one for each character

Female Characters to Avoid in your Writing:  An Illustrated Guide.

1.  The Bella Swan (i.e. the blank sheet of paper)

Who she is:

In Twilight, Bella has absolutely no qualities that make her interesting as a character.  She’s shown to have very little personality, in the books or onscreen, and is only made “interesting” (a relative term here) via the inclusion of her sparkly, abusive boyfriend.  It feeds into the harmful mentality of adolescent girls that you need a significant other in order to find fulfillment, particularly if he’s significantly older and likes to watch you sleep.  Yikes.

Examples:

Bella is welcomed to school by a friendly, extroverted girl and given a place to sit amongst her and her friends.  Despite this girl’s kindness, Bella shrugs her off as a stereotypical shallow cheerleader, and spends her time staring wistfully at the guy across the cafeteria from them.  Once Edward becomes her official boyfriend, she immediately loses interest in her new friends as her life shifts its orbit to revolve completely around him. 

How to avoid her:

  • Female characters are allowed to have lives outside of their significant others.  They’re allowed to have friends, quirks, hobbies, and interests.  Give them some
  • The best fictional relationships are based off of characters who compliment each other, not one character who revolves around the other.  Make sure your female character’s life does not centralize around her significant other.
  • Strong female characters don’t look down on other girls, even if they are outgoing cheerleaders.  Being pasty and introverted doesn’t make you a better person, y’all – if it did, I’d be a decorated hero by now.
  • Give them aspirations besides getting an obsessive, much-older boyfriend.  In fact, don’t give them an obsessive, much-older boyfriend at all – if you do want them to have a significant other, give them one who cares about their interests and accepts that they have lives and goals outside of them.

2.  The Molly Hooper (i.e. the starry-eyed punching bag)

Who she is:

 Like most things about BBC’s Sherlock, Molly was an amazing concept that went progressively downhill.  I used to love her quiet tenacity and emotional intelligence, and was sure that with her strong basis as a character, she would overcome her infatuation with the titular Sherlock and find self-fulfillment.  Nope!

Examples: 

She remained stubbornly infatuated over the course of five years with an ambiguously gay man who, en large, treated her badly, leading to her public humiliation with zero pertinence to the plot or resolution.  Moreover, her infatuation with Sherlock quickly usurped almost all of her other characteristics, leading her to an increasingly immature characterization that was difficult to relate to.

How to avoid her:

  • By all means, please write female characters who are quiet, kind, and unassuming (a female character does not, contrary to popular belief, need to be rambunctious, callous, or violent to be “strong”) but remember than none of these traits need to make the character a pushover.  Let them stand their ground.
  • Similarly, attraction to men (or anyone, for that matter) does not invalidate a female character’s strength.  Just be sure she values herself more than their attention.
  • As I said earlier, don’t be afraid to make characters who are gentle and soft-spoken, but be wary of making them “childlike,” or giving them an infantile, emotionally characterization.
  • My best advice for writing gentle, soft-spoken, unassuming women would actually to look to male characters in the media fitting this description; since male characters are rarely infantilized as much as women are by popular media, you’ll get a much better idea of what a well-rounded character looks like. 

3.  The Irene Adler (i.e. the defanged badass)  

Who she is: 

Yup, another one of the BBC Sherlock women, among whom only Mrs. Hudson seemed to come through with her dignity and characterization intact.  In the books, Irene and Sherlock have absolutely zero romantic connotations, only bonded via Sherlock’s irritation and respect with her substantial intelligence.  In the show, it’s a different story entirely. 

Examples:  

Irene is a badass character who’s turned into a teary-eyed Damsel in Distress via her uncontrollable love for the show’s male lead.  It doesn’t help matters that she’s a self-proclaimed lesbian who falls in love with a man, which, unless you’re a woman who loves women yourself and writing about a character realizing she’s bi/pansexual, I would recommend against doing under any circumstances.  She ends up being defeated and subsequently rescued by Sherlock – a far cry from her defeat of him in the books. 

How to avoid her:

  • If you’re writing a badass female character, allow her to actually be badass, and allow her to actually show it throughout your work as opposed to just hearing other characters say it.  And one punch or kick isn’t enough, either:  I want to see this chick jump out of planes.
  • That said, “badass” does not equal emotionally callous.  It doesn’t bother me that Moffat showed Irene having feelings for someone else, what bothers me is how he went about it. 
  • When writing a character who’s shown to be attracted to more than one gender, just say she’s bisexual.  Pansexual.  Whatever, just don’t call her straight/gay depending on the situation she’s in.  Jesus.

