How to show that a character is asexual


…Because interrupting the narrative to turn it into Asexuality 101 is not always a good idea.

It may be easier to implement these ideas if you’ve also read my asexual character development question list. You can also get more ideas from reading and answering those questions.

Note: Most of these ideas will also work for gray-asexual and demisexual characters, because they tend to have a lot of experiences in common with asexuals.

Say it outright.

The only way to be 100% certain is for the character to identify themself as asexual in the story’s text. Everything else I suggest here, at most, can only hint in that direction. If you intend to actually represent asexuality in your story and not just imply it, you must state it explicitly at some point. Otherwise, you’re just doing the asexual equivalent of queerbaiting (acebaiting?), which is infuriating because asexual people have almost no fictional representation in the first place.

Your characters might use the word “asexual,” or they might say something else that means the same thing. When doing this, remember that there is a difference between being asexual and being celibate.


  • "I’m asexual."
  • "I’ve never been sexually attracted to anyone."
  • "I do not lust after other people."
  • "I’m not attracted to anyone, and never have been."
  • "I don’t have any urge for carnal pleasures."

Drop hints about it in dialogue.

Think about your character’s attitude toward sex. Are they sex-repulsed, sex-indifferent or sex-enjoying? When they think about sex in general, do they find it boring, gross, annoying, creepy, amusing, weird, or just meh? Most asexual people do not enjoy sex or seek it out, but they aren’t outright afraid of it either. When you write dialogue, think about your asexual character’s opinions, feelings, and expectations about sexuality, and look for opportunities to suggest that they’re not on the same wavelength as everybody else.


  • “I’m not interested in anybody.”
  • “I’m not planning on getting married.”
  • “Dating is overrated.”
  • “I hate it when movies have sex scenes.”
  • "Wait, people actually find it hard to be celibate?"

You can also subtly suggest that a character is asexual by writing them as oblivious to or disturbed by innuendo, dirty jokes, flirting, and/or conversations about sex. Some asexual people have a hard time picking up on these things, or will assume everything is platonic unless it’s explicitly spelled out as sexual. Others might be so repulsed by sex that they don’t even like hearing about it. And then again, some asexuals find the subject hilarious or interesting, and will be very explicit or detached when talking about it, to the point of making non-asexual people feel awkward.

Develop an asexual backstory, and mention it in the text.

Think about the ways that your character was affected by growing up asexual, and how their youth may have differed from other people’s. Maybe they always winced and turned away at kissing scenes in movies. Maybe they couldn’t be bothered to date anyone in high school. Maybe they tried having sex, just to see what all the fuss was about, but regretted it or were disappointed. Maybe they spent years wondering what was wrong with them because they didn’t like sex. If the character is old enough, think about how asexuality may have affected their dating life in the past. If your character knows they’re asexual, you should also think about the experiences that led them to realize it.

Adjust the way that the asexual character speaks.

If your character uses words and concepts that are rarely heard outside the asexual community, it’s a big fat sign that they identify as asexual, or are at least very familiar with asexuality. The asexual community thinks about love, attraction and relationships in a different way than mainstream culture does, and our language reflects that. I’ve compiled a nice glossary of words and concepts that your asexual character may use in conversation. You can also try dropping references to asexual culture, such as a black ring on the right middle finger, or the colors of the asexual flag. (I advise staying away from the cake jokes, though.)

Some asexual people avoid describing other people as “hot” or “sexy,” because those words may imply sexual attraction.

Show how asexuality affects the character’s romantic and/or sexual relationships (or lack thereof).

Some scenarios that asexual characters may encounter:

  • They are virgins well into their 20s, or even later.
  • They have sex, but find the experience underwhelming, disgusting or disturbing.
  • Their relationships become strained because their partner wants sex but they don’t.
  • They avoid dating entirely because the prospect of having sex with someone makes them uncomfortable.
  • They feel like they have to fake being sexually attracted to someone.
  • They’re afraid their partner will leave them for someone more interested in sex.
  • They can’t find a partner because they don’t want to have sex.
  • They do find a partner who doesn’t mind having a sexless relationship.
  • They choose to have sex for different reasons than most people do, and these reasons are not related to sexual attraction.
  • They want to “wait until marriage” but are secretly dreading having sex after the wedding.
  • Their relationship with their romantic partner is not taken seriously by other characters because it does not involve sex.
  • They form a queerplatonic relationship instead of a romantic relationships.
  • Their partner agrees to become celibate, or they work out a compromise on what kinds of sexual activities they’ll do together.
  • They set up an open or polyamorous relationship so their partner gets sexual satisfaction elsewhere, while still remaining happily together.
  • They seek medical treatment for not being as sexually interested as they think they’re supposed to be.
  • They don’t think that they need birth control or STD protection because they are celibate.

