Sapere Aude

maxkirin:

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing, a remake of this post. Source.

Want more writerly content? Make sure to follow maxkirin.tumblr.com for your daily dose of writer positivity, advice, and prompts!

1 week ago with 81,117 notes — via fahrnight, © maxkirin


Writing Demisexual Characters (Without Invalidating Asexuality)

anagnori:

Demisexuality is an asexual-spectrum orientation that is often overlooked when people try to write asexual characters, which is a shame, because a lot of bad asexual stories could become good demisexual stories if the authors were better informed. So I’m here to inform you.

For the purposes of this essay, I will assume you’re writing a mixed demisexual+allosexual romantic relationship, because A) the vast majority of stories containing demisexuality or asexuality in romantic relationships have one of the partners as allosexual, and B) mixed relationship stories are prone to unfortunate implications about asexuality and demisexuality. I’ve never actually found a demisexual+demisexual, asexual+asexual or asexual+demisexual romantic pairing in fiction. I’d love to see it written, though.

Also: This essay focuses on romantic demisexual characters. However, aromantic demisexual people exist, too. They may engage in close platonic or queerplatonic relationships, or they may choose to be single or adopt some other lifestyle. Much of this essay can be applied to platonic and queerplatonic relationships as well as to romantic ones.

Asexuality and demisexuality are alike in that, the vast majority of the time, neither experiences sexual attraction to other people. The two orientations have a lot of experiences and issues in common, to the point that it’s not unusual for someone to initially identify as one and later realize they’re the other. When it comes to people that we don’t know well, demisexual and asexual people act and feel pretty much the same way - no sexual attraction is present at all.

But unlike asexuals, demisexual people have the potential to feel sexual attraction to someone if they have established an emotional connection to them. The strength of connection required varies depending on the demisexual person in question - anywhere from “I know you pretty well” to “We’ve been dating for years.” Even if the bond is established, it’s no guarantee that sexual attraction will happen, and sometimes demisexual people carry on happy relationships without ever becoming sexually attracted to the person they love.

Some demisexual people find it useful to explain their sexuality in terms of the primary/secondary model of attraction. Primary attraction is attraction that occurs upon first meeting someone, while secondary attraction only develops after getting to know someone better. In this model, most allosexual people feel both forms of attraction, demisexual people only feel secondary attraction, and asexual people feel neither.

In my posts on asexual stereotypes and asexual fetishization, I discussed how many stories with asexual characters involve changing the asexual character into someone who actively desires sex and feels sexually attracted to their lover. In the process of changing the asexual character’s emotions, they undermine asexuality as a sexual orientation and perpetuate harmful ideas about asexual people. But demisexual people’s feelings can and sometimes do change this way in real life. So by making your asexual-spectrum character demisexual instead of strictly asexual, you can represent a sexual minority (yay!), have all the slow-building sexual tension you want (yay!) and not shit on asexual people along the way (yaaaay!) 

It’s still possible to be problematic when you do this, though. If you’re not careful, you might accidentally imply that…

All asexual people are actually demisexual.

  • This invalidates asexual people and encourages allosexuals to try to change us.
  • If your character changes from identifying as asexual to identifying as demisexual, point out that many asexual people do not change this way, and that the demisexual character’s experiences don’t represent everyone’s experiences.
  • A character can also go from identifying as demisexual to asexual if they decide that “asexual” describes them better.
  • There are also some people who identify as “asexual, but with one exception,” or as asexual and demisexual at the same time (because they find both of those terms useful for describing their sexuality). So you can also write a character who changes to identify in more complex ways.
  • Don’t be afraid to write an asexual-spectrum character who’s mistaken about their sexuality, and who changes their mind about how they identify. That’s perfectly fine. The important thing is to do this without casting doubt on the validity of other asexual-spectrum people’s orientations.

Demisexuality is a change from being asexual to being allosexual.