4.  The Becky (i.e. the comedic rapist) 

Who she is: 

Most people who know me can vouch for my adoration of Supernatural, but it definitely has its problems:  it’s not as diverse as it could be, its treatment of women is subpar, and yes, there is some thinly veiled sexual violence:  all three of its leading characters have dealt with it at one point of another (Dean is routinely groped by female demons, a virginal Castiel was sexually taken advantage of by a disguised reaper, and the whole concept of sex under demonic possession is iffy to say the least.)  It’s rarely ever addressed afterwards, and is commonly used for comedic fodder.  Possibly the most quintessential example of this is Becky.

Examples: 

Becky abducts Sam, ties him to the bed, and kisses him against his will.  She then drugs him, albeit with a love potion, and is implied to have had sex with him under its influence. 

How to avoid her:

  • Male rape isn’t funny, y’all.  Media still takes rape against women a lot more seriously than rape against men, particularly female-on-male rape, and I can assure you its not.
  • Educate yourself on statistics for male sexual assault:  approximately thirty-eight percent of sexual violence survivors are male, for example, and approximately one in sixteen male college students has reported to have experienced sexual assault. 
  • Moreover, be aware that forty-six percent of all instances of male rape have a female perpetrator.
  • Read more here in this amazing article: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/04/male_rape_in_america_a_new_study_reveals_that_men_are_sexually_assaulted.html
  • In other words, treat themes of sexual assault against men as seriously as you would treat themes of sexual assault against women.       

5.  The Movie Hermione (i.e. the flawless superhuman) 

Who she is: 

Okay, in and of herself, Movie Hermione is amazing:  she’s beautiful, intelligent, and heroic, as well as possibly the most useful character of the franchise.  She only bothers me in context of the fact that she takes away everything I loved most about Book Hermoine, and everything I loved about Book Ron, too.   

Examples: 

Book Hermione was beautiful, but not conventionally:  she had big, poofy curls, big teeth, and didn’t put a lot of effort into maintaining her appearance.  Movie Hermione looks effortlessly flawless, all the time.  Book Hermione was intelligent, but also loud, abrasive, and unintentionally annoying when talking about her interests (which meant a lot to me, because as a kid on the Asperger’s spectrum, I frequently was/am that way myself – it was nice to see a character struggling with the same traits).  She was also allowed to have flaws, such as struggling to keep up with academia, and being terrified of failure.  

Movie Hermione also took all of Ron’s redeeming qualities, and everything that made him compliment her as a couple:  his street smarts used to compliment her academic intelligence, for example, staying calm while she panicked in the Philosopher’s Stone when they were being overcome with vines.  He also stood up for her in the books against Snape, as opposed to the jerkish “he’s right, you know.”     

How to avoid her:

  • Allow your female characters to have flaws, as much so as any well-rounded male character.  Just be sure to counterbalance them with a suitable amount of redeeming qualities.  This will make your female character well-rounded, dynamic, and easy to get invested in.
  • There’s no reason for your female characters to always look perfect.  Sure, they can be stunningly gorgeous (particularly if their appearance is important to them), but it’s physical imperfections that make characters fun to imagine:  Harry’s scar and wild hair, for example.  Female characters are no different. 
  • If you’re writing a female character to have an eventual love interest, allow their personalities to compliment one another.  Allow the love interest to have qualities that the female character is lacking, so that they can compliment one another and have better chemistry. 
  • Basically, write your female characters as people. 


Check out my list of male characters to avoid here:   https://thecaffeinebookwarrior.tumblr.com/post/161184030785/male-protagonists-to-avoid-in-your-writing-an.


God willing, I will be publishing essays like this approximately every Friday, so be sure to follow my blog and stay tuned for future writing advice and observations!

4

a set for each inquisition companion ⤔ Dorian Pavus

“You let it keep hurting because you think hurting is who you are. Why would you do that?””

Beginners guide for wlw mangas/manhwas

1. Tamen De Gushi (Ongoing)

Okay. Listen. This manhwa is for yall out there who just want a chill, innocent, non complicated, 50/50 fluff-to-humor ratio story. Blonde and Brunette. And listen, listen, listen… This is DIABETES worth sugar. The art style is really good too. It’s simple but somewhat sophisticated. So far it has 139 short chapters (about 12 pages per chapter). There’s a linear story to it, but it sometimes drifts to a completely different timeline. It updates about once a month, or sometimes once every two months. 11/12

