Your reality is important and what you feel and who you are is valid, no matter what anybody wants to tell you, no matter what the world wants to think, you’re valid and your feelings are valid, and you’re important, and you’re loved and you belong anywhere, cause you’re a human being and you fucking belong and I love you.
Keep your life private and you’ll enjoy it. Never put your business in public and then expect the public to stay out of your business. If you have a problem with someone don’t tell social media, tell the person involved.
For me, I always knew CRBD was going to be primarily for teenagers/young adults, because that’s who YA modern fantasy
appeals to. However, if you’re not sure who your target audience is, you can determine it in few steps:
How old is your protagonist? Age isn’t always a factor in who will be reading your book, but it can help. Typically books feature protagonists in the same age group as the reader, which can be broadly defined as adult/teen/child.
What demographics does your genre appeal to? If you’ve written a sci-fi romance, look at other sci-fi romances. Who reads them? Who buys them? Chances are you’ll find your target audience with a little research.
What about your book’s content? If you were to put your book on the same scale as a film, G to NC-17, where would your book fall? General Audiences for children? NC-17 for adults? Somewhere in between? The content should match your audience’s maturity level.
What demographics is your content relevant to?
What demographics would most relate to your story and find meaning in it? Figure out who would benefit the most from reading your story. It helps to look at your themes, as well as the challenges in the story.
Or, before you even start writing, determine your audience. Tailor the story to them and know your limits if you’re sticking within an age group. Research what genres appeal to what demographics.
Let’s say that you’re texting back and forth with a potential sugar daddy. You want to find out more information about him but you don’t know his name and you are not sure where to start. One trick that I do and it probably works half the time is to use the Facebook “Forgot Account” feature. Go to Facebook and click “Forgot Account?” then enter his phone number. If it works, you will see his name and photo. Then you can look him up. If it doesn’t work, you can try other methods to find the information you need.
Last night I finally came out to my dad. He was the last person in my family I had to tell. I left him a letter to read while I went to stay somewhere else for a few days. I wanted him to have a few days to himself to just process this huge change. He texted me last night, assuming after he read the letter, and told me he loves me. I couldn’t be more proud of myself. I feel so relieved, like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My friend told me I should share my letter. He said it covers all the bases. I am going to share my letter on every social media platform I can and on Reddit in the hopes that it will help someone some day, even if it’s just one person.
Here it is:
This letter is not very easy to write as I’m sure it won’t be that easy for you to read either. I’ve been hiding a huge part of myself from you for a while and I’ve gotten to a point where I’m ready to tell you so I’m just going to say it. I am transgender. *Transgender: denoting or relating to a person whose self identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.*
For the longest time, I identified as lesbian and I ignored and denied any other possible identity until about a year ago. I started realizing how much more comfortable I was when appearing masculine. People would call me “sir” or use male pronouns when referring to me and I wouldn’t correct them. I have always been male at heart and in my mind although it wasn’t that long ago I started admitting it to myself. The first time I said it aloud to myself, a huge weight was lifted of my shoulders. Within, 48 hours of admitting it to myself, I was coming out to my mom and her family, my siblings and all my friends. I had mixed reactions which was expected as this is a huge change. Also, I came out a couple weeks ago at work and every one of my coworkers were accepting and supportive; the human resources office called me personally and asked me what name I preferred to be called and how they could help in making my transition at work easier.
For me, being my true self will mean doctors appointments, hormone replacement medicine and surgery. I have been waiting to start making appointments until I told you. The medicine I will go on is Testosterone. It will change my physical appearance to be more masculine and it will make my voice deeper. I am telling you this because I want you to know that even though my physical appearance will change, my personality will not. I will still be the same person you’ve known for 21 years and I hope that one day, you can accept and love me as your son and not your daughter.
For the past year, my friends, now my coworkers and some family have used male pronouns when referring to me and calling me by my preferred name which is Charlie. I am more comfortable with myself now than I ever have been before but, not completely; hormones will get me to that point.
