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Mod!Challenge Representing the Underrepresented: A Special Mod-Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Briannakin , May 19, 2018.

  1. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Before we get into this mod-challenge, please note that this challenge will deal with some more serious topics (though we hope to have some fun and laughs too!), and it is an experimental challenge. There will be winners as chosen by mods, but not for writing, but instead for reviewing (so please read all instructions). We wanted to run this challenge, both as a mod-challenge that can incorporate both SW and NSWFF, and as it deals with topics close to us personally. We are being vulnerable here. We would like to ask you to be respectful of both your mods, and your fellow participants. As a reminder, mod-challenges are completely voluntary. If you feel as if this challenge isn’t for you, that is okay, feel free to just follow along, or just click out of this thread. And, if you enjoy a more traditional mod challenge, the SW mods are planning on running the classic “Dare Challenge” sometime soon.

    Thank you. Bri, Mav, and Mira.

    Representing the Underrepresented: A Special Mod-Challenge

    Why do you write fan-fiction? Why do you read it?

    According to Anne Ford: “One of the things that lies at the heart of what makes fan fiction so dear to people is its ability to take characters and adapt them and claim spaces that they’ve previously been denied access to…. It may create new relationships for characters, place characters in completely different settings, invent new characters, combine characters from different works, or all of the above. And it may change characters’ genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and physical or mental abilities.”

    “One of the primary things fanfic offers readers that mainstream literature often doesn’t is a broader array of characters. Fan fiction does have a long way to go regarding diversity, but you can find a lot more there than in mainstream fiction […] so when readers are disappointed in something for that reason, fanfic can be a great panacea.”

    Work Cited: Ford, Anne. "Fellowship of the Fans." American Libraries Magazine. November 01, 2016.

    Simply put, for some, it is a way to have characters from our favourite fandoms reflect populations underrepresented in media, or to create characters that are underrepresented and put them into our favourite fandoms.

    So what’s the Challenge?

    We would like to encourage people to write fanfic that represents characters or identities they feel are underrepresented in media. We also want people to think about what makes a good, encouraging review.

    So this challenge will take place in two phases.

    Phase 1: A call for stories.

    Anyone can submit a story to be reviewed in phase 2 of this mod-challenge (the actual “challenge” part of this challenge). These stories can be any length and can deal with any range of topic you feel is underrepresented in media. You can:

    -create an OC; or
    -alter or attribute a feature to an EC (for example making an EC identify as LGBTQ+ or suffer from mental illness, etc.); or
    - have an EC address an aspect that makes them an underrepresented character (for example Kanan being blind).

    The underrepresented feature can either be a main plot point, or just there as part of the character. NSWFF are welcome as well.

    Please be respectful in your representation, but don’t be afraid to write out of your comfort zone. Feel free to ask questions here and hopefully someone can help, either research or from personal experience. We hope to have some amazing conversations here.

    Post a link to story submissions here before AUGUST 1, 2018 and we will collect a reading/reviewing list for all the “Phase 2” participants.

    When you submit, please post what it is you used as the underrepresentation, and if you want, why you feel it's underrepresented. Even before you post your story, feel free to discuss what it is you are working on.

    Phase 2: Reviewing Challenge

    Sign up here if you want to be a participant in this challenge (please be clear). Sign ups end AUGUST 1, 2018. If you want to write for AND participate in this challenge, we highly encourage it (but you will not review or reward your own stories).

    Once the story submissions are over, an official reading/reviewing list will be posted here. Participants must review all stories publicly, as well as PM* the mods what award they would give each (and every) story. The awards could be something like “best representation of a real-life disability”/“best LGBTQ+ relationship”/“best story not dealing directly with underrepresented aspect”; or awards more creative like “Story that gave me the biggest laugh”. Please send us one PM with all awards. We will, of course, post all the awards each story got anonymously here. Reviews and Award PMs must be submitted by SEPTEMBER 15, 2018 (depending on numbers, we can change this to allow for more time).

    Participants can begin reviewing submissions at any time before the August 1st deadline date, but must wait until after the official reading/reviewing list goes live (probably August 2nd) before sending the mods their award PM*. Award PMs must also include direct links (instructions below) to your reviews on each story.

    To get to a direct link to a post, click the post number in the lower right of the post (beside the + Quote button).

