nonbinary people who are okay with gendered pronouns/names are still nonbinary and if a nonbinary person tells you they’re okay with gendered pronouns then it’s really not your place to say that their gender identity is less valid because of that, even if you yourself are nonbinary. Gender is different for everyone and there’s no “valid way” to be a certain gender the only validation you need is your own.
I’m not the most voracious or wide-ranging reader I know, but I’m fucking tired of reading the below phrases:
-“Low-slung” to describe anything (seriously, I see this WAY too much in otherwise fantastic sentences)
-“Wan expression” or “wanly” or really any use of “wan” other than “I wan’ snuggle you”. “Wan” went out with the Nancy Drew books.
-“Quipped” (only appropriate if your book is set in the 1930’s and your narrator is from the 1930’s and you just NEED TO USE THAT Q because I don’t know maybe you’re playing Scrabble with your manuscript)
- When you describe a song that clearly you, the writer, know the artist and title of, that’s playing in the background of your story and narrated as “and (artist) was singing about (the subject of the song)” - we get it, you inserted one of your fave songs into the narrative but you don’t want to make it seem like your narrator is actually you who has played the song over and over and knows it back to front. Are you writing this story for the one person who’ll go “oh! I know what song she’s talking about! How droll!” Fuck you. I didn’t sign on for a game of Find-The-Ditty.
- “ragged breathing” - think of the last time you ever described anything as “ragged”. Good. Now do a find and replace.
So if you’re going to use ANY OF THE ABOVE:
Secondary (and tertiary and further) characters are every bit as important as your main character. Where the main character has to be the vehicle for her or his personal story — and more often than not it’s a story of exceptions — the secondary characters are going to carry your world. By having a wide and diverse cast of bit characters, you show your world as being rich and fully-formed. Characters will accomplish this impression of a ‘full world’ far more evocatively than any amount of trivia you might come up with. But, seeing as secondary characters by nature get less page-time than main characters, it can sometimes be hard to really express them as being vivid and fully-developed.
- Less is more - It feels hard to give your secondary characters as much development as your main characters because it is hard. It’s nigh-on impossible. And frankly, books that try it run the risk of getting too cluttered. So don’t. While your characters should be fully-formed to you, the audience should only get glimpses of them when they’re on the page. If they have their own character arc but we only get to see the start and the end of it, that’s fine. The impression that they’ve got off-page stuff we don’t get to see is going to make them feel more real anyway.