January 5th, 2012

da - hawke

DA folks! Here is an awesome thing

I have just signed up for the Women of Dragon Age Challenge, a project to promote stories, artwork, and fanmixes featuring the awesome female characters of the Dragon Age series.

dragonagewomen

Sign-up post

FAQ

DW mirror

Sign-ups go through the end of the month, fanworks are due on Leap Day (February 29th), and posting begins March 7th.

I am really excited about this -- there are so many fascinating women in these games, with so much great ground to cover, and the hardest thing is going to be deciding what to write. Anora and Sereda? Isabela and Aveline? Marian and Bethany? Oooh, or maybe something from my FFXII crossover universe, although I sadly didn't bring many canon women over from Thedas, just Elissa, Sigrun, and Leliana. Still, there might be something to work with there. Hmm.

Anyway, come join! And if you have thoughts about which of the above you'd like to see, or other prompt ideas, let me know (or leave them in the prompt post).

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B5 - Ivanova

Passing Bechdel

I posted earlier today about the Women of Dragon Age Challenge. Over on Tumblr, there's been a little bit of a discussion about the choice of the Bechdel Test as a criteria for submissions. I have some thoughts -- of course I have thoughts; any discussion of the Bechdel Test is like catnip to me -- but I didn't want to hijack the post advertising the challenge, so I've come over here to talk about it instead.

One of the things I love about this particular challenge is that it explicitly references Bechdel and requests that every story pass. I have said before, and continue to believe, that the Bechdel Test is not primarily about evaluating the quality or female-friendliness of any one particular work but about looking at larger patterns in media. But still, I do think it can be a really great tool to apply to our own writing, because it makes us really think about our choices. Which characters do we write about? What do they talk about? And why?

To use a Dragon Age example, let's say I decided to write a story about Aveline and Brennan, discussing a man they arrested and the crime he committed. Is that a conversation about a man, or is it a conversation about work? I would tend to say that it's the latter, which would allow it to be considered it a Bechdel pass, even if the criminal is the only thing they talk about. But let me take a step back and ask another question: does the criminal have to be a man? Is there some reason intrinsic to the story I'm telling? Or did I make him a man because we tend to think of male as the default? Did I pick a minor male NPC because he fit into the story better than any other NPC available, or was he just an easy choice? Could I have made the character a woman, or chosen a female NPC, without any fundamental change to the story? And if the answer is yes, then why not do it?

I'm not saying every story can or should pass the strictest version of the Bechdel Test, especially not short stories, and especially not in fanfic where we are limited by the characters presented to us in canon. But I appreciate that we can use this challenge, and others like it, as an opportunity to look at our work a little more critically.

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coffee

30 Days of DA: Least favorite LI

Day Five: Least Favorite Love Interest

I'm kind of limited in my options here, because I've only played three romances to their conclusion -- Alistair, Anders, and Fenris -- and loved them all. I do have a Zevran romance that's almost finished (in my m!Surana game, which I should really get back to sometime soon), and I've enjoyed that quite a lot. I haven't romanced Sebastian, Merrill, or Morrigan, and I've only done a little bit of Isabela, but what I have seen was fun, and I'm looking forward to the rest.

That leaves us with Leliana, who I romanced as m!Surana, and also a little bit as f!Aeducan, and maybe she is the right answer to this question.

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Would I feel differently if I had played a Leliana romance through to the end? Perhaps, but what it comes down to is that I don't feel compelled to complete a Leliana romance. She's a great character, I enjoy her as a friend, but as of now, I'm happy to leave it at that.

Complete list of questions

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