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Can I Write? — Part 2

| Jul 6, 2015
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Part 1

writing-clip-art-5Okay, ask yourself another question – What do I like to read?

You see, it’s so much easier to write stuff that you like and from which derive pleasure. I like character driven stories, where the plots are almost secondary to the people, and the endings are happy, with justice done and rewards to those who deserve it. I’m not into explicit and obvious sexual content, but perhaps enough spice to get the juices flowing, shall we say.

I like the story to be more important than the individual’s personal problems – so, take a character who happens to be transgendered in some way; well, I will treat the TG nature as just one facet of that person’s nature – one of many. That way, the individual’s entire personality is more important than just one TG facet. The character, such as Josie Fortune (from When Fortune Smiles) is a young MTF transsexual who happens to get caught up in a political/crime conspiracy at the same time as undergoing transition. Her intelligence, ingenuity, sense of humour are all facets of the character as is her gender confusion.

It may be you want to embroil your character in your personal fantasy, sexual or otherwise. Feel free. This is for you and you alone, so write what you want to write. Write whatever you enjoy. If it’s explicit, then do it. If and when you start trying to write in order to receive some remuneration, you must decide what you want the outside world to see of you… but at this stage, that’s a long way off.

So, you have a character, now what do you do?

Start small.

Write a simple short story (say 500 words) in which you introduce your character. Draw on your imagination to paint a picture in words of his/her character, personality, appearance, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. You will find yourself painting a self-portrait of how you would like yourself to appear.

Introduction – Introduce your character and where he or she happens to be – location, stage of life etc – set the scene.

First part – start the story – send your character off to do something.

Middle – the meaty bit – where they meet someone or something happens.

Conclusion – the result of the middle bit – the consequences of whatever they chose to do.  Always try to finish with an eye on the next part (unless of course you’ve bumped them off in the end).


Try it.

Take a simple premise. Say, going out dressed for the first time.

Introduce our character, include all frustrations and desires. Introduce the thrill of the idea to go out, in public, dressed as the person they’d like to be.

First part – get ready.  Go through the stages of transformation. Write short and simple sentences, so don’t be too ambitious yet. Link specific actions to emotions. Avoid clichés. Tell the reader what’s happening; show them, straight from your imagination, what you want them to see. Don’t just write a list, but describe everything so all senses can be made to come alive.

Pretend it’s a movie and you’re the director. You get to choose what they see. The characters are the actors, there to do what you tell them to. Are they wooden and one dimensional, or are they expressive and in full colour?

Right – the meaty bit.  Describe what your character does, where they go, how they get there and what they feel along the way.  Who do they meet? What reactions are displayed? What happens next?  Use dialogue to help tell the story. Use short descriptive phrases to help you.

Example – “Is there anyone sitting here?” he asked, with a measure of hope in his tone.

“No,” the girl replied, smiling to offer some fuel to that hope.

“Thanks,” he said, sitting down and returning the smile. “I’m not intruding, am I?”

“No, I’d welcome the company,” she said, honestly.

That sets a scene that could lead to all manner of scenarios. However, by changing one or two words, it can give a whole new meaning.

Thus — “Is there anyone sitting here?” he asked, with a measure of hope in his tone.

“No,” the girl replied, making it sound as if she wished that there was.

“Thanks,” he said, sitting down and smiling apologetically. “I’m not intruding, am I?”

“Not really,” she said, honestly.


So, you’ve set your character off, they’ve done something, met someone and now they’re heading back.  Bring the conclusion in. Make it snappy. Try introducing a surprise ending, and one that nobody could see coming… leave it hanging so the reader, even if it’s just yourself, is begging for more. It could be that you’ve sent your character out, and they’ve perhaps done something simple like gone to a Starbucks for a coffee. They’ve met someone and gone home.  Well, finish it off by having the character strip off the clothes and get into bed.  As far as the reader is concerned, they’re all alone. Then, right at the end, get them to say to the new person in their life…

“Turn off the light, there’s a love!”

Once it’s finished, go to the beginning and read it out loud (to yourself). This is the best way of picking up on crappy writing. Pretend that you’ve not written it. Does it flow, does it make sense, is it clear?

If not, repair what doesn’t work. I’ve re-written over thousands of words – entire chapters, before now, when a story founders.

It might be you want to fill out some of the bare bones – give an extra depth of character – it could be that by describing someone’s eyes a certain way, you’ve given them a whole different character –they are now mean and nasty, so is that what you wanted?

Don’t set the exact amount of words ; just don’t be too ambitious to start. Have an idea as to what the story is, and who knows, perhaps other characters appear and fill it some more. What about parents, partners, siblings?

Tips and tricks.

To make it more readable, do not write huge paragraphs without breaks and/or indents. To start, try writing with a line between each paragraph.

Always start dialogue on a new line, don’t incorporate it in a paragraph.. you will lose it.

Don’t worry about grammar and punctuation until you’ve finished. If you can read and understand it, that’s fine. If you want others to read it, have it checked by a friend or someone who knows what they are looking for.

If you show it/post it for others to read – expect criticism. Don’t take it personally. I know it’s your baby, but if the next baby is going to be better, then listen to what is said. They might be wrong. Nobody says that you have to do what they say. In fact, often they will be wrong. However, be prepared to admit that you can always learn from mistakes.

There is no right and wrong way to write. Some sketch out their entire plot before hand, with character lists and descriptions before they write a word. I don’t. I never know where my books are going, and have no idea of the characters until they suddenly appear. I start with an idea, and let it flow as I go.

Avoid repetition in sentences. Try to use different words that say the same thing to give some variation.

Avoid slang and colloquialisms – if it is for just you, fine, but if you’re writing for others, remember the English in other parts of the world is very different from where you speak it. If you want to set your story in one of those other parts – get a local person to check it. I use U.S. editors a lot, so as to get my Americanisms realistic. I accept that we are more international these days – but slang is slang, and should be avoided.

Above all, have fun and go where you want to go.

I am always open to questions and to offer help.  I’m not an editor, but may be able to offer advice on occasion – if not swamped by hopefuls?

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Category: Transgender How To

Tanya Allan

About the Author ()

Tanya Allan is a prolific writer of various works, including novels, short stories and poetry. Some of her work, relating to transgender issues, may be familiar to those who feel that perhaps life would have been easier had they been born with a body and mind of the same gender. Her other - non-TG work has also been published, but under a different name. Tanya is now settled in the southern half of the United Kingdom (sometimes known as England). Born and educated in Scotland, and having experienced over a half century of life, in a myriad of guises, mostly involved keeping the realm safe and secure from enemies, both domestic and foreign, Tanya has a more sedate life now, concentrating on grandchildren, dogs, travel and writing.

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