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perpetual-stories · 3 months ago
Story Structures for your Next WIP
hello, hello. this post will be mostly for my notes. this is something I need in to be reminded of for my business, but it can also be very useful and beneficial for you guys as well.
everything in life has structure and storytelling is no different, so let’s dive right in :)
First off let’s just review what a story structure is :
a story is the backbone of the story, the skeleton if you will. It hold the entire story together.
the structure in which you choose your story will effectively determine how you create drama and depending on the structure you choose it should help you align your story and sequence it with the conflict, climax, and resolution.
1. Freytag's Pyramid
this first story structure i will be talking about was named after 19th century German novelist and playwright.
it is a five point structure that is based off classical Greek tragedies such as Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripedes.
Freytag's Pyramid structure consists of:
Introduction: the status quo has been established and an inciting incident occurs.
Rise or rising action: the protagonist will search and try to achieve their goal, heightening the stakes,
Climax: the protagonist can no longer go back, the point of no return if you will.
Return or fall: after the climax of the story, tension builds and the story inevitably heads towards...
Catastrophe: the main character has reached their lowest point and their greatest fears have come into fruition.
this structure is used less and less nowadays in modern storytelling mainly due to readers lack of appetite for tragic narratives.
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2. The Hero's Journey
the hero's journey is a very well known and popular form of storytelling.
it is very popular in modern stories such as Star Wars, and movies in the MCU.
although the hero's journey was inspired by Joseph Campbell's concept, a Disney executive Christopher Vogler has created a simplified version:
The Ordinary World: The hero's everyday routine and life is established.
The Call of Adventure: the inciting incident.
Refusal of the Call: the hero / protagonist is hesitant or reluctant to take on the challenges.
Meeting the Mentor: the hero meets someone who will help them and prepare them for the dangers ahead.
Crossing the First Threshold: first steps out of the comfort zone are taken.
Tests, Allie, Enemies: new challenges occur, and maybe new friends or enemies.
Approach to the Inmost Cave: hero approaches goal.
The Ordeal: the hero faces their biggest challenge.
Reward (Seizing the Sword): the hero manages to get ahold of what they were after.
The Road Back: they realize that their goal was not the final hurdle, but may have actually caused a bigger problem than before.
Resurrection: a final challenge, testing them on everything they've learned.
Return with the Elixir: after succeeding they return to their old life.
the hero's journey can be applied to any genre of fiction.
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3. Three Act Structure:
this structure splits the story into the 'beginning, middle and end' but with in-depth components for each act.
Act 1: Setup:
exposition: the status quo or the ordinary life is established.
inciting incident: an event sets the whole story into motion.
plot point one: the main character decided to take on the challenge head on and she crosses the threshold and the story is now progressing forward.
Act 2: Confrontation:
rising action: the stakes are clearer and the hero has started to become familiar with the new world and begins to encounter enemies, allies and tests.
midpoint: an event that derails the protagonists mission.
plot point two: the hero is tested and fails, and begins to doubt themselves.
Act 3: Resolution:
pre-climax: the hero must chose between acting or failing.
climax: they fights against the antagonist or danger one last time, but will they succeed?
Denouement: loose ends are tied up and the reader discovers the consequences of the climax, and return to ordinary life.
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4. Dan Harmon's Story Circle
it surprised me to know the creator of Rick and Morty had their own variation of Campbell's hero's journey.
the benefit of Harmon's approach is that is focuses on the main character's arc.
it makes sense that he has such a successful structure, after all the show has multiple seasons, five or six seasons? i don't know not a fan of the show.
the character is in their comfort zone: also known as the status quo or ordinary life.
they want something: this is a longing and it can be brought forth by an inciting incident.
the character enters and unfamiliar situation: they must take action and do something new to pursue what they want.
adapt to it: of course there are challenges, there is struggle and begin to succeed.
they get what they want: often a false victory.
a heavy price is paid: a realization of what they wanted isn't what they needed.
back to the good old ways: they return to their familiar situation yet with a new truth.
having changed: was it for the better or worse?
i might actually make a operate post going more in depth about dan harmon's story circle.
