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I dread being controversial or political online, but I want honest and sincere thoughts on this, with as few in the way of flame wars as possible. My question is more or less: if you’re not a member of a certain minority, do you get to write about it? Since I’m a novelist, I’m thinking in terms more of fiction here than nonfiction or journalism.

On the “no” side, the argument is basically (I’ll just quote this blog post here), “It is not the place of a cis straight person to represent the LGBTA community in order to claim progressive thinking on their part. … By all means we should be allies and make all efforts to be diverse in our work, but we should not seek to take their stories from them when there are so many creators from the LGBTA community who go ignored in favor of mainstream medium, and who would give a far more accurate account and portrayal of their stories. The same goes for race. In that instance, write what you know is applicable.”*

Fair enough. But on the “yes” side, which I admit is the side I’ve been working from all these years, the argument is: assuming the portrayal is done with as much taste, compassion, and realistic accuracy as the author can scrounge up (as opposed to using stereotypes or playing the characters’ culture/orientation/etc. for laughs), then surely it’s better to have more types of characters in more books, no matter what background the author comes from.

Even though I’m white and heterosexual and middle-class and American and therefore boringly generic and privileged in most ways, I recognize the problem of ethnic minorities and LGBTQ characters being underrepresented in entertainment. Plus I’m honestly into some of the stories that could be told with such characters (I’ve long squealed in delight over slash fiction, as nearly all of you know), so I want to write about them. I have this perhaps naïve hope that if someone reads a book that gets them (the readers) thinking more kindly about types of people they didn’t think about very much before, and gets them seeing more types of people as fellow humans with equal status to themselves, then hurray! The book has done something worthwhile! And it doesn’t really matter who the author is, in that case.

In fact, I’m the self-effacing type of author who doesn’t want you to think about ME; I want you to notice just my stories, my characters. It isn’t about me. This becomes a problem when it’s time to get out there and market my work in person with bright smiles, which is a task that sucks the life force out of me, but I digress.

So am I wrong? Should I be respectfully backing off and allowing “those groups” to tell their own stories? I certainly encourage anyone to do so who wants to, and I don’t want those stories to be ignored in favor of mine just because I’m white and privileged and stuff (though given my superbly modest sales figures, I really don’t think anyone’s favoring my work over others, so honestly I doubt this is currently a problem).

In my Greek myth series, I have some gay or bi characters, and others I picture as black or mixed-race. I don’t make A Big Thing of it for the most part; they’re just character details, mentioned alongside what color clothes they wear or what kind of salads they prefer or whether they like loud parties. (As an introvert, I found it WAY easier to write the gay or bi aspects of characters than to write Tabitha’s extroversion--she’s the reincarnated Dionysos, and loves organizing and attending parties, and drinking and being loud. I can’t comprehend being like that. But love and crushes, sure, I get those.)

I do try to avoid stereotypes. I’d rather a book didn’t include any gay characters than have it include one who lisped and called everyone “sweetie” and wore glasses with pink glittery frames. Same goes for all the ethnic-group issues you could run up against. I imagine, if anything, I err on the side of my black characters being too much like the white ones, such that you might not even know they’re black. But then, I also went that route because for the purposes of this story, it doesn’t exactly matter what their genetic makeup is. Also, a friendly mix of races and cultures is part of the new global civilization, and I feel like we do get to be casual about it, as long as we’re compassionate to everyone.

The one “minority” I belong to is that of women, and I’ll go on record as saying I have nothing at all against male authors who write in depth about female characters. In fact, I think more of them should, as long as they follow the guidelines discussed above: avoid stereotypes, view everyone as a human with equal rights and personal subtleties, be as fair and realistic as you can.

Anyway. The more I ramble about this, the more I realize it could be an entire doctoral thesis (and I’m sure it has been for lots of people), so I’ll leave it at that. But I welcome anyone’s thoughts! If you’re gay or trans, does it bother you if straight/cis people write LGBTQ characters? If you’re black or Latino or Asian (or fill in the blank), does it bother you if generic white people write about your ethnic group?

