the only real thing in the world

Do you ever just sometimes marvel at the fact that the aesthete culture of the likes of Oscar Wilde has found new life in Millennials? Like there is an established subculture of the “deeply shallow” (to quote @dionysae ) who find real meaning in the look, feel, and texture of our worlds. We have this amazing talent for finding uniform beauty in different vibes and we have no shame in organizing our lives around that vibe pursuing the feelings and values said vibe stirs up in us. Like the “live and die for the aesthetic” meme is funny by it’s not a lie; we are the inheritors of a great tradition of building personalities and commentaries out of sublime, carefully cultivated Looks. Art for art’s sake is back in a Big way folks.

soul mates.

they met in the wrong time and age. maybe if they weren’t celebrities, if they just weren’t part of the biggest girl group, if the world isn’t just full of prejudice against same-sex love, if only what they’re doing right now isn’t their dreams… they could have happen. they could be happily together.

in an alternate universe where it’s just her and her, just the two of them and nothing else matters, it could have worked out. they could’ve worked out.

but the thing is maybe they’re soul mates, and someday, in the next lifetime or so, they’ll be able to make it. they’ll last until death do them apart like real lovers do. be with and support each other like best friends do. and live happily together with only their hearts to follow.

for this lifetime though, they have to live separately and probably with some other people. but like soul mates do, they’ll find their way back to each other.

and that’s what im holding on to.

soul mates.

okay so i really wanna talk real fast about the symbolism of the butterfly and why it’s so important to lon’qu and to his character.
so there’s been a few instances in concept art and in the cipher trading card game where lon’qu is shown with a black butterfly nearby.  people from around the world view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life. it’s even more interesting that the butterfly is usually associated with the soul in many cultures.
the first thing that comes to mind is that the butterfly is the soul of ke’ri, as a way of showing how she is still with lon’qu. and as much as i like how bittersweet that sounds, i like to think that the black butterfly isn’t the soul of ke’ri, but the soul of lon’qu himself.
i’ve been looking into it and the most common thing i find is that a black butterfly is a symbol of death and misfortune. and yeah, it would still be fitting for ke’ri as she did pass away, but a black butterfly also symbolizes rebirth, renewal. and that’s why i feel the butterfly is more for lon’qu than for ke’ri.
because when she died protecting him, a part of him died as well. he lost the first friend he’s ever had ( the first love he’s ever had ) and it shook him enough to haunt him years after it’s happened. but in that death, lon’qu found a revival. before, he was just a boy from the slums with no real indication of what he wanted to do. but now he found a resolve, he made a goal for himself and set off to accomplish it. the boy from chon’sin died alongside ke’ri only for the myrmidon to be born in his place.

Gina Rodriguez tagged [Melissa Fumero and I] in this Facebook post, and was like ‘I’m so proud of these Latinas that are killing it!’  And I was like, 'Oh my god!  I guess I’ll friend Melissa.’  And we were friends on the internet before we even met in real life.

Now, I had a google alert for Brooklyn Nine-Nine because I had auditioned and then gone for a screen test, and then gone for a second screen test, and I was waiting to hear… And I had a google alert, and it came up that Melissa had been cast in the show.


And I was so happy to see a Latina on the show, but also so devastated, because I knew… I knew there was not going to be any network that would cast both of us as ensemble leads on a show.


So I cried a lot.  And I was devastated.  And I showed a couple of friends at the time and I was like *imitates crying noise*, 'I’m really happy for her but I really wanted that show.’


It was like two days later when I got the call, and I was gobsmacked.


The world is fucking changing.


And it’s such a testament to the show that they cast both of us!  And not only us, but also Terry Crews and Andre Braugher – two black men in positions of power.  It was sort of an amazing thing to see.


But yeah, now me and Melissa are real life friends.

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.

Thirteen Reasons Why - Explained

Thirteen Reasons Why

I’ve seen a lot of posts about Hannah being a ‘drama queen’ or overreacting to small things everyone did so I thought I’d explain a bit about what I understood.

1. Justin - Justin exaggerated what he and Hannah did. While this seems mild, it set Hannah up for a terrible high school career because she earned the reputation of 'slut’. This happens so often in schools and in the adult world and can RUIN someone’s life in a certain, if not all areas.

2. Alex - Alex put Hannah as having the best ass against Jessica as the worst. It is clear that the internet is doing its thing again and not taking time to understand things properly; this was NOT A COMPLIMENT AND HANNAH HAD EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY. It was a clear violation of friendship and an obvious example of men pitting women against each other for their own benefit.

3. Jessica - I’m going more by the book here, but Jessica was on the tapes because she didn’t believe Hannah and abandoned her when she needed her. A clear example of how people can easily be lead by others and girls turning on each other because of guys. Jessica deserved to be on the tapes because she didn’t hear Hannah’s side of the story and instead took her anger out on her first friend at the school.

4. Tyler - I don’t think I need to explain much about this, but he abused his position as a photographer in school to violate boundaries for his own pleasure similar to how a lot of people in a power exploit those below them. He made Hannah feel vulnerable and took the lack of comfort she felt at school to her own bedroom.

5. Courtney - I suppose this is kind of harder to understand. Courtney was a closeted lesbian and therefore it is understandable that she was upset at the thought of her being outed before she was ready, but Hannah confided in her to help her expose someone else and instead she protected herself by further ruining Hannah. This shows the selfishness of those who feel the need to protect themselves by harming others.

6. Marcus - I haven’t seen much on Marcus honestly, but I dislike him immensely. He took advantage of Hannah because of the impression of her he had put together from rumours created by other reasons (Justin, Courtney) which is an expression of how men feel owed something from women, especially those who are seen as 'slutty’.

7. Zach - At first glance, Zach doesn’t seem too bad. At half a second glimpse, this changes. Hannah rejected him because he said something silly, a mistake, and if he had made an obvious effort to explain and apologise, he could have helped Hannah. Instead, he chooses to punish her by preventing her from receiving happiness from others. This is one of the clearest examples of how men can’t handle a woman’s right to say 'no’ and reject him…

8. Ryan - This tape is similar to that of Tyler in that he made her feel unsafe. What Tyler did was worse than Ryan, however the effect of Ryan’s actions had (in my opinion) worse consequences that Tyler’s. Ryan published her poem because he thought it was something that needed to be shared, a selfish and naive action (when considering the maturity of high school students), which meant that Hannah’s personal thoughts were no longer her own. She was not comfortable at school, home or in her own mind.

9. Clay - Though I agree when Hannah states that he shouldn’t have been on the tapes, Clay does represent 'everyone else’ who stands by and watched people like Hannah slowly fade and retreat into themselves because of the actions of others. The 'bystanders’ if you will, whose lack of part in our stories can be just as important as those who intrude on us.