5. Fichtean Curve:
the fichtean curve places the main character in a series of obstacles in order to achieve their goal.
this structure encourages writers to write a story packed with tension and mini-crises to keep the reader engaged.
The Rising Action
the story must start with an inciting indecent.
then a series of crisis arise.
there are often four crises.
2. The Climax:
3. Falling Action
this type of story telling structure goes very well with flash-back structured story as well as in theatre.
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6. Save the Cat Beat Sheet:
this is another variation of a three act structure created by screenwriter Blake Snyder, and is praised widely by champion storytellers.
Structure for Save the Cat is as follows: (the numbers in the brackets are for the number of pages required, assuming you're writing a 110 page screenplay)
Opening Image [1]: The first shot of the film. If you’re starting a novel, this would be an opening paragraph or scene that sucks readers into the world of your story.
Set-up [1-10]. Establishing the ‘ordinary world’ of your protagonist. What does he want? What is he missing out on?
Theme Stated [5]. During the setup, hint at what your story is really about — the truth that your protagonist will discover by the end.
Catalyst [12]. The inciting incident!
Debate [12-25]. The hero refuses the call to adventure. He tries to avoid the conflict before they are forced into action.
Break into Two [25]. The protagonist makes an active choice and the journey begins in earnest.
B Story [30]. A subplot kicks in. Often romantic in nature, the protagonist’s subplot should serve to highlight the theme.
The Promise of the Premise [30-55]. Often called the ‘fun and games’ stage, this is usually a highly entertaining section where the writer delivers the goods. If you promised an exciting detective story, we’d see the detective in action. If you promised a goofy story of people falling in love, let’s go on some charmingly awkward dates.
Midpoint [55]. A plot twist occurs that ups the stakes and makes the hero’s goal harder to achieve — or makes them focus on a new, more important goal.
Bad Guys Close In [55-75]. The tension ratchets up. The hero’s obstacles become greater, his plan falls apart, and he is on the back foot.
All is Lost [75]. The hero hits rock bottom. He loses everything he’s gained so far, and things are looking bleak. The hero is overpowered by the villain; a mentor dies; our lovebirds have an argument and break up.
Dark Night of the Soul [75-85-ish]. Having just lost everything, the hero shambles around the city in a minor-key musical montage before discovering some “new information” that reveals exactly what he needs to do if he wants to take another crack at success. (This new information is often delivered through the B-Story)
Break into Three [85]. Armed with this new information, our protagonist decides to try once more!
Finale [85-110]. The hero confronts the antagonist or whatever the source of the primary conflict is. The truth that eluded him at the start of the story (established in step three and accentuated by the B Story) is now clear, allowing him to resolve their story.
Final Image [110]. A final moment or scene that crystallizes how the character has changed. It’s a reflection, in some way, of the opening image.
(all information regarding the save the cat beat sheet was copy and pasted directly from reedsy!)
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7. Seven Point Story Structure:
this structure encourages writers to start with the at the end, with the resolution, and work their way back to the starting point.
this structure is about dramatic changes from beginning to end
The Hook. Draw readers in by explaining the protagonist’s current situation. Their state of being at the beginning of the novel should be in direct contrast to what it will be at the end of the novel.
Plot Point 1. Whether it’s a person, an idea, an inciting incident, or something else — there should be a "Call to Adventure" of sorts that sets the narrative and character development in motion.
Pinch Point 1. Things can’t be all sunshine and roses for your protagonist. Something should go wrong here that applies pressure to the main character, forcing them to step up and solve the problem.
Midpoint. A “Turning Point” wherein the main character changes from a passive force to an active force in the story. Whatever the narrative’s main conflict is, the protagonist decides to start meeting it head-on.
Pinch Point 2. The second pinch point involves another blow to the protagonist — things go even more awry than they did during the first pinch point. This might involve the passing of a mentor, the failure of a plan, the reveal of a traitor, etc.
Plot Point 2. After the calamity of Pinch Point 2, the protagonist learns that they’ve actually had the key to solving the conflict the whole time.
Resolution. The story’s primary conflict is resolved — and the character goes through the final bit of development necessary to transform them from who they were at the start of the novel.
