i do have more but most of them are adapted characters

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Shipwrecked souls: Behind the scenes of Outlander's Season 3 finale
What it's like to bring Claire and Jaime's love story to life.
By Brittany Levine Beckman

WE’RE NOT IN SCOTLAND ANYMORE 

My first day on set, while Balfe and Heughan are rolling around in the sand in the middle of the South African winter (it’s sunny, but there’s a distinctly Scottish nip in the air, and unlike the soggy stars, the crew are snugly wrapped in puffy jackets and hats), I duck into a cozy tent to catch up with executive producer Maril Davis, who flew in the day before and is just as jetlagged as I am.“We’re already deep into Season 4,” she reveals, despite the fact that filming on the new season won’t begin until October. “It’s a year-round machine at this point. I think [the fans] do wonder why we’re not on sooner, it’s just, I don’t think we could churn them out any faster.” Outlander usually films episodes in blocks of two, consisting of 24 shooting days (12 per episode) and an equal number of prep days — and that’s not counting the post-production process of editing, visual effects, scoring, sound design, additional dialogue replacement, and color correction.It’s a crisp June morning on Silverstroom Beach, a secluded bay located on the western cape of South Africa. The normally pristine stretch of soft white sand is littered with the debris left behind after a catastrophic shipwreck — barrels, rigging, and jagged chunks of wood.

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So, as promised, here’s my list of lesbian movies for all of our lovely followers and the people you want to share it with. I hope I haven’t forgotten any good ones, but if you feel like that is the case, feel free to add movies to the list! 

This is my gift for all of you, I hope you’ll like it ♥

/ Mod W

Tipping the Velvet 

  • based on the book by sarah waters (she has written many lesbian books!)
  • it’s a bbc adapatation
  • technically a mini series but i like to see it as three hours of lesbian content heaven
  • it’s about this girl who falls in love with an actress and she goes to see her at the theatre five billion times until the actress notices her (that’s just the first part, other things happen to the main so watch the rest for more lesbian content~)
  • the main character (nan astley/king) is like… my fave. i love her.
  • the book is very good too!!!
  • honestly i have so much love for this movie/book i get all giddy just thinking of it

Bound

  • lesbian gangster/mob movie do i need to say more???
  • the main actresses are cute af (one of them is a butch lesbian!)
  • it’s awesome and very cool
  • (gonna trigger warn for use of lesbophobic slurs used by some characters/some lesbophobic violence)

Below Her Mouth

  • meh plot with amazing sex scenes basically?
  • a lot of sex scenes
  • i mean it like half the movie is graphic sex so if ur uncomfortable with that you probably shouldn’t watch it lol
  • all female cast
  • willa from wynonna earp!

The Handmaiden

  • also based on a book by sarah waters (called Fingersmith, there’s a bbc adaptation of it too which you should totally check out as well)
  • good quality movie right there
  • (putting a trigger warning here for sexual and psychological abuse and abuse in general)

Kyss Mig

  • one of few good swedish movies
  • basically about two step-sisters who fall in love (they’re not actually related i promise)

But I’m a Cheerleader

  • baby natasha lyonne is in this one! also i have a crush on clea duvall in this movie lol
  • a very cute love story tbh
  • good aesthetic
  • you’ve probably heard of it before but idc cause it’s great
  • (it’s like a satire of conversion therapy so if that’s something you can’t watch i don’t recommend this movie for you in particular)

If These Walls Could Talk 2 

  • a bunch of famous actresses (like chloë sevigny, michelle williams, natasha lyonne, ellen degeneres, etc. etc.)
  • divided in three segments from three different periods in time
  • one segment is set during the feminist movement in the 70s and features chloë sevigny as a butch lesbian with a motorcycle do i even need to say more??

Anatomy of a Love Seen

  • this is about two actresses who were a couple when they shot a movie together and now they have to go back and re-shoot some love scenes but they’re not a couple anymore and it’s sad af
  • i have basically never seen this movie in any rec lists but it’s actually one of my faves and i cry so much to this movie tbh

Saving Face

  • this is a good one
  • also pretty funny tbh!
  • it’s about a doctor who falls in love with a dancer and the doctor’s relationship with her conservative mom
  • it’s kind of rom-comish

Lost and Delirious

  • warning: very sad like super sad?
  • it’s about a girl who goes to a boarding school and so happens to become roommates with a lesbian couple
  • teen angst squared and multiplied with gay panic

The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls In Love

  • you may have heard of this one but if you haven’t it’s time you watch it
  • that woman who plays tina on the l word is a butch-ish girl in this one
  • VERY CUTE and chill
  • every time i watch this it feels like this movie is the director’s BABY like it seems like she cares about this story so much and it makes the movie feel so genuine and lovely
  • i want every baby lesbian to watch this, please, it’s my gift to you.

D.E.B.S.

  • you may have heard of this one too but if you haven’t seen it yet it’s definitely worth a watch!
  • lesbian spies!
  • the heroine falls in love with the villain (that enemies to lovers trope tho!!)

Desert Hearts

  • old but good!
  • i feel like this movie is on most of these long rec lists but people probably don’t watch it cause it’s old but it is actually pretty good!
  • your classic “oops i thought i was straight but that woman is hot” story

Margarita With a Straw

  • indian girl figures out she’s bi when she goes to uni in new york and meets a lesbian girl
  • cute, funny, sad, it has everything tbh
  • The Hours (actually one of my all-time favorite movies/books!)
  • The Intervention
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The Children’s Hour
  • Elena Undone
  • Fucking Åmål 
On The Adventure Zone Graphic Novel, Blue Taako, and Representation

 Yesterday, we revealed some pages for our graphic novel adaptation of the first Adventure Zone arc, and received some criticism of the direction we went with for Taako’s coloring. This artwork reveal came some months after the first reveal of some of our characters, for which we also received criticism of our three leads, all of whom were white in these initial designs. Us and the graphic novel team realized that, yes, that is extremely bad, went back to the drawing board, and had several long discussions about how to best rectify this situation, resulting in the artwork revealed yesterday.

More or less all of the criticism we’ve received centers on Taako, whose skin is a pale blue color in these designs. What we’ve heard most is disappointment that Taako is not realized in these pages as a person of color — or, to be more specific, a Latinx or explicitly Mexican character. There was concern we had failed to follow through on an opportunity to get better representation for Latinx listeners, instead opting to take a safe route, and make Taako a fantasy color without any kind of real-world connection. Much of the criticism also focuses on how that color (or, to be more specific, green skin) has anti-semitic connotations.

This conversation was happening in certain corners of our fandom long before the graphic novel art reveal took place yesterday. We’ve heard criticism from some folks over our policy of not having canonical visual representations of any of our characters — a policy that has resulted in a genuinely humbling ocean of fan art, but also some instances of in-fighting between members of the community who take umbrage with one another’s disparate interpretations of these characters. Another criticism of that policy is that it inherently does not foster good representation, and in fact represents a noncommittal way of handling racial representation on this show.

Here’s the truth of the matter: I think all of this comes from this underlying friction between where The Adventure Zone and us, its creators, were when we started doing the podcast, and where we, the show, and you, the community, are at now. 

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5 Reason’s Why Supernatural is the Gayest Show on Television (That’s Still Stuck in the Closet)

To start with, I’m not delusional.  I’m fully aware that the studio and execs have settled into a comfortable pattern with Supernatural, and especially considering it’s heavily mixed demographic (interestingly, it was ranked a favorite among republicans and democrats in 2016) they’re unlikely to rock the ship with a canonically queer relationship between two of it’s main characters.  

However, it’s important to understand exactly how much queerness is bubbling beneath the thick surface layer of “no homo:”  from the orgies of male-on-male eyesex to the inspiration for most of its main characters, Supernatural is queer to its very core. 

Here are five (blaring but stubbornly unacknowledged) reasons why:


1.  Dean’s gratuitously bisexual inspiration. 

Whenever someone claims a queer interpretation of Dean is baseless, I’m always happy to direct them straight to his flamingly bisexual source:  Dean Moriarty, his namesake and direct inspiration, a la the novel On the Road.  

Admittedly, I read On the Road and didn’t particularly enjoy it, as I found it to be a somewhat masturbatory reassertion of masculinity for its narrator, Sal Paradise.  Sal idolizes and fixates the charismatic Dean and his promiscuous lifestyle, openly having sex with and impregnating multiple women, and is all around a heterosexual power figure…right up until the point at which Dean propositions a male prostitute.  

Though he’s never shown doing anything gratuitous with male characters (since the book was published in the 1960s, it wouldn’t have been legal to) it’s clear that Dean is very much bisexual, not ashamed of it, and in terms of personality, very similar to Dean.  There are a few key differences (Dean Moriarty, for example, legitimately gives zero fucks about anything, whereas Dean Winchester is secretly a little ball of anxiety with the weight of the world on his shoulders) but it’s clear where Eric Kripke got his inspiration from.

Moreover, Dean Moriarty was in turn based off of the real life bisexual counterculturist Neal Cassady, who among other things had a twenty-year sexual relationship with a male poet.  Here, he is pictured in a Denver mugshot: 

So next time someone tells you the homoerotic subtext of Supernatural exists only in the imagination of rabid fangirls, remember that Dean is the direct descendant of two ragingly bisexual icons.

2.  Castiel (or at least his wardrobe) was also based off of a bisexual character.

For a show so aggressively devoted to a “no homo” interpretation, it has a real propensity to drawing inspiration from queer characters:  everyone’s favorite baby in a trench coat, for example, was modeled after the demon-busting John Constantine from the Hellblazer comics.  Yup, another bisexual.   

Though in true assbutt fashion, his love of men is censored in movie and TV adaptions, Constantine unabashedly swings both ways in paper form – a.k.a. where Kripke found inspiration for Castiel’s look.  Here, we see him platonically receiving a man-hug from one of his bros:

So I’m not saying the fact that two out of three main characters are modeled after canonically queer figures could have anything to do with Supernatural’s gratuitous queer subtext, but y’know.  It might.

3.  Cas himself is sexually complex (and literally cannot be straight.) 

Dean has made reference to the fact that he “doesn’t swing that way” (ironically, both of which times he was literally in the midst of blatantly flirting with men.)  

Cas, however, has no such reservations:  he’s never indicated, vocally or otherwise, a preference towards either gender, so much as outright declaring that he doesn’t give a damn.  

He reacts to male and female flirtation much the same way:  just try and tell me his suspicious glower and Mick wasn’t similar to Mandy the waitress (and try and tell me they both weren’t acting like they’d like to eat him for dinner.)

Moreover, the only time we’ve seen him ever achieve some kind of intimacy with female characters is when they’re literally throwing themselves at him.  Hey, he’s an aesthetically pleasing fellow – or rather, an aesthetically pleasing something.  

Which brings me to my next point that he isn’t really a fellow at all:  Cas not only gives zero fucks about sexual orientation, he also gives zero fucks about gender.  Sure, he’ll spend seven years in the same ill-fitting trench coat, but he’ll also rock a petticoat like nobody’s business.

