you mean more to me than anyone

3

scarlett: so.. what happened?

zelda: we had sex..

scarlett: ohh..

zelda: yeah.. and it was my first time and maybe that’s the problem? i mean i didn’t really know.. what to do and what if it was like really bad for him. i asked him about it and he said it wasn’t bad but what if he’s lying to not hurt my feelings? and.. i need him now more than ever

scarlett: what do you mean?

zelda: well.. there’s something else. you remember that guy that emily brought to the halloween party?

scarlett: yes i remember. the older guy. troy right?

zelda: yeah that’s him.. 

scarlett: ..what zelda? what did he do?

zelda: he.. he followed me into the bathroom and.. he pushed me up against the wall and he tried to.. you know :(

scarlett: omg zelda.. have you told anyone else about this?

zelda: n-no. i couldn’t bring myself too. i was embarrassed b-but it’s been haunting me since that night. he really scared me

scarlett: you definitely need to tell someone zelda.. you know that right? like your mom or something

zelda: i know.. *sighs* i know

4

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

*note*

English translations for the Japanese line, “Kore kara mo zutto yoroshiku ne.” would be “I want you to stay by my side, always and forever as my loved one who understands me more than anyone else in the world.” and “Let’s be just like as we are.” The meaning of “yoroshiku” varies according to the contexts and this one could be (and sounds like) a marriage proposal. Genji uses a very Japanese way that avoids a direct expression of love.

Hey, sorry to be posting on the meme bot account for this, but this is the biggest audience I’ve got. I need help finding a new home for a lovely kittycat in or around Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A friend of mine has a cat with some problems who needs a new home. She’s a good cat– loves to watch birds out the window, will sit next to you and purr– but she has both bowel and neurological issues and she has trouble using the litterbox. She regularly poops and pees outside of it. She is also very shy and needs someone who will really put in the effort to earn her trust.

I posted a Twitter thread with more information. We’re happy to provide her vet records and any other information that would be helpful for taking care of her.

We’ve been looking into shelters and sanctuaries in and around New Mexico, but very few of them have room for more cats at all, let alone the resources to take in a cat with neurological issues. She really needs a dedicated human (or family of humans!) who can spend the time and effort helping her.

If you know anyone like that, can you please pass this info along to them? You can contact me here, email me (barrlr AT barrl DOT net), @ me on Twitter, etc. We’re able to travel about a day from Albuquerque– so that means we can get to West Texas and anywhere in the 4 corners states– but I worry that going further than that would be extremely stressful for her, so I don’t want to do that unless we literally have no other options.

Thanks!

Sangwoo’s reaction and why it’s significant

I see a lot of people either disappointed over Sangwoo’s reaction or bemused because they expected it. I think there’s more to it. When I read the chapter, I noticed a few important things that I would like to point out. First, it’s important to remind everyone that Sangwoo is not a normal person. His way of dealing with trauma is to confront it, and exterminate the problem at its core. Sangwoo does not like feeling vulnerable. It diminishes his masculinity. It reminds him too much of his past, and of his mother who–like Bum–seemed to be the type of person who was easily taken advantage of. Frankly, weakness and indecisiveness just piss him off.

This brings me to my next few points:

When Bum spoke of his trauma, it reminded Sangwoo too much of his mother. 

Now, please note. We don’t know how Sangwoo’s parents perished. Some assume he killed them both, but that doesn’t make sense. Personally, with how Sangwoo speaks of mother with fondness, even I find it hard to believe that Sangwoo killed his own mother. (My theory is Sangwoo’s dad killed her during a domestic abuse episode and in turn, Sangwoo killed his dad.)

If you remember, there was that one scene way back when where it depicted “Sangwoo’s” hands around his mother’s neck, but I don’t think those were his hands. Sangwoo was hallucinating. 

That’s not from his point of view. It’s from his Dad’s point of view. And do you see that smile. Do you see how his mother isn’t fighting back? That’s stayed with him forever. His mother just taking it isn’t something that he’s forgotten. And what does Bum do? He takes it, just like his mother. He doesn’t stab his abuser, like Sangwoo suggests. He doesn’t do anything, because he’s afraid. So Sangwoo, whether consciously or not, starts drawing parallels: Bum (My Mom) is a weak person, who allowed his Uncle (My Father) to abuse him (her).