Further good reading on the topic: Why I Am Scared to Write About Diversity, by Cait at Paper Fury

* I do love this quote from that same post, though:

“ 'You should only ever write what you know.'— Whenever I read advice like this I can’t help but feel like Mary Shelley had some fucking weird anatomy classes I never got at school, and that I’d like to try whatever Tolkien was having." Ha! Quite so.

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Dean Mayes
Feb. 23rd, 2016 07:13 pm (UTC)
I'll tentatively put my hand up as one of *those* authors who dared to write about a minority group (in my case Aboriginal Australians) and copped a lot of flack for it - mostly by people who didn't even pick up the book. I devoted a whole year to pure research before I committed to writing the story and was plagued by self doubt the whole time but I decided that, as a writer, I have just as much right to portray a particular group of people as anyone - especially if I am being respectful to said group of people. And, as a writer, the focus should be on the story that is told rather than on the person who is telling it.

See - who brought in this rule that says one group of human beings isn't allowed to observe, interpret and document another group of human beings? I asked this very question once and no one could answer me.

And because of that, I decided that I would write - with integrity - whatever the fuck I wanted.
mollyringle
Feb. 23rd, 2016 07:31 pm (UTC)
I thought of Gifts of the Peramangk when I was writing this! But I refrained from naming you or it because I wasn't sure you wanted to be dragged into it. :) See, I think the book is a perfect example of a story that opened my eyes to what a lot of people have gone through, and increased my empathy, and I'm sure it did the same for lots of other readers. I'm sorry you took flak for that, though I suppose I'm not surprised. It's sensitive stuff and there's no winning. But on the whole I think it does far more good written than unwritten, no matter who the author is.

As I've told you, I also think you're an excellent example of a male author who writes female characters well (and you include a lot of women in your stories in the first place, which is more than some do). Everyone's a complex individual; that's really all it takes for any cast of characters to come across as properly alive. Glad you remember that simple rule!

And if humans aren't allowed to observe, interpret, and document other humans, the entire field of anthropology is out of a job. :) Given that was my undergrad major, that'd be a problem for my academic record...but then, I've forgotten so much from my classes by now that they should probably revoke my degree anyway.
Dean Mayes
Feb. 23rd, 2016 08:18 pm (UTC)
I was totally thinking along the lines of anthropology when I first read your post - but I couldn't remember the freaking word! (it's like, ridiculous-o'clock down here after all). Where would we be without that wonderful field of study??? I actually entertained ideas of looking into an anthropology course as a result of Gifts of the Peramangk and I'm still toying with it. But then I just want to keep writing!

Likewise with the whole me writing strong female characters penchant. I never really thought about it when I started out - that I was writing primarily women characters - until it was pointed out to me quite graciously. I find women much more interesting. I think I have been influenced by women growing up - my Mum and both my Nanas especially. And these were women who could hold their own and often did. So it just seems natural to me to be able to write women protagonists - especially when I put them in situations that challenge the orthodoxy.

Feel free to put me up as an example to all and sundry btw - I'm good for it! :)