10. Justin - It is evident in the series that Justin was extremely haunted by the rape at Jessica’s party and this is probably why he is gaining so much sympathy… this is also why I recommend you all READ THE BOOK. Justin stood by and watched his friend rape his girlfriend, why is he receiving more sympathy than I’ve seen for Jessica? Of course it was hard for Justin to witness that, but staying friends with Bryce and staying with Jessica without telling her is reason enough for him to be on the tapes again.

11. Jenny - Jenny was kind to Hannah, offering her a lift home, but she didn’t take responsibility for knocking down the stop sign which lead to someone’s DEATH. The guilt that Hannah was left with from this (because she was in the car) was understandably overwhelming, especially as the victim was a classmate who was blamed for drunk driving. Jenny is an example of how our reckless actions and lack of responsibility for them can destroy other lives; is that not the entire plot?

12. Bryce - Lord help you if you need an explaination.

13. Mr Porter - A perfect example of how there is not enough support out there for students (and people in general, honestly). The counsellor advising Hannah to 'move on’ after she confides in him that she was raped is one of the most haunting moments in the entire series, solidifying her reason for suicide- she had no comfort amongst her classmates, in her own home, in her mind and now, the specialist designated for dealing with situations like this bore no real interest in her problems and told her to 'move on’.

It’s extremely important for us when watching shows with topics like this to remember many things.

First, the show is not just this situation. Everything represents something more in society; each tape side is a problem in the world that leads to suicide, not only a small action by one character leading to Hannah Baker’s suicide. If you need help in understanding this, or want something else similar to this story, I recommend watching or reading 'An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestly- a masterful piece tackling classism/sexism and how each person’s seemingly small actions lead to a girl’s suicide.

Second, memes are sometimes funny. The 'Clay every time he sees Tony’ memes are really funny, the 'fuck off, Courtney’ memes are funny, but the 'welcome to your tape over a slight inconvenience’ memes, they’re not. The show is raising awareness for the seriousness of suicide, not to create a fanbase of jokes about it. Promoting these after you watch the show, is a clear statement that you haven’t understood why it was made and is completely unacceptable.

Third, separate the character from the actor. Justin Prentice is NOT Bryce Walker, do not spam his comments with disgusting name calling or threatening- this is CLEARLY wrong and unnecessary. This also works the other way: Brandon Flynn is NOT Justin Foley. Just because Brandon is attractive and nice, doesn’t mean his character becomes as such.

Please don’t turn 13 reasons why into another generic element of pop culture. I love pop culture, don’t get me wrong, but we have a tendency to begin digging for meaning and giving up halfway; overusing the profound starting points of progress we find by loosely throwing them around, emptying them of all meaning.

anonymous asked:

I'm super ashamed and embarrassed of being/identifying as bisexual because of all the biphobia I've witnessed. It's really fucking with my mental health and idk what to do. It's to the point where I just want to identify as straight, but I know that giving into biphobia and heteronormativity aren't the answer. I'm just lost. Our sexuality is always trivialized and I can't complain about it without being mocked. How do you guys deal with this?

I feel this. Biphobia is the largest cause of creating what is known as The Silent Majority - Bisexuals being the largest percentage of queer people and yet the most misrepresented.

I deal with it by surrounding myself with people who accept Bisexuals, people who cheerlead Bisexuals, and people who love me for me and for my Bisexuality. Aside from it being a good way to maintaining a positive self-image in regards to your own personal Bisexuality, it’s a good rule to live by in general. I also deal with it by educating and stepping in when I see Biphobia.

Spreading information to those otherwise unaware to Bi stigma helps! That’s why it’s always important, for those who aren’t Bi and care, to be a good Bi ally and educate people on the effects of Biphobia, including studies showing, for example, Bisexuals suffering from more mental health issues like depression and anxiety than their Gay/Lesbian counterparts. When we see biphobia existing in general cishet society (where we’re facing homophobia on top of biphobia) we turn to our safe spaces, our queer spaces, but in our safe spaces as well we’re not as safe as we should be. We desperately need these spaces especially since studies show Bisexuals face more sexual violence than their Gay/Lesbian and Straight peers. So when this support system we should have gets taken away for who we are - that’s Biphobia. And it does real actual harm towards Bisexuals. 

“No one is hanging you for being Bi, Biphobia isn’t a thing!” well that’s the interesting part! In addition to dealing with Biphobia, which has its own ugliness as briefly mentioned, Bisexuals also deal with homophobia! (internally and externally, as previously mentioned). So in these moments, when we retreat to our safe spaces to recoup, and we’re forced to behave differently or be not what we truly are, or constantly questioned in regards to the validity of who we are, it does damage! It’s a cycle of violence and further reinforces this notion that, in LGBTQ+ spaces - despite being a very present letter in the acronym, queerness is conditional instead of something inherent. Bisexuality is inherently queer, has its own unique queer experiences, is a marginalized identity through and through, deserves better treatment, and deserves equal support. 

This being said, cause these things need to be said, understanding that these concepts are present and being able to live a happy life are possible. What helped me out of my internalized biphobic/homophobic rut was coming to terms with the fact I wanted to be happy. My bisexuality wasn’t going to change, so I knew the only thing to do at that point was to accept it and learn to love it. There are also SO many Bisexual allies out there! The real world isn’t Tumblr discourse 24/7 I promise you and I can’t tell you how many times my gay and lesbian friends stop me whenever I start thinking biphobicly and step in to reinforce I’m queer and worthy. Bisexuality is beautiful. Your bisexuality is beautiful. It may be hard right now but I promise you it does get better.

3

“Saroo’s character is incredibly torn, because he’s got this wonderfully loving family in Australia that he is completely thankful for and is at home with. But he’s also riddled with guilt that he’s living this privileged life when his family in India could be out there on a truck still searching for him. At its core, it’s a story about the love between a mother and son, and how that can transcend continents. I’m a real mommy’s boy, so I wanted to make it not only for myself, but for my mom. And I think it’s rare to find a film that will bring a lot of joy to the world, like this one will. The script was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever 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 then 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.

X: Hel-
Me: Min Yoongi is one of the best young rappers of our generation and I don’t give a damn if you don’t like k-pop, because we’re not talking about k-pop: we’re talking about his skills as a rapper and everyone can understand he’s really talented and also writes meaningful and beautiful lyrics; you don’t have to speak korean to understand this. He also has a kind and beautiful soul even if he’s been through so much and he only experienced cruelty for so long. He drags Korean society and its injustices and also the terrible things which happen in idols world. He writes about his experiences and his traumas and his mental illness because he wants people like him to feel understood and wants them to know they’re not alone and not in the “don’t be sad everything will be fine be happy come on!!! :)” way, but in the realistic way, speaking about how much depression, social anxiety, ocd, suicide thoughts, socio-phobia, self-hatred can really damage and destroy someone. If you think that only American rappers are real rappers and people who speak different languages from english can’t be talented, then I can assure you you’re totally wrong.