(all information regarding the seven point story structure was copy and pasted directly from reedsy!)
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i decided to fit all of them in one post instead of making it a two part post.
i hope you all enjoy this post and feel free to comment or reblog which structure you use the most, or if you have your own you prefer to use! please share with me!
if you find this useful feel free to reblog on instagram and tag me at perpetualstories
Follow my tumblr and instagram for more writing and grammar tips and more!
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vomitingwords · a year ago
I would've love to meet you elsewhere. In a place where we wouldn't be both scared of accepting how we feel. That then, we will understand how love isn't about beautiful beginnings and happy endings. That sometimes, it happens in betweens.
we were somewhere else // ma.c.a
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mimosaleewrites · 3 years ago
I’m finding comfort in our memories, while you seek comfort in someone else.
no one else compares to you
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rhsin · 3 years ago
there will be nights where you’ll struggle to sleep, you’ll reach for your phone and your pain will bring you here, to this moment, with these words. there will be nights where your soul will long for more and your mind will crave a peace that feels like freedom. there will be nights where you’ll grow weary of being kept awake by the thought of someone who no longer deserves to be on your mind and in this moment as you read these words i hope you find the strength to remove yourself from a relationship with someone who doesn’t deserve to be the reason you can’t sleep and i hope you realize that you are not alone because there are so many souls reading this while struggling to find rest. just like you..
r.h. Sin
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aileywrites · 3 months ago
Writing Royals Part 2
 The last part was all tips about how to write royal characters, and my apparently controversial opinions on certain things, like corsets......Anyways, I have two more tips I wanted to share about writing royal characters, and some questions I use when I’m about writing the people surrounding the royal family: the royal court!!! Every country with a monarchy or any similar system is gonna have a royal court around them. These people included advisors, favorites, ambassadors, and servants. Getting the dynamic of your royal court perfect often depends on how you write these characters, so here we go!
Homegirl, Where Are Your Guards???
There is nothing that bothers me more than when a royal character is like in the middle of a war or their people are rebelling and they’re like, “ugh, I hate having all these guards around me. I just want to be free!!!!!” Which, okay fine, having a bunch of people follow you around and stand outside while you pee, and generally watching your every move does not sound fun at all, but getting offed doesn’t sound fun either. If your character’s country is in the middle of a war, and even if they aren’t depending on the country, they are going to have guards around them all the time. In Tudor England, guards would sleep in the King’s room even if he had company because people were always trying to assassinate each other. Even if your royal character has magic or powers or something, they still probably need guards. If your characters have been royal all their lives, they probably will know their guards very well and know how to sneak away from them for that oh so coveted night in the town as a commoner. But, even though royalty probably did feel claustrophobic with all those guards surrounding them, especially in the Victorian era right up until the end of World War 1, everyone’s biggest fear was being assassinated. People were getting offed and assassinated left and right, so take that into account when your character oh so desperately wants to leave the palace. 
Above the Law, Cause You Are the Law
I’m pretty sure that has been the motto of like almost every medieval to late Renaissance European monarch. Don’t get me wrong, there have definitely been good, benevolent monarchs who actually care about the needs and requests of their people, but then you get to Henry the 8th, and you’re like....., but that’s how it was back then, and even to an extent now. Royalty and nobility get away with so much shit that would send a normal person to prison, just look at Prince Andrew. Having all of that power and prestige, combined with being in charge of a country and being pretty much exempt from a lot of things can lead your royal or noble characters to have an inaccurate sense of right and wrong. Using Henry the 8th as an example, pretty much half of the things he decided in his life can be summed up with, “it’s okay when Henry does it, but if anyone else does it, then I’m offing them” That can create really good conflict if your royal character is forced to finally face the consequences of some of their actions, despite having gotten away with everything since they were a kid. 
So, now that we’ve got your royal family figured out, it’s time to get into the royal court. Here are some basic questions that I asked myself when I was writing my royal court for my current, wip!