Edited at 2016-02-23 08:19 pm (UTC)
serai1
Feb. 23rd, 2016 09:08 pm (UTC)
Not to barge in here, but one thing that doesn't get pointed out enough is how rarely such "critics" are writers themselves. Sure, they write lots of outraged blog posts, but they almost never have anything else to say but sniping at those who actually get books published. (Or music recorded, or dances performed, or comedy acts presented, or anything else actually accomplished.) It's the main reason I tend to see such ranting as coming from a place of jealousy just as much as from any misguided sense of "calling out appropriation". (By which they mean MISappropriation, but we'll let the lack of vocabulary knowledge go.)
mollyringle
Feb. 23rd, 2016 09:30 pm (UTC)
Oof, yeah, there is a definite culture on Goodreads especially (and probably also tumblr) of super-snarky reviews. In fact, "snarky" doesn't begin to cover it; it's very nearly vicious. And in at least a couple cases I've looked at, the reviewer's bio info says something about them being an aspiring writer. Now, I remember being young and snarky (which I regret these days), and I get how they're trying out their writing skills by seeing what kind of cleverly nasty things they can think up to criticize others with, but that is not a good foundation for a professional writing career, my young friends. I mean, you can build a name on snark, but I'm not so sure you want to. The sailing is smoother when you're known as someone pleasant to work with.
serai1
Feb. 23rd, 2016 10:09 pm (UTC)
Snark is the poor man's wit - a sad, self-indulgent attempt at seeming more intelligent than one really is. I've been trying to scrub it from my internet presence, but it's hard going when everyone seems to approve of bitchery as a form of communication. I find that, for me, a very good way to short-circuit that tendency is to remember the effect it had on me when my own mother would use it against me. She hurt me so much, so often, with her sneering as I was growing up that to this day I cannot bring myself to sing in front of her, because the look of disgust and the "Ugh!" she uttered the last time I tried (at age 12) wounded me so deeply. (I didn't even try to sing at all for five years after that comment.) The damage that snark has done to our cultural and political zeitgeist is immeasurable, in my opinion. If one is angry, then one should be honestly angry; if critical, then honestly critical; if happy, then honestly happy. This nastiness is just ugly and divisive.
mollyringle
Feb. 23rd, 2016 11:06 pm (UTC)
Ouch; I feel for you in internalizing your mother's remarks. One of the most frustrating parts of becoming an adult is realizing that there are lots of other adults who have never learned to be a kind, wise grown-up, and possibly never will. As you say, the snarky attitude is sort of the central career of a lot of people in entertainment, news, and politics. I'm trying to catch it early with my own kids, who I see trying it on from hearing it at school and wherever else (though I'm sure I undo half my efforts when I snap at them in tired moments). It is tough, because I approve of humor and I can see how sometimes snark is really funny, but these days I do try to look for gentler and more self-deprecating ways of being funny instead of tearing down others.
serai1
Feb. 23rd, 2016 09:04 pm (UTC)
No, you are not wrong. This trend is extremely dismaying. If taken to its logical conclusion, no one would ever be allowed to write or even talk about anyone other than their own tiny little group.

And who gets to define that group? Can I only write about over-50 white Hispanic women who are mostly straight but have had a couple of same-sex affairs? How about women who have never traveled to any country other than the ones their fathers were born in? Or is it divorced women who are members of a very small religious minority but have studied other religions? How about women unemployed because of a physical injury who like both cats and dogs but prefer cats because they're less needful? Which group do I get to write about, and who exactly has the right to declare that I can't write about anyone else?

Writers should have the courage to write about whatever they think they have something to comment on. Yes, you'll get blowback. Of course you will. But so what? Writers have been getting that ever since they started writing. The difference now is that every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a megaphone and so thinks it's their right to gang up on people they don't like, or whose views hurt their feelings. It's not on you to baby others. You're a writer - your job is to write. Do it, and don't pay attention to the people who want to police you and force you to write only what makes THEM feel good. That kind of demagoguery helps absolutely no one.

(The one concrete piece of advice I can give you is to stop reading any social media or anything else about your writing. Smart writers do not engage with the audience like that, because it's a grand way to snap the handcuffs onto yourself. Ignore them, and write what you want.)
mollyringle
Feb. 23rd, 2016 09:26 pm (UTC)
LOL - thank you; and yes, I suppose it's not a surprise that I found that bit of "you shouldn't" advice on tumblr, which seems the current epicenter of Internet Outrage. I know I've felt better since backing off from Facebook, and would probably also do well to not take anything on tumblr seriously. (Though for the most part I don't anyway.)