A Stupid Way to come up with Original Characters and Stories (That Somehow Works)
  • Find a character from a work you admire. Any media will do, but Children’s media works the best.
  • Ask yourself a few questions about the character in question. I don’t have a complete list, and the questions are likely going to vary, and most of this is coming off the top of my head, but yeah, here are a few suggestions.
    • Was there anything about this character that ticked you off? Maybe this character did something that you thought was ooc? Or maybe this character is too perfect and could use a few more flaws.
    • Does the medium or genre prevent the character from performing certain actions? Furthermore, do certain aspects of the characters life, including sex, gender, social status, and age prevent this character from acting in a certain way?
    • Is there something you want to see the character do that you know will never happen in the show?
    • And finally, is there anything you want to change about this character?
  • Rant to yourself or to tumblr about everything the show apparently did wrong. Constantly switch between getting mad at yourself for nitpicking a show you love and being mad at the work itself for not being 100% perfect. 
  • Scream into a pillow, make yourself some hot cocoa, eat a full dinner, and then take a hot shower. 
  • Get out a sketchpad or a word document or anything else you use to brainstorm and start drawing and or writing about the character in the show. But write the character the way you think they should be, as opposed to the way their presented in canon. 
    • Take into account that changing some aspects of your character will effect the story in some pretty big ways, especially if what you changed is an action the character performed. Maybe that Magical Princess ran away at a young age under the stress of becoming queen before joining a gang and ultimately becoming a crime boss? Maybe that Alien supervillain can be reformed by showing them the good things about the planet Earth. When you change an aspect of a story, justify the change by having it affect every other aspect of the story. Whatever you do, though, don’t handwave the change. Instead embrace it… those changes are where the heart of your story lies.
    • Don’t be afraid to add in elements from other works of fiction other than the one you’ve chosen. Most of the plot elements of Gravity falls and Rick and Morty, for example, are just similar enough to make a meeting between Ford Pines and Rick Sanchez possible. 
  • Look over your work and note just how far you’ve drifted from canon. If you’ve changed the idea enough, it should feel kinda alien to the original work. If it’s too similar, then if might be a good idea to repeat the previous steps.
    • Some of the things to note include tone, genre, level of obscenity, and target demographic. Considering how fanworks typically go, we almost unconsciously make dark shows light and fluffy and light and fluffy shows dark and gritty. This can be a good thing when done right.
    • The humour of the work will also depends on the type of humour you feel comfortable writing. Sometimes your humour will be almost exactly like the original work, and sometimes it’ll be drastically different. Aim for the latter.
    • If you added in elements from another work of fiction, then certain patterns are inevitably going to be formed. using the Rick and Morty/ Gravity Falls fandom above, one can’t help but make Ford and Rick foils of each other; two interdimensional science dorks, but one has a stronger sense of morality. The character reactions between the two of them is dripping with potential that we’ll never see in canon, because these two shows air on different networks and are aimed at different target demographics.
  • If necessary, repeat the process again, but this time apply this to your version of the character. Continue until your happy with what you have.
  • Finally, rename the characters, and if you’re an artist, re-draw them as well. The new names and designs should reflect the character you wrote, not the character you were inspired by. 
  • And bam, you just made something original. 

Now obviously, this isn’t the only way to make characters or write stories… artists tend to draw from real life just as often as they reference other works of fiction. But the great thing about this process is that it depends entirely on your own personal interpretation of not only the work of fiction in question, but also of how the world around you works. I believe that we, as humans, are natural complainers and nitpickers, constantly believing ourselves to be the sole authority on how the world should work. On one hand, it might be easy to just rant about it and call it a day, but I believe these rants hold quite a lot of creative potential. Writing isn’t about coming up with something wholly new and original… story telling is pretty much limited to the human experience, and we’ll always fall back on something familiar (note the tropeless tale)… instead, its about writing about the familiar in a new way.

Thoughts?

You live in a world where trains of thought are real, tangible things that people use everyday. Where they go is based on the type of thoughts they use as fuel. For instance, trains of thought that take their passengers to school only function if at least one passenger thinks about school or something they associate with it. Otherwise they slip out of the normal world and into the void. You are one of the last passengers on a train of thought and take a brief nap. When you wake up, you find yourself in limbo.

i’ve been getting a lot of messages lately (and unsurprisingly, considering how unrepentantly i’ve been reblogging stuff from them) from followers asking me for podcast recommendations - and i love getting those so thank you, guys! - and i thought i’d make a masterpost of what i’ve both a) finished and b) enjoyed since i’ve started bingeing them.  and, as an extra added bonus, what has canonical lgbt+ representation (since i know what you guys are into [waggles eyebrows]).

1. the bright sessions

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  this is definitely the first podcast that i’ve fallen in love with as hard as my original gateway podcast: welcome to night vale.  it’s so well-written, the characters well-drawn, the premise fascinating - atypicals, or people with some sort of special ability, in therapy - and it’s such a positive story and experience that i can’t help but feel better on days i listen to it.  it really believes in humanity and that’s such a wonderful thing in this day and age.  plus, the voice acting is killer.

2. eos 10

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  i don’t think it’s been officially confirmed that dr. dalias is, at the very least, bisexual (in fact, the official channels seem to be dancing around it, possibly so as not to spoil anything in the upcoming season), though it’s been hinted at plenty in story.  especially as i don’t know how else you can explain a supposedly “straight” male character getting called out on repeatedly thinking about a naked man during a group mind-link experience.  that aside, it is freaking hilarious.  the premise is doctors in space, one formerly drug-addicted doctor helping to stabilize a currently alcoholic one with amazing side characters including nurse jane johns and levi, a hypochondriac alien and deposed prince who seems to have a personal vendetta against wearing pants.  it’s well-acted, cleverly written and a freaking joy to listen too.  so funny and so smart, i can’t recommend it enough!

3. the penumbra podcast

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  so much queer representation it’s bananas.  this ask the creators got is actually pretty representative of their approach to the show, slyly funny and very gay.  our main character is a genderbending queer private investigator who’s lost his heart head over a sweet-smelling thief with a heart of gold and more aliases than jennifer garner, all set against a noir backdrop.  oh, and on mars.  yeah, you read all of that right.  there are a few awesome side stories as well, including a couple of horror ones (that have no effect on the main juno steel story line, so can be skipped - and the creators are VERY GOOD about warning what’s to come in the episode notes), as well as lesbian outlaws and a disabled knight.  there’s literally nothing not to love.  EXCEPT FOR HOW JUNO STEEL WON’T LET HIMSELF HAVE NICE THINGS.

