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I Suck At Drawing And I'm About To Lose A Few Friends

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by DragonOfTheAerie, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. This thread is about a new story idea I have rolling around in my head. That title is about two of my largest insecurities about it. It's kind of a ramble about my thoughts on this subject and you can respond to any of it or all of it in whichever way you please. Moderators, I really hope this discussion is all right with y'all because it does bring up some controversial issues I've been struggling with how to handle in my writer life. I don't intend to cause conflict. But i really have no one to discuss this with and I hope to exchange and commiserate civilly.

    After my Novel In Verse idea, i'm going to be doing something that's even dumber/riskier/harder/that i'm even more unqualified for: a graphic novel.

    I mean...I'm not what you would call a talented artist. My drawings suck. i don't have the knack for it, i just don't. But the problem is, I have this idea that won't leave me alone and i can't see it working through any other medium. And am I going to just let an idea rot because I don't feel qualified to execute it?

    Of course not.

    So, here I am, practicing my drawings, filling up notebook after notebook and I AM getting better and this is a little encouraging but I'm not sure if I ever will be what you would call 'good enough'. I can now draw humans that are human-looking. But backgrounds? Inanimate objects of any kind? um. Getting to be a good artist will be a long painful road. I'm trying, but sometimes I feel like I'm getting nowhere. It's no good quitting. I have to get this story out somehow. Wrench it onto paper SOMEHOW. And if that means years of practicing drawing daily, so be it.

    Drawing has become a great artistic outlet for me, too, which is something i seriously need, mentally. So there is that. i enjoy it.

    I have another problem, which connects to a larger question, which connects to...a lot of things. This was the reason I wanted to make this thread, I had so many thoughts about it, but those thoughts are really disorganized and could go any direction, so that's why this is in Chit Chat.

    So, one of my characters is gay. That's the way he is, I can't/won't change him and it's an important part of his story. On its own, that isn't really a big deal. I have a gay character. So?

    Backstory time!

    I'm homeschooled in a super conservative community. Most of my friends are part of, and a direct product of, that community. Now, I don't hate or blame them for their opinions on anything, but the fact remains that most of them would be extremely not cool with me writing a character who is gay. I've been told that it would be the equivalent of writing a character who is a rapist. Another friend was like, "Well, you have to make it clear that it's wrong" or something and I thought, how? Have them get 'cured'? Have them die of AIDS at the end? it made me a little angry. More than a little.

    So, basically i'm writing a story i totally could lose friends over.

    I mean, has anyone ever been in this situation? Writing a story that could seriously offend people you do love despite your differences in ideologies? I mean...i wouldn't LOSE anyone that mattered, i don't think...well. i...don't know how they would react. You see the kinds of responses I got when discussing it in purely hypothetical terms.

    Half of me is like "Just don't share the story with them," But half of me is like "Don't write him that way." And half (I'm no good with maths, don't judge) is like "it's not my job to write things to avoid offending people," And half of me is like "This could start some interesting discussions," And half of me is like "Why do I want to write a gay character? Is there a reason?" (I have a lot of halves...Maybe they overlap. They do.)

    You see... I'm just writing a real character as I see him without trying to force him to be this or that. But...many of my friends would definitely see this as "promoting" rather than "presenting." i want to say to them, no, im not 'promoting the gay lifestyle.' Whatever that means. I'm just saying, "Look. Some people are gay," Like my character. Nothing bad happens to him. I think he gets a boyfriend that is just as awesomely nerdy as he is. But I haven't figured out the whole story yet, so I don't know.

    This sparked lots of thoughts.

    I know what I want to write. I am not changing my strong, brilliant-minded, awesome-high-tech-prosthetic-arm-wearing, cancer-beating, abjectly-needle-fearing, very-high-functioning-autistic-but-still-can't-stand-socks, teenaged super hero who just so happens to be gay for anything in the world. i wondered, did I MAKE him gay or did it just happen that way? I don't know. It fit with who he was. I always blame my characters for who they are. Do you control who your characters are? I don't think it's wise to steer them away from who they are naturally. that's the ideology of the organic writer.

    i've also had it said to me, 'you don't have to reveal his sexuality in the story," Do I? Characters grow. They discover new things about themselves. They fall in love. I'm thinking, good luck keeping him away from that, hee hee. it's a part of him and a part of his story. It's going in there.

