1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice

'Too much' diversity?

Discussion in 'Character Development' started by I.A. By the Barn, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    19,699
    Likes Received:
    11,034
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    "... and as this thread rounds the infamous bend to Page 9, it's losing its traction and rear ends are fishtailing more than Un Poisson qui s'appelle Wanda. Terry, I don't know about you, but I think we're in for a pile-up as big as last year's. What do you think?"

    "Well, Ted, I hate to be the one to constantly nay-say that turn to Page 9, but history cannot be ignored. We'll have our eyes on this one and I'm sure it's going to be a bumper-crashing, door-trashing, driver-smashing spray of shattered glass and plastic. Should be phenomenal for those who tune in just for the ambulance scenes. Back to you, Ted."

    "Thank's, Terry. Now, over in our inflammatory word as a metaphor event, things seem to have died down a bit..."
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,668
    Likes Received:
    2,011
    Location:
    Driving a tractuur in ciduur countree
    I think I shall pull to the side of the road and park safely ... I have a great deal of respect for both Chicken and Bay and have no wish to see our relationship crash and burn against a strangely hammer shaped bridge abbutment
     
  3. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    461
    No, but I did write a romance where roughly 70% of the book has nothing to do with romance at all, and instead follows a fictional cooking competition in TONS of detail. I've had a couple negative reviews here and there, but by and large the feedback I have gotten has been positive. I've sold a fair number of books (over 500 in 6 months according to my last royalty statement, and I also garnered a few awards for it. So obviously there are some readers out there who really enjoy books with excessively irrelevant detail - Under the Knife is filled to the brim with passages that are completely irrelevant to the romance plot (or sub-plot, as it may be) and serve only a pure food porn.
     
  4. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    6,574
    Likes Received:
    6,158
    But you're throwing in the value judgments again, with "pointlessly". I mean, no, of course not, if the car chases and gunfire are pointless, nobody wants them. But romantic suspense is a big sub-genre of romance, and there are plenty of car chases and gunfire in romantic suspense novels. They just aren't pointless car chases and gunfire, at least to their authors.
     
    izzybot and Simpson17866 like this.
  5. SoulFire

    SoulFire Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    20
    I think the distinction you all are glossing over is whether or not the story necessitates the scenes that it has. A novel can be any mixture of genre and in any balance of this mix. What is important is that every scene plays a valuable role in the overarching theme/character arc/plot. If there is a scene (in a romance for example) that is a gun blazing car chase, then that's cool! As long as it is important and informs (or is informed by) the rest of the narrative. Whether or not a scene is pointless is not determined by the genre it is, but rather how it fits within the entirety of the narrative it is in.
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    9,764
    Likes Received:
    6,328
    "All"?

    No.

    Edited to add: I'm not at all disagreeing with your point. I'm disagreeing with the premise that your point wasn't already apparent to me, or for that matter most of the people in this discussion.
     
    izzybot and SoulFire like this.
  7. izzybot

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,028
    Likes Received:
    1,138
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Yeah, I don't think anyone's glossing over that at all; I think the primary disagreement (which is still completely baffling me tbqh) is whether certain scenes or subplots inherently add value to a story, or are distractions / filler / derailing.

    Which frankly still has nothing to do with the op, because the inclusion of diversity full stop doesn't imply focus on diversity as a subplot or theme, but ... well, I can only say it about a dozen times before I'm tired and/or bored.
     
  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    661
    Location:
    The People's Republic of New Hampshire
    Yeah, the OP fled the scene in a hurry. It started with an excellent point about how characters of non-White/nontraditional sexual orientation are held to a higher level of scrutiny than their "normal" counterparts. It's like the diverse character has to defend her identity while the straight White dude can show up and do his thing. It's not that clear cut obviously, but there's truth to that. And it's not the writer's fault -- it's the perceptions of the readers. The writer obviously has some say on how the cast is presented, but art imitates life. The society thing leaks into the writing thing. What are you going to do?
     
    I.A. By the Barn likes this.
  9. I.A. By the Barn

    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    821
    Location:
    19th Century
    I did not flee :D
    I was just unable to find a way to bring this thread back to where I'd originally started and I found out most of what I wanted to find out by that time anyway.
    Again, if anyone is interested in what happens in my stories they are welcome to pm, I just don't want to write a mahusive post with dodgy internet.
    Plus I don't think everyone here would be interested.
     
