Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

Your thoughts on non LGBTQ writers writing LGBTQ characters.


  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 A. Wass

A. Wass

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 306 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 16 April 2018 - 03:01 PM

Hi all,

 

What are your thoughts on a straight writer who writes a protagonist that identifies as LGBTQ? Is this a no no?

 

 

I'm currently working on my next WIP, a YA Fantasy that's basically Shakespeare's Twelfth Night meets the movie A Knight's Tale. The issue I'm having is the further I get plotting this, the more apparent it is to me that the main character (a girl who is disguised as her brother) is falling for the princess in the story. I could force the story into a different direction, but this feels more true to her character. My problem is that I don't want to offend anyone or make them feel like I'm trying to piggyback on a marginalized voice or something. My best friend assured me she wouldn't be offended (she's lesbian) and said that there aren't enough people like her in fantasy and she'd welcome it, but she's my best friend. So she could be biased to me lol.

 

Thoughts??

 



#2 DisgruntledWriter

DisgruntledWriter

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 277 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationCanada

Posted 16 April 2018 - 04:28 PM

I don't see a problem with it.  If you're going to say you can't write someone who is gay because you're straight, it's the same concept as saying you can't write a man if you're a woman, someone old if you are young, or somone who is black if you are white.  Just my thoughts.



#3 lnloft

lnloft

    LNLOFT

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 16 April 2018 - 04:39 PM

With the caveat that I am a straight writer as well...

 

I think we should write stories about LGBTQ+ characters. Representation matters, and I'm trying to do my part. The book I'm querying right now has a straight POV, but there is a very prominent gay couple. I have a WIP with multiple POVs; one of them I knew right off the bat she was gay, but another one as soon as I started getting to know her I realized she was bi. As a straight white woman, when I think about how I'm addressing race and sexuality in my writing, I go back to the one thing where I am on the under-represented side and I think about how I want to see just women in general presented in fiction. I'm fine with a man writing a female character, just so long as he does it well; I want more men to write strong, relatable female characters, especially in fantasy and sci-fi.

 

The one thing that we obviously can't do is claim #ownvoices, which is fine, and I know the other thing that I'm not going to do personally is write a story where one of the main focuses is a character dealing with their sexuality. I don't know that I could do a fair job on it, so I'm going to let other people who feel more compelled and who can do a better job tell those sorts of stories. Instead, I've acknowledged that I have the power to make my worlds however I want (since I write fantasy), so, for the WIP mentioned above, I purposefully decided to create a world where sexism, racism, and bias against sexuality/gender identity/etc. were just never a thing. So when two characters are talking, and one of them refers to his ex-husband, the reaction of the other character is about, oh, you were married before, not, oh, you're gay.

 

Obviously, I've put some thought into this topic. However, I want to do things right, so if there are writers here who are of the LGBTQ+ community who have a difference of opinion on what I've just said, please let me know, and I will listen. I'm trying my best to do my small part.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.


#4 BadgerFox

BadgerFox

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 152 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUnited Kingdom

Posted 17 April 2018 - 07:54 AM

I think (I hope) it's technically a positive thing to do. Because literature has been so pale, stale and male for so long that diversity is so sorely needed, and we all have a duty to contribute to a canon of literature that real people can really see themselves in. BUT it should be done well. A representation that's 3/4 accurate with a few dubious elements is still probably, on par, better than a total dearth of LGBT+ characters. But a representation that's actually 100% an offensive, unkind, negative stereotype might be better off not existing at all!

 

So...maybe only do it if you're commited to researching character backgrounds carefully? Resources for writers exist. Tv Tropes, for example, has actually be a surprisingly good resource for pitfalls to avoid in depicting LGBT+ characters (http://tvtropes.org/...p/Main/BiTheWay !) It also helps if you can mix a lot with the people you're writing. When I started writing LGBT+ characters, like 70 - 80% of my friend group was LGBT+ people, and I was involved with a lot of Pride event stuff, people's weddings and local burlesque/cabaret/fetish/alt fashion scene events. I think it would actually have been harder to write a totally mainstream hetereosexual romance novel!

