Tag Archives: writing

What am I willing to share?

1 Jun

A year or two ago, I got into a kick of reading primarily young adult literature over that written for adults. It’s not that I think one is better than the other, but YA lit has the tendency to do a lot more identity-exploring than adult lit, and I find that interesting.

I’m currently crawling through the beginning of writing a book I want to try to get published. This is something I have wanted to do since I was about three years old, so it’s a long time coming. It’s YA, and because I want to write in YA and I like reading there, I’ve started following a fair number of YA-focused blogs. A little for advice, but mostly for book reviews.

(Obligatory recs: Check out YA Highway for general news, reviews, and advice. Intergalactic Academy is awesome for sci-fi reviews. Seriously. Go read it now. Although their light-text-on-dark-background layout may make it easier to read in a feed like Google Reader.)

One of the blogs I follow is Malinda Lo’s, and she just wrote about YA Pride Month. Basically, taking the US’s general Pride Month of June and focusing on it through a lens of YA lit. The part I found most interesting in her post (and that makes it worth mentioning on this blog) is a footnote about how Lo will be interviewing authors writing YA novels with LGBT main characters. The book I am working on now has queer main characters so it caught my eye.

I decided that in my YA Pride series I wanted to mostly invite writers who identify as LGBT to be interviewed or guest post for my site. While I don’t believe one needs to identify as LGBT in order to write about LGBT people, I also feel that there is value in supporting LGBT writers. In the interests of full disclosure, I have had trouble finding transgender-identified YA writers to participate in this series, simply because there are so few of them. I haven’t finished my search for contributors yet, and I may still be able to find a trans YA writer to participate, but if I don’t, the reason is not because I didn’t attempt to find one; it’s because we need more of them.

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Looking into 2012

30 Dec

The theme for this month’s blog carnival is unfulfilled desires as relating to asexuality, the ace community, etc. Because WordPress doesn’t allow you to put just part of a post behind a read-more cut, and some of this needs to be cut, I’ll talk about community first and myself second.

Community

In 2012 I’d like to see the ace communities I’m involved in be able to spend more time talking to each other, and to people interested in real discourse, and less time fending off attacks.

It makes me anxious to even start thinking of all we’ve been through this year, especially the aces, graces, and demis I know on Tumblr. I realize this isn’t really under our control, since there’s nothing we can do about people who just want to argue and rile us up, or the kind of people who don’t want to have conversations and prefer shouting matches — the kind of people who don’t respect us and refuse to try.

But I do wish for us that we can have a year where we get to have good conversations and nobody has to worry about being deliberately triggered or told horrible things about themselves.

I’d also like to see some more creative writing — original or fanfic — come up around the ace spectrum, because I like reading and being able to relate to or see commonalities in what I’m reading. I did write a fanfic prominently featuring asexuality this year, which was well-received by my small fandom, but not wanting to cross my online names I didn’t really promote it … at all.

Not that I need more projects, but it might be interesting to organize an ace fic fest since the one people had been talking about earlier never came to fruition. If I had the time and enough people were interested, I wouldn’t mind doing that.

Or possibly compiling an anthology of original fic, but I have no idea how I’d distribute it. Maybe a free e-book — but everyone contributing would have to be okay with that format, obviously.

Myself

I started this blog because I wanted to be more connected to the community. Because I felt alone, and I was too shy to be commenting on people’s blogs and I wasn’t involved with Tumblr at all, without having some kind of space to do my own writing.

Having this blog has helped me form some connections in the ace community that I never would’ve had otherwise, has introduced me to new contacts, and has shown me that I can actually make some physical transitions to get my body more aligned with my gender.

But you may have noticed I haven’t been updating as much recently.

Trigger Warning for depression and anxiety under the cut.

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Writing porn while asexual

9 Sep

One of the things about being in a small fandom where there’s often opportunities to say “prompt me” is that I get a fair amount of prompts, which my guilt superpower then makes me feel compelled to write.

Note: this post discusses writing porn, although in general terms instead of anatomical ones. But because people scrolling through this blog are more likely to be repulsed than in other areas of the Internet, I’m putting the rest of it under a cut.

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Writing Experience

10 Jul

(This is a follow-up to Importance to the Plot, in which I meanderingly decided that in my own personal writing, representing asexuality explicitly, and making it important to a story, was necessary in my writing of asexual representation.)

