i like my americans so much people gotta specifically ask for non americans

anonymous asked:

This sounds weird but could you give some advice to other fanfiction writers? You're really good. 💕

oh my goooooooood where are all you lovely people coming from tonight?? 

alrighty, let’s give this a go!

Fanfic Tips:

Character Motivation

This is my biggest thing. You should always, at any given moment, know what every character in a scene wants. What they want is going to dictate how they act and react to things. Without characters wanting things, nobody ever does anything, and your fic doesn’t exist. 

When characters have different motivations and have to come together, magic happens. And as characters develop, their motivations change. 

Great example?

what Luke wants (general motivation: freedom -> The Right Thing): to get off his uncle’s farm and get to go be with his friends at the academy -> to be a Jedi and fight for the rebellion -> to learn more but also keep his friends safe -> to redeem his father.

what Leia wants (general motivation: fight Empire): to get the Death Star plans to the rebel base and find Obi-Wan Kenobi -> to not be in the Empire’s clutches -> to blow up the Death star -> to not be in the Empire’s clutches -> to save Han -> to blow up the other Death Star 

what Han wants (general motivation: self-preservation -> protect friends): to get his hands on some money so that he doesn’t get killed by a mob boss -> to escape the empire -> to help the rebellion/keep his friends safe

(Obi-Wan, meanwhile, pretty much just wants to keep Luke safe, and help the rebellion if he can.)

All different, all interweaving, most of them changing as the characters are influenced by others, and learn and grow. 

So yeah. You gotta know this shit about your characters - it’s crucial. 

Tip? If you’re unsure about whether you know what they want, try making a list of all the important characters in your fic (and then potentially do this with most scenes, briefly) and work out what their main motivation/what they want is. Just…in general. In life. And then, once you’re in a scene, see how this plays into what they want in this exact moment, and how they’re going to go about trying to get it. 

Know Your Source Material

You don’t have to be an expert in your fandom to write fanfic, but the more you know, the easier it is to move through the world and build a story, because you know where you’re going and how things work. Wikis are your friend, especially when working in big universes like DW or SW. (Like, hell, I might know a lot about DW, and feel very comfortable in that universe, but I still find myself on the TARDIS Index File all the time, checking little random things. It’s a damn godsend, and every fandom has a wiki.)

Your Characters Are Just People

Make sure you let your characters fuck up once in a while. They’re fallible beings, they’re going to make rash decisions that backfire, they’re going to try something and fail, they’re going to say the wrong thing and piss somebody off. They’re going to maybe mean well but fuck up majorly, and that’s okay, that’s good. Let them apologise, let them learn from the consequences, let the healing of a wound in a relationship bring the people closer together. 

And yes, this still goes for characters that almost never do anything wrong, or are all ‘holier than thou’. They are still gonna go about some things the wrong way. 

Planning Is Good, But Be Flexible 

In my experience, while some people lean heavily towards one or the other, appropriate use of planning or gardening can depend heavily on what kind of story you’re writing. 

When writing more action based storylines, I’ve found it’s very easy to get stuck in the middle of them - you get the characters into a mess and get stuck for a month not knowing how to get them out. This is where planning tends to be handy. A good way of not getting stuck is to plan it all out in little increments, so there’s not too much room to get stuck. Also, plotting from the back. Start at the end. Works really well a lot of the time. 

If planning works for you, plan as much as you want. But, always, always, be ready to change something, if you try a bit of gardening and end up somewhere different to where you expected to be. Always follow what feels right over sticking with a plan. 

Gardening aka Let The Characters Take The Lead

…this is fanfic. Let’s be honest, we know that most of it is juicy interpersonal stuff. So while planning is all well and good, I think gardening works a lot better. When writing the maths teacher fic, I went in pretty much blind. I had a couple of vague ideas of what I wanted to achieve, but I also wanted the relationship I was developing to be as absolutely genuine/believable as possible (which, according to the general consensus, it is). 

The way to do that?