 

I think a lot of the horror over depicting people who are not you comes from a) previous experience of minorities being depicted appallingly b) demented straight white middle-class twelve-year-olds on Tumblr who've gone off the Social Justice Kool Aid deep end and convinced each other that non-japanese people using chopsticks to eat in a japanese-owned sushi restaurant is now literal genocide because SOMETHING SOMETHING CULTURAL APPROPRIATION REEEEEEE! (yeah, I'm a hardcore lefty and even I think we can just ignore these embarassing twelve-year-olds...) or c) a very understandable concern that minority peoples themselves aren't always allowed into the literary 'scene' to tell their own stories, and this has been unjust for too long.

 

So, yeah, as long as you don't inappropriately thieve the #OwnVoices tag, and you research carefully and maybe ask LGBT+ friends if they'd consider doing a sensitivity reading... seems like a good idea to include more diverse characters in Fantasy :)


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!


#5 Aightball

Aightball

    Deathbat

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,651 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:My short story ANGUISH is available now in the Elephant Bookshelf Press winter anthology "Winter's Regret".

Posted 17 April 2018 - 07:57 AM

I'm a straight writer who writes all LGBTQ+ characters.  I think as long as you're not falling into the stereotypes and you're making it a natural fit for the story, you're fine.  And definitely seek out LGBTQ+ readers during your drafts...it's always good to get their take on things!


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

aertja.jpg


#6 DisgruntledWriter

DisgruntledWriter

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 277 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationCanada

Posted 17 April 2018 - 09:04 AM

literature has been so pale, stale and male for so long 

 

This cracked me up so bad. 



#7 A. Wass

A. Wass

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 306 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 17 April 2018 - 12:00 PM

Thanks for all the advice. My LGBTQ best friend is helping me plot and avoid stereotypes etc and I'll have a few people do sensitivity readings so hopefully it'll turn out the way I want it to.



#8 galaxyspinner

galaxyspinner

    Spinner of Galaxies

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 17 April 2018 - 12:10 PM

It's tricky for a straight person to write a gay character, and here are my thoughts on why:

 

When a man writes a female character, or a white person writes a black character, for example, it's a simple matter of describing the character in very basic terms to establish this. It's expected that you paint at least as much of a picture in your audience's mind to know what a character's sex and race is, so it doesn't need to go any deeper than this. This is valuable, because it doesn't preclude such a character being otherwise treated exactly like any other character.

 

Writing a gay character doesn't have this advantage, since you can't determine that someone is gay strictly by appearance. If you want to write a gay character and let your audience know that the character is gay, you need to either evoke stereotypes or somehow bring the character's sexuality into the spotlight. It's therefore hard to write a gay character without simultaneously allowing this character to be "normal", compared to how your other characters are portrayed. We therefore end up with a lot of gay characters written by straight people who are clearly fetishising them, tokenizing them, or playing them for jokes. And then there are characters like Dumbledore, who is described by the author as gay, even though this fact never came up at all in the actual books.

 

It can be done, but the challenge is to introduce a character's sexuality in an organic way, allowing it to be important enough to mention without being so important as to "other" the character.


Are you an actress looking for a comedic monologue? Check out Lady Parts: 50 Monologues for Funny Actresses.

 

Critique my query: Buccaneers of the Wild Blue


#9 A. Wass

A. Wass

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 306 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Midwest

Posted 17 April 2018 - 12:54 PM

I get what you're saying galaxyspinner, but here is basically what I plan on doing. I don't plan on using stereotypes. In fact, I'm going very out of the way to avoid them. I don't plan on bringing her sexuality into the spotlight either. I'm simply going to have her be herself. She's attracted to women just as if a straight girl would be attracted to a man. It shouldn't be any different through her eyes. Instead of falling for a guy, she falls for a girl, but falling should happen the same way. What's wrong with portraying two girls falling in love and making it solely about the act of falling, and not about their sex? From what my BFF told me, she wants more books about LGBTQ+ characters that don't make a huge deal about them being LGBTQ+. She said she recently read a book where it was portrayed this way and she LOVED it. This will take some finessing on my part, and must be done really well, but I think it's doable.

 

And as far as Dumbledore is concerned....I've read the HP books at least a dozen times each and if you pay close attention, there are tiny little hints here and there that make you wonder in the back of you mind. I think it was so subtle and brilliant.



