everyone has that one character who just sees themselves in them

maiden-of-might  asked:

Now that a better s3 trailer has aired, what are you most looking forward to with Kara’s journey this season? I love that they added Cat’s speech in it, helping Kara overcome her abandonment issues and finding strength in herself

Well first, I don’t think previous trailers were comparatively bad, by any means. They were mostly just misinterpreted.

They simply set up the problem: She is letting go of Kara Danvers and only focusing on her Supergirl identity.

The issue is that people were, for some reason, thinking that “Kara Danvers was a mistake” was the thesis of the season. They were mistaking the problem they were setting up as the message that they were trying to convey. 

To compare, the trailer for season 2 included a voice over from Lillian, “They say they come in peace. But how long will it be before these gods decide to rule instead of serve?” 

But no one complained that season 2 was trying to send the message that all those who with power will use it for their own gain, because it was obvious that that was set up to be an antithesis of the season that would be challenged throughout. 

Perhaps it was more obvious in season 2′s trailer because Lillian is a villain, but Kara’s abandoning of her “human” personality has really obviously been set up as an idea for the story to later knock down. Dark!Kara is a bad thing, and the show knows it.

So the previous ones for this season were good trailers in and of themselves—they set up a storyline people want to watch to see resolved (and trailers that present how the problem is solved are universally criticized for revealing too much)—if perhaps not good pr as it pertains to this specific subgroup of fans who have a strong affinity for happy personality Kara.

But I’d wager those outside of the online fandom got the message more easily than those here who, by nature, overthink things.


As for what I’m most excited about, there are two things:

Kara diving into her loss of Alura/Krypton

The trailers have what looks like Kara having a near-death type experience:

And she sees—what I’d wager to be—everything she feels she’s missing.

The new trailer includes her with Mon-El:

To which people may want to be like, “See! This storyline is only about her missing Mon-El after all!”

But if you look a little closer:

I’m betting this is meant to be Krypton, or at the very least a representation of it in spirit. Remember: this is about everything she’s lost.

And then she sees Alura.

Which really hits home how wrapped up in her previous losses and feelings of abandonment her grief over Mon-El is. (a.k.a. This is about waaay more than her boyfriend.)

So I’m excited to see them dealing with her core issues??? Can you believe????

This is great stuff for any Kara fan. And my meta is going to thrive.

Psi is also said to mess with Kara’s mind, perhaps even further dealing with this, and I’m Into It.

Thing I’m excited about #2:

Kara’s distance from those she loves being resolved

Season 2 saw Kara moving slowly away from her friends, barring Lena (who isn’t really someone Kara emotionally relies on yet), but I’m not sure it was entirely intentional.

There are some instances which were obviously purposeful:

But the sheer level of distance from everyone, I’m not sure they fully intended.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t recognize it after the fact. So perhaps this new storyline is them recognizing what happened and then taking advantage of that. Or since the idea fits into everything else so well anyway, perhaps it’s something they were always going to do.

Nonetheless, the fact that this is happening after her being distant from everyone last season is immensely satisfying.

Of course, we got a glimpse of this happening for my favorite relationship Kara has in the most recent trailer:

But we know this’ll be happening across the board.

Interviewer: “As the season picks up, which of her relationships kind of come to the floor (?), which ones are sorta like right in her face at the start of the season?”

Melissa: “Absolutely with Alex. I mean, Alex I think cares for her more than anyone. So—everyone, though, this core that she has that’s so beautiful. With J'onn J'onzz as this paternal role, and Eliza, Alex, even Maggie, and Lena as her best friend and Jer—uh— Winn and James, they are all very worried, because it’s so out of character for her. So you’ll see quite a bit of everyone kind of poking her and being like ‘are you alright in there?’”—[x]

I’m also particularly interested in J’onn’s interaction with Kara as someone who also has this impossible grief from losing a family and culture. They have a history of supporting each other and pulling each other up when they’re low in this regard.

I should make a gifset of all the instances of them supporting each other in this way

Cat’s speech used in the trailer was from the season 2 finale, but also (like you said) a great way to focus what the message of this season is.

Melissa mentioned in the panel that, if she had to give Kara any advice, it’d be to always listen to the advice Cat gives her. So I’d wager that either Kara works on internalizing the advice that Cat has already given her or Cat continues to help her.

Either way, Cat has become the voice of the writers. If you want to know what the intended message of the show is—well done or not—listen whatever Cat Grant is saying (when she’s not verbally dragging someone or obviously learning some lesson of her own for her own storyline). 

Shipper Bonus: Lena’s gay ass statue of love

So everyone tries to get through to Kara, and I think we all know the result:

Kara is mourning Mon-El, yes, but it’s being used as a catalyst for all the other aspects of her character I’m so much more interested in.

Even Kara’s brightness and impossible optimism, we’re likely to see bounce back—stronger than ever—because of the support of her friends and family. This is the purpose of this storyline, to challenge and then strengthen all the aspects of Kara’s life that I love.

So what am I most excited for with Kara’s journey this season? Nearly everything we’ve seen so far.

Rick Riordan won a Stonewall award today

for his second Magnus Chase book, due to the inclusion of the character Alex Fierro who is gender fluid. This was the speech he gave, and it really distills why I love this author and his works so much, and why I will always recommend his works to anyone and everyone.

“Thank you for inviting me here today. As I told the Stonewall Award Committee, this is an honor both humbling and unexpected.

So, what is an old cis straight white male doing up here? Where did I get the nerve to write Alex Fierro, a transgender, gender fluid child of Loki in The Hammer of Thor, and why should I get cookies for that?

These are all fair and valid questions, which I have been asking myself a lot.

I think, to support young LGBTQ readers, the most important thing publishing can do is to publish and promote more stories by LGBTQ authors, authentic experiences by authentic voices. We have to keep pushing for this. The Stonewall committee’s work is a critical part of that effort. I can only accept the Stonewall Award in the sense that I accept a call to action – firstly, to do more myself to read and promote books by LGBTQ authors.

But also, it’s a call to do better in my own writing. As one of my genderqueer readers told me recently, “Hey, thanks for Alex. You didn’t do a terrible job!” I thought: Yes! Not doing a terrible job was my goal!

As important as it is to offer authentic voices and empower authors and role models from within LGBTQ community, it’s is also important that LGBTQ kids see themselves reflected and valued in the larger world of mass media, including my books. I know this because my non-heteronormative readers tell me so. They actively lobby to see characters like themselves in my books. They like the universe I’ve created. They want to be part of it. They deserve that opportunity. It’s important that I, as a mainstream author, say, “I see you. You matter. Your life experience may not be like mine, but it is no less valid and no less real. I will do whatever I can to understand and accurately include you in my stories, in my world. I will not erase you.”

People all over the political spectrum often ask me, “Why can’t you just stay silent on these issues? Just don’t include LGBTQ material and everybody will be happy.” This assumes that silence is the natural neutral position. But silence is not neutral. It’s an active choice. Silence is great when you are listening. Silence is not so great when you are using it to ignore or exclude.

But that’s all macro, ‘big picture’ stuff. Yes, I think the principles are important. Yes, in the abstract, I feel an obligation to write the world as I see it: beautiful because of its variations. Where I can’t draw on personal experience, I listen, I read a lot – in particular I want to credit Beyond Magenta and Gender Outlaws for helping me understand more about the perspective of my character Alex Fierro – and I trust that much of the human experience is universal. You can’t go too far wrong if you use empathy as your lens. But the reason I wrote Alex Fierro, or Nico di Angelo, or any of my characters, is much more personal.

I was a teacher for many years, in public and private school, California and Texas. During those years, I taught all kinds of kids. I want them all to know that I see them. They matter. I write characters to honor my students, and to make up for what I wished I could have done for them in the classroom.

I think about my former student Adrian (a pseudonym), back in the 90s in San Francisco. Adrian used the pronouns he and him, so I will call him that, but I suspect Adrian might have had more freedom and more options as to how he self-identified in school were he growing up today. His peers, his teachers, his family all understood that Adrian was female, despite his birth designation. Since kindergarten, he had self-selected to be among the girls – socially, athletically, academically. He was one of our girls. And although he got support and acceptance at the school, I don’t know that I helped him as much as I could, or that I tried to understand his needs and his journey. At that time in my life, I didn’t have the experience, the vocabulary, or frankly the emotional capacity to have that conversation. When we broke into social skills groups, for instance, boys apart from girls, he came into my group with the boys, I think because he felt it was required, but I feel like I missed the opportunity to sit with him and ask him what he wanted. And to assure him it was okay, whichever choice he made. I learned more from Adrian than I taught him. Twenty years later, Alex Fierro is for Adrian.

I think about Jane (pseudonym), another one of my students who was a straight cis-female with two fantastic moms. Again, for LGBTQ families, San Francisco was a pretty good place to live in the 90s, but as we know, prejudice has no geographical border. You cannot build a wall high enough to keep it out. I know Jane got flack about her family. I did what I could to support her, but I don’t think I did enough. I remember the day Jane’s drama class was happening in my classroom. The teacher was new – our first African American male teacher, which we were all really excited about – and this was only his third week. I was sitting at my desk, grading papers, while the teacher did a free association exercise. One of his examples was ‘fruit – gay.’ I think he did it because he thought it would be funny to middle schoolers. After the class, I asked to see the teacher one on one. I asked him to be aware of what he was saying and how that might be hurtful. I know. Me, a white guy, lecturing this Black teacher about hurtful words. He got defensive and quit, because he said he could not promise to not use that language again. At the time, I felt like I needed to do something, to stand up especially for Jane and her family. But did I make things better handling it as I did? I think I missed an opportunity to open a dialogue about how different people experience hurtful labels. Emmie and Josephine and their daughter Georgina, the family I introduce in The Dark Prophecy, are for Jane.

I think about Amy, and Mark, and Nicholas … All former students who have come out as gay since I taught them in middle school. All have gone on to have successful careers and happy families. When I taught them, I knew they were different. Their struggles were greater, their perspectives more divergent than some of my other students. I tried to provide a safe space for them, to model respect, but in retrospect I don’t think I supported them as well as I could have, or reached out as much as they might have needed. I was too busy preparing lessons on Shakespeare or adjectives, and not focusing enough on my students’ emotional health. Adjectives were a lot easier for me to reconcile than feelings. Would they have felt comfortable coming out earlier than college or high school if they had found more support in middle school? Would they have wanted to? I don’t know. But I don’t think they felt it was a safe option, which leaves me thinking that I did not do enough for them at that critical middle school time. I do not want any kid to feel alone, invisible, misunderstood. Nico di Angelo is for Amy, and Mark and Nicholas.

I am trying to do more. Percy Jackson started as a way to empower kids, in particular my son, who had learning differences. As my platform grew, I felt obliged to use it to empower all kids who are struggling through middle school for whatever reason. I don’t always do enough. I don’t always get it right. Good intentions are wonderful things, but at the end of a manuscript, the text has to stand on its own. What I meant ceases to matter. Kids just see what I wrote. But I have to keep trying. My kids are counting on me.

So thank you, above all, to my former students who taught me. Alex Fierro is for you.

To you, I pledge myself to do better – to apologize when I screw up, to learn from my mistakes, to be there for LGBTQ youth and make sure they know that in my books, they are included. They matter. I am going to stop talking now, but I promise you I won’t stop listening.”

So I just wanted to tell my story about going to see HTTYD2 for the umpteenth time and finding out I picked “daycare day” at the movies.

Okay so seeing HTTYD2 with a bunch of kids was actually really incredible. 

So the theater is completely packed, and I end up at the end of a row of daycare kids, right?

So we’re watching the movie, and I realize it’s enjoyable because these fresh faces are all laughing and experiencing the antics of dragon racing and seeing all these cool things for the first time, and it’s kind of fun to see a joke aimed for kids hit home with the kids - you’d hear the kids explode with laughter while the adults would just kind of chuckle inwardly. I don’t know, it was fun to experience it as a a child secondhand. 

But I’ve seen HTTYD2 before, so I know what’s coming. 

When the Bewilderbeast was killed, there was a little boy in my row who kind of whisper-asked if he was “really dead”.

And the little boy right next to me said, “Probably not”.

Probably not.”

Now that stuck out to me because, on screen, it’s so obvious that the Bewilderbeast is dead, and you see all the characters react to it. 

But this little 5-6 year old is viewing movies in a completely different way than I am. And it takes me a moment to realize that almost every movie this kid has probably ever been exposed to has been made “for kids” - which means that if there’s ever a “good” character that “dies”, they almost always come back through some miracle. Hence “Probably not.”

This little kid was recognizing the trope used in films directed for his age group, and as a result, he wasn’t affected by the Bewilderbeast’s death. 

Until the Bewilderbeast didn’t get up. 

It was weird, you could actually feel it in the room when the kids began to realize that the Good Bewilderbeast not only didn’t win, but died. 

And so, a few minutes later, you could hear a pin drop in the theater when Stoick was hit. 

One little girl in my row laughed really hard at the sight - I guess the blue-green ice piled on Stoick seemed comical?

But the minute Hiccup ran over and started pulling the ice off him, desperate and scared, the audience fell back into silence.

Valka rushed over to him, and put her ear to his chest and-

“Is he dead?”

The same kid from before, but this time he sounded scared. 

And the little boy next to me was far less certain when he said, “Probably not?”

And so, we go to the funeral scene. Gobber begins his eulogy, and I hear kids begin to cry. We see the boat, and the draped body, and the helmet, and a kid asks “Is he sick?”

And then the funeral pyre is lit, and the boat sails away, and I look around me and the kid next to me has tears streaming down his face, and the little girl who laughed is crying behind her hands. 

Of course, moments after Hiccup’s monologue, we see them flying on the baby dragons, and the kids are quick to laugh and move on from the heaviness of what they just saw.

And I realize that this is probably the first time that the majority of these kids have had to face death like this. In an animated movie with dragons and vikings, they expected a fairytale, and they got something much closer to reality. 

And for ten minutes, a theater full of children faced reality with Fun-Dip and popcorn. And they cried. 