  • This suggests that demisexuality is not a real orientation in its own right. A character who identifies first as asexual, and then as demisexual after entering a sexual relationship, has not “lost” their asexuality, but rather discovered that it was not fully descriptive of them. They were probably demisexual all along and just didn’t know it.
  • Note: Sexual orientation can be fluid, and some people actually do shift from asexual to demisexual, but that is a different phenomenon from the circumstances in which demisexual people sometimes develop sexual attraction.
  • A demisexual character who used to identify as asexual will probably still feel like they have much in common with asexual people, and they are the same person as they were before. They will not begin acting like most allosexual people do. For example, if they were utterly repulsed by the thought of sex with most people, bored by pornography, and oblivious to flirting before, they will probably still be that way after they start calling themselves demisexual. (But if their sexual partner is involved in these activities, a demisexual character’s responses may change.)
  • Demisexual people vary greatly in their general preferences regarding sex, porn, kinks, masturbation, and other sexual activities. There is no “typical demisexual” lifestyle or attitude that you should try to capture; instead, focus on writing your character as well-rounded and consistent.

The allosexual partner was responsible for the changes in the demisexual character’s feelings.

  • Being able to “overcome” demisexuality is insulting to the demisexual character, because it makes the demisexual passive and uninvolved in their own sexuality. Furthermore, a lack of sexual attraction in demisexual people is not an obstacle to be defeated, or an achievement to be unlocked, any more than it is for asexuals or any other orientation.
  • If the demisexual character develops feelings for their allosexual partner, then it should be presented as a nice surprise or something that just happens on its own, not as something that was earned. People are not vending machines who will put out love or desire if you just give them enough affection tokens.

The fact that the demisexual person now feels sexual attraction means that they love their partner more, or that the relationship is more real.

  • Whether a demisexual person becomes sexually attracted to someone they love is not really controllable, and it’s often unpredictable. It is not a demisexual’s responsibility to become sexually attracted to their partner, and a lack of sexual attraction does not imply a lack of love. A close relationship is not deeper or superior simply because sexual attraction is present.
  • Take care not to portray the relationship as less valid, less important, or worth less because one character feels more sexual attraction than the other. It is possible for tension or difficulties to arise from this disparity, and that can be a good challenge for the characters to work through. One or both of the characters might, consciously or unconsciously, think that “sexual attraction = love,” and feel hurt if sexual attraction is absent. There’s a big potential for drama here, if that’s what you want to write. But keep in mind that an attraction gap doesn’t have to lead to conflict, and sometimes a relationship with asymmetric attraction is perfectly happy just the way it is.
  • The characters may have wrongheaded ideas about “sexual attraction = love,” but if so, then the narrative should make it clear that these assumptions are false.

Demisexuality is a choice, or a change in behavior.

  • In case it wasn’t already clear…NO. A demisexual person is not someone who wants to wait a while before they decide to have sex with someone. A demisexual person is not simply “waiting until marriage.” A demisexual person is not necessarily a prude, or shy, or afraid of intimacy. And demisexual people are not necessarily slut-shamers who pride themselves on being better than people who have promiscuous or casual sex.
  • In fact, demisexual people can have casual sex, too! And some of them do! Demisexuality is defined by only experiencing sexual attraction in a specific set of circumstances, not by sexual behavior. Demisexuality is not a lifestyle, and demisexual people do not choose to be demisexual. An asexual or allosexual person can’t choose to become demisexual, either.
  • Demisexual people cannot choose when to become sexually attracted to someone, and sexual attraction should not be expected from them; nor should they be criticized for not feeling it toward a relationship partner.

Here are some more ways that you can write a demisexual character without invalidating asexual or demisexual people:

  • Have the demisexual character identify as demisexual from the start of the story.
  • Have the demisexual character originally identify as asexual, but later they decide to identify as demisexual instead.
  • Have the demisexual character explain what demisexuality means to them.
  • Have the demisexual character point out that just because they started feeling sexual attraction, doesn’t mean that all demisexual or asexual people can become sexually attracted to their partners.
  • Use a non-asexual-spectrum character as a foil. Show how that character experiences sexual attraction more readily, frequently and to a wider variety of people than the demisexual character does. This will highlight that demisexuality is not the same thing as “asexual person becomes allosexual.”