I love you, Dad.
P.S. I did not want to be there when you read this so you would have time to process it alone. I will be home later this week.
Writer to writer, how do you go about creating characters who extend beyond your sphere of personal knowledge. I don't want to be one of those cishet white writers who only write cishet white characters, but equally as terrifying is misrepresenting whatever group I want to give representation to. Its a really big dilema for me because I have not been exposed to a whole lot in my life yet, so my go to point of reference for creating realistic human characters is myself. Please, any tips?
My main character is
biracial, so I get ya. I am not Japanese, so I’ve done my best not to
misrepresent Japanese people. As far as tips, this sphere of
race/gender/sexuality/ability/etc, while scary on the outside, is much the same
as any writing. And this is the part where I make a list. Because, well…
Find an understanding through
research. This type of research is
so important because you need to understand the culture of the group as well as
what’s okay vs not okay. After all, your character would probably know all of
this and it’s your job to represent your character as accurately as possible. For
example, if your character is LGBTQ, you could start a polite dialogue with
some out, open, and willing to talk LGBTQ folks. Ask them if they’d be okay
with answering a few questions about your characters/concepts/etc. Many people
(including my queer self) would be delighted that you would even care and be
more than happy to help you. Just keep in mind that it’s best to get multiple
perspectives on any topic because no one person is the Voice of Their People™.
If you feel awkward about real life talk, internet talk works too. If you feel
awkward about that, there’s plenty of resources just a Google search away—it’s
just like any other part of the process.
Make them human before anything
else. Just because a character is, for
example, a person of color, their entire identity doesn’t revolve around their
skin color. Basing their personality off of one aspect of their life is a great
way to make very stereotypical and offensive character. Obviously, people are
more than just a single identity. Understand that there are many different
people in the world and that just because some people are of the same
race/gender/sexuality/ability does not mean they will all have the same
experiences/personality/culture/etc. We’re all human first, so treat your
character like a human. Also know that the problem isn’t only in who your character is, it’s in how you present
them through their POV.
Don’t preach what you don’t
know. If you are not in the same demographic as your character,
it’s best to avoid making the book’s main conflict about their experience with
oppression within their demographic. Example: I am a cis woman, so writing a
novel about a trans woman coming to term with her gender identity is a hugely
inappropriate. It’s so deeply intimate and not only would I have no fucking
idea what I was talking about, but I’d be silencing the voices of those who are
already oppressed. It’s great being an ally and all, but taking their stories
and their struggles without having more than a skin deep understanding is not
okay. Instead, use your privilege to lift up those identifying writers/stories
and support the ever-loving shit out of them.
Enlist beta readers. If you’re worried that people could take something the
wrong way or that your character isn’t coming across right, enlist beta readers
within that demographic that might be able to shed more light on it. Ask things
like: “So this character has depression, did I present it right?” This DOES NOT
mean to recruit allies and hang on to their every word. Allies are great, but
they can be like over excited dogs. They just want to help you do the thing,
but in the process, they can fucking break EVERYTHING. Listen to them of
course, but know that they have no better judgement than you—their voices are
not the ones you should be following through on. Granted, it can be hard
finding multiple identifying people who are willing to beta a whole book, so if
you have non-identifying people saying a certain aspect of your book is
ignorant/disrespectful/etc, listen to them and check in with someone who is
open and willing to talk. (See #1.)
Listen to the voices within the
community. It’s that easy and it’s the
most important one. Don’t magically cure disabilities. Say that your bisexual
character is b i s e x u a l. Listen to what people within these groups have
been saying forever.
this being said, sometimes certain specific things can just plain not fit with
your book’s plot/theme/characters/whatever. A lot of the time (especially in
think pieces), being politically incorrect is used as a tool to shed light on
the problems in the world around us, but know that some people might only see
it as problematic. What you decide to do is ultimately your judgment call and
you can only act with the best intentions. Hope this helped!