Stephanie M.

Stephanie M.

I'm a content writer and novelist who loves books, writing, theater, and my cat. I have published two novels and traveled to London and Paris.

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    Latest Topics


    Does Writing Fiction Ruin the Experience of Reading It?

    I am a fiction writer and voracious fiction reader, so I like this topic. Yet I feel like I shouldn’t write it since it would be in first person, so it’s up for grabs.

    Do any fiction writers out there find their craft ruins the reading experience? For example, do you catch yourself zeroing in on when an author tells instead of shows, or when characters are undeveloped? Do books you once liked become tedious? If yes, how do you–and we as writers–cope with that? Is there a way to keep one’s craft from ruining reading? Conversely, does writing make reading a great book even better, and does it enhance one’s taste in literature?

    • I love the topic! I also write myself and I do often have this issue of honing in one possible mistakes or weaknesses in stories (writing- or even story-wise) that my friends miss. But I also think it's given me a higher appreciation for works I do love and that are written very well. Of course, this would be a subjective topic for anyone to write, but I do think you're onto something. – Karen 4 days ago
    • I love this topic. I think some solutions should be addressed to help writers read without criticizing. – DB752B 14 hours ago
    • This is a great questions. Fiction has long been a part of literature and who knows if it has its own downsides. – BMartin43 5 hours ago

    Why are we so in love with time loops, time travel, and body switching?

    Film audiences love plots centered on time loops, time travel, body switching, and similar phenomena. From Groundhog Day to Freaky Friday, to the myriad of specials where a character wishes it were Christmas every day, we can’t seem to get enough of this type of plot device. Why though, when we know by rights, these devices should be stale?

    A few reasons come to mind. Perhaps it’s because characters in a time loop or body switch are doing what we want to do–get another chance at doing something, or see how the other half lives. Perhaps it’s because we want to reassure ourselves time is dependable and thus, these things could never happen. Of course, these are only two possible explanations.

    • Consider expanding the topic to include literature, or connect this trope with how we view these films and how the films progress. – SarahKnauf 1 week ago
    • Good idea, although I'm not as familiar with time travel literature. :) Does anyone out there have suggestions? – RubyBelle 1 week ago

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    Latest Comments

    Stephanie M.

    “Sick lit” is a new term for me, but it’s apt. I would argue that “sick lit” has become one of the most popular genres out there, especially for teens. It doesn’t even have to be about mental illness. As a teen in the early 2000s, for example, I encountered a lot of romance books about girls with cancer. (I never read them; I’m medical-phobic due to traumatic childhood experiences). Books like The Fault in Our Stars have only added to sick lit.

    I wonder what makes sick lit so compelling? Certainly, I think the article makes a great point about it giving voice to characters with mental and other illnesses. Unfortunately though, I think society at large still reads sick lit out of morbid curiosity or an attitude that says, “Thank God that’s not me/my kid/my loved one.” The good news is, the more quality sick lit is available, the more morbid curiosity should give way to real understanding.

    Mental Illness in YA: Rehabilitating Sick-Lit
    Stephanie M.

    I’m a grown woman, but I still enjoy animated movies like Pixar’s because, as this article indicates, there is so much depth. I love the “accepting sadness” moment in Inside Out. As for the scene where Marlin names Nemo, I’m okay with the actual naming part. But when Marlin holds the little egg in his fin and says, “Daddy’s got you,” it just tears me up.

    10 Mature Moments in a Pixar Film
    Stephanie M.

    Hmmm…interesting article. I recognized a few of the coded/camp characters and homosocial relationships, such as the one between Elsa and Anna. But I wasn’t aware of many of the others. I’m not sure I agree that all of them represent homosexuality; for example, Lumiere and Cogsworth come across to me as foils more than anything else. However, I am willing to admit Disney is embracing more of the LGBTQ culture. Whether we’re ready for an “out” protagonist or couple–nah, don’t think so. But we’ll see.

    Is the World Ready for an LGBTQ Disney Princess (or Prince)?
    Stephanie M.

    Absolutely the Disney princesses are feminists, though they personify different versions of feminism.

    I absolutely love what was said about Cinderella; I’ve been saying it for years. Critics say she “does nothing and just waits around for a prince,” but one, she does *everything* she’s ordered to do. She takes on the role of a servant, one that as a gentleman’s daughter, she should never have endured. As for waiting around for a prince, that’s flawed, too. As the author points out, Cinderella doesn’t want a prince. She wants a night off. She wants to participate in social life, something she has been denied. Even if she were waiting for rescue though, it would be understandable. As a woman in her time period, she’d have had few if any choices. She probably wouldn’t have been able to escape her situation on her own.

    Furthermore, although it’s subtle, the Disney movie does point out Cinderella does not like her situation. Yes, she does as she’s told. Yes, she exudes kindness and tries to show patience. Yet she has her limits. There are times when she gets angry or frustrated. When Cinderella’s stepmother does lock her up, her response is to scream, yell, and bang the door. Don’t watch that scene and then tell me she’s passive.

    Is Cinderella “modern?” No. Is she a feminist the way modern people think of feminism? Maybe not. Are there better representations of her than the Disney one? Sure–Danielle de Barbarac of Ever After is my personal favorite. Yet, I still think she holds up as a decent role model for girls.

    Feminism and Disney: They're Not As Different As You Might Think
    Stephanie M.

    I would never have thought to connect Inside Out with Thomas Aquinas. I guess that punches a hole in the common argument that animated movies are “kids’ stuff,” doesn’t it? In all honesty though, why aren’t we as adults taking animated movies more seriously? In my humble opinion they have much to say to people of any age.

    Inside Out and St. Thomas Aquinas' Philosophy of the Emotions
    Stephanie M.

    I have an entire shelf of favorite books I reread semi-frequently. While there are no surprises–after all, I know the story–it is comforting to reread my favorites. I also enjoy rereading because I already know each author of a favorite book has put effort into crafting the story. I know the writing is good, and that it’s going to keep me entertained.

    I also like what the article’s author says about discovering self through rereading. Sometimes I’ll reread something and think, “Oh, I missed the author saying that last time. This could easily be applied to real life.” For instance, reading a Jane Austen novel the first time gives me the entertainment of a good Regency novel. The second time through, I might be more in tune to Austen’s comments on emotion vs. practicality, or how to tell a true gentleman from a creep.

    Why Reread Books? The Pros and Cons of Rereading