Creative writing is a big thing for me. And I’ve written a lot of queer characters, mainly by virtue of re-entering fandom in college after a brief dip into The Pit in middle school. I could write a long tract about how important fandom has been in my life, but that’s maybe for another time. Suffice it to say, my second fandom put me in a very accepting, and vocal, space for the first time in my life.

The fandom I frequented The Pit for has approximately three human(-ish) characters, and the predominant ship is a man and a woman. The other ship requires adding about seventeen years to the end of canon to make possible — but is two men, if you were curious. But the first ship is definitely dominant in the fanfic, or it was last time I was there.

By comparison, my new fandom has about 90 percent queer ships. I don’t know the exact numbers, but a good portion of the active community members are also LGBTQA+. Mostly due to this community, which has helped me develop my writing skills like my college creative writing class never could have, I’ve written way more queer characters than characters who are straight and cis.

I’ve probably posted maybe 200 stories of various lengths in various locations. Of unposted work, I’ve got 70+ more I’ve written for individual people, as well as too much chatfic to begin to quantify. But despite there being asexual people in my fandom, and other people who have expressed interest in asexual characters, I haven’t actually sat down and written a lot of ace fic, let alone posted any significant amount of what I have written.

Of my posted work in the past three years, I’ve written three pieces with an asexual character: two fanfic and one original. Oh, and one piece where a character was ace but I never stated it. Some of the chatfic has ace characters, but it’s definitely a minority of it.

Given the welcoming environment, the presence of other ace people, and other ace fic in the fandom, why haven’t I written more ace characters? Why haven’t I explored that more? I can think of one person who might say something ignorant, but that particular person says ignorant things all the time so it’s kind of, “Oh, bless your heart” at this point. (“Bless your heart,” for the unfamiliar, can be an insult.) It’s definitely not fear of the people in my fandom who are stopping me. And there’s nothing stopping me in the random original projects I have going on.

I think the biggest thing is that I don’t know what to write about. I mean, I have now spent a decent amount of time in ace circles, I know a bit about demi and grey orientations too, I’m not completely ignorant. And there’s being ace. But I just don’t know what to write about. I could make an asexual character, but I have no idea how to make their asexuality important to the story — I would really hate to always fall back on a romantic relationship being the only way to incorporate asexuality, because my sexuality has been important to me outside of my romantic relationship.

The times I have written asexual characters, almost always their asexuality hasn’t been a major component of the story (in one story, it was nearly the impetus of the plot, but it was written from a prompt).

I can use a romance to demonstrate someone being gay, or throw in references to exes to indicate they’re bi or pan. I can do either to indicate someone’s polyamorous. It doesn’t work that way for an invisible orientation. Not only do very few people know about us, but you can’t easily demonstrate a lack of sexual attraction. Putting asexuality into a story requires breaking the “show, don’t tell” rule — a rule I know most people are sick of hearing, but is something that usually makes for a much better story.

The thing about telling is that it works a lot better from a first-person perspective, and though I’m mixed in writing first-person and third-person in original stuff, my fanfic is predominately third-person. A first-person narrator, at least to me, can introspect with better results than when a third-person narrator peers and pries.

You could make the character themself tell, by coming out to someone, or discussing their asexuality with someone they’ve come out to out-of-scene or before the narrative began. This is hard for me to do, because when I discuss my asexuality with people, it’s usually other asexuals, in a context where everyone is talking about asexuality. I don’t really feel the urge to come out that often, so it’s hard for me to tell when that becomes important, and where it could fit into a narrative.

What I need to do, I guess, is figure out the ways asexuality has been important to me besides my romantic relationship, and the blogging, and find how to incorporate that into the story. I guess it would be things like how I thought about the future, how advertising affected me…

Though I think the character’s asexuality would still have to be stated explicitly. It is possible to avoid writing a coming out scene if you really want to. But I feel like, unless you have a coming out scene or continually bring up the asexuality explicitly or near-explicitly, a lot of people are going to be inclined to ignore it. People are inclined to ignore it in other people even when they come out, which is why, when I sit around thinking about writing ace characters, one of my biggest questions is how to make asexuality a part of the story.

I suppose it’s easier to demonstrate to an audience that a character is asexual than it is to demonstrate you’re asexual in real life. Even with third-person narrators, you can peek into a character’s thoughts. Not so possible in real life, unless, as I’ve always feared, everybody’s developed telepathy without telling me.

Importance to the Plot

25 Jun

So I just went through to edit a post I’d planned to put up today about my (non-)experience writing asexual characters, when a thought occurred to me that completely threw my thesis into question. Don’t you love it when that happens?

