I'm often told my series is full of "horrific tropes" that I "shouldn't use", and when people ask "why did you write them like that" and my answer comes back as "I write what I know", they get confused. But the fact remains, my characters and their lifestyle is based off of own life.
I'll show you what I mean:
His primary lover is:
His secondary lover is:
Now let's look at me:
If the characters I write are tropes, then my life is a trope as well, because I base my characters off my own life.
So I say... just write your story the way you want it. You can't please everyone, you'll always offend someone, and if you try to change everything to keep everyone happy, you'll end up pleasing no one at all, not even yourself.
Tropes exist, because life exists. Stereotypes are out there because sad fact of the matter is people often actually do certain thing which resulted in said stereotypes.
Take my race for example. Gypsies have a reputation for being criminals and thieves. Well, not all of them are, but, the fact remains, a large portion of the Gypsy culture IS in fact made up of criminals and thieves. I have an uncle who takes his children, has one of the toddlers grab some random lost cat poster off some random phone pole, then knock on a door of some rich fancy looking house and bawl her eyes out over her "lost cat", and while this 4 or 5 year old keeps the people at the door, him and the rest of his children climb through a back window and clean out every electronic they can find as fast as they can.
They never had a cat to lose, and by the time the people get the girl with her fake tears calmed down, my uncle has cleaned out half their house.
That's his full time job. He then turns around and sells all of the stolen items at flea markets and indoor yard sales or on eBay.
He's a criminal, and I've got 12 uncles who do far worse then him.
Yes, it's bad to say ALL Gypsies are thieves, but the fact remains, that stereotype is out there because an awful lot of my people really are cruddy scumbag thieves just like the stereotype says.
The point is, when writing something that is prone to stereotype, is to show that not ALL are the same and that there are good and bad both within it.
Tropes and stereotypes exist in books, because they are facts that exist in real life, like it or not. No reason to avoid writing them, just be careful when writing them that you don't come off saying everything/person within the group is the trope.
I think, that may be why I write so much plotless slice of life stories.
Slice of Life stories don't use plot. Slice of Life is a really common genre in short stories, but I can't say I've ever seen it done in novels or novellas. I use it in my own novels, but if you've ever read the Quaraun series, you know that each chapter is a short story that doesn't fully connect to the chapter after it. It's why some readers say the Quaraun series has a disconnected feel to it. Which it intentional, actual, as he is a drug addict and drifts through life not fully aware if what is going on around him is real or not, thus for the Quaraun series the disjointedness works.
Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" and Anton Chekhov's "Gray" and H.G.Wells "The Crystal Egg" and the stories "The Bronze Door" and "A Unicorn in the Garden" (I forget who wrote those last two) are all primary examples of the Slice of Life genre. In each of those stories, there is no beginning, no middle, no end, no problems are resolved, but stuff happens.
In "Hills Like White Elephants" a couple sits at a bar discussing the topic of should we or shouldn't we. They never say what they are discussing. They never come to a conclusion. In an interview the author told readers they were discussing if the girl should have an abortion.
In "Gray" a taxi driver's son has just died and he retells the tale of his son's death to each person he picks up that night. That's it. Nothing else happens.
In "The Crystal Egg" a man finds a crystal egg in a shop, and when he looks inside of it, he sees that there is a whole other world going on somewhere. He spends the rest of his life staring into the egg watching other people live their lives.
In "The Bronze Door" an antique collector buy a huge bronze door and stands it in his living room to annoy his wife. One day her dog runs through it and doesn't come out the other side, so he tosses his wife through it, and she vanished too, when the police come looking for her, he shows them the door than pushes them in, the story ends with him imagining all the people who wronged him and how one by one he'll invite them to dinner.
"A Unicorn in the Garden" is self explanatory. A man wakes up one morning to find a unicorn standing in the garden. Him and his wife discuss it over breakfast than he goes to work, the end.
Each of these stories is 10 pages or less in length. They are all "great classics" from the 1890s to 1930s and are commonly required reading found reprinted in high school literature text books.
Most of my stories fall into "Slice of Life". Rarely do I write a story longer than 30 pages, they never begin or end, they are always a glimpse into a single moment of a character's life, thus the name of the genre "Slice of Life" or "Slice of Life Vignette".
This is actually my favorite genre to read as well as my favorite to write, and it can be used in conjunction with any other genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Romance, whatever. I love it because it leaves so much unsaid, so many questions unanswered, and gives me (the reader) so much to think about in the terms of "but what if..."
Those stories listed above are among my favorite stories of all time and they (esp The Bronze Door) are what inspired me to become a writer in general and a writer of short stories specifically.
