Whether or not it’s "spooky season," the horror genre has hordes of devotees, and well it should. Horror gives us a safe outlet for facing our fears, exploring our inner demons, and pitting our inner heroes against some of the most frightening scenarios ever conceived in creators’ minds. Whether in books, in film, on the stage, or in some other medium, horror has earned its place as a revered genre.
However, the 21st century has exposed a particular underbelly of horror: ableism. Many if not most horror villains either have some sort of disfigurement or disability, or can be read or "coded" as such. Frankenstein’s monster is a reanimated, grotesque corpse who speaks and acts like a caricature of an intellectually disabled man. The impetus for Dracula and vampires came from sufferers of porphyria, a fairly rare disease still poorly understood. Several seasons of American Horror Story, notably Asylum and Freak Show, paint disabled characters as frightening or grotesque if not outright villainous; at best, these characters are pitiable. The recent TV series Changeling centers on a demonic being whose changeling status has been compared to autism for centuries. Stephen King’s disabled horror characters aren’t villains, but are stereotypes, and pop up in almost all his novels.
These examples might tempt us to "cancel" horror altogether, and certainly, the ableism within warrants serious discussion. But is there a way to stay true to the horror genre in coming years without sacrificing its conventions (e.g., updating classics to the point of unrecognizability)? Can a form of "new horror" decry ableism while bringing true dignity to coded disabled characters, or characters who are shunned or feared? Discuss.
I'm not sure I'd say that ableism is a problem in all horror genres, but it's definitely a reoccurring issue especially when it comes to monsters - though some also pull on other negative stereotypes, like Dracula as a European foreigner. I definitely think this is an interesting topic! – AnnieEM1 month ago
Within the fiction writing community and especially on social media outlets like Tumblr, there is a particular type of writing that draws a subset of writers. This writing type is called "whump." Broadly defined, "whump" happens when one character gets hurt, physically, emotionally, or otherwise, and must receive care from another character, or conversely, endure the trauma alone.
Whump can take many forms and be as innocent or graphic as the writer wants, although most writers will post trigger or content warnings if they intend to go into certain details. Graphic or not though, many writers confine their enjoyment to whump communities for fear of being misjudged as sadists, masochists, or otherwise unstable. Others write whump to the exclusion of other types or scenes, which may raise questions about their growth in the craft of writing.
Examine the many reasons why fiction writers love whump. Are they all looking for catharsis for their own trauma? Are some of them caretakers who enjoy seeing characters rescued and nursed to health? Why do you think these writers get judged for liking and creating whump content, whereas a whump reader is less likely to be judged for reading a violent or horror novel? Are there some forms of whump that take the concept too far? And perhaps most importantly, what does this type of writing offer to the fiction community, that no other writing does?
This is an interesting topic because it’s partly just wondering why people like what they like. Of course, it goes deeper than that as I suppose it could with any genre, where naturally like-minded people may flock towards the same plot devices, tropes, structures, etc. I guess someone's opinions on whump diverge from their opinions on other genres (horror, for example) because of its very specific qualities. So, anyone could have an opinion on horror, but someone who has a strong opinion on whump must have a reason for it. The ‘taboo’ around its subject matter sets this trope apart from others like fluff or smut. Between the community where it primarily exists and its content matter, there could be any combination of factors that leaves it open to criticism: 1) It’s an impactful, condensed and sometimes painful (again, how much the writer wants to get into it) piece of writing that exists solely to convey those emotions. Rather than a drama in the form of a novel that might contain similar themes, all that would be spread out is jam-packed into sometimes only a couple hundred words.
