How to show that a character is asexual

anagnori:

…Because interrupting the narrative to turn it into Asexuality 101 is not always a good idea.

It may be easier to implement these ideas if you’ve also read my asexual character development question list. You can also get more ideas from reading and answering those questions.

Note: Most of these ideas will also work for gray-asexual and demisexual characters, because they tend to have a lot of experiences in common with asexuals.

Say it outright.

The only way to be 100% certain is for the character to identify themself as asexual in the story’s text. Everything else I suggest here, at most, can only hint in that direction. If you intend to actually represent asexuality in your story and not just imply it, you must state it explicitly at some point. Otherwise, you’re just doing the asexual equivalent of queerbaiting (acebaiting?), which is infuriating because asexual people have almost no fictional representation in the first place.

Your characters might use the word “asexual,” or they might say something else that means the same thing. When doing this, remember that there is a difference between being asexual and being celibate.

Examples:

  • "I’m asexual."
  • "I’ve never been sexually attracted to anyone."
  • "I do not lust after other people."
  • "I’m not attracted to anyone, and never have been."
  • "I don’t have any urge for carnal pleasures."

Drop hints about it in dialogue.

Think about your character’s attitude toward sex. Are they sex-repulsed, sex-indifferent or sex-enjoying? When they think about sex in general, do they find it boring, gross, annoying, creepy, amusing, weird, or just meh? Most asexual people do not enjoy sex or seek it out, but they aren’t outright afraid of it either. When you write dialogue, think about your asexual character’s opinions, feelings, and expectations about sexuality, and look for opportunities to suggest that they’re not on the same wavelength as everybody else.

Examples:

  • “I’m not interested in anybody.”
  • “I’m not planning on getting married.”
  • “Dating is overrated.”
  • “I hate it when movies have sex scenes.”
  • "Wait, people actually find it hard to be celibate?"

You can also subtly suggest that a character is asexual by writing them as oblivious to or disturbed by innuendo, dirty jokes, flirting, and/or conversations about sex. Some asexual people have a hard time picking up on these things, or will assume everything is platonic unless it’s explicitly spelled out as sexual. Others might be so repulsed by sex that they don’t even like hearing about it. And then again, some asexuals find the subject hilarious or interesting, and will be very explicit or detached when talking about it, to the point of making non-asexual people feel awkward.

Develop an asexual backstory, and mention it in the text.

Think about the ways that your character was affected by growing up asexual, and how their youth may have differed from other people’s. Maybe they always winced and turned away at kissing scenes in movies. Maybe they couldn’t be bothered to date anyone in high school. Maybe they tried having sex, just to see what all the fuss was about, but regretted it or were disappointed. Maybe they spent years wondering what was wrong with them because they didn’t like sex. If the character is old enough, think about how asexuality may have affected their dating life in the past. If your character knows they’re asexual, you should also think about the experiences that led them to realize it.

Adjust the way that the asexual character speaks.

If your character uses words and concepts that are rarely heard outside the asexual community, it’s a big fat sign that they identify as asexual, or are at least very familiar with asexuality. The asexual community thinks about love, attraction and relationships in a different way than mainstream culture does, and our language reflects that. I’ve compiled a nice glossary of words and concepts that your asexual character may use in conversation. You can also try dropping references to asexual culture, such as a black ring on the right middle finger, or the colors of the asexual flag. (I advise staying away from the cake jokes, though.)

Some asexual people avoid describing other people as “hot” or “sexy,” because those words may imply sexual attraction.

Show how asexuality affects the character’s romantic and/or sexual relationships (or lack thereof).

Some scenarios that asexual characters may encounter:

  • They are virgins well into their 20s, or even later.
  • They have sex, but find the experience underwhelming, disgusting or disturbing.
  • Their relationships become strained because their partner wants sex but they don’t.
  • They avoid dating entirely because the prospect of having sex with someone makes them uncomfortable.
  • They feel like they have to fake being sexually attracted to someone.
  • They’re afraid their partner will leave them for someone more interested in sex.
  • They can’t find a partner because they don’t want to have sex.
  • They do find a partner who doesn’t mind having a sexless relationship.
  • They choose to have sex for different reasons than most people do, and these reasons are not related to sexual attraction.
  • They want to “wait until marriage” but are secretly dreading having sex after the wedding.
  • Their relationship with their romantic partner is not taken seriously by other characters because it does not involve sex.
  • They form a queerplatonic relationship instead of a romantic relationships.
  • Their partner agrees to become celibate, or they work out a compromise on what kinds of sexual activities they’ll do together.
  • They set up an open or polyamorous relationship so their partner gets sexual satisfaction elsewhere, while still remaining happily together.
  • They seek medical treatment for not being as sexually interested as they think they’re supposed to be.
  • They don’t think that they need birth control or STD protection because they are celibate.

