Life and Death in Tropeland (potential collaboration?)

Ever browsed through books and felt you weren’t represented? Ever struggled with creating a realistic character? Ever wanted to break out and diversify beyond your own life experiences but didn’t know where to start or were scared of getting it wrong? Well hopefully this will be a fun and informative solution (and a great procrastination tool) for writers!

I’ve recently come to realise that there are many, many people out there who have very little representation, or when they do, it often falls into the same tropes, cliches and stereotypes (I’m not talking about COG/HG stories here because they’re usually brilliant).

What I’m currently thinking is of putting together a collaborative (because I know NOTHING, Jon Snow) HG style story resource for creating characters that subvert tropes, stereotypes and cliches.
A type of springboard where authors can discover more about certain characteristics, disabilities or traits they may have never considered making integral to their characters. If this does interest people, I’d love to make it something fun while including anecdotes and advice from groups that feel marginalised or just want to put some observations about representation and authenticity out there. If possible, adding links to resources for detailed reading would be great.

For example, I’ve been doing extensive research on blindness for a future story and been reading about the kind of problems a lot of blind readers have with characters they don’t feel represent them at all, particularly in science-fiction or fantasy.
I found out that although complete blindness only accounts for around 2% of people who identify as blind, novels and other media (why, Hollywood, why?!) portray this type of blindness in most of the precious few characters with visual impairment.

Not only that but a lot of people feel frustrated when blind characters are given abilities or powers that negate their blindness cough Daredevil cough. Why aren’t there blind people who generate forcefields or become super stretchy people? Why are they consigned to the typical mystic seer, super-hearing or able to see through other people’s eyes type side character?

Before reading what people said I’d never even thought about it even though I’ve come across that trope so many times. I’d probably have ended up using the trope at some point because I absorbed it without thinking. Researching something and knowing how others feel about the way they’re portrayed really are two different things (I’m being stupid and pointing out the obvious, sorry…).

I’m sure everyone’s got a story or three about running across the same annoying thing whether it’s about always being the ‘weak girlfriend’, ‘one who dies first’, ‘intelligent autistic person who can’t communicate’ or you’re just not represented at all. Have you got an insight you’d like to share? Maybe it’s the fact that you don’t like people referring to your skin colour as food? Maybe there’s something you want people to celebrate about you! I don’t know, and I think that’s the point. I want to know! You probably want others to know!

If this is remotely interesting to you please chuck some suggestions or advice at me because I’m still trying to figure out what exactly this is going to be, or if it’s even something people would like.

Thanks for reading.

Sample for the layout I’m currently experimenting with;


Hoi. This hot. Sign me up under autistic spectrum, non-binary (undefined) trans, leg and hip deformities (kind of disabled), otherkin, grey-cetero-romantic grey-polysexual, under the asexual umbrella.

I have gender dysphoria, clinical depression, generalised anxiety, dissociative disorder, depersonalisation disorder, a mystery illness and IBS. I was born 16 weeks premature weighing 1.10lbs, which is about 500g. I was raised by a single mother in a female community. I see my father occasionally.

I’m, uh, coughs DFAB and I’m a pasty white quarter German, technical middle class kinda kid. I wear a hand splint on my right hand for tendon and prolly nerve damage and cannot grip things well. I am not closeted in public regarding my being trans, but I am with my father’s family. I have undergone no surgery nor transitioning nor do I desire to do so.

Anything else to note? I don’t know. Hit me up if whatever, or something.


Sound interesting tho what the story and

Hey! I think this is a great idea. I’m an absolutely terrible writer but if you’re open to ideas I would have one for you.

Basicaly I dont know if you noticed but no matter where I look, fat characters alway end up being one of a few negative stereotype.

Fat people in fiction either dont exist or are limited to stuff like: A fat *sshole, a fat idiot, an uninteresting sidekick, someone obsessed with food or a gross mix of those tropes. The only positive fat characters I saw were kind old men but thats it.

When you get to make a character you cant ever be fat too. I’m not super fat but its annoying that the only options I usualy end up having to chose is to be a beefcake or else my character will be skinny wich is damn annoying.

What I would like to see is a fat character that isnt a stereotype. The only fat character I ever saw as a RO option was a character in a game here and in the end we couldnt stay with them anyway so basicaly the only fat character romance I ever saw had a sad ending anyway and the only game I saw where we could be fat on here was the Blackraven prison WIP and I was just really surprised to see it as an option. I was glad though because for once I could connect with my character more than usual and if there was to be a negative comment it would not come from my own character but from the people around (it is a prison environement so being called a fatass wasnt problematic at all. Its prisoners what do you expect)

I understand that not everyone want to play a fat character but in the end we usualy end up not having the choice to be close to that at all and when there is a fat character they will alway be seen as problematic, dumb or so unwanted by others that they are aromantic not by choice but by circonstance.

The fact that everyone who’s important alway end up being attractive skinny/buff people is very annoying too. When is the last time you saw an unatractive character that wasnt terrible and succeded in what they wanted? Personaly I dont play IF to get a crush on characters, I do it for the great stories but its as if authors only see beautiful people as positive and unatractive persons as negative so that wasted immersion for a lot of stories to me.