I’m undoubtedly forgetting a lot more.

Make the character’s hobbies, lifestyle, goals, and entertainment choices reflect their asexuality.

Keep in mind that asexual people are diverse, and the ideas listed below do NOT apply to all, or even to the majority of asexual people in real life. But they can be good starting points for sparking discussions about asexuality in your story, or as additions to an asexual character who is otherwise well-rounded. They can also be good ways to foreshadow that a character is asexual.

The following are just a few examples of how asexuality can affect someone’s lifestyle:

  • They choose to avoid media that contains graphic depictions of sex.
  • They don’t have a porn collection.
  • They avoid romantic movies, or movies with sex scenes in them.
  • They avoid going to bars, nightclubs, strip clubs, raves, or other places with sexually charged atmospheres.
  • They tend to avoid collecting art and music that have sexual content.
  • They do not try to dress up so as to appear attractive to the opposite sex.
  • They don’t enjoy hanging out with non-asexual friends who talk about sex or sexual attraction a lot.
  • They avoid casual sex or one night stands entirely.
  • They never want to get married.
  • They expect to spend their future and old age single.
  • They aren’t very interested in having sex, and need a strong reason before they’ll consider it.

Make other characters curious about the asexual character’s dating life or sexual orientation.

In real life, if a person between the ages of 16 and 50 goes for years without having or seeking a sexual relationship, people often get nosy. They may ask why the asexual person isn’t married yet, wonder if something is wrong, or even spread rumors about that person.

Asexual people are not heterosexual, and often do not fit in well with a culture of heteronormativity and compulsory sexuality. Think about how your asexual character’s words, attitudes and lifestyle will be perceived by other people, and what those people are likely to say and do in response.

Use another character as a foil.

By writing another character who differs from your asexual character in behavior, attitudes or sexual priorities, you can show just how distinct the asexual character really is. Consider putting the characters in similar situations and having them react differently, or making different choices. The foil character doesn’t need to be a super-horny, oversexed, socially aggressive extrovert; in fact, it’s often more effective to write a person of average libido and sexual activity, and who is portrayed as “normal” and typical by the narrative, because this highlights just how unusual and different asexuality is.

Be careful that you do not portray the foil character’s sexuality as a negative trait, or else you may risk putting slut-shaming, misogynistic or homophobic implications into your story. They can be a villain, but unless they engage in sexual coercion, rape or other Very Bad Sex Acts then their villainy should be unrelated to their sexuality.

Don’t your make foil character a rapist. Just…don’t do it. It’s very difficult to pull this off without making the overall tone of the story to be sex-negative, and it puts asexuality at odds with sexual violence while leaving little room for consensual, healthy sex.

Read blogs and websites written by asexual people.

You can get a lot of ideas by reading about how individual people experience asexuality. (If you ARE asexual, of course, you can draw on your own experiences.) Asexual bloggers talk about unusual or interesting things that happen to them as a result of being asexual, how asexuality affects their relationships with other people, what kinds of things they want, like or dislike because of asexuality, and more. Every person’s experiences are unique, and while they may not represent all asexual people, they are real and worth considering. Think about how you can adapt some of those experiences into a fictional context. There are many asexual bloggers on Tumblr.

(via officialwritersclub)

Anonymous asked:

Hiya any useful tips on how to write a book from a females POV and a males POV ... thanks 😊


Boy can I relate to this. I’ve gone back and forth in between which character to have as my main, should I make it third person or first person, or even double POV. I know how confusing and indecisive it can get when coming to a decision. Personally, my tip is decide who’s voice you’re most comfortable in. If it’s a female, it’s a female, if it’s male, it’s male. But find who you’re stronger in, and go off from there. Find the story you want to tell, who you believe your audience will be, how old are the characters, ect. Get a little more into the story other than just their gender, it’ll help in the long run. But here’s a few links I hope can help!

Feel free to message us if you’d like more, off or on anon. I do hope these tips and articles are useful! 


Anonymous asked:

Hi there!! I'm trying to decide whether I want to write my story in third person or first person. Can you list some pros and cons of each? Thanks!! :)


When it comes to matters like this one, I don’t think pros and cons really exist. It’s a matter of what works best for your story and your characters. Therefore, I’ll point out a list of some of the most prominent aspects of the two perspectives, and leave it for you to decide what fits your story best.