#10 lnloft

lnloft

    LNLOFT

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 17 April 2018 - 06:00 PM

That's the approach I've taken as well. I treat my gay couples as I would any other couple. I do think it's important to avoid the pitfalls of a couple tropes, namely, Have I Mentioned I'm Gay? (http://tvtropes.org/...MentionedIAmGay), and Word of Gay (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WordOfGay). The first can just come across as just sort of checking off a box to show that you're inclusive without actually putting any effort into it, while the latter can be "I want to be inclusive without actually having the courage to put it in my book." Although there is the thought of writing a character as gay but then also recognizing that it's not relevant to the plot whatsoever (if you don't make a point of clarifying that a straight character is straight, then why would you clarify a gay character is gay just for the sake of it?). I guess the point is that it's important to be cognizant of what you're doing and why you're doing it.

 

I will add that I'm struggling with how to include trans characters in my book. As I noted in my post earlier, I've got a story set in a society where sexism and bias against sexuality were never a thing, so I figure that bias against trans people would go hand in hand with all of that. But, if the characters are totally relaxed about people being trans, then they're not going to point it out. But at the same time, even in a world that's totally accepting, I wonder how bothersome it would be to feel you were "born in the wrong body", even if you know you can do things to fix it and won't be judged. So I'm struggling with, one, in a society like this, how big a deal would it still be, and, two, how do I include it without invoking either of those tropes above? And thus I haven't included any trans characters yet, even though I want to. And I feel bad about not including, but I would also feel bad about not doing it right, and... This is a place I need to find someone to talk to.

 

And then I also worry that as a group of straight people talking about LGBTQ+ characters, we run the risk of... let's call it straight-splaining. I definitely don't want to get caught up in that. But just because there are certain complexities to think about doesn't give an excuse to ignore it.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.


#11 Pen

Pen

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 733 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 17 April 2018 - 06:19 PM

 

From what my BFF told me, she wants more books about LGBTQ+ characters that don't make a huge deal about them being LGBTQ+. She said she recently read a book where it was portrayed this way and she LOVED it. This will take some finessing on my part, and must be done really well, but I think it's doable.

 

As a black person. If a white writer were to go about it doing this way for black characters. I think it would be awesome. However there are things that come with the territory of being a minority even in 2018. So unless it's needed. There's no point in saying it, unless the setting requires it. Example: In my area you won't catch me or other black people going to a particular park in town. Period. If I were to read a story about a black person enjoying their day at that park I will think one or two things. Either that person NEVER been to that area. Or two it's a white person completely oblivious to the fact that black people in my town will NEVER go there. The Klan meets there by the way.

 

I think it's important that people in minorities can have something to be proud about. But I'm with your friend on that. No use in making some huge deal about it if it doesn't add to the story. It's like we put a label on something and now we're supposed to have a completely different perspective on how things go because of that label. If that makes sense. If not I'll clarify.

 

Anyway I applaud for wanting to be respectful and unique. Best wishes with your work.

 

No disrespect intended and apologies to any and all if I did.



#12 lnloft

lnloft

    LNLOFT

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 17 April 2018 - 06:46 PM

No use in making some huge deal about it if it doesn't add to the story. It's like we put a label on something and now we're supposed to have a completely different perspective on how things go because of that label.

This is why I haven't noted in my query that I have prominent gay characters in my book (or that my MC is black, for that matter). Because my book needs to stand on its own. If I think people would enjoy my book BECAUSE it has diverse characters, then that's more like I'm patting myself on the back for a job well done and also I think belittling the opinions of the readers. I think people will enjoy my book because of story telling, and the diversity is a bonus. Since I'm not writing as #ownvoices, I don't think it's right for me to go about tooting my horn about it.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.


#13 Pen

Pen

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 733 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 17 April 2018 - 06:59 PM

This is why I haven't noted in my query that I have prominent gay characters in my book (or that my MC is black, for that matter). Because my book needs to stand on its own. If I think people would enjoy my book BECAUSE it has diverse characters, then that's more like I'm patting myself on the back for a job well done and also I think belittling the opinions of the readers. I think people will enjoy my book because of story telling, and the diversity is a bonus. Since I'm not writing as #ownvoices, I don't think it's right for me to go about tooting my horn about it.

 

Exactly. I always like it when there's a good story that happens to be diverse without people going around trying to make a point.



#14 Emily804

Emily804

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 96 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 02 October 2018 - 09:44 PM

As a lesbian...supporter, just kidding (that's a meme btw, in case you haven't heard of it). As a lesbian, it makes me so happy to see straight people writing LGBTQ+ characters!