4. the black tapes

hey, hi, if you’re into horror, suspense, creepery or demons, this is so very much for you.  the premise is that alex reagan, our host, begins a podcast to interview people with interesting professions.  she starts out with dr. richard strand, a paranormal investigator whose mission statement is to debunk all things paranormal.  he even has an institute that offers a one million dollar prize for proof of the paranormal, which he has never even come close to having to part with.  while alex is interviewing him, she comes across a handful of black vhs tapes: the only cases that strand hasn’t been able to definitively solve yet.  the technology to disprove these incidents simply hasn’t come far enough, in his opinion.  needless to say, she never moves on from dr. strand and the mystery of the black tapes.  each episode, alex investigates another of the black tapes and much later on realizes it’s possible that they’re all connected.  oh my god, i almost got chills just writing that, it’s so good, it’s so real, because dr. strand is such a good anchor to reality.  alex will occasionally lose her skeptic’s perspective; dr. strand does not.  and once alex starts experiencing intense insomnia, making you realize your narrator might not be so reliable?  things somehow manage to get even murkier.  i really, really adored this one.  it’s paranormal set in the most normal of normal worlds, only making it that much spookier.

5. wooden overcoats

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  okay, well, if you’ve ever watched black books?  this is kind of like black books, aka one of my all-time favorite shows.  rudyard funn is just as incapable and universally disliked as bernard black, which was all well and good when the village of piffling vale (which is very nearly a town, you know!) only had one funeral home to choose from.  unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore.  eric chapman has moved his funeral home right across the street and stolen all the business from rudyard, his embalmer (cum part-owner) and twin sister, antigone, and georgie, their assistant.  to add insult to injury, he’s charming and universally adored by everyone except those at funn funerals.  very british, very ridiculous, and very funny!  WE GET THE BODY IN THE COFFIN IN THE GROUND ON TIME.  (well, like that one time they did.  [coughs])

6. ars pardoxica

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  i listened to this one pretty slowly, for me.  it’s very much plot over character, at least in my opinion.  which is fair since there’s quite a lot of plot and set dressing to establish.  we’re following (dr.) sally grissom, a scientist from the twenty-first century who accidentally creates time travel and ends up stuck back in the 1940s.  think a bombs and eisenhower.  it was always interesting, and the paradoxes created by the time travel experiments they kept doing were fascinating (i love time travel stuff because of the paradoxes it creates) but i didn’t get really ravenous for it until season two, which is when i really felt it picked up speed.  you’ve got anthony stuck in a literal CAGE - a “blackroom” bubble set outside of time, sally trying to garden (oh god), a gang consisting of a veteran, a (former) widow and time doubles trying to bring down ODAR (the company sally used to work for, and that anthony still does) and esther sliding down the ladder of morally unsound one determined rung at a time and it makes for a REALLY grabbing audio drama, eh?

7. the strange case of starship iris

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  i’m already in love with violet liu, all right?  she’s a science officer on starship iris–well, what was starship iris.  when we first join violet, every single one of her crew mates has just died in an explosion on the pod they were traveling off ship with and the starship iris is in its last throes as well.  luckily(?) a passing ship comes along with a plan to get her to safety.  this has a real illuminae vibe to it (which is an amazing book btw) and all the characters are already so freaking likable.  it’s only on episode two and already shaping up to be a favorite!

8. the orbiting human circus (of the air)

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  if there’s a more heart-warming podcast out there, then i haven’t run across it yet.  first of all, julian koster’s voice is so vulnerable and soft that i would use myself and everyone i know and also puppies as a shield against everything terrible in the universe for him.  second, the rest of the cast - leticia especially - is just as freaking talented.  the premise is that julian is the janitor at a radio show that broadcasts from the top of the eiffel tower and has strange and impossible acts every night, from tale-telling crickets to singing saws to the orkestral, a bird that can play every orchestral instrument (except that it refuses to play the viola, because reasons).  it’s fun and cute and breaks your heart with happiness regularly and often!

9. alice isn’t dead

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  this is a horror podcast about a truck driver who is looking for her missing wife.  jasika nicole has to have one of my favorite voices around and having it be so heavily dependent on that makes me ridiculously happy.  throw in the story-telling of joseph fink, the depth and cohesiveness of his writing, and there is nothing not to love here.

10. within the wires

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  this is really sufficiently creepy considering it’s not often overtly creepy.  this is set up as a series of relaxation tapes, which progressively get more and more interested in helping the listener break out of the facility in which she’s being kept.  super chilling at times, because the voice is so calm and the action so dangerous.

11. welcome to night vale

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  okay, well, what more can be said about this at this point?  if you’re not listening to it, you’re wrong.  why wouldn’t you want to visit a town that can’t be visited and where every conspiracy theory is real and a part of everyday life?  yeah, everyone knows about the vague yet menacing government agency, steve carlsberg, you’re not hitting on anything new there.  there’s a dog park that doesn’t allow dogs, angels that are never to be identified as angels, mountains that aren’t real, a glow cloud that–ALL HAIL and a love story so complete and perfect that it can and will utterly steal your breath at times.  go, listen, inhale.

Voltron/Avatar AU

Okay, okay, okay, so I know this has been done a million times by now, but I wanted to tackle the idea from my own personal narrative perspective. So, here we go –


 Characters:

 Shiro – Gifted earthbender that was raised inside Ba Sing Se and was being trained as a member of the Dai Li before he was abducted by firebenders and taken prisoner. His abduction was a result of a plan by the Fire Nation to secretly infiltrate the Earth Kingdom and take down its most gifted benders. Before he was realized as being talented and brought in to train for the Dai Li, he lived in the lower ring of the city with Keith, who’d he’d long since adopted as a younger brother. They found out during their youth, however, that Keith was a firebender, which Shiro told Keith had to be kept secret. He encouraged Keith to learn his talents nonetheless, if only for self-defense. After he’s kidnapped, he loses his arm and his tortured, etc, and eventually develops metalbending out of sheer desperation to escape. Metalbending is what allowed him to create and use a metal arm as replacement for the one he lost. He eventually gets away—after learning that the Dai Li has been corrupted and secretly overtaken by firebenders—and goes back to the city to find Keith. But when he returns to Ba Sing Se, he comes home to find that Keith is gone and clearly has been for some time.

 Keith – Firebender. A very good firebender, in fact, but too ashamed of his talents to really do much with them. He grew up with Shiro in the lower ring of Ba Sing Se—basically poor—and grows so distressed when Shiro disappears that he lashes out at the Ba Sing Se law enforcers. His status as a firebender is revealed and he has no choice but to flee the city. He’d planned on leaving anyway to go looking for Shiro, and so it becomes his mission to find his older brother—even if he has to search the entire world. Unbeknownst to Keith, however, he was tossed out of the Fire Nation palace as a baby because he was an unwanted bastard son to the Fire Lord. Also, spoilers, he’s the Avatar as well, but is unaware of the fact due to how subdued he’s been forced to keep his talents his whole life. Lots of drama for Keith, haha. Poor child just wants his brother back. Oh well.  

