This is the first guide! YAAAAAY!
By meee, Moo!
This will be added onto...
With no further ados, let's start! (I probably didn't even say that right *cries and cringes*)
Chapter One - Portraying Mental Illness
Yes, people do write about this.
If it's in a roleplay, don't do it at all.
With writing, it's important you write things correctly. Like if you're writing a character with a broken leg, you're not going to have it heal in a week. That's not right at all! So why does it happen with mental illness?
Mental illnesses are hard. There are tons of websites with information, but most of them talk about the symptoms, and you never quite know how someone is feeling. The problem is: people are uneducated.
If you're going to write about anything, do your research (the Erins never did this :/). It's not hard, and I know starting a new story is exciting and you just want to start writing, but the more research and effort you put in it, the better it will be.
So if you intend on writing about a character with a mental illness, research, research, research. Search the web and read everything on tons of different websites, find as much as you can. Ask people about it, I'm sure they'll be happy to help.
Something important is to never write from the P.O.V of a character who is something, has something, etc if you have never experienced it yourself. For example, if you've never had an anxiety disorder, it's best not to write from the P.O.V of someone who has it. Kind of the same thing with gay characters (it's okay to write about them as long as you treat them like normal relationships).
Of course it's okay with side characters if you do research, but not with main characters. Why? Because no matter how much research you do, you'll never understand what it feels like (you don't always have to be professionally diagnosed!).
Now for the misconceptions. Misconception #1: Depression as "being full of pain and wanting to die". No, it's not, really.
It isn't "Why is my life so painfullll", it's lethargy.
It isn't "I'm so saaaaaad", it's "I can't seem to experience positive feelings anymore."
People who are depressed are not always suicidal (I'm living proof). People who are suicidal are not always necessarily depressed.
Just do your research. Depression is a mental illness that greatly affects someone's life, and it makes the smallest tasks seem impossible. You cannot force yourself to do simple things, it's a lack of self esteem, and feeling guilty, worthless, and like you have no purpose.
It's not emo bangs and crying because your life is so painful.
The next problem is anxiety. We don't blush cutely and stammer, we don't hide behind our hair - Fluttershy isn't anxiety.
I've been diagnosed with general anxiety and severe social anxiety, and I can tell you, it's nothing like it's portrayed. We're jumpy, excessively worrying about things we know are irrational but we just can't stop it, we find socialisation hard, and we're really just an anxious mess.
You might think: "That was pointless, there aren't any fics about mental illness here."
But I have seen some.
Well, in conclusion, please research if you must write about mental illness and please don't romanticise or glamourise them, just no. So please, do your research if you do intend on writing about mental illness!
Chapter Two - Grammar and Spelling
I have seen so many fics with, well, maybe not exactly the best spelling and grammar. If English isn't your first language, it's completely understandable. If it's a typo, that's also completely understandable - I make typos all the time!
There are many rules of spelling and grammar, I'm not even going to pretend like I know them all! If it helps, you can find an extension for your browser so it corrects your spelling and grammar, or just spell-check. Maybe even get a proofreader! Have someone from your family read it, or maybe a close friend, and they can help you.
I know basic grammar (as do most English speakers), and I consider that as enough. The problem is people who know it don't use it in their stories. I don't mind if you use bad grammar and spelling outside of your stories, but honestly speaking, if you have the best fanfiction ever with an amazing plot-line, well developed characters, etc... At least have some good spelling and grammar. It's a bit of a red flag for readers, and they will normally assume the story is "terrible", even if it is freaking awesome!
It can affect your writing in many different ways, but it all really depends on your writing style. I'll do an example so you can see how grammar can actually improve the quality of your story!:
Hello there reader. Whats that you want to here my story? Okay let's star tat the beggening. One day my mother and father had me as a kitt!!! Ok i will skip to when i was an apprentice. Well I was a really good fighter and hunter i was better then the others.
With good grammar:
Hello there, reader. What's that? You want to hear my story? Okay, let's start at the beginning. One day, my mother and father gave birth to me and my littermates... Ok, I will skip to when I was an apprentice! Well, I was a really good fighter and hunter; I was better than the others.
