Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

I am not part of the community, let me just get this out there. However, I have grown up amongst them. Let alone befriended many. One thing to note, is that, there are many different types. Just like anyone else. However, one of the points I came across. Is that, many live in a way that they cannot come out. This is due to societal problems, let alone their own family.

That aside, they are like anyone else. Normal emotions, having goals, etc. Many are not asking for much, but just to be seen for who they are. This is similarly to everyone else. This means, there is technically no right nor wrong way to write them. Basically like everything else, if it is done in respect, then it is usually fine.

From here, it is where you choose to take it. You can take it from the angle of them facing troubles, because of how they are. Which I have seen this happen many times. That or you can acknowledge it, and write how you wish. Doesn’t matter what kind of story it is, as it is something true to oneself.

Look, I had a college friend. If I remember right, he was Chinese and gay. Nicest guy I met, but I remember him having trouble coming out to his parents with it. He had a boyfriend as well, and he wrote Fantasy. He had some interesting ideas I’d say, and interacting with him just served to expand my line of vision more. 

So, just write. They aren’t different from us, they too have normal emotions. Normal goals, normal paths, everyday occurrences. Living amongst us, and if you want to get into finer details. Well, family acceptance is an issue they deal with. Societal views is another angle they are hit from, etc. These are also points you can choose to look past, and just like my friend. Write what you want, as you are getting yourself out there. Remember, it might be a drop in the bucket, but once enough comes in. Then that bucket will fill, so just keep it coming. Do not hesitate, let go of doubt and embarrassment, then let the words flow out. 

Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

Someone_77 Wrote: This! When writing about the community write us like you would write any other human being and don't use stereotypes! Thankyou!
Experiences helps shape views, I suppose I was one of the fortunate ones to grow up diversely. Those lessons, those feelings I grew over the years. It became a part of me, and not a moment I regret it. I’ve done two stories, and a third I have to rewrite that falls underneath the LGBTQIA+. I think part of me did it, more as in support of my friend. And I do hope he was able to come out to his family with it. 

Well anyway, the last one I did. It was about an older sister who enters a town of two sides. She is in search of her younger brother, who the last message she got from was a few months back. In the day, it is a normal place. A lively town and all, then in the night, it turns to ruin. A place roaming with horrors after the setting sun. During the day, it has slice of life themes, research is done, and other normal things. In the night, investigations takes place. More or less, they are a devoted sister, that is willing to commit atrocities if that is what it takes. Living their life in blackness, untrusting of others. So, as it goes along. They met another, who ends up being the reason the main slowly adjusts to a life of betterment. 

Meeting others, slowly letting down their guard, etc. Though, this one is quite tragic, and ah…a lot of gore. In short, it follows how I do things normally. Depressing in the start, happy in the middle, and continuously declines into tragedy towards the end. Though, this one has a bit of a twist to say. 

Well anyway, I learned a lot from those friends of mine. And I believe it ended up making me a better person in the end. Definitely I am not sure how it would have been without such exposure, but I suppose this is sweating the small stuff. What is important is that I understand, and am willing to support them and their community.

Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

Since I have a world where it is generally accepted, I simply treat it as a thing that is and don't feel the need to point it out specifically. Unless it is somehow important to a charcater or plot.

The characters themselves I treat no different than any other character, I don't need to. Which is kinda my whole view on it in general, make it normal. Treat everyone how I want to be treated. It still leaves enough room for nuanced characters, like the MC of book two, who kinda comes to terms with the fact that she is in fact not straight but that clashes with her worldview about families and succession.

Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

Someone_77 Wrote: As a member of the community I felt that it would be useful to open a thread dedicated to discussing how to write LGBT characters and give the community the representation that we deserve successfully. 

Side note: I was very hesitant to make this thread due to the amount of hate threads like this get so if this gets messy like the other LGBT threads I have stumbled upon, it will be taken down.

If you don't like this thread simply skip to the next. 

Thankyou and have a nice day.

Unless it's a big part of the overall story, the character's sexuality shouldn't be the most important thing about them. Worry about making a good story and characters who happens to be LGBTQIA+ and not the other way around.

What are their goals? What are their dreams? Their personality? Their quirks? If all there is to them is their sexuality, then I feel like that can make the character hollow and as if they exist just to fill a quota.

The same with female and colored characters. Just write them like anybody else and focus on making a good story.

Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

When it comes to writing LGBT+ characters, I've always assumed there is two ways of going about it.