2) It isn’t a commercially popular genre, at least not that I’ve seen. Which means that, ignoring the obvious highs and lows in terms of attention and effort, these aren’t always professionally-treated stories. Which means, that for better or worse, people might be writing about traumatic events they haven’t researched or experienced to then properly depict.
and 3) It’s not the masses who are reading these stories—unless it’s the type of genre to come under pressure publicly only for everyone to secretly open up their favourite social media site to then read fervently—which means that a lot of people probably don’t know what it really is. And this can be seen with so many things right before something sends them over into the mainstream. So while a horror novel and a whump fic might be pretty equally-footed in terms of mature subject matter, it is infinitely easier to criticize a genre that revolves around obscenity or violence (even to cathartic means) rather than a genre that encompasses much more. It’s also interesting, the point you raise about people questioning people’s ability to write because they choose to write whump. Much like the speculations about why people like to read whump, I like to think that most writers write what they write because that’s what they enjoy writing. And if a horror writer writes horror because he has never felt the warmth of a woman’s touch and couldn’t possibly fathom a contemporary romance, I don’t think that should reflect (negatively or positively) on the genre or the writer. And finally, while I’m not sure I could agree with any statement that tries to prove there’s a genre out there that could be so completely unique in its ability to bring certain things to the table, I do think that whump is really good at dealing with a rawness in human (or human-like) emotion. Of course there are the sometimes exceedingly graphic depictions of pain and various forms of mutilation, but even then, as long as we’re discussing writing as it brings out the best in a genre, I think it inspires creative description and real emotion in terms of connection or isolation. – Zak5 months ago
Most of us grew up with some form of the classic novel. Whether we read abridged, illustrated versions for kids, encountered them in school, or watched TV or movie versions (e.g., Wishbone, Disney adaptations), most of us know at least some of the traditional "classics" of the Western canon. These include but are not limited to works by Dickens, Steinbeck, Morrison, Lee, Shakespeare, Austen, and Wells.
As our culture becomes more aware of concepts like marginalized experience and cultural appropriation though, our relationships with classic literature may change. We now critique certain examples of classics because of what they imply about non-Western, non-white cultures, or what they leave out. We critique them based on the roles women do or don’t play, or how characters of color are treated, or whether characters coded LGBT are sympathetic. As a disabled woman, I find myself being harsher with books like Of Mice and Men or The Color Purple because of how they treat members of my groups.
How does this heightened critique and awareness mean we should treat the classics? That is, can we still learn valuable things from these books even if they are cringe-worthy in their rhetoric or character portrayals? How can we engage with these books, without spending all our time on the problematic parts? Some of these classics have been retold because of heightened critique; was this a good or bad idea? And, are these critiques even valid, or should we simply say, "This was written in another time and we should simply accept that?" Discuss.
The critiques are valid, in my opinion. It is important to understand the contexts these stories were written in as they allow us to realize how much things have changed and, more importantly, what has not changed. To simply admit that these novels were written in a different time suggests that the problems that existed back then are solved now. We know that this is not the case, that people are still marginalized and cultures are still being appropriated. Learning about these issues when they were more apparent allow us to understand the injustices that are still ongoing today. – Kennedy2 years ago
While thoughtful critique of problematic elements in classic literature can further productive discussion and help us understand how certain harmful attitudes became normalized, we must be careful not to judge historical works too harshly by today's standards. Rather than canceling classics entirely, it may be better to teach and analyze them with appropriate context, acknowledging flaws while still appreciating positives. Some reimagined versions aim to be more inclusive, but lose the original voice. Classics remain relevant when transcending their time and place to speak to universal human truths. No work is perfect, and reasonable people can disagree on how to handle insensitive content. Open discourse allows growth, while knee-jerk condemnation often does not. If we discard all works containing outdated views, we lose touch with our past and ability to learn from it. A balanced approach, neither banning classics nor accepting dated views uncritically, may be best as we determine how to engage thoughtfully with these works in today's climate.
– Nyxion4 months ago
Social media is buzzing about a disturbing, but not necessarily new trend–the cancelling of sapphic television series, especially on streaming services like Netflix. "Sapphic" refers to content "of or relating to sexual attraction or interplay between women," and disgruntled and confused viewers aren’t seeing enough of it. They point out the short-lived nature of once-popular series such as The Baby-Sitters’ Club (2020) and Paper Girls, to name only two.
