Thunder and Herbs

The written words of Jenny Hackett

Practical Witchcraft for Outcast Teens

General warnings for internalised transphobia and abuse. Some chapters will have specific warnings.

Daniel Reed has a secret wish: they long to be a girl. They’ve seen the reality TV specials, the “is it a man?” games, so they know they can go so far, but they don’t want that. They’re sure there has to be a way for them to be a girl without also being a joke for others to laugh at. So, naturally, they turn to witchcraft.

But witchcraft, unsurprisingly, doesn’t come without its own dangers. Dangers such as: creepy mentors, alien worlds, strange monsters and secret societies — and that’s all on top of all the usual fun of being a teen with gender issues…

Will Daniel get their wish? And if so, will it be worth it?

A note about language

Writing about trans characters can be difficult due to the gendered nature of language. In English, pronouns like “he” and “she” as well as other words like “fireman” and “postman” bake assumptions about gender into our words themselves. In reaction to this, many people, both trans and cis, have chosen to use gender-neutral pronouns like “they”, “ey” and “sie” as well as words like “firefighter” when the gender of an individual is unknown, immaterial or outside of the male-female binary.

When talking about real people, it is important to use the pronouns that the person in question has chosen for themselves. Doing otherwise is at best rude, and can be actively damaging to that person or others. However, in this fiction I want to be faithful to my experience of being a transgender teen, and part of my experience was growing up with shoddy ideas of how gender works and how to talk about it.

For the purpose of representing this mindset, I will describe characters with terms and pronouns that the viewpoint character would use. This will sometimes mean using words that, in real life, could cause serious harm. Please don’t take anything in this story as examples of proper language or behaviour. My characters are flawed individuals, not role models. You must take responsibility for educating yourself so as not to do harm.