As unbelievable as [White Dude Super Detective (WDSD)] characters are, they would become infinitely more so if their race or gender were changed. In The Mentalist, WDSD Patrick Jane once grifted clients as a fake psychic, but now works as a hard-to-control resource for the California Bureau of Investigations. What if the Jane character were a Latino ex-grifter? Would his arrogance and propensity for sneaking into suspect’s homes and accusing wealthy businessmen of impropriety read as quirky and charming? Would anyone believe that a police force would allow such behavior? Could the Scotland Yard of fantasy be down with a coke-addicted black Sherlock—no matter how clever?
The San Francisco police department abides Adrian Monk’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, as the FBI allows Perception’s Dr. Daniel Pierce to assist on cases, despite his unmedicated schizophrenia and paranoia, which results in hallucinations. Could a black woman be cast in those roles to the same effect? I submit, that even in the fictional worlds of literature and television, race and gender matter. Belief can only be suspended so far. And this archetype is reliant on power that comes with white maleness in American society.
#i still remember bossymarmalade and glockgal’s deconstruction of white privilege in supernatural #and how dean and sam worked so well #because no one ever questioned white dudes #even when they were sketchy as fuck #and then glockgal drew racebent spn comics #where sam and dean really had to work to be able to be hunters #because they couldn’t just get away with fake IDs now that they weren’t white anymore #it was so amazing #i would’ve watched THAT show forever
This. This. And This.
This is also, I think, related to the Charming White Asshole trope (see House, Iron Man, etc.)
Well, House IS a WDSD because it’s just a medical spinoff of Sherlock Holmes, but yes, all of the above
Yup. I watched the first episode of Murder on the Home Front and it is again, a WDSD, a pathologist in WWII who teaches the police about proper detecting techniques. I would be a hundred times more interested if the lead were a woman, and a million times more if a WoC.
My friends and I called this type of lead the Unorthodox Detective, usually a charming, rogueish type outside and/or unliked by the police force (or medical/legal team, depending on the show) who doesn’t follow the rules but Gets Things Done.
I like or tolerate most of them, but there’s got to be a limit to just how many white people they can stick in there. Of all of them, I can remember…six that have been white women? Crossing Jordan, Body of Proof, The Closer, Veronica Mars, Homeland, Bones? And then for males, off the top of my head, The Mentalist, House, Sherlock (BBC), Elementary, Psych, House, Justified, Suits, White Collar, Castle, Perception, The Glades, Lie to Me, H50 (note how often Chin and Kono have to deal with IA accusations and then how often the issue even comes up for Steve), these mostly from just the last few years. Heck, arguably one of the best shows ever, compare the situations faced by McNulty and Daniels in The Wire.
Rule-breaking and independence are encouraged if you’re a white male, tolerable if you’re a white woman, and not allowed if you’re a PoC.
- yeahwriters - lots of prompts, images, quotes and motivation
- writeworld - prompts, quotes, references, tips
- fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment - character, plot development and vocabulary tips
- writingprompts - amazing and original picture prompts
- dictionaryofobscuresorrows - words you might not know and their meaning
- wordjournal - more words
- shannahmcgill - writing tips
- archetypesandallusions - creative writing tips
- kingdomjournalist - writing tips (not only how to write but also how to prepare emotionally)
- livewritedream - bit of everything (prompts, tips)
- mooderino - concise and to the point questions that help you build characters and stories
- thewritershelpers - quotes, advice, book/author recommendations
- writingquotes - what the url suggests
- get-scribbling - prompts
- scribblingoutofthelabyrinth - prompts, challenges, free writes
- writing-problems - to know you are not alone in your struggles
Sometimes you want to write, but you have no plot ideas. Perhaps your fingers are itchy to write, you want to meet a submissions deadline, a character is bugging you to tell their story, or a single image, phrase, or scene is sitting heavy in your head. But you still can’t find the whole story.
So what can you do?
- Start with characters: find their names, their backstories, their relationships. Create detailed descriptions, draw them, build their family trees. Get them interracting, put them into a room together, or bump them into each other in the street. Read their diaries, their love letters, their bank statements. Get to know them inside out. This is one place where you may find your story.
- Start with a world: create your map, name the towns, lakes, forests, and mountains. Work out the trade routes, position the markets, the ports, and the industry. Find the history, predict the future. Draw out the borders, bring war, re-draw the borders. Get down to street level and see who lives there. Walk the streets yourself. This is one place where you may find your story.
- Start with a room: stand in the middle of a room and open your eyes. What does the room look like? What’s in it? How many doors and windows are there? What is the room used for? Who uses it? What has happened here, and what is going to happen here? This is one place where you may find your story.