How big is the total court?- And when I mean court, I don’t just mean the nobles, I mean like everyone, the cooks, gardeners, everyone. I know I’m using Tudor England a lot as my example, but y’all know the Tudors and Henry Cavill own my heart. Anyways, Henry the 8th’s official household could have up to 800 people at one time, and anyone of his various Queens could have another 200 people at their disposal. That’s a lot of people.
What factions exist within the court?- In the words of James Madison, factions forming is pretty much inevitable. Inevitably, people are gonna have similar interests and agendas, and those people will often band together to bring down other people who have the opposite agendas as them. Royal factions are some of the best ways to add some intrigue and spicy conflict to your story.
Where does the court meet?- All royal courts center around the Monarch, but where does the monarch live? Does the Monarch move around throughout the year? In my wip, all the Sovereigns live in their own territories during the summer months, but during the winter months, they all live together at Brookshire. The location of your court can play a big role in how power is consolidated in your world. 
Who all is in the court at any given time?- This questions is probably one of the most important questions when you’re building your royal court. The people close to the monarch who protect them, love them, or spy on them. These people, in some scenarios, might have more control over the country than the monarch themselves. They might scheme to control the monarch, marry them, or kill them. 
For your convenience, here is a list of people that might be at a royal court at any given time sourced from:
The monarch(s) – Regardless of what titles you give them, this person or duo is the center of a royal court; she defines the rest of the court. If the monarch consists of two people they are most likely either married or siblings, sometimes both depending on the culture and age.
The monarch’s family – people related to the monarch by blood, adoption or marriage fall into this category, and these people might or might not have their own titles and additional positions, though not necessarily always officially. Consider how younger royal siblings might be sent places to be married off, and be expected to function as ambassadors without the pay, or the many hats that a dowager queen might wear in her “retirement.”
Ambassadors – these men and women come from other kingdoms but they’re vital to functioning on a wider scale. They communicate their lady’s desires, intents and goals, as well as bring her insider news from the courts where they are appointed. When things are going well, they command a lot of respect and power, but if their two countries are on the outs, their lives are almost certainly in danger. Keep in mind too that ambassadors are likely to have their own households, and there might be a junior ambassador in play as well.
Nobles – At any given time, a royal court is bound to be packed with the country’s gentry, there to doing things such as discuss business, introduce a child for courting, serve the crown for their appointed time or because they are so active in politics because they make their home wherever the Queen does. Unlike ambassadors who are primarily going to be focused on inter-country negotiations, noblemen and women will have their own agendas to further their families, and while you’d like to think that they’re all loyal to the crown and their country, sometimes their own ambitions might get in the way.
Court Fool/Jester – We like to think of the court fool as someone who is, genuinely, a fool, but that’s often not the case. The Fool is a useful tool for the monarch because he distracts the court, and more often than not acts as a spy, passing along tidbits of overheard information or sightings–after all, who pays attention to the simpletons?
Courtiers – Courtiers are different from nobles in that they are people whose talents or ambition have brought them to court seeking the next rung on their ladder, rather than people whose daily business has brought them to the Queen’s presence. They are here to make a name for themselves, and can almost always be counted on to act in their own best interests, unless motivated by an exceptional force. These types are often at court on their own dime.
Resident military commanders – Military commanders are not likely to be regular fixtures at court, as they’re needed with their forces. But the highest ranking among them are going to be in nearly constant contact with the monarch (or the monarch’s representative, as is sometimes the case) and that will often necessitate being physically present at court.
Guests – Whether from outside of the country, rich or poor, landed or not, the royal court is ALWAYS going to have guests, and a well-established court is going to have provisions for housing and caring for a large number of them. A person’s station and/or possible value to the crown might determine wherein a castle they are housed and how they are treated, but if you write in a few guests consider that their perspective could be useful in defining the court as a whole.
Semi-permanent guests – These guests are people who don’t necessarily belong at court, and while their stay might be lengthy, it is well established that it will not be permanent. Examples of these kinds of people might be businessmen appointed to oversee some long term prospects, or the children of foreign nobles who have been sent to another country to be educated.
The monarch’s favorites – These could be really good characters for you to develop in depth. They’re essentially wild cards, and as they are favorites of the Queen, they have the potential to be outlandish or scandalous, hated or misunderstood, but the love and blind eye from the Queen keeps them nearby… tethered.
