When I’m first feeling out a character I like to give them a mild phobia
With the catch that it cannot in any way be related to their tragic backstory
That character can still have a fear of water because they almost drowned, or a fear of lizards because their parents were killed by giant radioactive iguanas, or whatever, but they have to have something else they dislike too just *because*
Like, big hairy spiders. No reason, they just don’t like em. Or they can’t stand the idea of being barefoot, even in their own house. Or they don’t like heights, or driving next to eighteen-wheelers, or the noise that fluorescent lights make, or swimming in the ocean.
You don’t want to take it too far and make it a ~quirk~ but when applied just as a characterization exercise it helps me make a character feel more lived-in
Waiting is the worst part before the confrontation. Not so much the calm before the storm but the tortuous moment between one misstep and tumbling down the Grand Canyon the first time she was there as a kid, edging along the narrow mountain path, terrified a stray wind would pull her down.
So the waiting is the worst. Waiting for the ability to gather up courage, waiting for the person with whom the confrontation must take place to have a spare moment all the while wondering if an email might just be better but no,no chance for that, because he’s coming, he’s approaching, he’s smiling because everything’s going his way and he doesn’t know she’s about to go yeah about that.
It doesn’t start out well. Inability to make eye contact (what color are his eyes she doesn’t know). She digs her hands in her pockets to keep them from shaking, from twisting on her hem, or picking at her flaking skin.
"It’s not you, it’s me." It’s totally him though, it’s just one of those dirty grey lies she’s dusted off for the occasion. It sounds like a bad breakup but it’s not because she’s been single for years.
adapt canon. twist canon. pick up the story and drop it in another place, another time. rethink gender, sexuality, race. cut open a little hole in another universe and push the story inside. retcon the ending, switch up the genre, make it tragic, make it happily-ever-after. knock the characters out of moral alignment. debunk stereotypes, subvert tropes. kidnap and liberate the story from oppressors.
One of my least favourite dialogue tropes is when a man tells a woman “you can’t do that” or “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” and she says “why? because I’m a woman and therefore too weak to handle this/can’t take care of myself?” or something to that extent and the guy replies with “no, because everyone who tried that ended up with a bullet in their brain” or something equally reasonable and not gender specific that paints him as the rational not sexist guy and the woman as irrational paranoid feminist who searches for sexism in everything. This whole scenario is built on the idea that sexism is over and women’s fears and suspicions don’t have a leg to stand on. It’s also self-congratulatory pseudofeminism bc it’s supposed to make the viewer/reader/listener feel that in this specific work of fiction women are treated respectfully and as equal with men.
Going down to the rink after the match was won or lost depending on who you rooted for was like scene out of a movie—out of Whip It to be precise.
Palms slapped the sloping sides of the rink as the winners were announced, ceasing as the girls circled by on their skates, high fiving first the opposing team, then the audience that had come to cheer them on, their hands outstretched to brush palm to palm on their pass, reaching down to those that reached up towards them.
One skater offered her hip/butt region instead of a hand.
The crowd loved this too.
But then, after the second team had swept their way around the circle the cheering, screaming, wooing fans, a lone skater slid to a stop and knelt beside the rink, in order to kiss the cheek of a smiling baby.
best advice i ever received was to consider if that grammatical article was really necessary and then chop it like a lumberjack if it wasn’t.
[hey i was wondering if you had any quotes or whatever that relate to stories and storytelling and stuff like that?]
i love night vale’s a story about you because it’s like this beautiful piece of meta about listening and consuming story (that it’s also full of small, hard details like rock candy doesn’t hurt either)
people who keep saying that people who are unhappy with how mainstream narratives perpetuate marginalizing institutions of power should just stop being angry and write their own stories ignore how absolutely pivotal and vital listening and consuming a story is—how such an act can be a validating experience or an invalidating experience. These people seem to think that you can just cloister yourself behind a wall and become untouched by listening to the stories surrounding you—but that’s not true.
This is a story about you, said the man on the radio, and you were pleased, because you always wanted to hear about yourself on the radio. […] But there was a time, one day, one single day, in which it was only one story, a story about you. And you were pleased, because you always wanted to hear about yourself on the radio. x
everybody should be pleased to hear about themself on the radio or on the television or in that book or in that song.