Undecided between two WWII female characters - Page 3


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Thread: Undecided between two WWII female characters

  1. #21
    That may be true. But if she's a werewolf couldn't that change her physiology?

    And would readers find it better that she was already a werewolf before the Nazis captured her? Or was transformed into a werewolf when the Nazis played around with the occult, testing it on her?

  2. #22
    I didn't read the whole thread so this is just in general, my two coppers about offending people with writing.

    If an author intends to offend a particular group, go ahead. But as with everything to do with writing, they should do it deliberately and with thought, not just because they don't know any better.

    We're all members of different groups and have probably all been insulted by association before by some clueless, arrogant oaf and didn't appreciate it.

    When we're not a member of the group being insulted, why it's offensive can easily go right over our heads, but that doesn't mean it's not offensive. And when it's a group that has had to put up with a ton of crap anyway, it cuts deeper.

    So, I wouldn't automatically write off anyone who is offended as a crybaby just because they were offended, or assume nothing we say can be truly, deeply offensive just because we may be ignorant of why anyone should be seriously offended by it.

    Instead, I'd simply try to reduce the risk of coming across like an entitled dumbass (which I've done more than once and regretted. Getting called out and realizing you deserved it has never been pleasant). I'd just try to run the writing in question by some people who are members of the group in question. Ask them if they find it offensive and, if so, why they find it offensive. Then decide how you want to proceed, from a position of knowledge.

    All that said, I'd also consider who your target audience is, if you have a clearly defined one.

    For example, I reviewed a book for a self-published author. It was his latest in a series where the men were big, smart, swaggering tough guys and the women were simpering big-boobed ninnies who existed only to worship these amazing men and beg for sex with them. (except for a few unattractive women, who were always clearly described as such and always the maids).

    At first, I kinda wanted to slap the author. However, a lot of guys bought his books and left great reviews. I've never read a book like that before so I don't know how common they are but I'd call it a male fantasy novel. I could picture his readers dropping themselves into it and enjoying being that king among men for while, involved in amazing things, with beautiful women falling all over them lol. I realized the author shouldn't care what I thought of it because I wasn't the audience for it.
    Last edited by Ma'am; February 15th, 2020 at 08:48 AM.

  3. #23
    I like this actually. But would this make her Jewish Ruthenia/Eastern European? How could she have gotten lycanthropy since I don't think any Polish, Slavic, Romanians have any lycan mythology. unless I say the Nazis experimented on her with the supernatural which cursed her while she was in a camp. And could it of been in 1935? Or would it not work? And for her to be in Germany in 1935 might seem skeptical.
    Seriously? If anything, it's the Eastern Europeans who likely invented the werewolf myths. The entire modern fantasy vampire/werewolf legendarium is literally based predominantly on Eastern European folklore, with Poles and Romanians being among prime contributors.

    Historians believe these legends are probably inspired by the secret warrior societies of ancient Europe, which regarded the wolf as their totem animal. Rituals involving transformation into a totem animal are not unknown among the native tribes of primitives existent around the world today, and by all accounts, this symbolic transformation is experienced as very real by the participants of the ceremony (i.e., they actually feel and believe they have transformed into a beast) The best-accounted example in historical Europe would be the Norse berserkers, but there's little reason to doubt that similar warrior societies existed elsewhere, the pre-Christian beliefs and superstitions inspired by them persisting the longest in the East. This would also explain why myths generally describe werewolves almost exclusively as men, although exceptions to this do exist.

    ---

    If you necessarily must place your character in Germany in 1935, she could be a Baltic German of mixed ancestry travelling to visit relatives in Germany. At the time, Mischlinge of the 2nd and 3d degree generally weren't denied any civil rights yet, merely being ineligible for membership in the SS. Furthermore, the Nazis would have been wary of mistreating foreign citizens at the time, still being concerned about bad publicity abroad.

    I'd still encourage you to consider making your character of pure-blooded Baltic ancestry, so that she can have relatives fighting on both sides of the conflict for added complexity. Most Baltic Germans emigrated to Germany in 1939 in fears of the Soviet encroachment and the coming war, so as a German she wouldn't be likely to have any family left in the Baltics by 1940. The rare few who might have chosen to remain behind would be even less likely to survive the first Soviet occupation, let alone be conscripted in the Soviet army unless they managed to conceal their German ancestry and passed off as natives.