    SoulFire and Homer Potvin like this.
  10. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing New Member

    Joined:
    Saturday
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    14
    Replying to OP's original post, not the nine pages of discussion. :)

    Adding to this...

    LGBT people tend to gravitate towards each other. Every single one of my friends are minorities in some way. We have one gay guy, one gay drag queen, one pansexual guy, one bisexual polyamorous transgender person, and a demisexual atheist. We only have one "normal" straight couple, and they're a Pagan and a Christian.

    I only become friends with people if we have things in common. And when I meet another queer person, they automatically have something in common with me: they're queer. And because we're queer, we often have similar opinions and life experiences. They don't treat me weirdly once they find out I'm into men and women, which is a big plus. What I'm trying to say is, I'm more likely to become friends with a queer person.

    And it's true that minorities are minority, but there are a lot of different ways to be a minority. It might sound counter-intuitive, but statistically speaking, most people are some kind of minority in some way, whether it's race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ect.

    Anyway, regardless of whether or not it's realistic, it's your story. Use all the minorities you like. I don't think realism matters in this case. The stone-cold truth, though, is that some people might hesitate to read it if it has too many LGBT characters in it for them. You need to decide if that matters to you or not. Personally, I've found that I like writing about LGBT characters, and I enjoy it so much it's worth it to me.
     
  11. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing New Member

    Joined:
    Saturday
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    14
    Oh, I have a story about that.

    So I read this webcomic called Gunnerkrigg Court. Some background information: Kat is a teenage girl who goes to boarding school. She likes a boy, but he stops going to her school, so it doesn't work out. After he's gone, Kat starts dating a girl. At first, Kat worries her best friend Annie will not accept her, but they work it out and everything is fine.

    The author is a really good writer. There's a lot of very subtle character development. Kat is a little tomboyish. She quietly struggles with her identity; she tries to force herself to wear makeup, dresses, and headbands, then later comes to accept herself. She's complicated, intelligent, and flawed. She's dating but it's not the most important thing in her life. In other words, she's a teenage girl.

    According to one review:

    Gunnerkrigg does in fact have some incredibly written and developed LGBT content. It’s heartfelt, feels true to life, and has been featured prominently in the main story. [...] Even in the earliest chapters, we’re soon introduced to some quietly implicit queer relationships. There’s the codependent partnership of Zimmy and Gamma – a girl cursed to see the world in horrific symbols, and the only girl who’s ever been able to calm the visions. Their relationship is complicated, overall difficult to describe, but it’s undeniable from the very beginning.

    The story follows with the strange relationship of Shadow and Robot – two characters who exist outside of the gender binary altogether. Their partnership grows throughout the comic to almost become a symbol of unity between the factions of forest and court.

    Anyway, so one day I was quietly lurking in another forum, and a discussion about gay characters popped up. Some asked: "Can anyone give me an example of a gay character that was shoe-horned in?"

    Some replied... saying they thought Kat from Gunnerkrigg Court felt forced. Because, in their words, "she was straight but became a lesbian out of nowhere" and it felt wrong. I just sat there, staring at my screen, so confused. I mean, the author can be a little ambiguous sometimes, but that isn't what happened in the story at all.

    Anyway, the long and short of it is, no matter how good you are, someone is going to complain.
     
  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    19,699
    Likes Received:
    11,034
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    And let's not forget that we live in a day and age where everything is hyper-politicized. I'm gay. When I write gay MC's I'm not SJW'ing or "white knighting" or any other dynamic that springs up as a backlash to the dynamic that came before it in this never-ending back and forth game. I'm simply following the oldest writing advice there is: write what you know.

    But, just because all I'm doing is writing what I know doesn't mean that this is the way my hoped-for readership is going to engage the work. I have no control over that once I'm finished with the piece of work in question. The author is dead, as they say.

    In a related sense, I was reading an article on-line about "whether Science Fiction should be scarring us more", pointing to many of the more popular YA dystopian novels as warnings of the future that we need to take heed, and does Science Fiction have a responsibility to write more stories like that to make us take heed, blah, blah, blah... As a writer, I can't help but feel like the point has been missed as regards those dystopian YA novels. They aren't about the future, not really. They're about the present. They aren't predictive warnings. They're current indictments about the state of society today, magnified through the lens of Science Fiction. But my words tend to fall on deaf ears. Many people are assured that Science Fiction is actually talking to us about the future, and that's their engagement of the work, and not something I have any control over.
     
    I.A. By the Barn likes this.

Share This Page