The first is to make it really obvious upfront. Boys love, Girls love, Transitioning stories and the like, usually make it the main focus point. Which, works as long as you're making a story based entirely around this point. Nothing wrong with that, it's something people want to read. Hell, make it the all around plot. Character A wants to transition and needs to go find a transformation specialist.

or Character A wants gets into debt to buy spies to know if her rival noble swings the same way she does. Anything that gives us a reason to get invested in that particular character trait.

The second is to just, have them be *insert thing here*. Some people aren't going to like it, and that's fine. But as long as you're not being a dick about it, no harm no foul. Just drop a casual mention and move on. Maybe show a relationship developing. Something to tie it either into the plot, or to make it noticeable through actions/dialogue.

Have them try and seduce a same gender shopkeeper for more intel? Maybe have them mention how it sucks they can't wear the same armor before the transformation spell? Make it obvious, without overpowering the central narrative.

In terms of what not to do? Don't make it the single character trait they have. If the only thing about your MC/Side characters I know is who they like to fuck in a story about, idk, battling dragons, that's a problem. Also, probably best not to fall into the ye old stereotypes. Not saying they can't be done well, but most of the time they aren't

Tl;dr it depends on the story. Write what you want, just don't be a dick.

Dunno if that helps anyone, but it's what you're getting.

P.S.  Asexual characters are dope, anyone reading this should write more.

Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

Focus on writing a good story with good characters, their sexuality should not matter, the only exception to this would be stories centered around romance.

A character being LGBT doesn't automatically make a good character, they need personality, drive, and ambitions. Unless you are specifically writing romance or your character has major personality traits like they try to hook up with different people then things change of course. However, a good story isn't centered around building a harem and screwing every slightly attractive person they come across unless it's a Xanxia, otherwise smut is a whole different bag of worms.

Your character doesn't also need to scream from the rooftops that they are LGBT, just subtle things like commenting on people they find attractive, how they react to advances from the opposite gender if they don't swing that way, etc can work if you don't want relationships and not every new person your character meets is going to be LGBT, though you can just make it normal in your world for people in your world to not worry about those things, Azarinth Healer does it pretty well with the MC being bi but preferring women. 

Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

Personally I hope that my stories aren't offensive, I mean, I took a generic hallmark story and inserted a bunch of token lgbtqa+ characters. The way I introduced them as such were as a passing realization. 
I think my realization evolved when I wrote a conversation about a m2f girl confessing, and then their friend said, "So? You can't have a period?" and then I was like, really, that's all it is isn't it. Nobody gives a fu*k, and if they do, f*ck them. 
Now it's like, "So, we're never gonna hook up?" or, if there like afraid, "You're not gonna run off and say how, "woke" you are because my parents talk crap about gay people, right?" or some silly crap like that, just a passing glance.
And if I tried for an action story, I wouldnt even give it a more then a passing, "Yeah, really dont wanna get pregnant now anyways." thought.

Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

I think a good shortcut for those who are really that worried that they'll write an LGBT character to be a loose collection of stereotypes is to write a cis straight character and then change it afterwards. You wouldn't be worried about writing a cis straight character as a collection of cis straight stereotypes, would you? No, and that frees you up to focus on things like character development. So then do that, and then change the character to LGBT.

Worried that this won't work because your male MC has a male love interest? Okay, well how would you write this romance if it were a female love interest? Just write that, and then change the love interest to male.

I feel too often that people are trying to avoid putting forward "gay", "trans", "woman", "black", etc as negative character traits that they attempt to overcorrect by trying to shine spotlights on them as positive character traits. But they aren't character traits at all, just as "straight", "cis", "man", or "white" aren't character traits. So don't make them. And if you're having trouble not assigning character traits the former group, then just write the latter group and change it to the former group after all the hard work is done.

Re: Writing LGBTQIA+ characters and books

Would love OP or anyone else in the community to weigh in, but this is how I've determined to address the question of writing LGBTQ+ characters as a cis white dude: These characters exist and they do important things. Write them! BUT as a writer who has not lived that experience, do not co-op those lived experiences by making the story or the character arc ABOUT being LGBTQ+. 

Just had a cyberpunk novel published in which one of three PoV characters has undergone a futuristic gender removal surgery - essentially an imagined future state in which ace folks have an opportunity to transition into a biological state that is representative of who they are. I was horribly intimidated by the notion of writing this character as a cis white guy, but I felt like it was important. I got really comfortable towards the end, when I realized that I could in some ways empathize with this character's struggles enough to understand how they might see the world, but that I was not writing a story about being ace - I was writing a story about a badass Interpol agent who just so happened to be ace. I may look back in five years and cringe at this character, but hopefully the core approach is correct!