    If you choose to go with that, I'd be especially interested to see how you handle writing a Baltic Waffen-SS soldier who could be a younger brother of your character. The majority of them were conscripts rather than volunteers, and had at best lukewarm feelings about National Socialism. It's safe to say most of them hated the Nazis just a little less than the Communists.

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Breadcrumbs11722 View Post
    Won't female readers be offended by this?
    They don't have to read it, but linking a female werewolf's change into the woman's menstrual cycle seems reasonable as they occur at similar intervals with the moon's phases, and pre-menstrual stress is a known occurrence for many woman and not some made-up condescension.
    I've even wondered if there is a link between the moon's phases and the menstrual cycle in reality - outside of fiction; we see the effects of the moon on our tides as its gravity affects the ebbs and flows by hundreds of metres in some areas, so is it unreasonable to theorise that a creature that is more than 50% water might be affected in some way?


  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Breadcrumbs11722 View Post
    Won't female readers be offended by this?
    I couldn't figure out why you would think that might be considered offensive. But then, having a historically oppressed group chosen to be the ones portrayed as a "lower life form" can definitely invite pushback, so I guess that's where the question is coming from.

    I can't speak for everyone but, as a member of the group in question (women, not werewolves haha), I don't see anything offensive there.

    As I mentioned earlier though, it is a good idea to try to run it by some members of the group in question when unsure. Better to find out why they might find something objectionable, so you can decide how you want to proceed with that knowledge included.

    Members who aren't part of that group advising you to dismiss such concerns (mansplaining or whatever-splaining), not so much, because they won't be the one possibly learning something publicly and painfully after it's published instead. (been there, done that).

    That said, I don't like even the thought of needing anyone's permission or social approval to write my own vision. It's supposed to be artistic expression, not a public service document. BUT before submitting for publication, I do want that heads-up if I suspect I might be cluelessly slurring someone. It's easy to do. But then, the final choice is still always mine to make, no one else's.
    Last edited by Ma'am; February 15th, 2020 at 11:28 PM. Reason: clarity

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by CyberWar View Post
    Seriously? If anything, it's the Eastern Europeans who likely invented the werewolf myths. The entire modern fantasy vampire/werewolf legendarium is literally based predominantly on Eastern European folklore, with Poles and Romanians being among prime contributors.

    Historians believe these legends are probably inspired by the secret warrior societies of ancient Europe, which regarded the wolf as their totem animal. Rituals involving transformation into a totem animal are not unknown among the native tribes of primitives existent around the world today, and by all accounts, this symbolic transformation is experienced as very real by the participants of the ceremony (i.e., they actually feel and believe they have transformed into a beast) The best-accounted example in historical Europe would be the Norse berserkers, but there's little reason to doubt that similar warrior societies existed elsewhere, the pre-Christian beliefs and superstitions inspired by them persisting the longest in the East. This would also explain why myths generally describe werewolves almost exclusively as men, although exceptions to this do exist.
    I thought a lot of it first started out in Egypt, the Middle East or ancient Greece? Or they had their own versions? Correct me if I'm wrong? But Eastern Europe makes a lot of sense with ancient beliefs and rituals they had.
    ---

    If you necessarily must place your character in Germany in 1935, she could be a Baltic German of mixed ancestry travelling to visit relatives in Germany. At the time, Mischlinge of the 2nd and 3d degree generally weren't denied any civil rights yet, merely being ineligible for membership in the SS. Furthermore, the Nazis would have been wary of mistreating foreign citizens at the time, still being concerned about bad publicity abroad.

    I'd still encourage you to consider making your character of pure-blooded Baltic ancestry, so that she can have relatives fighting on both sides of the conflict for added complexity. Most Baltic Germans emigrated to Germany in 1939 in fears of the Soviet encroachment and the coming war, so as a German she wouldn't be likely to have any family left in the Baltics by 1940. The rare few who might have chosen to remain behind would be even less likely to survive the first Soviet occupation, let alone be conscripted in the Soviet army unless they managed to conceal their German ancestry and passed off as natives.
    I like the idea of her being Baltic and having two relatives fighting on opposing sides. Since Kristallnacht took place in Germany in 1938 which was before 1939 would it make more sense for her to be German Jewish? Unless I save the idea for the Baltic character being the double agent woman in Russia during the early 1960's. There were no Baltic people in Germany during Kristallnacht from what I gathered.