I’ve discovered that the writer for “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets,” Steve Yockey, is a gay man, which honestly makes it all the more perfect:  not only does it establish the Orlando-esque flexibility (or nonexistence) of Cas’s gender, but it eliminates the possibility of his straightness.  

And I want Destiel to be canon as much as anybody, but am I opposed to Cas being a genderfluid lesbian?  No.  No, I am not.    

4.  Dean can textually be interpreted as bisexual (and probably should be.)

For anyone who questions whether Dean not being straight as an arrow, I’m happy to point out some very canon things that happened on the show:

(Examples courtesy of @some-people-call-it-tragic!)

And yes, when feeling threatened, he’s professed not to swing that way.  But you know how many queer people I know who have at one point felt compelled to lie about our sexual orientation?  Every single one.  And I live in the bluest of blue states – Dean was raised in Bible Belt America and spends most of his time in the Southwest.  Not to mention the fact that he was raised during the heat of the AIDS academic.

In other words, he has every logical reason to be wary at the prospect of coming out of the closet, or even acknowledging same sex attraction at all.

Moreover it’s been canonically established that Dean has a habit of lying about himself to protect his image of masculinity:  according to Dean, he doesn’t do shorts, chick flicks, cucumber water, skinny jeans and sunglasses, and Taylor Swift music.  You know how many of those things he loves?  All of them

Finally, not every member of the cast or crew might agree (though I know for a fact that some of them do) but their interpretations do not effect textuality.  And Dean can textually be interpreted as bisexual.  

5.  Dean and Cas make a better couple than any of their love interests.

I’m going to state something I feel is obvious:  Cas and Dean have more buildup, tension, chemistry, emotional connection, and romantic history than literally any of their other interests.  

Take Lisa, for example:  she’s Dean’s longest lasting introduced as female partner, and she’s introduced as the “bendiest weekend of his life.”  

Furthermore, I’d argue that sexual attraction notwithstanding, Dean was never romantically in love with Lisa.  To him, she epitomizes his desire for a mother figure, a home, and his lost childhood, as is best demonstrated in his fantasy from “Dream a Little Dream of Me:”  Lisa isn’t a seductive or romantic figure here – she’s a maternal one. 

Though since Dean has never had a long lasting relationship (or, to my belief, been completely in love with a girl) it’s easy to see how he’d misinterpret these feelings as romantic love. 

Then we have Cas, who’s introduced by pulling Dean from the depths of hell, who makes most one-on-one scenes with Dean look like a soft core porno, and who recently (canonically!) declared his love for Dean.  

I don’t dislike Lisa, but it’s easy to see which of the two relationships is more three-dimensional, more original, and more worthy of screentime.

Creating Conflict

Or, as I call it, causing ~drama~

The key that keeps readers interested in your story is conflict. If nothing is at stake, then there is not much to see. So, here are a few general tips to cause some ripples in the ponds of your characters’ lives.

“Prioritizing”: Your character has two main motives that they have been working towards, but they end up in a situation where they have to sacrifice one to save the other. Depending on how easy or hard the choice is, this range from “disappointing” to “devastating” in the sacrifice. 

Character Flaws: As I talked about in my cornerstones post, every character should have a flaw. Flaws are flaws and not strengths for a reason- they get in the way. Have your character have a moment of weakness, where they lose their values and give in to temptation or get carried away.

 In addition: Even without their key flaws, characters can sometimes just… be wrong. Maybe they miscalculated. Maybe they misunderstood. Maybe they made the wrong guess. They did what everyone does: They Done Messed Up, and now they have to deal with the result.

Liar, Liar: Someone is lying, or even keeping secrets, and now, it’s causing problems. They can’t go forward without the truth, or worse, they are making mistakes due to a warped perception of the situation.

Draw backs: Let the good things come at a cost. One key rule for worlds with magic or superpowers is that all power should come at cost- equal to or greater than the power itself. 

“Because I Said So”: Don’t forget, there are other characters in your story, and even if they are on the protagonist’s own side, they are not always going to just merrily go along with whatever the protagonist said. Maybe they disagree. Maybe they are powerful enough to get in the protagonist’s way, and maybe it’s that important to them that they try. If fighting an enemy is hard, fighting a friend is harder.

Take It Back: Your character makes a decision that seems right at the time. Maybe it was the obvious choice, or maybe it was taking a risk. But uh-oh…now there are unforeseen consequences. 

Or, the opposite…

Decisions, Decisions: Maybe your character has to make a decision where there is not an immediately obvious choice. Make sure that both/all the options have both positive and negative possible or certain outcomes. There is no obvious right or wrong choice. Bonus, it’s funny to watch the fandom debate it later. 

Strip Them Down: Remove your character’s greatest strength. For whatever reason, your character’s most valuable asset is not available, and now, they have to live without it. Bonus mode- it would be really, really helpful if they had it right now!

Or, do the opposite…

Boss Fight: Maybe, instead of your protagonist getting weaker, it’s your antagonist that gets stronger. Strengthen the opposition and see if your characters can adapt to survive, or if they lack what it takes. 

Change of Plan: The rules of the game have changed. This can mean different things depending on your story. They could be literal rules, or more general. Think Hunger Games- did I say two tributes? I meant one, after all. Fight to the death now, please.

Amplify the Emotions: … And the results that come with. People do crazy things in the heat of the moment. You can’t think straight when all you can do is feel. Blinded by anger, sadness, or even joy, your character makes a bad choice. 

*Pile It On: You know what a full plate needs? Even more stuff. Your character is already juggling, trying to balance a variety of responsibilities. So add one more ball. Do they crash and burn immediately? Does it take a while? Do they succeed?  Any which way, the stress is high.

*Note: this one can be difficult on the author, too. Make sure that with all these plot lines, you’re not losing track, yourself.

“Murphy’s Law”: Simply stated, this is a plot tool that says, “whatever can go wrong, will.” I’m just going to say right away… be careful with this one. It’s really frustrating for your audience to watch the characters fail or lose or face misfortune over and over and over again. It makes it feel like nothing will ever come out of rooting for them, so you may as well give up now. Murphy’s Law can be great in the proper proportions, please, let your characters have some victories, or there’s no point to it.

And hey, don’t forget about your inner conflicts. You never know when those are going to have the opportunity to cause trouble. 

Give ‘em hell, kids!*

***disclaimer: you do not have to be a kid to give them hell.

~Penemue

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:”

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Big Ol’ Honkin’ OC Question List-- Long Post Ahead!

  Alright, here we go– I put together a list of questions about OCs that you can reblog and have people send in asks for you! I set it up so you can be like, “A3″, “D2″, et cetera… Keep checking in here to the original post in case I add some more to the list! In the meantime, I hope y’all have some fun with this and maybe use it to learn a little bit more about your OCs or get to share things about them!!

A. Psychology

  1. What of the Meyers-Briggs personality types they most fit into? INFP, ENFT, et cetera…
  2. What alignment are they? Chaotic neutral, lawful evil, et cetera…
  3. Do they have any emotional or psychological conditions? Are they aware of it? Do they try to treat it? 
  4. Are they a pessimist or an optimist? 
  5. Are they good at handling change in their life?
  6. Does your OC tend to assume their interpretation of events and reality is correct, or do they question it? I.e., “I’m sure that’s what you said” versus “It’s possible I misheard you.”
  7. Is your OC confident in their reactions to life in general, or do they get embarrassed or easily shamed for it? I.e., if something startles them, do they insist it WAS scary? When they cry, do they feel like they overreacted?
  8. Is your OC a martyr?
  9. Does your OC make a lot of excuses? For themselves? Others? 
  10. Does your OC compromise easily? Too easily?
  11. Does your OC put others’ needs before their own?
  12. Does your OC have any addictions? If so and problematic, have they admitted it to themselves? 
  13. Does your OC have any phobias? If so, where did they come from?
  14. Is your character empathetic?
  15. Is your character observant?
  16. Does your OC have to go through their own trials to learn a lesson, or do they listen and learn from observation and lecture? I.e., does your OC listen when someone tries to tell them the importance of budgeting, or do they have to go experience what happens if you don’t budget first?
  17. What’s one of your OC’s proudest moments of themselves?
  18. Do they get jealous easily? Do they feel bad if they do?
  19. What instantly irritates them or puts them in a bad mood?
  20. Are they harsh on themselves?
  21. Do they make excuses often?
  22. Is your OC intended to be found generally attractive? Unattractive? Average? Is there a reason why?
  23. Does your OC place much importance on their appearance? Do they feel confident in it?
  24. What are some of your OC’s biggest personal obstacles? This could be emotional, physical, social… Are they aware of it? Are they trying to overcome it?

B. Social

  1. Do they believe you have to give respect to get it, or get respect to give it?
  2. Do they get frustrated when lines at places like pharmacies, check-outs, delis, banks, et cetera, are moving slowly?
  3. Under what situations would they get angry at servers, staff, customer service, et cetera?
  4. Do they tip well? How easily can they be moved to not leave a tip?
  5. Do they hold doors open for people?
  6. Would your OC let someone ahead of them in line if your OC had a big cart and the person behind them had very few items?
  7. How do they respond to babies crying in public?
  8. Is your OC considered funny? Do they believe they’re funny?
  9. What kind of humor does your OC like the most? Slapstick, ironic, funny sounds, scare pranks, xD sO rAnDoM…
  10. Does your OC find any “bad” or “mean” humor funny? Do they wish they didn’t?
  11. Your OC is running late to meeting someone: Do they let the other person know? Do they lie about why they’re late?
  12. Your OC orders something to eat and gets their order done in a pretty wrong way, something they can’t just pick off or whatnot to correct, or something major is missing. What do they do?
  13. Do they have a large or small group of friends?
  14. Do they have people they are genuinely honest with about themselves?
  15. Does your OC enjoy social events, such as parties, clubs, et cetera..?
  16. Does your OC like to be the center of attention or more in the mix?

C. Morality

  1. Does your OC have a moral code? If not, how do they base their actions? If so, where does it come from, and how seriously do they take it?
  2. Would your OC feel bad if they acted against their morals? If not, would they find a way to excuse themselves for it?
  3. Is it important for them to be with people (socially, intimately, whatever) whose major ideological tenets align with their own?
  4. Do they consider themselves superior or more important than anyone else? Lesser?
  5. Do your OC’s morals and rules of common decency go out the window when it comes to those they don’t like, or when it’s inconvenient? Aka, are their morals situational?
  6. What do they do when they see someone asking for money or food? If they ignore them, why? If they help, how so?
  7. Do they believe people change over time? If so, is it a natural process or does it take effort? 
  8. Is your OC more practical or ideal morally? I.e., do they hold people to high expectations of behavior even if it’s not realistic for the situation, or do they have a more realistic approach and adapt their morality to be more practical?

D. Religion and Life and Death

  1. How religious is your OC? What do they practice, if anything? If they don’t associate with any religion, what do they think of religion in general?
  2. Do they believe in an afterlife?
  3. How comfortable are they with the idea of death?
  4. Would they like to be immortal? Why, why not? If they are immortal, would they rather not be?
  5. Do they believe in ghosts? If not, why? If so, do they think they’re magical/tie into their religion, or are they scientifically plausible?

