Mar 6, 2010

Wannabe Writers #6

Wannabe Writers is a group for all of you out there who are un-published like me. A place where future authors can ask questions, share our stories, and get feedback. Here's how it works: (click here)

Where I am in the writing process: Just started a brand new novel. I'm about 5,000 words in.

My Current Problem(s): Writing characters outside my race. I've struggled with this from time to time and usually go for the quick fix: making all my character's white because I'm white. But I want to do it differently in my new book.

My Question This Week: How to write characters of a different race (gender or sexual orientation--or even culture)? Has it worked for you?

12 comments:

Amanda said...

Very good question, Sarah! I'm looking forward to reading all the responses. I put mine up (insomnia this morning...).

Noelle Nolan said...

Great post. My answer will take some time to answer. Thanks for stopping by my contest.

See you later.

Christine Danek said...

Great post and great question. I will think about it and give you an answer:) I also signed up so I will figure that out too :)

Jeff King said...

Well, everything we do as writers comes from within us… so if you can interact with people of different races or the opposite sex; then get up and get talking to people. That’s the only way to get to know anything you want to write about.

Now if you can’t or don’t want to go out and introduce yourself to others. Then the next best thing… well at least for me it is. Sit down with your favorite movies and watch certain characters of the opposite sex or different races or both. Try and find an actor you want your Character you’re writing about be like, and study that person… do this until you feel you know the person you want to portray.

Then write away, just remember it’s a fictional character based off your understanding of the world; so learn as much as you can if you want your book to shine with insight. Ignorance does not sell or make for good reading.

Thx nice topic.

InABox said...

That's a great question. I haven't really tackled this one outside my field of experience yet so I'm interested in the discussion for this.

I would guess that immersing yourself in the other culture would be a great start (or watch lots of movies like Jeff suggested). And, of course, reading is one of the best ways to gain experience. (Experience is one of my favorite excuses for picking up a new book...)

I hope the new novel is going swimmingly!

Sarah (Book Reviews from Inside an Igloo) said...

wow I just stumbled upon your site and I am soo glad I did! I haven't really seen a site quite like yours before for wanna be writers, and its a pleasure to finally find one! I want to be a writer one day. I feel like I have so many other people and places and worlds in my head that need to be written down and developed so people stop thinking I am schizophrenic when I talk to myself in public.

I'm following your blog now. Thanks! :)

J. Kaye said...

Once again, another great question to ponder. I'll be back later on today to see what others have posted.

Gin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gin said...

To answer your question, yes, it has worked for me. I created a whole little world with a new race which has completely gotten my family involved in the process. I can't say how it evolved, it just happened. It's got to do with the imagination and the following of it. And of course, asking all kinds of questions about the ins and outs of that society really helped me. Questioning the little things that are faced on a daily basis in our own lives, how might the people in my new world react to it?

E. Elle said...

I've never found it very difficult to write from different backgrounds. We're all human so at least we have that in common. I did experience a challenge when my main character decided to be biracial. I thought she wanted to make a point in the piece but then I realized she was simply biracial. It didn't need to be a big deal, that's just who she was. That made it a lot easier to write for her because I didn't feel like I had to put her into this box conceived by my preconceptions about the white vs. black issue. And it was actually kind of liberating to write a voice with such a mixed back story.

Amanda said...

Hey Sarah! I wanted to let you know that I'm still going to be participating in these Wannabe Writers posts, but it'll be on a different blog as I'm consolidating my book blog and writing blog. Also, I set up a new weekly writer's freewrite chat for Wednesdays that I hope other writers willbe interested in participating in. It's called Ink Notes, and the first post is here: http://zenleaf.blogspot.com/2010/03/ink-notes-introductions.html

porcelaine said...

Characters are like experiences. Over the course of life we have a bunch and some can be a little frightening or difficult at the onset, but your comfort level increases with time and familiarity. I'd approach it from an adventurer's standpoint. Much like you would if you were traveling to a new area or exploring a different culture. Immerse yourself and see things from various viewpoints. Soak it up and toggle between formal, informal, well known, and obscure nuances that make each ethnicity you're encountering rich and unique in its own way. Best of luck!