But the thing they have in common is they are all a single look into one day or even just one hour of a person's life.
My own stories are written that way. With no real plot, but rather a glance int one day in Quaraun's life. But then since much of Quaraun's life is based off of my own life, many of the stories are therefore a glance into my life.
And then, when people take that and say it's me writing stereotypes or tropes, and tell me I shouldn't write the things I write, I then have to look t my own life and ask: Am I not allowed to write a diary? Am I not allowed to keep a record of my life? Is my life so much of a stertype or a trope that you feel my life should not exist?
Think about it.
Next time someone tells you not to write something because it offends THEM, tell them to fuck off a cliff. Write your book and ignore the haters.
AdviceAdvice for obtaining knowledge and understanding for writing. (self.writing)submitted 9 hours ago by infernalwretch
>>>So I’m trying to write a story with a lot of complex social dynamics and stuff, but I feel insecure about my level of knowledge about most things. I think I’m kind of at a disadvantage because I’ve had very few life experiences involving other people due to being socially impaired and sort of stuck in my inner world. I get the feeling that people who know a lot of people and have connections have a much greater wealth of knowledge about how things work and various social phenomena. My only source of understanding of these sorts of things is basically created content such as movies and books, so I have very limited experience with how people actually interact with the world. Therefore I can never tell if a certain situation would make sense or not, or if it’s just some ridiculous scenario that would never actually happen in the given circumstances. I know I will need to do a lot of work and research to reach the level of understanding of the world that seems to be innate and effortless to normal people. Like, I feel like the only thing I could write accurately would be an isolated and socially impaired character, because that’s all I know.
>>>Anyway, I was wondering if there are any subreddits or websites or anything that are specifically for asking people questions for your writing, like, “how would this type of person likely respond to this situation?” Or, “is this a thing that happens or am I just imagining it, and if so what would actually happen instead?” Or “how would this experience effect a person’s behavior in the future?” I think it could be really valuable to be able to obtain insights from people with a variety of life experiences and knowledge. I hope I explained this well enough for people to understand what I’m asking.
I don't know about websites but I do know about having social issues and feeling confused by others. I have Autism (Kenner's Syndrome, aka ACTUAL Autism, not to be confused with Asperger's which it is in no way, shape, or form related to - Autism is NOT on the Autism spectrum, only illnesses that are not related to Autism, but have 3 or more symptoms common to Autism so could be confused with and/or misdiagnosed as Autism are on the Autism Spectrum. There are 680 Autism Spectrum diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Muscular Dystrophy, ALS, and even some forms of cancer. Actual Autism is one of the world's rarest diseases effecting only 1 in every 1,200,000 people and requires the agreement of 3 psychiatrists to diagnose it due to the law requiring parents to be immediately arrested and the child put in foster care when the diagnosis is made. There are only 12 psychiatrists on the planet legally authorized to make a diagnosis of actual Autism, again not to be confused with Asperger's which effects 1 in 3 people and can be diagnosed by pretty much anyone. Unlike Asperger's which people are born with, you are not born with Autism, rather Autism is a severe psychosis also known as Childhood Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Every known case of an actual medical diagnosis of actual Autism, has been aa child that was raped between the ages of 3 and 8 and 97% of all cases have been children who were used in child sex prostitution rings/human traffic of sex with toddlers, thus why the law requires the parents to be immediately arrested while still at the doctors office when the diagnosis is made. Because of the arrest law, doctors are hesitant to make a diagnosis of actual Autism.)
I was raped by adult male priests more than 500 times by the time I was 8 years old. My first contact with none sexually abusive adults, was the FBI raid that rescued me and 140 other children who were keep locked in rusted dog cages piled up ceiling high, like a puppy mill, only we were human children. Of the 140 of us rescued in that FBI raid, more than half of them commit suicide before reaching the age of 18. Today 40 years later, fewer than 12 of us are still alive. Most were murdered. Beaten to death by men who recognized they were the adult version of a child they had paid money to rape.
I say all of this for a reason.
In addition to Autism, I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on extremes (actual medical diagnoses) and it makes doing simple everyday things like eating, bathing, an all day chore. I also have Agoraphobia and the longest I went, not only not going outside, but even going out my room was 15 years. I have Selective Mutism, which cripples any ability I have to communicate with others.
I can't function on any kind of social level at all. And after the FBI raid, social workers classified me as "a feral child" a child who acted more animal than human, and was prone to attack humans on sight, growling, hissing, biting, clawing, like a cat.
They assumed I could not understand them. They didn't know that before my uncles took over and started the sex ring, my grandmother had taught me to read and write, so they were surprised when I was able to write and communicate very clearly through writing.
