writing

10 Tips for Making Tumblr Work for Writers

 

As a die hard introvert online social media is not my forte. Though it certainly makes things a bit easier by giving me a screen to hide behind, but even then I struggle. So today I’ll be going over something that does work for me and might for you. Tumblr. It’s not just for SuperWhoLock and hipsters. ^_^

I’m thrilled to be a guest over at Jami Gold’s blog today. Follow the link below for the full post.

10 Tips for Making Tumblr Work for Writers

Books · Going Over the Rainbow · mogai

New Book Release: Masquerade

Masquerade banner

I’d hoped to have this ready back in February, but life.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ In other news the Going Over the Rainbow series is going on hiatus while a major revamp/restructure is in the works. I hope to have more news for you soon. I’m super excited about the new direction and I think it will be much more helpful to writers and really anyone looking to bring more diversity into their lives.

Now on to the new release.

Masquerade is a novella prequel to The Jeweled Dagger and follows Lafayette on their ill-fated mission in Galey. If you’ve had a chance to read The Jeweled Dagger this will give you more insight into what happened and introduce you to a couple of characters who are only mentioned in passing in the novel. If you’ve not had a chance to read the novel and want to read this first, it’s a great introduction to Lafayette & Genevieve. The events lead directly into the opening of The Jeweled Dagger.

Plots and intrigue are Marchioness Genevieve Merlot’s specialty, and opulent balls teeming with bored aristocrats are the perfect opportunity to uncover the secrets behind idle gossip and courtly scheming.

However, things take a sinister turn when they overhear a plot to assassinate the Orandon Queen.

It will take all their skill and ingenuity  not only to survive but to foil the assassins and return home.

Masquerade is available for pre-order on Amazon as an e-book only release. It will be available June 1st.

The Jeweled Dagger CoverYou can purchase The Jeweled Dagger here:

Follow me on Patreon for exclusive updates and content.

Characters · Going Over the Rainbow · lgbt · writing

Going Over the Rainbow: Writing a Character Who is Transgender

GoingOver theRainbow (1)

Trans Terms

Transgender issues have been in the spotlight lately with Target’s new policy and North Carolina’s anti-LGBT legislation. Neither of these news items tell us much about just what it is like to be a trans person, other than that going to the bathroom in public places can be like playing Russian roulette where all the chambers are filled but one.

I decided to go ahead and write this after seeing a post on a Facebook group I’m a part of asking writers how they write genderqueer characters. While well meaning, many of the comments showed a fundamental lack of understanding of what it means to be trans or genderqueer. So I’ve tailored today’s post to cis-gendered writers looking to write trans characters sensitively. As I’ve said before, there are some issues best left to trans or genderqueer writers, but please don’t be afraid to write a trans character. I’m hoping this post will help you be more confident in portraying them.

Transgender (adj.)

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms – including transgender. Some of those terms are defined below. Use the descriptive term preferred by the individual. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon medical procedures.

(http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender)

Writing a Transgender Character

So you want to write a transgender character? That’s awesome! Here are some thoughtful questions that you can ask yourself about your character to help you better understand how they see themselves and how they interact with the world:

  • Which gender does your character identify as?
  • How does this gender manifest and how does your character show/perform it?
  • How does your character think/feel about being transgender? Does it give them an advantage/disadvantage? Is it a big deal to them or not?
  • Do they deal with gender dysphoria? If so, how do they handle it? If not, what other identity challenges might they face?
  • When did your character discover that their gender identity did not match their assigned gender? What kind of experience was it?
  • Does your character plan to transition to their gender? Why or why not? If so how do they plan to transition (hormone therapy, surgery?) and what challenges might they face?
  • How does the character interact with the world?
  • How does your character want to be perceived by others? How are they actually perceived?
  • How do other characters react to your character? Do they use their chosen name and pronouns or not? How does your character handle these reactions?
  • How does the society in your story treat your character?

This is just to get you thinking about building a complex character who is transgender. If you can’t answer all these questions now, then just keep them in the back of your mind for consideration as you continue to develop your character.