I’m undoubtedly forgetting a lot more.

Make the character’s hobbies, lifestyle, goals, and entertainment choices reflect their asexuality.

Keep in mind that asexual people are diverse, and the ideas listed below do NOT apply to all, or even to the majority of asexual people in real life. But they can be good starting points for sparking discussions about asexuality in your story, or as additions to an asexual character who is otherwise well-rounded. They can also be good ways to foreshadow that a character is asexual.

The following are just a few examples of how asexuality can affect someone’s lifestyle:

  • They choose to avoid media that contains graphic depictions of sex.
  • They don’t have a porn collection.
  • They avoid romantic movies, or movies with sex scenes in them.
  • They avoid going to bars, nightclubs, strip clubs, raves, or other places with sexually charged atmospheres.
  • They tend to avoid collecting art and music that have sexual content.
  • They do not try to dress up so as to appear attractive to the opposite sex.
  • They don’t enjoy hanging out with non-asexual friends who talk about sex or sexual attraction a lot.
  • They avoid casual sex or one night stands entirely.
  • They never want to get married.
  • They expect to spend their future and old age single.
  • They aren’t very interested in having sex, and need a strong reason before they’ll consider it.

Make other characters curious about the asexual character’s dating life or sexual orientation.

In real life, if a person between the ages of 16 and 50 goes for years without having or seeking a sexual relationship, people often get nosy. They may ask why the asexual person isn’t married yet, wonder if something is wrong, or even spread rumors about that person.

Asexual people are not heterosexual, and often do not fit in well with a culture of heteronormativity and compulsory sexuality. Think about how your asexual character’s words, attitudes and lifestyle will be perceived by other people, and what those people are likely to say and do in response.

Use another character as a foil.

By writing another character who differs from your asexual character in behavior, attitudes or sexual priorities, you can show just how distinct the asexual character really is. Consider putting the characters in similar situations and having them react differently, or making different choices. The foil character doesn’t need to be a super-horny, oversexed, socially aggressive extrovert; in fact, it’s often more effective to write a person of average libido and sexual activity, and who is portrayed as “normal” and typical by the narrative, because this highlights just how unusual and different asexuality is.

Be careful that you do not portray the foil character’s sexuality as a negative trait, or else you may risk putting slut-shaming, misogynistic or homophobic implications into your story. They can be a villain, but unless they engage in sexual coercion, rape or other Very Bad Sex Acts then their villainy should be unrelated to their sexuality.

Don’t your make foil character a rapist. Just…don’t do it. It’s very difficult to pull this off without making the overall tone of the story to be sex-negative, and it puts asexuality at odds with sexual violence while leaving little room for consensual, healthy sex.

Read blogs and websites written by asexual people.

You can get a lot of ideas by reading about how individual people experience asexuality. (If you ARE asexual, of course, you can draw on your own experiences.) Asexual bloggers talk about unusual or interesting things that happen to them as a result of being asexual, how asexuality affects their relationships with other people, what kinds of things they want, like or dislike because of asexuality, and more. Every person’s experiences are unique, and while they may not represent all asexual people, they are real and worth considering. Think about how you can adapt some of those experiences into a fictional context. There are many asexual bloggers on Tumblr.

portentouscatastrophe:

celticmagician:

amandaonwriting:

Affect or Effect

#english #very important #sometimes even I have to think about this before I write#and I was an English major

oh

10 Tips on Writing a Series

fictionwritingtips:

Writing a series takes a lot of hard work and dedication. In fact, writing a SINGLE book takes hard work and dedication. However, if you’re planning a series there are a few things you need to keep in mind. A series should not be thought of as one really long novel that is split up into several smaller novels and it shouldn’t be written that way. Each novel in a series should be easily distinguishable from one another. This all requires a bit of planning, so hopefully these tips will help you out.

