anonymous said:

I'm writing a supernatural story about a team of vampire hunters in the 1850's and one of the members of the team is from China and another is from India. The other two are Scottish and French respectively. How do I make both the Indian and Chinese characters display a point of view accurate to that culture? I don't want them to just seem like western characters, since obviously they are from different cultures and thus would have different mindsets. What sort of sources should I look into?

Chinese and Indian Vampire Hunters

Look into the Qing Dynasty (since that’s the corresponding era), and consume works that take place in it—that should give you a good idea for viewpoints.

Also, I think there were Taoist exorcists, who might have been vampire hunters? if any Chinese followers want to provide suggestions?

—mod Jess

1850 was right in the middle of British colonialism in India, two years after Gandhi was assassinated, so definitely do some research into that. There would be freedom fighters and lots of revolutionary acts and anti-British sentiments. This pdf might help with that, but look for primary sources from Indians living then especially. 

-Mod Satvika

Edit: Gandhi was assassinated in 1948.

~Mod Colette

Edit: Fixed link!

-Mod Satvika

butbabyitsgayoutside said:

I have three main questions. 1. I've got a vague outline of a plot but how do I develop it? 2. How do I make the background characters (family) as good as the mains? 3. How do I decide whether to write in first or third person?

I’m going to answer these questions in reverse order.


Here’s a link to our POV tag. Questions like this have been asked before. It all boils down to this simple generatlization. In first person, it is easier to give internality into your main character. In third person, you can ape cinema’s ability to show the character in a more neutral light, allowing your audience to draw their own conclusion about their internality.


Well, the background characters shouldn’t be as good as the mains. Otherwise, they’d be the main characters. The important thing to remember though, is that these background characters are the mains in their own stories. They’ve got their own things going on all the time. And they’ve got their own personality traits.

Because we spend less time with the background characters, it’s okay to exaggerate their personality traits a bit. A character who might be a little bit into cleanliness might become a neat freak viewed through someone else’s eyes.

For more info: Here’s us on supporting characters


Without more detail as to what your outline entails, it’s pretty difficult for me to help you out. Everyone outlines differently. 

Here’s us on plotting

Here’s us on outlining

Dan Harmon’s story circles

Here’s a guide on taking ideas and filling in the meat: The snowflake method

Thanks for sending in your question, I hope this helped!

Representations of Black Family Life

Anonymous said: Are there any stereotypes to avoid when writing a parent-child relationship in a black family? Thank you! ^^

A Note on Stereotypes

First of all, there are real People of Color who have realities that are “stereotypical.” Sometimes circumstance and culture dictates somewhat recurring themes in certain peoples lives. But that should in no way speak of the worth of those individuals.

And while there are definitely stereotypes fulfilled and realized in the Black community, that shouldn’t grade their worth, nor the whole lot of are worth.

On the other hand, I want to see more than only stereotypical portrayals being brought forth on my screen. Even if some stereotypes ring true in some people’s lives, it is detrimental for media to milk one image of a human being, and in this case Black family life, as it adds to the belief of that group of people being as a monolith with the same ole situation, say ole story.

Plus, as mentioned, people are not their stereotypes yet when we’re given the same image of a person over and over, that’s certainly all they become. More caricature, less human.

Writing Black Family Relationships

On that note, I do think there are “universal truths” so to speak within some Black cultures, and as you’ll see in Black tumblr/twitter memes “Black mamas be like…black family reunions be like…” Which I find myself laughing at because they’re often so true to my life and experiences.

Instead of focusing on not creating a stereotypical family life or parent-child relationship with a Black family, though, try focusing on the circumstances that surround your character, their personality, and their community.

Who are their parents? Are they still together, divorced? Both alive? How close is your character to their parents? What is their parenting style? How does your character get along with her parents? Do they share the same religion, beliefs? How much can they confide in one or more parent? How comfortable is their dynamic; it is strict, laid-back, somewhere in between? Again worry less about falling into a stereotype, but what’s true for your character’s reality.

You’ll know you’re falling into some problematic areas if the storyline lacks complexity, with one negative aspect after another without anything dynamic to it. If you’re still worried, I suggest searching “black family stereotypes” to get a feel of the sort of redundant portrayals in media and society.

Remember the good ole 90s and early 2000’s with all its Black sitcom families? The Baxters (That’s so Raven). The Huxtables (The Cosby Show). The Banks (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). The Winslows (Family Matters)…

Within this array of shows we’ve got all sorts of varied relationships between parent – child and none come off as problematic to me. You’ve got goofy, uncool parents, busy, working-class parents, upper-class parents, chill parents. strict parents…

Kids who get into mischief and are rightly disciplined, kids who get love and support…kids who jest with their parents and get quipped back in return… yeah know, just normal life and family stuff. And that’s what I, personally, want to see more of.

More reading:

On POC Characters not being “authentic” enough

~Mod Colette

anonymous said:

Hi, I love your blog. My question is, how would I accurately portray an Indian character in a fantasy world. I'm kinda basing them on my friend and I tried to do some research but when I type in Indian all I get is links to Native American stuff. Thank you for your time.

Indian Characters in Fantasy Worlds

You could try asking your friend. Especially if you’re basing a character off of them, maybe you could try and seeing how they would want them/their culture portrayed - culture varies in India greatly, so it really depends on them.

There are also definitely blogs and websites out there for Indian culture and not Native American culture. Maybe try something a little less generic than just “Indian.”

-Mod Satvika

I say this often, but be careful with this notion of “how do I write an x character.” You mention it’s fantasy so i’m not sure if that means cultural aspects are coming with them or not. If it’s the latter, I can only stress even more how a hyper-focus on the fact that you’ve got a Character of Color vs. a character who happens to be of Color is a slippery slope into caricature territory.

More Reading:

~Mod Colette

Mongrel Thoughts.



" There is a lackluster soul that flickers faintly, as if the person I once was is fading into some obscure sense of unraveling. I don’t recognize the people who grace me with their smiles or spill obnoxious words from their lips as if my ears cared to pick up the melodramatic tones in which they explain their lives. There needs to be a change, has to be a ray of sunlight to pierce the fog; somewhere. "