It’s history repeating itself and Sangwoo fucking hates it. So when Sangwoo reacts hostilely to Bum’s story, it’s not that he’s incapable of emotion or that he doesn’t “get” that Bum’s been raped. Quite the opposite.

He’s throwing a tantrum. He’s upset Bum was assaulted. In his head, Bum practically allowed it. And this anger shows in some fucked up way, he’s started to like Bum. I wouldn’t say “cherish”, because I’m not sure Sangwoo is capable of that, but he cares about Bum in a way that’s like his mother but not quite. (I think more so like a pet then a partner.) He knows what happened to Bum and what it all means, but he’s unable to act sympathetically, because he just wished that Bum (unlike his mother) could have fought back. Now let me say, this isn’t an attempt to justify Sangwoo’s reaction.

I’m a victim of sexual assault. I know, more than anyone, how fear can paralyze you into submission. I sympathize with Bum. I feel horrible for him. But Sangwoo isn’t, again, a normal person. He’s a sociopath. So Sangwoo doesn’t see that. He just sees two things: Bum didn’t try. Bum disappoints me. And it infuriates Sangwoo, because in a way, Bum’s uncle wins. Just like Sangwoo’s father won when he abused his mother. 

Sangwoo is hurt.

Most importantly, Sangwoo’s selfish.

His emotions are the only thing that matter to him.

Bum’s feelings mean nothing.

Last point: 

I think Sangwoo was planning to have sex with Bum.

Okay, I know, another stretch. But if you think about the last chain of events, it makes sense. Sangwoo has started to develop feelings for Bum. Not just emotionally, but sexually. Now given this new piece of information, I think Sangwoo is not only angry that Bum didn’t fight back, but that the abuser has been with Bum in an intimate way before he has. I think Sangwoo assumed Bum was a virgin, and he had planned on consummating their “relationship” very soon. The fact that Bum’s uncle already has done so… someone who’s abused Bum and reminds him of his Father… Well…

For him, that’s a turn off, and a let down.

‘Home…’, she said, her voice barely more than a whisper.
'It’s a funny word, isn’t it? Something so well known to anyone and still so utterly different in its subjective definition.’
'What does it mean to you?’, I asked and her gaze wandered off into distance. She did not say a single word for several seconds and when she looked at me again, a frown was wrinkling her forehead.
Her lips said 'I don’t know, what about you?’ but her eyes gave away what she did not want to speak out loud; that her home was on the road, at a different apartment each night, constantly under an ever changing sky.
So how would I have been able to tell her that I, undeniably, undoubtedly, had found home in the wrinkles when she laughed and that colour when she blushed?
—  // excerpt from a book I’ll never write
j.d.m.
10

One(?) gifset per episode || Arrival at Kraghammer

An enormous underground metropolis sprawls out before you—the dark earth and shadows creating beautiful stonework, marble columns, archways, and labyrinthine bridges climbing across the vertical city-scape. All warmed with the red glow of some strange, crimson rock peppered throughout the town as a light source. A large metal forge envelops the center of this cylindrical city. The entire city is a three tiered cylindrical city that is built into the ground of the mountain itself. Welcome to Kraghammer!

I want so much more than small talk.

I don’t want to hear about the weather. I want to know about your deepest fears and your biggest secrets.

Tell me your pet peeves. Tell me your hopes and dreams. Tell me something you’ve never told anyone before.

Stay up late with me on the phone and talk about the things that are meaningful to you.

You mean more to me than small talk.

I don’t care about the weather. I care about you.

—  small talk.
You are just as responsible for your fandom activism as creators are for their fanworks.

More so, in fact, because your primary purpose is telling people what to do or not do. Any instructive value in creative work is understood to be subordinate to entertainment and self-expression, but if you’re out there explicitly advocating for something, you’d damn well be ready to own it. Including all its implications and potential negative effects.

