Anonymous asked you:

i’m sorry if you answered a question like this before, but i couldn’t really find anything, so i apologize. i’m writing a scene where one character beats up another character in front of a large group of people, and the one getting attacked can’t fight back (which is part of the plot but it’s long and detailed so i won’t go into that). she had no idea about this plan to attack her beforehand, and i’m not really sure how i should write her humiliation or how she deals with the pain.

Firstly, in order to most effectively and honestly portray a character, you’ve gotta climb deep into that character’s brain. Take their psychological makeup and spread it out in front of you. If you’re a visual person, create a chart.

Let’s take the feeling of “humiliation”. What led to this humiliation? Any or all of these things might be it:

  • Being forced into a compromising position.
  • Weaknesses (both physical and mental) shoved under public display and dissection.
  • Being treated like a “lower” or “lesser” human being.
  • Physical trauma generating a sense of fear.

Secondly, find out what the feeling of humiliation causes your character to do. Really dig deep, find out what’s realistic for this particular character. Here’s a list of examples:

  • Anger sets in and causes violent reactions or thoughts.
  • Depression turns character completely numb or off to everyone around.
  • Anxiety causes fear of others, surroundings, or even what might happen the next day.

When expressing these emotions, think in terms of showing, not telling. “Tendons swelled in my arms, and veins bulged between my knuckles as my fists shook,” versus, “I was angry and I thought of punching something.”

Of course, “telling” does have its appropriate times when used effectively. The two example sentences might even form a greater combination than they would singly if phrased like this: “Tendons swelled in my arms, and veins bulged between my knuckles as my fists shook. I wanted to punch something. Anything. I didn’t care what.”

Inner reflection is a good thing, as it conveys some things (like character voice) that simply showing through actions can’t. Just make sure to practice finding the right balance.

Thirdly, figure out how these emotions dictate their actions.

  • Anger: Thoughts of revenge or retaliation. Character might plan something to humiliate their abuser in turn. Character might try to get into better shape and become stronger so they’re never put in that position again, and/or character might gather up materials to do something dangerous.
  • Depression: Character pushes others away from helping, shuts door, cries out of thoughts of hopelessness. Character tries to find outlets to escape depression, anything from reading to drinking, or even more dangerous things. Can’t focus on daily chores or maintaining relationships.
  • Anxiety: Panic attacks cause character to lose control of breathing or go into shock. A constant sense of fear drives character to check locks all the time and keep curtains drawn on every window, maybe keep a weapon of some sort handy or 911 on speed dial. Too scared to leave home or sleep at night.

Depression, anxiety, and anger problems are always best researched so that the character is portrayed realistically and respectfully, but these are some basic examples of how the character might react. A character might even react in a combination of ways, perhaps even contrastingly. Contrast and inner conflict build a stronger dynamic.

Also, in terms of traumatizing events, make sure to check out shock, and when considering wounds/physical damage, research the heck out of that. (As an example, one type of physical trauma that I see portrayed inaccurately the most is concussions. Make sure to always get facts straight on wounds.)

Think not only in terms of instant after effects, but also long-term effects. Reveal these things physiologically, through inner reflection, and also through action. Each of these things adds depth and conveys a sense of humanness that characters should portray.

Remember that characters aren’t cardboard cut-outs, but reflections of real, complex people. If you keep this in mind and focus on bringing this human element forward, a lot of things should fall into place on their own. Or, you can try checking when characters aren’t standing out.

Good luck!

Source: keyboardsmashwriters

Normally I would advise you to do your own research, but this topic struck my fancy, so I’ve compiled some interesting resources for you. I would, however, like to stress that these links are a starting point for you, not the endpoint of your hunt for information. If you want to know about twins, I think it’s probably best to talk to twins. Hopefully, we will be able to provide you with some volunteers. 

At the bottom of the post, I will compile any further resources, including fellow writers who volunteer to answer questions for you about twins. 

So, without any further ado…

Twinspeak, also known as cryptophasia, is a type of idioglossia, or a language spoken only by one or a few people. Here’s a bit more about twinspeak.

Here are a few general but interesting article on twins.

And here are a few IAMA Reddits for twins.

If you are a twin and you would like to be a resource for tangosvu, please respond to this post and I will add you to the list.

Thank you!


Anonymous asked: I wanted to write about a (somewhat minor) character that was suffering from insomnia. I have an idea of what it’s like but I’m not entirely sure. Can you help?

Check out this IAMA Insomniac from Reddit. Also:

These resources should supplement or kickstart your research, not be the sum of it. If you hope to portray diagnosed insomnia accurately, you will need to seek advice from a health care professional and/or expert in the field of sleep disorders. It might also help to talk to a person with insomnia to gain their perspective.