2. Fluttering/Exciting Feelings (Ongoing/Currently in Hiatus due to Author’s health)

Before I even start with this, I got major Korrasami vibes out of it ho ly shit. Anyway, this manhwa is currently at chapter 68, and sad to say that the author may never continue the story again due to cancer and several other reasons. But I am still adding this manhwa to the list because it’s sooo good. It’s not as fluffy and humorous as Tamen De Gushi because later in the story, No-rae (brown hair) brings in some drama while Seol-a has drama of her own kind. The art is simple but it’s great enough to look amazing. Still though, the manhwa is great, but sadly… it might be discontinued :(. 10/12

3. Citrus [Saburouta] (Ongoing)

I like this manga. I like it a lot. The art is good anatomy wise, but sometimes it gets too…. much….. Here’s a note, though: These two are step sisters. Yes. You heard me right. There are a lot of love triangles, a lot of drama, a lot of “Im-gonna-kiss-her-wait-no-nvm” moments, but there are a lot of WELL-DRAWN kiss scenes and semi-sexual things. There is almost no story line? Well, there is, but it’s your typical high school plot. It barely updates, and it currently has 30 chapters. Probably updates once every two months. 8.5/12

4.  Yagate Kimi Ni Naru (Ongoing)

Yo, listen. This one is ……. VERY complicated. If you are planning on reading this story, I need you to know that this is as basic as I can put it: Nanami hates herself and doesn’t want her partner Yuu to fall in love with her, while Yuu is someone who can’t fall in love with someone. The art is simple but good god it’s really good *o*. It has fluff, but for every fluff there will always be some sort of angst right after or before it. There is certainly a plot line on this but it doesn’t focus too much on the plot. Characters are great and they have a personality of their own. Despite the “Im not in love” thing that is going on in this manga, there are many, many, cute parts. It updates about once every month or every two months. 10.5/12

5. The Love Doctor (Ongoing)

(PS: this image is misleading btw but it was too fucking cute) I. freaking. love. this. manhwa. so. much. Now, this has many, many fluff moments but it also has its bulk of angst and drama. Love(ish) triangles, dark past from both parties, and there IS an age gap between the two but I forgot how many years. Still though!!! It is worth a read! The art style is cute and light and adorable, but sometimes the emotions can start looking the same in each panel (especially for one of the characters). Updates, I believe, every month. 11/12

6. Pulse [Ratana Satis] (Ongoing)

Look at this art. Look at it. Isn’t it cute? Well, if you’re here for cute shit turn the fuck away cus this IS indeed cute, buuuuuut it also has sex scenes. There is also fluff and drama, and as you can see, one of them is a doctor. The art style is pretty well done and really sophisticated. I can’t remember if there’s an age gap? I’m pretty sure there is? Anyway!!! There’s a story, yes, and also a shitty ex that no one should like but everyone feels sorry for (for good reasons of course). 12/12

7. Magan & Danai / Magan he Danai (Ongoing)

This one reminds me of Tamen De Gushi a lot, BUT…. This one is directed to the life of two women who love each other and what happens in their daily life. The art is much more detailed that TDG, and the characters have very different personalities. Danai, the shorter one, is the more mature one but also the more feminine one while Magan, the taller one, is definitely a fucking cry baby. To be honest, idk how frequently it updates? But!!! Still!! Go watch!!! 11/12

8. What Does the Fox Say? (Ongoing, 2 chapters left)

Ho ly shit whe re to be gin…? Definitely not light. It is not full of fun or fluffy or innocent. This manhwa is dark, sexy, angsty, drama-filled, teeth gritting, and very complicated. VERY, VERY, VERY, Adult. A story with a beautiful young blonde who loves a much older boss, and the much older boss has a shitty ex that everyone loves who fucked up a lot but she has her reasons. This is one of those manhwas that you need to ANALYZE every. single. fucking. scene. It is one of those where each scene MEANS something and you have to keep a sharp eye even at the sex scenes. The art style is good. Not amazing, but decent enough. As I said, it ends in two chapters. It updates twice a month (from my observations). 12/12

*Note: These are all based on my observations

Writing a Relationship Your Readers Will Ship

Relationships, especially in beginner writer’s works, have a tendency to feel forced. Even in some popular and famous works of fiction, the relationship doesn’t feel natural. It seems like a boring afterthought which the writer added in at the last minute. Far too often, I find myself completely indifferent to a character’s romantic life. A good romance in a story will give the reader a bit of second-hand infatuation. They’ll root for the relationship, beg for it. If the romance is well written, you can make a reader smile and blush just by reading a few sentences. When done properly, it can even compensate for a weak and cliché plot.

But first, decide whether the romance is needed. If you’re adding a character to the plot simply for the sake of being a love interest, it’s probably not a needed romance. You can still add it, of course, but it will be much harder to keep your story focused on the central plot.


Step One
Make sure the characters have chemistry.