    Basically, I'm thinking about how do you share writing you know could wedge a big rift between you and your friends with your friends? Part of me thinks, as I said, "don't share it." But then I think, "I shouldn't have to insulate anyone, let alone people I love, from the things I create. These are my stories, my love letters to the universe, and if they can't handle it then they may as well get out of my life," Harsh, but it's a thought I have.

    i know I'll get asked, "Why'd you make him gay?" and i'll be like, "Did I?"

    Did I?

    To my friends who have moral objections to me writing a gay character, I want to ask, am I making a statement about morality or am I just presenting reality? Humanity? A character, a PERSON, with feelings that real people have?

    How much control do i have over my characters' identity? Any? Even if I do have control, should I use it?

    I love my character, but I'm a bit worried about what the fallout will be. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this? One of the people I'm worried about is one of my closest friends and I can't exactly (I'm struggling with the proper verb to use for creating a graphic novel, do you write it? Draw it) this thing and refuse to show it to her because I've already told her everything about it, omitting the fact of the character being gay...Does this fear I have mean this story is a bad idea, or that it's my best idea yet?

    i don't know if anyone will relate to this. Or if i will or won't get chastised by the moderators for this. I hope not. *posts it*
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    No chastisement here.

    I don't really understand what the big deal is, either. Every character has sexuality, even the ones where it is never expressed. If it happens to affect the plot, then sexual orientation becomes relevant precisely to the degree it affects the plot. If a character "just happens" to be gay, that's about as important as a character who "just happens" to be straight. If it's in the category of "just happens" then it isn't important.

    You're worried about how your friend will react. That's a tough one. Many writers have had to decide how to include content that their readers might find offensive, and surely one or two of those readers were friends or relatives. It's all very well to say, this is my art so get over it, but it's much harder than that. Because you like the person and they indeed may not get over it. In the end, you are going to have to evaluate both the art (your graphic novel) and the audience (your friend). But now we are firmly on personal relationship ground, so I'm going to retreat.

    I will say this much. Doing a graphic novel on your own is way more than twice as hard as writing a novel on your own. Best of luck!
  3. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    To me, as a storyteller, this is an awesome attitude to have. Leave no story untold, so to speak.

    As for you other issues. I wish I had some sage advice. I've never really had to deal with potentially losing friends like this.

    Usually, I've found friends drift in and out of my life. The ones that end up staying for whatever reason are the important ones. I've only had to consciously disconnect with one friend, a very close friend, who's family called me their adopted son. The reason was they changed, and another friend pointed out, that they were the type of person now that would throw me under the bus to save their own hide.

    I had to think deep and hard about what kind of company I wanted to keep. Like it or not, who you keep company with influences who you are as a person. So I made a choice on who I wanted in my life, and in a way, I made a choice on who I wanted to be as a person.

    I don't know what you should do with your friends, but leave no story unwritten, right. And write it the way it's meant to be written. Just as you can choose who your friends are, you can choose who you show your writing to, especially if it's going to make a great disturbance in your life.

    I say this with a bit of tongue in cheek. There's no reason why you can't create alternate endings/versions if people insist on reading the story. Could be good practice in pandering to the audience and meeting their expectations.

    Good luck to you.
  4. Russ

    Russ Istar

    Perhaps if you do this project your drawing will get better.

    I do have a different perspective on the losing some friends issue:

    Firstly you did (or are) creating the character. Characters come from our minds and don't really exist on their own. At some level, conscious or unconscious, you created this character in all of their aspects.

    I suggest to people that rather than simply disavow creation of the character in all of their aspects they accept responsibility for it, and embrace. The fact that you have created a gay character is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact I think if it is an interesting character you should be proud of it. You created them, take ownership and be proud of it.