Wow, yeah. These are the kinds of things I think about when I think about game design: inclusivity. There are certainly two ways to approach the issue: either you aim to make a game that predefines the PC as little as possible, and make into variables only characteristics that have an actual impact on the game mechanics, or you make a more self-aware game whose purpose is to promote these issues, in which case you’ve grounds for having lots of different variables in the name of the player’s self-expression.

So, looking at your intro template here, it dives pretty fast into the matter of selecting your character’s sex, which means your approach has got to follow the latter of the two. That’d be fine in a more defined setting, but here, I sense conflict; we are a spark of inspiration in a room with Life and Death and the Narrator - we could be anything! Why would we worry about our gender in such a liberated space? For no reason whatsoever! Put me in a medieval fantasy setting and I’ll pick my sex straight away. Put me in a sci-fi cyborg story, and expect me to be less interested in paying attention to binary identifications (unless there happens to be a young Harrison Ford involved :smirk:).

And by the way, when will you obstinate English-speaking people understand that replacing gender pronouns with “it” is the easiest solution? :stuck_out_tongue: That “hir” looks more distracting than anything…

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Singular they is easy to use and doesnt put them in the same category as inanimated objects.


Oh, this is a cute idea and neat format! A few resources that might be helpful for you to check out in your research:

Btw, I’m somewhat uncomfortable with your phrasing/emphasis on “biologically” female/male/intersex in the wip. I’m cis myself (so not the best expert in this) but it’s a messy loosely defined term that I’ve lately seen taken up by unpleasant types (TERFs and their ilk). While the question format towards the reader is typical of CoG, it’s a bit jarring to have one’s “biological sex” demanded, especially before asking what gender one identifies as. It might be a preferable option to include a longer, comorehensive list of identities, including trans options. But then again, I don’t have the personal experience to speak on this at length, so take in context of more qualified thoughts! :stuck_out_tongue:


Sorry, I don’t want to be a fucking object. :stuck_out_tongue:

You know what else is distracting? Irregular verbs. And yet we learn them by heart in society.

This. DFAB and DMAB are the correct terms of the day, and with intersex it’s CA_B for “coercively assigned __ at birth” if they’d had “corrective” surgery as a baby.


This is why I prefer singular they. “It” is dehumanizing, and hir/xe type invented pronouns are going to be difficult for most people to remember.

But we all already know they. This is theirs, they went to the store.

If someone insists on a certain set of pronouns for themselves, I’m personally willing to make a crib sheet for myself to learn and remember but most people barely care about gender issues to begin with.


And yet, my dear, it is the pronoun of some nbs for this very reason! Just, personally not my thing.

One of my favourite quotes is from Uzo Aduba:

"My family is from Nigeria, and my full name is Uzoamaka, which means “The road is good.”

Quick lesson: My tribe is Igbo, and you name your kid something that tells your history and hopefully predicts your future. So anyway, in grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it.

So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?”

I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.”

Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”

And, as such, the cis can buckle up and learn neopronouns. The only difference is the amount of exposure.


Personaly I try to use singular they as much as possible. Its way harder to misgender people that way. I think its important to follow people prefered pronouns but I found that pretty much everyone answer to singular they regardless of their gender so why risk offending someone when you got such a handy pronoun at hand.


Love the quote my surname is even more unpronounceable than her name.


Well, singular they runs into problems when you’re talking about a single person in the company of other people. “They held hands until they started frowning at some thought that was bothering them.” Wut?

I know that “it” sounds dehumanizing to you, but consider for a moment that in order to establish a functioning gender neutral pronoun in a language where there isn’t one, something’s gotta change, right? And that something could be the perception that “it” is dehumanizing. I’m saying this because it happened in Finland, where we now call people by “it” and don’t think twice about it, so I know it’s possible…

Anyhow, I did not mean to derail the discussion in this thread. It was mostly a joke on my part. Please, do continue on the template and potential collaboration topics.


Thing is it might not sound dehumanising in finnish but it does in english and we’re not going to change the meaning of words because its different in Finnish.

Also need to point out that singular they work perfectly in french and we categorise everything in genders so using languages as excuses to misgender people feel cheap. Its not hard to learn to use the pronouns correctly.


Literally singular they has been used for hundreds of years. Also language evolves. We don’t go around using “thou”, “ye” and “hither/yonder” anymore.

I’d rather choose pronouns created by trans people for trans people than reclaim cis ideas of identity.


All pronouns can lead to ambiguities. Say you have a group consisting entirely of women; just saying “she does this, she does that” all the time won’t clarify who’s doing which. So, when it’s ambiguous, people use nouns instead. Pronouns just serve when you don’t need nouns. In this regard, singular “they” isn’t different from any other pronouns; “they” just ends up with a slightly different set of ambiguities. Nothing a writer (or speaker) can’t handle.


Point taken :slight_smile:

I just learned the word for that is neopronouns, so now I have something to google.

@Sontra no worries, it seems like we divert threads with side conversation all the time. If discussion of pronouns needs to be in another thread, we can start one and mods can prune this one.


hhh i can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not

It doesn’t read sarcastically to me, why?


They’re also the ones that fall under the “fae/faeself”, “bun/bunself” type you see so often on otherkin, as well.

It’s b8, comrade. Focus on me.

Any more questions you’ve wanted answers for about this kind of stuff? Any words you don’t know the meaning for, or words for meanings?