  • Keep specific gender traits for your character consistent. A character worksheet can help you to make sure you have the details down.
  • Don’t fall into gendered stereotypes for gender expression. There is nothing wrong with any of the activities themselves, but be careful about using them to portray a specific gender expression. Remember that some people are gender non-conforming. A female character can act masculine without being trans.
  • How your character expresses their gender should fall in line with their personality. They are still the same person no matter which gender they identify as. Personality traits are not gender dependant.
  • Pronoun usage should match your character’s chosen pronouns unless the character speaking is someone who refuses to address your trans character properly.
  • As with pronouns, names should stay consistent within a scene. If your character prefers a particular name for their gender identity this should be used when the character is the point of view character in the scene. Other characters might use or disregard their chosen name with appropriate reaction/consequences.
  • Remember, gender identity is independant from sexual orientation. A person who transitions from male to female and is attracted only to men may identify as a straight woman. A person who transitions from female to male and is attracted to men would most likely identify as a gay male.

 

I hope this will help you get started writing a transgender character. As with any gender identity it’s important to remember you are writing a person, not a gender. Who they are is more important than what they identify as and while it is a large part of their personality, it shouldn’t be the sole focus.

Special Note:

It’s worth it to note that crossdressing is not the same as being transgender. GLAAD states:

While anyone may wear clothes associated with a different sex, the term cross-dresser is typically used to refer to heterosexual men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. This activity is a form of gender expression, and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term “transvestite.”

PLEASE NOTE: Transgender persons are not cross-dressers or drag queens/kings. Drag queens/kings are men and women, typically gay or lesbian, who dress like men or women for the purpose of entertainment. Be aware of the differences between transgender persons, cross-dressers, and drag queens/kings. Use the term preferred by the individual. Do not use the word “transvestite” at all, unless someone specifically self-identifies that way. (http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender) Wording changed to be more inclusive.

Further Reading:

Going Over the Rainbow: The Gender Divide

Going Over the Rainbow: The Trope Trap

Going Over the Rainbow: What is Gender Dysphoria?

Not just one way to be transgender…

Tragic Tropes: Transgender Representation in Contemporary Culture

Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression

Trans FAQ

What’s the difference between being transgender or transsexual and having an intersex condition?

S/He Parents of transgender children are faced with a difficult decision, and it’s one they have to make sooner than they ever imagined.

The K-12 Binary Schools are becoming ground zero for clashes over transgender rights.

ABOUT GENDER IDENTITY

Transgender

How NOT to Write a Trans Character (this post contains language and terms some might find offensive)

What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism.

‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actress Tells Katie Couric Why It’s Not Cool To Ask About Trans People’s ‘Private Parts’

Characters · excerpt · Going Over the Rainbow · lgbt · mogai · writing

Going Over the Rainbow: What is Gender Dysphoria?

GoingOver theRainbow (1)

Yesterday on Tumblr I had an anon ask an excellent question about gender dysphoria and what having an episode feels like. So I thought I would share it with you all here as well. This is one of those things that unless you experience it yourself it can be difficult to comprehend. I did my best to explain it but I highly recommend that if you decide to write a character who experiences gender dysphoria while you do not, that you have someone who does, beta read for you.

gender dysphoria episode ask

[Text: Anonymous asked: Could you describe of what a gender dysphoria episode is like? I understand the basics I think, but was wandering if you could describe it in more detail? Or maybe you could point out a part in the Jeweled Dagger that shows this?]

My Answer:

sorrowsfall:

Gender dysphoria is something that is only briefly mentioned in JD during a conversation between Genevieve, Olivia and Nora.

“Nora often wishes she’d been born a boy. She hates being a girl.”

 “I am sorry, Nora. That is a difficult thing.” 

Nora shrugged. “I make do. Though if you can get away with dressing as a woman maybe you can show me how to dress as a man. It would make me a lot happier than wearing this fucking dress.” 

