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.

Correspondent III

  • Plebian Penman
  • Common Writer
  • Aristocratic Author
  • Noble Scribe
  • Lurker
  • Pssst
  • Hand Raiser
  • Vocal
  • Outspoken
  • Extrovert
  • Center of Attention
  • Sharp-Eyed Citizen
  • Town Watch
  • Detective Deskman
  • Penman Patrol
  • Motivational Columnist
  • Composition
  • Actor
  • Successful Pilot
  • Animator
  • Well Read
  • Chaptered Mind
  • Article of the Month
  • ?
  • Articles
    23
  • Featured
    19
  • Comments
    439
  • Ext. Comments
    250
  • Processed
    117
  • Revisions
    114
  • Topics
    45
  • Topics Taken
    5
  • Notes
    189
  • Topics Proc.
    47
  • Topics Rev.
    8
  • Points
    6291
  • Rank
    5
  • Score
    4524

    Latest Articles

    Literature
    60
    Writing
    58
    Animation
    67
    Literature
    65
    Literature
    66
    Animation
    78
    TV
    58
    Literature
    31

    Latest Topics

    5

    The Most Pervasive Personality Types in Literature

    Today, it’s common for writers to use Meyers-Briggs, Kiersey, Enneagram, or another personality test metric to type their characters, or at least to determine how characters might act in certain situations. Even if writers don’t consciously do this, their characters can often be "typed." For instance, many people discuss the Meyers-Briggs or other types of characters in popular series like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and so on.

    In exploring literature, what personality types do you think come up most or least, and why? For instance, do you think authors tend to create characters based on their own personalities? Are you attracted or repelled by certain types of characters–say, a bookish yet adventure-seeking character like Jane Eyre, vs. a "trickster," street smart character like the Artful Dodger?

    • By the way, the ISFJ is definitely in the realist camp. In general it would be the N-types gravitate toward the idealism. – J.D. Jankowski 1 month ago
      0
    • I've found that especially in YA literature, the main character is the clichéd portrayal of 'nerd' or 'introvert' - i.e. shy, wallflower, bookworm, etc. In some literature that starts out this way, this character often turns out to be more confident and outgoing than previously believed, thus becoming more likeable in the subjective eye of the reader. While it seems to be quite popular in modern fiction, I lean towards liking the characters that appear to be introverts and bookish and actually are. – MishaniK 2 weeks ago
      1
    • I feel like sensory (Se and Si) types tend to show up more in YA stories because the narrators often describe their immediate surroundings without getting too big into abstractions or making elaborate connections out of vague ideas (like someone with Ni would do). – Emily Deibler 2 weeks ago
      1
    3

    The 1980s: The Heyday of Scary Children's Movies

    The 1980s was a great decade for children’s movies. From The Neverending Story to The Princess Bride, from Return to Oz to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, young audiences had all kinds of new cinematic stories to whet their appetites. Some movies, like ET and The Black Cauldron, went on to become classics (or "cult classics") and achieve great fame even if their initial box office performances were less than stellar.

    However, the kids’ movies of the 1980s are famous–or infamous–for scaring kids, too. On YouTube especially, but also other forms of social media, you can find detailed discussions of which films and moments from this decade were the scariest and what effects they might have had on kids. As adults, millennials might look back at these movies and wonder, "What were we, and our parents, thinking?" But we still hail these films as classics, and mainstays of the children’s cinematic canon, so to speak.

    Choose one, or perhaps two, of your favorite scary ’80s movies for kids. What made them memorable? What made some scarier, thus "better" or "worse," than others? Has cinema "softened" too much toward kids since the ’80s? If yes, what could it do to bring the edge back (do we need/want it)? Why do you think scary moments from kids’ movies stick in our minds, and what would it take to create such memorable moments now?

    • I remember the scariest 80s movie to me, as a kid, was Gremlins. It was hardcore and uncompromising, with some grotesque violence, threats of animal abuse, and most memorably the bomb-drop that there was no Santa Claus after a horrible story told by Phoebe Cates about her father's death. Gremlins was absolutely uncompromising in the realm of harsh reality. Since the eighties, mainstream cinema has doubled-down on the disturbing for adults and spares kids the slightest wink of real-world danger for the most part. The bit that seems especially odd to me is the total refusal now to kill the villain. I think children's movies are an incredible medium, or were, but there's no element of conflict anymore, which A, never gives kids that cool opportunity to see something frightening in a movie, and B, never gives kids the chance to form their own moral stances and see the clash between real good and evil. By lightening the conflict of children's cinema's stories, kids are left to believe that good and bad can always find common ground. By always letting the villain live, kids never feel that triumph anymore. Bring back the bad guy and whack him. – HankMelluish 2 weeks ago
      1
    4

    Good "Fat" and Bad "Fat" in Fiction

    Fiction loves a fat character…if that character is antagonistic and held up for ridicule or villainizing, that is. Antagonistic and fat characters can be found in all kinds of fiction, from Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist, to Dudley Dursley in Harry Potter, to the sea witch in almost any form of The Little Mermaid, to (occasionally) the witch in Hansel and Gretel. To twist the knife further, these characters are often juxtaposed against "good," but malnourished and pitiable, characters from whom they take even the basic necessities (food).

