Hi! I am writing a completely asexual character in a sidhe/fair folk setting. I am struggling to maintain balance between him being comfortable with it and not seing it as something that needs to be "cured" and yet being in part embittered since a) sex is a very powerful magic tool in the setting b) he is under *enormous* societal pressure to attempt procreating. I've gone over some asexuality sources but i fear I am still being offensive; is there any helping it? Much appreaciated!
Whoa this sounds like a super cool concept?? I would read this??
(I don’t totally know what you mean by ‘completely asexual’ though? Like, d’you mean aro and ace? Someone who’s asexual and sex repulsed? Someone who’s demisexual and really hardcore about it? An asexual person that won’t have sex even when offered cool magic powers? There are as many ways to be asexual as there are asexual people, so I don’t really know what ‘completely asexual’ would mean!)
Aright okay, okay. My expert opinion is kinda limited since I only consider myself something like a tin or copper star ace, and obviously I don’t speak for everybody, but lemme tell you what I think.
Everyone exists on a sort of sliding scale of how comfortable with themselves they are. Think of, say, looks for example. Even if you’re happy with your physical appearance, some days you’ll just think ‘wow, I look like a crusted over piece of snot in a beached seal’s nose’, put on a dirty tee shirt, and feel unattractive (and vice versa). I think how confident in ourselves we are can really depend on the situation, and how we’re feeling at that moment.
So, from what I can tell from this message, your character actually sounds pretty normal for his situation! If people are constantly telling him that he’s broken, it’s not surprising if sometimes he’s forced to wonder if he is broken. And what a pain it’d be that the magic is totally set up against him! I think that, under the circumstances, him being able to be mostly comfortable with himself and think that there’s nothing wrong with him most of the time probably took some work and courage. Which is pretty relatable! Between hyper-sexualized media, parents making passive-aggressive remarks about never being grandparents, and being told that they ‘just haven’t found the right person’ in the real world, I’m sure asexual humans could sympathize with an asexual character doing their best to be comfortable with themselves in what sounds like possibly an even more adverse setting.
In summary: Just your character normally feeling happy and good with their identity but being frustrated with a world that’s stacked against them isn’t offensive- if anything, it’s pretty realistic. Where you could fall into trouble is how you handle the situation and your writing. Sliding into clichés or stereotypes, or framing your writing to make it seem like there IS something wrong with him would be a problem. You get what I’m getting at? The setup isn’t inherently problematic at all, far as I can tell- so what will make or break the book is how you write it. So write your book the best you can, for starters! Then, you can ask some people to read it over and give you their impressions. If there are problematic elements that they point out, you can then fix them. You’ll probably fuck up some- but rather than not writing about it because you’re worried you’ll fuck it up, why not go ahead and do it, and then correct yourself and learn from where you fucked up in the first drafts?
Go for it!
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Basic checklist for your story
This checklist can be used during both planning and editing stages.
- Does your protagonist have a personality beyond being heroic and nice?
- Does your protagonist have agency?
- Does your protagonist’s personality change?
- Did your protagonist have a life and relationships before the events of the story?
- Does your protagonist have flaws?
- Is your protagonist active as opposed to passive or reactive?
- Is your setting described well enough that readers can imagine themselves there?
- Is your setting used or described differently than similar settings by other authors?
- Do readers have a sense that your world extends outside the events of your story?
- Does your setting have its own unique atmosphere aside from being a backdrop for your plot?
- Is it important that the events in your story take place in this setting and not another?
Your Romantic Subplot/Plot (if applicable)
- Does the relationship have flaws?
- Does the relationship take time to develop?
- Does the love interest have their own personality beyond their romantic traits?
- Does the love interest have agency both inside and outside the relationship?
- Does the love interest have flaws?
Your Major Non-Protagonist Characters
- Do your major characters have varying opinions on your protagonist?
- Do your major characters have traits outside of their relationships with the protagonist?
- Do your major characters have varying gender identities, races, ability statuses, and sexual orientations, unless there is a good plot reason otherwise (such as the story taking place mainly at a male prison or a gay bar)?
- Do your major characters have different worldviews and senses of morality?
- Do most of your major characters have agency?
- Do your major characters have flaws?
- Do all of your major characters need to be there?
- Do most of your major characters’ personalities change?
Your Minor and Background Characters
- Do most of your minor characters have something that makes them interesting and memorable?
- Do your minor characters have varying gender identities, races, ability statuses, and sexual orientations, unless there is a good plot reason otherwise (such as the story taking place mainly at a male prison or a gay bar)?
- Do all of your minor characters need to be there?
- Does your antagonist have a reasonable motive for their actions?
- Does your antagonist have agency?
- Has your antagonist done enough to be taken seriously?
- Does your antagonist have good traits?
- Does your antagonist have traits outside of their relationship with the protagonist?
- Do your scenes flow logically?
- Are all of your questions either answered or left unanswered for a reason?
- Are there too many coincidences?
- Does your plot begin at the perfect spot?
