The Dancing Writer's Advice

Amber Skye Forbes

The Dancing Writer's Advice

Anonymous said: Could you tell us about the whole superhero cat thing?

That’s just something silly I made up for my bio because cats, for some reason, are always associated with writers—not to mention I have my own cat. So there really isn’t a special story behind it. I’ve been hospitalized in a psyche ward twice, have no shame in admitting it, and so I like to poke fun at it a little bit, and my cat being a super hero and breaking me out is one such way I jest.

Copyright Infringement: A Warning to all Authors



Originally posted on blindoggbooks:
I would like to share a letter sent to me by a fellow independent author, who wishes to remain anonymous, about a website claiming to be promoting independent authors, when in reality it appears that they are offering free downloads of the work of dozens of us. If you are an…

Pay attention…. 

It seems like just about every book in existence is on this website, mine included. But apparently if you try to download a book, you’ll also download a bunch of viruses with it.

So, to the people who have stolen my book, I hope your computers crash.

Copyright Infringement: A Warning to all Authors

Originally posted on blindoggbooks:
I would like to share a letter sent to me by a fellow independent author, who wishes to remain anonymous, about a website claiming to be promoting independent authors, when in reality it appears that they are offering free downloads of the work of dozens of us. If you are an…

The Dancing Writer's Advice

powderjr said: Help. I'm currently writing a story and I'm about 9 chapters in and I'm determined to finish it. The problem is now I'm getting plot ideas for a different story that I wanna write. But I don't want to end up just dropping the first one. Advice?

Hmm…I can’t give you a simple, straight answer to fix this. I can tell you that if you want, you can write those ideas down in a notebook or something and store them away for later. However, for me, when I get an idea, I just keep it in my brain. I don’t write it down because I don’t want to run the risk of abandoning the current project I’m working on. And I do remember those ideas, because I still have a few ideas of future books I want to read, and I haven’t written a single word down about them.

Another thing you can do, which is what I do, is do a detailed outline of the rest of your chapters so that way you’re on track, you don’t get stuck, and you can just blow through the book without abandoning it. That’s what I’ve been having to do because I was away from the current book I’m working on for almost a month, and it was hard for me to get back into it. However, once I got back to doing my detailed outline, I had zero issues being put right back into the story.

If not any of these, sheer will is what you’re going to have to use. You’re going to have to force yourself to finish that book with the realization that if you don’t, you may never finish a book if something like this continuously happens: you start on a new book and abandon it because you get another idea. So keep that in mind.

The Dancing Writer's Advice

Anonymous said: Do you have any book recommendations, or books that you're reading right now you'd like to share and what you think of them?

To be honest, I haven’t been reading too much as of late because I’ve been binge writing. A book I still haven’t yet finished is Tales from Foster High, which is pretty good. I’ve been reading a lot of books from Harmony Ink Press, just so I can get a general idea of the type of stuff they publish in order to tailor my book to that a little bit. They’ve got a lot of good books if you want to read books with LGBTQ+ characters.

Other than that, I don’t really have any recommendations, but I’m sure my followers do!




We’re seeking submissions of Young Adult stories with bisexual main characters! We’re looking for main characters ages 14-18 who experience positive character growth though the story.

Please see the information in the poster above or check our our submission guidelines.

See a more complete list of what we’re looking for at the original post. And please, give us feedback if there’s something you’d like to see that we’ve left out.

Or, Here’s an idea!  

Instead of making the character’s sexuality the centerpiece, Go pick up a book and read it.

A character’s sexuality isn’t specified, important to the story, or mentioned?  They’re Bisexual.  Or Asexual.  Or Gay.  Or undecided.  There, that wasn’t Hard.

I get so tired of the LGBT community putting so much emphasis on Orientation that they drown the fact that these are People, As if gender preference in a sexual partner was the only possible thing that can define you as a person.  

Most of the people I associate with don’t know my orientation because I keep it on a need to know basis.  I also don’t tell them that I prefer lead based solder over lead free, a preference that has an important impact on my everyday life.  Or that I prefer a minivan to every other form of automobile.  Or that I prefer being Nude at home if at all possible.  

Turning a Preference into a ‘Lifestyle’ is what turns People into Stereotypes.  Doesn’t matter if it’s sexuality, music, media, or consumer goods.  When you make ‘What I like to Do’ into ‘Who I Am’, you’re part of the Problem. 

Representation matters.

Maybe not to you personally, but it does to me. To a lot of people who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. To a lot of People of Color. To a lot of people with disabilities. To a lot of people who don’t get a lot of opportunities to see themselves in the media they consume.

Media forms our ideas about what’s beautiful and what’s not. What’s acceptable and what’s not. What’s broken and what’s not. It’s important for people to be able to see themselves in media. It’s important for marginalized groups to be seen in media.

A lot of people who are questioning their sexual/romantic orientation or gender identity use media representation to help figure out how they actually feel. Without books, movies, and television shows showing LGBTQ+ people, they lose that resource.

I don’t know for certain how different my life would have been if I’d seen or read about more asexual characters growing up, but I know it would have changed. I probably wouldn’t have been in my 30s when I figured out I was asexual. I probably wouldn’t have spent part of my later teenage years wondering what was wrong with me.

And if there were more asexual representation in media, I might not encounter so many people who still think there’s something wrong with me. Because that’s the other side of it. Representation not only validates the people being represented, but it affects the opinions of everyone else who consumes the media as well.

And that’s why we can’t pretend a character is gay or bisexual or asexual or questioning or transgender or whatever else they want to see represented, because it’s not the same thing. The benefits that come from actual representation don’t exist if we’re just pretending or arbitrarily assigning a sexual/romantic orientation or gender identity to a character who doesn’t have it assigned in text.

