On Writing Characters With Whom You Don’t Share Race, Gender, Sexuality, Ethnicity, or Economic Background

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I read a WordPress blog this morning where a cisgender, heterosexual, caucasian, male presenting blogger advised an author to not worry about reviews saying their book was racist or bigoted. As a queer, white presenting (but actually mixed-race), female-presenting author, I’d like to say: worst advice ever.

He believed it was a “current climate” sensitivity. No. People been done fed up with bs.

It’s my personal belief in #ownvoices for main characters, but you do you. Even if your mc is the same as you head to toe and in background, we live in a diverse world. Your book better be diverse.

If you’re writing about the experiences of someone who is of another race, religion, or culture, a good sensitivity reader will keep you from ignoring biases and cultural blind spots. Most of the Big Five have them on hand.

Before you even put your fingers to the keyboard when writing a story like that read Writing the Other: A Practical Approach by Nisi Shaw.

┬ęT.J. Deschamps

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