It was a little impossible to try and beat her height so I leaned sideways instead, peeking through a small gap between her arm and the next person to see the people coming out of the station. Sure enough, I spotted the fluttering black hair of my roommate, Tracy, as she lugged along her large red suitcase. I grinned, ducking past the people and squishing through the crowd over to engulf her in a hug. "I missed you!" I cooed. She was much taller than I, but she nudged her cheek against mine and laughed, "I missed you, too!"

    As we walked back towards the terminal, she told me about her trip. "There was a lady with a baby on my left side. That little thing cried for hours! I thought I would go crazy!"

    I laughed, she had dreaded being stuck with a child on the long flight. It was incredible enough that she was smiling even after all that. "Did you get ice cream on the plane?" I asked curiously. I loved those snickers bar chocolate ice creams they gave on airplanes.

    "Yeah! But not snickers. It was an ice cream sandwich," she winked at me, "Lucky, right?"

    "Totally! I'm jealous!"

    We laughed together, paying for our tickets to the airtran. As I helped her pull her luggage onto the air train, she smiled and pointed at my new backpack, "That's cute. When'd you get it?"

    I grinned. It was a pink sling-shoulder bag with a purple monkey dancing on the side. Just the kind of thing that Tracy would crack up at. "Chinatown, of course. Did you bring me crackers?"

    "Yeah, duh. My whole suitcase is food," She laughed. I always looked forward to the stuff she brought from China. All kinds of yummy snacks, interesting products, and cute notebooks and pencils. We sat down on the train seats and she asked about our other roommates. I told her what I had been doing all week.

    "I dusted everything! Twice!" I pretended to sneeze. She laughed.

    "Was there really that much dust?" She seemed surprised, "Don't they clean it for us over the summer?"

    "Apparently not. I bought this cool stack up shelf for the bathroom, too! It's all organized, now!" I giggled because we both knew organization never worked in our rooms.

    "Not for long," she laughed along with me.

    Our reunion wasn't just the end of summer, but rather, the start of our second year. And it was an awesome start, I thought, as Tracy took out those sesame crackers I loved so much.

    "Here, I kept one in my handbag for you." She laughed as I stared at it like a little kid with candy.

    "You're the best~~~" I replied gleefully, tearing open the cover to munch onto the beige colored snack. It was my favorite snack from China.

    Yeah. Sophomore year was going to be awesome. Just like always, as long as we were together.
  5. Re: Writing Exercise: Taking Exception - Female-Centric Fiction

    I honestly wasn't sure what to talk about considering I've been working on my world but then I saw the all too human challenge Kitti posted earlier, so yes, this is sort of a melding of that creative challenge and this writing exercise. It just sort of came to me when I was like "Well, Acqua . . . your life could be much, much worse." Also, I need to work on emotional writing so that's me doing just that.

    So basically, Carmen and Anna are sisters who have lost their mother to a Dark Queen's campaign to establish work camps for magi. They are also being chased after since they are mud-bloods (half human, half magi). Their whole life they have known a mare named Aislin whom you shall see later on. Okay, starting it now!

    The wind came in morose gales, chilling Carmen's fair skin. She and her little sister had trekked the prairie of their retched ruler's wastes for days and were low on supplies. At one point little Anna had resorted to eating some of the small flowers that could withstand the last of March's bleak frost. The two girls trudged onward together, two golden-haired flowers leaning on each other. They were their own light, the expanse of grass a pallid palette of frosted white, mournful gray clouds and patches of color emerging forth with signs of struggle, the ice's strain evident. Mama's gone now.

    "Carmen, please sing me that song that Mama used to." Anna's blue eyes stared into Carmen's.

    Carmen was not sure if she could do anything else for the poor thing. At least she was eighteen, but a poor ten year old without any parents? What had the world come to? Apparently enforcing propaganda had become more important than magic, but that's not what froze Carmen's heart. Not the frigid cries of the air nor the threat of starving quite moved her; she had suffered through these every winter. What moved her to sing was the fact that her mother, her quaint home on the prairie and maybe even her voice had been robbed from her by some filthy queen.
    And the bluebirds're singin',
    Singin' all night long
    Don't let their song go
    Don't let their voice go

    And the bluebirds will sing,
    'Til music is gone . . .