Genevieve blinked at the course language then smiled. “I’d be happy to help.” – (The Jeweled Dagger)

The scene I mentioned in my post yesterday has the dysphoria front and center. (This might be a bit spoilery for both JD and Daggers and a rather long reply, so I hope you don’t mind). Lafayette might be genderfluid but being forced to present as a gender they are not currently experiencing can be just as difficult and disorienting as it would be for a trans person.

Current circumstances have forced Lafayette to come to Court as Genevieve. The dysphoria starts as they’re getting ready with them not recognizing themselves in the mirror.

As he got ready Lafayette kept trying to get into the right mindset. He could pretend to be Genevieve but he hated doing that. It was like trying to wear something that didn’t quite fit and chaffed, except it was internal rather than external. Watching himself in the mirror as he started applying the paste to his skin made him uncomfortable and left him with a sick hollow feeling. Did Rona not understand what she was asking of him, demanding he only appear as Genevieve? He wasn’t some actor playing a role. Though he supposed this wasn’t much different from the days he had to pretend to be male too. – (The Daggers of Ariyon)

I’ve deal with this myself a lot (it’s one of the reasons I hate mirrors so much). Imagine going into your bathroom to get ready in the morning, yet the person staring back at you in the mirror is not you. Intellectually you know it’s your face but your gut is telling you this is all wrong. Sometimes, if I’m having a bad day, this will set off either a panic attack or a depressive episode that can last hours or days. Other times I end up self-harming. Yeah, mirrors are not my friend. :/

Hearing the wrong pronouns can result in an episode too.

Nate didn’t look convinced until Olivia stuck her head out the door. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on her.”
A small jolt shot through Lafayette at the ‘her’ but he shoved the feeling aside. – (The Daggers of Ariyon)

It always gives me a start, like a sudden drop, makes me dizzy, nauseated and confused. That’s usually when I have to stop and forcefully talk to myself to prevent a full episode. I have to remind myself that people look at me and see a certain gender.

You probably have a mental image of yourself. The way you see yourself when you’re imagining doing things, or even dreaming. This is very normal, yet I don’t have a mental image of myself. I *know* what I look like, yet my mental image is just a shadowy figure. I’m never ‘myself’ in dreams. If I am it’s probably a nightmare. From what I’ve read many trans persons experience similar things, their mental image of themselves doesn’t match the external. And I don’t mean just that you think your looks aren’t what you want. This goes a whole lot deeper.

Sometimes, for some people, just having to look at or feel parts of their anatomy that don’t fit their gender can result in an episode. Others actually feel as though they are missing breasts or a penis, it’s been likened to phantom limb syndrome. This has lead to speculation that while the brain is wired to have those parts of the anatomy, they aren’t physically present. As you can imagine this can be terribly disorienting. You never feel whole, or normal no matter how hard you try.

Lafayette doesn’t have the luxury of staying home. As many of us don’t. We have to deal with the dysphoria and hope we don’t break down in public. I personally felt it was important to explore this aspect of being gender non-conforming though I know Lafe’s experience won’t be exactly the same as other people who experience gender dysphoria. Their dysphoria is different even from my own.

It’s my sincere hope that writing about this helps educate people and provides a basis for understanding.

Here are some links that might help too and I’m always happy to talk. ^_^

What does gender dysphoria feel like?

How does gender dysphoria feel?

 

asexual · Characters · Going Over the Rainbow · lgbt · mogai · writing

Going Over the Rainbow: Writing an Asexual Character Part 2

GoingOver theRainbow (1)

I apologize for this post being late, but I spent some extra time to make sure I covered as many topics as possible.

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been looking at the asexuality spectrum and how to write asexual characters.  Last week we discussed more about the spectrum and went over some terminology for various points on the spectrum as well as things to keep in mind and questions to ask yourself.

This week I’d like to show you how to put these things into practice. We’ll look at some examples of asexual characters in the media and why the character may or may not be a good representative of asexuals. We’ll also go over how to write romance with a character who identifies as asexual.

