Character building is hard. I’m a writer, not a math-person, but I’d say that character makes up at least 62% of your novel. So how do you create authentic, well-rounded Queer characters that aren’t simply walking stereotypes? You want your characters to be actual human beings, and not just cardboard copies of people from the L Word.
Let’s Begin: Queer-specifics
A good starting point to the basics of character building is chart like this one.
To write realistic and meaningful Queer characters, the first thing you should consider is that their sexuality should not be an afterthought.
While sexuality and/or gender is not the defining feature of a person’s identity, being Queer does shape the way in which we encounter the world. It is important to understand how Queerness informs your character’s experiences and worldview.
Queerness isn’t just about sexuality and gender – it’s can also be about culture, community and politics. Being Queer takes a lot of emotional, psychological and sometimes physical effort. Try to understand and respect this. And remember: being Queer isn’t just an ornament or accessory to someone’s identity.
What you can do
If you’re Queer:
If you are writing Queer characters from the perspective of your own experiences, you can trust that you’re starting from a good place. It’s vital as Queer authors that we represent ourselves and our communities authentically and realistically. This is the premise behind the Own Voices movement: to recognise the importance of marginalised stories being told by marginalised voices.
There are so few AusQueerYA books written in total, let alone by LGBTQ+ authors. Get YA Words Out are attempting to shine a light on Own Voices books, finding new Queer voices and encouraging the publication of more Own Voices AusQueerYA.