Offensive mistakes writers make

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chrispenycate

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Hate it. Don't like the basic theory of pc, hate to be told what I can or can't write. If you have to filter out every comment that might, possibly offend someone, anyone, from any group whatsoever, there's no space to say anything.

That doesn't mean I'm going to set out to upset anyone, it means that deliberately avoiding anything because there might be somebody out there who doesn't approve is a losing strategy.
 

Mouse

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Didn't post it to cause a massive batcrap argument again (hence my very brief initial post!). I just found it interesting and thought others might too.
 

Jo Zebedee

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I think the writer's being offensive to most writers. ;) seriously, it's looking for offence, and many of the points aren't valid. Buttermilk skin? Whey-faced? They're food-derived. And not killing LBGT for the sake of the plot/other derived author reasons (aka someone had to die, I'm afraid...) - don't LGBT people die in real life? Sure, if you kill them all off, and no one who's straight, that's troublesome.

I'm with Chrispy - life's too short. :)

And I'm not looking trouble, neither. :D
 

Dozmonic

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I think the mistake this Ava Jae made was to be offended in the first place. The easiest way not to be offended is to simply not be offended :)
 
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Mouse

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(To be honest, I've not read a story where the LGBT character's died).

I found the bit where she says about white people not having their skin colour described the most interesting. Because I've read descriptions of 'porcelain' skin a lot. I don't really describe skin colour, but I don't really describe much!
 

Jo Zebedee

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I killed a LGBT in one of my novels, and no one blinked. Cos it was a good death, and because the fact she was a lesbian wasn't the central thing about her (as it shouldn't be) but just a facet of who she was. And it certainly wasn't why she died.
Yep, Mouse, you and I can probably whistle with our ecumenical lack of description. :D*


* actually, in my trilogy I have about 20 (centrallish) characters I see as non-white (out of about 60) - I think only one of them is ever described enough for the reader to know. Two of them are LGBT** as it happens, too, but it has no bearing on the story, so isn't mentioned. Then again, neither are the white secondary characters.

** but I write the character first. When one of my mc's turned out to be bi-sexual without it being referenced in the first book (though I had an inkling) I asked the betas and everyone agreed it made sense. Because he was, not because I set out to write a bisexual man. Character first and they'll bring their own diversity if you have enough imagination.
 

Ursa major

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I think there's a problem with Ava Jae's way of thinking, and it isn't what you might think. To see what the problem is, we have to admit that we're actively moving away from her remedy, which seems, at first glance, to want to treat every character in the same way. The reason we're doing this isn't that we want to resist such ideas; it's that we want to give our readers a better vicarious experience. And we do that by having first person, or close third person, narrators. And unless one or more of our characters are as interested in Ava Jae's views as she is, it would almost be dishonest to have them narrate as if they were.


As a aside, I've often thought it odd whom the people usually chosen as being exotic are. Someone who might be described as being Han Chinese is not exotic (in global terms), not when there are over a billion** such people on the planet. The San people may be exotic; I would guess the Aka, the Efé, and the Mbuti probably are. I think I am too: I have a very rare colouration -- red hair (well, it used to be) and pinkish skin*** -- and so I think I count.


** - And yes, I'm fully aware that the Han Chinese are as diverse and individual in appearance as any other group of people.

*** - I'm not sure what the balance is amongst the English population between those whose skin is pinkish and those whose complexion is more of a pale mushroom. (Sorry to describe "white" people by reference to a foodstuff. ;):)). In fact, I wonder if red-haired mushroom people aren't even more rare than red-haired pink people. So I may be less exotic than I thought and hoped. Damn those mushroom people and their appropriation of my hair colour...! ;))
 

Mouse

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* actually, in my trilogy I have about 20 (centrallish) characters I see as non-white (out of about 60) - I think only one of them is ever described enough for the reader to know. Two of them are LGBT** as it happens, too, but it has no bearing on the story, so isn't mentioned. Then again, neither are the white secondary characters.

I have characters in TBM I picture as non-white. I don't think I ever describe Mercer's skin colour, for example. Or Lucy's. I think Jenn's is inferred because of the colour of her hair, and Ambrose's is only described because his whole appearance is described because Jenn's obsessed with him.

Rowan and Daniel's skin colours are never described. They can be whatever.

If I get on and write the romance I'm half working on, I want the love interest to be mixed race (just because that's what he appeared as in my brain when I pondered him) and I'm not going to describe his skin colour. I'm just going to say he's mixed race.
 

The Storyteller

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It was interesting, but for the most part I don't agree much with the points. If I wrote keeping these things all in mind, I wouldn't be able to write anything, terrified of stepping on someone's toes or being accidentally offensive! And seeing as I write mostly fantasy, races are usually invented and not meant to represent any specific ethnic group in real life. Obviously, there will be different skin colour/features etc., but it is not for the sake of mirroring our world or implying that those resemblances in physical appearance are anything more than that; outward appearance. The actions of characters or cultures of various races are certainly not meant to reflect the real world!

I did find two points interesting though, the 'white man' coming in a saving the non-white tribe/becoming their leader and multi-racial groups always being led by a white person. I don't really pay much mind to that kind of thing, but now that I think about it there are a lot of movies/stories where this is true!


Anyway, thanks for sharing. Always interesting to read such things, and good to consider them. :)
 

Gary Compton

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There is so much political correctness in stories now. It's bowl locks!:mad:

Write the story! I have Nazi's and I love getting into character and wiping out the world!

At the same time (cos I am niceish) I love even more getting into hero character and f****** their slimy backsides.

By the way what is LGBT?
 

The Storyteller

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Another quick point on the note of skin colour references after reading Ursa Major's comment: Continuing on Ursa's point, if you have a 'white' main character living in a location where everyone is the same race, of course the MC is going to note if they see someone with a different colour of skin, or any feature that is unlike what they are accustomed to. Also, it would be redundant in this case to mention every last character's skin as being white if this is the colour of skin of people living in this place, however, the reader would be unaware of a character's skin being a different colour if it was not mentioned. Maybe the skin colour doesn't matter, but if your MC is encountering something new, they are sure to notice it, and it may also be important to the story.
 

AnyaKimlin

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Actually there are times I describe a white persons skin. One of my character has milky-white skin which is so translucent the veins make it appear blue. Another one brings to mind mouldy cheese. Another has olive skin. Pink blushes? And my poor police officer love interest has a habit of turning a delightful shade of beetroot. Likewise a black character might be considerably darker than usual or lighter than average in which case I may note it.

Like Springs says LGBTQ people die and I treat them the same way as everyone else. If the character has to go they have to go. Right now I have one possibly facing the gallows and his lover is unconscious after being whacked. And if I ever finish my urban fantasy I know one of my MCs dies. Personally, I think it is not supplying enough LGBTQ characters who are treated normally is worse.

I remember a gay man throwing a hissy fit at one of my characters saying he was camp and a stereotype. So I ran him past a few more who said my gay character was a lot less camp than some of the straight ones so in context he worked just fine :).

Cece, my current MC, is a wealthy white girl in 1912 with funny ideas about gay people and race - she gets it knocked out of her but it would be unrealistic not to include it early on.
 

Jo Zebedee

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Gary - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual(I think? Transgender?) not sure what Anya's Q is, though.

Storyteller, very true. The opposite can also be true esp in sci fi and future societies - if everyone is used to multi-race societies when would they comment? That's why most of mine aren't referenced, because the mcs don't find it comment-worthy.
 

AnyaKimlin

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Q is queer it has been sneaking back onto the acronym recently to cover anyone not covered by the other four. T is just Trans and covers all transfolk.
 
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