Even more disturbingly, some series that might not be called sapphic, but are certainly women-centered, have been cancelled, were panned by critics, or have disappeared into long hiatuses. (See Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Anne With an E for examples).
Discuss why these series, especially on Netflix, might have been disproportionately represented on the chopping block. Do the "powers that be" see women-centered content, particularly the sapphic, as a threat, and if yes, why? Do cancellations happen just because of the nature of Netflix–shorter seasons and encouragement of "bingeing"–but if yes, why is male-centered content not cancelled as well? Do female viewers want different types of content, and if yes, what do they want? What would it take to bring female-centered shows, sapphic and otherwise, front and center on streaming services again?
This is such an important topic! It’s also important to compare it to other queer works released, especially ones about white gay men and explore how bias and discrimination plays into it – Anna Samson11 months ago
A popular meme showing Blue of Blue’s Clues fame and Bluey of the eponymous Australian cartoon reads, "Every so often, a blue dog appears to guide a new generation." Tongue-in-cheek humor aside, one cannot deny the popularity and relevance of Blue and Bluey for millennials and Gen Z in particular.
Examine and analyze these two blue canines, their compatriots, and their shows. Compare and contrast them. What makes them both so engaging, yet unique to the generations at which they were originally aimed? What makes both so special for both the children and parents who watch them now? Why have both shows succeeded in netting older "periphery demographics" (e.g., older elementary students) where other shows have not? Or conversely, if one show or the other drove, or is driving, other older viewers up the proverbial wall, why is that?
Currently, split time novels are some of the most popular in the fiction market. These novels usually pair a historical protagonist with a contemporary one, connecting their stories across time through similar themes and motifs or sometimes a significant object or event. For instance, one protagonist might have lived through World War I or II, and the other might be that protagonist’s grandchild or great-grandchild looking for answers regarding what happened to that grandparent during the war years, but the other family members never talk about.
Despite the popularity of these stories, they’re arguably becoming formulaic. Some time periods and plotlines are becoming overdone. For instance, it is no longer uncommon for World War II to be the featured historical period. A contemporary protagonist is often drawn to care about the past only if he or she "gets something out of it," such as a promotion at work or a "last chance" to connect with a grandparent dealing with dementia (the question becomes, why didn’t the grandchild ever attempt to connect before)?
Discuss some of the more popular split time novels and what sets them apart from their myriad counterparts. Discuss what historical time periods aren’t being taken advantage of right now that could be, or what plotlines contemporary characters could experience. For instance, could time travel be a possibility? Body or identity switches? Historical and future timelines?
I suggest including good examples of split-time novels to give authors a basis to work from. – noahspud8 months ago
I agree with noahspud, some examples would be perfect. – Beatrix Kondo8 months ago
I think something that could break the formulaic nature of the trope would be to have an integration of two different cultures and timelines that are neither modern nor Eurocentric. As you have mentioned the contemporary counterpart is usually the default, acting as the representative of the modern audience, however as an example, if someone from 18th-century Japan met someone from Ancient Egypt or 14th-century Brazil, there can be more chances for complexity. The downside would be introducing the viewer to too many unknown systems. The benefit of the eurocentric and modern counterpart is that it acts as a blank slate. Could this potentially work? – LadyAcademia8 months ago
Disney’s Frozen burst into our theaters and onto our small screens in 2013, and no one has "let it go" since. The film became a franchise, with rumors of a third installment coming in 2023 or later. But Frozen is not the only wintry tale media consumers love. "Winter tales" can be found across mediums, from TV series like Game of Thrones whose tagline is "Winter is Coming," to a plethora of books with titles like The Snow Child, WinterFrost, and Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Many of today’s super-powered or "chosen one" protagonists also have winter-related powers; Queen Elsa might be the most obvious, but there is also Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians, as well as Freya from Snow White and the Huntsman.