 Lance – Waterbender from the Northern Water Tribe. Prince, though he’s nowhere near being in line to become chief. Still, there are plenty of responsibilities he has, but he decides to run away in search of adventure instead, wanting—more than anything—to be a hero and stand out, basically. He’s had this plan since he was a child—was his dream to see the world—and so he spent a lot of time not only mastering waterbending, but the spiritual connection and teachings of the Northern Water Tribe, as well as healing despite the fact that, as a male, he wouldn’t normally know how to heal. Though he wasn’t the most gifted waterbender, he spent most of his youth studying and practicing in preparation for his big leap out into the world. As a result of being a healer and having studied the spirits extensively, he’s very knowledgeable, but generally keeps these things to himself (wants to be a lady’s man, not a nerd, basically). He is a bit spoiled nonetheless, and doesn’t have a real realistic idea of what’s going on in the world. He and Keith are both opposites and foils as a result of their upbringing and positions.

 Pidge – Waterbender from the Foggy Swamp Tribe. Her father was an inventor from the Earth Kingdom, however, who found himself studying the energy levels of the swamp area before meeting her mother and promptly falling in love. Her brother and father are earthbenders, while she and her mother are waterbenders. And while she is trained in the techniques of swamp people waterbending, Pidge is far more interested in technology and the things her father studies. Her father and brother make regular trips into the earth kingdom—for research supplies, etc—and eventually end up abducted by the Fire Nation for being meddlers or something. Which inspires Pidge to leave her home in search of them, determined to rescue them much like Keith is aiming to rescue Shiro. She isn’t one to be trifled with, however. While she doesn’t have much interest in bending, she is trained and is more than capable of defending herself, as well as using the plants around her to her advantage. She and Lance practice very different types of waterbending as a result, but this doesn’t come between them or anything. They probably bond over it, actually.  

 Hunk – Earthbender. He’s from a small village to the north that is occupied by the Fire Nation and generally has no interest in getting involved with business outside of it. However, when Lance shows up and causes a ruckus (no doubt by accident), he gets caught up in it and ends up wanted by the fire nation and unable to return home because, if he did, he’d be putting his family in danger (they’re already in danger from the Fire Nation, but Hunk is kind of sheltered and naïve). So he ends up tagging along with Lance, deciding that he’d simply go to the Fire Nation higher ups and explain the misunderstanding, thus clearing his name and allowing him to go home. Obviously, he learns that this isn’t really going to work and that the conflict is much larger than he and Lance really realized. Upon seeing how people are suffering because of the Fire Nation, Hunk vows to do all he can to stop it.

 Allura and Coran – The last two airbenders in the world. They were originally part of a secret society that—after the airbenders were basically destroyed—vowed to find the new avatar (who was murdered during the airbender raids) and return balance to the world. However, the society has basically died out and so Allura and Coran are all that’s left. They’re still going around the world, searching, but to say the mission has kind of become hopeless is a bit of an understatement. Still, they’re determined, convinced that if they can find the Avatar, they can stop the Fire Nation.

Story:

 And so we have our misfit team of heroes whose paths eventually cross. Lance and Hunk come together first, and then probably end up with Pidge as a result of trying to help her (likely when she doesn’t need help), before those three maybe meet Keith in a prison where he’s searching for Shiro (they’re there because Pidge is looking for her family in the same place). Meanwhile, Shiro is hunting for Keith, knowing more about him than he realizes (Shiro knows Keith is the avatar, which is half the reason he was so protective over him. He probably saw him accidentally bend earth or something, but then lied and said he’d done it instead). He meets up with Allura and Coran, and as they have a shared interest in finding the avatar, they team up. Likely the two teams meet up as the finale of season 1 or something, where it’s revealed during a dramatic battle or something that Keith is the avatar before they all make a break for it.

 Hunk and Shiro end up as Keith’s earthbending teachers, Allura is his airbending teacher, and Lance is his waterbending teacher (though neither are happy about it. Pidge doesn’t really have the knowledge to teach waterbending, or so she claims, though she does end up teaching Keith a thing or two as well). Water ends up being the element Keith has the most trouble with, which of course spurs antagonism between him and Lance. And when it’s revealed that Keith is actually a bastard prince from the fire nation, this makes things between him and Allura rather tense as well. While all this is happening, Lotor is around causing trouble like Azula did and we’re getting a more in-depth look at what Fire Lord Zarkon is really aiming to do. Basically he not only wants to take over the world, but the spirit world as well (which Haggar, his right hand lady and spiritual expert, thinks is silly—he should be content with the normal world, obv). Zarkon is looking for the avatar not to kill them, but to somehow remove the spirit of Raava and merge with it himself. This is becoming increasingly more difficult for him to do, however—especially with Keith getting stronger—and so he learns instead (maybe from the owl library that he forced his way into) about Vaatu being imprisoned and decides to instead merge with that spirit. Which is kind of what brings us to the season 2 finale. Probably the main group has split up because they’re fighting and they all get reunited in the end, where Keith tries to fight Zarkon and fails. And it’s Lance, who maybe shows up last, that uses his knowledge of spirits (which has basically been lost to Allura and Coran, despite them being airbenders) to separate Vaatu from Zarkon before a dark avatar can really be created. But as a result, he, Lance, ends up attached to Vaatu. Why? Because he and Keith were painted as foils for a reason, that’s why.

 So basically Lance is all sorts of fucked up now, and is dealing with some pretty dark shit that Keith has to help him with, which kind of allows a friendship to form between them where there previously hadn’t been one. Through a lot of interaction and development between all the characters, they eventually come to understand that Vaatu being attached to a human is similar to having him imprisoned and that, so long as Lance remains uncorrupted, he should be able to function as a second avatar. After all, it’s about balance in the end, dark and light, yin and yang, and so while Keith and Lance seemingly oppose each other, they also complement each other. Thus Lance is the first Dark Avatar, a new avatar that will be reborn along with the original and will need to be trained in how to master the evil inside them or something like that. He gets to learn all the elements too, but probably isn’t a master by the time we reach the end of season 3, unlike Keith. Meanwhile, Zarkon is pissed and is like, fine, I don’t get an avatar spirit, I’ll create my own and he basically uses secrets taught to him by Haggar to harness raw spirit power for his own gain. Now he’s really dangerous and threatens all the worlds with potential destruction. And yeah, all of team avatar(s) have to work together to stop him!