I initially took up writing as a way to communicate with others, because my anxiety levels in the presence of humans was so bad, that I can't talk when in the same room with one. The social interaction I had between the age of 8 and the age of 31, was to be beaten with cinder block bricks, raped by Mormon priests, and locked back in my cage.
So I had 27 years of KNOWING from first hand experience that humans were evil, humans beat you with bricks, humans hurt you, humans rape you, humans starve you, humans torture you, humans break your bones.
Love, friends, schools, doctors, hugs, TV, movies, warm blankets, bathing, eating with forks and spoons, kindness - these were concepts I had never heard of and couldn't comprehend.
That human touch could exist WITHOUT it causing pain, I couldn't even fathom that.
Than came the psychiatrists and psychologists, 340 of them from all over the world, to study me, like I was a bug under a microscope. I hated it. I just wanted to be left alone. But no. I was a freak. An oddity. A child whom had been raised completely devoid of any form of love, kindness, or affection. So now I get the joys of being the poster child, whose face is plastered in every college psychology textbook that talks about extreme child abuse and it's effects on the psychosis. All any of that did, was reinforce what I already knew: humans don't give a shit. 30 years later, now other psychologists chide those original psychologists for doing more harm to me than good because, they treated me like a lab rat instead of trying to teach me humans were good.
In the end, I locked myself away on my grandmother's farm, and took up writing. Put up all the 144 billboards in my driveway that have brought millions of tourists to Maine to see Maine's crazy author with all her billboard signs.
I don't try to write characters who are things I know nothing about.
My main character, grew up raped and abused throughout his childhood, because this is the only thing I know about childhood and I write what I know.
My main character, sleeps on a pile of hay, even as an adult, unable to get used to using beds, because I sleep on a pile of hay, my raring phobia of beds astounds people but I associate beds with rape not sleep and I write what I know. I can not write a scene of a character enjoying a bed, liking a bed, sleeping on a bed, or doing anything other than running in terror from beds, because I don't know it feels like to see a bed as a place to sleep. I write what I know.
My main character, suffers massive phobias, he's scared of everything, he runs in terror from humans, flees to the forest to cower in fear, he can not function socially, because I write what I know and his fictional phobias are the very real world phobias that I live with. I live in growth forests of Maine because fleeing to the safety of trees from the monsters that call themselves humans, that is what I do, so that's why I write my main character doing the same.
My main character, has no friends, because I can't even begin to imagine what having a friend might be like and I write what I know.
My main character, is mostly silent, near mute, suffering severe selective mutism that is trigger by the sight of humans, because I am mostly silent, near mute, suffering severe selective mutism that is trigger by the sight of humans, and I write what I know.
My main character, did not go to school and can not understand what others are talking about when they talk about school, because I did not go to school and I can't understand what others are talking about when they talk about school, and I write what I know.
The readers of my books, see the world through the eyes of a character who lives in mortal terror of the human race, they see the story told from the point of view of a character whose social anxiety is so crippling he can barely function at all whenever humans are around.
I wrote my books that way, see the world through my eyes and I live in mortal terror of the human race, my social anxiety is so crippling I can barely function at all whenever humans are around.
I write what I know.
And you should write what you know.
It may seem like you don't much about society and social interaction, but in fact you do. You know isolation from society. So write it. Don't write how OTHERS feel, write how YOU feel, and put those feelings in your main character.
Don't write what OTHERS would do in those circumstances which come up in your novel... no... write what YOU, a person with social anxiety, who grew up in social solation, write what YOU would do in if the circumstances in the novel were to happen to you.
Write your feelings.
Write your emotions.
Write your fears.
Write your anxieties.
Write your hopes.
Write your dreams.
Write your inner most thoughts and desires.
And that take ALL of that, and put it in your main character, and write your main character as though your main character was you.
Show your readers what it s like, to be YOU.
You don't need to understand how other people feel and react. You only need to understand how YOU feel and react. And than put those feelings you have, and those reactions you had, into your character.
Authors who write what they know, and put themselves into their main characters, are the authors who are capable of writing the most believable, fully fleshed out characters of all. Characters who draw readers right into the story.
Write what you know. And believe me, you know more than you think. Because only YOU know how YOU feel. Only you, know how YOU react to situations. If you always have your characters feel what YOU feel, not what you think they SHOULD feel based on what society say, but straight up, YOUR personal feelings, your emotions, your reactions, I guarantee you'll never be loss for something to write and you'll never run into writers block, because you'll always have your own emotions, your own thoughts, your own feelings, your own reactions to draw on and write about.
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