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Old 09-12-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
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Default Middle and high school...

So, I'm writing a webcomic about a fat, socially awkward girl who secretly develops an elaborate imaginary fantasy world to escape from her real life.

The plot - unless I rewrite it - takes place over 5 years, during which she goes from 7th grade to her senior year in high.

She's bullied and teased at school for her weight and awkwardness, criticized by her family, and becomes increasingly withdrawn and asocial - preferring to live vicariously through her thin, sparkly Mary Sue alter ego in the world she controls - because of it.

I want to portray the kind of things someone like her would go through realistically, so I figured that asking you all about your personal experiences would be the best way to go about it.

I know from firsthand experience what it's like to be the fat kid no one likes, having gone through it almost constantly since elementary. The memory of having my shoes tied together, then being tripped and dragged-face-down through the dirt is probably a large part of who I am today - but I don't know if girls are treated differently.

BTW: After I sign off in a few minutes, I probably won't respond to this thread for at least a month or two. I'm borrowing a computer to post this as I don't have access to the internet at home and it's restricted at work, so don't think I'm ignoring you.
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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I think developing a serious crush on someone else, only to have that special someone completely ignore you and/or see you only as a friend and have romantic feelings for someone with a more 'socially acceptable' body shape is an experience so many young fat people have.

In high school, I became friends with this guy who was kind of an outsider like me. We liked a lot of the same music and had the same snarky sense of humor, so we bonded as friends. I didn't have a crush on him at first, but as I got to know him, my crush developed. About halfway through the second year I knew him, he revealed that he was completely in love with this very pretty, very popular girl who was in the drama club, in all the school plays, and had a very outgoing, big personality, pretty much the polar opposite of a couple of introverted outsiders like us. Everybody on campus knew who she was. And it killed me to hear him talk about how he felt about her. Once he revealed his feelings for her to me, he seemed to think it was perfectly ok to talk about her all the time. It was partially my own fault for not speaking up and telling him I didn't want to hear about it. But he continued to talk about her almost every time we hung out together.

By senior year, our friendship had kind of tapered off. He started hanging out with this guy into death metal and kind of got into that scene. He dated a girl who was a friend of the popular drama club girl for about two months, trying to get close to the drama club girl, I guess. I was pretty hurt to see him date someone else, but I had to take partial responsibility for why things didn't happen between us. I'd never revealed my feelings to him, so how could he know? And by that point, his image was kind of tarnished in my mind and he wasn't as crushworthy to me any more.
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:03 PM   #3
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You know the funny thing about reality is that everyone has a different one... I wasn't socially awkward, bullied, teased about my weight, criticized by my family or withdrawn and asocial.

I know from hearing stories around here that some people did go through that as a child/teenager, but I guess I wonder what the goal of this web comic is?
Who is your target audience? Fat people who suffered through that sort of thing? I'm not sure they'd want to see it in a comic. Or people who think its funny to pick on fat people? In that case why would you be seeking material and advice on a site like this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seventy-Seven View Post
So, I'm writing a webcomic about a fat, socially awkward girl who secretly develops an elaborate imaginary fantasy world to escape from her real life.

The plot - unless I rewrite it - takes place over 5 years, during which she goes from 7th grade to her senior year in high.

She's bullied and teased at school for her weight and awkwardness, criticized by her family, and becomes increasingly withdrawn and asocial - preferring to live vicariously through her thin, sparkly Mary Sue alter ego in the world she controls - because of it.

I want to portray the kind of things someone like her would go through realistically, so I figured that asking you all about your personal experiences would be the best way to go about it.

I know from firsthand experience what it's like to be the fat kid no one likes, having gone through it almost constantly since elementary. The memory of having my shoes tied together, then being tripped and dragged-face-down through the dirt is probably a large part of who I am today - but I don't know if girls are treated differently.

BTW: After I sign off in a few minutes, I probably won't respond to this thread for at least a month or two. I'm borrowing a computer to post this as I don't have access to the internet at home and it's restricted at work, so don't think I'm ignoring you.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:53 PM   #4
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What? The bullying and such isn't played for laughs, and the main character is treated sympathetically. In fact, the bullying she goes through isn't even that big a part of the overall story - I just wanted to make sure I got some real life examples of it so I didn't exaggerate it or make the end result look like a corny TV drama.