    Of course, there are some fat protagonists in classic literature or myths and fairytales, as well. Santa Claus, typically portrayed as fat, is a personification of goodness and charity. The Ghost of Christmas Present, when juxtaposed with the gaunt yet greedy Scrooge, is a reminder that "fat" can also be healthy, prosperous, and joyful. However, most fat characters tend to be either 100% good or 100% bad in "older" forms of literature.

    In the last few years, authors have become more aware of these issues, and there are now more body-positive books, especially geared toward young women. However, some of them are not as positive as they seem. Dumplin’, for example, stars Willowdean, a fat girl who competes in a beauty pageant to show she’s worthy to…but then has to watch a "typical" contestant win. Watch Us Rise has Jasmine, a black girl who is put down and demonized for being both black and big. One Fat Summer has Bobby, who begins to find inner peace and acceptance by his social circle…after losing weight.

    How has "fat phobia" in fiction evolved and changed? How is it influenced by how our modern society views body size? Throughout the article, you might explore questions such as, what size constitutes fatness, how fat characters could be represented as more three-dimensional, and whether stories about body size lend themselves to fat phobia or pigeonholing fatness by default.

    • This is a fascinating point. Often times the representation of fat characters are sidelined to serve the interests of the main character. Their stories are underdeveloped or nonexistent, they are allowed little to no dimension as a character, and are mainly there to act as props. The reason behind having "bad" fat characters could serve multiple purposes. Firstly their size could be a representation of gluttony such as the mayor in City of Ember. It could act as an abuse of the representation of fat individuals, specifically men, as being perverse, unkempt, or sexually undesirable. Or their fat bodies could act as a juxtaposition of their malnourished moral state, with the "weak" physique being representative of a "weak" character. The "good" Fat character needs to have the subcategory of the fat funny friend. This trope is rampant in 2000s comedies, using fat characters as throw away people used for laughs. Though some claim it is progressive, since they are taking control of it and taking ownership of their representation, it is still regressive in nature. More often than not they are laughing AT the character not WITH them, and they are still only used as a parallel to the thinner main character. This subcategory also feeds into the "always jolly" characteristic which can be damaging in its own right. Rather than allowing the character their own pains, struggles, and complexity, they are denied the ability to exist in their own right. This kind of representation says that their whole identity is found in their physical appearance and weight, not their personality. Though flawed, a more progressive representation of the "fat" best friend can be seen in Sookie from Gilmore Girls. Though the main character is still a slim white woman with sexual magnetism, Sookie's weight is never addressed even in passing, she is allowed developed storylines and has a discernible personality that grows over time. She is allowed to exist as a person, not just according to her physical appearance. – LadyAcademia 3 weeks ago
      0
    4

    What Will Pandemic Fiction Look Like?

    I’m a writer, and right now, publishers and agents are warning fellow writers not to craft pandemic plotlines yet because it’s too soon and we are too close to the event. However, what might pandemic-centered fiction look like when the crisis is safely past and we are able to examine it with a distant, critical eye? Discuss the elements of the pandemic that might make the best fiction. What kind of characters might be most compelling? Are there certain tropes or plot twists that would lend themselves well to pandemic fiction? Also, consider whether pandemic fiction could fit into already-established genres or sets of titles (i.e., Camus’ The Plague, Love in the Time of Cholera, young adult titles like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793, etc.)

    • Perhaps looking at similar past major events and the reactions to them have been and are would help. – J.D. Jankowski 3 weeks ago
      0
    • Medieval morality plays might also be a good thing to look at, as they tended to deal with the bubonic plague in often a direct or indirect way when giving lessons on how to deal with impending death. – Emily Deibler 2 weeks ago
      0
    • There will most definitely be a recurring motif of isolation and insulated communities, and topical threats will be varying degrees of disturbances to that community and moral failures of its leaders to contain the threat. That will most certainly differ from nation to nation as well, given the vastly different approaches to containment. Something to consider! - Runestrand – Runestrand 1 week ago
      0
    1
    Pending

    The Best YA Books for Young Women of Color

    Ever since June 2020, I have been gratified to see more books starring women of color, and have been privileged to read some. However, I’ll leave this topic to those who are more qualified than I (a white woman)am to write it.