That means: If you’re urging people not to create some kind of fanwork because you think that’ll protect a vulnerable group, you’d better be ready to account for the members of that group who make it, enjoy it, and find solace in it.

That means: If you’re urging retaliation against creators, you are absofuckinglutely responsible for the harm that befalls them as a result, including harm to members of the group you’re trying to protect.

That means: If you’re holding everyone else to high standards about how they could affect someone with a trigger-able mental illness, you need to hold yourself to the same standards, including effects on people whose anxiety manifests as over-scrupulosity or intrusive thoughts.

That means: If you’re shaming erotica you find “gross,” you don’t get to blow off conversations about how that shame plays into conservative sexual-purity enforcement. You don’t get to wash your hands of the implications, whether or not that’s what you meant. Explicit activism has far more duty to consider indirect implications than anyone’s personal pursuit of sexual fulfillment does.

That means: If your activism has garnered you a huge follower count, you are responsible for the exposure you inflict on the people you pick fights with, and the dogpiles or hate mobs you incite. This can be a tough thing to learn if you get popular overnight, and even well-meaning people fumble with it at first, but it’s something you have to figure out. And don’t fucking give me that “it was just a block list, I didn’t mean for anyone to go into their askboxes on anon and tell them all to kill themselves” crap, the only people fooled by it are the ones looking for an excuse to be fooled.

That means: You are responsible for assessing the relative power and influence of the people you’re addressing, and not griefing marginalized subcultural small fry over artistic sins that are far more egregious among canon creators. Especially canon creators who are just as accessible on Twitter as fanwork creators are on Tumblr.

(Pre-emptive response to objections to the preceding paragraph: Only going after people you know you have social power over isn’t activism, it’s bullying with a thin veneer of activist lingo smeared over it. Only trying to clean up your immediate surroundings isn’t activism, it’s complaining to the local homeowners’ association–valid enough if someone’s running their chainsaw at 2am, but if you just can’t stand Betty’s problematic lawn flamingoes, dressing it up as concern for what tacky decorations say about the neighborhood is a little precious.)

If any of that is too burdensome for you, I suggest you take the advice fandom activists tend to have for fanartists and authors: if you can’t do it without doing damage and you’re not prepared to deal with the consequences, abstain. Restrict your activism to shit that’s not going to hurt people, even if that’s just being the best role model you can be.

You want to set yourself up as a moral authority? You want to dictate what people can and can’t create without activist blowback? That’s power–and yes, local power in a community can exist irrespective of society-wide systemic advantage. With power comes responsibility. Use it wisely or not, as you choose, but don’t act like you get to hold anyone accountable for their art’s indirect potential to harm if you don’t want to be accountable for your direct advocacy.

“me too”
two little words became a rallying cry
a scream of solidarity
they’re louder than any “you’re not alone” could ever begin to shout
i look to my left, to my right
and see both hands being held by someone uttering those two words

“me too”
hurts to hear
more than their hands, their mouth, their body ever could
i wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone else
not even my worst enemies
i wouldn’t ever want to hear another person say

“me too”
is said far too often
by far too many
and it’s goddamn time we stop teaching how to dress
or how to stay safe
and start teaching that “no” means “no”
that nothing justifies violating another
that it should sicken and anger you to know how many people will say

“me too”
are you listening to us?
do you hear what we’re saying?
are you saying it too?
and if you’re not
thank god for that
but i hope that means instead you’re saying

“enough is enough”

(cc, 2017)

I’m high mom can’t you see?
My eyes are swollen and red
I’ve been smoking thoughts
instead of cigarettes.
My lungs are okay
but my soul is drifting away.
And I’m still the captain of my sea
the master of my fate
but I can’t really see
what the sea beholds for me.
My GPA is high too mom
and my future bright
but the only problem is
I am not alright.
I’m not on drugs
and I don’t smoke
but it’s way worse you know?
Because I work and I think more than anyone else I know.
I’m trying to hide the fact that there is no meaning
in living, dreaming or being.
—  mineibrm
Touch

Here it is! This is my first oneshot and longest piece yet – please be kind. As always, feedback is welcomed and appreciated. Happy reading! xxh

Request? Yes! 

getting in a fight with harry and you almost break up and you have emotional sex where you’re both crying and stealing kisses and it’s raw and you’re both just so in love and i don’t know meaningful sex is so much better than just getting in each other’s pants when you feel like it – anon

Word count: 4.5k 

Genre: Angst/smut

Pairing: y/n & Harry

It was quite odd how you could feel so alone in a room so full of people.