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Old 09-13-2010, 04:24 PM   #5
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And where does the end of the five years find the girl?

Does the fantasy life continue?

Does she grow and find herself, away from all the fantasy?

If she stands taller at the end of five years, no matter if her weight stays the same or changes, will it be written through the eyes of someone who thinks fat women ' should be ' XYZ ?

What's ultimately ' in it ' for the women who are letting you borrow the scent of very real and painful experiences?

Your adding, " corny TV drama " ticked me off, to tell you the truth. You might get feedback that could very well read as " corny TV drama ". Very traumatic experiences can have a habit of looking like ' exageration ' to some reading it. You are asking for pain - so would you only choose things that would be dramatic enough, but not elicit eyerolls from some in your audience? This is all VERY tricky, and I think you need to give more information if you want from the fat women here.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:55 PM   #6
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I was actually afraid I would give too much information, but it turns out I had the opposite problem.

Well, in order:

1. She ends up slowly recovering from a growing obsession with her fantasy world that was beginning to ruin her life.

2. No.

3. Towards the end. The ultimate result is that she learns to accept herself as she is, instead of as the idealized version of herself she secretly wished she was.

4. She's the narrator, so there won't really be anyone preaching about "what fat women are supposed to be," just her opinion on her own body image issues (which are heavily implied, but not directly stated). Her weight stays the same, by the way.

5. What are you expecting?

6. If it's real, it's much less likely to seem contrived. Of course the abuse that she takes is nowhere near "Precious" level - she gets roughed up by a few bullies in middle school, but after that it's mostly just the kind of exclusion, teasing and smart-ass remarks most people who don't fit in get in high school.

Whether or not it comes off as cheesy isn't in what happens to her, but in the way it's presented.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seventy-Seven View Post
4. She's the narrator, so there won't really be anyone preaching about "what fat women are supposed to be," just her opinion on her own body image issues (which are heavily implied, but not directly stated). Her weight stays the same, by the way.
Regarding just this response, the point is that while the narrator is a fat woman (on paper), really the narrator is YOU, and not a fat woman. So it is a man speaking for a woman as what he thinks a fat woman would (should?) be like if she were a mentally and emotionally healthy, well-adjusted fat woman.

That said, I'm of course fine with male authors writing female characters, and female authors writing male characters, it's a necessary thing, obviously.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:06 AM   #8
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I think that writing as a woman can be a challenge (I wouldn't try writing as a man, for example)...your questions are good ones in terms of trying to address that challenge.

Your experiences (shoe-lace tying) are more physical than what many girls have probably experienced. Don't get me wrong--girls have experienced physical things too, but from boys, just like you did. The other side of the coin that you wouldn't have experienced the way a girl would have is GIRLS. That is a whole other ball of crazy, crazy wax. Girls internalize that horrible looksism, and we also judge ourselves often by which boys like, or don't like, us. Not all girls do that, and my view is certainly that of a straight chick, but I think it's true to say that there is very often a pecking-order that we girls enforce even when others may not be forcing it on us. We can compete for boys as if they're some kind of prize.

So a lot of what your female character will experience will be interior, and gossip-y/talk-y whatever. I think that stuff makes most stories about girls and women ring true to a reader.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:59 AM   #9
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My favorite book about a fat woman was written by a man...
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb.

I agree with 30's girl, one of the worst parts of being fat in middle/high school are the boys you develop friendships with and watch them drool after tiny girls they have nothing in common with. It's the pits man.
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mishty View Post
My favorite book about a fat woman was written by a man...
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb.

I agree with 30's girl, one of the worst parts of being fat in middle/high school are the boys you develop friendships with and watch them drool after tiny girls they have nothing in common with. It's the pits man.
That book had a profound affect on me. It's one of my top-ten and that's a lot coming from woman who's a voracious reader.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
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That book had a profound affect on me. It's one of my top-ten and that's a lot coming from woman who's a voracious reader.
Love that book... amazing... and that's coming from someone who HATES fiction.... but thinks Wally Lamb is amazing.
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:11 PM   #12
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I like She's Come Undone a lot, too. I re-read it every few years. I know a lot of fat women in the size activist community who hate the book, though. They see it as an extremely negative portrayal of a fat person. I've never understood this opinion. I see the book as a real portrayal of a person who experienced a traumatic childhood and young adulthood, and her fatness is just a by-product of that. Sometimes life can really screw you up and people don't always make the best decisions when they're in that state of mind, whether they're fat, thin or somewhere in between. I think some of the people who have expressed dislike of Lamb's book haven't really experienced a lot of hard times themselves and don't seem to understand how it can affect someone.
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:18 PM   #13
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I really really really dislike when people discount or attack someone else's experiences in the name of all fatness. I DID experience a lot of what the character did and I think Lamb really nailed it. He obviously did his homework.
I know a helluva lot of fatties who agree.