E. Education and Intelligence

  1. Would you say that your OC is intelligent? In what ways? Would your OC agree?
  2. Which of the nine types of intelligence is your OC strongest in? Weakest? (Linguistic, existential, naturalist, et cetera)
  3. How many languages do they speak?
  4. Did they enjoy school if they went to it?
  5. What’s their highest education level? Do they want to continue their education?
  6. Do they enjoy learning? Do they actively seek out sources of self-education?
  7. Are they a good note-taker? Are they a good test-taker? Do exams make them nervous?
  8. What’s one of your OC’s biggest regrets?

F. Domestic Habits, Work, and Hobbies

  1. What sort of home do they live in now, if at all? How did they end up there?
  2. What’s their ideal home look like? Where is it?
  3. Could they ever live in a “tiny home”?
  4. How clean are they overall with home upkeep?
  5. How handy are they? Can they fix appliances, cars, cabinets, et cetera?
  6. How much do they work? What do they do? Do they enjoy it?
  7. What’s their “dream career” or job situation?
  8. How often are they home?
  9. Are they homebodies and enjoy being home?
  10. Do they engage in any of the arts? How good do you intend them to be? Would they agree they are?
  11. What are some of their favorite things to do for recreation? How did they get into it? What part of it do they like the most?
  12. Would they enjoy a theme park?

G. Family and Growing Up

  1. Is your OC close to their family?
  2. Who makes up your OC’s family, at least the more important members to them?
  3. Does your OC find their family supportive? If not, what would be an example why not?
  4. What kind of childhood did your OC have?
  5. Did they go through any typical phases growing up?
  6. Do they have any favorite childhood memories?
  7. Do they have any childhood memories they’d rather forget or be less affected by?

H. Romance and Intimacy

  1. What is your OC’s orientation, romantic and/or sexual? Has it ever been a source of stress for them? Have they always been pretty sure of their orientation?
  2. Is your OC a thoughtful partner, in whatever aspect of that you want to cover?
  3. Does your OC believe there’s only one ideal partner (or multiple ideal if not monogamous) for everyone, or that there are many people who could be right?
  4. Does your OC believe in love in first sight?
  5. Does your OC believe in marriage (or their culture’s equivalent)?
  6. Has your OC ever cheated on anyone or been cheated on?
  7. What do they look for in partners? (Emotionally, mentally, physically..)
  8. What’s your OC’s idea of a perfect date?
  9. What are some things that your OC finds to be an instant turn-off in potential partners?

I. Food

  1. What are their favorite kinds of flavors– Sweet, salty, sour, spicy, creamy, et cetera?
  2. Do they have any eating requirements or preferences? Allergies, vegetarian, organic-only, religious restrictions…
  3. Are they vegan/vegetarian (if their overall culture/species generally aren’t)? If so, why? Do they think animal products are wrong in all circumstances?
  4. How often do they cook? Do they order out a lot?
  5. Are they a good cook?
  6. Could they eat the same thing they enjoy over and over and not get bored of it quickly?

J. Politics, Current Events, Environmental Aspects

  1. Where does your OC stand most politically? What would they align with most?
  2. How politically aware are they?
  3. How politically active are they?
  4. Is your OC the sort to fall for fake news? If not, do they ignore it or make a point to clarify that it’s wrong?
  5. Are they or would they protest for a cause they’re passionate about?
  6. How do they react to people whose political viewpoints are very opposite of theirs?
  7. How much interest in environmental health do they have?
  8. In reality-based or applicable worlds, do they believe in global warming? Do they recycle?

K. For OCs in Reality-Based Worlds Who Are Unusual in Paranormal Ways (such as magical abilities, being another species, having a curse like lycanthropy, sci-fi abilities, being from another time, et cetera)– Also for OCs where the scenario is similar even if their universe isn’t based on reality

  1. Does your OC have to keep their paranormal aspect (PA) a secret from general society? If so, how? I.e., they can’t discuss their abilities, they have to hide a tail, they have an alter-ego, et cetera. What would happen if society found out about it?
  2. Are there others in their universe with the same or a similar PA as your OC? I.e., others from different dimensions, others of their same species. Do they know about it?
  3. Does your OC have any friends who know about their PA? Any enemies?
  4. Does your OC ever use their PA to get an advantage? I.e., use their ability to be invisible to steal or get out of things, compete in track while their species is a naturally superior runner, use their invulnerability in careers like police work… If so, do they have any hang-ups about it?
  5. Does your OC feel isolated or unrelatable due to the experience their PA brings with it? If so, how do they deal with it?
  6. Does their PA cause issues in daily life? I.e., if they’re inhuman in a human universe and they can’t go to a doctor or risk the doctor realizing they are not human, super abilities with physical drawbacks, they don’t have control of their abilities and must keep to themselves, et cetera… If so, how do they feel about it?
  7. Does your OC’s PA affect their dietary habits so that they are unusual or problematic by their society’s standards?
  8. What are some routines, if any, of self-care that your OC must engage in that are not typical of their society? I.e., having to file their teeth, maintaining magical rituals, drinking blood…
  9. Does your OC have knowledge that they can’t share with the rest of their world that could improve it if it didn’t cause chaos? I.e., a character from the future knowing about technology not yet invented, but they can’t reveal themselves by sharing it?
  10. Would your OC give up their PA if they could? Why or why not?

L. For the Writer/Owner

  1. How have your characters changed since you created them?
  2. What do you consider the biggest themes in your character, if any?
  3. Did you create the character to be like yourself, did they end up being like yourself, or are they very different from you?
  4. Would you hang out with your OC if you could?
  5. Which OC do you think is the most decent morally or behaviorally?  AKA, which is supposed to a “good guy”?
  6. Which OC do you think is the worst morally or behaviorally? AKA, which is supposed to be a “bad guy”?
  7. Which OC do you think is the most attractive?
  8. What’s the longest you’ve had an OC for?
  9. How did you come up with your OC?
  • A - Ships that you currently like a lot. (They don’t have to be OTPs because not everyone has OTPs.) Friendships, pairings, threesomes, etc. are allowed.
  • B - A pairing–platonic, romantic or sexual–that you initially didn’t consider, but someone changed your mind.
  • C - A ship you have never liked and probably never will.
  • D - A pairing you wish you liked but just can’t.
  • E - Have you added anything cracky/hilarious to your fandom? If so, what?
  • F - What’s the longest you’ve ever been in a fandom?
  • G - Have you ever had an OTP? If so, do you remember your first one? Who was in it?
  • H - What is your favorite source text for fandom stuff (e.g., TV shows, movies, books, anime, Western animation, etc.)?
  • I - Has Tumblr caused you to stop liking any fandoms, if so, which and why?
  • J - Name a fandom you didn’t think about until you saw it all over Tumblr. (You don’t have to care about it or follow it; it just has to be something that Tumblr made you aware of.)
  • K - What character has your favorite development arc/the best development arc?
  • L - Say something genuinely nice about a character who isn’t one of your faves. (Characters you’re neutral about are fair game, as are characters you merely dislike. Characters that you absolutely loathe with the fire of ten thousand suns are exempt, as there is no point in giving yourself an aneurysm over a character that you hate.)
  • M - Name a character that you’d like to have for a friend.
  • N - Name three things you wish you saw more or in your main fandom (or a fandom of choice).
  • O - Choose a song at random. Which ship or character does it remind you of?
  • P - Invent a random AU for any fandom (we always need more ideas).
  • Q - A fandom you’ve abandoned and why.
  • R - Which friendship/platonic relationship is your favorite in fandom?
  • S - Show us an example of your personal headcanon (prompts optional but encouraged)
  • T - Do you have any hard and fast headcanons that you will die defending? 
  • U - Three favorite characters from three different fandoms, and why they’re your favorites.
  • V - Which character do you relate to most?
  • W - A trope which you are virtually certain to hate in any fandom.
  • X - A trope which you are almost certain to love in any fandom.
  • Y - What are your secondhand fandoms (i.e., fandoms you aren’t in personally but are tangentially familiar with because your friends/people on your dash are in them)?
  • Z - Just ramble about something fan-related, go go go! (Prompts optional but encouraged.)
A LIST OF SWAN QUEEN FAN FICTION

B/C I KNOW Y’ALL ARE TIRED OF LOOKING FOR SWANQUEEN FANFIC RECS ON TUMBLR SO HERES THE GOOD SHIT.

  • all of these are in english
  • if you have any recommendations or additions, please let me know!
  • some fanfictions that i originally planned to include on this list were deleted by their authors :( 


CLASSICS (favorites)

The Art Of Being Extraordinary - if you haven’t read this already, wyd? The ending will destroy you - be prepared to cry. 

Letters From War - another extremely well known fic among swen. a heart-wrenching and beautifully written AU fic. even if AUs aren’t your thing, seriously, give this one a try.

Emma is a soldier on reserve in Fort Benning. Regina is the Mayor of Storybrooke. Through a pen pal program designed to ease the ache of homesick soldiers, Emma and Regina begin sending letters to one another as their relationship grows from cordial acquaintance to something neither woman would have expected - until the letters stop coming.

A Trail Of Destruction - DEFINITELY a classic imo. this is one of my favorite fanfictions of all time.

A hostage situation in City Hall leaves behind a battered, broken sheriff, and a mayor wracked with guilt. Trigger warnings for violence and gun threats and general angst. Slow-burn swan queen.

Miles To Go - AU; emma and regina meet at a party and the rest is history. this ones pretty long (80 chapters), but so worth the read! angsty & lots of ‘sexy times’ 

Everyone has their own story, this one is theirs and it paints the picture of a love story that spans over two decades, with all the ups and downs and everything else in between. SwanQueen AU
 

Of Love and Loathing - a lot of angry sex in the beginning, which eventually turns into lovey sex. another well known and well written fic - this author is one of my favorites. *reaaallyyy hot smut 

“I have been sleeping with someone,” Regina began tentatively, an acute awareness that once she said the words out loud that the madness behind her highly unorthodox situation became all the more real, “whom I absolutely loathe.” •Emma/Regina•

Meet me Halfway - one of the first swan queen fan fictions i ever read! still a classic to this day. AU

Emma Swan works hard every night as a bartender, struggling to raise her son and save up enough to own her own bar. Regina Mills is an upper class New York photographer who wouldn’t normally spare a second glance at people below her. When their paths cross, their lives adapt to each other, but how much are they willing to change?

Love Undefined - in the process of re-reading this one because of how much i love it. angsty as hell but such a beautiful story.

It’s been eight years since the last time Regina and Emma saw each other, eight years since Emma lost part of her happiness, her family, and everything fell apart. But she hasn’t forgotten those three years in New York, or any of what Regina had brought into her life. A late night phone call to Regina takes Emma back eleven years to when they met, saved each other from loneliness, and Emma started learning what it meant to live. She relives the moments that had changed her life for the better, and even the ones that had hurt.