Query Compatibility YA sci-fi: http://agentquerycon...lity-ya-sci-fi/


#15 lauraharris

lauraharris

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 22 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published, unagented
  • LocationAustralia/New Zealand

Posted 21 May 2019 - 07:16 PM

Also speaking as a lesbian, please please pleeeeease write queer characters <3 But do your research. Specifically:

  • For SFF, consider your worldbuilding - are LGBTQ characters discriminated against in any way, can they marry, what are general public attitudes. 
  • For contemporary / historical, research attitudes/rights in the time and place you are writing. 

You need to know both wider societal attitudes as well as the specific environment your character grew up in & lives in now. This is because it will directly impact your characters' behaviour. Do they hold hands / kiss in public? Do they notice people noticing them and get nervous / self-conscious? Do they avoid mentioning pronouns, or need to explicitly mention pronouns? Does this vary depending on who they are with? 

 

Writing queer characters in a world that doesn't care, or is at least mostly accepting of the fact they're queer, you're a lot less likely to go wrong than writing a character dealing with homophobia/transphobia, or coming out. Hence the general advice of 'write stories with [minority] characters, but don't write stories about being [minority]'. 

 

Including multiple queer characters makes stereotypes less of an issue, because you don't just have the one character being painted with the rainbow brush to represent them all. 

 

The suggestion of reading TV Tropes is a great one. Specifically look up 'bury your gays' trope.  If you've only got one queer couple, especially two women, and you give them a tragic ending, don't expect it to go over well - we have read/watched that story to death. 

 

(I know this is an old thread, I misread the year and now I've already written my reply which I think contains useful info, and there's limited queer input here, so I'm posting it anyway xD)



#16 lnloft

lnloft

    LNLOFT

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 581 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 21 May 2019 - 08:17 PM

Thanks for sharing. As a straight writer, I welcome all the advice and feedback I can get on this topic, because I know my intentions are good, but it's still possible for me to end up doing something carelessly offensive. I defer to the opinions of the people who know what they're talking about.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.


#17 Tom Preece

Tom Preece

    Word Warrior

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,042 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Virtually none. Long long ago in college I was published in a couple of student magazines

Posted 22 May 2019 - 01:43 PM

The work is the work and should stand on its own.  I've never felt qualified to determine who was an :LGBTQ or not, regardless of what they might claim.  What I note is whether what I read is persuasive and believable.  Why should there be anything else?



#18 Michael Steven

Michael Steven

    Venture far from the Beaten Path

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,312 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Not Published ... yet!

Posted 22 May 2019 - 10:33 PM

You can if you want, but you risk alienating much of your readership if you stuff social justice issues in your stories.  This is compounded when the issues don't have anything at all to do with the plot line.  Readers want to see well developed characters who they can identify with.  They want to have a well developed story that sweeps them along, and takes them into your world.  How, precisely, do 98% of your readers identify with an LGBWTF character?  If you just mention it in passing, it's a distraction but easily advanced beyond.  If you choose to stuff in scenes related to that, you have closed books, and plenty of people not willing to read anything more from you.

 

Censorship related to social justice issues is rampant across the country, and nobody is allowed to say even a peep of anything against any of it without being ridiculed, insulted, attacked, or complaints sent to their place of work, etc.  They may not be able to say what they feel, but I assure you the vast majority don't accept it the way you believe they do.  It's your story, though, and nobody can dictate what you do or don't do.  I'm just letting you know there IS a counterpoint that many won't put words to.


Let there be light on this planet ... And let it shine through me
Let there be travellers who venture ... Far from the beaten path
And let one of them be me - Jefferson Starship - Champion (unused lyrics)

#19 Monsmord

Monsmord

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 56 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging, published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:My most recent flash fiction has been published in the Newfoundland Quarterly and Kit Sora's "The Artobiography."

Posted 23 May 2019 - 11:43 AM

Also speaking as a lesbian, please please pleeeeease write queer characters <3 But do your research. Specifically:

  • For SFF, consider your worldbuilding - are LGBTQ characters discriminated against in any way, can they marry, what are general public attitudes. 
  • For contemporary / historical, research attitudes/rights in the time and place you are writing. 

You need to know both wider societal attitudes as well as the specific environment your character grew up in & lives in now. This is because it will directly impact your characters' behaviour. Do they hold hands / kiss in public? Do they notice people noticing them and get nervous / self-conscious? Do they avoid mentioning pronouns, or need to explicitly mention pronouns? Does this vary depending on who they are with? 