Don’t try and force things between the characters. Sometimes you might start a scene with a particular moment in mind, and that’s all good, but for me personally, I’ve found that you tend to get results that are more organic by simply going into a scene blind and seeing what the characters do. You should still, hopefully, have an idea of what you want to happen, but the characters and their ways of reacting to things should always come first. 

Seriously, if you’ve got the characterisation down, they’ll do the hard work for you. 

Maybe they’ll get to where you wanted, maybe they won’t. But it’s actually a really fun ride, doing it this way. When are they going to kiss? When are they going to fuck? Who knows? Not me! How could I know, when I haven’t yet seen/created the unique and particular path of events that gets them to that point? 

Like, I went into a chapter once, intending for a child character to kill a guy. But when it came to writing the scene, I just wasn’t quite sure if she would actually do it, even with her evil psychopathic mother egging her on. So I gave the kid the reins/gun, and sat back to see what happened. She ended up shooting him non-fatally, only for him to be killed by the vaguely disappointed mother instead. I was like “oh, okay, cool, that works”. 

Garden. Have fun letting the characters surprise you!

Dialogue

Dialogue is the make or break of a story, really. And the trick to dialogue is to make it authentic, and give the characters their own unique voices. 

First one is simple. Make sure the dialogue sounds like how people actually talk. Anyone who has read any of my fics knows that I use “-” and “…” and “um” and “uh” liberally. That’s because humans, modern day ones at least, aren’t always the most eloquent of creatures. We mumble and say the wrong thing, or get distracted halfway through, or forget what we were going to say, and hesitate when we’re unsure (even posh, eloquent characters, they just do it less and use bigger words in between). Let the characters do this. 

Saying the dialogue out loud will help a lot. Also, you could also try verbally paraphrasing a conversation from the fic to a friend, and you’ll likely find some of the dialogue coming out a lot more casually/authentically. 

As for giving the characters their own unique voices, that’s just down to knowing your canon and being in tune with the characters, which is a crucial thing but unfortunately not something I can really give advice on, you’ve gotta get those in your head on your own. 

Details Matter

Different details matter in different stories. And getting them wrong can really break the immersion.

If you’re writing characters that come from a different place to you, make sure you know how people from that place talk! Americans, don’t you fucking dare have a British character call somebody ‘Mom’, it breaks the immersion completely and makes me want to punch something. It’s ‘Mum’, for anyone from UK/Aus/NZ. And same with Brits writing American characters, but the other way around. This goes for any UK/US/Aus/NZ/Canada language difference. Find out what your character calls things.

Working details out can seem unnecessary, or going over the top, but honestly, half the time you realise that you’ve gone and got something wrong, and next thing you know the entire plot has a gaping hole in it, or a character doesn’t know something they got told three months back, but you forgot about it. 

Like, okay, I have a day by day plan of the timeline of the maths teacher fic (and, going forward, its general universe), because I was trying to weave in all this original material through the show canon (and now, write several stories/oneshot set at the same time within that verse, focused on different characters/things), and if I hadn’t done that, I would have royally fucked myself over multiple times. 

I’m not saying everyone has to make a timeline that detailed, because for a lot of stories it wouldn’t be remotely necessary, but it was for this particular one. 

But just details in general. Do your research, check that thing on the wiki, get specific with details about a character, even if they’re just a minor one (though maybe stick to just one or two details, in this case). 

This kind of goes along with show, don’t tell. Like you could tell the readers blatantly that a character loves a thing, or you could talk about how they wearing clothing printed with the thing and have them jabbering on about it excitedly, you know? 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need information!

Seek out people who are experts in something you need to know about. This might be kink (bless the friends I’ve made through fic in the last six months or so, who have helped me in this area), or something specific to their country’s society/culture/choice of words for a certain thing. 

Also, if you’re trying to add diversity in your fics, and you hopefully should be, ask friends or people on Tumblr from within the group you’re trying to include to get information! Want to write a trans guy? Go find a trans guy to talk to about it! (I did this with a demigirl character recently, and got about four or five really helpful people more than happy to give me the info I was looking for, they were really excited about the prospect of demigirl characters existing at all.) It’s really easy to add in background diversity regardless of what fandom you’re writing for, and it can make a lot of difference to any readers who find themselves unexpectedly represented, even if only in a minor or one time character. 