Now I’ve read the article that claims HTTYD2 didn’t do as well in American theaters because parents warned other parents it “wasn’t for kids”, but I would argue that it was. Of course, I love the movie, so it’s for adults, too, but the target audience wasn’t me. 

Parents argued that the Death theme was too much for a young audience (and I respect parents choosing to shield their kids from death for as long as possible), but I saw with my own eyes kids realize that death was a thing that happened to everyone, not just bad guys. And they mourned when a good character died. And I think that lesson is important for kids to have. 

There were of course fantastic elements to HTTYD2, but those elements were part of a fantastic world that has always been anchored in reality. In the first film, Hiccup lost his leg because filmmakers decided it wasn’t believable that he went through that epic fight and came out unscathed. And so it was in HTTYD2.

Good people went to war, and good people died. 

And I think its a valuable lesson for children to have, especially delivered in animated form, when they can experience it with a kind of silver screen barrier between Death and themselves. 

Oh my goodness, I just realized something???

Dick Grayson is a safety net for everyone else in DC.

Allow me to explain:  

So everyone knows how Dick’s parents died: Tony Zucco was a rude jerkface who sabotaged the wires for the Flying Graysons’ trapeze act, the ropes snapped, they fell to their deaths right in front of poor baby Dick’s teeny little eight year-old eyes, we all know the story. But the thing about this situation is that most acrobats would use a safety net in case they fell. The Flying Graysons, however, chose to do that particular act without a net in order to create more excitement. So they died because there was no one to catch them. Dick’s family died because they had no safety net

Cut to a little over a decade later, and Dick is Nightwing. He’s been with Batman, he’s been a member of several teams, and he’s met so many other superheroes in the DC universe that practically everyone is a friend of Nightwing. He has helped nearly everybody at some point or other, so he’s known for lending a helping hand to anyone who asks. Out of all the many, many, many superheroes in the universe, Dick himself is known as the one any person can go to for help no matter what. There’s never any doubt when it comes to Dick. He will always and without question be there for anyone who needs him. He’s their rock. 

In fact, Dick is probably one of the only characters besides a few prominent heroes like Batman and Superman who everyone can rely on. Everyone has their own reputations, whether it be a good or a bad one. Bruce’s is being dark and broody, but Dick’s is being trustworthy. Everyone can vouch for him. Dick can always be trusted, no matter what. It even says it right here:

And in this panel too, Superman tells Dick that he is the single person who in every place in the multiverse can never be corrupted:

See? Dick is one of the only guys whom every single hero knows he/she can trust and that this is something that will never change. Because Dick is good. Dick will never let anyone down or betray them, it’s just not in his DNA. If anyone is ever in need of help, then you can bet your little tush that Dick Grayson will answer the call, no matter what it costs him. He saves everyone who needs it and is willing to catch them when they fall. Like a safety net. Dick catches people. That is his legacy. He couldn’t save his parents from hitting the ground, but you can trust that he will bust his butt and try his hardest to ensure that from now on he will keep that from happening to anyone else. 

And ever since the Flying Graysons fell, Dick kind of has a thing with falling. It’s a conquered fear, one of which he confronts every day as he soars above cities and saves those who can’t save themselves. But he can’t stand the thought of falling without a net to catch you, so subconsciously that is the role he fills. He has become a metaphor for DC’s safety net, as in he is the one character who everyone can trust to save them, whether they be civilians or other heroes. They can always trust that they can go to him for help when they need it, and Dick in turn will always be ready to save them. He is the one holding his arms out, ready to catch people when they fall and support them for as long as they need him to. He refuses to let anyone down. Dick is DC’s rock, the one column that will never topple over no matter how hard you try. He is a safety net, prepared to catch people when they fall and ready to help them to fly again. Dick’s parents had no safety net, so Dick is going to make sure no one else will have to be without one as long as he’s there. And that my friends, is my epiphany of the day. 

100 Harry Potter Prompts: Part 1

This list is #$@&%*! amazing, amigos! Thanks for all the submissions. Here is part 1:

  1. Parseltongues aren’t the only ones who can talk to certain animals; There are a number of hereditary abilities that allow wizards to understand and communicate with other species. You are a young wizard who can understand birds, and it is driving you CRAZY.
  2. 10 years later, on the day of the battle of Hogwarts. George is standing in front of the mirror, looking himself in the eyes, wishing that his reflection was someone else.
  3. Harry Potter prompt: The Basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets is back! …but now it’s the size of a thread snake.
  4. A muggle angered by the fact that there are only 10 dragons in this world and 7 of them are European, sets off to find more dragons.
  5. Your entire family is full of Hufflepuffs, so during your sorting you begged the Sorting Hat to place you there. Now you’re older and definitely a Slytherin and you need to hide it.
  6. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes has an adult section in the back.
  7. after Ron picks up the wrong hairs for a polyjuice potion Hermione is making, the two find themselves in each other’s bodies.
  8. You are the new heir of Slytherin, capable of opening the Chamber of Secrets and talking to snakes. On your first visit you find the monster dead. Not that you care, you never hated muggles anyway. Instead you start giving guided tours, charging a couple of Sickles for each tour, trying your best not to make the teachers notice.
  9. You’re a muggle born sorted into Slytherin of all places. The other students warn you that the Bloody Baron hates muggles, but to your surprise, the ghost has somewhat of a different view on muggleborns like you…
  10. Harry DOES get sorted into Slytherin when he asks not to be and becomes best friends with Draco as well.
  11. No one knew Voldemort was the last line of defence against them. Now he’s gone, and they are coming.
  12. Many years after the Dark Lord Voldemort was killed, a new dark lord has come. He’s part of the ministry and the new candidate for minister of magic..
  13. When Harry Potter dies in his first year at Hogwarts, Hermoine Granger takes on the duty of defeating the dark lord and succeeds in her task in the second year. The wizarding world is safe once again. Describe how she managed this.
  14. Write about Hermiones struggles and success as Minister of Magic.
  15. The dementors may suck the souls out of their victims with their kiss, but what happens to the soul after that?
  16. As a young gifted wizard, Sirius Black once found the Mirror of Erised; but what did he see as he glanced upon its glass?
  17. Hagrid comes every year to celebrate Harry’s birthday
  18. Harry never got a letter. He goes through his day to day life as a muggle, never noticing obnoxiously weird things around him. Write a day in the life of harry the muggle
  19. You’re invited to Tom riddle’s 6th birthday party
  20. Magical patronuses are extremely rare. It’s said that only the pure or the purely evil can conjure them. You’re a Slytherin trying to prove what they say about Slytherins is wrong. In Defence against dark arts, you just found out your patronus is a Hungarian horntail.
  21. “Don’t worry, Potter,” said the Dark Lord, “killing will get easier. And as my right hand man, you’ll need to get used to it.”
  22. Au where Snape is the chosen one and Harry is the Potions master
  23. In second year, Draco writes in the diary of Tom Riddle instead, and gets some pretty sound advice.
  24. “You went to school for seven years and THIS is what you use your skills on? Just- Just tell us why THIS branch of Animagi…?”
  25. Harry’s a girl, and has to deal with all the Voldemort shit when she has cramps so she’s extra pissed off.
  26. The Nimbus 3000 just came out, you are one galleon short but you desperately want it, how will you get your hands on the new broom?
  27. You somehow stumble into Filch’s office and grab the nearest artifact before you escape.
  28. Both Harry and Neville are the ‘chosen ones’. Only together are they able to defeat the Dark Lord. Unfortunately, everyone thinks only Harry is the ‘chosen one’. Follow Neville and co. as they discover the truth.
  29. Divination has a new muggle-born teacher, who seems more intent on teaching useful life lessons than magic.
  30. “You’re a wizard, Hermione.”
  31. “How many times have I told you to leave your dragons in Romania?!”
  32. “You’re a wizard, Harry.” “No shit!”
  33. All the Harry Potter character have switch roles, so that the heroes are now the villains. Who’s who and what happens?
  34. Mcgonagall, after noticing Harry’s letter is being ignored, goes to the Dursleys to check on the young wizard.
  35. Harry wonders what the fuck kinda school this is when Dumbledore says “ The third floor corridor is out of bounds for anyone that doesn’t want to die a most painful death.”
  36. Hermione Granger is one of those kids who is in classes meant for those a few years older than her, she is a genius.
  37. You are a muggle, yet direct magic doesn’t affect you, you wander into Hogwarts, you are not harmed by the shriek of mandrake plants, a basilisk cannot petrify you, magical devices break at your touch. you are a magic null.
  38. You thought you’d made a simple mistake in potions. As you sit outside the headmaster’s office, straining to hear the grave conversation from behind the door, it dawns on you that your error couldn’t have been as simple as it seemed.
  39. Harry goes on a journey of self-love by hiking around an Arby’s parking lot at 2am.
  40. The series is entirely the same but Voldemort and Snape have swapped noses .
  41. A day in the life of Dobby.
  42. Lucius is sacrificed by Voldemort and dies in the Wizarding War leaving pregnant Narcissa disillusioned and scared. She seeks help from Dumbledore and becomes a double agent.
  43. “Hmm, courage… yes… plenty of intelligence too! Very loyal… but crafty… hmm. Tricky, very tricky. I’m sorry, but you don’t seem to belong in any specific house. Better be… HOGWARTS!!!”
  44. Harry and Ron/Hermione and Ginny become the canon ships.
  45. Hermione and Ron visit America for a family vacation. Write about their adventures.
  46. Sassy harry calling Snape and Dumbledore out on their bullshit   24/7.
  47. Ravenclaws have a chamber of secrets, but it’s just a library of infinite knowledge too nerdy to touch.
  48. Post-apocalyptic Draco and Harry, where Draco needs the help of Harry in order for both of them to survive.
  49. You thought you were a muggle-born witch/wizard and then you find one of your long before ancestors in the portraits of the school’s corridors.
  50. You can do magic without a wand. You are the second most wanted after Voldemort.
  51. Disco balls and disco and lgbt folks at Hogwarts
  52. A student is accepted into Hogwarts only to find out it was a mistake and they don’t actually have any magical abilities. Tell their story of trying to make it through Hogwarts after all these years.
  53. Remus Lupin adopts Harry.  He never lived with the Dursleys. Tell us his happy Wizarding Childhood.
  54. You’re a historian writing a critical paper on The Battle Of Hogwarts. You believe the existing discourse has ignored the significance of one woman: Mrs Norris. Write a paper discussing her much-maligned role in the Battle of Hogwarts.
  55. A story about the lonely, never-useful life of Snape’s shampoo bottle.
  56. Rumour has it the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher has already arrived and is hiding. Whoever finds them gets 500 points for their house.
  57. write the wizarding sex ed pamphlet that gets handed out to fifth years.
  58. everything’s the same except every character is a lizard.
  59. Describe the three trials in the next Triwizard Tournament.
  60. “Nobody knew about the fifth Hogwarts founder, and the secret they hid in the castle… until now”
  61. Minerva McGonagall is quite puzzled by Dumbledore’s recent hires for Defense Against the Dark Arts, and would like to have a serious talk with him about it.
  62. You decide to try flying on a broom just for shits and giggles. It works, and now you need help. A lot of help.
  63. The previous magical protection of the prime minister has been retired. You have taken their place.
  64. The Wizarding World decided it’s time to explore space.
  65. Doleres Umbridge is now the head teacher of Hogwarts and president Snow form panel is the minister for magic. They have reinvented the triwizard tournament to have aspects of the hunger games. Tell the story of this year’s tributes.
  66. “When I wished to be part of the world of Harry Potter, I was hoping for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, not for the bridge I was crossing to be demolished by death eaters on my way home from work!”
  67. You are a squib from a long line of witches and wizards who has never made any contact with the Muggle world. Today is your first day of high school.
  68. Hermione blinked. “You’re right, Ron. I’ve been doing it wrong all this time.”
  69. Through a series of events, you land yourself in the world of Harry Potter. The catch? You’ve never read a word from the books and have absolutely no clue what’s going on.
  70. The entire series but everyone is emo as hell.
  71. You are Harry Potter’s less famous twin sibling. All you want is a quiet wizarding school life.
  72. Write the science behind magic.
  73. You are in the infamous library where no books have titles. Somehow, you pick up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You want to help in any way you can.
  74. “The wand chooses the wizard” except this time three have chosen the same master. And they’re attempting to duel each other.
  75. Re-write one of the quidditch chapters from the perspective of the snitch.
  76. Harry being raised by Sirius and Remus because they actually caught Wormtail
  77. Dumbledore reads My Immortal and thinks it’s really good.
  78. “The Death Eaters stole this from the Muggles. What is it, Hermione?” “Ron, I…I think it’s a Nuke.”  "WICKED! Dad’s gonna love this!“
  79. Draco and Ron get in a wizard’s fight; Harry has to reveal his love for Draco by protecting him.
  80. While looking through Filch’s files of rescinded objects, you find something extremely dangerous. Just as you put it in your pocket for later investigation, you get caught by Peeves the poltergeist.
  81. A deaf Ravenclaw, a disabled Slytherin, a mute Gryffindor, and a black trans Hufflepuff help together to cope with each other’s’ problems.
  82. You’ve just received a Howler in front of the whole school. What does it say and how does the school react?
  83. A very derpy Dementor who doesn’t even try and suck souls, but just wants to be friends with everyone and gets sad easily so everyone has to cheer it up.
  84. As it turns out, Neville is the strongest wizard of all.
  85. Write a love story about Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
  86. Your boggart and your reflection in the Mirror of Erised show the same thing.
  87. Who maintains the enchanted ceiling at Hogwarts? How did they get the job and what’s their life like?
  88. Finally, Hogwarts gets its Wi-Fi hotspot.
  89. After a traumatising first year at Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley has to learn to deal with the long-term psychological effects of having been possessed by a dark wizard.
  90. Someone didn’t focus enough when trying to apparate somewhere and somehow wound up on Mars.
  91. You show someone the Mirror of Erised for the first time. You ask what they see, and they just look at you strangely. “What? Did you forget how mirrors work? I just see us.”
  92. A story written from the perspective of a student who died in the battle of Hogwarts, and is now a ghost there.
  93. Hogwarts wants to open a school in another part of the world.
  94. It’s been a hundred years, or so, and you’re still stuck in this dusty, shabby place. As a wand, it would be nice if you could finally choose the perfect wizard to wield you.
  95. You hide pictures of Voldemort in most  unusual places to freak other students out
  96. AU where all spells are imaginary. They’re basically running around with sticks yelling nonsense.
  97. The DA learned their most important lesson from Hermione - always bring a gun to a wand fight.
  98. Write about the day the magical world discovered internet (and proceeded to make their own WizNet)
  99. Harry Potter where Harry’s dad survived but is left emotionally destroyed by Voldemort’s attack.
  100. Harry Potter lowers his wand at himself. He swore he would rid the world of Horcruxes. He was about to make good on that promise.