I think fat or thin there are just too many people ready to criticize, dissect, bitch and moan.
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:54 AM   #14
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i have many experiences sadly of bullying from age 6 through age 18. some about physical, emotional, and romantic related, but all of one thing in common they changed the person that i am today.

i do have one experience that might be helpful for your comic.

i was 12 yrs old, it was a 7th grade field trip to a park. i was walking through the wooded areas of the park and stopped under a stone bridge to fix my shoelace. all of a sudden i felt pebbles hitting my head from above me and when i got up i realized that four boys were throwing rocks at me while they were standing on the stone bridge. i was so angry i did not know what to do first except try and hold back my tears so they wouldn't see me cry.

they came down off the stone bridge and started taunting me, "fatass, cow, look how big and ugly you are" (those are the exact words, i will never forget them). then two of the boys walked away and grabbed rocks and started throwing them at me. naturally of course there were no teachers around to witness this assault and no one to come to my defense.

i was 12, shy and severely unconfident and just didn't know how to defend myself. don't ask me why, but that day i had just had enough. i turned around, picked up the biggest rock i could find and hurled it at this one boy, who was the leader of the pack of idiots that constantly bullied me. now i would never never condone violence, but i had simply lost my mind and was totally fed up. after throwing the rock at the boy (btw it hit his stomach and he was fine/got up walked away with any pain) i was emotionally devastated, shell-shocked, but i felt like some kind of release had taken place.

of course, the boy told the teachers what happened and rightly so, i got two weeks detention, but he just got counseling. i have a many more stories just like this one sadly, but i try to not think about the now and live my life in the present.

hope your comic turns out great, i do think it's wonderful that you are writing one.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:44 PM   #15
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One of my most outstanding "fat" memories came from when I was in 5th grade, from my best friend, no less.

I had just seen a ballet performance at our school, and fell in love with it. I remember how graceful and perfect everyone looked. I couldn't stop talking about the show on the way home, and said really brightly, "I'm going to ask my mom about lessons. I'd love to learn how to dance like that!"

There was an awkward silence after I proposed my plan. "Um... I dunno," she had mumbled. I looked at her, confused. "Well, you aren't really the 'ballet type'."

I got pretty mad at the time, because I was always stubborn. "What?! I could learn, it'll just take some time! Emma--" (other friend, a dancer) "Don't you think I could try? I could do it, couldn't I?" I probably sounded desperate.

"Erm... if you worked really hard, I guess..."

I turned, feeling victorious, towards the first friend. "See? Why couldn't I?"

She finally gave me a look that meant, Are you as moronic as you sound? and said, "Well, you got to lose some WEIGHT first!"

I was really hurt. I didn't know how to reply so I just muttered "True, true." I guess I didn't want to look like a "stupid fat girl", thinking that she could prance around in a leotard.

Yeah, never even attempted ballet after that... pretty dumb of me. But hey, I was a preteen.