Winter permeates the arts, no matter the season. Yet what is it about this season, out of four, that captures the imagination of writers, filmmakers, and other artists? Analyze a few prevalent winter tales across mediums, looking for commonalities among characters, character arcs, plot threads, powers, and more. Could the other three seasons garner this kind of attention, and if yes, what would it take to make that happen? Are artists, authors, and others who craft "winter tales" trying to make a statement about their art, themselves, or humanity through winter? If yes, what is it? Discuss.
Maybe write more about your thoughts? Answer some of the questions you ask? – Thorn9 months ago
The writings on winter here may include analysis of well-known as well as lesser known poems and songs on winter. Winter is an interesting topic for writing, even to those living in hotter places like mine. – Anvar Sadhath9 months ago
The most recent horror film on Hollywood’s docket is Prey for the Devil, which concerns Sister Ann. This devout nun wants to be an exorcist and would be great at it, but her training school accepts only men. Yet Sister Ann may be the only one who can help the patients in the school’s attached hospital for the possessed, including a ten-year-old girl. The blending of Christianity and horror in this film is by turns respectful to the Church and seems to encourage audiences to explore, if not root for, the demonic.
It’s a conundrum found in many similar films, such as The Exorcist and The Nun. The question is why this blend comes up so often, and especially why the Catholic Church is presented on the front lines in this murky battle between good and evil (they aren’t always on the "good" side). Are these portrayals as balanced as they could and arguably should be? How can or should horror films stay true to their genre, while portraying Christians or perhaps people of other faiths, as those who would protect or save innocents from the demonic? What do these films say about spiritual battle lines in real life? Discuss.
Midnight Mass is a great miniseries to look at. The show expertly uses Christian/Catholic imagery as a backdrop for its story. Faith and religion are key components of the show. Its an exceptional show for this topic, and a great piece of art generally. – Sean Gadus1 year ago
I think mention of films like the Witch, Saint Maud, and Men could help this topic — their connections to christianity are more textual and less aesthetic. It would also be worthwhile to get a little more specific with the thesis. – loubadun10 months ago
The ’90s is fairly famous for several family-oriented, nostalgic sports films. From Angels in the Outfield to the Mighty Ducks trilogy, from the Air Bud franchise to Like Mike, Miracle, and Space Jam, during the decade, these films seemed to be everywhere. At the time, they were lauded as feel-good films the whole family could enjoy, particularly dads and uncles who might be moved to tears by memories of their former glories on the field or court. In the ensuing decades, these films are still respected, but also maligned as corny or overly inspirational depending on who you ask.
Analyze the impact of the nostalgic sports film. Why did ’90s audiences seem to need so many of them, and why did they all seem to have such an inspirational format? Did they cater to a specific audience with a specific set of beliefs or aspirations? Were they meant to? Are they seen as overly nostalgic now simply because audiences have changed, or do we get our "heart" and "inspiration" in different ways? If the latter, where do we get it? Can the family-oriented, nostalgic sports film make a comeback? If so, what should it look like?
On June 3, 2013, comedian and actor Greg Edwards began a series of web videos called Thug Notes. Using the persona Sparky Sweets, Ph.D., Edwards summarized and analyzed classic novels using a mix of modern language and "street slang" (e.g., a character who is murdered is "iced" or "murked," a hard-working character is said to be "hustlin’.")
Thug Notes’ mix of humor, slang, and absolute respect for classic literature helped the series carve a unique niche in the world of web and educational videos. Each video has garnered a plethora of views, and the series’ popularity has encouraged viewers to read or reread books that might not have felt accessible before (many "newer" videos contain a promotion that begins, "Hey, get the book!" followed by a web address at which to do so).
Discuss the impact of Thug Notes, using any of these or other elements. You might choose to discuss favorite episodes, or compare and contrast certain episodes. Also, discuss whether Thug Notes, which has not posted new content in a while, would be an acceptable platform for discussions of more contemporary literature, particularly that which is currently under censorship. Discuss whether a series similar to Thug Notes would work for other subjects. For instance, could there be a Thug Notes-style series for math? History? Theatrical productions?