As you’ll hear me say many, many times over the course of this series; you are writing a person, not an orientation. This fact needs to be in the forefront of your mind at all times to avoid stereotypes and othering language.

Continue reading “Going Over the Rainbow: Writing an Asexual Character Part 2”

asexual · Characters · Going Over the Rainbow · lgbt · mogai · writing

Going Over the Rainbow: Writing an Asexual Character

Last week we discussed what asexuality is and the challenges faced by many asexuals. We really only dipped our toe in the water though, there is a lot more to being asexual than what I can cover in a couple of blog posts, so I very much encourage you to click through the links and do your own research too.

So how do you go about writing this mythological creature? First, lets see where on the spectrum your character might fit.

Asexuality Flowchart

The above flow chart should give you a good idea where to start with your character. (You can also download the full chart here).

There are a lot of terms up there you are probably seeing for the first time. Don’t panic. Though if you need a moment to panic go ahead. No judging here. To help let me go through some definitions for you.

  • tumblr_nppf4wwfpm1tdi2euo1_500
    Image from Asexualscience on Tumblr

    Demisexual: attraction only after an emotional bond is formed.

  • Fraysexual: attraction fade after getting to know someone (opposite of demi).
  • Cupiosexual: wanting a sexual relationship but not experiencing sexual attraction
  • Graysexual: very rarely having sexual attraction and/on in very specific circumstances.
  • Lithosexual: experiencing sexual attraction but NOT wanting it reciprocated.
  • Autochorissexual/Aegosexual: disconnect between oneself and target of arousal.*
  • Placiosexual: wanting to do sexual things with someone but being alright with the feeling not being reciprocated or acted on.
  • Abrosexual: orientation is fluid
  • Apothisexual: someone who is asexual and sex repulsed.

Okay, I’ll give you a moment to digest all that because it is a lot to take in all at once. Who knew there were so many ways to not want sex?

But wait, you say, how do I write a romance without sex being a part of the equation? Or how do I show that my character really loves their partner/significant other if they don’t find them sexually attractive?

Easy. No really it is easy. I promise.

You know how to write friendships. Of course you do! You know that there are ways to show affection, appreciation and consideration for another person that do not involve anything overtly sexual or physically intimate. There you go. (For a great list of non-sexual intimacies see Nonsexual Intimacies (Part 1 of 5) – The Wordsmith’s Forge).

Ah I see your brow furrowing. That’s just friendship, right?

Is it? You care deeply about your friends don’t you? You love them, want the best for them and care what happens to them. But we make the distinction between friends and those we are romantically involved with for our own reasons. While you love your friends, you may, or may not, find them sexually attractive. That’s the difference; the ability to feel sexual attraction. Of course, this can, and sometimes does change. It all depends on the person. There is no wrong way to be asexual.

5075celebrity-pictures-big-bang-theory-boobs-vista
On The Big Bang Theory it is hinted that the character Sheldon is asexual.

So while you consider that let’s look at some tips for writing asexual characters:

  • Keep in mind that asexual does not mean emotionless. Your character should still have emotional actions and reactions to events in line with their personality.
  • If the setting allows for it, it might be good to have your character specifically state they are asexual. This will help the reader understand where your character is coming from. Having other characters react and ask questions will help mitigate an info dump.
  • Be wary of having a plot that calls for the character’s asexuality to be a problem fixed by ‘good’ sex or a sexual relationship. In this instance it might be better to rethink your character’s orientation.
  • Do let your character have close intimate non-sexual relationships with other characters.
  • Try to avoid making your character asexual simply as a plot device. It should be an integral part of who they are, not a quirk.
  • If your asexual character is a minor character it might be best to avoid having them be the comedic relief as this can reinforce stereotypes of asexuals being socially inept, naive or virginal.
  • Asexual does not always mean aromantic and vice versa.

As with every other orientation keep in mind you are writing a person first and foremost. If you are still a bit unsure about how to go about this why don’t we focus on your character and who they are and how they practice their asexuality.