Good luck with your comic, can't wait to see it!
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:04 PM   #16
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Middle school was pretty easy for me, there was a group of girls who had taken a liking to talking about me often, but they were easy to brush off.
High school.... sucked. I was kind of a 'bad kid' (skipped alot, ran away) and every time I came back, those same girls (and allof their new, unberpretty friends) had made up another story that twisted me running away into it being something to do with me being fat.
I remember one time in particular, I had run away and I was gone for three days. While I was gone, apparently the local strip mall had a break in/robbery, and all of the cops were there, huge deal blah blah blah. When I came back to school, they had an elaborate story about how it was ME thet broke in to the mall, and that while on my 'hunger fueled crime spree' (they ACTUALLY said that), I had gone in and stolen buckets and buckets of ice cream and cookie dough, and that I had been in jail for two days just chowing down for hours on end.
They called me 'Cold Stoner' for weeks : (.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:26 PM   #17
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I'd like to say I never had many real bullying incidents, more of the snide girly comments that other here have commented about. However, one time in Sophomore year of high school might be helpful for your comic. I was in gym class, just had gotten changed and had on a pair of sweatpants I'd had for at least 2 years. I'd wore them several times, never though twice about putting them on. They were Tommy Hilfiger and they had the word "Tommy" scrawled in cursive across the butt. I remember walking out of the locker room and sitting down in my gym spot, I think it was a lab day so all of my friends were in science instead of gym that day. Next to us was a senior gym class that was always being rowdy so when some guy wolfwhistled it didn't even cross my mind that it had anything to do with me.

It was running day so we began to run around the gym (my school was ridiculous, when it was too cold to run outside they made all 250 kids in my gym class run around inside) and found my skinny friend who was also a Senior. I guess the Senior boys who had wolfwhistled had the misfortune of running behind me (even though they could have easily passed me, no one actually ran on inside running day, more like jog as slow as you can so you dont make everyone else look bad so they chose to make me feel like shit) and continued to whistle and make comments such as "I can't even look at that". And their thin snotty friends who were girls would giggle, slap their arm playfully, "oh stop it... youre so mean" but not mean a word of it obviously. This went on for pretty much 30 mins with me and my friend (who probably knew these guys) pretending to not know what they were talking about as my face grew redder and redder.

Needless to say I wanted to cry and I think I actually might have once I was alone. I would never give those jackasses the satisfaction of seeing me cry and when I think about it it still makes me angry that they would do this to me and that I wasn't confident enough then to tell them to "fuck off". It was at that moment that I realized how my being fat could "offend" other people. Just the idea that I, a fat girl, thought I was attractive enough to do something harmless like wear words on my butt had made those neanderthals so uncomfortable and even angry enough to make my gym class miserable. 3 years later I no longer care what anyone other than me thinks about my body but that moment still upsets me when I think about it. It was one of the only times I was outright bullied by someone I didnt know just because I was fat.

In middle school I got a few comments, mostly from a guy I was friends with. But my not talking to him for 6 months even though we had the same group of friends made him shut the hell up for the rest of our friendship. I also had the thing where I had several close guyfriends who obviously had feelings for me too but wouldnt admit it to themselves or the rest of the school. I had at least 2 occassions where they would even hook up with me, call me attractive but never want to hold my hand in public or tell their buddies that they wanted a fat chick. Luckily as I grew older I found guys who didn't feel their image was more important than me.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:19 PM   #18
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Sorry for being tardy to the party, but I just happened across the original post...

WOW... The premise for your comic is basically my life in high school.

The only difference for me is that instead of having a skinny alter-ego, I just lived vicariously through my favorite books and movies. Fortunately, once I got to college I made some friends and really started coming out of my shell.

I graduated from a magnet school, so I started school there in 7th grade and went the rest of the way through senior year.

I was always made fun of for my weight so I really dreaded physical education and wellness... It was the pinnacle of humiliation! I was an outcast and had very few "friends," and as such I was kind of a loner.

Things at home weren't any better than they were at school. I had no friends outside of school, so my daily routine every afternoon was to go home, do my homework, and spend the rest of the night locked in my room, escaping into my "alternative reality."

That was a horrible time in my life, and while it wasn't all bad, there is no amount of money or fame that you could give me that would make me do it over again...
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:29 PM   #19
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Middle school was hell, but not because I was fat. I was actually quite underweight for most of my childhood. People usually made fun of me because I was poor, had huge glasses, and nappy hair (one of the worst things that could have happened to a Black girl per the other Black girls in middle school). Most girls ignored me, and most of my friends were boys. Of course, they told me about who they were crushing on, but I was kind of sociosexually retarded, and didn't care. Also, I had a very rich fantasy life... I did have a few bullies, though, guys were physical and verbal, and girls were almost strictly verbal. The worst was a girl named C, who was a real bully, both socially and physically. Later, I found out that her father had shot her mother in the head, and she had been in the house at the time. That explains it...
Anyway, High school was much better. I was still poor, skinny, nappy headed and bookish, and still had the same damn glasses from Middle School, but I went to an alternative school, and those things didn't seem to be worth worrying about. I was a popular, happier girl, but in a different way. I was valedictorian, and they even had the nerve to elect me prom queen. It was my own fractured fairy tale. :-P
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Old 11-18-2010, 02:42 AM   #20
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Looking back on my younger years, I had my fair share of fat-abuse from both girls and guys. Hard to say who was worse in that department. I know I got teased from elementary school up into high school. Junior high I think was the worst. When kids are younger, I think they will say anything and don't care...they have no fear. In h.s., kids still say mean things but a lot of it is done in whispers, rumours or under their breath kinda stuff. I think kids are mean all around and need to be taught how to respect people who are different.