While I am not familiar with Thug Notes, I think it is worth mentioning that there have been other similar things for other subjects- while it's aimed at a slightly younger audience, Horrible Histories similarly aims to educate in a more 'accessible' and fun manner than, say, a more conventional history book. While Thug Notes may be the first internet example, and it a popular choice, it's been preceded by many other authors and creators attempting to do similar. – AnnieEM1 year ago
September 11, 2001 changed the world as we know it. Mere weeks after the terrorist attack that destroyed the Twin Towers, artists from all mediums responded to the tragedy with forms of self-expression that gave themselves and their consumers safe, multifaceted outlets to express their complex emotions. September 11 is now the subject of everything from hard-hitting documentaries and touching memoirs to gentle, yet serious episodes of kids’ shows and perhaps controversial country-western songs.
Analyze and discuss some of your favorite, or least favorite, tributes to September 11 within the arts. What makes these tributes powerful, or conversely, disturbing or controversial? Which pieces do the best job of honoring the 9/11 survivors and victims? Do we need more 9/11 pieces, and if so, what should their focus and goals be? Can new pieces be tied into more current tragedies, historical ones, or a mix of the two?
Jonathan Safran Foer's "Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close" and Art Spiegelman's "In the Shadow of No Towers" are both deeply profound works revolving around 9/11. Both provide insight into the aftermath of 9/11, particularly how it affected families of the victims and the mindset of Americans. Any article on this topic would be incomplete without mentioning these books. – Zack Rynhold1 year ago
In past decades, children got their television "diet" from specific shows on specific channels, or program blocks on one or two channels tailored for them. Today, our children have an endless list of shows to choose from thanks to streaming services and 24-7 content.
One example of such content is YouTube Kids, a network of channels that are given new content daily, sometimes several times daily. Some of this content is positive, but just as much if not more is allegedly detrimental to kids. Writer and artist James Bridle, for instance, gave a TED Talk for YouTube that, while three years old, has 4.8M views. His TED Talk posits that YouTube kids is actually dangerous to kids’ mental health and development.
Examine this TED Talk as well as other sources, such as the Momo controversy from the late 2010s, or certain shows and videos on YTK. What content is the most detrimental, and why? Is there anything parents, guardians, and tech experts could do to make content more educational and child-friendly? Perhaps most importantly, what exactly is the draw of YTK, and why do so many adults welcome its content, questionable or not? Discuss.
You should look into a youtube channel called "How to cook that" by Ann Reardon. She does debunking videos (normally 5-minute craft kind of videos) and discusses the implications of having these dangerous videos widely accessible to children. She also discusses the legalities of these videos being on youtube in the case that someone is injured following a video. – scampbell2 years ago
I think youtube isn't a very informative platform for today's generation – Olivergoodwin1 year ago
The original Addams Family series graced our televisions in the 1960s. The show was already an adaptation of Charles Addams’ successful comic strip, but has since spawned a series remake, a cartoon, two live-action movies, one animated movie, and a musical.
Netflix is now set to stream yet another addition to the Addams canon. However, this one is a bit different, in that it focuses mainly on daughter Wednesday. This makes sense, as Wednesday seems to be one of the family’s more popular members. But, why is she? Does this have to do with Christina Ricci’s treatment of her in the live-action films? Is it her personality, or a way she stands out in her already unusual family? Explore these or other facets of Wednesday and her popularity. You might also consider comparing/contrasting Wednesday with similar unconventional female characters, to see whether they have or haven’t achieved Wednesday’s popularity.
Firstly, I have loved the Addams Family since I was a child. However, as I view Wednesday Addams as an adult, I find that she is most realistic and, remarkably, the most real to herself. Similar characters comparable to Wednesday could be Janice Ian from the movie, Mean Girls. Although she is an outcast to the rest of society, she expresses herself in the most authentic way possible. Characters like Wednesday create an appeal for viewers who aspire to be as shamelessly authentic in the real world. – KatJSevillaa1 year ago
Top Gun: Maverick finally hit theaters after a pandemic-induced delay. The film is filled with nostalgia for fans of the original, and also carries some new material with a distinct 21st-century feel for its newest generation of fans. One such instance of this material is female pilot Phoenix, played by Monica Barbaro.