Teacher’s Pet - KNOWN AS THE ONE TEACHER/STUDENT FANFIC THAT EVERYONE HAS READ. 

Emma Swan is starting her senior year. Her friends tell her about the Creative Writing teacher that she has on her schedule and how no one had passed her class with an A, not even her bookworm friend, Belle. What will she do? And who exactly is this ‘bitchy Evil Queen’ as they claim her to be? SwanQueen. Student/Teacher. M for language and future chapters.

Lost in Translation - i wasn’t sure about this before reading it but i LOVED it. the description pretty much sums it up.

AU. Regina is deaf. Emma is the only one who refuses to give her pity. In response, Regina is thrilled by this new challenge and the stand-offs commence, but over time she finds out there is more to the blonde woman than just a target to throw a stinging quip and pointed glare at.

Send Up a Signal - emma and regina are actresses and their fans ship them with each other. ;)

Emma Swan is catapulted into stardom, the newest lead actress on a sanitized show featuring modern fairytales. Regina Mills is a long-undermined star with a chip on her shoulder and a thousand reasons why she’s invested. Naturally, they loathe each other on sight.Their characters’ fanbases, however, have other ideas.

Reset - SO. GOOD. 95 chapters. if you’re looking for long fanfics, this is for you. 

Following the breaking of the curse everyone in Storybrooke is finding their happy ending, with one exception. Resigning herself to having lost Henry’s love and respect forever, Regina decides there is only one path available to her.

Take Me Home Tonight - AU!! lots of smut :) this is a newer one that i’ve seen around twitter and tumblr and i really enjoyed it! this one’s pretty short (14 chapters)

AU: Nineteen year old Emma Swan is a senior at the exclusive all girls boarding school, Foxhaven Academy. When her friends find out she’s a virgin they send her to the city to find a guy to take her v-card. But Emma is more interested in a sexy older woman she meets in a bar. A SwanQueen story.

The Staircase - non-consensual sex in the first chapter, so please be aware of that; its not for eveyone. this story is very dark but has a happy ending i promise!

Regina could still smell her cologne and feel the cheap pleather pressing into her back. The brunette sucked in a breath. She was still lying on the floor at the staircase’s base and she stared back up at it. Everything was different now. Changed. She felt broken by what had just happened, appalled and enraged, dirty. WARNING: NC17 for non-consensual sex. Dark. (But gets lighter.)

the trouble with emma - very very well known within the swan queen community. i’ll be honest, i never really got into the story but i can acknowledge that it is the most well-written fanfiction i have read to date. the author is truly talented. (the first in a series of fanfics)

Post ep 4x23, Emma becomes the Dark One and learns nothing is quite as it seems or as simple as black versus white. When Regina removes the curse no one in Storybrooke is prepared for the far reaching fallout which leaves none of their lives unaltered or untouched, least of all Regina’s.

SMUT 

shadow haven  - the one smut fic everyone has read.

Emma Swan is a PR agent who is sent on a holiday by her boss. Regina Mills is the owner of a private island named Shadow Haven. There is more to Regina than initially meets the eye. This story dips heavily into the BDSM subculture. Swan Queen romance / BDSM story.

the wicked stepmother - the one kinky fic everyone has read- or attempted to. i couldn’t get through the whole thing but the first few chapters,,, holy hell.

When the Evil Queen catches baby Emma along with Snow White, she decides on a new revenge. In Storybrooke, Snow White will be allowed to raise her daughter… but on her eighteenth birthday, Regina will come for her. Emma might just enjoy that.

in control  - Regina had never been in the habit of relinquishing control, but when it came to Emma Swan, she was starting to find out that giving in had its benefits. - Established Swan Queen - One Shot. Rated M for language and content.

the collar - It will carry strong mature themes as well as a Mistress/Slave relationship but it is also a lot more than that. However, as a warning this story will celebrate the shades of grey of our favourite couple as they find their way to each other and will deal with darker elements of their characters. Emma’s history differs a little from canon but will be covered by the story but there is no Henry and she is an adult in this fiction.

a little taste  - author of A Fine Line and Letters from War. 

Emma has been desperate to know what it’s like to kiss the smirk off of Regina Mills, but when she finally gets the chance, it doesn’t seem to be enough.

tempest - A storm ushers in an expected opportunity for Regina to finally rid herself of Emma Swan. She will posses the sheriff’s heart and then crush it. But what happens when nothing goes as planned? Rated M for language and Swan Queen sexytimes.

come on be nice - Regina has decided that the quickest way to get rid of Emma Swan is to scare off the commitment phobic woman with a come-on. This, as with many of Regina’s plans, does not go as, well, planned. Rated M for Swan Queen sex.

black lace - Emma and Henry find a way around the 'no visiting’ rule involving binoculars and the walkie talkie. Emma’s attention is fully on her son, she truly doesn’t intend to watch Regina at all. At least until the mayor begins undressing in front of her window..

dirty words - Regina is plagued by thoughts of a certain blonde. Deciding she is in need of cathartic release, she writes a quick narrative in hopes of cleansing her system. However, by a happy accident, the story falls into the wrong hands. What will Emma do with this new and intriguing insight into the mayor’s mind?

damn you, miss swan  Emma visits the mayor one night with a bottle of wine to cheer her up. Anger issues and smeared lippy ensues. WARNING: Includes a non-explicit passing reference to rape. This is my first story. A/N Jan 2015: Way back when I wrote this, no one knew anyone’s back stories, so I just made up stuff. Don’t be upset for canon divergence if you read it now. It wasn’t canon then.

mirror tricks The Evil Queen has made her way to Storybrooke, but she only seems to be interested in one thing: Emma. When Regina realises this, her jealousy starts to get the better of her.

my enemy’s enemy After her mother’s death, Regina finds a terrible surprise hidden among the witch’s belongings. Unfortunately, the only one able to cure her from the ailment is Emma…if she agrees. Strong language and mature themes. First stab at SwanQueen :)

ANGST

to remember her happy ending - “She doesn’t even remember her family! How am I going to explain this to her when she hates me!” She was falling apart now. The way the women in the other room had just looked at her, with such disdain. That wasn’t her wife. That was the Mayor, the Evil Queen maybe…but not her wife.

for endings are where we begin Regina Mills is your average working mom - she spends long hours at her bakery, loves her son Henry with all that she is, and can touch dead things and bring them back to life.Emma Swan is an orphan, an ex-convict, and a bail bondsperson residing in Massachusetts. She is also currently dead.This is the story of how they meet.

the loudest silence - New to Chicago Emma, a professional cellist, is shocked to find that a beautiful deaf woman is her new president of the board. As their friendship grows Emma begins to wonder, what does it look like when a world of sound and a world of silence meet somewhere in the middle? SwanQueen AU

broken 16 year Emma Swan is a preachers daughter on a tight leash, what happens when Regina Mills returns to town, dark, mysterious and dangerous? Will her father’s expectations take over or will Emma follow her heart? Is Regina legit or is Emma cute little pawn? Will Emma be able to love Regina for who she is or will her dark past ruin it ALL! SwanQueen G!P Some BDSM

bring her home Cora’s dead. Henry lives with the Charmings. Regina continues spiraling through grief and loss and hatred. Then Emma suddenly falls unconscious and Henry shows up at Regina’s door because he needs her help to bring Emma back. Reluctantly, Regina embarks on a wild swan chase through Emma’s mind, a whirlwind of ‘roads‐less‐traveled’ and ‘what‐ifs’ and ‘might‐have‐beens’, in order to bring her home.

if the blazer fits Emma decides to dress up like Regina for a Halloween party at The Rabbit Hole, a seemingly innocent decision that surprisingly leads to a relationship. The romance is openly feared by some and secretly despised by an unlikely source, who plots to end it.

a fine line Upon Regina’s banishment, the small town of Storybrooke becomes protected once again by an enchantment that prevents anyone from leaving or entering Storybrooke. Emma and Regina find themselves on the edge of the town, wishing for a way to the other side.

a pale imitation Regina is furious with Emma after she brings back Marian, but since she can’t take it out on her, Regina creates a mindless clone of Emma to hit instead. The clone doesn’t stay mindless for long though, developing an obsession with Regina. Written for summer 2014 Swan Queen Big Bang. (TW for sexual assault/rape and graphic depictions of violence)

FLUFF

one fine mess - Regina’s gut twisted with an agonizing pull and, for just a moment, she thought she might need to take up the same position as the woman crouched before her. “You’re pregnant?” she whispered grimly. Emma’s only response was to turn and retch into the toilet again. — Swan Queen, magic!pregnancy

coffee at midnight - (so good) Slow burn AU that starts with two women from different parts of the USA meeting on Twitter. Emma is an insomniac loner who is a Personal Trainer. Regina is a writer with a sleepless baby. Their lack of sleep and love for coffee soon brings them together and after that they find it hard to part. This is a fic where coffee is taking to mythical levels, despite it’s bad effect on people with insomnia and people with babies - showing that sometimes what you need and want isn’t always the thing that is wholesome and harmless. But also that denying yourself it will only lead to misery, something which Regina has to apply to other parts of her life.

all the single ladies With the library in desperate need of renovation, Storybrooke prepares for a fundraising dinner and bachelorette auction. What mischief and romance can be found as a result? SwanQueen with some RedBeauty Rating has been raised to M - now including adult content.


TEACHER+STUDENT / EMPLOYEE+BOSS

teacher’s pet - see above (classics)

take me home tonight - see above (classics)

step into my office, baby  - This is what you get for doing the nice thing, Emma thinks. You do that whole Pay It Forward bullshit - you buy a lady some coffee and you pretend like it isn’t totally motivated by how she looks in a pencil skirt - and she goes and insults your business card and turns out to be your company’s new Executive Director. Real fucking cute.From now on, she is drinking tea.or, the one where they’re in an office.

teaching miss mills  - Swan Queen Teacher AU: Emma is a gym teacher, who moves to Storybrooke Academy after becoming disenchanted with her job back in Boston. Regina Mills is the Head of English who Emma somehow seems to keep having run-ins with, despite the best of intentions. Along the way, Emma adjusts to small-town life, gets her teaching mojo back and grows closer to Regina. NOW COMPLETE

troubled teachers - COMPLETE! SwanQueen AU. Geography teacher Emma Swan starts a new life far from her troubled past and meets history teacher Regina Mills. But all is not as it seems when it comes to the composed, intelligent, and beautiful brunette. Family struggles and difficult relationships lead to a friendship and soon something more blossoms. Rated M for Ch 7, 18, 22, 24, 28, 29, 31, 35 and 38

not a virgin anymore When college student Emma Swan wakes up one morning with no memory of what happened the night before she’s very surprised she finds herself in professor Mills’s bed. 

is that so, miss swan? - College student, Emma Swan, is confronted by her favorite professor and secret heart-throb, Dr. Regina Mills. What happens when Emma is forced to reveal her secrets? We shall see. AU. Slightly OOC at times. No magic. SwanQueen. Rated M for serious language and eventual sexy times between our two favorite ladies.

butterfly effect - in her final year of college, Emma finds she has more to account for than the extra credits she needs in order to graduate. Only… she doesn’t expect it to come in the form of her newest instructor, Professor Regina Mills. Complete. AU Swan Queen

a sophisticated seduction Emma’s a college student, working as an intern at the Dazzle Magazine for a powerful woman she has never had the good fortune of meeting. But everything in her life is about to change when they finally meet. Especially when one falls so deeply in love with the other and the insecurities from a broken marriage comes to light. (Not Based on The Devil Wears Prada)

some other faves

down east decisions - Massachusetts State Police Capt. Emma Swan leaves her red-hot career to become the police chief of sleepy Storybrooke, Maine. She’s hoping for a less-complicated, less-dangerous life, a desire that is dashed on both counts. AU. No magic. Crime drama and romance. Swan Queen is endgame.

that drunken night - Emma’s wasted and accidentally calls Regina instead of her mom. And Regina isn’t as loathe to talk to the blonde as she usually pretends. Did things change between them so radically while they were in Neverland? (No copyright infringement intended.)

chasing henry - SQ. Tired of the tricks and lies of both of his mothers, Henry follows the dwarves, Red and Granny when they use Tiny’s magic beans to return themselves to their old land. Emma and Regina both chase after him, and they reluctantly travel together through the Enchanted Forest in order to find him and bring him back home safely.

so does this make us both the other woman? - Set after 3b in a peaceful Storybrooke where Regina is with Robin and Emma’s fallen into a relationship with Hook. Shame about all that subtext that’s rapidly threatening to become text.