I can’t decide if I should do a more in-depth outline for this or not. Like, one that reflects the importance of all the other characters, not just Lance and Keith, haha! Because, obv, they’re all crucial. I mean, clearly Shiro needs to have a personal connection to Zarkon, maybe even some kind of connection to the spirit world. And, like, I was thinking of trying to incorporate the lions as spirits of some kind too. I dunno–we’ll see XD

Originally posted by planced

I’m tired of being sad and having no clue as to why I am this way, so I’ll write about the happy bits of me and why I smile. I dance when I’m alone, when the music gets just right and I’m sure that no one is watching, it’s okay to feel lonely, I used to not like the idea of it, but once you’re comfortable in your own skin even depression starts to feel like a breeze. I’m reading a book that says we are the beliefs and thoughts that we think and believe in. So if I say that I’m happy a thousand times, one of those will come back as true. So if I say I’ll find the love of my life some day, some day she’ll appear in front of me while I’m writing another poem. It’s good to have goals, the only goal I’ve ever had up until recently was to keep myself happy with someone else, that’s not a goal, but an illusion. You can’t live your life for someone else, it’s called your life for a reason. Happiness must happen when I say so, so I’m saying so. We bring into this world the kind of kindness that we’ve been dealt, so when I fake a smile, my mother is omnipresent. Although it’s not real, fake it until you make it, right? The book also says, spend more time doing things that make you lose track of time, so I decided to write again and more often than not, to not compare myself to others because once you start doing that, there’s no going back. I don’t write like someone else, I write like myself. I don’t think like anyone that I know, there’s just you and the beautifully twisted world, we’re all trying to find redemption inside of coral skies and trustworthy friends. I would break my own hand to contain my anger, it is contained. Happiness is what we make it, so if I say that it exists, then it will be so. Listening to your guidance, that makes me happy. You know who you are. Breathless to the words, you paint the sunrise with your pinky and promise that as long as I’m here today, tomorrow will not be filled with sorrow. I keep writing letters to the future person that I will be, I wonder if I’ll change. I probably will, we all do in one way or another. I’m the kind of person that snaps a picture of the sky while I’m driving, I’m reckless, but we’re still alive. Life’s too short and I need to be more careful, I’m certain that death has given up a few passes for me. Do you ever feel like you’re running out of time? Like there’s something trying to make a statement, a lost word that even google couldn’t even get its hands on. Do you ever feel like no one’s really listening? We’re all selfish in the end, but the ones that truly listen– they are the ones that I live for. I maintain online friendships better than I do with my siblings, I guess our thinking is just on different frequencies. On the topic of frequencies– the you that you would like to be is out there, you just need to listen. Hear the right words said by the right person and you’ll be in the right spot to be the you that you’d want to be in this life. Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough? Remember that thing I said about thoughts? Sometimes we just need to let go a little bit, embrace the art of it. To be left to the wind, the unknown will bring us to more adventures and you may not be loved by many, but there’s a chance that you will be– why not take it? I would like to break out of this, I want to smile more and to laugh a little louder, I just want to make myself proud of who I will be versus who I used to be. And you can’t turn back the hands of time, you cannot change your mistakes– they are permanent, but you are not. There is a fire inside of your chest and if you keep suffocating yourself with an indescribable pain then you’ll only suffer in a incomprehensible way. I just want to fill this world with more love and less pain, I see a butterfly and I’m easily distracted– how beauty will fly past you if you’re not even paying attention because you’re so damn sad all of the time. So I drop all signs of negativity and lean towards the positive, I am the only vibe that’ll alter my moods, so I must feel more wealthy than a million silver spoons even if I don’t have any, so I must create the art that likes to spill from my fingertips, we live such short lives– why not be the best version of yourself? Who will you be if tomorrow was your last day on this planet? Will you cry because it’s over? Or will you search the ends of the earth until you’ve found the fountain of youth? I’ve got a secret to share with you. You can be a 100 years old and still have the sweetest smile, you can be in your 20s and have a soul heavy enough to sink the titanic, life is strange, life is strange. We live our youth to buy pretty things, but live our oak days trying to make up more time– it waits for no one, the wrong turn will break you, a simple kiss will turn your thoughts into poetry and a life of self-hate is a road that needs constant validation– why not be your own way out? Be your own lover, be your own brand of music, be your own kind of poem, be your own story of kindness, and if you’re not perfect just look around– nobody is. I’m tired of dreaming, I want to build it instead. You can’t be who you want to be if you’re still having the same thoughts from last year– you can’t change or heal in the right way if you’re not willing to break a few pieces of your heart because the clutter inside of our minds often match the attitude that we give off. So like a quote, so like a poem, so like a bedtime story. If I repeat it enough times, I’ll be happy. I just want to be happy. I just want to let go of the bad feelings. I just want to love myself enough to see a brighter day. You can’t change the world if you can’t even change yourself, right? If I repeat it enough times, then it must be real. I will be happy. Sadness is a crucial emotion because without it, being delighted and euphoric wouldn’t be so dense, but that’s the beauty of the intensity to which we should love ourselves. I want to be so fucking glad to wake up today that it’ll just drown my depression into the white noise. I want to glow in the dark and live like the jellyfishes, give my poetry the immortality to always bring a smile onto the faces of those that love who I am even if I’m a bit flawed because at the end of the day– you’re the only one sleeping on your bed, you’re the only one who’s going to determine if you’ve got enough room to breathe, you’re the only one to have the last say if you’re art or not.
—  I wanted to write something happy for you–
yes, you. The person that’s reading this.

Anyway, at this point johnlock is canon.

John and Rosie move into 221b and it’s like “wait only two bedrooms oh nooooo what shall we ever do? 👀” And Sherlock is a gentleman and offers John his bed and he will of course sleep on the couch and John says “don’t be ridiculous” and so it only makes sense for them to share a bed PLATONICALLY of course.

But then one night, after a few weeks of this arrangement, John is like “is this normal? I mean…do friends do this sort of thing?” And Sherlock says “I doubt it. But then, when have we ever been normal?” And looks over to John with a soft smile and John looks back and they both burst into giggles just like that first night.

And John closes the distance between them like it’s the most natural thing in the world, because it IS. Because it’s real and it fits and Sherlock makes a sound like he’s broken and the two of them kiss and kiss and kiss, like they’ve got all the time in the world. Because they do, now. They have that time.

And eventually Rosie cries on the baby monitor and John breaks the kiss to get her and Sherlock says “I’ll come with” and the two of them share sweet sipping kisses while tending to the baby and John says “You’re going to kill me! I’m trying to be a proper parent here,” and Sherlock shrugs and says “Rosie needs to get used to seeing us this way anyway” and John is like “Oi! I don’t really want our little girl to watch us make out.”

And Sherlock freezes and his eyes fill and he says “Our little girl?” And John realizes and his heart breaks a little and he and Rosie go into Sherlock’s arms and both clutch at him and John says “of course, yes, OURS” and if his voice wavers a little with unshed tears, Sherlock doesn’t mention it.