The characters should compliment each other’s personalities. If he’s loud, stubborn, and aggressively opinionated, a more tranquil and soft-spoken love interest would suit him well. Two headstrong people wouldn’t be likely to have a lasting relationship in real life, unless they (impossibly) agreed upon every subject. But, there should be some similarities. While opposites do attract, polar opposites will not and the whole relationship will feel forced. The characters should have something in common. It could be morals, a parallel backstory, the same motivations, whatever. As long as there’s a reason for them to be drawn to each other, there’s potential.

Step Two
Slow burn ships are fantastic.

Don’t make your characters fall in love right off the bat. There can be attraction, of course, but genuine feelings of true love don’t happen instantly. Your characters should become closer as people, feel at ease around each other, and truly know the other before they fall head-over-heels. The readers will crave the relationship far more, like dangling a treat right in front of a dog’s nose, but keep pulling it away. Teasing is a beautiful thing.

Find ways of showing (NOT TELLING) the characters are falling for each other. Have them stand up for one another, be protective. Have them break their own normal routine for the other. For example, a callous, guarded character could lower their walls for a moment if their love interest needs emotional support. These scenes can be awkward for the character changing their typical behavior and that discomfort can demonstrate how much they care for the other, altering their own selves for the other’s benefit.

Howeve, make sure that you combine these cute emotional moments with distance. Make the characters deny their true feelings or even distance themselves from their love interest upon discovering their feelings. The more the characters long for each other, the more the reader will long for them to be together. Build barriers between them for your characters to have to work to knock down. Keep them close, but maintain that distance until the moment is right.

Step Three
“_____” translates to “I love you”

The first example of I think of when I think of this is The Princess Bride, where the male protagonist tells his soulmate “as you wish” when he really means “I love you.”

This falls under the category of show, don’t tell. Hearing a character say “I love you” has become so boring. Unless it’s done in a surprising confession or unique way, it’s boring and stale.

Come up with a phrase that you can repeat in moments throughout the story until it has a meaning of love for the characters and both know exactly what the other means when it’s spoken.

Step Four
Taking a break can help create tension.

You know you loved someone if you leave them and feel awful. Apply this into the writing. Your characters can break up, then get back together in a joyous reunion.


Step Five
Not every couple has a happy ending.

Sometimes, things don’t always work out for different reasons. An ending that leaves readers craving more can be a good move.

  • Two male characters: *constantly angry at each other, insulting one another, only sometimes working together as part of a team*
  • Tumblr: thats it!!!! they must be gay!! definitely 100% pure gay canon gay¡¡!! they! are! gay!
  • Show writers: Um actually that's not--
  • Tumblr: So the creators are queerbaiting by making us think these two characters would be together and here's an entire dissertation about how they should be ashamed.

Which OC will answer to literally every nick name given to them?

10

peyton sawyer meme: (1/9) scenes
→ season 4 episode 15, prom night at hater high

OKAY BUT concept: Lazytown, but it’s meant for teenagers

Okay but- imagine how different Lazytown would be if it were meant for teens while STILL trying to be educational 

Like, it’s a few years into the future, and all the kids are now in middle or high school (depending on age. I like to think Ziggy 13, Stingy and Stephanie 14, and Trixie and Pixel 16) 

Of course, Sportacus, Robbie, and the other adults would all treat the children differently now that they are older. They are open to talk to the kids about more mature and serious topics 

The teens are a really confusing time to be going through, and I’m sure Sportacus would still be just as supportive and willing to save the day…he just does so in different ways now 

The show would cover and educate teens on  issues that teens might go through like 

*Ziggy being self-conscious about his weight to the point where he just- stops eating and Sportacus tells him that how his body FEELS is more important, rather than how it LOOKS (covering body positivity, eating disorders, showing that boys can have that problem too) 

*Stingy developing his very first crush on someone and becoming very clingy and possesive and needing to be taught that people are NOT like things and you can’t just CLAIM a person as yours (covering consent and healthy relationships) 

*Steph getting her period for the first time and she and the Mayor have no idea wtf is going on (cuz lbr, the mayor is kind of dumb) so Sport’s crystal beeps and they’re like “she’s bleeding!” and Sport knows what’s happening but doesn’t know what to do so they actually call Bessie for help. But after that, Sporto starts carrying pads/tampons along with him just in case cuz you gotta stick out for your friends 

*Given the amount of time Pixel spends with computers, I’m sure you can make at least one episode on internet safety with it. Pixel’s crush on Stephanie might be good material for episodes on teenage romance and healthy relationships too 

