author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, December 29, 2013

On Defining Sexy

Richard III "The White Queen"
Juliet Barnes "Nashville"

I realize I may be making an idiot of myself with this topic but I find this to be an interesting and important concept to a writer. I’ll make an early note that I’m not going into the depths of erotic definitions, so if you’re seeking that, E.L. James has a trilogy of books you might like or love to hate that made her millions, with an upcoming film.  By the way, congratulations to Ms. James, her work, her success.

The first time I thought about the definition of “sexy” was back last century when I was still a swinging single in the mid-80s.  I had it all:  The massive hair, dark suntan, black eyeliner, bright colored clothes, and moonlighting a bit as a model.  While at dinner with my loser boyfriend soon to be an ex, he tells me that I look sexy, but I’m not sexy. 

Ouch!  Excuse me?  Yes, I was more than a bit irritated.  So he pointed out my “non-sexy” attributes.  Of course, my looks were sexy until I opened my post college potty mouth, a terrible mix of Valley Girl and typical mainstream bestseller dialogue.  If I sat still and said nothing, he said I was “sexy.”  He became an ex very soon, but I couldn’t disagree with him.  Seeing a person may look sexy.  But meeting, talking, all of it needs to fit together. 

This fall, a group of us on Twitter had a lot of fun watching the ace Starz series “The White Queen” and swooned over Richard III’s character, played by talented and cute Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard.  Not being short on cute guys, like Max Irons or David Oakes, why did we go nuts over Richard?  Answer:  I think we were drawn to him because of his complexity; he showed honor, vulnerability, loyalty, and flaws.  He was a sexy character.

For the girls, for obvious reasons, sexy is harder to define.  But in the show “Nashville” Juliet displays many similar traits as she is beautiful, destructive, but her heart breaks easily.  A tough girl like her keeps going.  Overall, she’s a sexy character.

While I think “sexy” is often in the eye of the beholder, there must be some complication in the character, some vulnerability, and some darkness.  People are drawn to mystery, and if none is there, it’s just another pretty face.

On Those Great Good Guys

"Man of Steel"

As a dark fantasy writer, I’ve written before how the forces of good and evil stand so strong in our minds and attract us to the “superhero” or fantasy concept; of people having abilities or cleverness beyond our own to achieve the defeat of an evil entity.  While I’m a strong proponent of the importance of a well written, but not necessarily understood antagonist, the protagonist gleams as always as the lead character in most stories.

I use a flawed, anti-heroine in my stories, but I don’t deny the strength of the old-fashioned, manly, good looking, noble, standup, fight-it-out for the people we see like favorites in comics like Superman, Batman, or in stories like King Arthur being the picture of chivalry (and infidelity in some books, but never mind). 

What keeps drawing us to these characters, now remade many times in blockbuster films after originating in simplistic comic books?  Answer:  At some point to me, it brings back the kid in us, an innocence, when we could really believe a really good guy would always win, and do it the right way, not by a slaughter, but catch the bad guy and bring him to justice.  That’s the way the world is supposed to be. 

Another draw to these awesome powerful protagonists is their great power, especially the nearly omnipotent Superman.  I don’t know a guy that doesn’t like Superman (or a girl that doesn’t like the actors), and want to see him defeat the challenge posed by either native Kryptonians as in “The Man of Steel” or Lex Luthor to find some kryptonite in traditional Superman stories. 

As a writer of a complex, dark lead character and a bona fide “Game of Thrones” nut of the series and the books, I like to think of the strong good guy model for stories as going back to the basics.  (GRRM obviously isn’t sold on the good guy thing).  We fans of fiction like good guys.  And yes, we still like the really, really good guys, that play by the rules and are always awesome.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bonnie’s Final Story

“When did he say he’d be back?”  Said Shevata, slumped in the corner of Zermon’s throne before the huge firepit.  The surrounding black terrace lit up with red and orange flames echoing the sounds of agonized souls from the bottom of the fire.  She found Hell distasteful enough as Zermon’s prisoner, but again to do his job of dealing with unruly souls was beyond her tolerance limit.  The imps shrugged in answer to her question as they always did; stupid, unhelpful little monsters. 

A young woman was escorted before her.  Shevata sat cross-legged, wishing she could sleep.  “What is this?”  She said to the imps.

“My name is Bonnie.”  Said the woman.
“So?”  Said Shevata.
“I think I deserve a chance to explain myself.”
Shevata raised an eyebrow.  “In Hell?” 
“I’ve got my reasons.” 
“Make it fast.”
She looked down and pretended to wipe a tear from her face.  “You don’t look like the Devil.”  Said Bonnie.   
 Shevata smiled.  “You’re running low on time.”  

“Look, I just wanted my dreams to come true.  Don’t you know what that’s like?  Being stuck somewhere and can’t get out?  Knowing your life will be nothing?”  Her eyes sparkled in the fire, and Shevata understood why this woman thought she could talk her way out of the underworld.
“This is Hell.  Of course I understand.”  Said Shevata. 
“Since you understand, then you know I did some bad things and I know that.  But I had my reasons, and I think I should have another chance.”

Shevata leaned forward.  “You sold your soul to Zermon and ensured your destiny with the first person you murdered.”  Bonnie started to weep.  Shevata said,  “I’m not finished.  The man, the Texas Ranger that led the attack that killed you?  I offered him my soul.”   Bonnie then broke down crying on the terrace in front of the throne.  Shevata leaned back into the corner.  “Take her away and find Zermon before I find him myself.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

On Dark Fantasy Poetry

I’ll admit on this blog, I tend to focus on many genres and have given little attention to poetry.  It’s not that I don’t like poetry; I tend to not run across it as much as I do novels.  With this book, not only is my main genre Dark Fantasy is the focus, but the style is short haiku-like poems throughout, something I haven’t seen often, and to me, a very fun read.

“Words of the Weary King” by A. S. Washington

This collection of simple poems takes in the collective mind of Dark Fantasy as a whole.  All the way from Beheading to Jester, each piece is a little piece of the larger picture of what all of us see as something very powerful in our minds; the very essence of medieval dark fantasy.  This fast, easy read in the form of poetry is a delightful reminder that fantasy need not be told in epic novels or action stories.  Good writing can carry the message regardless of the method, when done well.  Five stars!

My favorite of his poems:


Where is your blade?
You’ve not hidden your intent
It is in your eyes

Readers, sometimes less is more.