So I am a straight(ish) girl who was thinking about writing a story about two women in love in a fantasy setting. Obviously I need to do some research first (for believability and sensitivity, and to make sure it appeals to wlw) but where do I even start? I don't even know what questions to ask even if I find a wlw willing to help other than "What do you want to see more of" and "What should I avoid".
Cont: To clarify on my last question - I mean appeals to wlw as opposed to straight men for example, not “I’m trying to get wlw to give me popularity/money.” I think if you write a marginalized character you should keep that group in mind first and foremost.
Writing any sort of character that differs from you in a significant way requires:
- Listening to firsthand experiences from that kind of person
- Listening to more firsthand experiences from that kind of person
- Even more listening
- Recognizing that you probably just heard dozens of different experiences, some of them contradictory
- Now you can ask some questions
- Even more listening
It’s not about any specific traits to include or not include. I can’t give you a list of this or that and send you on your way. I have one queer outlook on life. Even my own queer stories get ire from queer people sometimes. I do my own homework when depicting a different type of queer person from myself.
Then it requires:
- Trial and error
- Screwing up a lot
- Being open to criticism from the people you’re depicting without taking it personally
- Recognizing you will never be the best person to tell this story
- Remembering that your ego is less important than the feelings of the people you’re trying to represent
- Writing them anyway, even though you won’t be the best at it. Be the best you can be.
- Being humble.
Ultimately remember that this isn’t about you. You’re writing about this kind of person because these kinds of people exist. Not for personal praise, not for points, not for money. This is a responsibility, this is a privilege to tell someone else’s story. If you can’t be understanding and set your ego aside, then you’re not someone who gets to tell it.