First person perspective:

  • Direct connection between your character and your readers. Your readers will be “living” inside your character’s mind for as long as the story lasts, and therefore they will get to have a faster connection with the character they’re learning the story from. 
  • Limited information. Everything we learn is limited to what your character has experienced. Anything important that happens when your character is not present cannot be learnt by the reader unless someone describes the event to your character. (Assuming you are going to be writing from the perspective of only one character. This certainly doesn’t apply if you will be alternating between perspectives).
  • Subjective Narrative. With a first person perspective, your readers have less room to evaluate situations and characters, as their perspectives will always be clouded by the character’s. If you want your readers to judge situations and characters, you might have it harder if you choose to go with a first person narrative.
  • More intimate and realistic story. In real life, we live inside our own selves, and therefore, when we’re reading a story that’s written in first person narrative, we get a more realistic feeling of it. It’s like we’re actually inside the story, rather than just listening to it. 
  • Show don’t tell? It’s harder to show instead of telling when it comes to a first person narrative. It definitely can be done, but some books written from a first person perspective often end up with a lot more telling than showing - which isn’t always a drawback. Telling instead of showing is often done a lot more efficiently in books written from a first person perspective and you can often get away with telling more than showing when you’re going for a first person perspective rather than a third person one.
  • Too much introspection. When we are reading book written in first person, we often find ourselves dwelling inside the characters mind while they wonder about every single worldly problem and thinks about the meaning of their own life. Does it really matter to the story line? More often than not, no, it doesn’t. It might be great for character development, hence why introspection shouldn’t be completely eradicated, but it definitely slows down the story and takes the focus out of what really matters.

Third person perspective:

  • Possibility of omniscience. Of course, you can write from a third person perspective and still not have an omniscient narrator - that’s where third person limited comes in, in which case the advantages and drawbacks of its use would be similar to those of first person perspectives -, but here you can be omniscient and that can be both good and bad. It definitely makes it harder to create suspense - If you have an omniscient narrator and hide things from your readers they could have known all along, they might feel cheated. On the other hand, they can receive more knowledge than they would with a first person perspective or a third person limited one.
  • Character Emphasis. It gives you the opportunity to develop all your characters equally, have your readers know a bit about all of them and put emphasis on more than one person at the same time.
  • Too Much Information. When you have a God-like narrator, that knows everything about everyone, you often run the risk of providing the reader with information they definitely don’t need. You want to develop your characters and your settings so much that you forget to ask yourself whether the information you are including is actually relevant to the story line. While in first person narration you run the risk of too much introspection, here you run the risk of feeling like your readers need so much information that you end up giving them all at once. Space out your info dumps, if you’re going to go with this sort of perspective, and all will be well.
  • More quick scene transitions. Third person narration allows you to jump between scenes faster, because you can leave one character having dinner in New York and then pick up the story with another character back in London.
  • Distancing the readers and the characters. Again, this can be both good and bad. You have a harder job allowing your readers to connect with your characters, but at the same time you always allow them to judge them by their own values. You give your readers the freedom to form an opinion on your characters and settings that is not clouded by anyone’s perception but their own. 

Ultimately, try choosing what you think works best for your story and what fits your purpose best. Good luck!

For further reading:

Anonymous asked:

What's the difference between an anti-hero and a villain?





An antihero:

  • Is almost always the protagonist or on the same side as the protagonist (either because they support the protagonist or because they will get something out of it)
  • Has an ambiguous moral compass
  • Usually has a good outcome if they win
  • Is sympathetic to the reader
  • The opposite of a typical hero while still holding the hero’s position or duties

A villain:

  • Can be the protagonist, but is most often the antagonist (antagonist does not equal villain)
  • Is immoral
  • Usually has a chaotic outcome if they win
  • Is not supposed to be sympathetic to the reader

WOAH. An antagonist ABSOLUTELY can be sympathetic to the reader! Example 1: Paradise Lost, where SATAN CAN BE FOUND TO BE SYMPATHETIC.

Dudes, I’ve been seeing some really bad writing advice in my dash lately. It’s worrying me. What should I do?

Tell everybody to read their motherfucking TV Tropes. And develop a more detailed and systematic taxonomy for character types. 

The biggest problem is that writingcafe is ignoring the full breadth of variation in protagonists and antagonists, and shoving “antihero” and “villain” onto the same level of analysis, which they’re not. One is a much more precise term than the other.