 Let’s make a new list right away. Do you have a prompt for us?

Why Amethyst not hating herself anymore is not out of the blue - or an Amethyst development analysis season per season

This was originally a reply to another post, but people asked me to write it as it’s own post so why not.

Amethyst’s character development has happened on screen apparently this need clarification since early season 1.

In the episode “Tiger Millionaire”, season 1 is when we are first introduced to Amethyst’s inferiority complex. We learn she doens’t feel appreciated by the gems and uses wrestling to feel better about herself.

In the end, the gems let her wrestle, recognizing how pressured Amethyst felt.

The next important episode in Amethyst’s development is “On the Run”, season 1. We learn how she was made in the Kindergarten and how she sees herself as bad because of it.

She thinks Pearl sees her as “a mistake” and the episode ends when Pearl reassures her that she think Ame’s good and the two reconcile.

This is the first step of Amethyst’s development.

Keep reading

Why is this short film important?

Whaddup. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time now and it’s finally here.

I wanted to make this post more serious and analytical so here it is. I’m Cloud and this is why the short film “In a Heartbeat” by Beth David and Esteban Bravo is a masterpiece and why you should care.

This short film that was released today has been through kickstarter and I know that kickstarter projects are well… Unreliable. So I was really scared for the success of this project considering that I’ve seen many other kickstarter projects have popped out sloppy, horrible, and downright awful. Yeah, talk about a waste of dough. But I’m happy to say that this wasn’t one of those fails. The creators of this short film were very determined and weren’t going to give up on this.

This short film has something we like to call good representation. Needless to say spoiler warning so I’m gonna get right into the story. The short film takes place through the eyes of Sherwin a closeted schoolboy. Who has a classic crush on another schoolboy. Enter love interest Jonathan. Just from the concept art it was established that Sherwin was head over heels for Jonathan.

That is something a lot of kids experience, crushes but not all kids have the challenge of being outed to a world and society where they could be ridiculed and possibly slaughtered for their feelings. And I know that sounds scary but it’s true some kids are just in dangerous unaccepting environments, so it’s easy to see themselves in Sherwin.

Sherwin isn’t the best at expressing his feelings and nor does he really want to because he’s closeted. But that’s not healthy at a young age to try to hide your feelings when they’re so deep. So his love is personified into this very adorable heart. This heart is Sherwin’s desire to be with who he wants even if it’s another guy and nothing’s stopping it except Sherwin. This carries the message that love is love even if it’s not from a man to a woman and vice versa.

So through the short film this heart is just going out there to be with Jonathan and Sherwin is struggling to hold it back. Suppress his feelings should I say. And it reaches this point where the cartoon heart is showing it’s affections in public in front of the school. The homophobic surroundings are then very real and puts both Sherwin and Jonathan on the spot. And this scene at 2:18 is the breaking point (pun not intended). Just this shot is showing how the two characters have this pure bond but yet everyone else sees it as a disgusting display. Now everyone can see it Sherwin isn’t in the closet anymore and put himself out there. So now that he’s out and exposed for what happens his heart breaks. Literally.

And the doors close on Jonathan with a piece of the broken heart now aware of Sherwin’s sexuality and feelings. So basically Sherwin symbolically came out to him but shrunk and ran away with his romantic feelings in shambles. And media wise that’s usually the end of it for queer characters. Nothing. No love, no affection, just a broken spirit. We see him outside the school with his broken heart.

But then Jonathan comes and fixes the broken heart. Returning his feelings and showing support and acceptance by sitting next to him with the repaired heart. And in the end both of their hearts come together. So finally the gay characters get a happy ending after years of bury your gays and homophobia. There’s happily ever after.

This film shows the struggles of real people and there’s no dialogue either so literally anyone can enjoy this without any language barriers or translation errors. That’s what makes good representation showing the struggles and themes that a group of people experience and even flipping the script and giving them a good ending.

I apologize for spelling and possibly grammatical errors but I wanted to get this out soon. Thanks for reading.

Originally posted by yavileto

Batman vs Superman was over two hours of two men bickering over who has the biggest brooding cock-I mean, who has the better method of "saving" people and whether or not it's ok for Batman to beat and brand criminals without regarding the fact that not everyone's as wealthy and privileged as his morally upright ass and for Superman to ignore the fact that not everyone's as indestructible as him, meanwhile Wonder Woman over here...

Ok.

Wonder Woman was vastly superior to bvs for two reasons.

-Wonder Woman is actually a likable lady and an idealistic believable super hero who doesn’t spend her entire moving thinking about how she COULD help people.

She charges in, headfirst, wanting to help people she doesn’t even KNOW because she wants to protect the people who’re dying.

-and Wonder Woman was just so much more subtle and less pretentious about its message.

Seriously.

Let’s talk.

Wonder Woman’s CHARACTER is not that she’s cold and heartless and…well, masculine.

She doesn’t EMULATE men.

She doesn’t need to act like a man to be strong.

She coos at a baby and kisses Chris Pine and doesn’t spend the entire movie ragging on women.

She dresses and acts feminine, and embodies kindness, grace, beauty, everything “feminine.”

And she’s also strong as fucking hell.

That is Wonder Woman.

She’s a good person.

She’s not some cold warrior goddess, an untouchable female shaped ideal.

She’s GENUINELY KIND.

She sees people suffering in the trenches and her first thought it, stop what we’re doing, we gotta help.

Chris pine and all of his men?

They’ve seen all of this.

They’ve hardened themselves to the horrors of war and accepted them as inevitable.

But Diana, new to the cruelty of the human world, is disgusted and she asks what’s wrong with you?

What is wrong with us?

We have accepted casualties. We have accepted pain.

We have excused suffering because we told ourselves long ago that we couldn’t do anything about it.

But Diana?

She does not accept that.

She fights, yes. She’s ferocious and she, unlike Batman, doesn’t have a compulsion against killing.

She was raised by warrior women, I mean come on.

But who does she fight for?

The women and children who did nothing wrong.

The injured, hopeless men fighting a war to end all wars.

The entire movie was lovely because all of Diana’s bewilderment at the way humans live was incredible.

She’s shocked at how dirty London is.

She’s not impressed by sex and she’s not impressed by war.

She thinks sexism is strange.

But she doesn’t like, rag on it, because Diana is literally so above it that she just wryly questions it at times.

Like I don’t care what all the whiny fanboys say.

There’s not an overt feminist message in this movie.

There’s no “men are so weak.”

There’s “men are corruptible” but as we see, Diana sees them as worth saving in the end, if only to fulfill her own ideals…

Which is feminist as fuck, I guess, because Diana doesn’t defend men because it’s her job.

She defends them because it’s her decision. Her morality. Her duty.

But the feminism in the movie comes from the fact that she’s so kind.

She breaks down when realizing that Ares isn’t behind it all, that MEN are the ones who are cruel to one another.

She sees the war and it’s only senseless violence to her.

All of the people she wants to help are the victims, and it’s clear cut, to her, who’s bad and who’s not.

But Chris Pine helps her realize that humans aren’t so clear cut.

And so even though she was disgusted by human actions, she still wanted to help the people in need.

I absolutely adore the scene where she’s charging across a battle field to pave the way to the town.

First off, it was so badass watching her knock aside artillery like it was nothing as the men cowered in the pits.

Second, SHE SAW THAT PEOPLE WERE SUFFERING AND SHE DIDNT CALCULATE.

She didn’t do a Batman, where she looked at the risks vs the benefits vs the needs of the many and the few.

She just charged in and did what she could.

Chris Pine told her she couldn’t do anything except help him with his plan, in order to stop the war and save them indirectly.

But Diana is a true warrior with the heart of a lion, man.

She helped them directly, with no nonsense, no politicizing, no planning, just action.

At the end she says love will save humanity?

That’s the kind of feminism Wonder Woman was embodying.

Wonder Woman wasn’t this lone independent operator who sneers at men who try to involve themselves in her business.

She was helped and supported by men, but it was clear that she was the star, the true hero who brought them and their plans together but also gave them a new hope, a new heart.

They were jaded by helplessness and mortal frustration, forced to fight to stand stills and accept human deaths.

She came and showed them something miraculous and wonderful: her power.

But not used to beat someone’s head in with a fucking sink.

Used to do good.

To fight for her morals, which aren’t corrupted by the human world’s greyness, not yet.

I loved this movie.

I loved this movie so much.

DC finally did good and we can stop pretending suicide squad and Batman vs superman were good.

Wonder Woman is the good DC movie.

Don’t even try to tell me BVS was better than Wonder Woman because if you genuinely believe that, either out of pride and obstinacy from all your bickering with marvel fans or out of delusional worshipping of anything DC, then I think you just like watching people beat people in slow motion and uncomfortably lofty , corporate-cut and stylized plots as interesting as watching a landscape time lapse.

Suicide squad was cut to bits by its editors, BVS suffered from some severe Snyder wanking, and justice league, I don’t know, we’ll see.

But Wonder Woman?

Best DC movie since dark knight.

God bless Patty.

I knew we needed a woman in charge to get the job done.

Now direct all sexist comments and sneering remarks about feminazis destroying your precious super hero genre with their “love” themes to my inbox where they’ll be lovingly deleted.

anonymous asked:

Hey, you're awesome, thanks for existing, basically ^_^ Anyway, I wanted to know if you have any tips on how to write different personalities? My characters (all of them) always end up with the same default personality that I fall back on. Thanks!

Thanks for your question, darling!  I think most of us have struggled with this – after all, we’re conditioned to one way of thinking, feeling, and acting for as long as we live.  That doesn’t necessarily mean we write characters like ourselves, though.  In fact, many of us have a “default character” that’s sassier than we are, sweeter than we are, or in some way different enough from us that we still feel like we’re writing a character.

The problem, then, isn’t that we can’t visualize a different personality than ours.  On the whole, we can.  What we’re missing are the small details that make it feel whole – otherwise, it’s like painting the same room six different colors and trying to pass it off as six different rooms.  Different dominant traits can’t hide the fact that you’re working with one template!

So the question we’re left with: what are the traits we’re missing?  And how can we change them to create a unique and whole personality?


Three Types of Character Traits

There are, as the title suggests, three major categories of personality traits as I see it: fundamental traits, acquired traits, and detrimental traits.  A well-rounded character needs some of each to be three-dimensional and realistic.

Fundamental Traits

The fundamental traits of a person’s character are not as simple as interests and preferences; they are the very base of all decisions and desires.  They are either learned in early life or developed over a long period of time, rooting deeply into the personality.  A few examples of fundamental personality traits include:

  • Upbringing – The word choice here is conscious, as upbringing encompasses many different aspects of a person’s development.  Consider who raised them, and with what morals and practices they were raised to adulthood.  Consider their influences, both familial, social, and in media; consider the relationships that were normalized during their development, as well as the living conditions (financially, emotionally, environmentally, etc.).  The people, places, emotions, and conflicts made common during a person’s developmental period are essential to their personality in adulthood.  This is why psychologists often draw present-day problems back to a person’s childhood memories – because those formative years can subconsciously dictate so much of a person’s future!
  • Values – These may not coincide with the values a person is raised to hold, but upbringing certainly has an influence on this. A person’s values will direct the course of their life through every decision, large and small.  You don’t need to outline everything your character believes is important – every moral and every law they agree/disagree with. But those values which stand above others will give your character purpose.  A few of my favorite examples are: Jane from Jane the Virgin (whose initial storyline is heavily based on her religion and desire for a beautiful love story, as well as her childhood influences who inspired these values) and Han Solo from Star Wars (whose character development rested upon his values shifting from money and gratification to more honorable things).
  • Beliefs – Different from values, beliefs are a more general set of guidelines for how a person believes things are supposed to be.  Beliefs can also be a source of great conflict, as a character tries to stay aligned with their beliefs despite other values or desires.  These beliefs can be established systems, like religion or politics; they can also include more personal belief systems, like nihilism or veganism.  A characters beliefs, like their values, can change over the course of the story – but even if a character is questioning one system of belief, like religion or pacifism, they should have other belief systems in place to govern some of their activity.
  • Reputation – A lot of human activity, whether consciously or not, is dictated by how others perceive them (or how they believe others perceive them).  There are two types of reputation: personal and passing.  For instance, a woman named Sally who gains a personal reputation of sleeping around will behave in reaction to this reputation – either sleeping around because everyone already expects it of her, or specifically not hooking up because she wants to shake this reputation, or developing a thicker skin to deal with the rumors until it passes.  A man named Billy who, because of his tattoos, bears a passing reputation as an intimidating man will either try to soften his demeanor with strangers, own up to the image, or at least learn to expect judgment from strangers as a consequence.
  • Self-Image – Also relevant to a person’s behavior is the way they perceive themselves, which can often have little to do with their reputation.  A lot of self-image is based on definitive moments or phases in the past.  For instance: for several years after I started wearing contacts and cutting my hair, I still saw myself, in dreams at night, with long hair and glasses.  One of my friends, similarly, could not seem to notice when boys would flirt with her during sophomore year – because she still saw herself as an awkward middle schooler with braces, and not as the charming cheerleader with the great smile.
    Inversely, self-image can be inflated, causing character to behave as though they are funnier, smarter, or more prepared than they truly are (see: the rest of my sophomore acquaintances).  This can be an overlooked character flaw opportunity – or flawportunity…