A brief summary of the other post is that in it, I’m talking about how I haven’t written many ace characters, and how the biggest barrier for me is that I don’t know how to introduce their asexuality and make it important to a story. Built on the assumption that asexuality has to be important to the story.

During editing, I started wondering why that bothered me so much in the first place. And I felt like I had to explore that in order to make my other post workable. Does asexuality have to be important to the story? Wouldn’t it be nice to just have an asexual character who got to be in the story without making their asexuality an issue?

The answer to both those questions, I think, is yes.

A note before this post rolls onwards: this is all personal. Despite sometimes using the second person in this post, I’m not saying every writer would have to write this way, or should want to write this way, or (every reader, as well) feels this way about representation. This is how I feel about my own writing, as I set out to try to increase the amount of asexual continuum characters I write (because it’s basically 1% of my character set). I literally have a specific story in mind as I write this post. And I’m pretty sure that I could find some stories I’ve read that break all the conclusions I come to that I still love.

Anyway, onwards.

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To-do list

5 Apr

I turned in a very large paper Sunday, which is the reason I didn’t update last week.

Since I’m trying to keep to a vague schedule of once or more a week, I felt obligated to make a note of the hiccup. I thought I’d give a glimpse at what I have planned to try writing about in the nebulous future, although random posts will spring to mind in between, especially since some of these are kind of huge-ish (I feel like being an English major somehow caused me to give myself permission to use words like “huge-ish”) ideas. In no particular order:

– Girlfriend (newly registered at Hermeneutism) has offered to write a post with me sharing both our perspectives about navigating an ace/sexual relationship. Actually, if you have any questions in particular you’d like answered, you can leave a comment here and we’ll see if we have an answer.

– A “coming out” post for Sciatrix’s blog carnival on the subject

– Another few “ace childhood” posts

– Some “neutrois childhood” posts

– An attempt to define romantic attraction, at least in the context of myself

– Some kind of overview of books from my queer YA lit project, if not individual reviews (partly because I don’t have most of the books anymore and wouldn’t be able to quote from them)

Writing as deliberation

23 Mar

Providing a shared context for constructing meaning, documents are the beginning rather than the end of the process of negotiation. Understanding this, Huizinga was particularly critical of the teaching of writing in the States. Writing, he worried, was presented to students as the outcome of deliberation. Whereas, Huizinga maintained, it was really just another part of the deliberative process.

– page 10, The Social Life of Documents, J.S. Brown and P. Duguid. Emphasis mine.

Writing is definitely how I work out the majority of my thoughts (that and lying awake for hours at night). I write. I write the same post over and over again, until I discard it or edit a 5-page document down to 5 paragraphs.

Sometimes the entire thing is the conclusion I reached from spending hours on it, sometimes I start off with my original quandary at the beginning and meander through my thought process to my conclusion. Sometimes I just have to spit things out and go back to them later to figure out what they were. Sometimes I’m soliciting opinions on my problems, and sometimes I’m just trying to update people on how I’m doing.

This works fairly well for me. For various reasons I’m very uncomfortable discussing deep emotional issues with people in person — it’s much easier for me to write them out behind the barrier of a computer screen. Even if I never post my thoughts, I’m still more content after I write, because the process has gotten me to an endpoint or at least a midpoint: less confused, more settled.

While attempting to contribute to public conversation, though, this works against me. I get convinced that I have to keep editing, because I’m convinced only a perfect product is worthy of a post. I’m never satisfied, and a post never goes up, or a comment takes days to write, or a comment never goes up at all.

In formats like WordPress, there aren’t centralized forums where individuals can get to know other individuals. That’s the format I’m used to. In the blogosphere, off of places like Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, it’s not nearly as easy to figure out how to get to know people. It also takes longer to establish yourself: people who read your blog aren’t coming there from a position of having known you for six months in community X.

I am trying to get better. Trying to leave more comments, trying to at least save blog post ideas even if I’m convinced there is no way I will ever get them ready for publication. Because I know in the asexual blog world (and I guess the neutrois blog world too), there just aren’t that many people, and I can’t let my anxieties eat my words. I started this blog because I felt obligated to contribute to asexual media. I can’t do that if I’m too afraid to let my writing show that it’s a “deliberative process” — if I’m trying to show it only “as the outcome of deliberation”.

Promise I’ll try to at least fix the typos, though.