 

Writing queer characters in a world that doesn't care, or is at least mostly accepting of the fact they're queer, you're a lot less likely to go wrong than writing a character dealing with homophobia/transphobia, or coming out. Hence the general advice of 'write stories with [minority] characters, but don't write stories about being [minority]'. 

 

Including multiple queer characters makes stereotypes less of an issue, because you don't just have the one character being painted with the rainbow brush to represent them all. 

 

The suggestion of reading TV Tropes is a great one. Specifically look up 'bury your gays' trope.  If you've only got one queer couple, especially two women, and you give them a tragic ending, don't expect it to go over well - we have read/watched that story to death. 

 

(I know this is an old thread, I misread the year and now I've already written my reply which I think contains useful info, and there's limited queer input here, so I'm posting it anyway xD)

 

YES, THIS.  Thank you for posting, and for reviving a topic that, sadly, is increasingly important as parts of North America try their darnedest to slide back into the 19th Century or over-and-down into 1930s Germany or current Russia/Middle East.

 

In addition to research, appropriate Sensitivity Readers for an early draft would be helpful. But maybe even better: diversify one's circle of friends:smile:

 

 

Thanks for sharing. As a straight writer, I welcome all the advice and feedback I can get on this topic, because I know my intentions are good, but it's still possible for me to end up doing something carelessly offensive. I defer to the opinions of the people who know what they're talking about.

 

And this exactly me.

 

As a cis straight white American (born and raised) dude myself, I want my characters to be diverse. Not to appeal to a wider paying audience, but because diversity is important to me, it's the way of the future (fiction written today that glorifies racism, homophobia, and general intolerance won't be read in fifty years, precisely because it has no merit even now), and, more to the point in a writing forum, diversity is interesting. It's usually the differences between characters that breed drama (and sometimes comedy) after all.

 

All humans have the same sets of feelings, flaws, and strengths that are part of character, and all are driven by the same human needs. But the experience of living in any marginalized community will shape folks in ways I can only try to guess at, and that's where my concern as a writer comes in. I don't want to stereotype, misrepresent, or minimize how that experience has shaped expectations, choices, behavior, etc. (Whether LGBTQ+, people of color, differently abled, etc.) Getting guidance and feedback from people who've lived it will be key to my understanding, making me both a better writer and a better person.

 

 

You can if you want, but you risk alienating much of your readership if you stuff social justice issues in your stories.  This is compounded when the issues don't have anything at all to do with the plot line.  Readers want to see well developed characters who they can identify with.  They want to have a well developed story that sweeps them along, and takes them into your world.  How, precisely, do 98% of your readers identify with an LGBWTF character?  If you just mention it in passing, it's a distraction but easily advanced beyond.  If you choose to stuff in scenes related to that, you have closed books, and plenty of people not willing to read anything more from you.

 

This stellar degree of ignorance is exactly why we need more diversity in fiction. "LGBWTF?" (So, insulting board reader identity now? Reported.) "98%?" A "distraction?" B____, please.

 

It's solid writing advice to say only include those elements relevant to your story/characters. If a story isn't about the struggle for equality and an end to bigotry, adding it for "spice" probably isn't a great idea, any more than an irrelevant sex scene in a murder mystery. On the other hand, if a story is set in a time or place where these issues were forefront, it may not seem realistic unless the issues are touched on in some way. This is true of any genre/subject. A love story set in the Old West that avoids every mention of indigenous peoples, the railroad, gold, hats, politics, immigration, and difficulties of frontier life isn't likely to ring true. Setting a story in the Jim Crow South and glossing over the institutionalized racism/segregation or the rampant poverty and illiteracy is seriously going to undermine a story's credibility (and the author's).

 

But assuming the book is well-written and well-structured... If the only thing a reader can identify with in a character depends on the right combination of skin color, gender, sexual preference, and faith, they aren't really reading for the story, nor to explore a world, to expand their mind or heart, or connect with other humans. The flaw is in the shallowness of the reader here, not the content of the story. Like, if a straight cis white dude isn't moved by the intense humanity of The Color Purple because they can't identify with the main characters, well, their opinion of what makes things relatable is hardly a thing to worry over. Fortunately, there's lots of tripe already out there for the casual conformist reader, and pandering to this limited subset of buyers isn't going to make one's story prize-worthy. It won't be "literature."