A few fellow writers with insomnia may volunteer to be a resource for you. If they do, we’ll list their urls here.

Thank you for your question!


thedopedork asked: "How does one go about writing about trans characters? As a writer, I want to write about people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders so all my readers feel represented in some way. But I am not a trans person nor have I ever met a trans person. My first thought would be to write them like any other character, but I don't want to ignore what makes them trans because I'm scared that them being trans will come off as a gimmick to some readers. Help? Please?"


Ah, okay. I’m going to start this by saying that I am not an authority or an expert. I’m still learning myself (and I AM a trans person). And like, I can’t say “this is the right way” because every trans person is an individual, just like every cis person is. But the biggest thing, I think, is empathy. And, at the risk of sounding cheesy, love.

If you don’t want to read my whole blathering, here’s a really good resource on "Writing the Other."

Meeting some trans people would be a help. Like a big one. The biggest one. Listening to them/us. Researching, yeah, but with things like gender and identity you can’t just rely on textbooks or academics (most of which are pretty fucked up in getting facts right anyway). Talk to a bunch. Keep quiet and listen. Don’t speak over. Read their blogs, there are tons and tons on tumblr alone. Have a healthy sense of empathy, openness, and desire to understand. 

(Seriously, with the interwebs, there’s a wealth of instant information. If you can access Google, you don’t really have an excuse for not learning.)

Your first step here is going to be researching. All of the above. Doing it with openness and love, listening, and acknowledging that you are going to make mistakes, and that you will learn from them.

And if you’re lucky enough to have a trans person in your life awesome enough to look over what you’ve written, do that. (Lucky me, a bunch of my dearest lovelies are trans as well, and they’ve helped me immeasurably.) But this is not their responsibility to teach. It’s your responsibility to learn. If they offer help, accept it gratefully, but if they don’t want to or feel comfortable, do not push it. 

As I said before, I’m not an authority, nor am I immune from messing up. I am a female-assigned-at-birth nonbinary person, and as such I have a passing and basic existence privilege in the trans world that defies description, it’s ridiculous. Because of that, I’m not going to be able to understand someone male-assigned’s experience. If I want to write a character like me (and I will), a female-assigned enby (nonbinary personthing), I’ve got a pretty good idea! But a trans woman’s experience will be extremely different from mine, and she will wade through so much more crap than I can ever imagine. So when I write a trans lady character (as there is one in CM), the best I can do is present her as respectfully as I can, and hope I can write her as the amazing woman she is. 

And when I fuck up - yeah, let’s be honest, when I fuck up, because everybody fucks up sometimes, the sheer amount of cissexist bullshit we’ve been ingrained with is mindboggling and unless you actively try to unlearn this crap, you will keep thinking in the same godawful, hurtful way you’ve been taught. When I fuck up, if I am called out on it (as I expect I will and should be), I will listen. And do better next time. And you do the same. 

You’ll mess up. It’s kind of unavoidable. When you do, listen with an open mind and heart, and pick love. When you interact with trans bloggers or friends you make, pick love, and listen to them. 

Write all your characters with love. If they’re trans or another marginalized group, maybe give them some extra love they don’t get in real life. 

This was an almighty ramble, I’m sorry. It’s something I think a lot about, and this was the first time I’ve actually laid it out in words. I hope it helped at all.

(And as always, followers, if I’ve said something gross or off-point, let me know and I will fix that crap so fast.)

Source: thesylverlining


I’ve finally built up a nice series of essays on writing asexuality and asexual characters in fiction. Here they are, all together in one place. They’re intended to be useful for asexual and non-asexual writers alike. They are also meant to be inclusive of gray-asexual and demisexual characters, although my knowledge is limited there.

These essays assume you already have a basic knowledge of what asexuality means: a general lack of sexual attraction to other people. This is not Asexuality 101; for that, check out the links on my resources page.

Other potentially relevant topics

This post may be updated in the future as I write more stuff on this subject; I’ll link to it from my blog’s homepage so it’s easy to find.

We might be able to help you out with this! 

As always, our lovely psychology resource Quel has a few posts that might be of use:

Here are a few more great resources from around the web:

And here are two Tumblrs of people with Asperger’s who also blog about it:

It’s always good to talk to actual people when it comes to getting autism spectrum disorders right. I recommend that you do lots of research, come up with some solid interview questions, and sit down for a chat with someone who actually has Asperger’s. 