    (*Depending on submissions and participant numbers we may do either a Google Form or a Survey Monkey form instead of PMs).

    Mods will pick both a “best reviewer” and a “most creative awards given.” You must review and reward all stories to be eligible. The prizes for each will be Colours for one week!

    Random Rules:

    1. Multiple story submissions are okay, but please do not spam this challenge. Please no more than 2 per writer.

    2. Please be respectful of all writers, participants, and the mods.

    3. Please do not submit already written stories. We simply do not want participants to have to read and review 50k word epics. There is no min or max word count, but be aware not everyone has hours to devote to just one fic for this challenge.

    4. Writers, feel free to use already created OCs (of your own or with permission) or already established storylines, but please make your story accessible to everyone, so that all participants can understand what is going on in your story. The same applies to NSWFF: make sure people unfamiliar with the fandom will be able to understand.

    5. We will be doing periodic discussions in this thread surrounding this theme that anyone (even non-writers and non-participants) can join in on.

    Official Reading List

    Checkpoint by Lady_Misty
    Cinders by Ewok Poet
    Destiny by TheRynJedi
    Eternal Darkness by CaraJinn
    "Evermore" by AzureAngel2
    Force a wit y' by GregMcP
    Keeping It Real by WarmNyota_SweetAyesha
    To Have Survived by Findswoman
    Respawn by Ewok Poet
    The Founding by brodiew
    The Lost Prince and the Captive Knight by Raissa Baiard
    Under Pressure by AzureAngel2
    ...You Can Hire The A-Team by Sith-I-5

    Additional/Post-Challenge Story Index

    "A new hope"; "There might be dragons"; "Every child is special"; Hallo darkness, my old friend" by AzureAngel2
    Knowing Who You Are by mavjade
    Just Dad by Briannakin
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
    Chyntuck, Ewok Poet, GregMcP and 3 others like this.
  2. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    This sounds fantastic! Don't know if I'll manage to write a story, but I would very much like to participate in the review challenge component. :)
  3. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Interesting idea.
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    A very cool idea. :) Due to RL, other piled-up challenges and projects, etc., I probably should not commit to another challenge with a deadline, but I’ll keep the review part of things in mind and let you know about that.
  5. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    Sign me up! I would like to explore an idea I had in high school where I was convinced Anakin Solo was on the autism spectrum.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    I want my Darth Vader from my Nagina fanfic and Cassandra fanfic to have a reading and writing disability. There I said it. A spoiler for things to come. Well, no surprise to my husband @DarthUncle because I already discussed this idea with him last year. I could made a vignette out of it. Would that be any good for the challenge, @Briannakin ?
    Ewok Poet, GregMcP, Kahara and 2 others like this.
  7. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Yeah, that's a great idea. Just make sure those who haven't read the other fics can understand what is going on.
    DarthUncle likes this.
  8. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    It is more that being dyslectic adds to the dark lord´s anger and frustration all the time. This has nothing to do with Nagina or her new "avatar" Cassandra. But the latter might help Vader/ Anakin about that matter.
  9. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2015
    I've got a half thought through story of a homeless Jedi begging on the streets, inspired by the guys I pass on my way to work in the morning.

    Maybe I can knock that into shape.
  10. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I love the creativity in the ideas already! This is going to make for a great discussion and some great fics!

    I've got two ideas, one that I pretty much fully fleshed out while I was unsuccessfully trying to sleep today. The second one is something I've wanted to do for awhile, but I only have an idea, not a actual plot, but it would fit perfectly into this challenge. I guess we'll just have to see how the muse decides to cooperate.
  11. Kyber Acyk

    Kyber Acyk Jedi Master star 3

    Nov 30, 2017
    Sign me up - I have a story plotted out that is based on my own learning disability alongside my Asperger Syndrome.
  12. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Awesome! Love to see so many people with ideas or who want to participate!

    Mav or I will probably put up the first "official" discussion question in a few days (once we figure them out).