Royal lords and ladies – It will be rare for any ruler to find themselves alone; their personal attendants live to see to their needs and are never going to be far from hand. These politically powerful positions are likely to be jostled over a great deal, especially if the monarch is young, and might overlap somewhat with the royal favorites. Sometimes these people are lifelong companions and sometimes they are placed strategically close to the monarch for certain goals but regardless of how they came to be there, they are likely to share in the fine things, wealth, power and danger that surrounds a royal.
Sponsored artists – Sponsored artists could easily be labeled courtiers, except that it wasn’t usually their idea to come to court, and they’re not there for their own ambition. If the wealthy of your world are at all inclined to supporting the arts – drawing, painting, writing, performance, design, etc – they’re likely going to want to show off their investments, so in this regard these artists are usually nothing more than accessories. Though being a court is always a good way to increase one’s sales.
Guards – Any court is likely to have several levels of protective personnel, all the way from those hired by the royal household to keep the general peace and take care of grunt work  to personal, more elite bodyguards. This is another varied group that can include any number of peoples, skill level, objectives and professional capacity, but everybody who’s anybody is going to have one or two. Eunuchs might also fall into this category–those maimed men who have been conscripted in guarding typically women whose virtue is deemed vitally important.
Servants – Another highly varied group, but no less vital to the functioning of a royal castle and court. Servants might hold roles such as cooks, head cooks, librarians, messengers, laundresses, seamstresses, housekeeping, tasters, children’s nurses, ushers, grooms, heralds, and gardeners. If you world isn’t very progressive, some of these roles might also be filled with slaves or bonded servants.
Harem members – This again will depend largely on your story itself, but if the King or Queen is going to be flitting from bed to bed, there’s likely to be a group of bedmates hanging around for royal pleasure. Whether or not this group is well respected or received (or even publically visible) is up to you.
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kristensnotebook · 2 years ago
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Just showin off one of the coolest, most thoughtful gifts I've ever received ❤️📚 also I guess this is a face reveal haha
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thekatiemasters · 3 years ago
You're not.
You're tired. You're stretched thin. You're brain is fried. But you are NOT failing.
And the pursuit of your dreams isn't in vain. Progress when we're in the middle of it looks like we're not moving at all. It feels like you've taken a huge step and you look down and see you've barely scooted your foot.
Don't give up. This is the part where most people do. They see their progress stall or they hit a road bump or they see the road looks longer and more challenging than they thought and they stop, turn back, and walk away.
I'm here to be that slap in the face, because I've been there, and I still get there sometimes. Because dreams and achieving them are HARD. They're EXHAUSTING. But they're also what makes you wake up every morning and continue on because you can't NOT do it.
Because at the end of the day this dream of yours--this burning passion that feeds your soul--is something that will change the lives of many that you haven't even met yet.
Your road is going to lead to you incredible people, change you, shape you, MAKE YOU. And its hard, and tiring, and mucky. But it's also beautiful and life changing, and worth it.
YOUR DREAM IS WORTH IT. So don’t give up. You’re not falling behind. You’re not failing. YOU’RE TRANSFORMING Yours,  A friend who has also felt like giving up and almost did 
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aileywrites · a month ago
What My Followers Want To See More Of In Male Characters
I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing, especially writing male characters, and I’m happy to say that my WIP has quite a few of these. I think we can all agree that with the absolutely sickening influx of dark, broody, bad boys in YA fiction, having male characters with more nuance and hmmm I don’t know actual personalities is refreshing and something that all books need. Thank you guys so much for answering this poll(conducted through instagram), and let me know if there’s something else y’all want to be polled on that I can turn into a post! I didn’t change anything that you guys wrote, so there are some repeats on the list, but I think it makes a point to see how many people want to see the same (relatively simple) things in fiction!