In an interview, Barbaro stated that she enjoys Phoenix’s character, particularly that she is not a love interest for anyone, and that she is one of Maverick’s top co-pilots during the central mission. However, she is still the lone female pilot with any significant dialogue or character development in the film. Is this realistic considering the type of films the Top Gun franchise contains? Is Phoenix still a good representation of females in male-dominated fields, particularly the military? How would the movie have been different had she had more screen time? Discuss.
It could compare Phoenix's role in the film with Penny's. In my opinion, the first one adds to the female representation while the second sticks to the romantic partner of the protagonist. – Nathalie Moreira1 year ago
A film version of the classic and often banned Judy Blume novel Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, is scheduled to hit theaters September 6, 2022. Not much is known about the plot itself, which raises a lot of questions. For instance, when the original book was published in the 1970s, it was unusual for children to be raised without religious affiliation, as Margaret is. Will this be the case for a Margaret of 2022? Will a 21st-century Margaret’s explorations of puberty be treated as scandalous?
These and other questions bring up just how relevant Judy Blume’s coming-of-age story, as well as her other stories, such as the Fudge series, Blubber, and Deenie, still are. Millennial adults who grew up with them still consider Blume’s books classics and have introduced their own kids to them, and some Gen Z kids still read and enjoy them. However, Judy Blume doesn’t seem like quite the gold standard of coming-of-age stories she once was. Her plots don’t read as "cutting edge" because they’re not as controversial anymore. You could call them downright tame.
Blume is definitely still relevant, but the question has become, just how relevant is she? In the case of Blume and her books, what does "relevant" mean? How is she similar to or different from today’s hottest middle-grade and young adult authors, and can she maintain her place as a classic author, or will her books eventually lapse into obscurity? Discuss.
Short stories form the backbone of almost any literature and creative writing class, either because students read or write them. Either way, they are analyzed–sometimes to the point of death, but we hope today’s literature students and teachers are moving past such tendencies.
Of the myriad of short stories that exist, classic and contemporary, what are some that should belong in any canon? In particular, discuss contemporary stories or collections not getting attention right now, that should be. To go along with this, what are some universal themes, character traits, or tropes that make a short story "work" better than it would if it were written in longer form? Do some topics or themes lend themselves better to short form, and why?
I tend to favor the practicality of the short story for inducement to entertain, either personally or formally. Two titles in particular exemplify this viewpoint: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. As you mention, the commentary on social norms that they bring to the fore have been exhaustively analysed. But, I think that they serve the greater purpose of shedding light on the quirks of society that are overlooked or simply ignored in the haste of the day. Furthermore, they can provide a conducive outlet for what would otherwise manifest in cold or violent indifference. At the very least, the short story can be an entry point into much lengthier and broader literature or a welcome reprieve from it. – L:Freire4 years ago
The short story, the ancient art that we knew, is still written and written abundantly, but the lack of follow-up may make us think it is an art of extinction, and no longer exists only in the form of simple flashes here and there.