Internal Conflict:  Five Conflicting Traits of a Likable Hero.

1.  Flaws and Virtues 

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but characters without flaws are boring.  This does not, as many unfortunate souls take it to mean, imply that good, kind, or benevolent characters are boring:  it just means that without any weaknesses for you to poke at, they tend to be bland-faced wish fulfillment on the part of the author, with a tendency to just sit there without contributing much to the plot.

For any character to be successful, they need to have a proportionate amount of flaws and virtues.

Let’s take a look at Stranger Things, for example, which is practically a smorgasbord of flawed, lovable sweethearts.

We have Joyce Byers, who is strung out and unstable, yet tirelessly works to save her son, even when all conventional logic says he’s dead;  We have Officer Hopper, who is drunken and occasionally callous, yet ultimately is responsible for saving the boy’s life;  We have Jonathan, who is introspective and loving, but occasionally a bit of a creeper, and Nancy, who is outwardly shallow but proves herself to be a strong and determined character.  Even Steve, who would conventionally be the popular jerk who gets his comeuppance, isn’t beyond redemption.

And of course, we have my beloved Eleven, who’s possibly the closest thing Stranger Things has to a “quintessential” heroine.  She’s the show’s most powerful character, as well as one of the most courageous.  However, she is also the show’s largest source of conflict, as it was her powers that released the Demogorgon to begin with.  

Would Eleven be a better character if this had never happened?  Would Stranger Things be a better show?  No, because if this had never happened, Stranger Things wouldn’t even be a show.  Or if it was, it would just be about a bunch of cute kids sitting around and playing Dungeons and Dragons in a relatively peaceful town.

A character’s flaws and mistakes are intended to drive the plotline, and if they didn’t have them, there probably wouldn’t even be a plot.

So don’t be a mouth-breather:  give your good, kind characters some difficult qualities, and give your villains a few sympathetic ones.  Your work will thank you for it.

2.  Charisma and Vulnerability

Supernatural has its flaws, but likable leads are not one of them.  Fans will go to the grave defending their favorite character, consuming and producing more character-driven, fan-created content than most other TV shows’ followings put together.

So how do we inspire this kind of devotion with our own characters?  Well, for starters, let’s take a look at one of Supernatural’s most quintessentially well-liked characters:  Dean Winchester.

From the get-go, we see that Dean has charisma:  he’s confident, cocky, attractive, and skilled at what he does.  But these qualities could just as easily make him annoying and obnoxious if they weren’t counterbalanced with an equal dose of emotional vulnerability. 

As the show progresses, we see that Dean cares deeply about the people around him, particularly his younger brother, to the point of sacrificing himself so that he can live.  He goes through long periods of physical and psychological anguish for his benefit (though by all means, don’t feel obligated to send your main character to Hell for forty years), and the aftermath is depicted in painful detail.

Moreover, in spite of his outward bravado, we learn he doesn’t particularly like himself, doesn’t consider himself worthy of happiness or a fulfilling life, and of course, we have the Single Man Tear™.

So yeah, make your characters beautiful, cocky, sex gods.  Give them swagger.  Just, y’know.  Hurt them in equal measure.  Torture them.  Give them insecurities.  Make them cry.  

Just whatever you do, let them be openly bisexual.  Subtext is so last season.

3.  Goals For the Future and Regrets From the Past

Let’s take a look at Shadow Moon from American Gods.  (For now, I’ll have to be relegate myself to examples from the book, because I haven’t had the chance to watch the amazing looking TV show.) 

Right off the bat, we learn that Shadow has done three years in prison for a crime he may or may not have actually committed.  (We learn later that he actually did commit the crime, but that it was only in response to being wronged by the true perpetrators.)  

He’s still suffering the consequences of his actions when we meet him, and arguably, for the most of the book:  because he’s in prison, his wife has an affair (I still maintain that Laura could have resisted the temptation to be adulterous if she felt like it, but that’s not the issue here) and is killed while mid-coital with his best friend.

Shadow is haunted by this for the rest of the book, to the point at which it bothers him more than the supernatural happenings surrounding him.  

Even before that, the more we learn about Shadow’s past, the more we learn about the challenges he faced:  he was bullied as a child, considered to be “just a big, dumb guy” as an adult, and is still wrongfully pursued for crimes he was only circumstantially involved in.

But these difficulties make the reader empathize with Shadow, and care about what happens to him.  We root for Shadow as he tags along with the mysterious and alternatively peckish and charismatic Wednesday, and as he continuously pursues a means to permanently bring Laura back to life.

He has past traumas, present challenges, and at least one goal that propels him towards the future.  It also helps that he’s three-dimensional, well-written, and as of now, portrayed by an incredibly attractive actor.

Of course (SPOILER ALERT), Shadow never does succeed in fully resurrecting Laura, ultimately allowing her to rest instead, but that doesn’t make the resolution any less satisfying.  

Which leads to my next example…       

4.  Failure and Success 

You remember in Zootopia, when Judy Hopps decides she wants to be cop and her family and town immediately and unanimously endorse her efforts?  Or hey, do you remember Harry Potter’s idyllic childhood with his kindhearted, adoptive family?  Oh!  Or in the X-Files, when Agent Mulder presents overwhelming evidence of extraterrestrial life in the first episode and is immediately given a promotion?  No?

Yeah, me neither.  And there’s a reason for this:  ff your hero gets what they want the entire time, it will be a boring, two-dimensional fantasy that no one will want to read.  

A good story is not about the character getting what they want.  A good story is about the character’s efforts and their journey.  The destination they reach could be something far removed from what they originally thought they wanted, and could be no less (if not more so) satisfying because of it.

Let’s look at Toy Story 3, for example:  throughout the entire movie, Woody’s goal is to get his friends back to their longtime owner, Andy, so that they can accompany him to college.  He fails miserably.  None of his friends believe that Andy was trying to put them in the attic, insisting that his intent was to throw them away.  He is briefly separated from them as he is usurped by a cute little girl and his friends are left at a tyrannical daycare center, but with time and effort, they’re reunited, Woody is proven right, and things seem to be back on track.

Do his efforts pay off?  Yes – just not in the way he expected them to.  At the end of the movie, a college-bound Andy gives the toys away to a new owner who will play with them more than he will, and they say goodbye.  Is the payoff bittersweet?  Undoubtedly.  It made me cry like a little bitch in front of my young siblings.  But it’s also undoubtedly satisfying.      

So let your characters struggle.  Let them fail.  And let them not always get what they want, so long as they get what they need.  

5.  Loving and Being Loved by Others

Take a look back at this list, and all the characters on it:  a gaggle of small town kids and flawed adults, demon-busting underwear models, an ex-con and his dead wife, and a bunch of sentient toys.  What do they have in common?  Aside from the fact that they’re all well-loved heroes of their own stories, not much.

But one common element they all share is they all have people they care about, and in turn, have people who care about them.  

This allows readers and viewers to empathize with them possibly more than any of the other qualities I’ve listed thus far, as none of it means anything without the simple demonstration of human connection.

Let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite caped crusader, for example:  Batman in the cartoons and the comics is an easy to love character, whereas in the most recent movies (excluding the splendid Lego Batman Movie), not so much. 

Why is this?  In all adaptions, he’s the same mentally unstable, traumatized genius in a bat suit.  In all adaptions, he demonstrates all the qualities I listed before this:  he has flaws and virtues, charisma and vulnerability, regrets from the past and goals for the future, and usually proportionate amounts of failure and success.  

What makes the animated and comic book version so much more attractive than his big screen counterpart is the fact that he does one thing right that all live action adaptions is that he has connections and emotional dependencies on other people.  

He’s unabashed in caring for Alfred, Batgirl, and all the Robins, and yes, he extends compassion and sympathy to the villains as well, helping Harley Quinn to ultimately escape a toxic and abusive relationship, consoling Baby Doll, and staying with a child psychic with godlike powers until she died.

Cartoon Batman is not afraid to care about others.  He has a support network of people who care about him, and that’s his greatest strength.  The DC CU’s ever darker, grittier, and more isolated borderline sociopath is failing because he lacks these things.  

 And it’s also one of the reasons that the Lego Batman Movie remains so awesome.


God willing, I will be publishing fresh writing tips every week, so be sure to follow my blog and stay tuned for future advice and observations! 

Let's talk Lance

OK so I wanted to write this because I love how Lance has been written so far, and I feel like a lot of the fandom have sort of missed the important themes of Lance’s character development. Warning, MASSIVE wall of text incoming, so I’ve put the bulk of this under the cut. 

After watching and rewatching season 3, I’m convinced that Lance’s character arc has been handled very carefully and deliberately. I’ve seen a lot of people hoping for a big epic Lance moment where he becomes a badass in his own right and finally fits in etc. But in my opinion, that doesn’t fit Lance at all.

So far, there hasn’t been a direct focus on character growth for him, at least, not in an obvious ‘this episode is about Lance’ way. There were points in the season, such as the interactions with Allura in which he actually had a serious conversation with her, that show he has grown from the wannabe casanova he was in the earlier seasons, but no episode dedicated to his insecurities within the team and him overcoming those issues and finding his role.

That doesn’t mean his issues have been forgotten (see him believing he should step down from the team twice in s3), nor have they been ignored.

Keep reading

my dudes

my buddies

my pals

Let’s be real for a second in terms of like where this show is headed with regards to my favorite character (surprise it’s Lance jk no one is surprised)

Recently this tweet happened:

And some people are taking this really well and other people… not so much. Which makes sense since all of us have been like #thirstin for something more for Lance and have been met with a lotta nothing, but I think this tweet is actually a good thing.