- Start with an object: pick something up into your hand. What is it? What is it used for? Who owns it, and who owned it before them? What is it worth, either monetarily or sentimentally? Has it been lost, found, stolen, given away? Why is this object important? This is one place where you may find your story.
i’ve been reading a lot of ya fiction lately, and something has bothered me throughout the past three series i’ve gotten into. their heroines are ‘plain.’ ‘nondescript.’ ‘forgettable.’ the stories are told in the first person, so in some cases, humility to the point of self-consciousness is expected. but it goes beyond that. for every heroine, there’s a boy who tells her otherwise, a boy who opens her up, a boy who shows her she’s wrong. this bothers me on a very deep level because it’s like the girl only bloomed for viewing pleasure of someone else. it’s like authors are afraid of beauty as a constant and instead use it as character growth. they only reveal that the heroine has eyes worth looking into when there’s someone who wants to lay down nose to nose with her. they only claim that she’s something special — something memorable — and not just a footnote or a minor character in someone else’s story once someone loves her. what i want is a heroine written by a writer who isn’t afraid of her features. i want a heroine who smiles and stops people in their tracks because that particular part of her face is like sunlight. i want a heroine who knows she has beautiful eyes because they’re a soft brown or a bright blue or her lashes are impossibly thick, because she’s caught sight of them in mirrors and known that they belong to someone of worth.
I want to compile a list of words folks can use instead of ableist slang, I grabbed a few from this page to start this off, please add to the list as this circulates. And reblog!
- fucked up
“Ignorant” is one of my favorites! Especially if you’ve got enough of a Southern accent to pull off “IG-nant”. It fits especially well in for the R word, because it has a heavy implication of willful idiocy.
Since starting to get rid of the ableism in my vocabulary, “ridiculous” has spiked WAY higher in my list of commonly-used words. I like “absurd” as well.
In order to create a relatable character, you must think about them as having several layers. Knowing and choosing character traits is important because you don’t want them to be one dimensional. It’s all not as simple as saying “this person is mean” or “this person is kind”. Think about the people you know in real life. They all have some sort of defining trait that makes them different from everyone else. You usually know more than just one thing about them and they most likely have many interests. Your characters must be just as diverse.
I’ve listed some examples of character types:
Adventurer: high levels of energy, bold, dominant, competitive, fickle, leader. Can be aggressive or have poor judgment.
Bossy: confident, competitive, stubborn, close minded, serious, lacks shame or guilt, wants a high status.
Creator: artistic, observant, persistent, sensitive, introverted, becomes easily absorbed, enthusiastic, likes his or her own company.
Extrovert: outgoing, talkative, not easily intimidated, expressive, enjoys being with others, seeks social situations.
Fearful: driven by fears of rejection, unhappy, withdrawn, avoids stress, uncomfortable in social situations, problems being assertive.
Loner: might be directionless, little attachment to anyone, likes to be alone and avoids social situations, rarely expresses anger.
Passive-Aggressive: reserved, sulky or resentful, jealous, always assumes the worst, doesn’t know how to express their feelings, behaves in indirect ways.
Resilient: happy, productive, is able to overcome adversity, has a good sense of humor, high standards, able to go through life with minimal stress.
Victim: feels weak, pessimistic about life, acts like a burden, no deep emotions, feels helpless when left alone.
I also wanted to discuss some psychological disorders in case you’d like to include them in your manuscripts:
Anxiety: tense, shy, depressed, feels worthless, afraid of social situations, lacks confidence, worried, cries frequently.
Autism: can show delay or lack of language in severe cases, might be bossy, dislikes social rules, fights, blows up easily, can lack self-control, uninterested in others.
Depression: feelings of rejection, low self-esteem, negative self-image, intense sadness, can feel worthless.
Hypochondriac: pessimistic, self-centered, complains about aches that can’t be explained by a medical condition, worries, low energy.
If you’re thinking of a specific disorder, you should do the proper research and remember that a disorder can affect everyone differently. Not everyone will have the same traits.
Here are some lists for finding the right vocabulary and coming up with diverse character traits by combining them:
List of POSITIVE character traits: adaptable, alert, ambitious, aware, brave, calm, capable, certain, committed, compassionate, considerate, consistent, curious, dedicated, determined, efficient, expressive, faithful, happy, honest, independent, intelligent, loyal, nurturing, patient, playful, polite, productive, punctual, responsible, strong, trusting, warm, wise.
List of NEGATIVE character traits: angry, aggressive, arrogant, bossy, cruel, careless, cold, conceited, conniving, dishonest, dangerous, egocentric, evil, foolish, flaky, gloomy, grumpy, hateful, harsh, inconsiderate, immature, indulgent, ignorant, insensitive, jealous, lazy, malicious, miserly, mean, mistrusting, pessimistic, pompous, rude, scornful, thoughtless, timid.
Remember that most people have both good and bad traits, so combining them should help you form a well-rounded character.
I was sitting on the computer last night trying to be productive and actually write something. My first sentence included the character listening to a voice through an intercom and my first thought was, “What kind of voice is it?”
So, naturally, I found myself googling the different ways to describe a voice. I present to you my findings! I hope you all find it useful.
- adenoidal (adj): if someone’s voice is adenoidal, some of the sound seems to come through their nose
- appealing (adj): an appealing look/voice shows that you want help, approval, or agreement
- breathy (adj): with loud breathing noises
- brittle (adj): if you speak in a brittle voice, you sound as if you are about to cry
- croaky (adj): if someone’s voice sounds croaky, they speak in a low, rough voice that sounds as if they have a sore throat
- dead (adj): if someone’s eyes or voice are dead, they feel or show no emotion
- disembodied (adj): a disembodied voice comes from someone who you cannot see
- flat (adj): spoken in a voice that does not go up and down; this word is often used for describing the speech of people from a particular region