In fact, I have been able to read in the past few months a large number of story collections, with different qualities and atmospheres. Enough on the things the writer wants to point out, and let the reader complete in his mind what he thinks the writer may have wanted to write. – rosejone4 years ago
I personally never got too into short stories. I've always devoured novels, and all my book/article ideas seem to come in "long form." Seriously, I was telling people at age ten that my 50-page "masterpieces" were "novels." That said, there are a few short stories that have stuck with me for years, and if they can win me over, they can win anyone over. :) I wanted to know other people's opinions so I could try some more short stories. – Stephanie M.4 years ago
I think if you're going to list some outstanding short stories, you can't go past 'Recitatif' by Toni Morrison! It demands the reader to judge their own assumptions about stories and storytelling. It is thus self-aware while simultaneously beautifully crafted, with strong characters and complex themes. It is this sense of completion yet ample room for the reader to draw their own conclusions that make it so successful as a short story. A short story must be satisfying as well as food for rumination, which 'Recitatif' certainly is. – bruna2 years ago
Having just completed a college course on short story workshop, I feel like I have at least some qualification to speak on this topic. The short story is an interesting medium of art because the goal is to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and presumably, end, in a matter of pages. Despite the shorter length than a novel, I would say that writing a short story might in some cases be harder to write than a full-length novel because you have to pay more attention to detail; you have a limited amount of space to get through all the main points of your story, and every line needs to count. In some cases, you are basically writing a miniture novel without the freedom and conventions of a novel. – Sierra Refit2 years ago
Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected is exceptional. The Penguin-published collection of short stories is written for adults, but is just as engaging, exciting and often as funny as his beloved children’s books. Dahl’s short stories all have a twist ending, which is more often than not crucial to a successful short story. But the twist does not leave readers on a cliff hanger; it reveals something unknown about the protagonist, something that makes sense to the readers and results in a fitting resolution to the narrative. It is this - the creation of character - that Dahl masters. The ability to achieve complexity of character morals and motive in only several pages is admiral, and I believe the single most important skill for writing a good short story. – Tom41 year ago
Every culture has some explanation for the creation of the world and its people. Some of these stories are tied to a religious faith, while others are more cultural or scientific in nature (i.e., the Big Bang theory). However, every creation story gives us a foundation on which to build a view of the world.
Writers need these foundations as well, particularly if they’re coming up with completely new worlds and systems. This is common practice in genres like fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian, to name a few.
Examine how writers might use existing creation stories as templates or guidelines for their own worldbuilding. Discuss, for example, how creation stories can be useful whether a writer is using a religious system or not. What was created or prioritized first in a given writer’s world, and why? How are new things created, or are they? How is the creation or cessation of life handled? Are there anathemas, and what are those? Has the writer’s world undergone a major shift like original sin?
I feel like this is a good topic, though I'm finding it really broad. Could you maybe give a couple of references that talk about what you'd like to see in the article in order to give writers a jumping off point? – Siothrún2 years ago
A great topic, even if there have been other's on this (as there are of every topic in literature) there is always a great range of opportunities for this topic to be developed in new and interesting ways. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood2 years ago
That's indeed a great topic, although there's a lot of ground to cover. Maybe narrowing it down to a field that hasn't been explored yet could be helpful? A reference in genres such as fantasy and dystopian could be used as an example: J. R. R. Tolkien is one with the lore of The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion. The world-building in his works can be a starting-point for the writer who's going to choose this topic. – Beaucephalis2 years ago
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, a handful of writers found solace and inspiration in Anne Frank. PJ Grisar of the Jewish Daily Forward, essayist Leigh Stein, and others wrote about how "the world [looked] to Anne Frank" during the first wave of the crisis (Grisar) and how her experiences contrasted with and mirrored our own.
Two years later, Anne Frank and her "mirror" have not gone away. Some continue looking to her for inspiration, while others, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., compare living as an unvaccinated American to living as a Holocaust victim, thereby stirring controversy and anger. But no matter how Anne Frank fits into the pandemic landscape, she remains a major part of it for many people.
How do you think readings and discussions of Anne Frank’s diary will change as the pandemic enters a new stage and hopefully ends soon? Why do you think she resonates, even though comparing our situation to the Holocaust and Nazi Germany is rightfully offensive? Are there examples of classic or current fiction that could be read alongside Anne Frank as a study of the pandemic, lockdowns, and similar situations? Discuss.