Originally posted by alliefallie


Acquired Traits

Now we move on to the acquired traits of personality, which are the ones you’re more likely to find on a character sheet or a list of “10 Questions for Character Development”, alongside a million other things like their zodiac sign and their spirit animal.  But the traits I’m about to outline are a little more relevant to a character’s behavior, and more importantly, how to make this behavior unique from other characters’ behavior.  The following traits will be learned by your characters throughout their life (and their story), and are more likely to shift and grow with time:

  • Interests – I know, I had to reach deep down into my soul to think of this one.  But it’s true!  Interests, both in childhood/adolescence and in adulthood, are an important part of a character’s personality and lifestyle.  Childhood interests both reveal something about the character (for instance: my nephew loves trains, Legos, and building, suggesting a future interest in construction or engineering) and create values that can last for a lifetime.  Current interests affect career choice, social circles, and daily activity for everyone.  Forgotten or rejected interests can be the source of pet peeves, fears, or bad memories. There’s a reason I’ll never play with Polly Pockets again, and it 100% has to do with bloody fingertips and a purse that wouldn’t open.
  • Sense of Humor – This can be a little hard to define, understandably.  If you were to ask me what my sense of humor is, I’d probably start with a few stupid memes, pass by Drake & Josh on the way, and somehow wind up telling you bad puns or quoting Chelsea Peretti’s standup comedy. A person’s sense of humor can be complex and contradictory!  Sometimes we just laugh at stuff because someone said it in a funny way.  But anyway, to help you boil this down to something useful: take a look at a few kinds of comedy and relate it to your character’s maturity level.  Do they laugh when someone lets out a toot?  Are they the kind of person to mutter, “That’s what she said,” or simply try not to laugh when something sounds dirty?  Can puns make them crack a smile?  Do they like political humor?  Do cat videos kill them?  Is their humor particularly dark?  Can the mere sound of someone else laughing make them laugh?  Figure out where your character’s sense of humor is, and you’ll feel closer to them already.
  • Pet Peeves – For every interest a person may have, and everything that makes them laugh, there’s something else that can piss them off, large- or small-scale.  Are they finnicky about their living space and neatness? Do they require a lot of privacy? Do certain sounds or behaviors drive them crazy?  What qualities are intolerable in a romantic interest for them? What kind of comments or beliefs make them roll their eyes?  If you need help, just try imagining their worst enemy – someone whose every word or action elicits the best eye-rolls and sarcastic remarks and even a middle finger or two – and ask yourself, what about this person makes them that mortal enemy?  What behaviors or standards make them despicable to your character?  That’s all it takes.
  • Skills – Everybody has them, and they’re not just something we’re born with.  Skills can be natural talent, sure, but they’re also cultivated from time, values, and interests.  What is your character okay at?  What are they good at?  What are they fantastic at?  Maybe they can cook.  Maybe they have a beautiful eye for colors.  Maybe they have an inherent sense of right and wrong that others admire. Maybe they’re super-athletic or incredibly patient or sharp as a tack or sweet as a cupcake.  Maybe they know how to juggle, or maybe they’re secretly the most likely of all their friends to survive a zombie apocalypse.  Where do they shine?  What would make someone look at them and think, “Wow, I wish I were them right now”?
  • Desires – A good way to “separate” one character from the next is to define what it is they want, and then use every other detail to dictate how they pursue that goal.  Every real person has a desire, whether they’ve defined it or not – whether it’s something huge, like fame or a family of five with triplet girls and a beach house on an island, or something small, like good grades for the semester.  These desires can cause a person to revise their values or forsake their morals; and these desires can conflict with other people’s desires, influencing how people interact with each other.  Remember that every character is living their own story, even if it’s not the story you’re telling.
  • Communication Style – A majorly overlooked character trait in pop fiction is unique communication styles.  Having every character feel comfortable arguing, or bursting out with the words, “I love you,” is unrealistic.  Having every character feel paralyzed at the idea of confronting a bully or being honest to their spouse is also unrealistic.  There should be a healthy mix of communicators in a group of characters. Some people are too softspoken to mouth off at their racist lab partner.  Some people wouldn’t see their girlfriend kissing another guy and just walk away without saying something.  Some people just don’t react to conflict by raising their voice; some people enjoy sharing their opinions or giving the correct answer in class.  Boldness, social skills, and emotional health all have a part to play in how people communicate their thoughts – so keep this in mind to create a more realistic, consistent character.
  • Emotional Expression – Along the same lines but not the same, emotional expression is more focal on feelings than thoughts.  If you’ve ever heard of the fight-or-flight response, the different types of anger, the stages of grief, or the five love languages, then you’re aware of different “classifications” of emotional expression and management.  Read up on some of those things, and think about how your character handles emotions like happiness, sadness, fear, anger, loneliness, paranoia, and so forth.

Detrimental Traits

While acquired traits are certainly more enjoyable to brainstorm during the creation process, detrimental traits are as important – or even more important – to the character’s wholeness as well as their role in the story.  Not only do these negative or limiting traits make your character realistic, relatable, and conflicted – they create a need for other characters and their strengths to move the plot forward.  A few examples of detrimental traits include:

  • Flaws – Character flaws are probably the first thing that came to your mind while reading this, but they’re the essence of the category.  Flaws in a character’s personality, morality, or behavior can be a source of character development; they set an individual on their own path and provide a unique motivation for them.  Having Character A struggle with sobriety while Character B learns to be a more patient mother can do a lot to separate their stories and personalities from each other.  Even if certain flaws don’t reach a point of growth, they create a third aspect to personality and force us, as writers, to be more creative with how our characters get from Point A to Point B, and what they screw up along the way.
  • Fears – Everyone has fears, whether we’re conscious of them or not – and I’m not talking about phobias or “things that give you shivers”.  Just like everyone has a primary motivation throughout life (romance, family, success, meaning, peace of mind, etc.), everyone has a fear behind that motivation (loneliness, failure, emptiness, anxiety).  We all have something we don’t want to happen places we never want to be and things we never want to do.  We’ve all been in situations that mildly bothered others but wildly affected us at the same time.  For me, it’s a lack of autonomy, or in any way being forced to do something or be somewhere against my will.
    What does this mean for me?  It means that when other people have nightmares about being chased by an axe murderer, I have nightmares about being kidnapped and locked up.  It means that I’m continually aware of my “escape plan” if something goes wrong in my living situation, and I’m hypersensitive to someone telling me, “You have to do this.”  It means I struggle to follow rules and usually don’t get along with authority figures because I have to assert my independence to them.  It’s irrational and continual and doesn’t just affect me in one situation; it subconsciously directs my steps if I let it.  That’s how real, guttural fears work. Phobias are only skin deep, and they don’t make you feel any closer to the character.

Originally posted by giantmonster

  • Secrets – Even goody two-shoes Amber from the swim team, with her blonde blonde hair and her good good grades, has a secret.  Everybody does, even if it’s not a purposeful, “I have a deep, dark secret,” sort of secret. We have things we don’t tell people, just because they’re embarrassing, or painful, or too deep to get into, or they don’t paint us in a good light.  While the secrets themselves tell a lot about a person, so do the reasons a person keeps a secret.  Hiding something out of shame suggests a person is prideful, or critical of themselves, or holds themselves to a higher standard than they hold others.  Hiding something painful suggests that the person struggles to handle sadness or regret, or that they feel uncomfortable showing raw emotion in front of loved ones. And so on and so forth.
  • Conflict – Whether internal, interpersonal, legal, moral, societal, or what have you, conflict will limit your character’s actions at every turn.  A story is nothing without conflict driving the plot in different directions and causing your character to rethink both their plans and their lifestyle.  Without Katniss’s moral conflict over killing other tributes, The Hunger Games would be the story of a girl who entered an arena, killed a lot of people, and lived the rest of her life rich and comfortable.  If Luke Skywalker didn’t have interpersonal conflict with Darth Vader, Star Wars would be the war-story of a guy who joined a rebellion and then… yeah.
  • Health – Physical, mental, and emotional health is a huge limiting factor for characters that often goes untouched, but it’s valuable nonetheless.  Not everyone has a clean bill of health and can jump off trains without pulling a muscle, go through a traumatic life experience without any hint of depression or anxiety, or watch a loved one die in gunfire and shove right on without emotional repercussions. Consider creating a character who’s not perfect – who isn’t perfectly in-shape or abled, or neurotypical or stable day-to-day, or completely clean and clear of residual heartache, unhealthy relationships, or bad emotional habits.  Don’t define them by these traits, of course – but don’t feel that you can’t write a character with health issues without writing a “sick character.”

So this post got ridiculously long, but I hope it works as a reference for you when creating unique characters.  Remember that you don’t need to outline all of this information to create an individual, realistic character.  These are just some relevant ideas to get you started!  It’s up to you, as the writer, to decide what’s necessary and what’s excessive for your creative process.

Still, I hope a majority of this is helpful to you!  If you have any more questions, be sure to send them in and we’ll get back to you :)  Good luck!

- Mod Joanna ♥️


If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask us!

I’ve been toying with the idea for a long time that some of the things Yuuri says, especially in the first couple episodes, are not exactly the truth and should be looked into farther. Honestly, we knew Yuuri was unreliable the moment the show opened–he referred to himself as “dime-a-dozen,” when he is literally the only male skater certified by the JSF within canonverse. 

And he made it to the GPF, you know? He’s one of the top 6 skaters in the world, right off the bat! It took us a few episodes to understand Yuuri’s character to realize the context of these statements, but we figured out pretty early on that Yuuri is the embodiment of Unreliable Narrator™. Especially after ep10, jfc. 

Anyway, why I’m bringing this up is because Kubo seemed to confirm a little theory of mine I’ve had stewing for a while and I wanted to share it with you.

So. Episode 1. The commemorative photo scene. 

I wanna first establish that this scene took place before the banquet. During the series run, sometime just afterwards, and occasionally even now there’s debate over when that scene took place. It wouldn’t make sense to happen after the banquet because they’re not only still wearing the team jackets, but they’re also wearing passes

The outside sign has information about the competition 

and Victor is talking to Yuri about his routines

which he probably wouldn’t do if it was up to a day later. 

We know how the rest of the scene goes. Victor seems to not recognize Yuuri at all, mistakes him for a fan, asks if he wants a photo, and then Yuuri leaves, thoroughly humiliated. Or, at least, that’s Yuuri’s version of what happened. I think generally everything that was said got said, all the movements and series of events were the same, but the implications of the offer were different. 

I have multiple anxiety disorders. When I remember something that I felt was a misstep or caused embarrassment, I always remember it slightly off. A person’s tone is more mocking or condescending, my reaction is worse than it was. There’s a lot of shame when it comes to anxiety and your mind immediately assumes you’re viewed to be–and are–on a lower pedestal than everyone else. Yuuri, clearly, has severe anxiety, so I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to think that, since this is from his perspective, maybe reality is a bit different than what he is able to give us. 

Anyway, my thoughts had no basis, so I’ve kept them to myself, but then Kubo came out and said this:

and then the fanbase lit up in flames because Victor know Yuuri was a fan before the banquet. But this also implies one thing I got super excited about: Victor has seen him skate, before the commemorative photo scene. 

meaning that everyone’s preconception that Victor mistook Yuuri for a fan has been completely blown out of the water. 

So, why would Victor ask him about a photo then? 

I think it’s important to keep in mind that Victor likes to make people feel good about their abilities. He likes teaching others, and he likes motivating them too. He gets pleasure out of seeing people rise to their potential. 

Although he’s flighty and kind of an airhead, and tends to ignore what he doesn’t find interesting, I don’t think Victor would ignore the scorings or the competitors landing below 3rd place. Victor clearly knew that Yuuri fell to last place, hard. This is just speculation, but maybe Yuri mentioned to Victor the incident with Yuuri crying in the bathroom. Or, perhaps Victor had already seen the press about Yuuri: he’s notorious for losing his nerve during competitions and failing to meet his potential. When Yuuri goes down, he tends to crash and burn. 

(also honda’s words imply yuuri usually performs very well)

Victor likes making people happy and better versions of themselves. Now he’s faced with the competitor who fell to last place, staring at him a few feet away. A competitor who is known for his anxiety and tendency to shy away from others. A competitor who just so happens to be a fan. So, what is Victor to do to help Yuuri feel better, or even open up a bit?

Initiate conversation. Try to reel him in to interacting with an open, non-threatening question and a tried-and-true welcoming smile. 

“Commemorative Photo?”

Victor didn’t mistake Yuuri for a non-competing fan, he knew who Yuuri was and was just trying his best to make Yuuri feel better. Victor, as we’ve seen throughout the series, resorts to giving comfort through action rather than words first and foremost. Unfortunately for him, this is not what Yuuri needs. 

It backfired. But I think Victor had good intentions. They were strangers so it’s not like Victor could just walk up and start a motivating speech. He tried to invite Yuuri to talk to him, someone Yuuri looked up to, and maybe they could talk and Victor could brighten his day? 

Victor wasn’t very tactile, and Yuuri didn’t stand his ground and identify himself, so they got nowhere with that. 

I’m so glad Kubo said this. This face looks like a combination of surprise and disappointment, perhaps not only in Yuuri rejecting him but also in himself for not being able to help.

and this face 

looks more concerned and surprised that Yuuri showed rather than like “oh shit, he’s a competitor.”

Poor Yuuri. Poor Victor. They really need to communicate better. 

The 3 Elements of a FLAWED Character

You know that moment when you find an old notebook, and you start reading the story you were writing years ago, and after about one page…  

And then after a few more paragraphs … 

This has happened to me several times. On every occasion I want to curl up in a small box and wait until everyone forgets I was ever a writer. And every time, no matter which old story it is, what sends me crawling into that box is the same thing: the main character. Even after I had learned to incorporate empathetic qualities into my heroes (as listed in the last post), my protagonists were still deeply annoying – if not more unbearable than before. 

Why? What made them this way? They had winningly empathetic traits! Were they terrible people still? No, and that was the problem. They were perfect. Smart. Noble. Brave. They had dazzling martial arts skills. They loved people and people loved them. They were Chosen in some way and destined for greatness. Angst-plagued though, of course. They were tragic little heroes, misunderstood and abused, driven by the desire to vanquish all who caused them suffering.  

I could’ve composed a Gaston-like song enumerating their virtues and sorrows. 