1. Have a Plan

Obviously, it would take a whole lot of work to plan out an entire series, but you should know how many you want to write and how much time you’re going to give yourself to get it done. Create a writing schedule and do your best to stick with it. It helps to give yourself some leeway, but a writing schedule will help you remain focused.

2.  Know Your Characters

You need to have a general idea of what characters you will have throughout your series. Plan them out, know how long they’ll be sticking around, and understand how they will play into the larger plot. Each character still needs to matter, so make sure they’re developed.

3. Think Long Term

A long series will have a huge story arc, so you need to think about your long term story. It will take a while for plots to resolve, so you still need to find a way to keep it interesting.  Series will have a huge overarching plot, along with several sub-plots tied into the main plot.  

4. Write Your Novels in a Timely Manner

It helps to write the novels in your series one after another. I’m not saying you can’t take a break, I’m just saying try not to work on other long projects in between. Keep the novels fresh in your mind, so you’ll remember details.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Drastically Change a Character

Your characters will change over the course of a series, maybe much more than they would in a single novel. It depends on what you’re writing, but that will most likely be the case. So, don’t be afraid to drastically change some characters you’ve included. Give a reason for the change or develop it over time.

6. Introduce New Characters

You don’t have to have all your main characters introduced within the first novel. It’s not a no-no to introduce new characters in any of your novels, as long as there’s a reason and they’re significant to the plot.

7. Summarize What Happened in Earlier Books

A big problem I had with my own series was summarizing whatever happened earlier. I didn’t think it was necessary, but it is. Even if you just give a few sentence explanations, just to remind the readers, it needs to be done. Remind your readers of characters and plots. Remind them of your characters goals and motivations.

8. Goals Should Change

Your protagonist’s goals and motivations are going to change throughout your series. That’s okay because that’s what makes good character development. Don’t be afraid to switch up goals or have your characters reevaluate their goals. They will learn things along the way that might change how they’re thinking and feeling.

9. Know Your World

Don’t make it up as you go along. Your world should be clear and we should know if your characters change locations. This might take some worldbuilding, so make sure you take the time to plan it out. Know where your characters are and where they’re going.

10. Know How it Will End

You should know where your series is ultimately going and how it will end. Where will your protagonist be at the end? Where do you visualize them? What will be the outcome of all their struggles? Getting there is one thing, but you should have an idea where everyone will end up.

-Kris Noel

timemachineyeah:

This is a jar full of major characters 

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Actually it is a jar full of chocolate covered raisins on top of a dirty TV tray. But pretend the raisins are interesting and well rounded fictional characters with significant roles in their stories. 

We’re sharing these raisins at a party for Western Storytelling, so we get out two bowls. 

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Then we start filling the bowls. And at first we only fill the one on the left. 

image

This doesn’t last forever though. Eventually we do start putting raisins in the bowl on the right. But for every raisin we put in the bowl on the right, we just keep adding to the bowl on the left. 

image

And the thing about these bowls is, they don’t ever reset. We don’t get to empty them and start over. While we might lose some raisins to lost records or the stories becoming unpopular, but we never get to just restart. So even when we start putting raisins in the bowl on the right, we’re still way behind from the bowl on the left. 

And time goes on and the bowl on the left gets raisins much faster than the bowl on the right. 

image

image

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Until these are the bowls. 

Now you get to move and distribute more raisins. You can add raisins or take away raisins entirely, or you can move them from one bowl to the other. 

This is the bowl on the left. I might have changed the number of raisins from one picture to the next. Can you tell me, did I add or remove raisins? How many? Did I leave the number the same?

image

You can’t tell for certain, can you? Adding or removing a raisin over here doesn’t seem to make much of a change to this bowl. 

This is the bowl on the right. I might have changed the number of raisins from one picture to the next. Can you tell me, did I add or remove raisins? How many? Did I leave the number the same?

image

When there are so few raisins to start, any change made is really easy to spot, and makes a really significant difference. 

This is why it is bad, even despicable, to take a character who was originally a character of color and make them white. But why it can be positive to take a character who was originally white and make them a character of color.

