This article contains spoilers for the TV show BoJack Horseman.
There’s an ongoing debate in writing: how do you write honest representation when it means including experiences outside of your own? How can you be inclusive of other genders and sexualities in your writing?
I mull over these questions a lot, trying to determine how I can best represent other communities and experiences. But as a straight white male, I do not have the answer. I have a limited world view, and will never fully understand the experiences of other people.
Yet, I can’t just write a book about only straight white cisgender men. That would be awful, boring, shallow, and dishonest.
So what do we do? How do we go about offering the best representation of communities we don’t belong to?
Writers often fall short of realizing how different it can be to interact with the world as an LGBTQ+ person. Everything about you factors into this tangled web of worldview and interaction.
Sometimes, it’s radiant and accepting, and sometimes, it’s displacing and alienating. And every now and then, it’s both at the same time.
While this article is less advice and more a distorted sort of inspiration, I hope it helps flesh out your LGBTQ+ characters and the experiences that shape them into who they are.
This is a continuation from last week’s article in the same way that peace is a sequel of suffering.
You stare at the lines of black text on your laptop screen — the metaphor about nights and stars and being human. Something is missing; words are hoarded in the back of your throat and it’s unendurable, it’s suffocating, but you find yourself unable to cough out anything other than colorless blood. The figurative language you once deemed as clever now screams cliché. It’s pretentious; you’re pretentious, but you know of no other ways to write. To put it simply: you make metaphors out of everything because you think abstract things can’t weigh you down. You embody the paradox of using writing as a means to abstain from being human, knowing that it’s the most human thing to create — more than you make a home in your own torso.
[Contains spoilers for Supernatural by CW]
This is how it would go usually:
Fingers impatiently tap on the counter and he is suddenly jolted from his stream of thought. “Are you done dreaming yet?” the customer demands. He rolls his eyes reaching out to prepare the coffee, not reacting to the fond smile that takes over the customer’s face. It’s a weird ritual of banter that they have between them and he wouldn’t give it up for the world. He wonders if one day, he’ll get to learn more about his customer than a single T written on the side of the cup.
He immediately startles and swears. His superhero alarm is ringing. But, he could not leave right now! His identity would be exposed! And that too in front of his favorite customer? No! But, he had a decision to make…
Or how it would go if I was writing a 25k, strangers to lovers, superhero secret identities, hurt/comfort, fluff, coffee shop au. We’ve all been there one way or another. Our favourite show takes a long, long time to come back on air or the romantic subtext between two characters is never addressed and the only way to let it all out is through fiction.
And that’s where fanfiction comes in.
LGBTQ+ representation is so important. Especially if you’re trying to figure yourself out, it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. I don’t believe that people should feel ashamed of their sexuality or gender identity (or even just questioning it) under any circumstances. That being said, there are many reasons why someone, especially if you’re a teen at home, may not be living in a safe enough environment to come out. If you’re living in a place where you feel like you can’t be openly and authentically yourself, take a look at these books. These are novels with canon LGBTQ+ characters and themes. However, these books don’t look like it at first glance, so if your parents happen to notice you reading them, you don’t have to worry about outing yourself. Coming out is an exceptionally personal choice: never feel pressured to reveal private information about yourself if it isn’t safe.
Poetry and activism have long intertwined. This article explores that history and analyzes the techniques of activist poetry.
We’ll start with more recent history. If you’ve been on social media, you’ve seen the surge of activist content around BLM, Pride Month, and other important social issues like climate change and voting. The drive of activism is not only to enact change in unjust systems, but firstly to expose people to injustices they are unaware of. Poetry is an accessible art form, and has been detailing injustice for centuries. Poetry does three things well: Reaches an audience, Expresses emotion, and Draws attention to existing inequalities.
One of my favorite movies to this day is Almost Famous. It follows the dreams of a teen journalist, William Miller, set out to interview his first band for a Rolling Stone article. It’s his deep-rooted passion for music and writing that really connected me to the character. In almost a naïve way, I wanted to be in his place. It’s music journalism week in TYWI’s Nonfiction camp, and I’ll be sharing tips and steps to finding your first band interview.
Before we begin I should emphasize I’m from a very small-town, as in I-live-behind-a-cornfield kind of small town. So, it’s likely unnecessary to search through all the resources I provided if you live in bigger cities. Of course, I could be wrong, follow the advice that applies to your situation. Now onto some preliminary advice.
What do you think of when you pick up a mystery book? A dark and stormy night? A dead body lying in a mansion? A moustachioed detective wielding an enormous magnifying glass? Many people have a stereotypical view of the mystery genre. However, excellent mystery and suspense stories rarely follow this fixed and tired formula.
Nowadays, crime fiction features more than a dozen subgenres, each with its own set of rules and reader expectations. There are even sub-subgenres! Authors such as Agatha Christie, Lee Child, and Liane Moriarty may all be plunked under the umbrella of Mystery and Suspense, but if you have read any of their books, you would know that their stories are worlds apart. There are books for every mystery fan. It’s just a matter of awareness of the different genres and which ones suit your reading (or writing) tastes.
Let’s check out a few common subgenres, their distinguishing traits and tips if you’re interested in trying your hand at scribbling a story.
As you sit down to begin writing your story or novel, a few important questions might be running through your mind: How does this story begin? What happens in the middle? How is the conflict resolved? These parts make up the basic structure of a story—beginning, middle, and end—but it can be difficult narrowing down your ideas.
Here are some quick tips to help you through the writing process as you embark on your writing journey this month!
William Shakespeare’s works continue to leave an impact on the literary world after four centuries. Looking at Hollywood alone, you’ll see his plays being retold in film after film — “The Lion King” was inspired by Hamlet, and “10 Things I Hate About You” retells The Taming of the Shrew. When discussing poetry, it would be criminal to not mention Shakespeare’s influence, especially when it comes to the sonnet.