So in this recent interview with Kimberly, Josh, and Jeremy, Jeremy basically says what he’s been saying since day 1 that’s been echoed by a lot of the other cast members and crew.

Basically: Lance will step up to the plate and he’ll become more of a leader and take on more responsibility but at the end of the day…

Lance.

Is.

Lance.

And when people ask for more about Lance in terms of his character, you don’t really hear much beyond this, which is exTRemEly frustrating but just hear me out.

It might not be this deep but I think it’d be cool if there’s a reason for the Voltron team being so adamant in the fact that “Lance is Lance.” And he will always be no matter what. This can go one of two ways.

1. Lance is Lance because he will always only be comic relief. 6 seasons of comic relief. That’s him. He’s Lance. A flirt. Cocky. Goofy. Sure he might have some moments like we’ve seen in S1 and S2 but for the most part he’s there to be the team goofball to make everyone laugh (or groan with frustration and annoyance)

Which is shitty and terrible and I will be so angry if this is what goes down but for now let’s move onto the MUCH BETTER option 2.

2. Lance does become a leader (maybe a co-leader? Right hand man? stays the Blue Paladin and just kinda steps up more? whatever) but no matter how tough things get, no matter how worn down the team is, no matter how hopeless the situation seems, Lance can still be Lance. And I don’t just mean he’s able to crack a joke at a tense time to lighten the mood, though that also is a part of it. I mean that he is able to keep a level head and calmly think things through even in chaotic or near impossible situations

That he is always concerned about the well-being of other and is willing to lay down his life for his friends (AKA PEOPLE HE JUST MET)

That he’s also not afraid to call out these friends when he thinks they are making a mistake (there seems to be a running theme with this one…..)

That he’s also appreciative of his friends and pays attention to their needs/wants and their strengths

And that he will always go down swinging

But maybe most importantly, and this is what I hope the Voltron team is trying to get at, Lance will never lose his joy and excitement and happy go-lucky demeanor. This is what makes him the Blue Paladin (and also why I think he would make a great Black Paladin but anyways….). He’s the glue of the team and this means more than just being the comic relief and making ill-timed jokes.

I really love the Lance that is able to start a weird space spore fight or wants to knit sweaters for Arusians. I love the Lance that enjoys doing a crazy dance while explaining their extremely dangerous plan to defeat Zarkon. I love the Lance that has fun coming up with wild ideas about what else could be locked up in Beta Traz. It’s not that he’s not taking his job as a Paladin seriously but rather that he is trying to take this crazy situation in stride as much as possible. We know that he can be worried, insecure, and lonely, but this never stops him from being who he is. He stumbles, loses confidence, regains it, and stands back up again ready to start swinging at the next asshole who decides to come for him and his friends.

Lance is adaptable just like water. He might come in different forms (serious, competitive, caring, homesick, flirtatious, etc) but at the end of the day it’s all of it is a part of who he is. He might need to get better at figuring out the appropriate timing of being leader Lance or flirty Lance, but it’s not like he has to lose the more immature part of him to become a more well-developed character.

So when people say “Lance will always be Lance,” I’m actually pretty fucking thankful. I’ve read some Langst where Lance becomes more “Keith-like” to cope with his insecurities which……. I’m conflicted about. I don’t think he needs to go as far as NOT be him in order for the team to learn to appreciate him more. So I think this affirmation from the staff that Lance will always be himself no matter what makes me believe that he will be what keeps the team together through the difficult and tumultuous times to come. That even despite his clear self-doubt he will be able to put the team and others first and maintain his role as the glue. That he will still manage to grow and change as a Paladin AND maintain the things that make him Lance.

There will be growing pains, of course, (I’m guessing a lot to do with Keith) but just because he’s insecure doesn’t make him weak. Lance doesn’t have to become more serious or stoic in order to be taken more seriously or be more “mature.” Then he wouldn’t be the Lance we know and love. He can withstand the challenges to come and develop as a character without sacrificing these integral parts of himself. He is capable of SO MUCH and I can’t wait for him to unlock the potential that was always there within him and makes him who he is.

anonymous asked:

hey, can you break down the differences between the adventure zone and critical role for me? i haven't listened to either and now i'm curious

Oh gosh, okay. They’re delightful but… very different approaches to the same general idea (broadcasting a D&D game), and I think the fans of one show tend to have a sort of skewed impression of the other show, so here’s my thinking.

Just the basics, to begin with: The Adventure Zone started running in late 2014, and it’s an audio-only podcast in which the McElroy brothers and their dad start a brand-new D&D campaign from scratch. Critical Role started running in early 2015, and it’s a video podcast in which a bunch of best-friend voice actors started filming the D&D campaign they’d already been playing for years at home with the same characters. TAZ is (generally) prerecorded and lightly edited down, CR is 100% live. Both have a lot of howlingly funny and surprisingly touching moments, both get a lot more intense the more you get into them, and both are good shows that are a Good Time, especially when they make you feel things you didn’t sign up for. The main canon of TAZ is currently 56 one-hour-long episodes, with new episodes every two weeks, and CR is currently 85 four-hour-long episodes, with new episodes every week. Most of the reason for CR’s absurd length comes down to (a) three times as many players, and (b) no editing.

The DMs both put a ton of work into the world, but they also have very different approaches. Griffin (TAZ) is DMing for the first time, while Matt (CR) has talked about how DMing D&D games for the past 20 years is what got him interested in acting in the first place. The world of TAZ is much more of a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid, while CR sticks more to traditional fantasy.

TAZ plays fast and loose with the rules, which can be both a delight and a frustration for storytelling reasons—for instance, until the latest arc both spell slots and HP were not really tracked, which means (a) Griffin has had to come up with incredibly creative ways of introducing risk and limitations to the game, and (b) those incredibly creative ways can start to get pretty damn brutal. The mechanics of the game feel like an imposition on the story, most of the time—it’s rare that you get a dice roll that makes a huge difference to the plot (but when you do, as in the most recent episode, it’s pretty darn cool). As a result, the biggest spanner in the works of Griffin’s plans tends to be in the form of out-of-the-box thinking from his players, which they excel at; I think there is a tendency to railroad the plot as a result, but it’s a good story and it’s well worth a little bit of elbowing to keep everyone on track. Magical items also play a huge role, with viewers of the show submitting awesome new trinkets for the heroes of the story to use/abuse/completely forget about.

Because CR tilts more towards the rulebook (although Matt gets more than his fair share of shit for homebrewing and letting things slide and defaulting to the Rule of Cool), chance plays a much bigger role in the story. Matt’s simultaneously battling some incredibly creative players and dice that seem determined to roll as dramatically as possible. Entire subplots have been wiped out by a strategic roll, and in order to be able to adapt to that on the fly, Matt has to be hyper-prepared and have a lot of possible branching points. It’s absurdly open-world, especially now that the characters have the ability to travel instantly through different planes of existence, and Matt keeps pace with a story that feels more character-led than DM-led; railroading is practically nonexistent, which means you get incredible plot developments and super-deep characterization… but it also sometimes leads to long circular conversations trying to figure out what to do next. Because the players are all actors, there’s also a lot more that’s just straight-up improv theater: it’s not unusual (especially lately) to go for verrrry long stretches of riveting conversation without anybody rolling dice (I can think of a moment where Matt could’ve just had everyone fail a charisma saving throw against an NPC but instead just straight-up charmed them all in real life with words).

I’ll put it this way: CR is a basketball pickup game between friends who’ve been playing together so long that they kind of have their own home rules going and stick to them. TAZ is out there playing fuckin’ Calvinball. Both are great fun, but if you go into one expecting the other you’re in for a bad time.

Both shows have a lot of great NPCs, although Critical Role’s format gives them a lot more time and depth to shine (there are episodes where an NPC will have as much or more “screen time” than some of the player characters). Both shows have LGBT representation among player characters and NPCs alike that, while not perfect, is generally improving as the show goes on. For me personally, one of the more frustrating things about going from CR to TAZ was going from three female player characters and a metric fuckton of extremely deep characterization for all the female NPCs to no female player characters and many great and memorable female NPCs who nevertheless don’t get too much screentime or development just because of the the structure of the show.

TAZ is pretty shaky throughout the first arc (Griffin’s fighting a bit of an uphill battle getting everyone to sit down and actually play the game, which is funny in and of itself), but things slowly start to come together and the real potential of the show becomes clear once they break the heck out of the 5e Starter Set. I think the “Murder on the Rockport Limited” arc is what started to pull me in, and it’s not until the latest arc that I’m starting to get the character development I really crave in that show. Critical Role also takes a little while to find its footing, and to me the Briarwood arc (starting around episode 24) is where the mood of the show starts to solidify, with episode 40 and beyond really pushing from “this is cool, I’m enjoying how these interpretations of fantasy tropes are sometimes kinda unusual and off-the-wall!” to “how is this the most honest and genuine character development I’ve ever seen in media what the heck is happening here”.

So yeah. TAZ isn’t total chaos with no plot or effort put into it, CR isn’t a humorless wasteland of mathematical minutiae and rigid formulaic approaches. Both shows are great fun, both are IMO in an upswing and getting better and better as they go along, and I heartily recommend them both if you know what you’re getting into. Have fun!

The Best Films of 2017 - Mid-Year List

There have already been many great films so far this year, so I felt it worth doing a run down of my favourite films of the year so far. These all reflect the cinema releases we’ve had so far in the UK in 2017 - for that reason this list includes some films that were released in the US in 2016. Enjoy, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the best films of the year so far!

Honourable mentions: Their Finest, Colossal, Gifted

1. Get Out, dir. Jordan Peele

This film really knocked me for six, to such an extent that I simply had to see it twice in the cinema. It got even better upon a re-watch, when I was able to watch it with full knowledge of the characters’ underlying motives and the things to come. It’s a terrifying concept (the racism of an all-white suburb is taken to a horrifying extreme) executed with incredible panache, and you feel every emotion that Chris goes through thanks to Daniel Kaluuya’s excellent performance. Get Out also represents one of the most brilliantly communal experiences I’ve ever had at the cinema - I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say that the audience erupted into spontaneous applause at a key moment in the climax. Simply fantastic. 

2. The Handmaiden, dir. Park Chan-wook

This film is exquisite - it’s first and foremost a beautiful boundary-smashing love story, and an absolutely marvellous tale of female defiance. It transplants Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith to 1930s Korea, and the story is effortlessly adapted to become intrinsically interwoven with its new setting. Sookee is a talented pickpocket plucked from a thieves den and sent as a handmaiden to trick a rich heiress into falling for a conman. To say any more would spoil the twists, but this film is just a masterwork of suspense, keeping you guessing throughout a series of interlocking pieces that take their time to reveal their secrets. I’ve seen the theatrical cut and the extended version, and they’re both great - you’re in for a treat with either.