The white characters bowl is already so full that any change in number is almost meaningless (and is bound to be undone in mere minutes anyway, with the amount of new story creation going on), while the characters of color bowl changes hugely with each addition or subtraction, and any subtraction is a major loss. 

This is also something to take in consideration when creating new characters. When you create a white character you have already, by the context of the larger culture, created a character with at least one feature that is not going to make a difference to the narratives at large. But every time you create a new character of color, you are changing something in our world. 

I mean, imagine your party guests arrive

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Oh my god they are adorable!

And they see their bowls

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But before you hand them out you look right into the little black girls’s eyes and take two of her seven raisins and put them in the little white girl’s bowl.

I think she’d be totally justified in crying or leaving and yelling at you. Because how could you do that to a little girl? You were already giving the white girl so much more, and her so little, why would you do that? How could you justify yourself?

But on the other hand if you took two raisins from the white girl’s bowl and moved them over to the black girl’s bowl and the white girl looked at her bowl still full to the brim and decided your moving those raisins was unfair and she stomped and cried and yelled, well then she is a spoiled and entitled brat. 

And if you are adding new raisins, it seems more important to add them to the bowl on the right. I mean, even if we added the both bowls at the same speed from now on (and we don’t) it would still take a long time before the numbers got big enough to make the difference we’ve already established insignificant. 

And that’s the difference between whitewashing POC characters and making previously white characters POC. And that’s why every time a character’s race is ambiguous and we make them white, we’ve lost an opportunity.

*goes off to eat her chocolate covered raisins, which are no longer metaphors just snacks*

yeahwriters:

staff:

Tumblr Tuesday: National Novel Writing Month
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Photo by CMonteith via FuckYourWritingHabits.

Oh thanks Tumblr!

“ It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly. ”

─ C. J. Cherryh (via writegeek) ─

60 Awesome Search Engines for Serious Writers

Finding the information you need as a writer shouldn’t be a chore. Luckily, there are plenty of search engines out there that are designed to help you at any stage of the process, from coming up with great ideas to finding a publisher to get your work into print. Both writers still in college and those on their way to professional success will appreciate this list of useful search applications that are great from making writing a little easier and more efficient.

Professional

Find other writers, publishers and ways to market your work through these searchable databases and search engines.

  1. Litscene: Use this search engine to search through thousands of writers and literary projects, and add your own as well.
  2. Thinkers.net: Get a boost in your creativity with some assistance from this site.
  3. PoeWar: Whether you need help with your career or your writing, this site is full of great searchable articles.
  4. Publisher’s Catalogues: Try out this site to search through the catalogs and names of thousands of publishers.
  5. Edit Red: Through this site you can showcase your own work and search through work by others, as well as find helpful FAQ’s on writing.
  6. Writersdock: Search through this site for help with your writing, find jobs and join other writers in discussions.
  7. PoetrySoup: If you want to find some inspirational poetry, this site is a great resource.
  8. Booksie.com: Here, you can search through a wide range of self-published books.
  9. One Stop Write Shop: Use this tool to search through the writings of hundreds of other amateur writers.
  10. Writer’s Cafe: Check out this online writer’s forum to find and share creative works.
  11. Literary Marketplace: Need to know something about the publishing industry? Use this search tool to find the information you need now.

Writing

These helpful tools will help you along in the writing process.

  1. WriteSearch: This search engine focuses exclusively on sites devoted to reading and writing to deliver its results.
  2. The Burry Man Writers Center: Find a wealth of writing resources on this searchable site.
  3. Writing.com: This fully-featured site makes it possible to find information both fun and serious about the craft of writing.
  4. Purdue OWL: Need a little instruction on your writing? This tool from Purdue University can help.
  5. Writing Forums: Search through these writing forums to find answers to your writing issues.

Research

Try out these tools to get your writing research done in a snap.