  • Decide where on the asexual spectrum your character lies. Does it change/fluctuate? Under what circumstances does it fluctuate? (Keep in mind that this can change over time)
  • How does your character think/feel about being on the asexual spectrum?
  • How does your character feel towards sex? Neutral, sex-repulsed, sex-positive? Does it depend on the circumstance/person?
  • If your character were to find themselves in a sexual situation, what would their reaction be?
  • How does your character tell people about being asexual (if they tell people at all)?
  • How do other characters react to your character’s asexuality? How does your character react/respond to these reactions?
  • How does the society in your story react to asexuality? How does this affect your character? What assumptions do others have about asexuality/your character?
  • When did/will your character realize that they are on the asexual spectrum? How does/will your character think/feel about this? Is the realization because of a specific event, a gradual understanding/coming to terms, etc?

Writing an asexual character isn’t any more challenging that writing any other character. We are just people after all. Please join me next week as I go further into ways to write asexual relationships using non-sexual intimacies and tropes to avoid.

*Autochorissexual was a term coined by psychologist Anthony Bogaert to describe identity-less sexuality and is listed as a paraphilia. To combat the negative stereotypes associated with paraphilias the term aegosexual might be more preferred. As someone who identifies as moderately aegosexual I take exception to it being listed as a paraphilia or fetish because, as defined, it doesn’t completely fit the definition of a paraphilia.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please leave a comment. Next week I’ll go further into how to write your asexual character with examples and tropes to avoid and why.

If you enjoyed this post and would like access to exclusive content please consider supporting me on Patreon or please send me a coffee using the button above. Many thanks from this nerdy queer. ^_^

Going Over the Rainbow: The Asexuality Spectrum

Going Over the Rainbow: Aromantic

Going Over the Rainbow: Getting the Kinks Out

Going Over the Rainbow: Moving Beyond the LG in LGBT.

Understand Asexual People

Asexual Orientation

What is it like to be asexual?

Asexual Spectrum

Asexuals Anonymous

The Thinking Asexual

PRIDE-Sexuality-as-a-Spectrum.pdf

On Autochorissexualism and Akiosexuality

asexual · Characters · Going Over the Rainbow · lgbt · mogai · writing · Writing FUNdamentals

Going Over the Rainbow: The Asexuality Spectrum

GoingOver theRainbow (1)

For this month’s Going Over the Rainbow post we are going to look at one of the more misunderstood orientations—asexuality. I’ve broken this post up across two weeks because there are a lot of misconceptions as to what being asexual is and I want to address those before getting into actually writing an asexual character.

So what does it mean to be asexual? It varies by person but the simplest definition is a lack of sexual attraction. It is not the same as abstinence nor it is a mental illness. Asexual persons may not experience the desire to have sex with someone who they might otherwise find attractive or appealing, but that doesn’t always hold true either. Mostly because asexuality is, itself, a spectrum.

Asexual Spectrum

The asexual spectrum includes people who are completely repulsed by the thought of sex all the way to sex-positive individuals who may even enjoy sex with their partner. It’s a very personal thing for each asexual person and no one but them can tell you where they fall on the spectrum.

Many asexual persons will refer to a romantic orientation such as illustrated in the chart:

Romantic Attraction

Looking at the two charts combined you’ll see that there is a vast number of possible combinations. I personally identify as panromantic demisexual. What that means to me might not mean the exact same thing to someone else with the same chosen labels. For me personally, I am romantically attracted to people regardless of gender while I have only ever experienced sexual attraction twice in my entire life. To those who don’t know me I might appear to be a monogamous heterosexual. This is a misconception. Monogamy is a choice. My being sexually active with my partner doesn’t make me heterosexual, I am still asexual. I do not look at other people and find them sexually attractive. In fact trying to imagine sex with someone results in feelings of revulsion and panic. I quite literally cannot fathom it.

This doesn’t mean that asexuals can’t get turned on or don’t have a libido. Sexual attraction and libido are two separate things. You can experience sexual attraction yet have a low libido and there are people with a desire for sex that doesn’t relate to their orientation. There are asexuals who do engage in sex or who masturbate for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: pleasing a partner, releasing tension, to get to sleep or because they enjoy it. They are still asexual.