They hold each other like that until their daughter is sleeping soundly once more and they put her back in her crib and when they make love, it’s at the same unhurried pace that they kissed. Because they have the time now. They have forever.

prejudice in fantasy lit and the use of metaphor

reallybigshadowhunterstvfan said:

what can you say about making Simon a shadowhunter, Mrs Clare? it seemed odd to me that after a whole series of battling for equality between species/races, the downworlder had to become a shadowhunter. not only he basically ceased being a minority, he also became a part of a privileged community, and it just didn’t sit well with me.

Just for the record — I’m not Mrs. Clare; there is no Mr. Clare. I am married, but my pen name is not my husband’s property. :-) 

I think this is a very interesting question that brings up a ton of issues, but there are some aspects of it I’d love to clarify — for instance, I am puzzled at calling Simon “the Downworlder.” Is he more a Downworlder than Magnus? Things like that actually are really important when discussing stories — if he were the only Downworlder in the story, that would be one discussion, but he isn’t, and therefore his story does not speak for the experience of all Downworlders or even a small fraction. 

I am sorry you were surprised negatively by Simon’s story in TMI. Simon never wanted to be a vampire — he always hated it, and unlike Raphael and Lily, he never joined the community of vampires but instead spent all his time with Shadowhunters. Being a Daylighter had already changed him from being any kind of regular Downworlder, as did bearing the Mark of Cain: both made him even less “the Downworlder” and more of an anomaly. It also separated him from the other Downworlders, who treated him with distrust. In my experience, very few readers expected Simon to remain a vampire, given that it was something he never wanted or got used to, and that it was not his dream. More on that in a bit.

As to the question, to me the suggestion that Shadowhunters are “the privileged” and Dowworlders are as a block “the marginalized” — instead of being a complicated metaphor in which they sometimes but not always stand in for people who have had their rights curtailed —  overly simplifies the situation. It is an argument seems to ignore the fact that in fact, humans exist along axes of privilege and marginalization: that people can be privileged in one way and marginalized in another and that when Simon becomes first a Downworlder and then a mundane and then a Shadowhunter, he is not moving clearly from marginalization to privilege, but rather exchanging some types of privilege for others (he remains white as a Downworlder, and is a Daylighter), and exchanging some types of marginalization for others (the marginalization of being a Downworlder for the marginalization of being a mundane-born Shadowhunter and a Jew in a world where Shadowhunters are meant to have one religion). 

Because the argument disclaims spectrums of privilege and marginalization, it also suggests that the world of the Shadowhunter Chronicles is one in which there are no gay or POC or trans people in existence; one in which there is no racism, homophobia, ableism, cis privilege, or bigotry against the neuroatypical. But that is both problematic erasure, and also not true of these books. Downworlders don’t stand in for people of color or LGBTQ+ people because people of color and LGBTQ+ people are in the books; they have not been subsumed into metaphor. (I know the showrunners said there was no homophobia in the Shadowhunter world, only warlock-phobia, but that’s the show, not the books, and it has a different world and world-building. I notice this is a question I get since the show came out, and I sometimes wonder if it’s a question of confusion between the two different universes? It’s easy for that to happen.)

Fantasy prejudice metaphors are complex and confusing and they rarely work as a one to one comparison (in other words, there is a difference between saying that this fantasy situation is reminiscent of this real world thing and saying this fantasy situation is exactly the same as this real world thing. For instance, one of the really interesting things about True Blood is that it made many deliberate parallels between “vampire rights” and GLBT+ rights — referring to vampires “coming out of the coffin” and “God Hates Fangs” on church signs. However, its vampires were also often violent predators who killed and ate people. The argument that Simon “basically ceased being a minority” (while, somehow, remaining Jewish) is similar to making an argument that True Blood was saying that gay people kill and eat their neighbors; I’m fairly sure in fact, they weren’t. They were reaching for a resonance — the echo of a real world situation that would give a layer of relatability and meaning to their points about difference. But they were not creating a literal “these things are the same” comparison or they wouldn’t have had vampires chewing off people’s heads.

So: are Downworlders discriminated against? Yes, sometimes, by Shadowhunters, who are a small specific group. Do they “stand in” for a specific minority group? No, they cannot, because they are accessible as a metaphor to any marginalized group or groups whose rights have been abridged. Also: the world at large does not discriminate against Downworlders because they do not know they exist, nor do they privilege Shadowhunters because they don’t know they exist either. It would be one thing if this was a high fantasy and Shadowhunters and Downworlders were all there was, but these books are set in our world, and the characters experience real-world bigotry, racism, homophobia etc. because of it.

Alec sighed. “Sorry to wreck your vision of our happy family. I know you want to think Dad’s fine with me being gay, but he’s not.” 

“But if you don’t tell  me when people say things like that to you, or do things to hurt you, then how can I help you?” Simon could feel Isabelle’s agitation vibrating through her body. “How can I—” 

“Iz,” Alec said tiredly. “It’s not like it’s one big bad thing. It’s a lot of little invisible things. When Magnus and I were traveling, and I’d call from the road, Dad never asked how he was. When I get up to talk in Clave meetings, no one listens, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m young or if it’s because of something else. I saw Mom talking to a friend about her grandchildren and the second I walked into the room they shut up. Irina Cartwright told me it was a pity no one would ever inherit my blue eyes now.” He shrugged and looked toward Magnus, who took a hand off the wheel for a moment to place it on Alec’s. “It’s not like a stab wound you can protect me from. It’s a million little paper cuts every day.”

 *** 

“He hurt you. It was a long time ago, and I know he tried to make up for it, but—” Bat shrugged. “Maybe I’m not so forgiving.” 

Maia exhaled. “Maybe I’m not either,” she said. “The town I grew up in, all these spoiled thin rich white girls, they made me feel like crap because I didn’t look like them. When I was six, my mom tried to throw me a Barbie-themed birthday party. They make a black Barbie, you know, but they don’t make any of the stuff that goes with her—party supplies and cake toppers and all that. So we had a party for me with a blonde doll as the theme, and all these blonde girls came, and they all giggled at me behind their hands.”

***

If we carry the theory through (Shadowhunters are THE privileged, Downworlders are THE marginalized) that means that Alec, as a gay Shadowhunter, is more privileged than Simon, a straight vampire. That Ty, who would be locked in a mental institution if the Clave discovered his autism, is privileged beyond white, rich, immortal and powerful Malcolm Fade. It’s saying that when Cristina encounters a wealthy, white, straight, misogynist male werewolf in Lady Midnight who tries to force sexual attention on her, she, a Latina woman, is the one who is the privileged character because she is a Shadowhunter and he is a Downworlder (though Sterling has arguably, given that he lives outside the supernatural world, never experienced a whit of prejudice because of it.) So I’m sure you can see where the problem lies.