And the only thing that would’ve made them more punchable is if they did use antlers in all of their decorating.

Characters can’t be completely likable. Yes, they must possess strengths that win the reader’s empathy, but without an equal amount of flaws … they can’t function. If they’re not flawed, they shouldn’t be the main character. Story is about someone changing, for better or worse. Under the surface, all good stories are about this process of human growth or decline. So if a hero is perfect from the beginning, there’s nowhere they need to go. And consequently, there’s no reason for a reader to follow. 

The inclination to follow a story is begun with interest in the premise, of course – but it is locked in when empathy occurs, when we begin to care – the moment the reader transposes their own external and internal lives onto a character’s life. A process which starts when a reader recognizes a shared something between themselves and the hero. Sometimes, this is a goal or strength or situation. And sometimes, it’s a flaw. We meet a character that is weak in the same way we are, and a strong internal connection is born between the reader’s life and the life on the page. On a deep level we’re thinking “This person is like me. What happens to them? How do they deal with it?” And because of this connection based on what is lacking in our lives, we want to live the story, see how it ends, and find out how the main character – who is just like us – reached that ending. Because it’s our lives we’re reading about, and if we play it out in advance, maybe we can reach a positive ending too. 

So! In what way should a main character be FLAWED? 

1) Weak in a way that only hurts themselves. 

Let’s call these MIND.

2) Flawed in a way that hurts others. 

Let’s call these MORAL.

The most realistic – and most compelling – characters have both types.  

And if a character has these flaws, the story must be steering them towards what they NEED to overcome them. The main character needs to learn something, a truth, a new way to live. This is the theme of the story. Theme is a statement the story seeks to prove, to the main character and the reader, about how to live a better life. It’s the solution to whatever moral and mental conundrum they’re facing. So … 

3) The SOLUTION to their moral and mental weaknesses. 

How does that work? To illustrate, let’s look at Stitch and Alexander Hamilton. (What a combination.) 

STITCH

Moral: He’s destructive. Violent. Rude. Vindictive.  Manipulative. Enjoys the suffering of his enemies.

 And in general, pushes everyone and everything away.  

Mind: Despite his violent ways, he yearns to belong, and senses that he can’t.

He believes he’s alone, he’s unlovable, he’s monstrous, he’s never had a family and never will – he’s lost, like the Ugly Duckling. He’s missing a family he’s never had.  

Solution: He just needs to start treating people like family to be accepted into one. 

HAMILTON

Moral: He’s selfish. (“Be careful with that one love, he will do what it takes to survive.”) He’s arrogant. He’s self-centered. (Think of the entirety of Burn.) And in his obsessive journey to succeed, he pushes everyone out of his path.  

Mind: He has a fixation on death, on time running out, which drives his manic desire to achieve. (“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.) He’s insecure. ("Graduate in two and join the revolution. He looked at me like I was stupid. I’m not stupid.”) 

Solution: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? Eliza tells his story. Hamilton’s goal throughout the story is a legacy; he strives to achieve this immortality in any way possible, even if it means neglecting his loved ones, or even ruining their lives. He needs to learn that his loved ones are enough. Eliza is enough. And through her, he will live on. 

What would have happened if they weren’t flawed? The stories would have been boring. What would have happened if their flaws had been treated like attributes that didn’t have to change? The stories would have ceased to be. Progress couldn’t happen, because by accepting the status quo of their mental and moral states, we’re refusing the call to adventure outright. They’d just exist in the same state they were in the setup, stagnant, somewhat lifeless. Flawed characters must motor towards that NEED, or solution, that will save their lives. 

(I realize this “need” element is rather vague, so it’ll get its own post.)  

But in conclusion, this balance of strengths and flaws – and how this fictional person deals with the adventure they’re thrown into – is what makes a main character compelling, empathetic, and real. 

So when I unearth a notebook years in the future, containing one of stories I’m writing now, maybe the main character won’t make me feel like this:

Maybe it’ll even be like this: 

And best of all, maybe one of those characters will make a reader somewhere feel understood and helped and not alone. Wow. That would be amazing.

Well, there’s my writing motivation for today. I’m going to go make my main character more of a lovable jerk.

in honour of march being #trypod month, here’s everything you need to know about podcasts! (part two here)

what the heck even are podcasts?

podcasts are audio shows that are either in episode or radio format, which you can download and listen to whenever you like, for free!! there are both fiction and non fictional podcasts, so there is something for everyone

why should i listen to these?

podcasts are similar to audiobooks and radio shows in that you can listen to them anywhere, on your phone or computer, and are ideal for commutes and journeys (i personally listen to most of mine on the bus to and from school). most podcasts are made by people as a hobby rather than their job, so you can support them by listening as well 

where can i find podcasts?

pretty much every podcast ever is available on itunes and spotify, and many apps for non apple devices

cool, can you give me some recommendations?

fiction

welcome to night vale [weird and spooky fantasy] is about a small town in america, where a lot of weird crap goes on, but here in night vale this is generally completely normal. this is pretty much how everyone gets into podcasts, and is a really good starting point for listening to fiction podcasts

the bright sessions [sci-fi] is about some folks with superpower in therapy trying to learn about themselves, their powers and how to control them. honest to god this is my most favourite fiction podcast ever, i love it with all of my heart and cannot recommend this enough. 

the orbiting human circus of the air [fantasy?] is about an old-timey radio show that broadcasts from the top of the eiffel tower. this is honestly such a joy to listen to, and has some wonderful stories with really interesting ways of telling them

wolf 359 [sci-fi and comedy] is about a small crew in a space station, orbiting the red dwarf star, wolf 359. it starts off pretty light hearted and gets pretty wild pretty quickly, so buckle in for a bumpy ride. (they did a live show and recorded it and put it on youtube and it is honestly such a gift seeing zach jump back and forth arguing with himself.)

the penumbra podcast [noir/fantasy/western/horror] is really queer. its great. the main stories follow a non-binary pi named juno steel, but there are other stories on the feed too that are well worth a listen (and season 2 premiers really soon!)

eos 10 [sci-fi and comedy] is about some doctors in space. its hilarious (the main plot arc starts with a boner that just will not go away) and the characters are super interesting. its been on break for a really long time, but is on its way back soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

the strange case of starship iris [sci-fi adventure] is new and really cleverly done. im still blown away by how cool the end credits are, everytime i hear them. its also about gays in space which is cool also ;)

the adventure zone [comedy and adventure] is barely a fiction podcast as it is 3 brothers and their dad playing d&d. if you have never played d&d, or think its boring, then dont let that deter you, because this podcast is the funniest one i have listened to. it starts a little slowly, so be prepared for that, but it really picks up a few episodes in, and griffin’s story telling gets SO good, i really recommend this one as well

dead serious [supernatural] is about two teens who discover that the local haunted house is actually Haunted and talk to the ghosts living there about their lives and deaths (this is mine ;))

non-fiction

spirits is 2 women chatting about really cool myths and legends, both old and new, from all of the world, whilst quite tipsy. this was the first podcast i listened to and i fell in love. i personally recommend the “japanese urban legend” episode its super creepy and super cool

dead pilots society is a table reading of tv pilots that are bought by companies but never made. they so far have all been comedies and include well known writers and actors, and are great for long journeys, as well as one time listening if you don’t want to get too emotionally involved in anything

my brother my brother and me  is a really bad advice show and really good comedy podcast run by 3 brothers (the same ones in the adventure zone minus their dad) who answer questions and give terrible advice that is hilarious to listen to. they also made a tv show on seeso recently, which you can also check out the first episode on yt!

international waters is a quiz show between british and american comedians which is interesting and hilarious, with different contestants each week to keep it fresh and interesting

i have a ton more i could talk about, but these are some of my highlights. if you want any recommendations, feel free to message me or drop me an ask!

All About Writing Fight Scenes

@galaxies-are-my-ink asked,

“Do you have any advice on writing fight scenes? The type of scene I’m writing is mostly hand to hand combat between two experts. I’m definitely not an expert so when I try to write it, the scene ends up sounding repetitive and dull.”

Fore note: This post is coauthored by myself and one of my amazing critique partners, Barik S. Smith, who both writes fantastic fight scenes and teaches mixed martial arts, various artistic martial arts, and weapons classes.

I (Bryn) will tell you a secret: I trained MMA for seven years, and when I write authentic hand to hand fight scenes, they sound dull too. 

The problem with fight scenes in books is that trying to describe each punch and kick and movement (especially if it’s the only thing you’re describing) creates a fight that feels like it’s in slow motion. 

I write…

Lowering her center of gravity, she held her right hand tight to her face and threw a jab towards his chin. He shifted his weight, ducking under her punch. His hair brushed against her fist, and he stepped forward, launching a shovel hook into her exposed side.

But your brain can only read so fast. In real life that series of events would take an instant, but I needed a full eight seconds to read and comprehend it, which gave it an inherent lethargic feel. 

So, we have two primary problems:

  1. How do we describe this fight in a way the reader can understand and keep track of? 
  2. How do we maintain a fast paced, interesting fight once we’ve broken down the fight far enough for readers to understand it? 

(We will get back to these, I promise.) But for now, let’s look at…

Different types of “fight scenes:”

Keep reading

Starfinder: The Classes [COMPLETE EDITION!]

Meet the new guardians of the galaxy.

In Starfinder, the average adventurer looks much different from average party on old Golarion. Understandings have shifted, old disciplines have faded out of vogue, and everyone has friggin’ laser beams.

So while it’s possible to convert some of the old Pathfinder classes, the bulk of adventurers in the Pact Worlds will likely adhere to one of these six new disciplines. Check it!

Envoy

Envoy is Starfinder’s intrigue and tactics focused class. They possess the most skills out of any class (tied only with the Operative) and their Skill Expertise feature allows them to specialize in certain favored skills; granting them an extra 1d6 insight bonus, and allowing them to perform acts that skill doesn’t usually grant. For those of you familiar with Pathfinder, think of it as a cross between an Investigator’s inspiration feature and the skill unlocks of an Unchained Rogue.

Their main class features are Improvisations; non-magical abilities which allow the Envoy to manipulate the battlefield; they can make enemies Flat Footed, warn allies of impending dangers, or even grant their friends additional actions in a turn. 

Play the Envoy if you…

  • Want to be a social butterfly.
  • Enjoy using unexpected tactics both on and off the battlefield.
  • Want to be the undisputed master of a narrow set of skills (without sacrificing other proficiencies).

Mechanic

Mechanics are masters of machines. Unlike the more academic Technomancers, Mechanics aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty working with the futuristic technology of the Pact Worlds. Some even go so far as to augment themselves with advanced cybernetics!

A Mechanic’s best friend is their trusty artificial intelligence; a digital construct they personally designed. At first level, the Mechanic can choose between implanting this AI into a drone (granting them an autonomous robotic ally who can fight alongside them) or into an implanted exo-cortex (augmenting the Mechanic’s cognitive abilities and allowing them access to stronger armor and weapons). As the Mechanic levels up, they can augment their AI (or themselves!) even further. A high level Mechanic can even split their attention between a drone and an exocortex, becoming a cybernetically augmented mastermind with a personal robot honor guard. 

When they aren’t trying to turn themselves into the singularity (or just make a really sweet robot), Mechanics are masters of technology in all forms; they’re master hackers, brilliant engineers, and can make that ray gun work really well in a pinch.

Play the Mechanic if you…

  • Want to play a pet-focused class.
  • Don’t want to play a pet-focused class, but would love to play a heavily armored ranged combatant with a wide array of skills.
  • Want to be a master of technology in all its forms.
  • Want your character to be more machine than person. 

Mystic

Mystics are the spiritual successors of Golarion’s divine and occult spellcasters, and often fill similar societal roles. Understanding magic to be a manifestation of the connection between all living things, the Mystic channels the fundemental nature of the universe to a variety of effects.

Mystics are one of Starfinder’s two spellcasting classes, viewing the fundamental forces of magic through a more esoteric and philosophical lens than their Technomancer colleagues. Their spells tend to be focused more on living things; affecting both the mind and body. Of course, this doesn’t mean they can’t draw upon natural forces as well; Mystics are more than capable of flooding a room with gamma radiation if they feel like it.

All Mystics can establish a link with other creatures, which manifests first as a healing touch, and then eventually evolves into a party-wide telepathic network you can use as a conduit for their other abilities.

Mystics also all have a connection to a force they see as the source of their power; they may choose to be an akashic, empath, healer, mindbreaker, overlord, or star shaman, with each connection changing the lens through which a Mystic views the universe. An Akashic may view their powers as coming from the divine records that govern reality, while a Star Shaman may take a more religious viewpoint. Healers focus on restoring the vitality of their allies, while Mindbreakers focus on crushing the psyches of their foes. 

Play a Mystic if you…

  • Want to play a support focused character with strong healing potential.
  • Want to be a psychic or similar character.
  • Want to play a more magical character with minimal scientific influence. 
  • Love enchantment spells like charm person.
  • Want to have a connection with natural forces. 
  • Want to define your own supernatural tradition (in SPACE).

Operative

Operatives live on the fringe of society. More than just simple thieves and assassins, the Operative represents any sort of character willing to utilize underhanded tactics and dogged determination to get the job done.

Every Operative chooses a specialization (daredevil, detective, explorer, ghost, hacker, spy, or thief) which grants them access to unique exploits; similar to the talents of a Rogue or Vigilante in Pathfinder. 

Their most unique ability, however, is the trick attack. Unlike the Rogue, an Operative has need to hide in the shadows to surprise their enemies. Instead, they use a skill (usually Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth, but some specializations can use other skills) to gain an advantage over their enemies; allowing them to deal extra damage and inflict a variety of detrimental effects on their foes. Operatives are also one of the only classes capable of becoming snipers, granting them additional combat options.

Like the Envoy, an Operative is a master of skills. Unlike the Envoy, they lack the same level of focus; the Operative’s edge class feature grants them a bonus to all skill checks (and initiative checks) and they can gain special bonuses to skills in which they’ve taken the Skill Focus feat for. Of course, Operative specializations can grant uses for skills that an Envoy could never hope to accomplish, so perhaps its all relative. 