There are lots of examples of someone writing a book I loved about a group that wasn't "theirs." E.M. Forster was gay, but A Room with a View is a beautiful heterosexual love story; Kazuo Ishiguro is originally from Japan but wrote amazingly well about the culture of 1940s English white people in Remains of the Day; etc.
I'll look to them for inspiration instead of to social media! :)
serai1
Feb. 23rd, 2016 10:02 pm (UTC)
No matter what you write, some asshole will tell you you're wrong to write it. Hell, all of Tolkien's protagonists were white English-analogues, and look at the shit HE gets for not including other races! If he had, do you think everyone would love him? No, they'd hate him for not writing those other races the way THEY want them written. It's a mug's game, indeed.

As the computer said, the only winning move is not to play. Let the caterwaulers diddle to suit themselves. It takes an iron constitution and the heart of a lion to deal with such guff, and you'd only get pilloried even more for taking it on. (The only person I know who actually relishes such battles is Harlan Ellison, but he's a scrappy son of a bitch who has never been afraid of anyone, ever. EVER. I admire him more than I can say for that pugilistic outlook, but I can tell you from experience that being around him takes more energy than you can imagine. NO ONE is safe around that guy, even if he loves you, hee-hee.)
mollyringle
Feb. 23rd, 2016 11:07 pm (UTC)
I don't have experience with Ellison, but yeah, I really admire those who can be charming and shameless at the same time. Ewan McGregor comes to mind--he seems to have no shame whatsoever, but also manages not to be rude to people on the whole, at least as far as I've seen. Overall effect is quite charming. (The accent doesn't hurt, of course...)
serai1
Feb. 24th, 2016 12:18 am (UTC)
I have a deep fondness for Harlan because his stories formed so much of my thinking about the world. I discovered his writing as a teenager, and was astounded at the force and candor and wisdom within all that anger and outrage. When I finally met the guy, I was then amazed by the fact the he is EXACTLY the way he writes. Working bookstores in L.A., I met a lot of writers, and very few of them actually embodied their writing voices in real life. Writers that seemed perverse or lunatic on the page turned out to be quite nice and sweet. NOT HARLAN. He was charming and erudite and hard-headed and opinionated and utterly, completely fearless. He did not and never has given a flying fuck what anyone thought of him. That doesn't mean he's cruel, though. He just has no filter on him. But if he finds out he hurt someone capriciously, he's big enough to apologize right away and very sincerely. It's one of the reasons I still love him, despite the whole whiny entitled world seeming to have turned against him in this I'M ALL THAT MATTERS world. Sure, bitch and piss about how he runs off at the mouth, and just forget those increidble stories like I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream; Daniel White for the Greater Good; "Repent, Harlequin," Said the Ticktock Man; Croatoan; All the Lies That Are My Life, and the one that changed me forever, The Deathbird. He was writing about subjects like racism, sexism, abortion, media whoredom, domestic violence, religious hypocrisy,long before others were tackling them. But I guess that doesn't count much when OMG OUTRAGE over some dumbass remark of his. How quickly we forget. *sigh*

Ewan MacGregor. Good Goddess, could a man get any sexier? He's a fucking cream cake, that guy. I've loved him since I first saw him in Peter Greenaway's Pillow Book. So fearless. And I love him more with every performance. Yum, yum, yum.

Edited at 2016-02-24 12:20 am (UTC)
mollyringle
Feb. 24th, 2016 01:56 am (UTC)
Sounds like I better give Ellison a try next time I need new reading material! Would at least be worth it to know what the all the fuss is about. :)

Cream cake, good description. Yum. I saw Pillow Book just a year or two ago - both delicious and horrifying. I must thank Ewan for obligingly getting naked so often for the camera, though. He is, ahmm, well equipped for the job, I must say.
serai1
Feb. 24th, 2016 03:27 am (UTC)
Hee-hee. He's much like Beanie in that respect. Gotta love a guy with so little compunction about dropping trou.