There is a whole complex taxonomy for these things that should not be ignored. 

Sure, there’s the Protagonists and Antagonists dichotomy, and that can be useful on the most basic level of analysis. 

But there’s also Antiheroes and Antivillains (bet some of you didn’t know that second one was a thing, didja?). Each is a subtype of the protagonist/antagonist (or hero/villain) dichotomy, but these more precise labels tell you a hell of a lot more about what motivates them, whether they’re relatable, and what their morals are like.

 And there are many subtypes of antiheroes and antivillains. 

AND and!! There’s also Villain Protagonists and Hero Antagonists

But it gets even more precise than that! There’s also Decoy Protagonists, Sociopathic Heroes, Punch-clock Villains, Nominal Heroes, and many many more


Free Writing Resources that are ACTUALLY Useful


On Writing:

Book Ideas for Young Writers (a good list of ideas for creative writing projects)

25 Ways to Plot, Plan, and Prep Your Story (in case you can’t figure out how you want to outline your story…)

On Editing:

The only thing you need (seriously) is Chuck Wendig’s editing trilogy. It provides a thorough action plan and checklist for what you should be editing.

Edit Your Shit Part One: The Copy-Edit

Edit Your Shit Part Two: Editing for Content

Edit Your Shit Part Three: The Contextual Edit

On Querying:

Query Shark (This site criticizes real query letters. An EXTREMELY valuable tool for learning how agents approach query letters.)

On Publishing:

How to Submit to Literary Magazines

25 STEPS TO BEING A TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED AUTHOR: LAZY BASTARD EDITION (A fantastic post that covers EVERYTHING you should do and expect from the publishing process)

On Productivity:

How to Beat Procrastination (with science!)

The Psychology of Productivity: A Proven Way to Get More Done in Less Time

How to Go from Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day (A famous post. The real deal. Solid advice for increasing the focus and speed of your writing.)


35 Jobs for English Majors

The Psychology of Creativity

I will be editing this list over time. Stay tuned.

(via thewritingcafe)

Anonymous asked:

how do i avoid writing the stereotypical YA 'pretty yet angsty boy'.


Here are common traits to avoid:

The Stalker

I’ve read plenty of these characters and they all stalk a female character in some way. They often follow female characters because they don’t believe these characters have good judgement or that they can take care of themselves. Then it’s written off as romantic. Not only does this undermine female characters, but it romanticizes creepy and abusive behavior. Don’t let your character stalk girls. Don’t let your character stalk anyone while making it seem romantic.

The Edward Cullen

I call it this because when the Twilight series reached its peak, characters like Edward Cullen were showing up everywhere. These characters are good looking and everyone wants them, but they don’t want anyone else. Until the underdeveloped female protagonist comes along.

Your character can be attractive, other people can have a crush on them, and they can have a crush on the female protagonist, but it’s best to avoid:

  • Literally every girl wanting this guy except the protagonist.
  • Pushing the “not like other girls” reason for this character liking the female protagonist.


These characters are abusive in subtle ways at first, but after a while it gets too much and the author continues to romanticize this. If your male character is abusive, do not write it off as romantic. Use it as a chance to address this issue. I’ve seen authors write these characters being physically abusive and controlling as romantic and I’ve seen authors write non-consensual sexual encounters as desirable.

No Boundaries

These characters do not care for the wishes or boundaries of others:

  • Oh, you have a boyfriend and/or you don’t want to get involved with me? Too bad, I’m going to kiss you anyway.

That happens way too often and the author makes it come off as something that is okay. These characters get involved with issues they have nothing to do with. They feel the need to know everything about everyone and no one confronts them about their nosiness. If your character doesn’t respect the privacy of others, don’t write it all as desirable, romantic, or okay.

"I’m a Monster"

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read characters who keep trying to warn others to stay away from them because they’re monsters or troubled or dark undeserving souls. Saying this once or twice is okay, especially if this character is emotionally vulnerable, but after a while it gets annoying and it makes your character sound whiny. 

These characters insist they are dangerous and that other characters should stay away from them, yet they continue to pursue these characters and never really give a good reason why.


These characters have an endless supply of everything they need. Do your characters need guns? Perfect! The Pretty Enigmatic Special Boy will now disappear without a word, return silently, and carry a bag full of guns with him. When asked, this character refuses to answer or gives a vague answer.

These characters are physically fit, good looking even when covered in blood, sweat, and dirt, have tons of knowledge on many subjects (especially any conflicts or phenomena your characters are trying to solve or get through), always win their fights (physical and verbal), and have pretty much no flaws. Everything they do is written as something to goggle over. Give your character some flaws that get them into trouble or that affect their narrative.