- Does your plot end at the perfect spot?
- Is there conflict?
- Are there any scenes that could be left out?
- Does your plot happen because of the actions, reactions, and decisions of your characters?
- Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?
- Are there any sentences that could be left out?
- Are most of your sentences active instead of passive?
- Do you use mostly strong verbs (ex: drank, ran) instead of weak verbs (ex: was, did)?
- Do you use too many adverbs?
- Are your sentences varied in structure?
thank you once again
AH WHEN WILL THEY END
EVEN MORE OMFG
I regret making this post. My inbox is filled with these now lol
It’s like you didn’t even try
Hello! Currently, I'm writing a story about werewolves. While I think I've put quite an original spin on it, I want to know if you have any tips for not being cliché/writing tropes/etc. Thanks for your time!
Tropes are not necessarily a bad thing. A trope is a device or element of a story that a writer can reasonably expect most readers to recognize. A trope may become a cliché when it’s overused, though I am a firm believer in the philosophy: “it’s not the concept that matters but the execution”.
Here’s the TV Tropes page on Werebeast Tropes.
And here’s the one on Wolves.
Most of the werewolf clichés I can think of have to do specifically with werewolves and romance. I tried to come up with some other ones though:
- Female lead falls in love with werewolf. Werewolf is the alpha, always the alpha. His fur is also black, because black is mysterious *wiggles fingers*. He’s also the only black wolf.
- Male lead werewolf is always astonishingly beautiful, not rugged, or scarred or anything, because clearly werewolves don’t fight each other, nope, nope. Personally I like my werewolves a bit more gritty, Underworld style.
- Surprise! The female lead is also a werewolf. She has white fur and has some sort of amazing power. Perhaps she sparkles in the sun… wait…
- There’s a dog in the story. The dog is the only thing that recognizes the werewolf character is, in fact, a werewolf.
- Remember that being a werewolf is an affliction. It’s become a thing recently in media to only portray them as people who can shapeshift. The part about the pain tends to get left out, and I think that’s what makes werewolves interesting and complex.
- I’m pulling this one out of Twilight, but imprinting is creepy. I don’t think it’s a cliché yet, and I hope it doesn’t end up being used enough to become one.
- Constant references to the moon, whether in speech or in another form, that try to elude to the fact that your character is a werewolf, but ends up smacking the reader in the face instead.
- When a character watches a werewolf transform and ends up standing there instead of running, shooting, or doing anything other than staring, even if that character already knew beforehand who the werewolf was, and shouldn’t be surprised.
- Werewolves, and what constitutes the symptoms of being a werewolf as far as popular culture is concerned, are known well enough by the general public to be recognizable. I dislike when a character notices there are symptoms and then goes to look them up as if they have never heard of a werewolf before.
- Werewolves not actually using their wolf instincts — otherwise known as “werewolves who should know better doing stupid things and not thinking like the predators they are”. This includes getting caught in traps, not using their keen senses to avoid danger, running straight at someone with a weapon, etc.
- Magical Native American werewolves. Both cliché and offensive.
- When a character becomes a werewolf and suddenly loses his memory of the transformation once he’s human again. Or ends up in the forest naked.
I wouldn’t consider most of the actual werewolf lore to be necessarily cliché though.
- Full Moon Transformations - This became part of the werewolf lore when The Wolfman was introduced in the 1940s. A lot of writers use the full moon as the point of transformation for a werewolf character because it’s convenient. I’ve seen some instances where the werewolf character feels the pull of the moon whenever it’s out, not just when it’s full. There’s also been a ton of garbage pseudoscience used to attempt to explain how the relationship between werewolf and moon works, and most of the time it just ends up being confusing. There are stories that have full moon transformations and werewolves who can shift whenever they please, so it makes the full moon seem unnecessary. I’d like to see some more original concepts and/or executions of werewolf transformations. You may want to consider using the entire lunar cycle.
- Weaknesses - Some commonly accepted/used lore weaknesses are: silver, wolfsbane, lunar eclipses (losing their power), losing themselves to their curse, and decapitation/dismemberment.
- Different Forms - Werewolves have taken many different forms, including: Half man/half wolf, giant wolves, normal wolves, anthro (garou, the form we’re used to seeing), and everywhere in between. Feel free to be creative with the level of transformation your werewolves can attain. These forms may provide the werewolf with different abilities like increased speed, strength, enhanced senses, etc.
- It’s a Curse, Damn it - Becoming a werewolf is often caused by the infected bite or scratch from someone who is already a werewolf. The transformation is painful, personal, and the fear of losing oneself to the beast is present.
- Pack Mentality - Werewolves, like actual wolves, have some sort of pack connection, and a pack hierarchy. As such, they may also form a bond with a dog or actual wolf that becomes a companion. With this part of the lore, sometimes the concept of having a mate comes into play, and sometimes it steps in to the territory of being cliché as a lot of writers handle it as “my mate is my destined true love”.
That’s all I have for now. I hope that’s useful to you.
who I was
before I turned
m o n s t e r