There are also some potential plot ideas and sources of conflict unique to demisexual characters:

  • Tension can develop between a demisexual character and their partner if the demisexual person has experienced sexual attraction in the past, but does not feel it toward their current partner. The allosexual partner might feel offended, hurt or insecure, and the characters may need to work through this together.
  • A relationship could be challenged by the unexpected development of sexual attraction. A demisexual and asexual character may get together not expecting sexual attraction to ever happen, but surprise! It does! How do they handle it? Or for any relationship, how does the dynamic change when sexual attraction occurs?
  • What if the sexual attraction challenges either of the partners’ sense of identity? A demisexual character might prefer NOT to feel sexually attracted to their partner. For instance, a homoromantic demisexual man might not think of himself as “gay,” and deny that his relationship is gay because there is no sex, but he could be forced to re-evaluate himself when he starts wanting his partner sexually. A married demisexual woman having an affair may believe she is doing nothing wrong because she is not sexually attracted to her lover - but whoops, there it goes, and now she has to rethink her life.
  • An allosexual could also have to rethink their attitude toward the relationship after their demisexual partner develops sexual attraction to them: Do they think it’s more serious now, or that they should treat their demisexual partner differently? Does it force them to rethink their own feelings and choices?
  • A demisexual person will have their own self-discovery journey that differs from an asexual person’s. They might have the self-realization moment twice, or have to “come out of the closet” twice, if they previously identified as asexual or another sexual minority. Demisexuality can make explaining one’s sexuality to other people more complicated. It can be fascinating to explore how a demisexual character deals with experiencing sexual attraction for the first time, how they discover demisexuality, and what experiences convince them to identify as demisexual.

And lastly, a disclaimer: I am not demisexual, but I am asexual. My knowledge of demisexual people’s experiences is thus rather limited. I asked demisexual people to review this piece before I published it, and I welcome any further corrections or additions from demisexual readers.

Big thanks to elasmoblam, shadowtalon, fixitpixie and adventures in asexuality for helping me improve this essay!

1 week ago with 569 notes — via anagnori


benedict-campflowerbatch:

