But which one WAS the hot one? 🤔


KAT VANCIL

THE STORYTELLER'S SAGA

QUEST 63

Well hello there, Reader!

Growing up autistic, you never really realize anything you do is unusual until things like this happen…

It was mid/post/who even knows anymore🙄 pandemic and I was with a bunch of my dance classmates at a farewell dinner for a friend. We’d all had a great meal and were waiting to pay when one of them bemoaned…

Ugh. I just should have asked for his number.”

“Whose number?” I asked.

“The server.”

“Which one? I can go ask for you,” I offered.

You see, I have zero ability to feel shame. And I’m already married.

She perked right up. “The hot one.”

I looked around the burger restaurant (that’s since closed) and I genuinely couldn’t tell which one she thought was the “hot one.”

Now, that isn’t to say I can’t judge human aesthetics. I went to art school after all. So I’ve stared at more naked humans than I can count. But—and go along with me on this one, Reader—when I look at humans I’m not intimately familiar with, I don’t feel anything. It’s like looking at paint on a wall.

Sure, I can guess based on my years of training and study in the arts that one human might be considered more aesthetically pleasing than another. But if I have no attachment to them… Nothing.

And in this case, every male waitstaff in the building looked equal to me. Needless to say, my response of “Which one?” baffled everyone at the table.

At first, they thought it was a joke. Then they realized I was serious and couldn’t understand how I didn’t know which guy was “the hot one.”

And no amount of explaining seemed to help the situation.

Then about a year later, I was relating this dinner story to another friend when they stopped me with this piece of insight: “Hey, Kat, have you ever considered that you might be demisexual?”

I laughed. “Funny you should say that, because…”

I had recently binge-read a fantastic indie comic called That Awkward Magic!! about two teen boys in a fake dating scheme.

Basically, Evan cowardly dumps his cheerleader girlfriend only to get immediately roped into fake-dating his classmate Ansel. The two boys are discovered hiding in a literal closet when witch boy Ansel’s newly awakened powers go a bit out of control.

Insanity ensues as they navigate their fake relationship and Ansel’s new witchy powers. But it’s more than just that.

Over the course of the story (which started in 2017 and started back up this January), Evan comes to realize there’s nothing fake about their relationship. He’s just demisexual and experiences things differently than his peers.

And I realized in the time I had been following along with the comedic and sometimes heart-wrenchingly honest lives of these two teen boys and their friends while they navigated love and sexuality, that I was Demi too.

Because it wasn’t just that dinner.

It was my classmates in 7th grade gushing about the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC and I didn’t see the appeal at all. Because I thought their music was crap and the Spice Girls had better songs.

It was my friends in high school having crushes on celebs or boys they’d never even talked to. And I just couldn’t relate to that.

It was a lifetime of how and why everyone felt something and I just…didn’t.

And then there was this character who felt—or more accurately didn’t feel—just like me. And then I met people who were also just like me.

And isn’t that the most important thing about stories? To not only entertain us, but to help teach us something about ourselves along the way?

To make us feel less alone.

Less alien.

Less…other.

And so, Reader, if you’d like to have this sort of impact on a reader, I’ve got 4 ways to include queer characters in your next story. Because it’s Pride Month and representation matters.

1) Team Up

Not a member of the queer community yourself but want to feature more queer diversity in your fiction? You could team up with a queer author to ensure the characters you create are authentically and truthfully represented.

2) Everyone is Awesome

You could feature a diverse cast of queer characters to showcase the spectrum of hardships and challenges queer persons face each day. This will also allow the reader a greater range of characters they can identify with.

You can also watch Heartstopper on ​Netflix​.

3) I like Boys + Slaying Dragons

You could create a Fantasy or SciFi story in which the Legendary Characters just happen to be queer, but the main focus of the story isn’t their sexuality.

That isn’t to say that their sexuality or gender can’t be an obstacle or conflict in the story. Because speculative fiction is a great medium to discuss important social issues that matter.

4) Love IS Love

You could create a Fantasy story set in a queer-normative world in which the sexuality of the characters is neither an issue or taboo in the story’s setting and focus solely on queer characters wielding magic like the badasses they are.

But whatever you choose to do, Reader, remember: don’t just include queer characters for token diversity. Or worse, use bad stereotypes. Because representation matters. But bad representations hurt.

Your cohort in storytelling,

Kat Vancil

🐱

PS 👉 All month long on The Saga I’m going to be running a blog series on different curated lists of book/comic recommendations featuring queer 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ characters. So if you have any favorites you’d like me to add to the lists just hit reply and let me know!

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Sarah Marie Page

Heart-pounding YA and NA fantasy

Hi! I'm Sarah! I'm a YA and NA fantasy author. 🔥🌹 If you like A Court of Thorns and Roses and the Fourth Wing, you would LOVE my books. Wanna check one out? I'll send you my short story, Rapacity! Here's what it's about: "18-year-old Catalina has one purpose: marry her fiance, then murder him. But all bets are off when she strikes a bargain with the trickster demon prince and discovers her fiance is planning to murder her too."


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I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

Here to help you vanquish those story construction obstacles, slay that imposter syndrome clawing at the back of your brain & stomp boredom flat with heart-pounding Boys Love fiction. Join the Saga and choose your inbox obsession, whether it’s helpful advice to get your writing unstuck or an episode of my weekly Boys Love Fantasy series to devour during your coffee break.

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