Music jumping off of the walls, a steady bass thumping in your chest; laughter cutting through the air, cheers every so often as another round was poured out. The energy was addictive, yet you felt as if you were secluded in your own little bubble, away from everyone else and invisible to the party guests.

Harry stood beside you, happily buzzing with a glass of whiskey in hand. His laughs bellowed out from his chest and were much louder than normal – amplified by the alcohol pulsing through his body. He wasn’t drunk, but the extra confidence given to him by the glass he held was very obvious.

He’d turn to you, mouth parted and about to ask a question, but was swiftly pulled away by an eager acquaintance to congratulate him on ‘his big debut in Hollywood!’ or ‘his incredible new music!’. Harry was too kind to just brush off the compliment with a simple “thank you,” and was quickly taken up in another conversation, leaving you alone.

Keep reading

[translations] 2017.07.06 NCT 127 First Anniversary Event fan accounts - Rolling Paper

Taeil -> Johnny
Chicago monster bro. I love your physiques, are you perhaps a model? Thank you for always looking out for the rest of the members by taking on the role of the middle man. [chewchew_do]

Taeil -> Taeyong
Your features are so beautiful. Your eyes nose lips, no, I love everything about you [cheetahparrot]

Taeil -> Yuta
Yukkuri ….. ????? (fan accounts say that yuta was laughing so hard that he couldn’t read it)

Taeil -> Doyoung
How are you? Cutie. Every time I see your shoulders I think you are so handsome. I’m fine thank you bro [dukduk0614]

Taeil -> Jaehyun
Jaehyun I like your burning passion, in the future please burn that bright and pass the passion on to the remaining members as well [chin9deura]

Taeil -> Winwin
Ni Hao, Dong Si Cheng. I heard you play games really badly, practice more. Anyway you are so cute. I think you have gotten used to living in Korea, and gotten close with the members. Dong Si Cheng, Wo Ai Ni [nct_victory]

Taeil -> Mark
Cute. You are so cute. I can always feel a lot of things when I’m with you. Thank you bro [markleezzang]

Taeil -> Haechan
Our Lee Haechan who usually joke a lot but lately you became quiet. However now I like how you are joking around again. We nag at you is because we like you. I’m thankful that you are doing the role of the maknae well, and became the mood-maker too. Bye bye I love you [xzzanx]

Johnny -> Taeil
I am an only child in the family. But because hyung was by my side I was able to feel how is it like to have an older brother. I feel really happy and secured with hyung by my side. I am always thankful for that. Even though hyung don’t express it, but I know you like me a lot. I love you hyung. [chin9deura]

Keep reading

I love you!

Every time I say I love you.

I’m really trying to say so much more than those three little words.

I’m trying to say you mean more to me than anyone else in the world.

I’m trying to let you know that I adore you and that I cherish the time we spend together.

I’m trying to explain that I want you and that I need you and that I get lost in wonderful thoughts every time I think about you.

And each time I say “I love you”, I’m trying to remind you that you’re the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Imagine demon!Dean beating a guy up to death because he touched you and he got jealous.

“She’s pretty.” you said softly, trying to hold back the hint of bitterness and pain in your voice. Or jealousy for that matter. You couldn’t blame her, who knew with how many women Dean had been with ever since he became a demon.

“And probably his type. But it shouldn’t bother you now, should it chipmunk?” Crowley raised an eyebrow as the both of you didn’t take your eyes off of the demon playing darts as the blonde waitress gave him another drink with a rather flirtysmile might you say.

“Not now, not ever.” Crowley finally turned to look at you “You are not his girlfriend, (Y/n). Never been, yet you are bothered so much by this. I wonder why.”