Can you see the difference? The grammar greatly improved it, even if it was just a random and terrible story I came up with on the spot.
But, it's not just grammar and punctuation! It's also capitalisation. When writing Warriors fanfiction, specific words are capitalised, while others are not.
The word "Clan" by itself is always capitalised, and also the same with things like ThunderClan, etc... ShadowClan, RiverClan, WindClan, SkyClan... It's StarClan, not starclan or Starclan or starClan. Both words are capitalised!
There is also names. It is not FireStar or IceCloud, nor is it firestar or icecloud, not even fireStar or iceCloud. It's Firestar and Icecloud - only the prefix is capitalised. Although not many fanfictions make this mistake, it's still important!
What about spelling? This chapter is called "Grammar and Spelling", right? Here are a couple common spelling mistakes; remember, it's completely okay if you spell something wrong! As long as you learn!
- Prologue and epilogue. Most stories have them, including my own! It is not "prologe" or "epiloge", and it is not "prouloge" or "epilouge" either. It's prologue and epilogue.
- Rogue. "Rouge" is red in French, and rogue is the proper spelling.
Another thing is paragraphs. Start a new line every time a new character starts speaking! And remember to break it up every so often. Most times, when a reader clicks on a story and all they see is a huge chunk, they'll make assumptions about the quality of the story itself and leave.
It is completely okay if you make a mistake! Just learn from them, and remember, if English is not your first language, that's fine. If it's just a typo, it's fine. If you didn't know how to spell the word or got mixed up with the letters, it's fine. If you're unsure about the grammar, it's fine.
Any mistake is fine! You just have to learn from them!
Thanks for reading!
Chapter Three - Representing LGBT+
Let's talk about representing LGBT+ in Warriors fanfiction! Or more accurately, the lack of it.
There seems to be a very small number of fics with LGBT+ characters in them - I haven't seen a single nonbinary character!
I don't have a lot of time to read most fanfictions on this website, so there may be a few nonbinary characters which I just haven't come across yet. So why is representation such an important thing?
Representation generalises things. For example, most characters in literature are straight, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, it can get a bit unrealistic after time. Yes, lots of people are straight, but still! Children, teenagers, and even some adults who are LGBT+ will feel more accepted and a valued part of society if it is represented in literature accurately.
Many children do not understand why they are "different" because a lot of them haven't heard about it. Well, they are hearing more about it now, but you'll mainly hear little kids using the word gay as an insult. Having more representation in media would really educate them about LGBT+ to let them know it is real and totally okay.
You've most likely heard about LGBT+ by now. It's not just sexuality either, it's also about transgender and nonbinary people, since they are a part of the LGBT+ community. It would be nice to have some recognition!
"Wait!" You cry from the front row of the classroom, "But... sexuality is unnatural in cats!"
I have done my research and male cats do appear to mate with other males, even though it's a dominance thing. But on an official list of homosexuality found in animals, cats were on the list. But it isn't just homosexuality, there are many other sexualities too!
Just keep in mind that these aren't normal cats - they are personified with a human mind-set.
"But it's not in the actual series!" A kid in the middle row says, hitching up their glasses.
It's called a "fanfiction" for a reason! Also, the Erins have confirmed different things. Didn't Kate say that Tallstar just wasn't into dating she-cats, implying he was homosexual? (Yes, I know about Reena, I think she just had a crush on him - when Talltail realised she had feelings for him, it just stated she liked him, it never said he returned the feelings!) And, it's been confirmed he and Jake have feelings for each other, as do Ravenpaw and Barley.
"But what about kits?!" Someone calls out from the back row.
Not all mates want to have kits! Not all mates even have to have kits at all! If two she-cats, for example, want to have kits, then one of them can mate with a tom that both she and her mate trusts, and then she can become pregnant and give birth to the kits. She and her female mate would raise them as surrogate parents; it's pretty simple. And there's a such thing as adoption!