    The second question of whether or not you should share this particular character with friends who might be upset by it is a more complicated one. You will make a choice of whether or not you want to share this work with certain other people. You are not "insulating them" from your work if you don't show it to them, you are deciding to share it with them. Ask yourself, why do I want to share it with them? That is a hard question and you really need to be honest with yourself about it.

    If the sexuality question is important to you, you are perfectly entitled to make it your case or a purity test on who will be your friends or who will not be your friends. Personally I have many friends who I don't share all of my thoughts and ideas with, or all of my work with, because I know it will hurt them and potentially cause problems. I think it is better to have a wide variety of people in my life rather than have such a purity test. I think I better understand people who are chauvinist, sexist, homophobic, etc because I know such people quite closely. I have friends who are strongly atheist that I don't regularly discuss my spirituality with for instance. They are great people, and I love having them in my life, we just differ on an important issue. I could think of many more examples where full and frank disclosure of ideas can do more harm than good. That is a valuation only you can make.

    I think you need to think long and hard about why you want to share this work with your friends before you do it. Do you think the work will entertain them? Do you think it will education them and change them in a positive way? Do you think it will simply offend or shock them and drive them away?
    TheKillerBs likes this.
  5. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    You have absolute control over your character's identity. The character doesn't exist on his own; it's all you.

    One way you can control said identity is in choosing how it is expressed and what level of influence it has over the story. I'm gay. When I first truly "came out" – late, in my late teens – I thought all my questions had been answered, there was "one" gay identity, and I was on my way! But as the years and then the decades passed, I realized there's no such thing. Every person is different and people express their own peculiar perspectives individually. So one person might be flamboyant, working some commentary about attractiveness etc. into every conversation (multiple times) and constantly discuss dates he's been on, but another might do no such thing, preferring to talk philosophy and books or business. One person might always hang out with gay friends, hang out in establishments like coffee shops that cater to the gay crowd, but another might have mostly straight friends. I feel this paragraph could go on for several pages simply because "identity" is so diverse, and I could keep listing examples of variation....But suffice to say, how gay individuals think of themselves and interact with their world may be very individual.

    The idea you have is neither horrible nor the best idea you've had yet; or at least you won't really know until you've written the story. I do not believe that a friend's potential negative reaction is enough to label the idea itself "bad." But then I might be the wrong person to address this issue because a) I'm gay and I personally have no inclination to deny that aspect in my writing in order to make others who have negative impressions of gays feel justified, and b) just in general I've always had a "take me or leave me" attitude toward my family and friends, and while this attitude has lost me some potential "friends" I've found that to be a good thing, considering who they were. Ultimately, though, it's your decision, and I do not believe any story is worth destroying a good friendship.
    Aryth and Russ like this.
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Stop, stop, stop, stop . . . .

    I judge.

    Look, in all of that, you didn't say if you have a problem with "promoting" or "presenting" homosexuality in a positive light. Do you? Because everything else is . . . y'know, school politics.

    I can't speak for anybody else. I'm a moderately conservative, traditional Catholic, and I made the decision to include a homosexual relationship (that, for story reasons, never gets realized) in a project that I really want to get around to writing. I decided that the hostility people feel towards homosexuality was a product of the sin involved, not a remedy, and that I didn't want to participate in that sin.

    But writing is personal. You get to write about whatever you want for whatever reason you want. Do it. Don't do it. Show it to people. Don't show it. That's all up to you.

    Start with what you want to write, and then figure out the audience questions.
  7. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    Write your story, draw your pictures, be proud of what you created. If it isn't totally awesome, it's okay. You can always spend more time on it or rework it, or change things you don't love.

    I drew in high school and quit for more than 15 years. Drawing is a great way to sort of meditate, and I stopped mostly because it was something I used to do alone, but I got married at 22 and never found a way to draw near my husband. I worried it would feel awkward if I secluded myself away to draw in a different room, and once I refused to draw around him, I never found the way to reintroduce it to my life.