You scoffed, turning to glare at him “As if you don’t know. Dean is probably the most oblivious man in the world but you never were Crowley. Why would you use this stupid nickname on me if you didn’t?”

“Guilty.” he flashed you a smile, downing his drink “But he’s no longer the man that you remember, love.”

“Right, so that’s why you wanted me here?” you scoffed “And don’t you dare deny it to me Crowley. You didn’t even blink in surprise when you saw me. You’re letting yourself get caught and sooner or later Sam will come walking in as well.”

“I must admit- the only thing that did surprise me was the fact that moose didn’t come in right after you.” he shrugged “But probably- it’s time to finally put him on track-” he looked at Dean “And make him realize how little he is leaving for just how much.”

“Hell? Oh wow, yes Crowley that really is everyone’s dream kingdom.”

“It is one, nonetheless.” he winked at you and before you could say a thing he had vanished right in front of your eyes. You scoffed at him but didn’t have the chance to question him when you turned your head and your eyes locked with his green ones. And just like always they made your heart skip a beat. Because maybe you were always friends but your love for him was undying.

You held your breath as he set his glass down and raised an eyebrow at you. He said nothing to the rest of them men he was playing with and casually strode towards you “(Y/n)” his voice was as rough but a lot more cold “Fancy seeing you here.” and the smirk on his face made it all worse.

“Is it?” you asked in a low voice and his smile dropped.

“What do you want here?” he asked serious.

“Oh so Crowley didn’t tell you?” you scoffed a laugh “He knew I was on your tracks with Sam, he should be here very soon. I managed to get a lead and thought if I could convince you to come back without him having to hurt himself but… I don’t think there is a point in trying.”

“I told you to stay away.” he shrugged casually, stuffing his hands in his pockets “Not my fault you don’t listen.

“You told Sam to let you go, not me. And I thought there was a chance here but- I was wrong obviously. I’m curious how you didn’t see this coming, or even more that Crowley didn’t speak to you about his plans. Whatever those may be. What happened? Don’t you guys tell everything? Oh no, don’t Dean, secrets are bad, they ruin relationships. We know it better than anyone.” you went from sarcastic to completely serious.

He scoffed, putting on a smirk on his face and rolling his eyes “Don’t care what his game is, I am not his toy. I have my own plans and I’m glad that… he made it easier for me.” he looked

“What do you mean?” you frowned when you noticed the predatory smile on his face “Made it easier by letting me find you?”

“I’ll let you know soon, now follow me and let’s out of here. You’re drawing too much fucking attention with those shorts.” he took hold of your arm, dragging you up as he glared at a few men behind you that had been sneaking looks at you.

“Like hell.” you hissed, snatching your arm from his “Why does it even matter to you? Especially now, I am nothing to you. So what if they look? I am free, Dean, hell they can even touch as much as they want to.” you said angrily.

His eyes darkened as he looked “Let’s go. Now.” he said in a low almost growl but you weren’t having any of it.

“Why?” you scoffed a laugh “So that you can kill me now? Or so that she doesn’t see us talking?” you motioned with your head to the blonde that already had her eyes on you. You tried so hard not to show how much this was hurting you.

“She has nothing to do with this. Come on.” he tugged, holding your hand again.

“Right, of course she doesn’t.” you scoffed “With how many have you been exactly all these months?”

“You’d want to know, wouldn’t you?” a satisfied smirk was on his face.

You didn’t have the chance to speak though because another voice spoke up “Is everything alright?” it was a guy you had seen checking you out ever since you came in.

“Yes, everything’s fine actually. My friend here was just leaving.” you gave Dean a look “How about you buy me a drink and we can talk?” you gave him a smile that made his grin widen.

“Yes, of course sweet cheeks.” he wrapped an arm around your waist.

“You’re gonna lose that hand buddy.” Dean growled, and you both stopped before you could leave.

“Excuse me?” he raised an eyebrow “Did you just threaten me?”

“No, I was giving you a friendly warning.” Dean shrugged with a casual smile.

“Yeah, right.” he scoffed, arm tightening on your waist just to mock the demon and for a second you got scared when Dean’s smile completely fell.

“But you obviously don’t listen very well.” he scoffed and before you could realize it he had grabbed the man by the collarof his shirt and pinned him against a pillar.

“And now- you get to see what I mean when I say that you shouldn’t have done that.” and even if you expected it you jumped when he threw a powerful punch at the man. And the another, and another and another without letting him do a single move. You were almost scared for his life when you saw the mark on Dean’s arm burn that angry red as he kept hitting the guy, blood covering his fist and groans and moans of pain filling the bar along with hushed whispers from other customers.

“Fucking asshole, think you could ever have a piece of that?” he scoffed a laugh, punching more “In your dreams!” another punch “She’s too pure and perfect for a bloody jackass like you. You would never stand a fucking chance.” he growled, punching him more.

You could barely make out any of the things he said after that as the sounds were too much to handle. People shouting, some cheering and encouraging him to keep going. And then you heard her.

“Dean, stop!” she screamed but he didn’t listen to her, as he kept punching with groans himself “Stop! You’re gonna kill him!” she screamed but it didn’t seem to have a single effect on him at the moment.

“Would serve him fucking right.” Dean growled, grabbing his bloody face and making the guy look at you “Do you see that? Do you see her?” he said through gritted teeth “She’s great isn’t she? And you’d really want a piece of her tonight but that would be it. You had some gruesome thoughts for her after that though, didn’t you?” he turned his head to look at Dean “Didn’t you?” he roared and he gave him a weak nod.

“Just like I thought.” Dean smirked “For the first, I’d really just break your hand and maybe face. But for this-” he looked at him darkly and your breath got caught in your throat. If he killed him right there in front of so many people he’d draw all the wrong attention.

“Dean!” you screamed “No, no don’t!” you exclaimed and as surprising as it was for everyone, it caught his attention and he glanced at you over your shoulder. You looked at him with wide eyes, shaking your head in fear.

“Seems like your lucky day, bastard.” he growled “You’re very damn lucky that she can have this effect on me because trust me your death… it would have not been easy. And she would never give you a single glance because you know why?” he smirked in an almost sinister way “Oh you know why.” he laughed, pushing him to the side and he fell on the floor. He looked down at him for a second, smirking before with a roll of his eyes he turned around and looked at the rest of the customers.

He didn’t say a think, he only scoffed at them and walked towards you.

“D” you found yourself whispering as you stared at him with wide eyes “You would have-”

“I should have.” he growled “Hope you fucking understand I am not playing games here, (Y/n).” he grabbed your jaw with one hand and your heart leapt to your throat when he brought his face closer to yours, your lips only an inch away. You knew what he wanted to do but he stopped himself, looking from your lips up to your eyes. He smiled slightly, running his thumb over your lower lip.

“You are mine, and I’ll make sure everybody knows it from now on.” he said in a low rough voice and you frowned. You knew in what way he meant it, you were no fool with what he had almost done but it still confused you. You were always friends and on top of that even if he didn’t care at the moment as a demon… what really held him back from forcing a kiss out of you? IT felt as if for a moment you saw your own Dean flash through his eyes.

“Only. Mine.” he said in a husky voice in your ear and you felt shivers run down your spine when his teeth grazed over it “I’ll wait in the car.” he added and let go of you, almost leaving you to try to recover from the shock.

But you only had another one coming once he’d left and the waitress spoke to you “You are (Y/n)?”

“Why-” your voice was hoarse as you looked at her “You know me?” and the look on her face only said yes, making you realize there was only person that could have spoken about you to her.

Dean. But the real question was why?

This is the sweet message Harry said before Sign of the Times and after he had suddenly put his pride flag over his mic stand. (As you can tell by my yell I was surprised. Also, the video gets a lot better when Harry starts talking, I thought he was going to leave the stage before the encore but he went straight into his speech and he had the flag so I had to be quick lmao)

“Thank you so much for having us. I um— It’s kind of impossible to say thank you enough times because, like, I just couldn’t be on this stage if it wasn’t for you guys. So, thank you so much for everything that has got me to this place and for all your support since this next song came out. I love you very, very much and um -coughs- this is the last one.”

Then the crowd started to boo and get sad.

