The Liz Wallace Rule
Discovered in the LJ of the perfectly wonderful rosefox
(who doesn't know me a-tall, a-tall), a "rule"* which would (IMO) immediately improve the content of fiction
-- movies, teevee, novels & stories, you name it...not to mention making a large number of actresses very, very happy. :D
It originally appeared in this here twenty year old comic strip: http://alisonbechdel.blogspot.com/2005/08/rule.html
-- and it states a preference for stories which feature:
1. At least two women
2. who talk to each other
3. about something other than a man.
I'm prejudiced, of course: I've been writing fiction which passes this test for most (if not all) of my just over twenty-one years writing full time.** I suspect that's thanks to my having been raised by a (divorced) single mom, and having a popular younger sister (who had a hell of a lot more female friends than I ever had male friends...come to think, I suspect I've had a lot more female than male friends myself). Anyway, I didn't need the women's movement of the Seventies to inform me that women are people, with thoughts, lives, interests of their own.
I'm tempted to add a part 4. to the rule -- that they're also not exclusively having discussions of the sort you'd see on alleged "women's" (argh!) television (victimhood, misery, etc.); I have a personal prejudice for strong
women in my fiction. But the rule itself as written is plenty good enough to improve the fiction we see, nonstop, all the time.
So give yourself the rosefox
version of the test. Did the last book you read (or, if a writer, story you wrote) pass the test? How about the shows you watch on teevee?
93 93/93 -- AJ
* Don't freak: the word "rule" was used facetiously (in a comic strip), and I don't believe in mechanical "rules" in fiction. But it'd sure make for a nice change, now 'n' again.
** And let's face it, nothing feels better than the sudden discovery that you've unselfconsciously been doing a good thing. ;) I consciously use positive gay and non"white" role models (because they're constantly getting it in the neck in our culture, natch, and art can help change that), and I'm well aware that my fiction pretty much always features strong women -- but I never really thought about that conversations thing. Kewl! :)