In Conclusion:

Know your characters, and what they want, and how they talk. Let them lead the story, because they’re why you’re here, and doing all this. Give them real and imperfect voices and qualities, and let them make mistakes and apologise.

And do your research, so you get the details right.

I hope this helped! Now, go forth and write!

(And have fun! That’s the other big rule. Do it out of love, make yourself laugh, just have fun with it!) 

I’m not sure if this is all from the same person or not but let’s just talk about LGBT stuff in Japan for a moment since that seems to be a recurring theme. 

LGBTQA stuff in Japan!

So, first of all, I’m sorry but condensing a question like this into a single answer isn’t easy. I want you to keep that in mind. Taking a WHOLE COUNTRY and saying “Yup, IT’S like this, cut and dry, and we’re done!” is… impossible. Please understand what you’re asking is nearly impossible.

It’s like… imagine if someone asked you “is america accepting of lesbians?” out of the blue.

“What?” you’d say, confused. “Well, it’s like… it’s… sometimes it’s more like…. WHICH PART?” you’d finally scream. “WHICH SOCIOECONOMIC GROUP? WHICH CITY?”

America is large, right? Many different people. Many different parts. Many different attitudes towards lgbtqa community. It’s hard to answer that - because “America” can mean “middle of bumfuck nowhere in a tiny town with one church and two bars where everyone votes Trump” but it can also mean “college campus in LA where you can find at least 3 gay people just by climbing on top of a fountain and screaming ‘CALLING ALL QUEERS’ at the top of your lungs.”

Now, why wouldn’t Japan be the same?

Secret answer is: It’s not the same. But it’s just as complicated! Japan is a WHOLE country, right? Parts of it are going to be different. Tokyo is going to be different than a tiny village in Hokkaido.  In order to answer your question(s) we’re going to have to get overarching and do a lot of umbrella talk and be vague. 

THING #1: The Japanese LGBTQA community is different from the American LGBTQA community. 

Do I mean: “Japanese lgbtqa people are inherently a different breed of people than American lgbtqa people?” No, I don’t mean it like that. 

What I mean is, the communities have a vastly different culture, a vastly different HISTORY, of course. A different evolutionary path, different pioneers that shaped the way it looks, different laws and legalizations which colored it different hues. LGBTQA people have always existed, on every continent, in some way or another. But because Japan and America are different places, the labels they use, the terms, the inner workings of the community tend to be different. That’s not BAD!  It’s just different, and those differences need to be considered and respected. 

For example! Here’s a list of some of the more common terms and labels that come up in the Japanese community:

セクマイ [ seku mai ] - Sexual minority. The general term used in the same way as LGBTQ would be utilized. It covers, yes, even transgender labels although transgender people are not technically “sexual” minority. 

(L) レズビアン [ rezubian] - Lesbian. Self-descriptive term used by wlw (women loving women) (not a slur).

(G) ゲイ [ gei ] - Self explanatory. The term for gay, typically gay males. Self-descriptor and neutral term (not a slur.)

(B) バイ・バイセクシャル [ bai・baisekushyaru ] - Bisexual, used by, well, bisexual people to describe themselves and their attraction to more than one gender (although more frequently it means male and female people.) The term pansexual also exists but it is slightly less well known. 

MTF - Same as English, this is used for and by transgender women. 

FTM - Same as English, this is used for and by transgender men. 

FTX / MTX - Denotes a person of ‘X’ gender who is trans. X gender covers bases similar to the umbrella term “genderqueer” and may mean “non-binary” or “agender” or “bigender”. 

*Note that I did not mention the term transgender in this (albeit short and very simple) list. That is because ‘transgender’ within the Japanese LGBT community means something very different - mainly the act of PERFORMING a different gender, such as crossdressing, breaking gender boundaries and etc. It is used by individuals who engage in this, but not necessarily used by people who identify as FTM or MTF. Performing gender in this context is not believed to be the same as ‘being’ a gender. Many MTF and FTM people dislike the term ‘transgender’ because it’s considered to take on a lighter meaning, almost like “playing dress-up”. 