Play an Operative if…

  • You want to play a character on the fringe of society, like a spy, vigilante, or assassin.
  • You want to be the ultimate skill monkey. 
  • You enjoy stealth and subterfuge (or dashing derring do)
  • You love the massive payoff from a perfectly set up attack.

Solarian

Solarians believe in the power of the stars; that they are the ultimate expression of the powers of creation and destruction. They guide worlds with their gravity and give life with their light and heat, yet can also obliterate with supernovas and black holes. Solarians seek to be agents of this cycle of preservation and annihilation, channeling the forces of their stars themselves in battle.

All Solarians have a mote of fundamental energy or entropy that accompanies them, which can either transform into a lightsaber Solar Weapon, or augment the Solarian’s armor. 

In battle, Solarians are one of the few classes who specializes in melee combat (indeed, while they gain access to Advanced Melee Weapons, they lack proficiency in any ranged weapon more complicated than a blaster pistol). To make up for this, Solarians are capable of making more melee attacks than other classes (three in a round, rather than the normal maximum of two) and can utilize the power of the stars for a variety of spectacular at-will effects.

Solarians can choose to attune themselves to either Photon or Graviton energy; each of their powers is connected to one of these two energies, and as they build up their attunement these powers grow stronger. After spending three rounds attuned exclusively to a single type of energy, the Solarian can activate a spectacular manifestation of cosmic force known as a zenith power. Even at level one, a fully attuned Solarian can explode in a miniature supernova, or draw distant enemies closer to them with the power of a black hole. These powers only grow stronger as the Solarian’s experience and understanding of the cosmic balance grows.

Play a Solarian if you…

  • Want to play a knight attuned to the cosmic forces of the universe.
  • Want to be a melee focused combatant with a variety of at-will effects that can shift the battlefield.
  • Want to wield the very power of the cosmos themselves.
  • Enjoy characters with a more philosophical bent.

Soldier

If the Solarian is a master of melee combat, the Soldier is a master of combat, period. Heavily armored, proficient in every kind of weapon, and trained in the culmination of thousands of years of tactics, the Soldier’s skill in a fight is unparalleled. Not only do they have access to more combat options than nearly anyone else.

All Soldiers specialize in a combat style to specialize in (arcane assailant, armor storm, blitz, bombard, guard, hit-and-run, and sharpshoot), and can pick up a second fighting style at level 9. In addition, they can pick up gear boosts that increase the effectiveness of their equipment, representing the modifications they’ve made to their favored combat kits. It doesn’t matter if it’s magic or technology; if it can give a Soldier an edge in combat, they’re willing to give it a shot.

Of course, they wouldn’t be the main combatants of Starfinder if they didn’t have access to bonus Combat Feats. Unlike in Pathfinder, combat feats in Starfinder are far more streamlined (requiring at most one other feat and some BAB and ability score requirements to access). This allows Soldiers to gain access to advanced combat options quickly and easily; for instance, a second level soldier could gain Weapon Focus with every single weapon they are proficient in (which is to say, all of them) with only a two feat investment. And since Weapons in Starfinder are capable of a wide variety of effects (including creating beams, cones, and bursts that would make a Wizard jealous), a Soldier can prove to be one of the most versatile and effective combatants in the game. 

Play a Soldier if you…

  • Want to be a bad-ass power-armored space marine.
  • Want to be a melee combatant but don’t like all that weird cosmic stuff.
  • Want to modify your weapons and armor to fit your combat style.
  • Want to combine magic, technology, and martial prowess.
  • Want to be able to use almost any weapon you can pick up.
  • Want to have a jetpack. Anyone can have a jetpack, but you’re the best at jetpacks.
  • Want to take a variety of combat feats while still having slots left over.

Technomancer

In the Pact Worlds, Magic and Science are effectively the same thing; a fundamental set of rules that governs reality. While Mystics and Solarians focus on the esoteric connections between things, a Technomancer’s approach to magic is much more practical. Using a combination of the scientific method, advanced technology, and a bit of old-fashioned wizardry, Technomancers can hack into the very fabric of the universe to achieve a variety of effects. 

Unlike the Mystic (who is more focused on connections between nature and living things) a Technomancer’s spells are more focused on interfacing with technology, or fiddling with the laws of physics. They can conjure small technological devices, hit things with logic bombs, bend light to create illusions, and drop fireballs like no one’s business.

What makes the Technomancer unique is their approach to magic; by viewing it as a scientific force, they can break the rules of magic as they’ve been known in the universe since the days of ancient Golarion. They have access to a spell cache, which starts out as a way to bypass the need for a spell slot, and can eventually be used to keep certain spell effects running for 24 hours. They can also fuse lower level spell slots together to achieve higher level effects; the most powerful Technomancers can even fuse two of their 6th level spell slots to cast 9th Level spells like the fabled wish.

Technomancers also have access to Spell Hacks, special abilities focused on manipulating magic, technology, or both. Fueled by spell slots, these magic hacks can modify how your spells and equipment function. You can drain the battery from your weapon to power up a spell, modify how a spell functions, force technology to do things that shouldn’t even be possible, or even fabricate equipment from nothing. 

Play a Technomancer if you…

  • Want to play a dedicated spellcaster.
  • Like your magic with a healthy side of science.
  • Want to blend both magic and technology into a single discipline.
  • Are willing to mess with your class resources to achieve an optimal effect.
Dead Fandoms, Part 3

Read Part One of Dead Fandoms here. 

Read Part Two of Dead Fandoms here. 

Before we continue, I want to add the usual caveat that I actually don’t want to be right about these fandoms being dead. I like enthusiasm and energy and it’s a shame to see it vanish.


Mists of Avalon

Remember that period of time of about 15 years, where absolutely everybody read this book and was obsessed with it? It could not have been bigger, and the fandom was Anne Rice huge, overlapping for several years with USENET and the early World Wide Web…but it’s since petered out. 

Mists of Avalon’s popularity may be due to the most excellent case of hitting a demographic sweet spot ever. The book was a feminist retelling of the Arthurian Mythos where Morgan Le Fay is the main character, a pagan from matriarchal goddess religions who is fighting against encroaching Christianity and patriarchal forms of society coming in with it. Also, it made Lancelot bisexual and his conflict is how torn he is about his attraction to both Arthur and Guinevere.

Remember, this novel came out in 1983 – talk about being ahead of your time! If it came out today, the reaction from a certain corner would be something like “it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that tumblr is at it again.”

Man, demographically speaking, that’s called “nailing it.” It used to be one of the favorite books of the kind of person who’s bookshelf is dominated by fantasy novels about outspoken, fiery-tongued redheaded women, who dream of someday moving to Scotland, who love Enya music and Kate Bush, who sell homemade needlepoint stuff on etsy, who consider their religious beliefs neo-pagan or wicca, and who have like 15 cats, three of which are named Isis, Hypatia, and Morrigan.

This type of person is still with us, so why did this novel fade in popularity? There’s actually a single hideous reason: after her death around 2001, facts came out that Marion Zimmer Bradley abused her daughters sexually. Even when she was alive, she was known for defending and enabling a known child abuser, her husband, Walter Breen. To say people see your work differently after something like this is an understatement – especially if your identity is built around being a progressive and feminist author.


Robotech

I try to break up my sections on dead fandoms into three parts: first, I explain the property, then explain why it found a devoted audience, and finally, I explain why that fan devotion and community went away. Well, in the case of Robotech, I can do all three with a single sentence: it was the first boy pilot/giant robot Japanimation series that shot for an older, teenage audience to be widely released in the West. Robotech found an audience when it was the only true anime to be widely available, and lost it when became just another import anime show. In the days of Crunchyroll, it’s really hard to explain what made Robotech so special, because it means describing a different world.

Try to imagine what it was like in 1986 for Japanime fans: there were barely any video imports, and if you wanted a series, you usually had to trade tapes at your local basement club (they were so precious they couldn’t even be sold, only traded). If you were lucky, you were given a script to translate what you were watching. Robotech though, was on every day, usually after school. You want an action figure? Well, you could buy a Robotech Valkyrie or a Minmei figure at your local corner FAO Schwartz. 

However, the very strategy that led to it getting syndicated is the very reason it was later vilified by the purists who emerged when anime became a widespread cultural force: strictly speaking, there actually is no show called “Robotech.” Since Japanese shows tend to be short run, say, 50-60 episodes, it fell well under the 80-100 episode mark needed for syndication in the US. The producer of Harmony Gold, Carl Macek, had a solution: he’d cut three unrelated but similar looking series together into one, called “Robotech.” The shows looked very similar, had similar love triangles, used similar tropes, and even had little references to each other, so the fit was natural. It led to Robotech becoming a weekday afternoon staple with a strong fandom who called themselves “Protoculture Addicts.” There were conventions entirely devoted to Robotech. The supposed shower scene where Minmei was bare-breasted was the barely whispered stuff of pervert legend in pre-internet days. And the tie in novels, written with the entirely western/Harmony Gold conception of the series and which continued the story, were actually surprisingly readable.

The final nail in the coffin of Robotech fandom was the rise of Sailor Moon, Toonami, Dragonball, and yes, Pokemon (like MC Hammer’s role in popularizing hip hop, Pokemon is often written out of its role in creating an audience for the next wave of cartoon imports out of insecurity). Anime popularity in the West can be defined as not a continuing unbroken chain like scifi book fandom is, but as an unrelated series of waves, like multiple ancient ruins buried on top of each other (Robotech was the vanguard of the third wave, as Anime historians reckon); Robotech’s wave was subsumed by the next, which had different priorities and different “core texts.” Pikachu did what the Zentraedi and Invid couldn’t do: they destroyed the SDF-1.


Legion of Super-Heroes

Legion of Superheroes was comic set in the distant future that combined superheroes with space opera, with a visual aesthetic that can best be described as “Star Trek: the Motion Picture, if it was set in a disco.” 

I’ve heard wrestling described as “a soap opera for men.” If that’s the case, then Legion of Super-Heroes was a soap opera for nerds. The book is about attractive 20-somethings who seem to hook up all the time. As a result, it had a large female fanbase, which, I cannot stress enough, is incredibly unusual for this era in comics history. And if you have female fans, you get a lot of shipping and slashfic, and lots of speculation over which of the boy characters in the series is gay. The fanon answer is Element Lad, because he wore magenta-pink and never had a girlfriend. (Can’t argue with bulletproof logic like that.) In other words, it was a 1970s-80s fandom that felt much more “modern” than the more right-brained, bloodless, often anal scifi fandoms that existed around the same time, where letters pages were just nitpicking science errors by model train and elevator enthusiasts.

Legion Headquarters seemed to be a rabbit fuck den built around a supercomputer and Danger Room. Cosmic Boy dressed like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror. There’s one member, Duo Damsel, who can turn into two people, a power that, in the words of Legion writer Jim Shooter, was “useful for weird sex…and not much else.”

LSH was popular because the fans were insanely horny. This is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the thirstiest fandom of all time.  You might think I’m overselling this, but I really think that’s an under-analyzed part of how some kinds of fiction build a devoted fanbase.  

For example, a big reason for the success of Mass Effect is that everyone has a favorite girl or boy, and you have the option to romance them. Likewise, everyone who was a fan of Legion remembers having a crush. Sardonic Ultra Boy for some reason was a favorite among gay male nerds (aka the Robert Conrad Effect). Tall, blonde, amazonian telepath Saturn Girl, maybe the first female team leader in comics history, is for the guys with backbone who prefer Veronica over Betty. Shrinking Violet was a cute Audrey Hepburn type. And don’t forget Shadow Lass, who was a blue skinned alien babe with pointed ears and is heavily implied to have an accent (she was Aayla Secura before Aayla Secura was Aayla Secura). Light Lass was commonly believed to be “coded lesbian” because of a short haircut and her relationships with men didn’t work out. The point is, it’s one thing to read about the adventures of a superteam, and it implies a totally different level of mental and emotional involvement to read the adventures of your imaginary girlfriend/boyfriend.  

Now, I should point out that of all the fandoms I’ve examined here, LSH was maybe the smallest. Legion was never a top seller, but it was a favorite of the most devoted of fans who kept it alive all through the seventies and eighties with an energy and intensity disproportionate to their actual numbers. My gosh, were LSH fans devoted! Interlac and Legion Outpost were two Legion fanzines that are some of the most famous fanzines in comics history.

If nerd culture fandoms were drugs, Star Wars would be alcohol, Doctor Who would be weed, but Legion of Super-Heroes would be injecting heroin directly into your eyeballs. Maybe it is because the Legionnaires were nerdy, too: they played Dungeons and Dragons in their off time (an escape, no doubt, from their humdrum, mundane lives as galaxy-rescuing superheroes). There were sometimes call outs to Monty Python. Basically, the whole thing had a feel like the dorkily earnest skits or filk-singing at a con. Legion felt like it’s own fan series, guest starring Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day.

It helped that the boundary between fandom and professional was incredibly porous. For instance, pro-artist Dave Cockrum did covers for Legion fanzines. Former Legion APA members Todd and Mary Biernbaum got a chance to actually write Legion, where, with the gusto of former slashfic writers given the keys to canon, their major contribution was a subplot that explicitly made Element Lad gay. Mike Grell, a professional artist who got paid to work on the series, did vaguely porno-ish fan art. Again, it’s hard to tell where the pros started and the fandom ended; the inmates were running the asylum.

Mostly, Legion earned this devotion because it could reward it in a way no other comic could. Because Legion was not a wide market comic but was bought by a core audience, after a point, there were no self-contained one-and-done Legion stories. In fact, there weren’t even really arcs as we know it, which is why Legion always has problems getting reprinted in trade form. Legion was plotted like a daytime soap opera: there were always five different stories going on in every issue, and a comic involved cutting between them. Sure, like daytime soap operas, there’s never a beginning, just endless middles, so it was totally impossible for a newbie to jump on board…but soap operas know what they are doing: long term storytelling rewards a long term reader.

This brings me to today, where Legion is no longer being published by DC. There is no discussion about a movie or TV revival. This is amazing. Comics are a world where the tiniest nerd groups get pandered to: Micronauts, Weirdworld, Seeker 3000, and Rom have had revival series, for pete’s sake. It’s incredible there’s no discussion of a film or TV treatment, either; friggin Cyborg from New Teen Titans is getting a solo movie. 