Harlan's oeuvre is the short story. (He only wrote two novels, and those were early in his career.) He's also written hundreds of essays. I'd recommend The Essential Ellison, which covers pretty much the whole span of his major output. He's slowed down a lot over the last couple of decades, for health and age reasons. The stories I mentioned are some of his best, but there are so many more. He's known as a science fiction writer, but that's really only part of his output - he's written in lots of genres and on lots of subjects. He can also be hellaciously funny. How's the Night Life on Cissalda? always cracks me up. Jeffty Is Five is heartbreaking, A Boy and His Dog is biting and sharp, Try a Dull Knife is a vampire story about Harlan's fans that is killer, oh so many more. That book I mentioned is big and fat, but since the content is all short pieces, it's a great one to dip into. You can probably get it at the library. :)
serai1
Feb. 24th, 2016 03:35 am (UTC)
Oh, and if you're interested in actually seeing and hearing Harlan, there's a documentary about him called Dreams with Sharp Teeth. It's quite good, includes bits of interviews with people who've known him (including Robin Williams, who adored him and was mutually loved). On the DVD, there's also vids of him reading from his stories. That's another great thing about him - he's one of the few authors I know who is actually a brilliant reader. He makes the tales come alive like no one else I've heard. Even professional actors don't come anywhere near to his quality of performance as a reader. Netflix has that DVD; it's really worth seeing. :)
mollyringle
Feb. 24th, 2016 07:53 pm (UTC)
Ha, sounds like he and Robin Williams in the same room would be high entertainment!

And cool - Essential Ellison is the one I bookmarked on Goodreads yesterday. :)
serai1
Feb. 24th, 2016 08:11 pm (UTC)
I think I'd die of asphyxiation from laughing so hard, myself!
jsl32
Feb. 23rd, 2016 10:28 pm (UTC)
Short answer: yes
Long answer: yes, because the privilege to explore other cultures and colors without the strain of being a Race Representative is a gift and if someone wants to use it to bring other cultures and colors into an audience or genre they weren't in previously or were there in a bad/stupid/inaccurate way, that should be encouraged and not discouraged.

An example of what I mean is the sci-fi libertarian book "The Stars Came Back" by a very white and libertarian rural guy named Rolf Nelson. But he has a whole section of his book where the main characters meet Space Texan Mexicans and I was like "omg he wrote about people I went to school with, yay!" I wasn't full of "ARGH APPROPRIATOR ARGH". I was happy to see a culture I grew up alongside being presented with affection and relative accuracy (he left the Catholicism out but got a lot of the family and social bits right). It was that kind of affectionate portrayal of cultures that weren't their own that got me into sci-fi and fantasy and made me want to write it in the first place.

It's harder to deal with the Race Representative stress and admit it's a block to your writing than it is to complain about other people writing about cultures other than their own direct personal experience. And the influence of the authenticity police ("you can only write about your specific narrow direct life circumstances") has been really lethal. It was a huge block to my writing for years and it is very clearly part of the ARGH APPROPRIATION people's problem with their own writing aspirations. Especially since it's BS and if you don't have the experiences the policers expect or believe you to have based on their own stereotypes, you'll still get screamed at.
mollyringle
Feb. 23rd, 2016 11:12 pm (UTC)
Ha, I'll be thinking ARGH APPROPRIATION now whenever I see such complaints on Tumblr or the comments section of various other sites. But yeah, this is good to hear - I have to figure it's refreshing for any reader to find, in any book, a positive representation of people like their own friends and family, especially if they're typically underrepresented. And that's a good point that dealing with such topics might actually come easier to a writer who doesn't have personal baggage with the issues in question. I so far have never written memoir, because I don't feel brave enough to put my own actual experiences (lame as they are) into print for the world to judge, because judge and judge harshly they always will. I have immense respect for the courage of my memoir-writer friends!
mosinging1986
Feb. 24th, 2016 12:59 am (UTC)
(Here via the Home Page)

My question is more or less: if you’re not a member of a certain minority, do you get to write about it? Since I’m a novelist, I’m thinking in terms more of fiction here than nonfiction or journalism.


