Monday, August 1, 2011

Writing Inside and Outside Your Comfort Zone

I read a blog last week that sort of irked me and at the same time didn't. There's an author who stated she got some flack for wanting to write Interracial black woman/white male. What irked me was she compared writing IR to writing fantasy or paranormal stating using the imagination was all that was needed to spin out a good book.

I commented, a three paragraph response to her blog and the factors that are needed when writing in the IR/MC subgenres. I believe in everyone writing what they want and learning how to broaden their scope...horizens :) But I believe in doing it with respect.

IR is no different than writing other races in some aspects but there has to be realism with cultural norms, customs, and family dynamics that go back to grandparents in some instances. Also personal bias need to be explored as well as how peers may feel or be affected and finally economical status meaning where is the story set? Different living conditions will affect compacting issues that may be faced. Like any other race, there are inherent beliefs that are passed down family to family and in some communities the village still raises the children.

The Comparison was inaccurate in many ways, the first being parnaormal and fantasy we build off our our imagination...entire worlds, law, species, you name it.

IR/MC is still contemporary and in contemporary romance we must follow more rigid guidelines. It's important to know what kind of issues the people face and if those issues will be a problem for one of the characters to over come from family beliefs in dating outside the race, to beliefs of family dating within the race but a lighter shade of mocha, yeah sometimes it's that deep. There can be in areas a lot of hate within the black community between color shades and dating.

You can spin a great IR story but the black community when they pick up to read this book of mine, yours, will pay attention to hair texture, linguisitics, cliches,family dynamics and if the story doesn't hold an ounce of realism then they won't buy again.

Research is important. We research a variety of topics. Historical writers prob the most! This would be no different nor would researching for a crime or suspense. Basically if you're not the race your writing don't let it dissuade you just do the homework before you begin and don't pull a race card by saying you're hated because your not a black author, and don't assume the IR story that is wanted is a barely over age black woman with a elderly suger daddy.

That is my spin on writing one half of what I am! I have insight to both sides and have lived in the lower middle and upper middle class for my life with mixed etnicities. No one should limit themselves but proper homework is needed to spin a great story.


Rawiya said...

What a great blog Hales. So true when it comes to IR.

I cannot believe someone compared it to paranormal. *laughs*

All you really need is research. As you said, you dont need to be afraid to write anything if you have the true desire to do so. I do a little bit of all. I refuse to limit myself to writing about one specific race, I do all of them and hope to get better as I go along! :D

Great blog!

Tina Donahue said...

Excellent blog, Hales - and so very true. If the IR aspect of the story is at its core, then a writer must delve into the realities of both races.

jean hart stewart said...

Glad you wrote this. I think interacial is so laced with danger I'd never attempt it.. I just don't know enough. If well done though I love to read it and hope it does some good in knocking down prejudices.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I love it when you are fired up about something, Hales. This was a great subject to blog about.
Of course, IR stories aren't just about black and white cultures but also Asian, Hispanic and Native American and so on.
I agree, research is essential. I hate those same old cliches and assumptions about different races that demean or minimize...like Scottish people are stingy when, inreality, they are quite generous.
Writers need to have sensitivity and knowledge, either gained through research or experience to write a good IR romance. I've read some very good ones and I've read some very disappointing IR romances.
Excellent blog, Hales.

Fiona McGier said...

Hey Hales, great words on a sensitive subject. I write a lot of IR romance, but I've always been a people-watcher, and I have worked with many people from different races. We all want to be viewed as individuals, not representatives of our races/religion/nationality. And we all deserve to be judged as a unique person, not dismissed with some words along the line with, "well what can you expect from THAT kind of person?" Sheesh! This is the USA, and we all have unique contributions to make, and unique heritages to share. Respect ain't just a song by Aretha! Tolerance is key, and it must be taught at home.

Hales said...

Thanks for all the comments! Yeah it got me pretty fired up :) In a good way of course!