These characters are extremely vague. They never give straight answers. They make people wonder about their past even when they have no reason to hide anything about their life. This is not the same as being quiet or shy. These characters are vague on purpose. Every question they answer is carefully crafted to create vagueness. And all the other characters accept it, see it as intelligent, or see it as romantic.

Let your character give some straight answers every now and then. They can still be vague, but use it sparingly and only when needed. Think about why your character would want to be vague.

No Change

These characters are unbelievably static. From start to finish, nothing about them changes. They don’t learn from anything because they’re always right. They may warm up to other characters, but nothing much beyond that happens. They’ll still make the same decisions, they still have the same opinions, they still see the world in the same way.

The Angst

Here is information on writing angst.

How to Fix It:

Give your character flaws. Make them change over time. Let other characters respond accurately and don’t romanticize unhealthy behavior. To romanticize something is to make it seem beautiful, desirable, or better than it actually is. You can include the above traits, but it’s really about how you write it that matters.

You can also look at my male characters tag on the tags page for more tips, things to avoid, and male characters that are not as common in fiction.

I tell aspiring writers that you have to find what you MUST write. When you find it, you will know, because the subject matter won’t let you go. It’s not enough to write simply because you think it would be neat to be published. You have to be compelled to write. If you’re not, nothing else that you do matters.

Rick Riordan

How to Make a Pop-Culture Reference in Writing


Authors love to insert references to their favorite works into their piece. It makes us giggle and it makes readers who get it giggle. 

A pop-culture reference …

Must be fleeting - don’t play it for too long


The clan flags of the opposing army swam in the midday haze. Keldeo could barely make out the red heron of Helen, the green and gold leviathan of Wuttern, the grey duck of Teld, the orange lion of Peddle, and the white and blue wings of Smith. Keldeo knew he had no chance against the combined might of such great clans.


(continued from above)

"Is it true that Smith calls his insignia the Wings of Freedom?" Keldeo asked.

"Freedom from what?" Orchus had to ask. "I’m surprised to see his soldiers on the field. They usually do survey from horseback."

Must sound appropriate in the story


"What do you make of that, sir?" Kleo asked, pointing into the distance.

Hakkam squinted at the blizzard clouds building in the high peaks. “Winter is coming.”

Kleo nodded. “I’ll bring the herds back to the sheepfold.”


"What do you make of that, sir?" Kleo asked, pointing into the distance.

Hakkam squinted at the blizzard clouds building in the high peaks. “It’ll snow soon, old sport.”

Kleo nodded. “I’ll bring the herds back into the sheepfold.”

Cannot disrupt the flow of the story


Jaquel’s mark was not in usual tunic of Poastian inhabitants - he wore the garb of an eastern trader. Everyone knew the easterners were rich and stupid. This man showed his stupidity by allowing himself to be distracted with talk from another merchant.

Jaquel crept close enough to hear them talk, feigning interest in a nearby vendor’s watermelons.

Nine silvers for a ham?" the Poastian merchant asked with a laugh. "That’s too much!"

The easterner leaned onto the tent pole. He would be slower to react now. “Too much? There’s a monk out back with a ladder!

While both men squeezed their eyes shut with mirth, Jaquel darted in, cut the easterner’s purse, and sauntered away with his prize.


Arya signed a stop to the sentence she had been writing on the ground. Bending over, Eragon read, Adrift upon the sea of time, the lonely god wanders from shore to distant shore, upholding the laws of the stars above.

"What does it mean?"

"I don’t know," she said, and smoothed out the line with a sweep of her arm.

-Brisingr, pg. 204-205

Character Reactions

Of course, characters other than the ones making the reference can react directly to the reference, providing:

  1. It’s set on Earth or the other character has a knowledge of Earth culture. For example, an alien from Star Trek could reference the Princess Bride after a character says, “Surrender!" An elf from Rivendell should not.
  2. The pop-culture phenomena has already happened. A character cannot start humming “The Ballad of Jayne" in response to going to a place called Canton unless the work is set post-2002. There are obvious exceptions here for beings with prophetic powers.
  3. The character had access to that piece of Earth culture. Someone who has recently left an Amish community will likely not understand another characters’ Star Wars reference. If they do, you should explain why.

Look here, here, and here for information regarding copyright, libel, and slander, which you might run into in your references.

(via characterandwritinghelp)

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

Octavia E. Butler