  1. Google Scholar: With this specialized search engine from Google, you’ll only get reliable, academic results for your searches.
  2. WorldCat: If you need a book from the library, try out this tool. It’ll search and find the closest location.
  3. Scirus: Find great scientific articles and publications through this search engine.
  4. OpenLibrary: If you don’t have time to run to a brick-and-mortar library, this online tool can still help you find books you can use.
  5. Online Journals Search Engine: Try out this search engine to find free online journal articles.
  6. All Academic: This search engine focuses on returning highly academic, reliable resources.
  7. LOC Ask a Librarian: Search through the questions on this site to find helpful answers about the holdings at the Library of Congress.
  8. Encylcopedia.com: This search engine can help you find basic encyclopedia articles.
  9. Clusty: If you’re searching for a topic to write on, this search engine with clustered results can help get your creative juices flowing.
  10. Intute: Here you’ll find a British search engine that delivers carefully chosen results from academia.
  11. AllExperts: Have a question? Ask the experts on this site or search through the existing answers.

Reference

Need to look up a quote or a fact? These search tools make it simple.

  1. Writer’s Web Search Engine: This search engine is a great place to find reference information on how to write well.
  2. Bloomsbury Magazine Research Centre: You’ll find numerous resources on publications, authors and more through this search engine.
  3. Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus: Make sure you’re using words correctly and can come up with alternatives with the help of this tool.
  4. References.net: Find all the reference material you could ever need through this search engine.
  5. Quotes.net: If you need a quote, try searching for one by topic or by author on this site.
  6. Literary Encyclopedia: Look up any famous book or author in this search tool.
  7. Acronym Finder: Not sure what a particular acronym means? Look it up here.
  8. Bartleby: Through Bartleby, you can find a wide range of quotes from famous thinkers, writers and celebrities.
  9. Wikipedia.com: Just about anything and everything you could want to look up is found on this site.
  10. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Find all the great philosophers you could want to reference in this online tool.

Niche Writers

If you’re focusing on writing in a particular niche, these tools can be a big help.

  1. PubGene: Those working in sci-fi or medical writing will appreciate this database of genes, biological terms and organisms.
  2. GoPubMd: You’ll find all kinds of science and medical search results here.
  3. Jayde: Looking for a business? Try out this search tool.
  4. Zibb: No matter what kind of business you need to find out more about, this tool will find the information.
  5. TechWeb: Do a little tech research using this news site and search engine.
  6. Google Trends: Try out this tool to find out what people are talking about.
  7. Godchecker: Doing a little work on ancient gods and goddesses? This tool can help you make sure you have your information straight.
  8. Healia: Find a wide range of health topics and information by using this site.
  9. Sci-Fi Search: Those working on sci-fi can search through relevant sites to make sure their ideas are original.

Books

Find your own work and inspirational tomes from others by using these search engines.

  1. Literature Classics: This search tool makes it easy to find the free and famous books you want to look through.
  2. InLibris: This search engine provides one of the largest directories of literary resources on the web.
  3. SHARP Web: Using this tool, you can search through the information on the history of reading and publishing.
  4. AllReaders: See what kind of reviews books you admire got with this search engine.
  5. BookFinder: No matter what book you’re looking for you’re bound to find it here.
  6. ReadPrint: Search through this site for access to thousands of free books.
  7. Google Book Search: Search through the content of thousands upon thousands of books here, some of which is free to use.
  8. Indie Store Finder: If you want to support the little guy, this tool makes it simple to find an independent bookseller in your neck of the woods.

Blogging

For web writing, these tools can be a big help.

  1. Technorati: This site makes it possible to search through millions of blogs for both larger topics and individual posts.
  2. Google Blog Search: Using this specialized Google search engine, you can search through the content of blogs all over the web.
  3. Domain Search: Looking for a place to start your own blog? This search tool will let you know what’s out there.
  4. OpinMind: Try out this blog search tool to find opinion focused blogs.
  5. IceRocket: Here you’ll find a real-time blog search engine so you’ll get the latest news and posts out there.
  6. PubSub: This search tool scours sites like Twitter and Friendfeed to find the topics people are talking about most every day.

(Source: writingadvice)

spookyjoel:

HEY WRITER FRIENDS
there’s this amazing site called realtimeboardwhich is like a whiteboard where you can plan and draw webs and family trees and timelines and all that sort of stuff. you can also insert videos, documents, photos, and lots of other things. you can put notes and post-its and, best of all, you can invite other people to be on the board with you and edit together!! 
this is really really awesome and a great tool for novel planning, so if you’re doing nanowrimo…. this could be good for you!!