So, you want to write some sort of school au for your British otp or whatever, but you know nothing about what schools are like in the UK? Right then. Luckily, as a British teenager (who is way too familiar with teen aus), I’m here to help.
First off, the school years and stages. This should straighten a lot of your problems out. There are some variations to this because we’re British and we just can’t leave things alone. For example, I went to a middle school. Don’t worry too much about that; just go with the normal ‘primary to high school’ route since it’s the most common anyway. Also, some high schools have a sixth form, some don’t.
GCSEs (are horrible) Here in the UK, we don’t have finals, we have two major qualifications which you have to gain at school. At the end of year 9 you choose 3 or 4 subjects (depending on how many subjects your school has deemed compulsory) to do a qualification in. It’s always compulsory to study Maths, English Literature/ Language, and the sciences, as well as Welsh in Wales. GCSE students have coursework all the way through, a few exams in year 10, and then final exams in year 11. To pass, you need a C or above. Unfortunately, these qualifications will set you up for your A Levels etc etc
A LEVELS (aren’t much fun either) So, if you get the required grades in your GCSEs, you can go off to sixth form where you will do another qualification- your A Levels.
NB: Right now pupils must stay in education until they’re 17, but a new law means that from 2015 students must stay in education until they are 18. This includes full-time education or training (school), college, apprenticeships, and stuff like that.
In a broad way, A Levels are similar to GCSEs, although you take 3-4 subjects (less than in GCSEs) and they are, obviously, at a higher level. You also take AS Levels in year 12.
NB: In Scotland, things are different. I’m English myself, and I didn’t want to tell people the wrong thing, so here’s a quote from Wikipedia:
"A Levels are offered as an alternate qualification by a small number of educational institutions in Scotland, in place of the standard Scottish Higher, and the Advanced Higher levels of the Scottish Qualifications Certificate. The schools that offer A Levels are mainly private fee-paying schools particularly for students wishing to attend university in England."
THEN  there’s further education, with uni and university colleges. Phew!
ACTUAL SCHOOL LIFE:
As if this post wasn’t long enough, let’s clear some things up.
• This one’s for you, America. Until sixth form, PE (physical education) is compulsory, and there is always sport teams for all genders. But don’t you just grab your american high school tropes, swap the american football team for rugby or ‘soccer’, and be done with it.
I have no idea whether the whole school hierarchy thing is actually true in America - for all I know it could be complete bollocks. But in my school at least, nobody actually cares what sport team you’re on. There is no Glee style type social standing. Sure, there’s the popular kids and the less popular kids, but it’s all a lot more blurred. So, as cute as it is, there aren’t really any jocks to write about in a normal high school.
• School sports in your average school tend to include: football and rugby for boys, plus netball, hockey and dance for girls. Though there are sports that have teams for boys and girls, there is a fairly big divide. Then you get lots of other sports that take place in lessons. We tend to play rounders or cricket rather than baseball or softball, and netball rather than
• Grammar school: a school you can only get into if you take and pass an exam called the 11 Plus. Which, you guessed it, you take when you’re 11- 12 years old. There aren’t really that many of these schools left.
• All schools have uniform, although some sixth forms just have to wear ‘smart casual’. Teachers can be pretty fussy about it too. For example, my high school disallows any piercing other than one in the ear, unnatural hair colours, trainers, any skirt that isn’t our dreadful pinstripe one, jewellery (you’d get away with a single ring or necklace, they’re fairly lenient with that). Tuck your shirt in, do your top button up, unroll that skirt…
• We do actually have school houses like in Harry Potter, but they’re no where near as much of a big deal. This isn’t very useful unless you’re taking about inter school sports matches, which are usually held between the different houses.
• Legal ages for stuff and things:at 16 you can: consent to sex (gay or straight)at 17 you can: drive (after you’ve passed your test etc)at 18 you can: get a tattoo, buy alcohol, buy cigarettes (there, smut writers, the top one’s for you).
• At high school, we call our teachers sir/miss. I don’t think I’ve heard a brit call anyone ma’am unless they’re in the army. You tend to refer to them miss/mrs/ms/mr [insert surname here].
• We have canteens/cafeterias (some first/primary schools, and pretty much all high schools have them). Plus, you can still bring your own food, neither is seen as an odd thing to do. You do have to pay for the school food, but it isn’t too expensive and a lot of schools have schemes for people who can’t afford it.
• Little things that might come up: - Yes, we do have lockers. - Also, we have school buses in rural areas. - Prom is at the end of year 11. It’s not quite as much of a big deal as it is in the US. Like I’ve said, nothing like Glee. - A+ is A*
• We have the easter holidays/break (2 weeks), summer holidays (6 weeks), and christmas holidays (2 weeks), plus half term holidays between terms, bank holidays, and teacher training days.
I’m unfamiliar with the differences between schools in England and the rest of the UK, and I also can’t speak for everyone, so if I’m wrong anywhere or something is far too obvious send me an ask and I’ll correct it. My ask is open for questions/ things you want me to add, too.
HAPPY WRITING!!

benedict-campflowerbatch:

So, you want to write some sort of school au for your British otp or whatever, but you know nothing about what schools are like in the UK? Right then. Luckily, as a British teenager (who is way too familiar with teen aus), I’m here to help.

First off, the school years and stages. This should straighten a lot of your problems out.
image
There are some variations to this because we’re British and we just can’t leave things alone. For example, I went to a middle school. Don’t worry too much about that; just go with the normal ‘primary to high school’ route since it’s the most common anyway.
Also, some high schools have a sixth form, some don’t.