Good grief, why not? If people were only going to write what they themselves are, how many novels or other things would go unwritten?

It's astounding how this nonsense of "political correctness" has put a stranglehold on the culture! No one apparently say or write ANYTHING about anything these days, without fear of "offending" anyone!

Unless, of course, it's offending whites, males, conservatives, or heterosexuals. Those can be offended at will.
mollyringle
Feb. 24th, 2016 01:52 am (UTC)
Glad I'm not crazy, then. :) Yeah, it was odd to see that rule among a list of otherwise good writing guidelines, and it temporarily made me second-guess myself.

I can't control what other writers do, but in my mind, every character should be a well-rounded person, whatever their sex, political beliefs, religion, ethnicity, etc.; and no character should exist just as a way to make fun of something the author doesn't believe in. That's the kind of thing I used to do in my younger days, but I feel it's a disservice to good fiction now!
mosinging1986
Feb. 24th, 2016 03:37 am (UTC)
Since the time I was in about 3rd grade, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. But somehow I got it into my head that the only way a person could become a good writer was to do, see, live through, and/or experience whatever it was they wanted to write about. How would I know how to write something when I'd never experienced it? I figured I'd have to make it up and then people would know it was fake!

I was a very self aware (read: DORKY) child. Even at that age I clearly remember being conscious of the fact that I was a little girl, and therefore hadn't done much in life yet. This idea lasted probably into my 20s. I don't know why! Maybe if I'd grown up with the internet I'd have had exposure to writers in order to hear how they did things. But I know I never pursued it. (And now I have a total mental block on writing anything other than journal posts, so that's not happening!)

All of that to say that especially now with the internet, there are endless avenues and opportunities to learn about anything. Focus on writing characters that are real, that feel human. The rest of the details can always be learned.

The timeless qualities and situations of people - love, fear, hate, ambition, failure, loss, death and life itself - those are the things that draw in readers.

Take care!
mollyringle
Feb. 24th, 2016 07:51 pm (UTC)
Ah, it sounds like you may have Impostor Syndrome, which I always have had as well. "They'll find out I don't know what I'm doing and have messed up more times than they realized!" is always in the back of my mind somewhere. But knowing it afflicts a lot of people, and that it's just our insecurities talking, does help. :)

The timeless qualities and situations of people - love, fear, hate, ambition, failure, loss, death and life itself - those are the things that draw in readers.
Exactly! I agree. If a novel brings all that to life, it can be about anyone or anywhere and still be a success.

It isn't too late for you! Plenty of people get into writing, or other pursuits, in middle age or later. Obviously you aren't required to if you don't want to, but I just figured I'd just assure you that you don't have to throw in the towel yet. :)
mosinging1986
Feb. 24th, 2016 09:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Someday I will figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

I hope...
rachel2205
Feb. 24th, 2016 08:32 am (UTC)
I think it's good to write characters who aren't just like us. Representation is important. My only caveats are;
- as you've already said, try to avoid racial/sexual/etc cliches (and if you're unsure if your representation falls into any, ask someone from that minority!)
- that the author never tries to claim experience of what it's like to be a particular minority, and if a reader critiques them for something they wrote about that minority, they listen respectfully, not defensively.
mollyringle
Feb. 24th, 2016 07:46 pm (UTC)
"listen respectfully, not defensively" is good advice for all of life, in fact, now that you mention it. :) It's a rule I learned slowly and sometimes still struggle with, but it's an important one.

Yes, ideally a writer can get beta feedback from people better acquainted with the minority in question before publishing - that'd be ideal! But if they can't get anyone to do that, then at least as much respect and research as can be managed.
travels_in_time
Feb. 24th, 2016 01:20 pm (UTC)
assuming the portrayal is done with as much taste, compassion, and realistic accuracy as the author can scrounge up (as opposed to using stereotypes or playing the characters’ culture/orientation/etc. for laughs), then surely it’s better to have more types of characters in more books, no matter what background the author comes from.