 

One can't please every reader or demographic with one's work, no matter what it is or how well written.  Not everyone reads Hemingway, or Joyce, or Wolff, or Atwood, etc. If the story theme is improving social justice, or struggling against intolerance, there will be folks who won't like it. Tough. Most people don't read Westerns or Harlequin romances, but some do, and these books keep getting written. There's a market for everything. In fact, in today's North American sociopolitical climate, stories of social justice/injustice and equality are even MORE marketable than they were; if an author can pull of a great work about social justice, they're gonna go far.

 

 

Censorship related to social justice issues is rampant across the country, and nobody is allowed to say even a peep of anything against any of it without being ridiculed, insulted, attacked, or complaints sent to their place of work, etc.  They may not be able to say what they feel, but I assure you the vast majority don't accept it the way you believe they do.  It's your story, though, and nobody can dictate what you do or don't do.  I'm just letting you know there IS a counterpoint that many won't put words to.

 

Censorship: ha! Look up that word. Read social media. And watch TV. Ignorant hate speech is everywhere, including big US TV Media and the administration.

 

Yeah - imagine what it must be like being ridiculed, insulted, attacked, etc. Must be super tough. Tougher even those black schoolkids being hit with rocks when busing started, and all the blacks lynched everywhere - by intolerant whites. Like Harvey Milk and MLKJ and Brandon Teena being assassinated by intolerant white dudes. Like black churches and synagogues and mosques being burned and shot up by - oh look, intolerant white dudes. Like what all the people of color, LGBTQ+, differently abled, of varied faiths, etc. have endured and continued to endure even in "The Land of the Free." Yeah, cry me a river for those poor suffering North American whites that don't feel free to express their hateful bullcrap without consequence. Must be real hard to have to be brave and "come out" as a bigot.

 

It's the Popper Paradox. The only way to ensure a tolerant society is to be intolerant of intolerance. Intolerant folks love to cite freedom of speech and rights and all, then try to take those things away from anyone who isn't like them, to mock and criticize and marginalize people not for what they believe but for whom they are, to incite violence and bring back segregation - then cry foul when they're on the receiving end. And even when they're on that receiving end, they lack the baseline human empathy to realize, "Oh, is THIS how my words and actions have been making those other people feel? Humiliated, outcast? Maybe I shouldn't be doing that." So no, the shadows is where such folks can stay; and with luck and effort, such insipid, inhumane views will erode to nothing.

 

Frankly, if some small-minded bigots (say, those who use "social justice" as a pejorative) are going to object to my work because it includes sympathetic characters who aren't like them, well, I don't need their money, and their critical reviews are without value. They're welcome to buy the latest whining pablum from a disgraced FOX News anchor instead. Which is really a shame, because I don't like to think that anyone is beyond reach, beyond redemption or hope of real humanity - but maybe they are.

 

=================

 

This thread was more about describing race, on how or how not to define diverse characters when "white" seems to be the default, but some of the advice may still be generally applicable: http://agentquerycon...ibe-characters/



#20 mwsinclair

mwsinclair

    Elephant with a trunk full of novels

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,894 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented, media
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Journalist covering U.S. nonprofits, foundations, and life in general. President and Chief Elephant Officer of Elephant's Bookshelf Press, LLC. Since establishing the company in 2012, we have published more than a dozen books, including several short story anthologies and debut novels by several AQC authors including "ScubaSteve" Carman and R.S. Mellette. Midway through 2018, we've already published our first nonfiction title, "Which the Days Never Know," and are putting together an omnibus collection of the Seasons Series of anthologies, with launch expected by the Christmas season. And in 2019, there will be much more, with news to come soon!

Posted 23 May 2019 - 12:36 PM

First, I want to say thanks lauraharris for boosting this thread back into currency. It brings the type of writerly conversations and explorations that this site is so well suited for back into the light.

 

I'm glad that you were receiving good responses.

 

As with any post, it's good to recognize that we have a broad diversity of perspectives here. I believe the original intent of this discussion was to address the question of whether straight writers can effectively and honestly write LGBTQ characters. I agree with those who said yes, they can.

 

I disagree with the premise of michael's comment that you risk alienating half your audience. Those who might be alienated weren't your audience in the first place; ignore them.

 

None of us writes for everyone. Anyone who tries to write for everyone is doomed to write bland pieces that serve no use -- at best.

 

Know your audience, understand that audience, and write the best story you can write with believable characters.

 

I don't think J.K. Rowling is a witch much less a wizard, but she damned well convinced me she can write about them.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users