teantv: Hi, i'm thankful that i found your Tumblr. i'm currently thinking of writing a novel. my question is, how do you write about characters that you don't/can't relate to? i mean, how can a boy write a novel about a girl, or a straight person write about a homosexual person? especially if this difference between the writer and the character is a big part of the novel. Thanks, YOU ROCK!
I might further expand on this question later because this is a good one and the answer is super in-depth. Right now I’ll try to cover some basic points.
Writing is all about putting yourself in other people’s shoes. You have to think of your characters in terms of what type of person they are instead of their gender, sexuality, race, etc. These things will factor in the journey of your character, but it’s not impossible to write about something you don’t know. In fact, I would encourage it.
In terms of gender, male and female characters aren’t written that differently. Both genders need motivation, they need goals, and they need strengths and weaknesses. These things really have nothing to do with gender. As a boy, you can write a girl character and there’s no excuse not to. Just make them human and make them want something. Develop their personalities the way you would any other character.
Here’s something I wrote that might explain what I mean: Why “Not Knowing” is No Longer an Excuse
The most important thing you can do as a writer is learn how to research. There are SO MANY references and people you can learn from on the internet, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t utilize them. ALWAYS research something you don’t know and make sure it’s from a legitimate source. This will help you avoid generalizations and stereotypes. Writing groups are also super helpful if you’re stuck.
Also, there’s no reason why you can’t relate to a character you’ve built. There’s always something you can understand and sympathize with in every person. We all have some ideas of love, family, and friendship, so saying that you can relate to a character on a basic human level isn’t true. You also have to figure out a way to make your characters relatable, so you need to be able to relate to them first.
There’s so much more to say, but I hope this helps!
The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth."
Step 1: Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names. With one stroke you’ve created some colorful unstereotypical female characters that might turn out to be even more interesting now that they’ve had a gender switch. What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman? What if the taxi driver or the scheming politician is a woman? What if both police officers that arrive on the scene are women — and it’s not a big deal?
Step 2: When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.
And there you have it. You have just quickly and easily boosted the female presence in your project without changing a line of dialogue."