Even so, you might not get the character perfectly right on the first go. You’ll need to edit your work and revisit your character development to ensure that you’re doing your character justice, both in general and with respect to this syndrome. After all, writing the other is a learning process. You might think about getting a peer review of your story from a person with ASD, Asperger’s specifically, to get first-hand feedback on how you could improve. 

Remember that there are real people with this real syndrome that you’re representing through your work. Make sure your writing is thoughtful and presents your character honestly without pity, condescension, or idealism.

Also keep in mind that everyone with Asperger’s is different. All the research in the world might give you an idea of what a cardboard cutout of a person with Asperger’s is like, but it is important to know that people are not their disorders or syndromes. People are individuals, like you, not stereotypes. 

I’m sure we’re missing out on a few great resources in the list above. If anyone would like to suggest a resource for this post, please submit it here.

And if you have been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and you’d be interested in becoming a resource for writers, please reply to this post. We would like to add your url to this post so that writers may contact you directly with their questions. Thank you!

Below is a list of people who have been diagnosed with BPD and who have volunteered as resources for writers. Please be respectful.

(Hopefully more will come forward in the fullness of time.)

Thank you for your question, anon!




Anonymous asked: Hello! I’m roleplaying a character who has Borderline Personality Disorder because of mental (and somewhat physical) abuse from his father in his childhood. I’ve done a bunch of research about BPD, but it doesn’t seem to be clicking on how to write it correctly. Any tips? Thanks!

Read More

This is actually a very offensive and ignorant, and downright albeist. All of the “symptoms” listed are exaggerated and over the top, theres more to the illness than just being an apparent horrible person that no one should be around.

This is a very nasty stereotype, just as bad as saying all people suffering with schizophrenia are serial killers.

I hope no one actually used this to write a person suffering with BPD. It’s also a little disconcerting that all the sources are essentially word-of-mouth from other tumblr users. Look it up on the NHS website, even wikipedia uses correct sources and isn’t completely biased and judgmental.

We’ve gotten a lot of feedback stating concern as well, which I’ll add here:

I think it’s worth comparing Quel’s post with Wikipedia and the NHS. You can read Quel’s post under the Read More above, and I have taken a little blurb from Wikipedia and the NHS website for comparison, which you can find below.

From the Wikipedia article on Borderline Personality Disorder:

Other symptoms may include intense fears of abandonment and intense anger and irritability, the reason for which others have difficulty understanding.[1][2] People with BPD often engage in idealization and devaluation of others, alternating between high positive regard and great disappointment.[3] Self-harm and suicidal behavior are common.[4]

From the article on Borderline Personality Disorder:

BPD can be a serious condition and many people with the condition self-harm and attempt suicide. It is estimated that 60-70% of people with BPD will attempt suicide at some point in their life.

However, for many with BPD, the outlook is reasonably good over time, and psychological or medical treatment may help.

Not to be contrary, but I feel that what Quel had to say about BPD is, while a bit abrupt, totally in line with the sources you mentioned. I don’t think she meant for her post to be anyone’s sole resource when learning about BPD, though perhaps we should have outright stated that on the original post. I appreciate your pointing that out.

I encourage anyone learning about a mental disorder to do lots of research using several sources at least, and to find someone with that mental disorder to interview. You can read more on what I (C) think about writing characters with mental disorders here.

As suggested, I am more than happy to add a few sources outside of Tumblr to this post, so let’s list those now:

If anyone would like to suggest a resource for this post, please submit it here.

Below is a list of people who have been diagnosed with BPD and who have volunteered as resources for writers. Please be respectful.

(Hopefully more will come forward in the fullness of time.)

If you have been diagnosed with BPD and would be interested in becoming a resource for writers, please reply to this post. We would like to add your url to this post so that writers may contact you directly with their questions. Thank you!

Thank you for your input, everyone, and I hope we will be better able to serve the needs of our fellow writers in the future. 

EDIT: Quel took another look at her previous post on BPD and decided it could be improved upon. We have replaced the original content with her updates. Thank you to Quel for her help!


Source: writeworld



Nobody likes a perfect character. Someone who is super good at everything and gets everything right is annoying. 

Even the most suave secret agents of indestructible superheroes need to make mistakes in order to make the story interesting.  

There are two parts to using wrongness in a story. There’s the actual mistake (which sometimes isn’t known to be a mistake at the time), and there’s the consequences of the mistake, usually forcing the character to deal with powerful feeling of guilt or regret.

Read More

Source: mooderino


I asked some of my favorite YA authors why diversity is important, and here are their answers.


Worth checking out!

Updated link! 

Source: thewritershelpers