Similarly, the word “non-binary” or “genderqueer” are also not mentioned. That is because, although these words DO technically make their appearances, they were VERY little known even inside the community. Specifically speaking, they are a minority within a minority. Any people who do not identify with the binary gender identification use the overarching term “X gender”, although in the UK/American/Australian, etc LGBT communities this would be too vague for many people attempting to describe a gender experience. I, myself, despite identifying ‘agender’ in the USA, have adapted the term “x-gender” when being active within the Japanese LGBT community. Although I still maintain that I am ‘agender’ as that is more specifically my experience, I realize that even within LGBT circles most people would not really know what ‘agender’ means or what ‘non-binary’ means or even ‘genderqueer’. 

And still, we have the issues within these same communities of gender identification clashing with sexual attraction identification. For example while some people are fine with grouping all the above labels (and others) under a single community, many FTM and MTF people do not agree that they should be included and grouped with the others. There are several reasons, one of which is cited as that they are not ‘strange’ or ‘queer’ so to speak but simply suffer from a disorder (namely GID - Gender Identity Disorder) and they only have to remedy the issue of their body/hormones, not any type of ‘unconventional’ attraction. (Again, this is third-person account of experiences and discussions within the community so take this with a grain of salt, not a direct quote.)

To add to this, many gay and lesbian people are concerned not with gender identity in general but the body - one of the reasons that the labels like FTM and MTF are overwhelmingly common self-identifiers on twitter profiles and dating app profiles. Some lesbians, for example, are open to dating FTM men because they ‘still look like a girl’. This in my experience is also an issue in the American LGBT community but still worth mentioning to outline the general approach to these overlapping topics. 

So….

Q: Do people over there frown upon lesbians?

Well, I’ve given you a very simple run-down of the community, but the thing is, this is still all WITHIN the community, not along cis/straight folk. In fact, LGBT visibility is…. low in Japan. In comparison to America, which now starting to include queer/ transgender/gay/lesbian characters in dramas, children’s TV, etc… Japanese LGBT depiction is low. 

To cite BL and yuri manga as an LGBTQ resource would be odd because it is not technically depicting realistic queer relationships. It’s depicting taboo relationships and many times makes the homosexuality involved the overarching “kink” of the entire fiasco. The theme is “being queer is bad, but bad is sexy, and that’s why you’re reading this, right?” Simply speaking - you can’t learn many things about LGBTQ people through reading BL. It’s often not written by gay people or for gay people. (Personal note: You can still enjoy this as a source of widely-available erotica. Do I still enjoy it? Hell yeah. But you’ve gotta be aware of the issues it has.)

HOWEVER there IS manga written by gay, lesbian, transgender authors which does feature real (or realistic) stories about queer characters which IS a very valid resource. Also, there are novels which fulfill this same quota and even, in recent years, movies. Still, these media are far and few in between. General TV programs also use an image of LGBTQ people based on caricatures and stereotypes, which, as we all know, is not helpful so much as degrading.

Now, would this be enough for the general population to learn about gay people? Arguably no. The information available is not going to be throwing itself into the eyes of consumers if it is correct, and just going to be absorbed as toxic information if it is not. 

Sorry, we’re actually only now getting to the actual meat of this question… how do people feel about LGBTQA people in Japan?

In general, the attitude that I’ve come up with a few times is that “Gay people exist, sure. But not in Japan.” I’ve been told by a coworker: “Ah, yeah, I’ve heard about transgender people in that country. But there’s no transgender people in Japan, here, so it’s not really our problem.” (Paraphrased to cut out unnecessary in-between snippets). What you should be getting is this - LGBTQ people are, by and large, invisible. The thing is - in order for LGBTQ Japanese people to survive socially they NEED to be invisible. 

While violence is a problem in America, in Japan there’s not so much of it. Attacks on people are rare - but there is something ELSE that takes its place and rears its ugly head. That something is - social isolation. Being fired from your job, being refused housing, being abandoned by co-workers and friends and basically becoming a social outcast is a leading cause of suicide in Japanese sexual and gender minorities. 