Asexuals also face unique issues within the community and recently there has been a call by some for them to be dropped from the LGBT community. Some asexuals feel that they would be better served by having their own separate community since the majority of the LGBT community is highly sex focused. This is an ongoing debate and will probably never be fully resolved.

It’s also good to keep in mind the kinds of challenges asexual face in our society. Sex is seen as normal, healthy and something that is integral to being human. Its even listed as a basic human need along with eating and breathing in Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needsmaslows_hierarchy_of_needs. Which any asexual will tell you is preposterous. No one has ever died because of a lack of sex. Lack of love, yes. But love is not sex. Sex can be an expression of love and intimacy but the act itself can be done for reasons outside of love. But, because of this view of sex and sexuality many asexuals report feeling broken or being seen as not wholly human by many, even being referred to as robots or plants or just being flat denied as existing. Acephobia is very common and often goes unrecognized and unchallenged.

Asexuals face being infantilized, fetishized as virginal, excluded by the LGBT community, labeled as mentally ill, and generally dismissed by society at large. These are all things your character might face as well. Don’t shy away from addressing these issues if your plot allows for it.

Next week we will delve deeper into how to actually go about writing an asexual character.

Asexual Orientation

The Thinking Asexual

Privileges Sexual People Have

Asexual Erasure and Mental Health

No Sex Please, I’m Asexual

If you enjoyed this post and would like access to exclusive content please consider supporting me on Patreon.

 

 

 

Fandoms · writing

Press Play: Tips for Making Fan Fiction Work for You

 

tips forMaking Fan Fiction Work for You (3)

It’s becoming more common for authors to get their start by writing fan fiction. There have been many famous authors who started out writing for fandom before transitioning to original works. Chances are you’ve heard of Cassandra Claire and E. L. James, I’m not holding either up as a good examples of morally responsible writers, but they both got their start writing for particular fandoms.

They, for all their faults, might have been on to something. Something that the traditional publishers have been taking a much keener interest in over the last several years.

Fandom.

Now, before you take me out back and expound on the vices of following in the footsteps of plagiarists and pompous swindlers, let me explain what I mean.

First off, I do write fan fiction and have for several years now. I’m currently well into a 4 book (and growing) series for the Thief (2014 © Square Enix & Eidos Montreal) fandom. Yes, you read that right. There are currently 2 full novels, I’m working on the 3, the fourth is planned and a fifth is being discussed. These aren’t novellas either. The last fic was well over 100K. Not that I’m bragging, it just kind of happened.

So why do I spend my time writing things that I’ll never be paid for? For couple of reasons. Reasons I think you too would benefit from.

Improved Writing:

Over the last two years, I’ve written nearly quarter of a million words for fandom. That’s a lot of words. But it’s allowed me the chance to improve in areas I really struggled with. Setting for example. I was able to practice writing more immersive settings as well as complicated, multi-layer plots. And I didn’t have to wait months to get back edits. The feedback was instant. I could know quickly what was working and what wasn’t, what the readers were focusing on and what they skimmed over, what threads they were really enjoying and what things annoyed them. This kind of feedback is invaluable as an author and one of the reason I will continue to write fan fiction.

Caution: Instant gratification with comments/reviews can get addictive. Especially when you go to writing original fic. Remember to keep a balanced view and not get an ego.

Connect With Readers

Fandom is full of avid and discerning readers. They know exactly what they like and are smart, savvy, and loyal. Some of them spend hours and hours writing up their own meta, head canons and discussing various plot points. They are the kind of people who you want reading your work. People who get excited about great stories and are eager to share them. I’ve been very privileged to meet quite a few of these individuals and have formed lasting friendships with a few.

Writing fanfic has allowed me to discover a whole new audience who craves things they cannot get in mainstream media. Readers who are willing to give my original stories a chance because they are already reading and enjoying my fan fiction and are familiar with the way I write.