    As far as writing characters who are diverse...only you can be the judge of how you see your characters and what kind of story you want to tell for them. I feel strongly that once I have a vision for a character, it's near impossible to change it. And sometimes a character I've been writing for ten chapters throws a wrench in the works by declaring somehow that there is a hidden side to them I hadn't thought about, and then I almost can't deny them their demand. I know that sounds like lunacy to people who plan meticulously, but I've had it happen, so I sympathize.

    And as for friends and family...another personal choice. I've been writing since 2001, and in 2016, I finally showed my mom a bit of a story. Fifteen years. I wrote for thirteen of those years in secret, not telling anyone except you folks here that I was a writer.

    We've had a lot of discussions about writing diversity and sensitivity and portrayals and gimmicks and all facets of the subject. The problem is that it's almost impossible to predict a problem. If you're a straight person writing a gay person, will people ask why? Who knows. Will people insist you wrote him that way as a gimmick or to somehow falsely break into a market? I don't know. No one can say. But all I can say is that agents are hungry for diversity. They're searching for stories that portray interesting characters who are relatable for a wide variety of people. And I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, merely a cautious one.

    I once asked a question about a character. He's a POC, gay, and a bit of a drunk. Now, I love this character. He's honorable, strong, protective, gruff, intelligent, tactical, doesn't play by the rules, and acts fatherly to the two young main characters in his care aboard his ship. I LOVE this character. But, I asked some questions about whether I should disclose his sexual orientation even though it doesn't play a major part of the plot. Does it do a disservice to gay persons if I DON'T mention it? Does it draw unnecessary attention to a trait that feels gimmicky if I do? Super tough decision.

    I learned that I wasn't sensitive enough about these issues to really understand WHY I'm not able to answer the questions. I guess. I don't know. See, to me, there was not only no BIG deal over writing this guy, there was no deal at all. He's gay, has dark skin (in a world that never had a colonization period, so everyone's a shade of brown and racial identities don't exist as they do in our world), and he's a hero to some people, and a criminal to others. I just wanted to write him as that, no delving into psychology, sexual identity, or the daily struggles of a POC or LGBT individual. I wanted to write a world that isn't like ours (in our world people feel marginalized because they don't fit into someone else real or perceived ideals).

    Anyways, if you will feel upset for someone saying you wrote this character gay because maybe you are gay, or maybe you are trying to pander to a market, or because you think being gay is okay in a world where it isn't, or that you obviously have no idea how hard the struggle is for a gay person in America, or any number of other comments you MIGHT hear, then keep the story to yourself for a while until you can be sure that those bogus and hurtful statements won't bother you.

    I decided last year that I don't care what people think of me or my "right" to write my character. I love him, have respect for how he's different than me, and I'm going to portray him as I see him, rather than walk on eggshells for the sake of internet trolls and oversensitive folks who fight the good fight for civil rights for marginalized populations. I guarantee you, the story I'm telling won't be intended to cause upset or point out any aspect of being human as "undesirable" because to me, that doesn't exist (no trait is undesirable to me personally, but prejudice and hate exist in our world). But, in opening up this conversation, I learned that I WAS in fact being insensitive. See, I don't think about being straight. Everything around me is already set up to make me NOT think about it. We see posters of men and women holding hands, we hear love songs where men sing of women they love and vice versa. It wasn't until a friend on the forum pointed it out to me that he sees those things and hears those things and they exist as a constant reminder that he doesn't fit that societal mold. And my eyes were open. For days after, I noticed every way that I would feel isolated if every ad and song were changed to two women or two men. It would remind me of my "difference" and that really sank in to my heart. I'm so glad someone took the time to explain that experience to me, so I could feel it.