    I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS, both SW and NSWFF, so I'm hoping I'll be able to write one of each. But my muse is being fickle right now (though that's nothing new) but it is focusing what it wants to focus on right now, so I'm thankful we gave over 2 months to write.
    Kahara, mavjade and Findswoman like this.
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Thanks to @mavjade & @Briannakin for such a fascinating challenge! @};- I will be writing of Jedi with visual disabilities, either the wonderful! Kanan or the lovable Tahl Uvain who was re-introduced to me by the delightful writings of @CaraJinn [:D] [:D]
  14. CaraJinn

    CaraJinn Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 8, 2018
    [face_thinking] Hmm, at first I didn't believe this challenge would be for me since I'm not very much into writing OC's, but maybe I am about tho change my mind. I do have a couple of questions though. The first character that comes to my mind is Tahl, after being blinded, but I don't want to steal her from @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha who came up with the idea first, so the question is wheter two persons can write about the same character?

    If not, and I'm totally fine with the answer being no, I might have a backup plan, but that depends whether the disability must be permanent or if it can be a temporary one such as Obi-Wan being in a real bad place mentally after his adventures in the Sith Temple at Zigoola. (As we all know, he recovered after that , and I don't want to give him lasting mental problems.)
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  15. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    My goat @Raissa Baiard told me that there was a challenge that's right up my alley. As a person with a condition that might progress to diabetes someday, the everyday "fun" I have with my borderline personality disorder and PMDD, plus as a LGBTQ person (grey-a/demi), I'm truly touched to see this. You folks are wonderful!

    These things mean a lot to many of us and we should be respectful to the max and not engage in "positive discrimination" and fetishization of all these things here. In other words, I hope people will learn more about things they are unaware of and do their research. Also, I hope that we can learn more about each others' struggles through the discussions in this thread. Really, really looking forward to this!

    Sign me up! :)
  16. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    I have an OC who wants to talk candidly about her experiences with domestic abuse, but I don't know if that can be the honest story it wants to be and still stay in the TOS.
    Kahara, mavjade and Ewok Poet like this.
  17. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Yes, multiple people can use the same character in their story.

    Yes, I do understand that struggle. We of course need stories to remain within the TOS, but perhaps there is a way we in this thread can help you do the story justice without it being explicit? But I also understand, sometimes the story needs to be all that it was originally intended to be.
    Kahara, Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  18. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2015
    Having a character who has terrible, personal things to say, but is reluctant to speak plainly, gives you a voice to write with. The difficulty in saying what she needs to say becomes part of the emotion of the moment.
  19. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    It doesn't have to be a disability, just something you feel is underrepresented (or maybe even misrepresented) in media, no matter what that is. But I think what you are asking is could you have something that is more temporary rather than something that is always a part of that person? You could absolutely do something like a short-term (or situational) depression or anxiety, or something along those lines.
  20. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Time for our first discussion questions. Again, anyone can feel free to answer and if you have other questions about the challenge or want to discuss something specific you are working on for the challenge, feel free to bring it up.

    Discussion Questions Part 1

    What do you feel is currently underrepresented (or mis-represented) by mainstream media? Do you write fanfics to fill in this place?
    Kahara and Ewok Poet like this.
  21. Kyber Acyk

    Kyber Acyk Jedi Master star 3

    Nov 30, 2017

    I feel that people with Learning Disabilities and those on the Autism spectrum are underrepresented in the media today. I have High-Functioning Autism, a Learning Disability (Organizational Dyspraxia) and Asperger Syndrome.

    Thus, several of my fan fictions follow characters' who have the same disabilities that I do, and my characters do not allow them to be barriers to what they can do and achieve.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  22. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Personally, I feel a lot is currently under- or mis-represented by mainstream media, so please do not take this as everything I think is not touched upon/poorly handled by the media. I could write an exhaustive list, but these are the three I feel personal connected to (because these three things are part of my identity) and, one in particular is why I started to write fanfic.

    1. LGBTQA+ characters. Thankfully, I feel the representation of non-heteronormative individuals has come a LONG way in even like the past 10 years, but there's still a long way to go and so much mainstream media has yet to touch. The media has started to move away from gay stereotypes and a person's non-het status/relationship as their "main"/only character trait and has begun to create a person's sexuality or gender as just one aspect of a dynamic character, which is super great to see, but stereotypes are still used so often. I've recently started to openly identify as a bisexual woman and I've really struggled with stuff as a bi person of faith.

    2. Indigenous peoples. I know so many ethnic groups are under and misrepresented in media, but this one has impacted me my entire life. I am of various indigenous and First Nations descent. Indigenous, First Nations, and people of indigenous descent are so underrepresented in mainstream media and when we are represented, it is so bad and so often downright offensive. When we aren't the bad-guys in a Western, we are either drunkards or noble savages. There is almost no modern representation, let alone female.