GCSEs (are horrible)
Here in the UK, we don’t have finals, we have two major qualifications which you have to gain at school. At the end of year 9 you choose 3 or 4 subjects (depending on how many subjects your school has deemed compulsory) to do a qualification in. It’s always compulsory to study Maths, English Literature/ Language, and the sciences, as well as Welsh in Wales. GCSE students have coursework all the way through, a few exams in year 10, and then final exams in year 11. To pass, you need a C or above. Unfortunately, these qualifications will set you up for your A Levels etc etc

A LEVELS (aren’t much fun either)
So, if you get the required grades in your GCSEs, you can go off to sixth form where you will do another qualification- your A Levels.

NB: Right now pupils must stay in education until they’re 17, but a new law means that from 2015 students must stay in education until they are 18. This includes full-time education or training (school), college, apprenticeships, and stuff like that.

In a broad way, A Levels are similar to GCSEs, although you take 3-4 subjects (less than in GCSEs) and they are, obviously, at a higher level. You also take AS Levels in year 12.

NB: In Scotland, things are different. I’m English myself, and I didn’t want to tell people the wrong thing, so here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

"A Levels are offered as an alternate qualification by a small number of educational institutions in Scotland, in place of the standard Scottish Higher, and the Advanced Higher levels of the Scottish Qualifications Certificate. The schools that offer A Levels are mainly private fee-paying schools particularly for students wishing to attend university in England."

THEN there’s further education, with uni and university colleges. Phew!

ACTUAL SCHOOL LIFE:

As if this post wasn’t long enough, let’s clear some things up.

• This one’s for you, America. Until sixth form, PE (physical education) is compulsory, and there is always sport teams for all genders. But don’t you just grab your american high school tropes, swap the american football team for rugby or ‘soccer’, and be done with it.

I have no idea whether the whole school hierarchy thing is actually true in America - for all I know it could be complete bollocks. But in my school at least, nobody actually cares what sport team you’re on. There is no Glee style type social standing. Sure, there’s the popular kids and the less popular kids, but it’s all a lot more blurred. So, as cute as it is, there aren’t really any jocks to write about in a normal high school.

• School sports in your average school tend to include: football and rugby for boys, plus netball, hockey and dance for girls. Though there are sports that have teams for boys and girls, there is a fairly big divide. Then you get lots of other sports that take place in lessons. We tend to play rounders or cricket rather than baseball or softball, and netball rather than

Grammar school: a school you can only get into if you take and pass an exam called the 11 Plus. Which, you guessed it, you take when you’re 11- 12 years old. There aren’t really that many of these schools left.

• All schools have uniform, although some sixth forms just have to wear ‘smart casual’. Teachers can be pretty fussy about it too. For example, my high school disallows any piercing other than one in the ear, unnatural hair colours, trainers, any skirt that isn’t our dreadful pinstripe one, jewellery (you’d get away with a single ring or necklace, they’re fairly lenient with that). Tuck your shirt in, do your top button up, unroll that skirt…

• We do actually have school houses like in Harry Potter, but they’re no where near as much of a big deal. This isn’t very useful unless you’re taking about inter school sports matches, which are usually held between the different houses.

• Legal ages for stuff and things:
at 16 you can: consent to sex (gay or straight)
at 17 you can: drive (after you’ve passed your test etc)
at 18 you can: get a tattoo, buy alcohol, buy cigarettes
(there, smut writers, the top one’s for you).

• At high school, we call our teachers sir/miss. I don’t think I’ve heard a brit call anyone ma’am unless they’re in the army. You tend to refer to them miss/mrs/ms/mr [insert surname here].

• We have canteens/cafeterias (some first/primary schools, and pretty much all high schools have them). Plus, you can still bring your own food, neither is seen as an odd thing to do. You do have to pay for the school food, but it isn’t too expensive and a lot of schools have schemes for people who can’t afford it.