So how can writing for fandom help you? Is it something you’d be willing to spend time doing in order to cultivate relationships? Is it morally right/wrong to benefit from writing fanfiction?

Well … let’s see.

There are plenty of pros and cons to writing fanfiction and while I encourage it as a fun relaxing writing exercise it can get stressful if approached wrong. Yes, there is a wrong way to approach writing fan fiction. The graphic explains some of the right ways to approach fandoms.

Engaging Fandom

So what are some of the pros and cons of writing fanfiction? Let’s look at them:

Pros:

  • More exposure to potential readers
  • Practicing the craft
  • Free reads that need little advertising
  • Build a reader base

Cons:

  • Time spent writing that won’t see a monetary return*
  • Shipping wars

I’m sure there might be more cons … but I can’t think of any right now. I personally find writing fan fiction immensely rewarding and fun. It’s allowed me to grow both as a writer and as a person. And no, it’s not always sunshine and roses. I have had characters stolen and been plagiarized. I’ve been flamed and told I should die because of the subject matter of a couple of my stories. But those are rare happenings and the vast majority of fans are utterly thrilled to have well written fic to read.

So don’t be afraid to give it to them. Even just a drabble here or there can get you started. Think of it as a writing exercise, like the ones you had to do in school where you had to write as if you were a character in a certain novel. That is fan fiction.

If you’re not sure where to start pick your favorite TV show, movie, video game or book and look it up on Archive of Our Own. I can almost guarantee there is something out there. AO3 has very comprehensive tags and you’re certain to find something you like and if you don’t … well there’s your opening right there. Write there. Just don’t forget to read other works and stay engaged. You’re there to make friends and meet potential readers.

*While I am not a big fan of turning fan fiction into publishable works I feel it is the right of each writer to make this decision for themselves.

Do you write fan fiction? If you do, do you have any other suggestions? Do you agree with my admonitions? Questions are welcome too. If you are curious about my fan fiction  you can find it here: The Corsair and the Corsetteer.

If you enjoyed this post and would like access to exclusive content please consider supporting me on Patreon.

writing

CampNaNoWriMo and a New WIP

So, I’ve decided to participate in CampNaNoWriMo this year. If you’d like to join me I have a private cabin. I’ll be starting writing the sequel to The Jeweled Dagger and could definitely use your encouragement.

If the whole camping thing isn’t for you, no worries! I could also use some writing sprint buddies. I’m really pretty flexible on my schedule (I go nowhere and do nothing) aside from taking care of the nerdlings I’m open to writing most anytime of the day. Just message me and let me know if you’d like to join me.

I’m brohne on the camp website and sorrows fall on Skype if you’d like to add me.

I’ve been working on the synopsis and outline for the Daggers of Ariyon since min-January. I finished inputting all the major plot points into Aeon Timeline the other day. It looks like this right now:

2016-03-29

Er … don’t squint too hard you might spoil yourself. The nice thing about Aeon is that you can export it into Scrivener as an opml and all your notes will transfer over too. This comes in really handy if you forget things like I do.

2016-03-29 (1)

It’s all there, nice and neat, with dates, times, and characters and this level of organization is starting tofreakmeout.

I’m a pantser at heart … I swear. But when your plots require multi-level planning organization is a must. I’m a masochist, I love complicated plots with multiple layers and characters but holy shit can it be migraine inducing if you don’t keep good notes.

Even as great as the tools are sometimes it helps to have a little more concise representation of the storyline. That’s why I’m in love with One Stop For Writer’s new Story Map Feature. I’m not finished filling out my map yet but this is what the initial set up looks like:

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Refreshingly uncomplicated and incredibly helpful, I can see at a glance where I am in the plot and if my timeline isn’t helpful then knowing what plot point needs to come next can get me writing again.

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If you haven’t subscribed to OneStopForWriters.com  I highly recommend it. They are adding amazing new features and I know I personally rarely ever close its tab.

