Monday, October 21, 2013

The Paradise Hours Lost

I had big plans for today.

It started with writing.

Then a shower, then the kids to school, then the son to the dentist, then pick up the girl from kindergarten, followed by lunch, and several needed necessary writing hours as I get Waxling ready for betas.

... Also, um... this is me asking for Betas.... Anyone want to beta Waxling for me? Say so, or else just expect an email from me sent in your general direction. (MaryAnn and Susan I'm looking at you. I'm sending it to you and you can't stop me.) But that email was delayed in coming by a simple suggestion by my sister to check out a show on PBS called The Paradise. So I did. At which time I found that the first three episodes are available...  here.

At which time I proceeded to ignore the laundry, the children, the writing, and I watched all three available episodes in one day. That's four hours of Paradise...and that's not a bad description.

Let me tell you about it...just a little bit.

It's like Downton Abby but with shopping. In a lot of ways, it seems to me that they made a list of things that girls like. Or really some list that "girls" like, that mythological creature created by stories and movies and assumptions while girls themselves are much more a random act of chance. Anyway, I was saying something else.

This is the list I can just see some marketing person somewhere penciling down.

Mythological "Women" like
Historical clothing
English accents
Bad guys who are secretly good guys
Good guys who are secretly bad guys
Intelligent women who can do anything
 as long as that "anything" means talk about clothing and fabric samples.

And it got me thinking.

I am a feminist, and yet I like all of those things I just listed. I have had conversations about fabric samples, and I don't care that I'm a cliche when doing it. I like babies. I like holding them, and raising them, and making them. I also like a modern Austen type feel in a show. I am predictable. And part of me hates that. I don't like that I'm not good at math, because there is a cliche that says that girls are not good at math. I hate cliches, and as a writer and a feminist, I hate it. But that doesn't make me good at math.

But despite my rebellion not to like something, because someone smart probably expects that people like me will like a show like this, it's a fun show. I hope you watch it so that you'll be able to delve into the in depth look I'll probably get around to writing eventually.

I think the takeaway here is that it's fine to write cliches, as long as they are founded in a character's truth. I think it's okay, nay good,  to research your market, and figure out what your readers actually want to read about while plotting a story.

Also, sometimes it's okay to put the writing away and watch a historical drama filled show that's all about a shopping mall as you eat chocolate ice cream. Even though that means you are a giant cliche, and that marketing people predicted you would like it, just because you were a girl.

That's what I think.

And now I'm going to clean up my ice cream bowl, settle the evidence of four hours of un-productivity, and talk to my children.

~Sheena The Paradise Fan Boekweg

Sheena is the author of Funny Tragic Crazy Magic (99 cents yo, for a short time) and the coauthor oAlchemy.


  1. Sheena, I think you know that you no longer have to ask. Send Waxling when you are ready. I think it sounds awesome.

    I've been thinking about male and female clichés for a while now. I really should write a post about it. But I think every girl no matter how girly has some male-like qualities, and every boy no matter how manly has some female-like qualities. I have never known a straight up cliché male of female in my life, but this is only once I really, really have gotten to know them. It is only when we don't know someone that we can make them fit into our handy stereotypes.

    The only thing that I don't like in the "Mythological" Women list is shopping. I hate shopping. It's not fun. When I shop, I have a check list, and I quickly gather up all the items on my list and go home. When my husband shops, he likes to wander around and look at things. It drives me nuts.

  2. I'll give Waxling a read, if you want.


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