    3. People with physical disabilities. This one is a huge one for me. I feel that all disabilities and diseases are underrepresented, but having a physical disability and being a wheelchair-user and being raised by a father who was blind and a grandfather who was deaf, really makes me aware of how little we are represented. When there is representation, it is often the character's entire story and they are there just hoping and wishing for a cure and a normal life. I mean, I think it is okay (and amazing!) to address the disability and to educate people (another topic coming for a different week) and to create stories out of different life circumstances, but having a "disabled character" and a "character with a disability" are two different things.

    There are many other aspects I feel are misrepresented and underrepresented (chronic diseases, anxiety, depression all for example) that have similar issues as physical disabilities. It isn't our entire live, but it is an aspect of our lives and something we have to deal with.

    Anyways, that got long and babbling. But I do think filling in the missing space, particularly the lack of characters with physical disabilities is why I write fanfic. LGBTQA+ is also something I've written more of recently.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
    Ewok Poet, Gamiel, Lady_Misty and 7 others like this.
  23. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2015
    Well as I posted above, I am tackling the homeless.
    I find that when the issue comes up amongst my comfortably living friends and family there is a good deal of judgement. Plenty of "clean up and get a job", and the underlying feeling that it's a scam.

    But many of these guys are truly damaged broken people. They need more than handouts. They need to be looked after. Given a warm bed and a kind word.

    So, I will give my story a shot. I don't think I quite have the skills to project what I feel about this into a Google Doc, but we will see how it turns out.

    And, Talking Interdimensional Ducks don't get the recognition in the media that they used to. I've got to work on that a bit too.
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
    Ewok Poet, Gamiel, mavjade and 5 others like this.
  24. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    It's really so awesome to see this challenge already sparking such great discussion - and I'm glad that there's such a large window to write, because there are so many possible ways to take this, and that's already been more than shown in the comments! A few of these routes, I wouldn't have guessed to see taken when the challenge was initially suggested, but that's what's going to be so fascinating to see develop as this goes on. I can't wait to see what ideas come next!

    Just to write for this out-of-competition, I liked the idea of gender-bending a cast to be more female dominated than male. It's 2018 already! How can you expect mainstream media to attack some of the more glaring inequalities in entertainment if you can't even have as many well thought-out, three dimensional female characters as there are male? There are so many great ensemble fandoms out there right now who revolve around a team dynamic, and I like the idea of gender-bending something just to see how the dynamics would change if there were just as many, or even more, women than men. Avengers or Star Trek or even Voltron were my first thought to play around with on the NSWFF side of things, but, heck, even Rouge One would be interesting to see the ensemble inverted. I just have to see how the muse cooperates. [face_thinking]

    I am sort of touching on the discussion topic with that, so I have to add, that with seeing more female characters, seeing more diverse female characters would be even better. Different body types and ethnicities and social/cultural backgrounds - there's definitely a need for more representation. Steps have been taken in the right direction, but I want more. :p

    I also have to echo how much I appreciate:


    A "character with a disability" as opposed to a "disabled character" - that is the perfect way to put it. And that has to go with most of the scenarios being discussed already - these are things that are a part of a character, but don't have to wholly define a character, especially when used almost solely as a reason for angst. It can be a tricky, fine line to play with, and that's where the further opportunity for discussion in this thread can be a beautiful lesson in critically looking at our own work for things we may not even be conscious of including that are sensitive for others. [face_thinking]

  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Mira writing Voltron or Trek with strong female characters?! [face_party] [face_love] [face_dancing] !!!!!!

    On the discussion topic, I think profic suffers from this as well in SW. Once characters get to a certain age, they're like not included in the major action. :p

    Like not even as consultants. :rolleyes:

    * Different family types can be misrepresented -- such as single-parent and step-families. Those tend to be stereotyped.

    * Persons grappling with addictions/mental issues

    * Something thatis underwritten /underportrayed is the process of building or reestablishing couple/family connections. These are either glossed over if they're included at all or rushed through. To me, that whole thing is incredibly poignant and lovely to explore.
    Sith-I-5, Ewok Poet, Kahara and 4 others like this.