25. Writer. Reader. Nerd. Perpetual student. Occasional bad ass. Lives in So Cal.
Anonymous asked: I don't understand why people don't want to write POC, women, queer, or disabled people into their stories. I can't imagine sitting down and going, "Okay. I am writing a story and I know that white, straight, heterosexual, able-bodied men are incredibly underrepresented, so let's write 20 of those." I mean, yeah, in some cases it requires research, but I just don't get why most writers seem to care so little about representation.
I can explain this with two simple rules, and I want to make it clear that even though I understand it, I neither approve of nor like it:
- "Write what you know."
- "Garbage in, Garbage out."
"Write what you know" is exactly what it says on the tin. Obviously, you can’t write what you don’t know, at least not accurately. For example, I could probably write a pretty detailed guide on how to perform open heart surgery, but since I don’t know how to do that, it would probably be wildly inaccurate and anyone following it would certainly die.
"Garbage in, Garbage out" basically means that faulty input will invariably create faulty output. For example, if somebody tried to cite my Open Heart Surgery guide in a paper, they’d probably fail the paper, because my guide is a piece of shit. Basically, they put garbage into their paper, and so the resulting paper was garbage.
That being said, when an author is bigoted, consciously or not, they’re likely to not associate too much with or care too much about people of color, disabled folks, gay folks, bi folks, trans folks, women, any combination thereupon, or anyone who doesn’t come from whatever factory cranks out the low-quality Indiana Jones clones that populate the casts of their writing.
So if you’re a racist, your perception of the world is probably overwhelmingly white, or at least overemphasizes the importance of white experiences over others. If you’re misogynist, same goes for men. If you’re homophobic, same goes for heterosexual people. And then imagine this paragraph goes on until I’ve covered every type of bigotry, because it’s 1 AM, I can feel myself getting sleepy, and I’d ironically like to watch the new Doctor Who before I go to bed.
So if your perceptions of the world are overwhelmingly white, male, heterosexual, et cetera, then your perceptions of the world are the garbage that goes in, and your writing is the garbage that comes out, also overwhelmingly white, male, heterosexual, et cetera.
That being said, if you’re just writing what you know, and all the people you’re writing are white, heterosexual cis men with no disabilities whatsoever, then you might want to ask yourself why that is. Like, do you only know people like that? Is your life like the episode of the Fairly OddParents where Timmy wishes everyone is exactly the same? Why don’t you know any women? Are you a monk of some kind?
I’m stuck between wanting:
1. A long lasting relationship with my soulmate who supports me and protects me and is my partner and we are completely bad ass together and in love
2. Wanting to have casual sex and rip out the heart of everyone person I meet
3. Being independent and having a loyal dog while I’m married to my career
It scares me how accurate this is.
all this except I don’t want the dog.
WWC Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions
So we’ve updated our FAQ and Guidelines which, just from the volume of questions that we receive that fall under these categories below, isn’t read quite as often as I’d like so we wished to make it easier to access.
Please check out these FAQ and guidelines, also found here.
Writing with Color: Ask Guidelines
Ever since this blog opened for business, we’ve been inundated with Asks pertaining to writing PoC, and some of them are quite difficult to answer thoroughly. We check the answers with the other mods to make sure we’re giving you the best advice we can. Please be patient. On the other hand, here are Asks that we won’t answer:
- general writing questions.
- questions that have nothing to do with PoC or only deal tangentially with them.
- questions that ask for facts you can easily Google.
- questions that ask “how do I write a ___________ character?” See FAQ.
- questions that have nothing to do with writing (we will either direct you to blogs that can answer them or answer them at our own leisure).
- questions that are basically ‘Why haven’t you answered my question yet? Why are you so slow?’
- those that are similar to questions we’ve already answered (please check the tags): in this case, we’ll link you to previous answered questions or a guide that will help you.
- we also urge you not to send in questions with racial slurs that aren’t blocked out or denoted as “n word” “g word” etc. (if you still choose to do this, your question may go unanswered).
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I write a ____________ character?
1. First off, check the tag pertaining to the type of character you’re looking to write. For example, if you’re writing an Indian character, search terms such as “indian” and “south asian” might be a good start.
2. A general rule when writing any Character of Color is to be mindful that while they might not be like you in terms of some cultural and certain daily experiences, they are like you in that they’re human. Humans with thoughts and dreams and feelings just like you. Capable of joy, snark, and laughter. So remember: human. Not aliens.
3. Don’t focus so much of whether you’re writing a proper ______ character.
You risk homogenizing your Characters of Color when you do this. Not all Black girls think the same. Not all Japanese men act the same. There may be some common experiences and feelings within a group, but everyone has their own perspective, experiences and thoughts despite their race; no hiveminds here.
Also, as with any character, background is a huge factor of a person and where they live and family life has an influence on a person’s making. For example, a Black boy who grew up in a mansion in California will have a different outlook than a Black boy who grew up on a Wisconsin bee farm swapped in cornfields. Same for their accents, style, and overall experience with life.
Brutal Simplicity Theme