The one memory that sticks in my mind most of all was when I was in 7th or 8th grade. Back then, there was a brand of shoes called "hippopotamus" and their commercial had some person in a hippo suit dancing around as kids giggled and ran after him like he was the pied piper!!! All the while their jingle is played in the background..."follow the hippopotamus..."
Anyway, I remember a boy in my class who would walk behind me and start singing that commercial jingle and just laugh and then hi-five his moron friends. It hurt so much but what was worse was my girlfriend who was standing next to me kinda giggled a bit when he did it. She had a crush on this boy so I don't know if she did it to get on his good side but it hurt me. She is vain herself and we are still friends, over 25 years later. I don't know why that particular event has stayed with me all these years.
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:13 PM   #21
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Ugh, middle school. I had a crush on this one boy; we talked on the phone all the time and chatted on ICQ (lol, wow) but I think he was too worried about what his pals would think if we ever "dated". (I laugh about it now, bc the boy's best friend is now married to a chubby, not-that-cute girl now..)

Anyway, I remember once in gym class, we were playing floor hockey and the boy I liked's friend mentioned that I should be the goalie, as nothing would get past me. Ugh. Like gym wasn't bad enough for us fatties. Just thinking about it stresses me out.

High school was better, but even then I had a few thin, pretty girl friends who would say things like, "Ugh, I don't even want to finish my lunch, I look and feel SO FAT!" *insert eyeroll from me* I couldn't help but think, if you think you, at like 120, are disgusting...I can't even imagine what you think of me!
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:01 PM   #22
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A question; Is the comic going to be up soon?

I'd really love to see it.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:03 AM   #23
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Sorry about the delay.

I got busy with school, a new job, and all the other stuff that's been going on and almost forgot about this.

In short, though, probably, but it'll take longer than I'd originally hoped. I just picked this up again about a week ago and I'm still working on the character and location designs, which usually take forever.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:41 PM   #24
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Before I go on, could anyone tell me if there's anything wrong with these character sketches?

Is the protagonist too much of a nerd sterotype, anything wrong with the anatomy, or anything like that?

I'd rather get it out of the way so I can fix any problems now.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:39 PM   #25
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I don't know. This all seems just too simplistic to me, and I really do not think this belongs on the bbw forum.

A person who writes as someone who is so very different from them, they have to have a very...very...keen eye and ear. It is not enough to have an idea and to then ' ask around ' for snippets and stories, thinking you can then transform those experiences into something ultimately respectful and fully fleshed out.


I think since you are asking for personal information out here, it is not at all out of place to mention some of your postings on this site. Not looking to debate some of what you have posted, or to say that everybody thought the same about what you said...just that you yourself are VERY conflicted about your own life and how you deal with those who enter it, including, or perhaps, especially... women. You are angry about " the vast majority of fat people I know " who " whine " all the time. How can you think you will truly be able to undersand, and use in a deep and understanding way, the information you are looking to get from very real fat women ?

Why not slay YOUR demons? Write what you know..........you. The story you want to write is just not something you will be capable of doing...not now, most certainly. It smacks to me that you want to write a fantasy...of the kind of girl you want to find...one that you ' allow ' to have conflicted feelings about herself, but only if in the end she snaps out of the life she lives in the beginning of the story. That is not exploration. That is not truly GETTING what a person/character is all about. You want pieces to tape together. Sorry, but your thought process is very immature. That's why I don't think this thread has any place on this particular forum. The women here, in this forum, are very real and things shared here......very real.

Write YOUR story.


* just went back to read some of your posts in one of the threads you started, and you really....really....need to do the same!

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