    If you were to make an essential list of YA books young women of color should read, what would be on it? Would you mix "classics" with more current offerings, and if yes, how and why? Which authors do the best job of representing female POCs, and why? Consider comparing and contrasting modern and classic characters, such as Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston) vs. Renee Watson’s Jasmine of Watch Us Rise, or any other combination of characters you would like.

      1
      Pending

      The Impact, or Lack Thereof, of Born This Way

      Born This Way was a docudrama series on A&E chronicling the lives of several young adults with Down Syndrome. In the series, viewers saw them navigate independent lives, work, relationships, and many other frontiers the temporarily able-bodied (or non-disabled) often take for granted. Yet, Born This Way was cancelled after just a few seasons, and not a lot of people talk about it anymore. The only exception seems to be within physical or online communities of people with Down Syndrome or other disabilities. Why is this? Did Born This Way have a bigger or smaller impact than expected, on the disabled and non-disabled? What does the trajectory of the show say about representation of PWDs in the media and their stories?

        1
        Pending

        Bridgerton as a "New Form" of Austen

        Netflix’s newest hit show Bridgerton has some features of a trademark Regency England drama, such as girls looking to secure their futures through marriage proposals, ballroom gossip, and a mix of gentility, morality, civility, and scandal. Yet some critics point out Bridgerton isn’t Jane Austen’s England, or even Regency England as we know it. Bridgerton, it is said, is part of a "new genre." If so, what genre is it? How does Bridgerton’s narrative on the show and in the books the show is based on compare to other period dramas or stories? What might another show in this "new genre" look like? Discuss.

          4

          The Best and Worst Epistolary Novels

          I recently read Things We Didn’t Say, a World War II epistolary novel by Amy Lynn Green, and enjoyed it immensely. However, it reminded me I had not encountered a good epistolary novel in several years. This led me to ask some questions about this sub-genre. Namely, what are some of the best epistolary novels? Are they classics or contemporary novels, and what are some differences between those two? Are there some things epistolary authors do that make their works less than enjoyable, and what are some of the "worst" or lowly-regarded epistolary novels? Discuss.

          • This sounds really interesting, but I think going down the good/bad road could perhaps be a little limiting. I'm more drawn to the latter part of your proposal which looks at the different ways in which various epistolary novels work. I think the nuance that this approach would allow would be more engaging and allow the author to dig a bit deeper into how they work from a literary perspective. – Hannan Lewsley 3 months ago
            3
          • Interesting topic! Dangerous Liaison, by Choderlos de Laclos, is a French epistolary novel (published in 1782) that may be be interesting to tackle, or mention, in an article such as the one you’re suggesting! – Gavroche 3 months ago
            1

          Sorry, no tides are available. Please update the filter.

          Latest Comments

          Stephanie M.

          I think we all do. Despite this article, I don’t sit around reading classics, either, but some really do stand the test of time. Sherlock is a great example.

          The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature
          Stephanie M.

          Oh, yeah. The book is so dark that when I first read it as a kid, I was like, “When is this kid gonna catch a break?” But when you get past the gritty environment and the relentless tragedy (and it is relentless), you find Dickens has a lot to say about poverty, how humans are treated vs. how they should be treated, human nature, and so on. Thus, it’s a valuable book if not always an escape.

          The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature
          Stephanie M.

          Well, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol, obviously. 🙂 Outside of those, try A Tale of Two Cities or Nicholas Nickelby.

          The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature
          Stephanie M.

          Yes! I loved her as a kid, I love her now, and I wish she’d written more books.

          The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature
          Stephanie M.

          Amen to that. Now, I do think some princesses are better/stronger than others. Belle, Mulan, and Tiana will always be favorites. But yes, “princess” has become watered down and a lot more centered on looks and passivity than I like.

          The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature
          Stephanie M.

          I get that. Rochester is not in any way what 2021 readers consider a healthy person to be in a relationship with. I’m still torn over whether Jane should’ve remained single, especially because Rochester was disabled in the end and she basically became his caregiver. I don’t like what that says about disability in the Victorian era, women as “angels in the house,” etc. But the book is well worth the read–or reads–just for Jane.

          The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature
          Stephanie M.

          I love Jane Eyre so much. I first tackled some of it when I was about ten (it’s a little heavy for a kid, even a rabid bookworm like me). Later, I read it through for pleasure and for a class. The class made it less “fun”–the professor basically responded to all my analysis with, “So what?” But it is one of the best Victorian books out there IMHO. Jane is one of my literary soul sisters, and I always enjoy spending time with her.

          The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature
          Stephanie M.

          You’re right, and I love nuances and complexities. Maybe that’s why I like Victorian literature so much. 🙂

          The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature