1. There is now wordvomit in my drafts about writing nonbinary characters and my frustrations and uncertainties about those stories and what they mean.

    Also my love/hate relationship with writing about a category I fall into [trans folk in general, and while I hesitate to claim nonbinary, I will claim genderqueer and don’t fit within in binary] which doesn’t really have fantasy that are our stories. Because there’s a reason you put dragons in all the blank, unexplored parts of a map.

    I don’t know. It may become a coherent post when I have time to sort through my thoughts.

    Also I got the mother of all papercuts at the base of my nail packing a box at work today. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the above musing, but while we’re on the subject of frustrations… .

  2. TW: suicide and people being terrible when told

    When someone who is fucking suicidal tells you that what you’re saying is not helping, the appropriate response is not fucking “Then what am I supposed to say? I’m just trying to help! Don’t yell at me for only trying to help.”

    Holy fuck.

    No.

    You do not get to make that about you. You do not get to pour more guilt on someone because they cannot tell you exactly what they need. You do not get to yell at someone for articulating “This is only making me feel worse” because I know too many people, myself included, who have sat silently through the fucking platitudes because we didn’t know how to say “I’m so fucking tired of being strong, please don’t tell me I need to be any stronger for any longer.” If someone is telling you this, there’s a pretty good chance they’re at crises point, and you do not get to make that about you.

    I realize not everyone is capable of handling this situation. I respect that. But there’s a reason there are hotlines, there’s a reason there are chatlines, and if the person you’re talking to doesn’t want those, there’s an argument for staying fucking quiet, listening to them and actually hearing them, and holding them if they want to be held.

    There is no argument for saying “I’m just trying to help!” when they tell you that what you’re doing is not working. The person you’re saying this to? Does not need you to guilt trip them.

    [Brought to you by a post I came across last night, but I didn’t have the energy to reply then and I’ll probably trigger the hell out of myself trying to find it again. I also apologize that this blog has been so suicide ideation heavy for the past week, it has not been a good week for me.]

  3. I need to be more careful about the depression/suicide related fiction I read.

    [TW: suicide, suicide ideation]

    I mean, it’s possible I read more than I should as it is, but when people get it right, it’s … sort of validating, and I don’t have that many sources of validation in my life right now, so.

    And it’s not so much people getting it wrong that bothers me so much as certain reactions other characters might have to being told. Because no. If I’m telling you something like that in real life, I am actually asking for something — an ear to bend, a shoulder to cry on, some fucking understanding if you come home to find I’ve put the knife block at the back of the pantry and a mindless fantasy flick with lots of magical explosions in the DVD player and not actually cleaned the kitchen yet even though it’s my turn. What I am not asking for is a miracle cure, or someone to try to fucking fix me. No. Don’t try to fix me, or coddle me, or something like that. I didn’t ask for that, don’t try to give me that, I’m looking for a friend not a savior.

    Fuck. I have feelings tonight and am projecting like mad.

  4. TW: suicide

    So as usual when I’m stressed the hell out, more of my issues are bleeding into what I write. And I am beating my head against my desk.

    Because “Did you want Molly to loose both of her best friends in the same month?” is probably painfully in character for this character’s brother to say when he wakes up in hospital.

    But it’s also such a horribly shitty thing to say to someone who just attempted suicide that I’m desperately searching for something less shitty for him to say. Even though it’s in character. Because God no.

  5. On Asexuality in fanfiction:

    maybetwice:

    I’m going to go out on a limb by saying this, but please stop writing fic about ~asexual awareness~

    Please.

    I know there are asexuals who are happy to find it, who are just glad we get any kind of exposure in a world that has a very difficult time understanding where we’re coming from and how we perceive the world. The thing is, asexuals are not a monolithic, homogeneous group that all experience sexuality or the world in the same way. You may know about romantics and aromantics, and even that the same spectrum of preferences expressed in sexuals (heterosexuals, homosexual, bisexuals, etc) is present in many asexuals. But “asexuality” is only the term that’s been broadly applied to a group of people who all experience it in different ways, express it in different ways, and thereby have very disparate views of the world as an asexual. You cannot write fic trying to provide insight on asexuality if you view it as a singular group, where everyone’s sex organs are turned off and don’t function. You can’t provide insight at all if you cut and paste the wikipedia explanation for asexual relationships. By doing so, you are only propagating a flawed and inaccurate view and often reinforcing misunderstandings and stereotypes.

    I am not going to say that I am the Supreme Authority on what asexuality is or isn’t, or what people are or aren’t allowed to enjoy as an asexual. I will say, however, that every single sexual I have ever discussed my asexuality with has expressed difficulty understanding just how it’s possible to have relationships, or even interact with the world, without some modicum of sexuality. How is it possible? Will you get better? Do you think this happened because of some kind of sexual trauma? Maybe you haven’t found the thing for you. Maybe your hormones are scrambled. I’ve heard all of that and more, and it shows that people have a very hard time wrapping their head around the idea. Similarly, as an asexual, I have a really hard time wrapping my head around the worldview that sexuals have. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but when you’re spending your energy trying to rationalize that asexuality exists by transforming it into something you can understand (this person has been broken, this person doesn’t know what they want, how lucky they are that they don’t worry themselves about sex and relationships, etc), you’re losing your perspective on it.

    The point being is that if you decide that you absolutely must write fanfiction about the struggles of being an asexual, or to somehow educate people on asexuality and what it means to be an asexual, or to sound out your own understanding and feelings about asexuality, or any other reason you have to write it, then do your due diligence. Start with the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, the articles and forums they have which outline the issues asexuals experience are really helpful. For heaven’s sake, don’t corner your asexual buddies and beg them to tell you their experience, unless they’ve expressed that they are open to discussing it with you. (For my friends, I personally employ a nearly universal open-door policy to field questions and discuss my experiences with asexuality.) Spend hours reading about asexuality and thinking about how an asexual character would experience the world as such. Think how your words will represent asexuality. Decide whether or not the risk of doing it very, very wrong and doing harm to the image of a group is worth your piece of fanfic. 

    I have mixed feelings about this post. I mean, you appear to be specifically addressing consexual people writing about asexual people, so I’ll leave that facet at yes, research is a good idea. Research is always a good idea when writing outside your experience — the deeper kind, that means talking to people who do experience those things.

    And yeah, as an asexual person, I’m done with coming out stories. They have their place and I recognize that, but I’m no longer interested in surface examinations. I’d much rather read about people navigating adventures and relationships with their sexuality a part of who they are — you know, kind of like I do? Because that’s definitely the way I would like people to look at my orientation — it’s there, it’s part of me, it effects my worldview, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of my life.

    I’d also love it if we could get some variation beyond the Sheldon/Sherlock types — you know, genius, socially awkward cis men. I realize that those two are fairly easy to portray as ace [Sheldon’s asexuality may even be explicit — I don’t want The Big Bang Theory so I’m not sure], but at the same time… . Within the realm of fan fic there’s this specific fictional “type,” and one that oddly differs a lot from real life stereotypes [and is consistently portrayed as much more “alien” than the real life stereotypes, which is problematic in and of itself].

    Up to this point I’m pretty sure I’ve agreed with everything the OP said, so here’s where the mixed feelings come in: I don’t think this is a problem that can be solved by asking people to reconsider writing asexual characters in fan fic. In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t a lot of fic — and even less non-derivative fiction — about asexual characters. And so, to a certain extent, ace folk are taken as a monolithbecause there’s so little, and so little variation. More fic, and more variation, widens the scope, and lets characters beyond the Sheldon/Sherlock type  add layers to asexual representation [I’ve seen James T Kirk from the reboot of Star Trek interpreted as ace and would like more asexual characters like that, for instance].

    So, yeah. I’d love it if people would think about what they’re saying, but on the whole, I’m inclined to say bring on the fic, of all varieties. If people would stop pretending they were representing us all, that would be marvelous and wonderful. Partially because if people would stop trying to represent us all, the variation would come in.

  6. Sometimes I don’t feel like I CAN trust my audience.

    The number of times I have been talking to other writers, and either heard or said the words “trust your audience” is really rather high if I think about it. Trust your audience. I don’t want to be patronized as a reader, so I shouldn’t do it as a writer.

    What about those moments when I don’t trust most people to get it when I’m talking about myself? How do I trust them through the words, with the character?

    I run into that, sometimes, because I am aware that the vast majority of my audience is comprised of cis people, of straight people, of people who experience sexual attraction. They’re not necessarily the people I have in mind to write for, but they’re the majority of the people out there who pick up books and, therefore, who will read my work.

    don’t trust them.

    I’ve handed a group of cis writers a piece of writing with a trans woman as the main character and the point of view. The scene was about getting information out of a trickster god, but yes, her gender played a part in the scene; tricksters prey on insecurities and that was a big one. But mostly the scene was about information, and cooperation, and how this god-human relationship was going to work.

    I gave it to four fantasy writers. One of them asked me what the hell I was doing writing a trans lead in a high fantasy piece, because apparently the issue of people like me living our lives is outside the scope of epic fantasy. One of them needed transgender defined for her before she “got” it, but then she was willing to talk about the argument, so that was all right. One of them just fucking referred to the main character with male pronouns the entire time she was talking about her, and I had to go hit something for a little while before I could respond. No, I haven’t really talked to her since.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I gave the scene to them cold, and only one of them [the one whose reaction I haven’t mentioned, because she treated the character the way she’d treat any other one I wrote] knew I was trans myself. Still, the reaction was good at feeding my insecurities that I’m never gonna get to read the type of story I write.

    The larger story is YA fantasy, because that’s what I write, so in some ways this was a pretty good indication of my audience. The first critiquer I just intend to prove wrong, and I think the second person’s issue with the scene could have been fixed with a little more context, but the third one just reminded me that there are assholes in my genre and I will never be able to combat that the way I want to. They’re around, they’re not uncommon, and they will continue to say asshole things about what I write and make getting my stuff out there that little bit harder.

    But I did teach someone on my writer’s forum what trans meant by giving her a piece of a story, and that scares me a little, because it’s a responsibility I know I’ve got but don’t really want to have. Because I’m writing about individuals being people, not trying to be educational.

    And then I need to ask myself what it means to trust these people, these members of my audience. And then I need to trust them as far as I can, say “fuck it,” and continue to just write for the people who need to hear it and hope the cis/straight folks who got this far are empathetic enough to keep up.

    And yeah, there are scenes I freeze on, because I need to figure out how to do that.

  7. So I didn’t watch tonight’s episode of House, because I’m not a fan of House.

    So I was really expecting them to screw it up, if only because House has a history of horrible handling of intersex people [I can think of one example and there might be more, and while yeah, sure, House degendering someone would be par for the course I still wanted to bloody shout at the writers] and I didn’t expect them to handle sexuality any better. I mean, when it comes to television I have a tendency to expect to be pissed off and be happy to be proven wrong, but you know, that last bit didn’t happen.

    But what really frustrates me is that I saw a couple of positive comments early in the episode, before the explosion hit.

    This is what we get when people do fucking research. Thanks a lot.

  8. I keep feeling like I should put together a list of New Year’s Resolutions.

    But most of what I want to get done this year isn’t entirely dependent on me, and I don’t want to make resolutions about things that aren’t entirely dependent on me, you know? Because if luck has to be on my side, I don’t think it ought to be a New Year’s Resolution. Or something like that.

    So, my list, a little late on the 11th of January:

    1. Start finishing writing projects again. I’m in a better place emotionally, I ought to be capable of something.

    2. Edit Judas Remaining. It’s a finished manuscript, and it’s been sitting on my hard drive for two bloody years waiting for me to get into the headspace where I could do a complete overhaul. Maybe look into NaNoEdMo for it.

    3. Query for something, even if I still don’t think I’m good enough for publication. If I can do 1 & 2, I ought to be able to do this one.

    4. [Tentatively] Get my ass out of the closet once and for all. This is something I really want to do, but it’s not a laid in stone resolution, because it’s partially dependent on other parts of my life being more stable than they are right now. But it’s still on the list because I really, really want it done.

  9. Thoughts to the effect of “I want more fantasy with characters like me”

    I’ve been thinking about writing a lot. I know this is nothing new, but lately I’ve been so overwhelmed that for most of November I was producing because I knew I would hate myself if I didn’t have something to show at the end of the day, which is necessary for me sometimes but not good for my work as a whole [no, it was not one of my better NaNos]. And I haven’t really written much since the 30th, both because I’ve had other time commitments and because I’ve needed to back off in the evenings and remember why I write what I write in the first place.

    Even when I’m frustrated and crying and wondering god why did I think I was a good enough writer for this in the first place? Which is a depressingly frequent mood, even though I know the answer is ”I’m probably not a good enough writer, but no one else is writing it.”

    Because here’s the thing — I am uncomfortable when I talk about what I’m writing or let what I’ve written out to a wider audience and someone gets excited because I’m writing about trans* or ace characters arguing with gods or fighting dragons or going off to do great deeds and become a knight. I never know how to respond.

    I write what I write because my inner 14-year-old still needs to be told that people like me are just as capable of kicking ass and being heroes as the next people. I write out of an incredibly self-possessed need to fill the hole I didn’t have when I was a kid, to give the kids that come after me the stories I didn’t have, because I’m still in the process of unlearning the message that I don’t matter because I’m invisible and there will never ever be stories about me, and it hurts like hell to think that the people coming after me are still internalizing that message. I don’t write it out of anger, I write it out of the purely selfish desire to see stories about people like me on the shelf of a bookstore somewhere.

    And I loathe that it’s a big deal. I hate that wanting to have stories that are mine is seen as laudable, because I am essentially jumping up and down in the metaphorical aisle of YA Fantasy yelling “What about me? Where are the heroes whose baggage matches mine? Why does the epic have no Kit-shaped part in it? Fuck you, I am building my own playground. Right here, and I hope you trip over it.”

    Well, maybe not the “I hope you trip over it” part. Mostly.

    Occasionally I will be told by someone who writes mainstream YA that they don’t do fantasy because they want to show kids that there are heroes in the real world. And that’s great, and I wish them luck with that. It’s important. But I want to be part of the mythology. And I don’t want to be remembered for writing “*insert appropriate alphabet soup* fantasy.” I just want the next kid like me to have the stories I didn’t have.

    I really don’t know what the point of this post is. Except that I hate how little fiction out there lets the characters define their stories rather than having their gender/sexuality do it for them.

About me

I'm another genderqueer asexual trans guy who lurks on tumblr often enough to get one. You'll see a lot about writing, some about sexuality and gender, and a lot about the publishing industry here, with occasional asides into fandom, mythology, and whatever else happens to strike my fancy. Tamora Pierce's work and the Arthurian Legends are probably my two biggest fandoms just now.

I'm kind of shy and it may take me a little while to answer/warm up to you, but I really do encourage any questions/errant thoughts/call outs you may want to put in my ask. I try to keep this a relatively safe space, so if you need any trigger warnings, let me know.

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