• Little things that might come up:
- Yes, we do have lockers.
- Also, we have school buses in rural areas.
- Prom is at the end of year 11. It’s not quite as much of a big deal as it is in the US. Like I’ve said, nothing like Glee.
- A+ is A*

• We have the easter holidays/break (2 weeks), summer holidays (6 weeks), and christmas holidays (2 weeks), plus half term holidays between terms, bank holidays, and teacher training days.

I’m unfamiliar with the differences between schools in England and the rest of the UK, and I also can’t speak for everyone, so if I’m wrong anywhere or something is far too obvious send me an ask and I’ll correct it. My ask is open for questions/ things you want me to add, too.

HAPPY WRITING!!

2 weeks ago with 151 notes — via benedict-campflowerbatch


boesed:

laughinghieroglyphic:

Whoa. The MLA has officially devised a standard format to cite tweets in an academic paper. Sign of the times.

ebooks, Horse. (horse_ebooks). “Leg Butt” 18 Nov 2011, 12:38 PM. Tweet.

boesed:

laughinghieroglyphic:

Whoa. The MLA has officially devised a standard format to cite tweets in an academic paper. Sign of the times.

ebooks, Horse. (horse_ebooks). “Leg Butt” 18 Nov 2011, 12:38 PM. Tweet.

2 weeks ago with 282,341 notes — via iwishiwasqueenofhell, © warbyparker


just-call-me-vendetta:

just-call-me-vendetta:

August 15, 2014
This is a friend’s nephew. This is all the information I have right now. As updates come I will give them, but for now, I’m asking for a SIGNAL BOOST!

UPDATE:
As of Aug. 16, this is still active. 

just-call-me-vendetta:

just-call-me-vendetta:

August 15, 2014

This is a friend’s nephew. This is all the information I have right now. As updates come I will give them, but for now, I’m asking for a SIGNAL BOOST!

UPDATE:

As of Aug. 16, this is still active. 

1 month ago with 28,330 notes — via freakzter, © just-call-me-vendetta


mortisia:

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing, a remake of this post. Source. || Want more writerly content? Make sure to follow maxkirin.tumblr.com for your daily dose of writer positivity, advice, and prompts!

Rules i live by when i’m writing! Thank you mister Neil <3

1 month ago with 81,117 notes — via mortisia, © maxkirin


sherlockedbadwolf24601:

jojje94:

heartlessmushroom:

blackrosekz13whovian:

apsarcasm:

sherlocksmyth:

Deflate when writing prose; inflate when writing essays for school.


Procrastinating on finding ways to add one page to my essay to get the page requirement! Thank you so much.

Thanks man

I’m not in school anymore, but here.

if the fanfiction writers i beta for would read this list and learn where to cut down, i would be very very happy

sherlockedbadwolf24601:

jojje94:

heartlessmushroom:

blackrosekz13whovian:

apsarcasm:

sherlocksmyth:

Deflate when writing prose; inflate when writing essays for school.

Procrastinating on finding ways to add one page to my essay to get the page requirement! Thank you so much.

Thanks man

I’m not in school anymore, but here.

if the fanfiction writers i beta for would read this list and learn where to cut down, i would be very very happy

1 month ago with 390,329 notes — via mytrueaddictons, © amandaonwriting


streetlightarson:

unbossed:

class-struggle-anarchism:

Do you know how much I would know about what’s happening in Ferguson if it wasn’t for social media? Nothing. Zero. 

Ditto.

Jokes aside I feel like we all need to take a minute to thank the people on the streets literally risking their lives bringing us this information with their cell phone video cameras. Furgeson is on media lockdown right now and without the people braving tear gas to bring us this information we’d all be in the dark.



1 month ago with 91,696 notes — via lilypotterr


meredithalden:

a public service announcement

1 month ago with 375,798 notes — via meredithalden