    If your family or friends would not welcome a story about a gay character, don't share the story with them. Don't tell them about it, don't make a big deal of it, just let it be your thing, not like a secret, but honestly, I've been married 14 years, and my husband has never asked to read one of my books. I've read some of my short stories to my kids, and he's told me he liked them and thinks I'm a good writer, and he's been really encouraging me to publish and write more, but he's never said, "I don't think you should write a whore, it's disgusting," or "do you have to write sex into your books? It's making me insecure." I mean, if it's not one thing, it could very well be another (not just race or sexual orientations, that offends our family and friends). And I'll let you in on a secret--sometimes we begin stories with the best intentions, and then a reader misinterprets everything in such a way that your whole story seems to symbolize something you never imagined and it feels ludicrous and you wonder how they got THAT from your story...and it's okay. Someone will hate it. You will offend somehow. No matter what you write. Sorry. Even "Happytown Bears go on a Picnic"will offend someone because they will interpret one of the bears as something they're not, and then you still get called out for a portrayal you never even intended.

    Keep your heart safe and only show your work when you feel it's ready to do what you want it to do.
    Aryth likes this.
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    As for the graphic novel . . . .

    If you want to draw a graphic novel, the first step is learning to draw. You're much better off learning to draw for a lot of different projects than focusing on learning to draw this graphic novel. Treat it separately. Pick up a book on - ohh I don't know, how to draw characters from Legend of Korra, for example - and do your drawing practice without thinking about the graphic novel.
  9. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    If you friend isn't comfortable reading such a story, then why share it with her? The same way that you'd like your beliefs respected, she has a right to have hers respected, too. Land of the free?

    Write what you want. Share it with those who would be interested. If none of your friends are interested in such a story, then maybe put it on Wattpad so you can get it out into the world anyway.

    Over the course of your life as a writer, you will try many, many different ideas, most of which may not see the light of day. Not all of them have to. Don't stress over it. Just write. And respect your friend's beliefs/sentiments. Now, if you were gay and she said something like that, that would be a different story all together. This is a character in a book, not a real person. Your friend is a real person. I'll leave it at that.
    Russ likes this.
  10. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    @ Maiden, my husband finally asked to read one of my books, so I sent him a short story. That was ages ago and he still hasn't read it. *shrugs*

    See, Dragon? The last people who will take interest in your writing are likely to be the ones close to you. Learn that now. It'll save you future pain. Writers write for themselves first, then an audience. If you want to write to please your friends, then don't write at all. They are different than you and have different tastes. Share with them the stories that align with those tastes and don't force anything else on them OR end your friendship with them over moral/spiritual beliefs. Like Russ, I also have an atheist friend and we've discussed God and Jesus on numerous occasions. She doesn't dig it, but asks questions and I answer those questions with love and respect. Being that your friend is Christian, she will not see things the same way you do. That's ok. No reason to stop loving her.

    (sorry about the DP. I have issues with the reply button).
  11. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    @ Chessie...I love my husband and he's so supportive, but I'm okay with him not reading my stories. I mean...he's not a reader. So, if he loved reading fiction and didn't read mine, I'd maybe feel differently, but all my husband reads are Yahoo Sports articles and other related things. I don't think he'll ever be a convert.

    Yeah, it was really hard to share with my mom, too. It's foul language, with sex and drugs and lies...I thought for sure my mom was going to find a polite way to tell me she is too busy to keep reading. But she didn't! And I'm so glad.

    We often include elements that while not a big deal to us, will be seen as a big deal to other people. Being aware of what might be controversial is important. I also warn my friends who want to read my work, and honestly, if I don't think the person will like it, but just wants to see my writing, I send them short stories that are more light-hearted. I guess it's a good idea to have different kinds of stories. I wouldn't send the raw stuff to my more conservative friends. Maybe I'm being judgmental in a way. I think I'm guarding myself.
  12. So, you've unraveled the last dimension of complexity in this thing. Which I hesitated to include because it's confusing.