Why did Legion stop being such a big deal? Where did the fandom that supported it dissolve to? One word: X-Men. Legion was incredibly ahead of its time. In the 60s and 70s, there were barely any “fan” comics, since superhero comics were like animation is today: mostly aimed at kids, with a minority of discerning adult/teen fans, and it was success among kids, not fans, that led to something being a top seller (hence, “fan favorites” in the 1970s, as surprising as it is to us today, often did not get a lot of work, like Don MacGregor or Barry Smith). But as newsstands started to push comics out, the fan audience started to get bigger and more important…everyone else started to catch up to the things that made Legion unique: most comics started to have attractive people who paired up into couples and/or love triangles, and featured extremely byzantine long term storytelling. If Legion of Super-Heroes is going to be remembered for anything, it’s for being the smaller scale “John the Baptist” to the phenomenon of X-Men, the ultimate “fan” comic.

The other thing that killed Legion, apart from Marvel’s Merry Mutants, that is, was the r-word: reboots. A reboot only works for some properties, but not others. You reboot something when you want to find something for a mass audience to respond to, like with Zorro, Batman, or Godzilla.

Legion, though, was not a comic for everybody, it was a fanboy/girl comic beloved by a niche who read it for continuing stories and minutiae (and to jack off, and in some cases, jill off). Rebooting a comic like that is a bad idea. You do not reboot something where the main way you engage with the property, the greatest strength, is the accumulated lore and history. Rebooting a property like that means losing the reason people like it, and unless it’s something with a wide audience, you only lose fans and won’t get anything in return for it. So for something like Legion (small fandom obsessed with long form plots and details, but unlike Trek, no name recognition) a reboot is the ultimate Achilles heel that shatters everything, a self-destruct button they kept hitting over and over and over until there was nothing at all left.


E. E. Smith’s Lensman Novels

The Lensman series is like Gil Evans’s jazz: it’s your grandparents’ favorite thing that you’ve never heard of. 

I mean, have you ever wondered exactly what scifi fandom talked about before the rise of the major core texts and cultural objects (Star Trek, Asimov, etc)? Well, it was this. Lensmen was the subject of fanfiction mailed in manilla envelopes during the 30s, 40s, and 50s (some of which are still around). If you’re from Boston, you might recognize that the two biggest and oldest scifi cons there going back to the 1940s, Boskone (Boscon, get it?) and Arisia, are references to the Lensman series. This series not only created space opera as we know it, but contributed two of the biggest visuals in scifi, the interstellar police drawn from different alien species, and space marines in power armor.

My favorite sign of how big this series was and how fans responded to it, was a great wedding held at Worldcon that duplicated Kimball Kinnison and Clarissa’s wedding on Klovia. This is adorable:

The basic story is pure good vs. evil: galactic civilization faces a crime and piracy wave of unprecedented proportions from technologically advanced pirates (the memory of Prohibition, where criminals had superior firearms and faster cars than the cops, was strong by the mid-1930s). A young officer, Kimball Kinnison (who speaks in a Stan Lee esque style of dialogue known as “mid-century American wiseass”), graduates the academy and is granted a Lens, an object from an ancient mystery civilization, who’s true purpose is unknown.

Lensman Kinnison discovers that the “crime wave” is actually a hostile invasion and assault by a totally alien culture that is based on hierarchy, intolerant of failure, and at the highest level, is ruled by horrifying nightmare things that breathe freezing poison gases. Along the way, he picks up allies, like van Buskirk, a variant human space marine from a heavy gravity planet who can do a standing jump of 20 feet in full space armor, Worsel, a telepathic dragon warrior scientist with the technical improvisation skills of MacGyver (who reads like the most sadistically minmaxed munchkinized RPG character of all time), and Nandreck, a psychologist from a Pluto-like planet of selfish cowards.

The scale of the conflict starts small, just skirmishes with pirates, but explodes to near apocalyptic dimensions. This series has space battles with millions of starships emerging from hyperspacial tubes to attack the ultragood Arisians, homeworld of the first intelligent race in the cosmos. By the end of the fourth book, there are mind battles where the reflected and parried mental beams leave hundreds of innocent bystanders dead. In the meantime we get evil Black Lensmen, the Hell Hole in Space, and superweapons like the Negasphere and the Sunbeam, where an entire solar system was turned into a vacuum tube.

It’s not hard to understand why Lensmen faded in importance. While the alien Lensmen had lively psychologies, Lensman Kimball Kinnison was not an interesting person, and that’s a problem when scifi starts to become more about characterization. The Lensman books, with their love of police and their sexism (it is an explicit plot point that the Lens is incompatible with female minds – in canon there are no female Lensmen) led to it being judged harshly by the New Wave writers of the 1960s, who viewed it all as borderline fascist military-scifi establishment hokum, and the reputation of the series never recovered from the spirit of that decade.


Prisoner of Zenda

Prisoner of Zenda is a novel about a roguish con-man who visits a postage-stamp, charmingly picturesque Central European kingdom with storybook castles, where he finds he looks just like the local king and is forced to pose as him in palace intrigues. It’s a swashbuckling story about mistaken identity, swordfighting, and intrigue, one part swashbuckler and one part dark political thriller.

The popularity of this book predates organized fandom as we know it, so I wonder if “fandom” is even the right word to use. All the same, it inspired fanatical dedication from readers. There was such a popular hunger for it that an entire library could be filled with nothing but rip-offs of Prisoner of Zenda. If you have a favorite writer who was active between 1900-1950, I guarantee he probably wrote at least one Prisoner of Zenda rip-off (which is nearly always the least-read book in his oeuvre). The only novel in the 20th Century that inspired more imitators was Sherlock Holmes. Robert Heinlein and Edmond “Planet Smasher” Hamilton wrote scifi updates of Prisoner of Zenda. Doctor Who lifted the plot wholesale for the Tom Baker era episode, “Androids of Tara,” Futurama did this exact plot too, and even Marvel Comics has its own copy of Ruritania, Doctor Doom’s Kingdom of Latveria. Even as late as the 1980s, every kids’ cartoon did a “Prisoner of Zenda” episode, one of the stock plots alongside “everyone gets hit by a shrink ray” and the Christmas Carol episode.

Prisoner of Zenda imitators were so numerous, that they even have their own Library of Congress sub-heading, of “Ruritanian Romance.” 

One major reason that Prisoner of Zenda fandom died off is that, between World War I and World War II, there was a brutal lack of sympathy for anything that seemed slightly German, and it seems the incredibly Central European Prisoner of Zenda was a casualty of this. Far and away, the largest immigrant group in the United States through the entire 19th Century were Germans, who were more numerous than Irish or Italians. There were entire cities in the Midwest that were two-thirds German-born or German-descent, who met in Biergartens and German community centers that now no longer exist.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote a lot about how the German-American world he grew up in vanished because of the prejudice of the World Wars, and that disappearance was so extensive that it was retroactive, like someone did a DC comic-style continuity reboot where it all never happened: Germans, despite being the largest immigrant group in US history, are left out of the immigrant story. The “Little Bohemias” and “Little Berlins” that were once everywhere no longer exist. There is no holiday dedicated to people of German ancestry in the US, the way the Irish have St. Patrick’s Day or Italians have Columbus Day (there is Von Steuben’s Day, dedicated to a general who fought with George Washington, but it’s a strictly Midwest thing most people outside the region have never heard of, like Sweetest Day). If you’re reading this and you’re an academic, and you’re not sure what to do your dissertation on, try writing about the German-American immigrant world of the 19th and 20th Centuries, because it’s a criminally under-researched topic.


A. Merritt

Pop quiz: who was the most popular and influential fantasy author during the 1930s and 40s? 

If you answered Tolkien or Robert E. Howard, you’re wrong - it was actually Abraham Merritt. He was the most popular writer of his age of the kind of fiction he did, and he’s since been mostly forgotten. Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons, has said that A. Merritt was his favorite fantasy and horror novelist.

Why did A. Merritt and his fandom go away, when at one point, he was THE fantasy author? Well, obviously one big answer was the 1960s counterculture, which brought different writers like Tolkien and Lovecraft to the forefront (by modern standards Lovecraft isn’t a fantasy author, but he was produced by the same early century genre-fluid effluvium that produced Merritt and the rest). The other answer is that A. Merritt was so totally a product of the weird occult speculation of his age that it’s hard to even imagine him clicking with audiences in other eras. His work is based on fringe weirdness that appealed to early 20th Century spiritualism and made sense at the time: reincarnation, racial memory, an obsession with lost race stories and the stone age, and weirdness like the 1920s belief that the Polar Arctic is the ancestral home of the Caucasian race. In other words, it’s impossible to explain Merritt without a ton of sentences that start with “well, people in the 1920s thought that…” That’s not a good sign when it comes to his universality. 


That’s it for now. Do you have any suggestions on a dead fandom, or do you keep one of these “dead” fandoms alive in your heart?

How to Make Your Villain Domestic but Still Evil

It’s the oxymoron that attracts us. Billowing black cape, terrifying worldviews, a willingness to make the streets run red with blood – and you know what would be hilarious? Them trying and failing to make morning pancakes. You know what would really hit us in the feels? Watching them show tenderness around a special someone.

Having a villain with a domestic side is lassoing a black hole, and it’s a tantalizing thing to watch. However, anyone who’s indulged in these daydreams with their own villains has probably encountered one very specific issue: it makes them less evil. They lose their edge.

For example, look at Crowley from CW’s Supernatural. This was a guy to be feared at one point; arriving out of nowhere at unexpected times, always playing both sides of the conflict, and you could be certain he would skin anyone necessary to get what he wanted – usually without getting a single drop of blood on his impeccable suit.

Flash forward to recent seasons, and we’ve seen Crowley cry and whimper more times than Dean has died –which is saying something. At first, it was fascinating to discover this powerful character actually had a tender side; and now, when Crowley makes a threat, we’re about as afraid as when any low-level demon makes one. This is because his evil was too compromised. He let himself go.

How can we avoid this mistake with our villains? The answer isn’t making them crush puppies and hate butterflies at every turn; it’s in balancing their core scariness with their softer side – giving them complexity, giving us a bit of “aww,” and making their eventual whiplash back into ‘terrifying’ all the more wonderful.

For this, we’re going to use Epic of Lilith by Ivars Ozols as an example. This book centers on arguably the original female villain – Lilith, the first woman of the Garden of Eden, who got on the “good guys’” bad side by refusing to submit to someone who was clearly her equal. There won’t be any spoilers below, but if you give the book a read (it’s an easy page turner), the points will be driven home stronger.

Plus it’s a book with a great female villain who isn’t objectified (don’t let the cover fool you, seriously) and prose that isn’t full of sexual over- or undertones. Talk about a win, eh?

Here we go.    

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A Handful of Questions to Ask Yourself While Creating a Character

Compelling characters make compelling stories. Here’s a bunch of questions you can ask yourself while developing a character. 

1) What does your character want from life? What is their motivation? What drives them? Most people want things - it could be as small as wanting a sandwich, or something huge like wanting to change the world. Does your character want something? Does your character dream? What about? And if they don’t, why don’t they? 

2) Is your character shy? Outgoing? Insecure? Proud? Why are they the way they are? My favourite example of this question answered well is Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. He’s insecure because he doesn’t come from a wealthy family, has a bunch of older brothers who are all amazing in some form or way, his mother always wanted a daughter, Ginny, and so he doesn’t feel as wanted. Also, one of his best friends is the Chosen One, and the other is the brightest witch of her age - a cocktail that would make anyone doubt themselves. 

3) What kind of clothes does your character wear? Why? The way you dress says a lot about who you are. For instance, If a character wears designer clothes and the latest fashions, it shows that they have the means to keep up with the trends. However if they wear a medley of things bought second-hand, or buy cheap stuff from supermarkets, they might not have the money to spare on outfits, or maybe they just don’t care about fashion.

4) How does your character speak?  Speech patterns have origins. An accent, language, a dialect, all signify geography, social class, personality. It could be as simple as cussing too much. But be sure you know why your character speaks the way they do. And if it’s not a speech pattern you’re familiar with, do your research!

5) Likes and dislikes I sometimes give characters specific likes (”I like tomatoes”) or specific dislikes (”I dislike eggs”), simply because it humanises them. You don’t have to do this, or be as specific as that, if it doesn’t serve your story. But it’s definitely something you can consider. Everyone has those little things they love and hate, and you can go places with them. (”I hate eggs because my childhood bully threw an egg at me and scarred me for life.”) Be creative and have fun with it.

6) Who does your character love? Romantic attraction isn’t necessary to create a wholesome character. Nevertheless, if they are in love with someone, be sure to understand why they love someone. Love is at its best, a complicated emotion difficult to break down, but a relationship has to be believable. As a reader, I need to be able to look at a couple and think, yeah, I can see what their love is built on. 

7) What would their favourite songs be? This is not so much a question as it is a trick I use to get a better feel for who my character is. No matter what time period your story is set in, you can use this to understand your character better. Take your playlist and pick what songs they would enjoy. It says a lot about who they are. For instance, one of my characters would enjoy Western classical music and nothing else. Another character listens to the worst kind of pop and loves it. 

8) How does your character react under stress? Can they cope with it? Do they get tense? Angry? Teary? Why? Why not? How a person deals with stress is a vital part of their personality. Decisions taken under stress can be the worst you’ve ever made, or (depending on how you handle stress), can be effective solutions to problems. The way a person reacts to stress often has a lot to do with their background and upbringing. Example (this is a generalisation, of course): someone who comes from a difficult family background may have more extreme reactions to stress than someone who is well-adjusted and comes from a happy family. 

9) What does your character do when they’re alone? You’re often a different person alone than when you are with other people. The pretences and false faces come away, and all the little thoughts you usually ignore now have time to play in the open. Who is your character when they’re alone? What do they do? What do they think about? Why do they think about/do things in that way?

10) Where does your character fail? Characters must have flaws to be compelling. Nobody is perfect, and your character shouldn’t be either. Whether its insecurity or anger, or a lack of initiative, or smaller things like not being a good artist, or not being the best at sports–we all have personal failings and we all have things we aren’t good at. Consider: where does your character mess up? 