3. Jackie, dir. Pablo Larrain

This is a film that soars on the strength of Natalie Portman’s incredible performance, which is complemented by Mica Levi’s haunting score. Portman’s performance is painfully vivid, with her agony and wretchedness coming through so intensely that it’s often uncomfortable to watch. Jackie is probably the best portrait of grief I’ve ever seen, and it sucks you into a famous historic event by providing an incredibly intimate perspective on it. This is great cinema, but be prepared for suffering.

4. A Cure for Wellness, dir. Gore Verbinski

This is a delightfully strange Gothic fairy tale of a film, and I’m amazed and impressed that a Hollywood studio gave Gore Verbinski a budget sufficient to pull it off with such beauty and style. I’ve seen this film attract love and hate in equal measure, but I adore it - the trailers set you up for a rehash of Shutter Island, but nothing could be further from the truth beyond the isolated setting. If I had to compare this to anything, I would compare it to Roger Corman’s Poe cycle of films from the 1960s - it has a similarly lurid sensibility and a deep-seated sense of fantastic romanticism at its core. Great if you’re after something uncompromisingly bonkers.

5. Wonder Woman, dir. Patty Jenkins

This film represented pure joy for me - I couldn’t have anticipated how emotional I was going to get at witnessing a (wonder!)woman crossing No Man’s Land and deflecting bullets with her bracelets. This simultaneously rejects the wry self-awareness of the Marvel films and the grim self-importance of the previous DC movies, instead unabashedly depicting a superhero who triumphs thanks to her overriding belief in love and compassion. Patty Jenkins adds endless little touches - from funny moments to quiet scenes where characters talk simply to learn about each other - that enrich the film and make it feel vivid and intimate in a very rare and special way.

6. Silence, dir. Martin Scorsese

This is truly the work of a master filmmaker, and it represents a stunning artistic achievement and a moving and intelligent investigation of the threshold of faith. Scorsese tried to get this made for decades before finally succeeding, and his passion for and belief in the project shine through in every painstakingly crafted frame. Silence is equal parts beauty and brutality, and it uses this contrast to illuminate the painful questions that the faithful must ask themselves when faced with the harsh reality of the present world. It’s heavy stuff, but well worth your time if you’re up for a film that raises more questions than it answers.

7. In This Corner of the World, dir. Sunao Katabuchi

I had no idea this film existed until a few days before I saw it, but I was really struck by its poetic treatment of the joys and tragedies of life. This film follows a young bride who moves to live with her husband’s family in WWII-era Japan, and while it deals unflinchingly with the trauma and horror of war - particularly the bombing of Hiroshima - it’s also surprisingly funny and ultimately hopeful. The power of this film comes through in the little moments of human connection and the way that the full potential of animation is exploited to maximum effect.

8. La La Land, dir. Damien Chazelle

A lovely ode to the classic Hollywood musical, La La Land is a technical marvel that sticks with me because of its heart and humanity (those words are recurring a lot, right?). It tells a very small story of a love affair between two dreamers in Hollywood, but it feels much bigger than them because of the way in which their story is told. La La Land draws from influences across the spectrum of cinema, and its homages to the classics are joyful and loving. The final ‘what might have been’ sequence represents the perfect marriage of raw emotion and filmmaking virtuosity. 

9. Okja, dir. Bong Joon-ho

Not many films can balance flatulence jokes with uncompromising critique of capitalist greed, but Okja pulls it off with aplomb. The core story hinges on the innocent and endearing friendship between a young girl named Mija and a bio-engineered super pig called Okja, and the film succeeds because you totally buy their connection and desperately want the two of them to have their wish and live together in the mountains. I’m delighted that Netflix gave Bong Joon-ho a platform to make such a weird beast.

10. Logan, dir. James Mangold

Logan may be bleak, but that isn’t what makes it great - Logan is fantastic cinema because it remembers that superheroes are still people who struggle with their own souls as much as super-villains. This film features the best character work managed in any of the X-Men films, and Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and - in particular - Dafne Keen give heart-rending performances that really ground the film and give it an emotional core. I hope we get more superhero films like this, and that the takeaway from it for the industry is the importance of stressing character rather than frantic spectacle.

Most anticipated films still to come: War for the Planet of the Apes, Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets, Dunkirk, The Beguiled, Mother!, Logan Lucky, Blade Runner 2049, Murder on the Orient Express, The Shape of Water, Annihilation, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

gay books that aren’t Gay Books, an elaboration

i made a post like this about six months ago but i’ve realised a) that as a wlw, there are literally No books about wlw on there, and b) ive read loads more books that are Fab and deserve a place on there

so to fit on this list, there are only 2 conditions

  1. there must be lgbt+ characters in the book
  2. said characters’ entire plotline must not revolve around them being lgbt+. this can be referenced, but they have to have wider development. eg: trc is acceptable as even though ronan goes through a process of accepting he’s gay, his arc is also involving accepting other (spoilery) things about himself

feel free to add your own as i’ve not read nearly enough fiction about wlw, as long as it’s not just to do with being lgbt as this is a list for people who want to see themselves in fantasy, crime, mystery, adventure, school novels specifically without having All the focus on being lgbt+.

OKAY ONTO THE LIST

  • carry on by rainbow rowell. this is the first book i ever really read where the sexuality of the characters wasn’t the most important thing about them. it isn’t for everyone (read: blatant harry potter references) but i did and still adore it. mlm relationship, queer & gay. 5 stars.
  • the raven cycle by maggie steifvater. the representation is nowhere near as good as some of the others on this list but it’s this high up because of the writing and the characters. mlm relationship, gay & bi. 5 stars.
  • the foxhole court by nora sakavic. again, not astronomical rep, but the plot and characters make up for it. mlm x2 relationships, one main. 5 stars.
  • six of crows by leigh bardugo. fantastic cast of characters. mlm relationship, gay & bi, and bi female character. 5 stars.
  • a darker shade of magic by ve schwab. beautiful worldbuilding. mlm relationship (both bi i think?) which is also own voices.  5 stars.
  • vicious by ve schwab. fantastic dark plot. ace main character, kind of adheres to the “ace characters are heartless” on which way you look but i think basically everyone’s a little bitch in the book so. 5 stars.
  • they both die at the end by adam silvera. so sad but it’s not Bury Your Gays as such since that’s the entire preface of the book. mlm relationship, gay & bi. own voices!  5 stars.
  • a gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue by mackenzi lee. mlm relationship.   4 stars.
  • radio silence by alice oseman. gave me an existential crisis. wlw and mlm solidarity, bi female mc, gay m and gay f, gay demi m. 4 stars.
  • i want to put more than this by patrick ness on here (4 stars) because he’s a fantastic ov rep and i love him and this is his most non-Gaytm book, but if you do want a book about being gay in the deep south then def read release and im breaking my own rule here but it’s amazing 5 stars.
  • ink and bone by rachel caine has a couple that remind me of holt and kevin from brooklyn nine nine (just much sadder.) worth reading just for the concept. mlm minor relationship. 4 stars.
  • again, i feel like you could squeak the song of achilles by madeline miller on here by the skin of its teeth. dont read this if you dont want sadness. 4 stars.
  • daughter of the burning city by amanda foody is a fantastic spooky book and so original. bi mc and aspec love interest. 3.5 stars.
  • ash by malinda lo. cinderella retelling. i didn’t personally like this one too much but it’s a cute wlw relationship. 3 stars.
  • history is all you left me by adam silvera. i very much didn’t like this one for personal reasons but i know a lot of people love it. mlm rep with a bi character (watch out bc the mc is slightly biphobic.) 2 stars.
  • i haven’t read adaptation by malinda lo yet but my friend loved it. it has a bi mc with a bi love triangle.
  • likewise i haven’t read of fire and stars by audrey coulthurst but my friend LOVED it with a passion. wlw relationship.

PLEASE ADD MORE THAT YOUVE READ

masterofenthropy  asked:

Hi HeyWriters! I was wondering: do you have a tip to create a weak point on main characters? I´m making a story, but I´m having trouble since my main character is TOO overpowered. Could you help me with this?

(All of this is written under the assumption your character has superpowers or “special” abilities, so forgive me if you meant a different kind of power.)

I created a character concept when I was twelve. She had all the superpowers of my favorite heroes and then some. As time wore on she gained more and more until eventually my adolescent brain invented logic and realized she was actually ridiculous. Here’s how I depowered this character, who’s name is Ace, without completely ruining her coolness.

Step One:

Don’t be greedy. Any ability that does not contribute to the story needs to go. It’s taking up space that could be filled with credibility. I decided early on that Ace didn’t need most of her abilities, and by the end of the story she only relies on a few to get the job done. Also, if a character can do more than one thing that are all basically the same thing some of those should probably go (invisibility and camouflage, superspeed and teleportation, etc.). 

Step Two:

Apply real-world science. If you try to make your depiction realistic, you’ll want to have an idea of how these abilities might work and how they might not. Of course, you should suspend disbelief for some things if they’re truly essential to your character, but others can be adapted. For Ace there are some powers that only work under the right circumstances, and others that her body rejects or that give her physical pain when she uses them. Most importantly, special strengths come with special weaknesses. Sensitive hearing means loud noises are more jarring or harmful, regeneration means metabolism speeds up and the person needs to eat as much as a body builder. Any superpower you pick out will have a drawback, I guarantee it; if not a physical one than a social one (I’ll get to that).

This scene from The Incredibles is an excellent demonstration of superpower drawbacks.

Step Three: 

Consider how the character feels about all this power and why they obtained it in the first place. Ace was not born with abilities, but over time she chose certain powers for the purpose of defending herself or others. Some of her powers fade away when she stops using them, like any skill you fail to practice, and some abilities she just plain old refuses to use for personal reasons. Some are too difficult or time-consuming for her to master, and some even trigger memories of her traumatic past thus she discards them. This way she has a choice in the matter and her choice is not to bite off more than she can chew or what she doesn’t want in the first place. 

Step Four:

How do other characters feel about all this power? Perhaps some or all of your character’s powers intimidate, frighten, or anger others in the story. One of Ace’s friends dislikes how unstoppable she is, and others are taken aback by some of the things she can do or how she looks when she does them. On the whole, she hides what she can do or picks small things to do instead of big things, downplaying her own power when necessary. How your supporting characters react to the force of nature that is your MC is the most important aspect of her power.

Here’s an example from the X-Men of how other characters might react. 

For additional opinions and advice, read this https://mythcreants.com/blog/five-characters-that-are-too-powerful/ and take to heart its ending line: “There’s only one fix that avoids all the pitfalls of overpowered heroes: refrain from making them really powerful in the first place.”

Yes, Ace is a flawed concept and all the advice I just gave is only a patch kit for that flaw. However, overpowered characters continue to excite readers and viewers alike, so I would never suggest we dispense with them altogether. Just, when you’re getting a headache from how overwhelming your character is, it’s good to consider dialling it all back and focusing on the power of their personality instead.

—————————————————-

Super apologize for taking so long to respond, and thanks for asking in the first place.

anonymous asked:

What do you think about NISAmerica's localization of Ouma's lines in general, especially in chapter 5?