“I mean, I just don’t have any more songs. This is just the last— This is just the last- the last one! Now please sing along if you know this one and if I am– If I could possibly be any luckier than I am right now I will see you again very soon! I love you with all my heart, this is Sign of the Times!”

Don’t Worry About ‘Strong Female Characters.’

In a world where a woman showing her chest is somehow pro-feminist and anti-feminist at the same time, it’s easy to see why any writer would stress over their female characters.

Relax.

Chances are, if you know anything about writing, your fictitious females are fine, even if they are fine. But if you’re still worried, I have two good examples from Disney coming up. (Hint: They’re sisters.)

But first…

The term ‘Strong Female Character’ is ludicrous and makes writing worse.

There’s more scrutiny and expectation placed on female characters than male characters, and at a risk of writing a twenty-paragraph essay about who is to blame for that, let’s just say I think the term ‘strong female character’ is part of the problem. It isn’t just a case of high expectations that are impossible to meet, but also about the stress it puts on the author that halts the creative process.

So again, relax.

Stress aside, it can also lead to this:

“I want to write a strong female character. Someone inspiring. Someone every little girl can look up to. Someone…”

No. Stop right there, Idealist. This is why there are so many more Mary Sues than Gary Stus.

You didn’t even know Gary Stu was a thing, did you?

Let go of the idea of representation. You don’t represent anyone. Your character doesn’t represent anyone. You are you, and they are them. Write people.

What does ‘strong’ even mean?

Mentally strong? Physically strong? It can mean just about anything.

The vagueness of the term hasn’t helped.

A lot of people have taken it to mean – and stop me if you’ve heard this before – a fiery, no-nonsense woman, who don’t need no man.

That was good for the first, what, twelve times? Heck, I take that back. It’s still a good archetype, when done correctly. Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley are beloved examples of this. Iconic, even. Since then, it’s been turned into a formula by people who don’t understand why those characters are liked to begin with, and repeated to the point of yawn-inducing parody.

A character who makes you yawn is not a strong character.

Remember: In writing terms, strong = well-written.

So what makes a well written character?

Let’s look at that example now.

Disney… Sisters… Eldest sings a famous song…

I’m sure you already know. It is of course…

Lilo and Nani.

…What? Who else did you think it was going to be?

Lilo and Nani are, hands-down, two of the best characters Disney has ever put out. They have interests, hobbies, and jobs. They love each other, make each other laugh, but also get on each other’s nerves. They have good qualities and they have bad qualities - and not bad as in Elsa’s 'oh, I’m so insecure’ or Mulan’s 'gosh, I’m so clumsy.’ They are flawed. Nani is short-tempered and irresponsible. Lilo is stubborn and violent. Yet, they’re still likeable because their situation makes it clear why they are the way they are. We can relate to them.

In short: They feel like real people.

And possibly the most important thing for any character: They drive the plot forward.

“Wait, Ashlee!” those of you who have seen the movie cry out, “What about Stitch? He’s the main character. He’s the one who drives the plot forward, surely.”

Stitch is the catalyst. The point of attack. The first plot point. The inciting incident. etc. At the start, its Stitch’s escape from the prison ship and crash landing on Hawaii that causes the plot. After that, it’s largely Lilo and Nani who control the story and the tension.

Speaking of tension…

Good characters have stakes. Raw bloody stakes!

Lilo and Nani have the most to lose. If Nani doesn’t get a job and Lilo doesn’t train the born-to-be-wild Stitch, they lose their home and each other.

To sum it up…

Character Checklist:

  • Vulnerable
  • Flawed 
  • Relatable 
  • High stakes and the ability to overcome them

Thank you for reading. Comments, criticisms, and trolls are welcome.

write something about me, you say.
about what? i ask.

about the way the stars at night
reflect against your excited eyes
to create a golden honey?
or maybe you mean
the way our bodies fit together
like two lost puzzle pieces.
my favorite is
how you tell a story,
letting your laughter do the talking.

i look over, smile, and say
honey, you’re already more of a poem
than anyone could ever write.

—  j.e.b. ((an excerpt from a story i’ll never write.))