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# 21
10-01-2013, 12:12 PM
Originally Posted by drogyn1701 View Post
Rear Admiral Upper and Lower Half are actually real modern-day ranks in the U.S. Navy

But I agree the ones with the Roman numerals do look weird.
Real, yes. Sound like something someone would actually take the time to say in a conversation, no.

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# 22
10-01-2013, 02:18 PM
Originally Posted by thegreendragoon1 View Post
Real, yes. Sound like something someone would actually take the time to say in a conversation, no.
Yeah, you'd probably just say admiral unless you had a reason to be more specific.

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# 23
10-01-2013, 04:40 PM
The Rear Admiral ranks are really stupid. That may be your official rank, but when we use [Rank] it should just say Admiral, or at most Rear Admiral. What we need are two options [Rank] and a [FullRank], or alternatively [Rank] and [ShortRank].

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# 24
10-01-2013, 06:20 PM
Also, [RankAbbr] for when we just want Radm. or whatever.
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# 25
10-01-2013, 07:16 PM
Originally Posted by starswordc View Post
My breakdown is "Skipper" for the boffs and senior officers and enlisted (familiar form of address for one's CO; example of senior enlisted would be the MCPO I put at the sensor station in "Bait and Switch"), [Rank] for anyone likely to outrank you (for example, 4-star and above admiral NPCs), "sir" for anyone else you outrank (Janeway operates that way by personal preference; with Starfleet it's apparently normally "sir" regardless of sex), and Captain for anyone else.

Originally Posted by thegreendragoon1 View Post
Something I noticed when I was writing Part 1, you use "sir" and [rank] A LOT! I found myself trying to alternate between the two just the keep either from being worn out. There's certainly precedent for the use of captain regardless of rank, but you kind of have to use it instead of [rank] to prevent confusion. It helps to have at least one other term to break things up.

And to the annoyance of some, it's also naval tradition (and in Star Trek) to refer to female officers as "Mister [lastname]."
Well Star Trek established Sir and Mister as gender neutral which is a great help for us in terms of writing here.

Generally on female characters, I completely agree on that a good female character is just a good female character. As one person has said, writing a good female character is to "write a good character, make them female". I aim to map out all the characters that I want to put in, write their details and then at the last stage, map out demographics (50:50). And that is not just gender. Whenever people include a human in a foundry mission, what race do you make them? Look at their last name, what country would you say they're from? They're White American aren't they? How many Asians have you seen in STO? (granted, Asian characters don't look great in STO). It's great a few authors have made small nods to LGBT characters also, though still when people try to give nods to gender it is often in the context of "the opposite sex" and hence can actually end up making assumptions on sexuality (you choose the male dialogue and suddenly your straight when in fact your gay).

But of course there is then the hole when you try to write the "strong female character" which can turn out just as bad as the "damsel in distress" if done badly. Female characters done badly can be the "t**s with guns" where they are built with no weaknesses (and also super-attractive. And before you say male superheros are like that, male superheros are designed as male power fantasies through their look and character and not simply as sexual objectification for fans of the opposite sex. In STO this is taken to extremes where orion females seem to be included by foundry authors simply to have strippers). Other cases they're written as not being able to deal with the touch job they have (I remember in the French series Spiral, the female detective is shown sleeping in the case in the overused set up of not being able to deal with job and personal life together, this is way too common now).

What makes an interesting character is a combination of flaws and strengths with personal depth. Sherlock Holmes is a wonderfully complex character, as is King Lear. But there aren't many female characters that are written with the same complexity as those, in fact "the female King Lear" is taken now as a kind of holy grail of female characters - if anyone translates King Lear to Klingon on STO, keep that in mind .

And yes, I like what Teri said on Andorians. I've been wanting to investigate the Andorian genders for ages now and 'm surprised everyone (including Enterprise writers) has been brushing over what is a very interesting area.

On the notion of the female character automatically being a love interest, that is a thing that immediately irritates me is that as soon as you hit a female character in fiction, chances are 80:20 that it is going to be a love interest for someone. Why? My best friend from university is a very attractive female (and guess what, we never slept together or fell in love!). About 70% of my friends are female. They don't have to be a love interest. Ever. Just interesting.

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Last edited by isthisscience; 10-01-2013 at 07:20 PM.
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# 26
10-01-2013, 08:28 PM
This is not necessarily based on what anyone has said on the show or posted here, but based on discussions/comments I've read on the topic in the past.

One thing I would say about the whole "female" character thing, is that there is a wide variation among people in general. If you look at just a subset of people, like men or women, there are significant differences among them. Saying all women are like this, or all men are like that, has always caused me to scratch my head.

As a man myself, I wouldn't even think to speak for all men. My experience in life has been that people are vastly different from one another, in terms of what they find interesting or what motivates them. Just because someone is a man doesn't mean I can relate to them personally. However, that doesn't mean I can't observe them, and understand what is important to them.

But the bottom line is there is more variation between one person to another, than there is between an arbitrary group like men or women.