*Trixie maybe starting to realize that she’s “not like other girls” and doesn’t really pay much attention to boys like they do (covering sexuality) Perhaps she even likes Stephanie a little which could add the element of a love triangle

*Maybe in that same episode, Sport teaches them about gender and sexuality in general and he brings up non-binary gender and Robbie overhears and identifies it with himself, giving us a message that it’s never too late to come out or discover who you are 

*Imagine the drama of an episode where one of the kids gets their hands on a cigarette and Sport catches them just before they’re about to light it and for the very first time EVER, he’s visibly VERY ANGRY at and DISSAPOINTED in the kids, but it’s all out of a place of concern 

*Or an episode where Robbie slips Sport just ONE shot of alcohol in secret and given how sensitive his body is to just SUGAR, Sport instantly gets alcohol poisoning which leads to Robbie freaking out and probably asking the kids for help or something because not even sportscandy is fixing it (teaching kids to be careful around alcohol and also what to do if a friend happens to get sick) 

*Sport shown to actually be overwhelmed with worry about the safety of people in town every once in a while and having anxiety over it, and being confused because he goes outside a lot and eats healthy so WHY is it happening? And Robbie who also dealt with anxiety issues in the past actually telling him that sometimes, that’s not enough and how sometimes, medications and therapy may help (teaching that it’s okay to let people know you aren’t always ok, and that you shouldn’t hide it) 

And of course, Sport would STILL be promoting a healthy lifestyle in general. He’s the cool high school health teacher dad, who’ll talk to the kids about anything they want to know, from puberty to sex to crushes, anything. And Robbie has toned it down on the schemes a bit (since the kids are older and much less guillable now so there’s no point) and has warmed up to the kids a bit now that they are older. But, he’s still the lazy insomniac we know and love. Maybe sometimes, …Robbie might even be a better teacher in terms of MENTAL health than Sportacus even, given all the stuff that he himself has dealt with having 

…Not to mention, an older target audience opens up potential for Sportarobbie to actually be a thing? 

There’s just- so much potential that Lazytown could STILL have, even if it weren’t meant for younger kids

This is just- something that I really really want and like to think about 

EDIT: Some MORE ideas for you since I came up with more 

*Pixel’s crush on Steph just getting bigger and bigger but he has no idea how to talk to girls, so for whatever reason, he asks ROBBIE for advice on how to do that, who ends up bringing out Rottenella for him to practice on 

*That ends up being a bust given that Rottenella can’t talk, so he ends up asking TRIXIE to help him practice and even after realizing that the girl he has an eye on is Stephanie, …she helps him out anyway even if it hurts, because Stephanie and Pixel are her friends and she actually….sacrifices her own feelings for theirs 

*Sport is the one person that Trixie can talk to and vent to about her feelings for Steph, being the one guy she can trust, and then Sport totally hits us with the feels by being like “I understand what you’re going through….the person I like wants me out of town forever.” 

*Robbie going through one of his depressed states during the winter holidays (perhaps seasonal affective disorder? The episode covers depression) and isolating himself around Christmas because his self-esteem is in the gutter and he’s convinced that nobody wants him around, so he’ll spend the holidays alone, and Sport is just heartbroken and like “No, you’re very wrong, we WANT you to come be with us and we love you” and we finally get a translated performance of “Aleinn um Jolin” 

*Robbie reprogrammed Sugar-Pie to act like a normal dog, but one day he stops functioning  and is beyond repair and basically “passes away”, and everyone else is like “??? but it’s a robot, just make another.” But Sport reminds the kids that regardless, this was someone that Robbie was close to and that they should let  him grieve and be there for him (covering loss, death, and the stages of grief, which is something everyone goes through at some point) 

*Bessie becoming the unofficial mom that helps the girls out with the things that Sportacus and the Mayor might lack ability or knowledge to help in (like, bra shopping and shit like that because the idea of momma Busybody is just great, you guys) 

*Being the youngest, Ziggy is just entering high school and the older kids support him and help him get used to the transition from middle school 

*At least one episode with the trope where one of the boys is dealing with their voice cracking due to puberty (Stingy, because he would be the funniest) 

*There is still a Bing Bang at the end of each episode, but each one is different where sometimes, a different character sings it, or the music changes genres or parodies some sort of pop culture reference 

…You can make at least 12 episodes out of all this? That’s like, half a season right there 

ANOTHER EDIT: I’ve noticed how a big handful of you said that you fucking want this? Well, I’m not stopping you? Everyone, be my fucking guest if you wanna contribute to this in any sort of way. 

Actually…it might be kind of fun, making this into a sort of group project (collaborate on art, fics, etc) You guys can like, message me if that sounds cool