I thought it was the sun and air too.
3. I didn’t learn how to write diverse characters. I wrote a book about people of different races, religions, and ethnicities. You can say I did it for the noble reasons everyone else has, like to make the world a better place for the children or whatever, and I guess that’s somewhat accurate. Mostly I did it because I wanted to write a book set in Spain in 1492, and Spain in 1492 was Diversity Central.
So now I’m one of those “good white people” who write about diverse characters—or one of those bad white people who appropriate cultures not their own. Or both, or neither. Not my place to say. Regardless, people keep asking me to write blog posts on the topic. “Shana, what’s the best way to write about racially diverse characters?” Dude. I don’t know. I’m a new writer. I’m white. As much as I try to get rid of them, I still have my blind spots of privilege. I did the research, I talked to the experts, I talked to friends. But I’m sure I screwed up in some way. I’m sorry about that. Truly. I will try to be better. I am not an authority on this subject. I’m just a person trying to understand the world better and write stories about it to the best of her ability. These are both two steps forward, one step back processes.” —
Shana Mlawski, author of Hammer of Witches,Diversity in YA
Obviously I enjoyed this blog post. It’s called 5 Things Shana Mlawski Didn’t Learn While Writing HAMMER OF WITCHES, by the way.
Shawna Mlawski, author of Hammer of Witches
Shana Mlawski, author of Hammer of Witches
You never forget your first “faggot.” Where you were when the word first came hurtling at you, who sent it flying in your direction, and what happened when it finally hit you. You never forget if a fist or baseball bat came swinging right behind it, or if the word was whispered, or spray-painted, if it came costumed in another word’s clothes: sissy, punk, different, queer, pansy. You never forget your first “faggot” because the memory makes you.
Chuck Wendig is amazing, and someday I’m going to knock him out and siphon a bit of that comedic genius from his brain and take it for my own.
We need a lot more Thomas Builds-the-Fire around here.
- Imagine four boys walking all in a row.
- Boy 1: Hey, we're all holding hands.
- Boy 2: Yeah, that's cuz we're friends.
If I could ban the word “slash” from the English language, I would. Why do folks use it to refer to regular lesbian or gay fiction? Why are gay or lesbian romance novels referred to as f/f or m/m? No one specifies “heterosexual romance novel.”
I hate ittttt.
I am so torn between wanting to start writing book reviews and wanting to spend that time reading more books.
This is what’s happened at my blog too. Reading more books has won out for the time being.
If a YA book features a white, female protagonist (and this accounts for a not insignificant portion of YA released each year), it seems inevitable that the book cover will display an idealized and airbrushed masterpiece of her on the cover. And when a YA book actually does have a protagonist of color, too often one of three things seems to happen:
1. The cover is “whitewashed” and shows a Caucasian model instead of a person of color;
2. The cover depicts someone whose race seems purposefully ambiguous or difficult to discern; or
3. The character is shown in silhouette
These forms of racism on the part of publishers are unacceptable. And the fact that it is so rampant within the young adult publishing industry seems particularly despicable. The first step toward change is awareness, and so below I’ve tried to pull together a collection of examples of these forms of subtle and not-so-subtle racism.” —It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers | The Hub