    If you choose to go with that, I'd be especially interested to see how you handle writing a Baltic Waffen-SS soldier who could be a younger brother of your character. The majority of them were conscripts rather than volunteers, and had at best lukewarm feelings about National Socialism. It's safe to say most of them hated the Nazis just a little less than the Communists.
    This would be perfect. Only how can it be done if Kristallnacht was 1938 before from the Baltic states migrated to Germany? Should I have the double agent in Russia during the 1960's be Baltic instead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Istine View Post
    They don't have to read it, but linking a female werewolf's change into the woman's menstrual cycle seems reasonable as they occur at similar intervals with the moon's phases, and pre-menstrual stress is a known occurrence for many woman and not some made-up condescension.
    I've even wondered if there is a link between the moon's phases and the menstrual cycle in reality - outside of fiction; we see the effects of the moon on our tides as its gravity affects the ebbs and flows by hundreds of metres in some areas, so is it unreasonable to theorise that a creature that is more than 50% water might be affected in some way?
    Now this sounds better. I can work with this one. I think it makes sense for there to be a similar link with the effects with the moon, tide and all.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'am View Post
    I couldn't figure out why you would think that might be considered offensive. But then, having a historically oppressed group chosen to be the ones portrayed as a "lower life form" can definitely invite pushback, so I guess that's where the question is coming from.

    I can't speak for everyone but, as a member of the group in question (women, not werewolves haha), I don't see anything offensive there.

    As I mentioned earlier though, it is a good idea to try to run it by some members of the group in question when unsure. Better to find out why they might find something objectionable, so you can decide how you want to proceed with that knowledge included.

    Members who aren't part of that group advising you to dismiss such concerns (mansplaining or whatever-splaining), not so much, because they won't be the one possibly learning something publicly and painfully after it's published instead. (been there, done that).

    That said, I don't like the thought of requiring permission or social approval or whatever, to write my own vision. It's supposed to be artistic, not a public service document. BUT before submitting it for publication, I do want that heads-up on if I'd be possibly cluelessly slurring someone. It's easy to do. But then, the final choice is still always mine to make, no one else's.
    If I handle this with care, then I think it should be fine. It's an appropriate form of cycle for a female to go through and it would make sense to have an effect on her body regardless if she's a werewolf or not. For some reason I think it would be more impactful if she was originally human until she was experimented or cursed by either the Nazis or by somebody and she was discovered. She's not used to controlling it yet or the symptoms it will result on her body's cycle. Tell me if this makes sense? Sorry if I'm wrong.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Breadcrumbs11722 View Post
    If I handle this with care, then I think it should be fine. It's an appropriate form of cycle for a female to go through and it would make sense to have an effect on her body regardless if she's a werewolf or not. For some reason I think it would be more impactful if she was originally human until she was experimented or cursed by either the Nazis or by somebody and she was discovered. She's not used to controlling it yet or the symptoms it will result on her body's cycle. Tell me if this makes sense? Sorry if I'm wrong.
    Sounds great to me. Or if you wanted to, you might look into female wolves' cycles too and consider incorporating that for possible added interest.

    ETA: Another possible consideration, both human and animal cycles can slow down or stop when food isn't plentiful or other hardship.
    Last edited by Ma'am; February 15th, 2020 at 10:07 PM. Reason: ETA

  9. #29
    That's another great possibility. I'll research that. I think wolves have a pretty similar cycle to humans as both are mammals.

    I'm just trying to figure out now how it would make sense for her to be of Baltic descent if Kristallnacht happened in Germany in 1938 when those from the Baltic states didn't arrive until 1939. If the American soldier who was in Germany at the time in 1935 and he met her without being aware that she was a werewolf, the incident would have occurred when he already left Germany. Only plausible excuse for this would for her to be German Jewish. Unless I pick another similar incident that happened in the 1940's and just say she was from the Baltic states and just say the American soldier never went to Germany in the 1930's and just say he went to Europe when the war started.

  10. #30
    I believe other female mammals besides primates differ. They have an estrus cycle where they go into heat a few times per year, rather than a monthly cycle, etc.

    Also, the werewolf has to come from some type of background so I don't see a problem with what you've described.

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