Both of these questions deal with pretty much the same issue, so I’ll be answering them both together. Also, Ouma’s localization in particular is something I’ve been wanting to discuss ever since I got to about midway through Chapter 4 in particular, so now that I’m finally finished playing the localization in general, I’m glad to have a chance to talk about it specifically. I’ll be saving my thoughts on the rest of the localization for other posts, but for this one in particular, I really do want to talk about what happened to Ouma’s characterization in particular.

First and foremost, I want to say: these are my personal thoughts on the matter. I’m not here to bash on other people’s translation work, moreso with the amount of effort and detail that’s required for translation. Some of the errors that occurred throughout the course of the localization were not, in fact, due to any one translator but were instead the natural result of what happens when you have four translators working on different characters—that is to say, a simple lack of context and communication. Several lines were drastically mistranslated simply because the translators didn’t know what the character immediately beforehand had said, and this caused some confusion in the process.

However, it is a fact that much of Ouma’s characterization, particularly in Chapter 5, suffered as a result of this localization and the translation choices that were taken. In fact, some of the most important, plot-relevant scenes concerning Ouma were translated in a way that I believe makes it much more difficult for people who have only played the localization (and therefore had no access to the original lines) to understand his motivations, his thought process, or his character in general.

This entire post is going to be very, very long, namely because I tried to go in-depth and double-check all the original Japanese text before writing. I’ve bolded some of the points I felt were most pivotal to what the localization messed up. Huge spoilers for the whole game are under the read more, so be careful if you’re trying to stay spoiler-free!

Keep reading

Help. I’ve fallen hard for Mystic Messenger and I can’t get up. 

I’m one of those fans who have multiple MCs, cause damn they all deserve to be happy. It’s just more fun that way for me ^-^ In all my MM headcanons, art, and fanfics- I always use these girls. 

How their story works is that Unknown has 5 different girls to choose to send to the RFA, and whichever member he wants to manipulate determines which girl he chooses to be the party planner (and therefore determining what route the player is on.) All 5 of them were specifically chosen because Unknown knew they would have the most significant influence on their target RFA member.

If you want to know who they are and read more about them, just continue under the cut!

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Ok I don’t have anyone to talk to right now, I just had to be socially trans in person for an hour while signing legal forms, and I’m strung out and tired. SO I’M GOING TO RANT ABOUT CONSTRUCTED LANGUAGES AND MAGICAL SCRIPTS.

Look, I get it. You want your conlang/magic script to look mystical, cryptic, special. You want it to look different than any other language while still looking like a language people write in. If you’re a spiritual person or magic-user this may even be a language you’re channeling and that you believe to be ancient in nature or otherwise pre-existing. But 95% of conlangs and magical scripts look totally fake and made-up, and this is not a judgment I’m casting on their actual grammatical structure or language theory or the languages they were based on. The thing that makes a language look like one people ever actually wrote in for hundreds of years, that makes it look like the letters/characters are all from the same language, is that it looks like a language that’s been written in whatever tools you are claiming or feel like it was traditionally written in.

Let’s take cuneiform:

Looks super-neat, right? Man, who’d ever think of having those wedges in an alphabet! It’s totally different than most modern languages out there and very distinctive, and the wedges are consistent across the letters, so it makes them all look like they’re from the same alphabet. This wasn’t just arbitrarily designed as a font style. There is a reason for this!

Cuneiform writing was pressed into wet clay with these shaped bits and that’s why it looks like that. It got stamped with wedges. That’s how (this type of) writing was done at the time. It’s a technological solution and that’s what makes the lettering get that peculiar stylization. You’ll get variants based on craftsmanship and tools, but basically the method is the same across various implementations. Once someone tried to write that in pencil, you could imagine it’d look different, and you’d see evidence of people’s hand-motion between strokes, becoming more of a tilt between letters.

For instance, English looks like it does, even in tumblr’s sans-serif fonts, because it can be constructed with a pen. When it gets fancy with a variable-width pressure-sensitive pen nib, you can get more complex and flowy, but notice the flow and arc still go with the movements natural for a hand to make:

Originally posted by heaven-knows-im-miserable-n0w

Those little trails between letters exist today because nib pens were drippy and left ink trails. The written language adapted to the tools to incorporate the trails and still make it look legible, and that’s why we have cursive writing at all. This is a simplified history but it’s basically there to make you think about the letter shapes in various traditional ways of writing in English and why it looks like it does instead of like cuneiform.

Which brings me to conlangs. If you want your brand new ancient-looking language to truly look like people have used it for eons, write it out with the tools you think those people would have used, and keep adapting the letters if you find that, say, a brush or nib pen can’t construct the weird arcs and whirls you’ve designed the language to have. Languages by and large are made to be convenient to write. If you don’t know how to write kanji, Chinese words probably look complex and arbitrary to you. But their shapes are logical when you see them written with a brush:

So if you have some arcane-looking swooshy script but it still looks kind of fake, think about where the weight should really be. It should be where the brush presses down heavier and the trailing marks are where the brush lifts up (and usually leaves the paper and ends the stroke). Where the stroke is wide on one end is where the brush initially met the paper. Above, you can see how one swish immediately flows into another, the strokes are like arrows leading across the page when you understand how they’re created. Pick up a brush and figure out an actual stroke order for your symbol. If logically the stroke seems like it’d leave someone’s hand smearing it trying to follow its arc, then logically that symbol would eventually get redesigned if it were in an actual language. Someone would figure out a better way to write it and everyone would adopt that way over time.

So practice writing your language with different tools. Consider a calligraphy course or even just a kit with a guidebook (or youtube training videos!). Written language is a tool that people use, magical as it can be. And if you’re using it for magical purposes such as woodburning it into tools or painting it onto things or writing it onto paper, consider that your symbols will change a bit according to the tools, just like with mundane languages. A wedge-shaped wood burner will get you something a bit closer to cuneiform. A brush will get you something flowy and not super-precise. Pencil will not leave ink trails and will get you something more technical and practical. Your written language logically should shift for that and adapt like a proper tool. And if you do that right, if you really use it, then it will look much more genuine because it will have experienced an actual evolution of form adapting to the physical tools it’s been worked with via.

And if you’re not using it for magic but are just using it for a fantasy setting where people use it for magic in the story, all the above would still apply to them.

Even with just one symbol not meant to be in a greater language, think about the tool you’re creating it with. It’s hard to make a realistic brush-style symbol in pencil. Use the tool that fits the symbol and you’ll produce something much more genuine-looking.

That’s it! I’m not a language expert, this is not meant to be A Real Factual History Of All Language, it’s just a rough primer in How To Make It Look Like A Language Is Actually Written With. It’s not meant to be a critique in whether your magical language is “real” enough or “magical” enough either. It’s simply some pointers in how to make a magical/constructed language that’s actually reasonable to write with and suits the tools you’re writing it with and the purposes you mean it for. Hundreds of years of written language evolution is hard to replace, but I believe in you.

anonymous asked:

Just how fit are cheerleaders? What fighting styles might suit them best, given the muscles they use the most? Any weapon suggestions? I'm doing some research, but i'm not understanding it. I always understand your blog, though! My character will be fighting monsters larger than her, if that helps any. Thank you in advance! You're the best!

Cheerleading:

Cheerleading is a sport, especially in the nationally competitive range. It’s like combining dancing with gymnastics except as a choreographed team event. It’s a grueling sport with athletes who are in pretty incredible condition, and like similar sports runs the risk of serious blowouts in the joints which will result in semi-permanent to permanent injury.

When you’re setting up a cheerleading character, the most important thing to remember is that cheerleading is a team sport. This is a character who is better at working with and relying on others than going it alone. The other thing to remember is that they’re athletes. These are driven, competitive, hardworking, and intense personality types when it comes to their sport. These are the girls who ditch their boyfriends for practice (if they have them), and sacrifice their off hours to being the best they can be. Like any athlete training for the pinnacle of they’re sacrificing a lot of personal/life time to be the best they can be. Netflix has the reality show: Cheer Squad, which may help you some. Bring It On is, of course, a classic.

Remember, this is a character who is used to working in a team when under pressure and has a social outlet. They won’t transfer well to working alone, and you’re going to need to either address this or remember to create their cheer buddies. If you want a similar kind of athlete whose sports background primary gears them for working solo when out on in competition then you want a gymnast.

This is part of the real life dynamic where Buffy the Vampire Slayer really lies to you, because if you went with the cheerleader background you’d end up with twenty girls fighting monsters rather than just one. Only one might have superpowers, but you can bet your bottom dollar the others would be ride or die. For the Sisterhood!

So, what does this net you for starting them as a martial artist/monster hunter? It cuts out a lot of the ancillary issues.

We’ve got someone who is: courageous, fearless, a high achiever, nicely conditioned, flexible, with an athletic history which means she’ll breeze through endurance training and the vast majority of basic physical conditioning has been taken care of. She’s got a running start.

You can push her a lot harder in basic training than you can your average recruit who starts with zip. She’s got more control over her body, so she’ll adapt faster. Cheer is just far enough off the basic combat move set that the two shouldn’t conflict too badly when it comes to her currently conditioned reflexes. Coming out of a background in choreography, she’s going to need some retraining for her timing and gets more comfortable with free flowing chaos.

If you wanted a character with parkour for a background, then this is one which can be adapted fairly quickly.

Monster Hunting:

So, you’ve got a big decision to make on the Urban Fantasy front for how this character is going to go about fighting monsters and solving crime. So, I’ll break it down by some of the big supernatural shows.

The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” - The Buffy modus is essentially fisticuffs. You get a superpowered heroine whose essential means of fighting monsters is punching them out. There are a few other weapons here and there like crossbows, axes, and swords, but guns are persona non grata. You get magic from the support characters and someone else does the research.

In the end, Buffy’s approach to the supernatural is fairly limited on the combat front with the interesting bits happening in other parts of the narrative like the character’s personal relationships. If you want a pure human approaching the supernatural from a combat perspective then Buffy is not right for you.

The “Supernatural” - The Winchester brothers… aren’t quite human, but close enough. This model is The X-Files and Urban Fantasy Private Investigator. Your character is more of a Jack of All Trades. They need to be able to do it all: research, fighting with a primary focus on guns, and investigation (especially in the early seasons). This is “determine what the monster is and figure out how to kill it” mode with the occasional problem that can’t be solved. 

The “Charmed” - Magic is the solution. This is where the primary solution to defeating the monsters is through magic. Magic is the weapon, and the focus, and normal weapons are mostly useless.

Unless they’ve got some sort of special, mystical weapon or a setting clear on its rules, a character who hunts monsters needs a fairly wide array of skills because the ancient monsters of myth, folklore, and fairy tales often require diverse solutions that are all fairly specific.

The decisions between guns or not, the level of technology your character will be using/relying on, their skill at researching and hunting down hidden truths in forgotten folklore, and their flexibility with alternative solutions are all on the table. Whether your setting has a “barrier” between the mundane and supernatural world is also a big decision as that will affect what level of strangeness your character can get away with.

When looking at a “standard” weapon for the character to carry, you want one that will fit a wide variety of situations or the ones the character is most likely to encounter.

-Michi

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