    S'open your little blues,
    Sing 'til music's gone . . .​

    She had started as smooth as her Mother, only for the memories to come back. They landed on her mind like the snowflakes around her at first, but they soon became a stream, her voice growing more strained. The snow gave way to a languishing rain, her eyes soon joining it. Meanwhile, Anna closed her eyes, trembling in solemn silence as her sister's voice rolled like the heavyhearted hills. By the time Carmen finished the little song both of their voices gave way to a melancholic duet, lyrics cast aside as their voices sank into the wind's weeping. For these agonizing instants they were no longer two voices; they were the voices of their people, trying to play the song that they could not, trying to bloom in the snow field that the queen cast upon them. The older flower struggled from the field of ice to embrace her little sister once more, rocking back and forth. Though their frozen hearts held magical blood, they were all too human.

    Then came a clearing. Carmen gazed up, still holding her little sister like her mother had once done with her. A hint of warmth beamed down upon them as if it were a blessing from above. Her smile widened with its expansion, light becoming Anna and Carmen's lullaby. The grass and snow began to shimmer, the early spring flowers mocking the frost's plain white. They too, seemed to grin as Anna wiped away her tears, enchanted by the grandest thing of all. Silver feathers descended without care for the wings whence they came, their owner landing no more than a few feet away from the sisters. At them stared two pitying platinum eyes.

    "Aislin!" Anna perked up at the sight of the mare, her body glistening from the rain.

    "We do not have much time, Anna and Carmen. The Queen's soldiers could arrive looking for runaways any minute! We have to fly." Aislin's horn glowed as she pointed it to the north, a grim outline of innumerable black uniforms on the horizon.

    "You're letting us actually ride you? But Pegasuses never . . ."

    "If I do not, then you and I will end up just like, well, you know. Now get on!" Aislin approached with a panicked neigh, the two struggling onto the anxious mare. "It will be a long ride, but I can make it past Istanelia by dusk. They will not be able to catch you there."

    Anna held tight to Carmen as Aislin ascended, the clearing closing behind them. ​

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  6. Re: Writing Exercise: Taking Exception - Female-Centric Fiction

    Kitiara looked up from the pages of her assorted poetry book and gave an irritated look to her younger sister Alina. Did she have to listen to her music that loudly? More importantly, did she have to do so while Kitiara is trying to read? "Alina..." she said, doubting that her sister would hear her over the crap that she called music. She sighed as she looked at the page number and then closed her book. She then got up and proceeded to disconnect the headphones from the music device, knowing it would stop the play of music.

    Before the music stopped, Alina felt as if she was seeing the band in person and that the music was directed to her and her alone. Every word was something she could relate to and the drum beat in time to her heart and soul. However the abrupt stop quickly put a frown on her face as she turned to see what had caused it. She saw Kitiara, mockingly swinging the headphone jack. "Hey, I was listening to that!' she whined trying to grab the cord from her sister.

    She let her sister have the cord back and smirked at the obvious statement made by Alina. "I know you were listening to it. Hell, I could even tell what song you were listening to."

    Alina rolled her eyes and plugged the headphones in however she didn't hit play just yet. "At least I was using headphones. So what's the big deal?"

    Kitiara scoffed and shook her head. "You might as well have used the speakers. Seriously, you're going to go deaf or something.

    "If it's too loud for you then why don't you just leave the room or something?" Alina said as she hit the play button.

    Kitiara glared at her sister before sitting back down on the couch. When did her sister become so snarky and so sarcastic? How did mom put up with it? It's not like I can go back to reading...the music is still a distracting level... Kitiara glanced to her side and saw the tv remote. With a grin, she hit the power button and turned up the volume.

    Alina glared at her sister and pulled out one of her headphones. "Sis, turn it down! I can't hear anything!

    Kitiara couldn't help but reply is a mocking tone, ""If it's too loud for you, why don't you just leave?"

    Alina got on her feet and stomped off to her room. Kitiara knew her sister probably would still be fuming at dinner but this victory was so worth it. Kitiara smiled to herself as she turned off the tv and went back to her book.