Even if the benefits were the same, pretending just doesn’t work, unless we’re supposed to pretend that minor background characters identify as LGBTQ+. Most main characters talk about their love interests, and while that may leave room to pretend a character is bisexual or pansexual or even an alloromantic asexual, it does eliminate the possibility of them exclusively experiencing same-gender attraction. A lot of main characters in media are shown having sex and experiencing sexual attraction, which means we can’t pretend they’re asexual. Most of them are comfortable with the names and pronouns they were assigned at birth and don’t talk about any body issues beyond weight and pimples, so it’s difficult to pretend they’re trans or agender or non-binary or genderqueer.

And even if there is a main character that doesn’t have any of those issues, when we say publicly that we feel they identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, the rest of the world disagrees with us and tells us that they have to be straight and cis because otherwise it would have been mentioned.

So yes, it actually is hard.

And, by the way, nothing in this call for submission says that being bisexual has to be the defining characteristic of the main character. It has to be a characteristic of the main character. We want books with characters who read like real people who happen to identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. And the book doesn’t have to revolve around them identifying that way either. We want fantasies and mysteries and science fiction and historicals and romances. We want teenagers who go on amazing journeys and teenagers who deal with real life problems. We want characters who are out and proud and characters who are in the closet and characters who are still figuring out who they are. We want characters who are jocks or cosplayers or who love math or science or literature or all of the above. We want characters who do well in school and who don’t and who don’t go at all for whatever reason. We want characters from big families and small families and no family and who find a family.

We want them to be real, not defined by their sexual/romantic orientation or gender identity.

But through all of that, we want the fact that they identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum to be clear. Because you know what? If they didn’t identify as LGBTQ+, there’s a really good chance that fact would be made clear, and we deserve nothing less.

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree! I am writing a character who is asexual, and I have him explicitly mention that he is. I even have him mention some of the issues he’s had identifying as asexual, but it is not the sole centerpiece of the book.

It’s easy to see heterosexuality in books, especially if the sexual attraction to the opposite sex is obvious. Maybe you’re talking about treating it as no big deal, like this guy just happens to be dating a guy and it’s no big deal, but in our society, it still is a big deal. People are still ignorant, prejudiced, and hateful against anything that is not heteronormative. Not to mention we WANT more representation, and so of course we want to be able to talk about our orientations so people can understand.

I see a lot of headcanons going around on Tumblr that mention the possibility of such and such character being asexual, but there is never an explicit mention of it, and I WANT an explicit mention. I don’t want asexuality to be the sole defining factor, but I also don’t want to have to analyze a character to see if he or she is asexual.

People have mentioned the possibility of Katniss Everdeen being asexual, but it’s never even explicitly stated in the book. Only people who know about asexuality would try to analyze this, but people who don’t, who think it’s strange, who don’t think it exists, are just going to assume she’s heterosexual.

So, for me, I want asexuality to be explicitly stated so that those reading books like this can understand asexuality and what it means for that character to be asexual—without it being the sole defining factor, of course.

*Not spoiler* My MC in this most recent book I’m drafting is struggling trying to accept that his boyfriend is dead and has been dead for a year, but he also mentions that his asexuality has caused a few problems along the way in his relationship, especially when he began identifying as asexual in middle school. But he occasionally mentions this throughout the book as it relates to a certain situation he’s in. Otherwise, the entire book revolves around survival and escape, not him struggling to accept his asexuality, because he already accepts it. 

The Dancing Writer's Advice

Anonymous said: I'm writing a British character and I found this "Writing British Characters" article, but the point is that I'm not writing in English. Do you have any tips how I should convey britishness in another language or should I consider myself lucky and just mention fish & chips ever so often? (of course locations/weather etc are verified)

I’m not sure what language you’re writing in, but I would just mostly worry about British customs, how their culture differs from other cultures, their politics, their world views, and things of that nature. You can probably throw in some British slang every so often, depending on the character, but I don’t know if whatever language you’re using could translate that well. You also want to convey everything correctly, like their cultures, customs, foods, locations of certain things, general weather, ect.

If there are any British followers of mine, I’d definitely appreciate your input into this. I’m used to writing “British” characters in the 19th century, so I tend to read a lot of books from that era, but hardly from our modern era.

The Dancing Writer's Advice

Anonymous said: so i saw your post about what you can/can't include in a novel regarding copyright but i was wondering something about the song lyric one. is vaguely describing an existing song still breaching the copyright? such as, "the singer had a high voice, sounding quite young and almost feminine. he sung about love, asking questions about items and just being friends. the chorus was nothing more than the word 'baby' repeated over and over. it was upbeat, i'll give it that." would that be okay or not?

As far as I know, that would be okay, because you’re not explicitly using any lyrics, and you’re not mentioning who’s singing it. I know you can mention celebrities in passing, but I don’t think you can put them in as actual characters, especially if they are speaking in some form. Not to mention ANY song out there can repeat the word ‘baby’ in some way.

The Dancing Writer's Advice

cre8iveovadose said: Different anon jsyk. I think it's sort of naive to be sick of "the chosen one cliche" because the main character/chosen one of a book is the main character for a reason. When it's lumped together with other cliches like love at first sight and unable to function without love interest, it's definitely less bearable. But the chosen one is often a necessary plot device. Reading would be pretty sucky if we could only read about the sidekick watching awesome stuff happen to other people.

The chosen one cliche can become a chosen one cliche if there is absolutely no reason why this protagonist suddenly becomes the chosen one, and this often happens in fantasy novels. If there’s a lot of background to justify why this person was chosen, then it isn’t a cliche. I probably should have specified that, but it would have become wordy.

The Prophecy of the Stone comes to mind. For some reason, three girls were chosen to go on this epic adventure, and there was nothing explaining why they were specially chosen for the task.