Oooo I like this. I think adding the being cooped up inside and the antisemitic parallels to this article would really set it off. What we deal with is always compared to the past, but in this case, it’s usually in a wrong way and racist. Diving into this would be great and produce such a good story – mynameisarianna2 years ago
Several years ago, YouTuber Whitney Avalon gave us a mashup not many people were expecting–Disney princesses competing against each other in rap battles. Some princesses, like Cinderella and Belle, competed alone, while others, like Rapunzel and Anna, competed as couples with their respective princes. Over time, Avalon expanded to Disney and non-Disney villains (Queen of Hearts vs. Wicked Witch of the West), and non-Disney heroines (Dorothy vs. Alice).
The result was a series of memorable, humorous, and surprising videos that showed princesses and heroines in new lights and arguably made the rap battle and surrounding culture accessible to broader audiences. Until Whitney Avalon, it’s fairly unlikely that most of us, this writer included, ever pictured majority-white, extremely feminine princesses and heroines spitting clever, deep-cutting hip-hop lyrics.
Discuss the impact and influence of the Princess Rap Battles, especially when compared to other battles of their type (ex.: Epic Rap Battles of History). Do you think these battles make rap and hip-hop more accessible to women, Disney fans, and other such audience, or does the term Princess Rap Battle pigeonhole them? It’s been awhile since the last Princess Rap Battle; what might Whitney Avalon do to improve on the content and bring new audiences in? What do these battles say about the structure and poetry of rap, hip-hop, and battles in general?
Recently, talk among book enthusiasts has circulated that YA dystopia has burned out. The genre is certainly huge, but whether it’s burned out, cliched, or tired in any way depends on whose books you read. Are there certain authors who give YA dystopia a burned out feel? Are there authors, or characters, who have brought fresh situations or themes to the genre? And if the genre is burned out right now, how might it be "revived?" Discuss.
YA Dystopia used to be such a huge genre in the 2000's up to 2016, when Veronica Roth's 'Allegiant' was released in the theatres. I used to re-read Suzanne Collins' 'Hunger Games' and watch the movies. Until it sort of all became really boring. The action of the plot was there, and so were the likable characters. It began to feel really negative, since the entirety of Dystopia was that the world was inevitably ending in some horrible way. Or the world had already ended and the harsh new reality of the world to come was a dystopia in itself. Since I've found myself reading YA Fantasy and New Adult Fantasy recently, I haven't read any YA Dystopia books, but if there was to be a revival of the genre, it has to be reimagined. No more oppressive governments and fight to the death situations. Something unique but altogether terrifying if it were to happen. – talonsx2 years ago
This is an especially interesting topic considering the recent rise of dystopian shows, however more digestible for the general public and perhaps less confronting – Lily2 years ago
I think it was certainly the fact that all the big books to come out at that time were fairly similar. They didn't really have anything meaningful to differentiate them. Also they created that book-to-film conveyer belt very quickly and I think that heightened their sameness. The oppression they were fighting against never really felt that serious, I guess in that way it worked for a while due to the youthful notion of being rebellious against anything. – limbamurphy2 years ago
It could also be worth mentioning that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and when there are extreme weather events, people may not feel like reading dystopia series because it is starting to read as too-real? That is something that has turned me away from the genre recently. – Jordan2 years ago
One thing that should be kept in mind is that the young adults towards whom the genre was marketed in the 2000s to mid 2010s (the time when the genre was in full bloom, lots of new books coming out along with movie adaptations) have all grown up. I believe the Divergent series was what caused the downfall of the genre as it showed authors of that time that YA Dystopia has a formula and if that formula is followed with some minor tweaking the book is gonna be successful. The new YA Dystopia has a new audience which do not respond to the same old formula, so it is time to change the formula and create something different altogether perhaps – Blueberry1 year ago
YA dystopia is dead; Hunger Games was such a unique concept that the others following it became similar and very lacklustre. But it is also becoming blurred what YA actually is as a genre. I think early on in its success YA was where books with young female protagonists go even though the subject matter wasn't suited for YA. *Ahem* Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses. Now with the introduction of New Adult, the lines between what YA is has become extremely blurred. – hannahclairewrites1 year ago