I do hope you’ll join me in April fpr CampNaNo if you can. I look forward to hearing about everyone’s stories and how you each approach planning and writing.

asexual · gay romance · Going Over the Rainbow · lgbt · mogai · writing

Going Over the Rainbow: Hot for You

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This past week there has been a lot going on in both the LGBT community and the gay romance writers community. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw some of my reactions to the ongoing discussion. It revolved around one topic in particular: the ‘gay for you’ trope.

An incredibly popular trope in the m/m romance/erotica genre, it has been staunchly defended by those who enjoy writing and reading it while at the same time much of the queer community has expressed concern over it as being multi-queerphobic.

It’s been debated far and wide on the internet and I’m not going to get into it here. I will say that I personally loathe the trope for a long list of reasons, but instead of getting into that I am going to show you how to make the trope work.

That’s right. It can work. I promise you. Though the ‘gay’ part might need rewording.

First let’s take a look at the trope itself. What does ‘gay for you’ mean? Straight cis male falls in love/lust with another gay/straight cis male.

Hmm, okay. Well if you are straight and then suddenly find this one specific person who is your same gender attractive *surprise* you aren’t straight and you never were! Welcome to queerdom!

But-but, yes they are! You exclaim pointing to all the straightness of your character.

Shh, it’s okay. There are many people out there who thought they were straight and ended up being queer. Sexual exploration can be on ongoing and fluid thing. Shoot, I thought for years I was a lesbian (mostly because people said I was), then ace, then learned about demisexuality.  However, most gay men I’ve met, talk to, read about, knew they were gay since they were young. I’m talking like from their teens and sometimes even younger. You learn pretty early on who you find sexually attractive. Well, most of us.

What do I mean by that? Well, not everyone who is queer is gay or lesbian. Some of us don’t find anyone sexually attractive. (gasp)

Let me use myself as an example. I am 37, soon to be 38 years old. My entire life I have found only two people sexually attractive who happened to be different genders. And no—I am not bisexual. I am demisexual. I cannot and do not feel sexual attraction unless I have a deep emotional bond with a person and this doesn’t mean I’m hot for all my friends. Doesn’t work that way.

But that’s just me. There are some bisexual people who have only found one or two people of their same gender sexually attractive. They are still bisexual.

So what does this have to do with the trope.

Everything. There is a big issue in the entertainment industry with never looking beyond the G & L and basically erasing every other orientation out there, not to mention trans persons. Which is incredibly frustrating and very sad because the variety brings you so, so many opportunities for incredible stories.

This trope wouldn’t even be an issue if the character came out as bisexual, demisexual, pansexual or gray-asexual. All of these orientations would neatly explain why a character is attracted to someone of their same gender when they never have been before. One or two sentences is all it takes. Please allow me to demonstrate:

Reilly sat down next to Timothy in the booth. His best friend wriggled over to give him more room.

“What’s up Rei? You look a bit worried.”

Reilly shrugged and slid down in the seat. “You remember Quintin?”

“Yeah, he works at the cafe on the square. I almost asked him out. Why?”

“I don’t think I’m as straight as I thought.”

Timothy chuckled but quickly sobered. “Wait … really?”

“I don’t get it Tim … I’ve never … I’ve always thought I liked girls. I know I’m not gay.”

Timothy leaned over and bumped Reilly’s shoulder, “So maybe you’re not, maybe you are bi.”

It really is seriously that easy. In fact there really are no excuses beyond ignorance and laziness. And I know you are not like that.

So instead of ‘gay for you’ maybe ‘hot for you’ or another choice of wording might help us to be more inclusive. Just in case you need help here is a link to my worksheet and so helpful links.

Character Sexuality Worksheet

Going Over the Rainbow: The Trope Trap

Going Over the Rainbow: Moving Beyond the LG in LGBT.

Going Over the Rainbow: Show and Tell

For You

The Mythical Unicorn of LGBTQIA Novels (Or, the A doesn’t stand for Ally.)

Why Labels Matter

 

Do you have any questions for me regarding asexuality/demisexuality or the ‘gay for you’ trope? Which orientation would you like me to feature next month?

 

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