But if you're going to have an LGBT+ character, please don't do the gay stereotype. I only know of one person who fits the stereotype, and that's it. Also, I have tons of friends who are LGBT+, so I would know (and I am LGBT+ myself!).
Also, being asexual. This bothers me so much - the Erins label cats with no mates or no kits as "asexual", when asexual doesn't always necessarily mean you don't want a lover or children. I'm asexual and this annoys me to no end. Asexual means you do not experience sexual attraction to any gender, but you can be romantically attracted to other genders - there's a difference! I think what the Erins mean is that they're an aromantic asexual. I would love to see more asexual characters!
Speaking of that, here are some things I'd like to see:
- Genderqueer cats
- An LGBT+ cat falling for a straight cat (I'm actually writing a collab about this right now! Here it is *warning for self-advertising*: Rivers To Nowhere.
- Like I stated before, aro/ace representation. Not everyone needs a romance, and some asexuals still have kits but only for the sake because of procreation and wanting to have kits, not because of the other stuff.
- A bisexual she-cat becoming mates with a she-cat. It feels like they all end up males, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that at all! It just gets repetitive after some time.
- A cat who is bisexual but the two genders they are attracted to are not male and female. While it is common for a biromantic/bisexual person to like males and females, it really means just two genders.
- Learn the difference between -romantic and -sexual. Take me as an example: a panromantic asexual. I'm romantically attracted to all genders (not that I like everyone, just gender isn't a barrier), but I'm not sexually attracted to any genders. Catch my drift?
Also, talk to the people who are the gender or sexuality you're going to write about, or just treat it like a normal relationship. Don't add to the misconceptions!
Thank you for reading!
Chapter Four - Unrealistic Names
Look, I don't mind at all if your character is named something like Silverfeather, that's completely fine. I'm talking about THOSE names. You know the ones: "Dragonblood" and "Angelwing".
Naming is a very important part of Clan culture. Using names of things that cats wouldn't know about (like "Crystalfeather") or emotions (like "Hopeheart") is completely disregarding that.
There are two types of naming for warriors: traditional and non traditional. I would suggest you do your research but of course you don't have to! Cats are generally named after plants, animals, and just nature in general. The names also represent a character in two ways:
First is the prefix. In non traditional naming it could mean anything, but in traditional naming, the cat is named after their appearance. Never their eyes, as kits don't open their eyes till three weeks after birth, and they are all born with blue eyes anyway.
For example, a ginger tabby could be called "Foxkit" because they are ginger and have similar colouring to a fox. They might also be called "Peachkit" because of similar colouring.
Suffixes are more personal; the cat now has a well-developed personality and they are named after this or a certain skill they posess and are known for. Foxpaw might have an excellent sense of smell and be skilled in the area of tracking, and because of this, they could be called Foxnose. Peachpaw could have grown up to be known for his energy and how hard he works, thus earning him the suffix Peachbee.
Non traditional suffixes follow the same rule as traditional suffixes.
Now you can see how cats are named and how important it is to Clan culture. After all, a name is something that is earned, it is a symbol of their place in social hierarchy, a symbol of their status. Kits aim to become apprentices and to be presented with the title "paw". Apprentices aim to be warriors or medicine cats and receive their full name.
Cats do not know what angels are, nor do they know what dragons are. And they won't know what gemstones are, either! (Although there may be a few exceptions, I doubt it. And the "kittypet picked up words from its Twolegs" doesn't make sense either, to be honest) Here are a few examples of unrealistic names:
- Stuffedtoysky (not even joking here)
Cats don't know what a cup is, they don't know about gems, sapphires, or crystals. They don't know what a stuffed toy is, they don't know what glitches are, or winter, or autumn (or any season names us humans use). And they definitely don't know what ice cream is!
Warrior names are meant to be beautiful and have meaning, like Appledusk, or Deerleap, Ottersplash, Crowfrost, Honeyfern... Not names like Pegasuswing and Summerfeather.
Most people go through this little "phase" when they're younger. For example, I once had two OC's named Honeyhope and Skyangel, but I changed them.
Like I always say, it's okay to make mistakes - as long as you learn from them!