Simply speaking, if you are LGBTQ in Japan and are open and out to your co-workers, here are some things that might happen:

1) You might not be believed. Or simply, your coworkers might not realize that you are LGBTQ. Or you might be met with so little understanding of your identity that it might as well be like explaining the concept of ‘gay’ to a tomato.

A close friend of mine used to work at a high school with kids as a native language teacher. This person identifies as a lesbian and is open in this identity. To the average American eye, this person is a walking, shining beacon of gayness. We’re talking haircut, rainbows everywhere, etc. To their workmates, however, the entirety of this was overlooked. This person recalled a conversation with their student which started with them openly expressing that they have a girlfriend - and followed with the student asking, over and over again “What do you mean, girlfriend?” “But what about your boyfriend?” “What do you mean, girlfriend, like dating her?” “What do you mean you kiss her???” “Lesbian? What???” 

It wasn’t ill-intentioned, it was just a teenager who had no possible narrative for this kind of relationship or experience. There was zero understanding - the entire thing had to be built from the ground up.

A few months later, this person got engaged to their (then) girlfriend - and the entire school was even informed about this. Still, a few days later a groundskeeper innocently asked them “Do you cut your hair like that because your husband likes it better that way?”

So… if you’re not used to giving LGBTQ 101 Speeches… maybe get ready to?

2) You might be treated as a social pariah, or at the very least chastised for not fulfilling your gender’s expected positions. 

Are you a woman? Your role is to get married. Build a family. Take care of the house. Take care of your man. 

If you’re a lesbian? What are you going to do? How are you going to have a child? How can you continue your bloodline?  

Are you a man? Your role is to work, to build a family, to find a wife, to have children. 

Many people might not even understand that being not-straight or not-cis is not a choice. Many might ask you “But why would you do that?” In especially traditional families, this is expected. 

For goodness’ sake, even straight-looking but non-traditional marriages are put under the magnifying glass. A thing I heard recently is “You didn’t have a ceremony? But why not? You really ought to, you know? You really should have one.” Followed by disapproving glances and shaking of the head. 

3) You might have your identity brushed off onto the platter of “foreignness” that you are bound to carry around with you in Japan.

As I mentioned before, some people believe that LGBTQ people don’t exist in Japan. It’s a thing that happens in other countries, sure, but those are those OTHER countries. They’re already weird - it’s not surprising that people are GAY over there too. A foreigner? Well, my goodness, no one’s surprised that they’re gay. Aren’t they all gay over there? It’s probably somewhere in this here book of stereotypes. But this is Japan, and Japanese people just don’t have that kind of culture. So you’re gay - big deal! But that’s not something that could happen to a Japanese person. 

Right? Anyway, you get the picture. Acceptance comes at a price of denial. And really, why shouldn’t they deny it? LGBTQ is practically invisible, it’s no wonder they think the way they do. But again, this invisibility is for survival… ♬ It’s the circle of life ♬

4) You might be accepted!

This is also worth mentioning, because although slowly, times are changing. And although it’s rare, allyship sometimes surprises us. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but within my workplace at least I know several people - older and non - who knew about my past coworker’s (the super-gay senpai I mentioned) engagement to their girlfriend (now wife). They were excited to hear about the news and were happy to look at photos of the wedding on facebook with me. There wasn’t a negative thing to be said (around me, at least) and in general the atmosphere resembled that of the usual someone-we-know-got-married type of thing. It happens! Really, this is a gamble on your part.

Know that in Japan, your circle of support is important. And know that your queerness, whatever form it takes, will be taken differently as a foreigner than if you were Japanese. Either way, the choice to be out or in the closet is still yours and personal and either way, it is valid if it feels like the right thing for you. 

And last but not least - don’t be afraid to learn more! What I’ve said here has been a culmination of my own experience, my friends’ experience, and the experience of a person who’s very dear to me who is also part of the LGBTQ community in Japan and has been for a long, long time. Still, there are many facets of it, and there’s much to be discovered.

Either way - good luck!!