I hope this helps! Remember to have fun. Developing characters can be the most exciting thing. Keep an open mind while working. Happy writing! 

anonymous asked:

heres a prompt if u were interested: neil being oblivious when flirted with constantly while andrew doing nothing, passing by, twirling his racquet is enough to get neil's attention (the rest of the foxes smirk)

“You’re all zoned out,” Matt says in her ear. Dan tips him immediately backwards with a hand to the chest.

“Shush,” she tells him, gritted through the straw she’s worrying between her teeth. She ran out of the watered-down pepsi they’re serving in battered plastic jugs a half hour ago.

“Dan.”

“Shush,” she insists, pressing two fingers to his mouth. She’s watching Neil trying to fill his water cup over at the far side of the banquet hall. He’s hovering in that way he does, like a shark who hasn’t figured out if something’s food yet.

There’s this sweet brown-eyed boy trying to talk to him, possibly the only male cheerleader in the room, certainly the least in the loop about Exy gossip. Dan watches him touch Neil’s arm and Neil jerks backwards into the table, toppling an entire icy water jug so it slops onto the floor and seeps through the tablecloth to the dark wood underneath.

Heads pop up, the boy falls all over himself to pour Neil a new glass, and Neil wanders off, bored.

Dan has noticed that people really want Neil to have a heart of gold. They like the news stories and they want them for themselves. They want the seams showing on his face and the tragedy in his back pocket, and they want to show everyone how accepting they are for finding his scars sexy. 

All they really want is his trim waist and his pretty eyes and his vice-cap badge and the way he shoves cameras away and has more history than any twenty-year-old has any business having.

Dan’s seen it all before. The way people like the character you’re playing so much that they want to take you home and open you up and see how deep it goes.

Neil’s worse at knowing when it’s happening. Dan’s a professional. She can see the way their eyes follow him because at least a dozen are always following her too, especially in places like this banquet. They look at Neil, or Dan, and a little part of them expects a show.

She watches Neil walk towards them with his eyes pouring over the room like liquid and finding every crevice, every exit. She looks at Matt.

“He’s doing that thing where he’s making a spectacle but he thinks he’s being very subtle.”

“That’s his whole shtick. I’m fond of it, now.” Matt grins.

“Do you think he actually noticed he was being hit on?”

Matt hums, watching Neil wind through the tables back to the fox—trojan extravaganza at theirs. “I doubt he knows anything about that boy other than the fact that he was in front of him for a bit.”

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How to Write Successful Dialogue

@albino-troll-ninja asked:

Got any feedback/advice/links for someone who wants to make lengthy, relatively action-less dialogues between characters more than just “‘Loren ipsum,’ he said.” “'Ipsum lorem’, she replied.” for forty paragraphs?

No problem!  I love dialogue, so I’m happy to be of assistance in this department.  

Here are my personal rules of thumb:

1.  Allow the dialogue to show the character’s personality.

If you really think about your conversations, it can be telling exactly how much of someone’s personality can shine through when they speak.  

Allow your character’s persona, values, and disposition to spill over when they speak, and it will make for a significantly more interesting read for you and your reader. 

For example:  let’s take a look at a mundane exchange, and see how it can be spruced up by injecting it with a good dose of personality.

Exhibit A)

“How was your day, by the way?”  asked Oscar, pouring himself a drink.

“Not too bad,” replied Byron.  “Cloudy, but warm.  Not too many people.”

“That’s nice.”   

Exhibit B) 

“How was your day, by the way?” asked Oscar, pouring himself a drink. 

“Ugh.  Not too bad,” groaned Byron, draping himself on the couch.  “Warm, but dreary.  Gray clouds as far as the eye could see.  Not anyone worth mentioning out this time of year.”  A pause.  “Well, except me, of course.”

“Hmmph,” said Oscar, glancing over his shoulder.  “If it were me, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Isn’t that better?  Already, the audience will feel as though they’ve gotten to know these characters. 

This works for longer dialogue, too:  allow the character’s personal beliefs, life philosophy, and generally disposition to dictate how they talk, and your readers will thank you.

Of course, this example is also good for giving the reader a general sense of what the characters’ relationship is like.  Which brings me to my next point:

2.  Allow the dialogue to show the character’s relationship. 

Everyone is a slightly different person depending on who they’re around.  Dynamic is an important thing to master, and when you nail it between two characters, sparks can fly.

Work out which character assumes more of the Straight Man role, and which is quicker to go for lowbrow humor.  Think of who’s the more analytical of the two and who’s the more impulse driven.  Who would be the “bad cop” if the situation called for it.  

Then, allow for this to show in your dialogue, and it will immediately become infinitely more entertaining.

Example:  

“Alright,” said Fogg, examining the map before him.  “Thus far, we’ve worked out how we’re going to get in through the ventilation system, and meet up in the office above the volt.  Then, we’re cleared to start drilling.”

Passepartout grinned.  “That’s what she said.” 

“Oh, for the love of God – REALLY, Jean.  Really!?  We are PLANNING a goddamn bank robbery!”

Some more questions about dynamic to ask yourself before writing dialogue: 

  • Who is more likely to talk and who is more likely to listen? 
  • Who would talk with their mouth full of food and who would politely wait to swallow?
  • Is their relationship fraternal/sororal?  If so, who would be the “little sibling?”
  • Is one of them a bit of a mother/father figure to the other? 
  • Who more frequently gets irritated with who?
  • Who has the more understated sense of humor?  Who’s a bit more juvenile?
  • Who’s better educated?  Does it show when they speak?
  • Who’s a bit more pretentious/full of themselves?
  • Who interrupts more?
  • Who swears more?

This can also be a valuable tool to cluing your reader in on who the characters are as people: 

3.  Think about what this dialogue can tell the reader.

It’s better to fill the reader in more gradually than to waist your valuable first chapter on needless exposition, and dialogue is a great way to do it.  

Think about what your characters are saying, and think about ways in which you can “sneak in” details about their past, their families, and where they came from into the discussion.  

For example, you could say:

Tuckerfield was a happy-go-lucky Southern guy with domineering parents,

and bore everyone to death.  

Or you could have him say: 

“Sheesh.  All this sneakin’ around in the woods late at night reminds me of being back in Kansas.  Good times, man, good times.”  There was a pause, before he added,  “‘Course, it wasn’t nearly so fun when I came home late for curfew and had to sleep on the front step, but y’know.  Life happens.”

Isn’t that much better than the omnipresent monotone?

Dialogue is also a great way to fill in potential plot holes early on, by having your characters talk them out and explain them. 

Moreover, dialogue can also be used to foreshadow, offer relevant hints about the climax, or provide information necessary for the resolution.  

So use it wisely!  

4.  Sprinkle in mini-actions throughout. 

Even in actionless dialogue, no one actually does nothing.  In my case, for example, I stim a lot.  I play with my hair.  I play with eating utensils.  It’s probably very annoying for those around me, but you get the point.

Less fidget-y folks might not do this as much, but they rarely sit totally still during conversations, either.  So occasionally add in these mini-actions, and it will make your characters feel a bit less like disembodied voices or floating heads.

For instance:  

Jo leaned back in her chair rolling her stiff neck from sitting still for so long.  “…So the way I see it,” she continued.  “Even if Pheris Beuller’s Day Off didn’t take place in Cameron’s imagination, Pheris was clearly a sociopath whose behavior shouldn’t be glamorized.”

“Ha.  As if.”  Avery paused to sip her root beer.  “Pheris,” she began, raising an index finger.  “Was clearly emblematic of counterculturist movements such as the Beat Generation, and his disregard for the capitalistic dogmas imposed upon younger generations is something to be admired.” 

“For Christ’s sake, will you two lighten up?”  scoffed Leo, counting out bills for the pizza.  “We were talking about which movie we wanted to watch tonight.  Jesus.”

5.  Remember how people actually speak.

In real life conversations, people don’t speak in paragraphs.  Alright, some people might, and this can actually be interesting as the personality aspect of a certain type of character.  

But generally speaking, people don’t speak in paragraphs, or as though they’re writing thought-out prose or letters.

In real conversations, people stutter.  They laugh at their own jokes, repeat words or phrases, and lose their train of thought.

Naturally, you don’t have to illustrate in your writing exactly how chaotic and mundane human speech can be, as writing would be pretty boring in general if it was strictly limited to miming reality.  But it’s good to keep in mind that your characters are talking, not writing in purple prose.

Exhibit A: 

“When I was a young boy, my mother and I had a most tumultuous relationship,” said Marcus.  “She saw me as a hallmark of her past failures, and took every opportunity to remind me as such.”     

Exhibit B:

“My mom, when I was kid, we had what you’d call a sort of tumultuous relationship,” said Marcus.  “Nothing I ever did was right for her.  She, uh – I think she saw me as sort of a hallmark of her past failures.  Took every opportunity to remind me of that.”    

Which of these is more organic, more easy to visualize, and more telling of character?  Unless the point of this dialogue is to illustrate that Marcus is a gentleman crook of some kind with pristine speaking mannerisms, I’m going to say the latter. 


Best of luck, I hope this helps, and happy writing!  <3

Chat Noir’s Popularity and Ladybug’s Importance

I really don’t understand where the notion that Paris doesn’t like or care about Chat Noir came from. I mean while he obviously isn’t as popular as Ladybug, people seem to appreciate him fine.

At the statue unveiling, Chat was the only one who showed up and not one single person in the entire crowd complained about where Ladybug was. The Mayor wanted her there, but he was fine with going on without her and Theo was reluctant about it because of his crush on her. But overall everyone was excited to see him! Even when Ladybug was absent, and before they revealed the statues, they continued cheering, and they took pictures of him.

I know that this is actually Copycat, but these people don’t. He’s Chat Noir to them and as soon as he enters the room they’re immediately in awe over being so close to the famous hero (the girl on the left even fangirls a little).

Look at how stoked this family is over seeing him. He’s not even doing cool superhero stuff, he’s just walking inside the museum.

When Ladybug arrived this was Nino’s reaction:

When Chat Noir arrived he was like:

This one random and well meaning dude cheering him on in the back.

Honestly no one has ever said anything bad about him, the only person who has even came close to insulting him had been Antibug by implying that he was a “sidekick” once.

However when you’re akumatized you’re not held accountable for your words and actions. And she had specifically said that as a way to persuade Chat to her side, so there’s not really a lot of weight in her words.

So yeah people cheer for Ladybug, but they also have shown to get excited over Chat Noir. It’s just that Ladybug is more popular than him, and it makes complete sense in-universe why she is.

It’s more than that she’s the main character or that she’s in a show where there’s a girl targeted demographic. 

Ladybug is the leader, the one who wins the battles because of the plans she comes up with.

She swooped in and rescued the Mayor’s daughter in front of all of Paris and when everyone was cowering before Hawkmoth, she alone stood up against him and stunned them all by symbolically demolishing the “face of terror.” And then afterwards gave a heroic speech that gave them hope and cemented their trust in both her and Chat Noir. 

Not only can she purify the Akuma victims, but it’s because of her healing powers that she and especially Chat, will never have to worry about collateral damages or facing law suits over them, which probably helps the public be more forgiving towards Akuma victims when there’s no lasting devastation to deal with. This is a pretty common trope in superhero stories like in Captain America: Civil War, the destruction from Man of Steel being the set up for Batman vs Superman, and why the heroes in the Incredibles had to retire, but because of Ladybug this will never be an issue.

She has the power to bring people back from the mcfreaking DEAD!!!! (Seriously please think about that, like I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if there was some weird religious cult worshiping Ladybug because of that)

And yes people have died in this show.

In a building this size there had to have been people inside it. Probably barricading themselves while Stone Heart is rampaging outside.

aaaaaand they’re definitely dead (or severely injured in the least).

But they’re alive now because Ladybug brought them back, and again this helps the public be more forgiving towards the Akuma victims because no one really “died or got hurt.” 

Remember back in the Origins episode, where Officer Roger actually got injured from Stone Heart and how we saw everyone giving Ivan a hard time afterwards?

Of course this was before Ladybug used her Miraculous Cure and healed all the damage/injuries. This also means that no vengeful citizens will go after the Akuma victims or the heroes in a heartbroken rage of losing a loved one, which is good since they’d be really easy prey for Hawkmoth and it would only ensue an endless cycle of mourning Akumas. 

In fact if Ladybug didn’t have those powers, there’d probably be much more pressure on her and Chat to either defeat Hawkmoth for good or to give their miraculous to him to end it all. 

There’s also the possibility that there’d be attempts to put past Akuma victims on trial, depending on the damage they’ve left, physical or emotional. Even if they were mind controlled, it’s harder to appease with that when you’re left with the wreckage and until Ladybug and Chat Noir capture Hawkmoth they’d probably want someone to blame.

And all the big Ladybug fans have all been girls. Alya, Chloe, and Manon who like in real life are inspired by a powerful female figure and not only admire her, but also want to be like her (Chloe who cosplays and roleplays as her, Alya who from the beginning had an interest in super heroines and made a point to write about a strong fictional female character for the movie in Horrificator, and Manon who wanted the Ladybug doll so much she didn’t care that she had a torn arm).

So basically while it’s always great to appreciate Chat Noir, I don’t believe that he’s necessarily underappreciated by Paris. People respect him and even if Ladybug is more popular it’s not as if it’s undeserved or unreasonable. And above all, she has never taken all the credit herself: from the very beginning of their partnership where she emphasized to Paris that they’ll both do everything they can to help and all throughout the series!

And as for Chat himself, he seems pretty satisfied with all this. People generally love him and Ladybug repeatedly reaffirms that they are a team, that even if their popularity isn’t equal they both know that they are equal to each other, and he can openly enjoy his freedom that he doesn’t have as Adrien Agreste.

So yeah, he’s doing okay.

[Edit] TL;DR: Just because Ladybug is more popular than Chat doesn’t mean that he’s hated and there are very valid reasons as to why she is more popular than him. And ultimately? It doesn’t matter. Not to Ladybug or Chat.

[Edit 2] : Please read my post relating to this topic