This. I learned a lot about respecting people who were different from me, by reading books by people who were very similar to me.
mollyringle
Feb. 24th, 2016 07:47 pm (UTC)
True, even people very similar to us can have very different experiences, thoughts, or ideas! We can learn something from anyone, which perhaps is exactly why it's important to be able to write about anyone.
badgermirlacca
Feb. 25th, 2016 12:08 am (UTC)
My feeling is that if I am limited to writing only what I know, then none of my works can have more than a single character in them, and all of them must be autobiographical.

No. I write fiction. I write about human beings and aliens and all sorts of things. Nothing I write has ever prevented anyone else, ever, from writing what THEY want to write, and I claim the same privilege (term used advisedly). No one, I venture to say, knows me well enough to say what experiences (sexual or otherwise) I may have, and how my ethnic heritage has shaped my experience.

I am a writer and I will write what I damn well please, and the world is welcome to read it or not as pleases them. They are NOT welcome to tell me what I can write.
mollyringle
Feb. 25th, 2016 09:55 pm (UTC)
This is good to hear! Makes sense to me. I daresay what I've mainly learned is to take all tumblr posts with a hefty grain of salt. :)
badgermirlacca
Feb. 25th, 2016 10:27 pm (UTC)
I think that's a good lesson.

I am old enough to remember how various descriptive terms have gone from neutral to pejorative to positive, and from positive to pejorative. I can't claim to be perfect or completely unbiased or unprejudiced, because I'm not. But my first audience is ME. I don't think anyone can possibly write a perfectly politically correct narrative, and I wouldn't want to read it if they did, because people are imperfect, and that's what we write about, really.
pathvain_aelien
Feb. 26th, 2016 10:32 am (UTC)
I would vote yes. I think writers should always try to write outside of their own experience, I think they would benefit from the challenge of it. The only problem would be the writer who doesn't take the time or have the compassion to actually be able to see things from a different person's perspective-and that is a writer who shouldn't be writing, in my opinion. I definitely enjoy books written by a man from a woman's perspective if they are done well, for example. I remember reading a Stephen King forward in one of his books that basically said he had a few complaints when he wrote "Apt Pupil" because those people thought since he wasn't Jewish, he shouldn't be writing about the subject at all. He wrote that he had done a lot of research, talked to a lot of people, and did his best to create realistic characters. I think it's one of his best short stories, because it challenged him and produced stronger writing.

So I vote yes!
And speaking as a bisexual woman, I think you did a great job with your gay/bi characters. They seemed completely believable to me. :)
mollyringle
Feb. 26th, 2016 05:21 pm (UTC)
True - I actually tend to admire it more if a writer pulls off a voice that's outside their personal experience. King has certainly written all kinds of people well! (And I hope he doesn't have personal experience with all those types of murderers...) :)

Ha, and I don't think I ever realized you were bi! Or else I somehow forgot if I once knew. Then I'm especially glad my sexually various characters passed muster for you. :) The Greek myth series allowed for a lot of imagination anyway, what with past lives being involved and all, but I'm likely to pick up Sinter's story again next and deal with real-world modern gay or bi people, so I will want to be more realistic then.
pathvain_aelien
Mar. 14th, 2016 12:54 am (UTC)
I PROBABLY didn't talk about it too much on LJ, I wasn't very open about it back then. One of the many perils of growing up in a red state, ha. Huzzah for Sinter! I loved Relatively Honest but Sinter's story was definitely my favorite of the two.
mollyringle
Mar. 14th, 2016 07:08 pm (UTC)
Ha, true, doesn't necessarily come up in casual conversation much. :) And the red-state aspect wouldn't help. But yeah, I'm envisioning lots of swoony lovely fun in that rewrite! Oh, the guyliner angst.
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