Them being soft and kind 
going to therapy/having mental health struggle 
non-toxic religious men
lgbt men(beyond being gay and fetishised) 
feminine guys who aren’t gay 
men of all sexualities being feminine 
physically disabled men who are very masculine 
straight male characters in close friendships with mlm characters 
sensitive and weak moments 
“feminine” men mb, guys who like flowers and stuff while also being very strong cause thats cool I think 
confidence enough to compliment other men
feminine interests without being judged 
discussing things they love doing 
I think it’d be nice if people showed men’s insecurities more often. Also, men also get abused and stuff 
genuine friendships with someone who’s better than them 
eating disorders, anxiety, insecurities, other common mental health concerns 
guys not afraid to show their vulnerability and weaknesses to the people they care about 
casually wearing makeup and not making a fuss or a statement out of it 
being shy is ok. being nice to the mc and not being a complete douche bag, if the mc is being an idiot and playing with their feelings telling her straight up or leaving her, they don’t have to be attractive to be likable, their dark pasts isn’t an excuse for them to be shitty human beings 
them being vulnerable 
healthy platonic friendships 
vulnerability and insecurity shown through non toxic traits 
soft spoken, kind and gentle voice 
I want to see them cook, sex, or such without invalidating their masculinity 
male characters who express their emotions and aren’t ridiculed by others for it 
I want more soft men tbh. It’s usually all badass and then breakdowns. I want someone who is fragile 
affectionate with their friends and/or in tune with their emotions 
less abs
males who aren’t afraid to cry and be affectionate with their friends 
respect and genuine care for females and people of other genders, thank you 
i would love to see more bisexual/pansexual male characters!!
the ability to take no for an answer 
bisexual males that aren’t the main plot. they just get to be bi and it doesn’t affect the story 
emotional softness 
being vulnerable/crying without thinking that they’re weak for it 
ones that are submissive and fine with it 
Queer! Rep! 
Ones that are fucking respectful of their female counterparts 
talking about their feelings 
kind to their lover without being called a simp 
plus size 
guys being allowed to be gentle and not seen as weak or inferior 
openness rather than being closed off all of the time 
I want to see witty and quirky characters + humor that is shown around EVERYONE
femininity and vulnerability, crying, breakdowns, etc. 
varying sexualities 
real emotion, crying, and for it be okay for them to do that 
treats women like equals without having to be “taught” how to by a love interest 
caring about others without being portrayed as awkward and/or flirtatious 
emotions and kindness
showing emotions that isn’t anger 
not being misogynistic 
smart but not the typical ‘nerdy geek’ just there as an encyclopedia for the MC
Men who are comfortable with being emotionally open (and them being emotionally open DOESN’T automatically mean they’re gay 
emotional maturity and having healthy relationships and behavior 
showing affection to their platonic friends 
respect toward others
male characters that are “motherly” Let them cook, clean, sew, and be good with kids 
male characters who are perceptive and understanding 
male characters with realistic, practical muscles 
wanting hugs and getting giddy over little bits of affection
male characters who wear heels (even if the rest of their outfit is traditionally masculine) 
black male protagonists 
emotional strength instead of physical strength 
males that let the non males take charge and our respectful 
realistic bodies and insecurities 
more males characters exploring their identity 
males who have hobbies, they’re passionate about
physically and mentally strong and resilient. Protective, but respectful and supportive 
not being overtly attractive and being okay with it 
emotionally guarded without being cold or angry 
more sympathy, less naïvety to the female protagonists feelings 
stylish dudes who aren’t gay (not that lgbtq+ rep is bad it’s just a tiring stereotype) 
guys friendships and protectiveness of non love interests 
male characters being feminine without them being queer coded or comic relief
them finding a healthy way to cope with problems 
healthy paternal figures that do not die in the saga please 
big scary guys with hobbies like crochet, sewing and reading books for rescued animals 
soft and loving and caring all the time who cry and are hurt and not badass all the time 
be soft and kind to everyone, not just their bae 
cool mysterious and stuff but not flipping depressed characters please stop that trope
them crying, having close female friends, being lgbt+(especially trans men), showing emotions 
male characters that aren’t possessive/obsessive and know how to accept “no”
raising kids without a love interest involved
societies with men that aren’t stereotypical 
male characters that aren’t naturally good leaders 
a really straight guy having a really gay best friend 
seeing more male characters be comfortable in expressing their feelings and emotions 
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