The "Middle Aged Woman"
Here's an interesting story sort of related to this topic. Another message board I frequent had someone posting there. They claimed to be a young man, about 18-20 years old, who had been kicked out of their house because they were gay, estranged from their parents, etc. Basically they had this big sob story designed to generate sympathy and interest from the people posting there. This went on for a couple of years, with them posting about their experiences and issues, etc. Eventually, it came out that they were not who they claimed to be, and, in fact, their whole saga was a complete fabrication.

Where this has to do with this topic, is that in the aftermath of the whole thing, someone posted in the comments that he was an editor, and he boasted that he was better at recognizing the "female voice" than some computer program designed to do so. He claimed he had always been suspicious of the person, because he believed they wrote like a middle aged woman, rather than a young man. This caught my attention because I'd never really heard of this concept before. Could you really tell whether someone was a man or a woman based simply on how they wrote?

Well, a couple days later the person's identity came out, and it turned out the person was, in fact, middle aged-- he was a middle aged man, with a wife and kids! So, all that stuff about female voice, etc, turned out to be just a load of BS. That self proclaimed editor was all cocky saying he could recognize the female voice, and yet when push came to shove, he was completely dead wrong. (I suspect, he should ask for his money back on that computer program, as well!)

So, the moral of the story is don't worry about silly rules people come up with. Maybe you have a female character who speaks with a male voice, or maybe a male character who speaks with a female voice, but those people exist in reality, too! Sure, there are differences between men and women, and it's worth considering that, but there are plenty more differences between men and men, and women and women!

I would also be skeptical of any rules that people come up with to try to critique writing or storytelling because a lot of them are developed by people who can't see the forest for the trees. Coming up with a story is a creative work of art, there is no all-encompassing rulebook for it.

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Last edited by nagorak; 10-02-2013 at 02:42 AM.
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# 27
10-01-2013, 08:35 PM
But I agree with isthisscience that lack of diversity is a serious issue. There tend to be too many male characters in general, and too many of them are basically white. This was somewhat of an issue on the shows as well.

There really should have been a lot more diversity in the cast. I understand that with TOS they were pushing the limits of what was possible, but they didn't really go that much farther than that on the later serieses.

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# 28
10-01-2013, 10:38 PM
I think I may have said this in the podcast, but at the end of the day, write the character that the story needs, be it male, female or none of the above
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# 29
10-01-2013, 11:06 PM
Originally Posted by nagorak View Post
There really should have been a lot more diversity in the cast. I understand that with TOS they were pushing the limits of what was possible, but they didn't really go that much farther than that on the later serieses.
I think that is where new Trek really fell down. Enterprise and JJ-Trek try to recapture TOS by being what it was. Instead they should have tried to be the equivalent of what it was back then. The diversity of bridge officers unchanged since the 60s? Yes it was groundbreaking back then, but not now. You have to understand WHY they were groundbreaking. For example.

Uhura was a minority during a civil rights movement. Including a gay character in that position now wouldn't even be as diverse as she was then - this should have happened two series ago. In Enterprise we change black female for black male, and again make him just the pilot.

Sulu, the former enemy state (Japan post WW2) - now becomes the Russian, but fairly senior. Enterprise, same thing but demoted to Comm - and again this informal rule in mainstream Hollywood of one demographic tick box each, the world would end if you had two Asians or two Africans on screen at the same time.

Chekov, the current enemy state (Russia in Cold War) - now would be Iraq, Iranian, Syrian... somewhere there. Doesn't even have an equivalent in Enterprise.

Scotty, allied state (Scotland, NATO) - I'd go for Germany in this case. How many German Star Trek fans are there and how few German characters? Name one. That or do a Frenchman but don't give them an English accent! But a rather 2 dimensional Englishman in Enterprise a bit unadventurous!

And the female representation, like most shows, is at a max of one third. Usually 2 our of 7. Roddenberry wanted half and even tried a female first officer in the first show (I adore Number One's character!). JJ-Trek just recreates the most they could get in the 1960s and then makes them MORE naked. Enterprise has two but still comes up with excuses to get both of them naked (I thought the T'Pol excuse was contrived, until they came up with Hoshi's).

Oh and I agree drogyn, character first always regardless of who they are. But it is how you then present those characters. You can make them anything at all, but everyone's default is "like me". Particularly with so many extras (I'd argue 99% of characters in STO are extras or one-liners with zero character development) it is an area where you can push some boundries.

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# 30
10-02-2013, 12:16 AM
I really enjoyed the discussion of female character development in the first half-hour of the podcast. Terilynn's comments are very much in line with my own approach to character development in general. A character's male-ness or female-ness is something that you express in a secondary manner to their core personality. (With the exception of some stereotype characters in comedic settings where the humor derives from sex or gender stereotypes. Lucille Ball, for example, capitalized on gender stereotypes.)

Shameless (but related) plug: Most of the characters you will meet in KDF mission "The Sins of the Fathers" are female. And you will find that they have very different personalities and motivations. They may not be fully-developed, three-dimensional characters (which is difficult to achieve for six female leads in a single mission), but they are not cookie-cutter female characters, either.

And while there is a gender-neutral love interest character for the player, the "romance" aspect serves more as comic relief than anything else -- it certainly isn't central to the story. (Gender-neutral in that I wrote the mission with a female captain in mind, but without forcing a Lesbian romance into the text if you are playing a male character.)

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