Comment on TFOB Part I – Writing Heroes of Diversity by Jonathan S. Pembroke

Those are fair points, Beth. I understand it is not just about the superficial trappings of diversity (skin color, etc.). At the same time, I was also once accused of (If you’ll pardon the expression) of whitewashing racial issues in a story because the characters of darker skin were not treated the same as they are in our world.

So I don’t think there are ever any easy answers on this subject.

Comment on TFOB Part I – Writing Heroes of Diversity by Beth Turnage

I guess when you read enough calls for submission that say “we actively support diversity in our selection process” or some such you start thinking “hey, maybe I need to get on that diversity bandwagon.” But diversity is more than the color of a skin or sexual orientation. IMO diversity is about the cultural experience of living in that skin or that sexual orientation. And those experiences do not cut across all cultures and time periods.

For instance (and picking out the most extreme example I can think of) in some city-states in ancient Greek civilization is was quite common for older, wealthy men to compete with each other socially for the attentions (read sexual favors) of young men (teenagers in our venacular) even to the point of making agreements with the boys’ fathers about what the young man would get out of the deal. A relationship with the right mentor (yes, that is where that came from) would set up the young man for life in social and business connections that he wouldn’t have otherwise.

This hits so many wrongness buttons for us (and indeed for many scholars in diverse time periods since) that we have very strong words to associate with pedastry.

Yet, the Greeks that engaged in the practice didn’t consider themselves homosexual, and the young men, once their beards grew in were expected to marry and have children. (And please, I’m not advocating this, just providing an example.)

If you are writing second world, dystopian and/or futuristic sci-fi its very possible that your written universe does not mirror the one we, as writers, live in. The culture and issues we face daily may not be the cultures ad issues you are writing. So then is the color of the skin or sexual orientation relevant? Does it reflect true diversity?

While it is very possible to write stories that do reflect our cultural experience in another setting (which is why The Handmaid’s Tale hits women so hard and men not so much), if you are writing about another experience just throwing in a different skin color or sexual orientation does not serve the complexities of diversity in our writing.

The art of not-giving-a-f#ck

Hello my poor neglected lovelies!
It’s been a while huh?
Word count: 49543 (6.8K more – yes I have stuck with my goals!)
Progression: On chapter 10, needs a few more edits and then posting on FWO. The girls are finally across!

WARNING! I flaming curse a lot in this post. (TWoT anyone?)

In the last post, I said I would post more technical stuff, well I don’t wanna, and you can’t make me.

Just kidding, I need to write this down. A lot has been researched and forgotten, but I will do my best. I just need a starting point.

*Twiddles thumbs*

I guess it is kinda bad when you have writers block for your own freaking blog. Ah well. I think I will go with the art of not-giving-a-fuck.

What’s that you say? Where would you find this in a literary magazine or who was the originator of this crazy named nonsense?

Who the hell cares. Yes you heard me. I. Don’t. Give. A. Flying. Fillet-O-Fuck. (Thank you Elle Casey for that phrase)

That is my whole point. So many people, myself included, start writing and freeze. Not because they don’t know their story (there are exceptions) but because they start thinking of the people reading it, or critiquing it.

STOP!

You are no where near this point yet.

“How the hell would someone like this, who is not even published, have the right answer?”

Never said I did, but being an avid blog reader, forum poster, and all ‘round pessimist, I have an inkling or twenty.

Listen, I have big dreams for my book, and until I started actually writing and reading up on publishing, I never really had a fear of literary rejection. I had a story to tell and I honestly didn’t know a thing about writing at all, but I knew, and still know, that it will be successful.

Do I fear the rejection letters, bad reviews and shit ton of editing based off of critiques? Fuckin’ A. But here is the deal, I stopped caring. Mostly anyways. There is still that annoying ass voice screaming at me, but I have learned that it can fuck off because I know my writing is not ready yet.

I have a hell of a long way to go. I am sure anyone that writes will probably find at least 10 or more grammatical errors in this post. That’s okay though, I have plans to fix that.

You see, I have found that writing is really a full time job. (No shit? Wow, there are such things as authors?) What I mean to say is that it is work. For me it is *mostly* fun, but definitely takes dedication and delivery.

Without knowing your craft, or without trying to at least abide by the rules, you get to be one of ‘those’ authors. We all know who I am talking about. The ones that give away their book, or sell it for cheap, luring you in with a cool sounding premise, and you are suckered into reading their trash. Maybe their first, or first few chapters delivers. After that, you start thinking of other shit while you are reading, then have to go back, only to find that you didn’t miss anything really, and find yourself confused because they left out a verb, changed POV’s (I’m SO guilty of that) or just are not fucking making sense.

I will not be one of ‘those’ authors.

To combat this, I have decided to really work for what I want. I have been critiquing others writing like mad lately. And not just cause I love to read, but because I am looking for the errors that others have pointed out to me on my own work. This is helping me spot them quicker and see just how badly they stick out.

Also, I will be searching for something online for my reeducation of all things English – yay… I am looking here and trying to find some youtube stuff. I am cheap. Also, there are THOUSANDS of discussions at FWO, so there’s that.

So that is part of the dedication, the rest goes hand in hand with delivery. I dedicated myself to writing the 2K words per week, and granted, I had some overflow from last week where I did not quite meet my goal, but here I am, already 800 words over this week’s goal and fully caught up.

I stuck with it even when I thought I would just have to say fuck it and be a week behind till I could catch up. But I stayed dedicated and delivered what I promised myself. I cannot begin to tell you just how much that makes me feel like I accomplished something big, even though most might scoff at the lower word count.

That leads me back to the flying-fuck. I quit worrying so much about what all of these other people, who have been doing it for years, or who just seem to be fucking awesome at everything, and started focusing on what I could do.

I didn’t mean for this to be a pep talk. Really. So this post wasn’t technical huh? I disagree. You go to any blog, or any #amwriting twit (yes I am saying that, and yes I am one of them) and you get inundated with countless posts about just sitting down and writing. Yet, none of them really talk to you like you know what the fuck they mean.

No shit? I need to sit my ass down and write? Well fuck. I am an idiot.

It starts with making a promise. Make one to yourself, your pet, or a passing cloud – who cares. Just make the promise and deliver on it. Make it small, make it big, but make it possible. And for the love of God, quit worrying about your errors or what type of color green the grass should be or perfectly describing the bend angle of a arm waving hi, or even the fucking sound fog makes (I literally did the last one).

Quit worrying about when you finally let someone read whatever you are writing.

If you are a newb, hell probably even a seasoned writer, that voice will always be there to fuck with you. Fuck with it back. I wrote a list of everything it was saying and waited a day or two to read it back, directing a conversation with it – no I am NOT crazy, I am determined.

Here are some of the things it has said to me and what I said back.

You suck. – What are you, 5?
No one will ever read this, so why write it? – Well I am fucking reading it, and I happen to like the story and want to know what happens.
They will all say you cannot write – Well, I know I can’t right now. But doesn’t practice make perfect?
You are being repetitive – So the fuck are you.
This is shit writing – I didn’t know shit could write, are you saying you are a pessimistic shit’s thought?

Anyway, now that you know just how nuts I can be, I think I will leave off. So yeah, I may not have ‘street-cred’ yet, but I have ‘some’ experience. I hope, one day, that this crazy post does help someone.