    I'm in a weird situation, but I'll do my best to explain where I am. I can honestly say I don't know what I "think" about homosexuality. I know what I'm *supposed* to think, which is...the same as my friends, pretty much. But. I began to question the whole idea of deciding what I "think" about every issue. Being straight myself, why would what I think affect my life unless I was going to go around judging and lecturing people whose experience I know nothing about on what I "think?" I got to the point in my own spiritual journey where I decided that I was no longer going to worry about being "right" about this or that because issues are ephemeral and was just going to love and support humanity because humanity is real, and wherever that took me...So that's where I am right now, the thoughts that underpin this.

    This is the clincher. I'm not trying to present this character in a "light" of any kind, positive or negative. I'm just trying to present him. He is.

    And, yeah. I'm wondering if that's even possible.

    When people say, "present X in a positive/negative light" what do they mean? Can you not just present something? Because I'm not exactly trying to "promote" anything by writing this character. Gay people do exist and that's my reasoning for having a character who is gay. This story I'm creating is, I think, mostly about being human and human experience (in terms of theme) and I think it fits to have a character wrestle with his sexuality. I don't know if I'm explaining it properly but if you saw what I'm seeing in my head it would make sense.

    My thoughts run thus: by writing a character who is gay, I don't think I'm "deciding" what I "think" about being gay in general. But my friends would. They would think I'm making a statement by including this character. Am I? I mean, I'm not going to create some kind of fantasy world where gay people are nonexistent (or ANY people are nonexistent) just to keep from making anyone uncomfortable. Or to keep from making myself uncomfortable. I have a brutally strong commitment to honesty about humanity.

    Can you write anything in a way that's neutral? That doesn't make a statement about something? For most of the people I know, I feel like the fact that this character eventually is content in his sexuality and that nothing bad happens to him seems definitely not neutral. I mean, my ending for him fits in reality but it's a reality lots of people dislike.

    Is it a good idea to? Is my desire to present this character without my story commenting on whether who he is is "right/good" a good desire or a harmful one?

    So, yeah, I'm in a confusing place right now. And yeah, I know this is a really personal decision to make, but...I don't know, I just don't know.

    I will also clarify: My close friend, I think, wouldn't abandon me over a story...I just don't want to put tension there. Our friendship is in a good place right now and I want to keep it that way. I am worried about my writer friend, who I know will disapprove completely of this and who I really appreciate because we can talk writer things. I'm not so much worried about losing friends as I am about a fuzzier graduation of "friend" to "acquaintance". Being pushed away even unconsciously. When you find out you disagree with your friend on something, especially something arguably religious, it puts a wall there. Not many people are able to surmount that barrier and maintain the relationship with the same strength.

    Well, there are at least four people I seriously worried about.

    I might end up doing this just for myself and not showing anyone. But that's a lonely path to walk. Part of my concern is how much I hate feeling alone in my thoughts and I do have this desperate need to share my stories. It gets painfully lonely if I don't because my stories are how I express myself best.
  13. I think part of my problem is that, aside from this one character, this is a story I feel like my friends would really, really like.

    It sucks feeling like you can't express who you are properly outside of writing. Which is where I am right now. I'm always told to write for myself, but the communicative aspect of it is so strong. When I feel "unread" I feel painfully, painfully lonely.

    I don't know how to break myself of that.
  14. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    You're in a muddle, and that's fine. It's an identity question. You get to decide what's important to you. You get to decide the reasons that matter to you behind the hard choices that you make.

    In my opinion, you're still young, and you don't need this kind of drama. A writing career means writing a lot of things over a long period of time. And people change over time.

    Frankly, consider writing the character a little later in life, when it won't cause all this much upheaval.
  15. As for the drawing, I've been just practicing, pretty much. I drew Benedict Cumberbatch the other day and it turned out pretty well. I've been filling a page or two every day with sketches. I've tried to draw my characters but didn't like how they turned out so mostly I've been doing...anything and everything.

    There's so much to learn though. I still can't draw hands. I can't do clothing folds as well as I would like. I can't do facial expressions. I can't draw objects at all. It's overwhelming.

