Arisia 2019 was a veritable feast of writing workshops and reading recommendations. One of the most fun things I got out of it was a list I compiled of things readers (in a variety of panel audiences) were looking for that they don’t see enough of:

1 – protagonists who are moms
2 – female characters who have female friends
3 – adventuring protagonists older than 30
4 – queer and transgender time travelers
5 – time travelers from the future visiting our present
6 – characters with more than one meaningful relationship
7 – characters with relationships outside “the group”

Regarding #7, several people pointed out that it’s very easy to put characters in a socially isolated situation (a university, a starship, a questing party) so the author only has to deal with in-group relationships. But most people have parents, friends, exes, etc. outside of any community they’re strongly associated with at a given time. It’s messy, but seeing characters deal with it makes them relatable.

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