It also erases Simon’s Judaism entirely. Stating without caveat that Simon has become “part of a privileged community” means ignoring the fact that Simon is Jewish; that he decides in Tales that he will continue to practice, and that he was the only Jewish protag written by two Jewish authors that I’m aware of having been on the bestseller lists last year. He didn’t think about being a vampire as he was preparing to transform — he never wanted to be one or consented to be one, nor was he part of the community, as Raphael constantly pointed out — though he does later think of having previously been a Downworlder when interacting with vampires and Shadowhunter prejudices. He thought of the important thing to him: his Judaism, which he both couldn’t and wouldn’t give up. To me it is personally painful to think that for any reader, Simon’s status as a vampire is more significant than his status as a practicing Jew.

I think sometimes it is possible to invest yourself so heavily in a metaphor that you forget the real world that surrounds the metaphor and the flexibility of metaphors in general. The Shadowhunter/Downworlder situation could stand in for the systemically privileged and marginalized of our world: sometimes it does. However it also can stand in for the way totalitarian governments abuse their own people: there are echoes in Shadowhunter history and current events of the Cambodian genocide, of Stalinist violence against intellectuals and resistors. There are also echoes of police brutality — what Shadowhunters have is the privilege of the Law, specifically: the Law is what allows them to enact bigotry in the name of justice, and when they abuse their jobs, it has resonances of the way police can abuse their jobs and use the privilege conferred on them by their authority to murder and abuse the helpless and marginalized. There are also echoes of the way soldiers carry out immoral orders given by superiors: the Shadowhunters are taught to be obedient to the Clave, and one of the ways we know who our Team Good is in any TSC series that they question that obedience. All of these are echoes and resonances: they are not saying that the Shadowhunters are the police, or the US military, or the Khmer Rouge; the resonances provide context and hopefully add a sense of realism to a situation that is fantastical in its nature.

 (It’s also a wise idea not to so totally buy what the Shadowhunters are selling about themselves. They think they’re special and better and awesome, but the books constantly question and problematize that. Shadowhunters also pay a high high price for their runes and their sense of superiority: they die young and often and experience brutal constant violence and the pressures of a repressive society that allows for little divergence from an idealized norm.)

There are reasons that the Downworlders were never constructed to be a specific marginalized group and their situation was never meant to be limited in its relatability to one situation— for instance, it’s very hard to not look askance at the argument that Downworlders are meant to be specific “race” when you can become a Downworlder and then stop being one: when you can, as Simon does, change what kind of magical creature you are, because there is absolutely no correlation between that and what race or ethnicity means in our world. 

 So yes, Simon becomes a Shadowhunter: however, what I don’t see acknowledged here is not just his ethnicity and religion, but the fact that he becomes a Shadowhunter partly because he is aware of the prejudice of Shadowhunters, and fights against the bigotry they show not just to Downworlders but also to their own. He is part of Magnus and Alec’s Shadowhunter-Downworlder Alliance. He continues to work for change from within the system, arguably something almost no one else could do, because there are almost no other Downworlders who have become Shadowhunters. It is odd to me to consider Simon as simply ascending to a height of blithe privilege when he is fact much more like someone who has become a police officer in order to root out corruption and racism in the police, and brings his own knowledge of marginalization (which he still experiences) with him.

That is why Simon in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is constantly fighting and bending the rules in the name of his evolving social conscience, though I understand if you haven’t read TfTSA. One of the things about having had a flood of new readers enter fandom because of the TV show is that I’ve seen a lot of arguments based on the idea that TMI is the entire story of Downworlders and Shadowhunters, or the entire story of these characters. I see people talking about characters getting a happy or sad ending in TMI even when those characters go on to feature heavily in the sequel books and could by no reasonable account be considered to have any ending, happy or sad — unless you thought TMI were the only Shadowhunters books that existed rather than a chunk of a larger ongoing mythology. In no sense has Simon’s story ended: you have no idea if he will remain a Shadowhunter or not. Perhaps if you consider the fact that TMI is not a story that has ended for Simon, but rather one that continues, the fact that he has now been two magical species and might well move on to become another will sit less poorly with you? After all, this is not “after a whole series of battling for equality between species/races” this is “in the middle of a whole series of battling for equality between species/races.” Usually the middle of a story isn’t the place it’s best to draw all your conclusions from. :-) 

anonymous asked:

Hey! If you're still taking prompts, could you write about neil and Andrew having a conversation about Neil's past? Like the stuff he had to do to survive and the stuff he went through with the worlds shittiest parents? Also I'm pretty sure neil has killed people like it makes complete sense so maybe andreil talking about that?

There’s a band of pale blue light nipping at the tops of the trees and sharpening the silhouettes of the houses, but everything else is fresh and dark. Andrew smokes with the pack clenched in his fist, the cherry of the cigarette winking at the street lamps winking at the orange moon.

Their front porch isn’t like the rush of the rooftop, but he can get that same jitter of fear from Neil nowadays, and he’s more portable. He’d left him knotted in the bedsheets an hour ago, and knowing he’s inside somewhere at his back is burning him up. Andrew inhales and focuses on the exhale, the way the smoke still tries to hurt him when it should’ve given up. He likes that nicotine doesn’t leave him alone.

Neil slips out the front door and lets the screen door clatter, and Andrew knows that he’s upset before he sits down two steps below Andrew, holding his own head.

He doesn’t ask; just smokes fervently. The moon bobs its head sympathetically, wind catches the smoke and breaks it over Neil’s head like water on rocks.

It occurs to Andrew that Neil isn’t going to start this conversation, because he likes to think things through on his own, solve them wrong, and tell Andrew about his mistakes later. He’s insufferably convinced of his own problem-solving abilities, then obsessed with the mechanism of his own missteps.

“What?” Andrew asks impatiently. He flicks ash from his cigarette and holds it out in front of Neil’s face. Neil sidles through his own tangled thinking for long enough to glance up. He leans forward and sucks the smoke from between Andrew’s fingers.

When he looks away, gusting smoke from his open mouth, he says, “Matt called. We fought.”

You fought,” Andrew guesses.

Neil looks agitated, blue in the choked light, eyes black and furious. “He was being unfair. He keeps trying to tell me what’s right or wrong lately, because he thinks I’ve been— been deprived, like my experiences were outside of humanity, or morality, and it’s so— condescending.”

“You’re only realizing this now? All of the foxes are condescending. It is the only way they can avoid their own failure.”

“This was different,” Neil says, shaking his head. “I can tell when they’re saying things because they want to see my reaction, and this wasn’t that. He meant what he was saying.”

“And what was that?”

Neil goes gagged silent. He shifts backwards up to Andrew’s stair without looking at him, settling into the groove worn into the wood.

“That killing someone makes you a monster. That murder is the worst thing you can do to a person.”

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