Kurt Vonnegut’s Rules for Short Stories
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages."
Remember that gender presentation and gender identity are different concepts. Just because someone looks, dresses, or acts a certain way does not dictate what gender they identify as or what pronouns/gender nouns they prefer. That said, everyone has a different idea of what gender is and how it feels for them. You might like to look at these terms to see if one of them works for your character:
- Nonbinary (an umbrella term for people outside the gender binary that encompasses NB gender identities as well as functioning as its own identity)
- Androgyne (a nonbinary/genderqueer gender identity that includes both masculine and feminine characteristics)
- Neutrois (another nb/queer gender identity that includes neither masculine nor feminine)
- Agender (similar/synonymous[?] to neutrois, is neither masculine nor feminine)
We have a bunch of posts in the gender tag that might help you further narrow it down. Look around for a term that makes the most sense for your character and that feels right for them.
I disagree with the premise of this ask, and I am here to help you understand why.
Readers will be satisfied with stuff like that, if that’s what your story is about and you write it well. Empathy is an extremely important human quality and that’s what stories like these invoke in a reader - empathy. Like, I’m a really big Taylor Swift fan (I know, I know, shut up) and every time I’m going through a break-up or a happy time or a hopeless crush and I hear a song by her that I can relate to, it totally warms my heart. Like Nice! She gets me. Other people have been here, too. This makes me feel better. That’s just one thing you’re doing with stories like these. I don’t think realistic fiction gets enough credit sometimes. The world doesn’t have to end for everyone in order for you to write a truly awesome story - maybe just for one person, and maybe just for a day.
What I’m really trying to say is that death and the end of the world are not the only things a person can have “truly at stake.” It is insulting and ignorant to the human experience to suggest that a relationship being at stake, whether it be romantic, platonic, familial or other, does not constitute something being “truly” at stake. Love is very important. One could argue there is nothing more important. People do actively care about love (or at least I do!), so please don’t worry about that.
Domestic problems pose true threats to people. If it sucks, you can write a novel about it. Breaking up sucks. Losing sucks. School sucks. There are more issues that, in my experiences, are pretty devastating compared to “normal” domestic problems - addiction, death of loved ones, disease, running away. Those things all suck on like a nuclear level.
Anyway, give your ideas about realistic fiction more credit, friend! Good luck, and welcome to the YA contemporary/realistic fic club.
montanaskye27 asked: If I were to have a character that smokes, when or how many times would be considered a decent amount for them to light up a cigarette without overdoing it?
In the United States, it looks like the daily average for most smokers is between 16 and 23 cigarettes per day. You can probably do a search for any location plus “average daily cigarette consumption per adult smoker” if you need information for someplace else.