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mc's of a different race
Posted: Friday, June 19, 2015 5:05 PM
Joined: 4/8/2015
Posts: 49

in my novel, finding charlie, the story alternates between two pov charecters. they're sisters with a white father and mexican mother and they experience and identify race very differently.
as a white person, i think it can be problematic to try to write the pov of a racial minority. but i also think it's problematic to write stories exclusively about white people.
what are people's thoughts about negotiating these issues? have you ever done it?

Posted: Monday, September 7, 2015 1:31 PM
Joined: 8/21/2015
Posts: 15

I had a similar issue when I started writing "Celestin", set in Rwanda. So, I decided to start writing it from a foreigners POV. But in one critique someone recommended I cut a character who (according to them wasn't central to the story). I loved the character so much that this inspired me to rewrite the story from their perspective. It was also then that I decided to adopt a pseudonym which couldn't be ethnically discernable.


I think to write freely and creatively one does need to be able to put suspend those social, racial and sexual categories. Otherwise, you would only ever be able to write one kind of character. Human beings are not as different as we pretend and claim to be. Some characters will require a stretch of the imagination and some courage. But none are completely beyond our understanding and empathy.



Steve Merrill
Posted: Saturday, September 19, 2015 4:29 PM
Joined: 9/12/2015
Posts: 12

For me, the best method for creating full blooded characters is through the use of character sketches. Give them a background and a history. Know their favorite food and favorite television show. Their loves and hates. Every detail you can think of, regardless of whether or not it's relevant to the story, fill in the blank and you will know your character as a human being first and not a stereotype. Then the thoughts and actions of that character will ring true for that character.

--edited by Steve Merrill on 9/19/2015, 4:31 PM--


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