    Can you get good at this, or do some people have it and some people don't? It seems to come so naturally to everyone else...
  16. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Art in schools in one of the most poorly taught subjects. All they do is end up teaching you that you're bad at it, or good at it, and very little about how. I spent most of my life thinking that I absolutely could not draw squat. And then I watched Blue's Clue's with my kids and started drawing sketches along with Steve in his notebook, and my drawing skills went from crap to kind of getting to be good enough to impress the kids.

    Really, pick up a few books on drawing, and take it seriously. You might not get good enough to carry a badly written story, but you CAN get good enough to have your art be carried by a well-written story, absolutely.
  17. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    Probably not.

    But what you can do is make the question of "making a statement" irrelevant, through narrative and creating a story that stands on its own, so that the issue of your making a statement is less clear, disappears behind the narrative.

    There was a recent series of Writing Excuses podcasts about using "Issue" as a subgenre in books, and I think some of the ideas they address might overlap with this idea of allowing narrative to carry the story rather than making a personal statement come to the forefront.

    The idea of using "issue" might be, say, wanting to write about racism or corporatism or some other specific issue, so it's not exactly on-topic with your question. But on the other hand, if there is an aspect of your story that you feel might become an issue for whatever reason, then some of their pointers might be good to check out.

    One idea they give is to use multiple perspectives on an issue within a book. So for instance, your story might also include someone who objects to homosexuality for religious reasons but nonetheless cares about the gay character and will help him out in his quest. You might have another character who doesn't know what the big deal is and who simply doesn't believe in "gay" and "straight." And so forth. You don't have to make a story only about these varying perspectives–but you could include some bits and just let the characters exist within the world and within the narrative. If you create each character with respect, respecting different points of view, then it'd be a lot harder for people to say you are taking a specific stand and writing a polemic on the issue.

    In fact, Mary in the linked podcast said this, which I think was very helpful:

    This was a lightbulb moment for me two weeks ago, [Alysses Spear?] said that she thinks the difference between an issues story and a polemic is that issue stories raise questions and polemics answer them. So I think that that is one of the keys when you're trying to write an issue story is that you can raise all of these questions, but as soon as you start giving the audience the answers to it, that's when you move into preaching.​

    If you have various perspectives represented, people might not think you are "making a statement" even if you do raise some questions. Again, your story doesn't seem to be an "issues story" per se, but how you decide to approach certain things that you think might be an issue can have a large effect on how it is received.
    Devor likes this.
  18. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

    DotA, you're fortunate enough to be living in the golden age of the internet. Take advantage. There are thousands of instructional videos on Youtube and other sites that teach you step by step on how to draw, paint, scrimshaw and just about any other art form you can think of.

    As far as the personal turmoil you're going through, take Devor's advice. Focus on other things until you're better able to deal with complex social issues like this one.
    valiant12 likes this.
  19. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage


    Your character is autistic, gay and nerdy ?
    I think most gay people in real live don't like fictional gay character that have mental disorders. Historically homosexuality was considered a mental disorder, and people used some not very humane methods trying to " cure " it. In some parts of the world they use electroshocks and people are siriasly injured even to this day.
    And why is your autistic character nerdy. In real live. not all autistic people are nerds, and not all nerds are autistic.I think this is a bad stereotype.
    I'm not expert on autism, but I if I remember correctly disliking socks is not a symptom of autism. ( please correct me if I wrong ). I’m not sure if this is a stereotype, but if it is you should avoid it. And not all nerdy people have a preference for other nerdy people. That is defiantly a stereotype.
    If you avoid stereotypes and unfortunate implications ( research what is considered taboo in the LBGT and Autism communities ), I think your characgter will be ok.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  20. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    People with autism or autism spectrum disorders like Aspbergers are commonly known to have a very limited range of interests, and for some this means they're into "nerdy" things like fantasy books (case in point: me), or "geeky" things like computer tech or science. Also, many people with such disorders are adversely affected by certain textures, which I think an aversion to socks could be an attempt to illustrate. I know I have a lot of trouble eating certain foods based solely on texture. Mushrooms and Jello especially.

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