[Ed. note: added another question, below]
Day two of the month long challenge of NaNoWriMo has been completed and I’ve written approximately 4690 words so far. The story and characters are beginning to flesh themselves out. It is this point in the process of writing that the story begins to reveal itself to me.
I always start out with an idea of who the characters are, their motivations, history, etc. However, I don’t know everything up front. Case in point, as I’ve been writing and thinking about this new story, I’ve discovered that my characters were in high school during the mid to late 90s. Birth years between 1978 – 1980, graduating class of somewhere between 1996-98. That puts them a good bit younger than me and coming of age in a different decade than I did. That means that pop culture influences need to be researched: what music do they listen to? what books are they reading? what’s going on in pop culture that will influence how they see LGBTQ people and issues?
Oh, and my main transmasculine character considers Stone Butch Blues to be a major influence… problem for me is, I haven’t actually read it yet. This is where the characters start to boss me around a bit, because JD is now insisting that I read it in order to understand him better.
I’m pretty sure this whole process is a very roundabout form of therapy that hopefully results in a good story.
I would love to hear from anyone of you about your experiences as a teen or young adult, especially during the time period of 1990-1998. Here’s some of what I’m looking for:
1) How aware were you about transgender people and issues? Had you ever heard of, read about or met anyone who was ftm?
2) What media influences do you remember that played a part in informing you about LGBT issues? (news sources, talk shows, etc.)
3) What books, movies, zines, etc. were part of your education about LGBT issues?
4) if you are a transmasculine person now, did you identify as such as a teen or young adult? What labels did you use to describe yourself (butch, dyke, androgynous, trans, etc.)
5) did you have role models within your community who helped inform you about your identity — either directly or indirectly?
6) if you are a transmasculine person now, but didn’t identify as one during your teen and/or young adult years, what kept you from that identification and what changed for you?
7) what music were you listening to?
8) what region/state did you live in? Would you describe where you lived as urban, suburban or rural?
9) if you identifed as femme, lesbian, were attracted to transmasculine people during that time period, who were your role models, if any? What was your experience with navigating the sometimes tricky waters of transmasculine identity as a girlfriend, friend, acquaintance? What else would you like to share?
Consider answering any or all of these questions, they will help me research and flesh out the various characters in my novel. Anything else you’d like to add, or resources you think would be helpful, I’d greatly appreciate them. Thanks, y’all. Now, back to work.
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