The female was bad. She read a review. According to the star value, the reader really liked the book. But, the female’s trigger?
So, let’s talk, humans.
An author’s personal beliefs is not what they write. Stop assigning an author’s morality by what they write.
Yes, the female writes about societal issues.
All societal issues.
If it happens in society, it is fair game.
The female writes about the consequences of child marriage. She has protagonists who enter their children in betrothal agreements to protect them, because that is how this society functions.
This does not mean the female agrees with child marriage and thinks parents should enter their children into betrothal agreements to protect them.
The female has characters who have been married through arranged marriages and betrothals. These couples have found their happily ever afters.
This does not mean the female believes arranged marriages and betrothals will lead to happily ever afters.
The female has written about white, conservative males. This does not mean she is a white, conservative male.
The female has written about Asian progressive females. This does not mean she is an Asian progressive female.
The female has written about promiscuous characters. This does not mean she is promiscuous.
The female has written about monogamous characters. This does not mean she is monogamous.
What you read is not the author’s reality. Inclusion is the art of writing outside of a set box to represent everyone. This means that morality directly counter to the female’s belief is included. Sometimes it is positive. Sometimes it is negative.
Inclusion means just that: to include.
You do not have to agree with the lifestyle choice to include something in fiction in a positive fashion. You do not have to disagree with a lifestyle choice to include something in fiction in a negative fashion.
Stop assigning morality to authors. (Also, the cat is going away for a while. Author-to-Reader time. Zazzle is now busy trying to take over the world.)
Now, let’s talk racism for a moment, but likely not in a way that you think. As an author, it is very difficult to avoid accidental racism. Here is an example:
Gypped/Jipped is a highly racist word.
“That bastard gypped me!” is an example, and it means that you have been cheated because people believed the Romani (or Roma) people were cheaters and would automatically try to cheat you.
Now, the term Gypsy itself is exceptionally racist because it literally means “Person who came from Egypt.”
The Roma are from Punjab, India.
Yeah. They’re not even African, but ignorant asshats started calling them a slang term from the wrong bloody region.
P.S.: Do not call your Roma friends gypsy unless they, very directly, tell you to. And even then, you should address them by their proper heritage. For example, a Ruska Roma is a Russian Roma, so the Romas went to Russia and put down some roots there, and have remained in that area for long enough they associate their Roma heritage with Russia.
Accidental racism is using gypsy instead of Roma or Romani. Accidental racism is using the term gypped or jipped without realizing its origins.
Now, if you’re writing a racist character, and you wish to show their racism, you absolutely should make appropriate usage of racist terms. It is a part of the story, and accurately representing that is important.
That does not make the author racist if the author is accurately portraying a racist character.
That’s called good research.
Accidental racism sucks, and most of us do it.
Good people adjust their terminology. Not so good people dig in their heels and refuse to change, because why should they?
You can decide for yourself which grouping you are in. It makes no difference to me as an author. It’s just a statement of fact. (Good people change when they learn they are doing something offensive and harmful to others. Bad people refuse to change.)
I have, over time, been accidentally racist in my books. I have deliberately left those terms in some of my titles as a reminder of change. I know they are there.
They are learning opportunities.
Also, on the subject of Ruska Roma, we have likely presented something less than accurately here, for which I am sorry. And since we’re also here on the subject, Kanika’s usage of her terms was done intentionally. She uses gypsy, because she does not know better. She is aware of her heritage to only a certain degree, and no one taught her otherwise. She is proud of what she is but she is also ignorant of what she is.
Amusing fun fact: I was upset over how I wrote some of that, because I toed lines I do not like toeing.
It is my character’s morality, not my morality.
To write characters to the author’s morality alone is to have single-dimensional characters incapable of growth, books that cannot have growth, worlds that cannot have growth.
To complicate matters, being inclusive can be exceptionally difficult because no one’s experiences are the same.
Let’s take Blending In for example.
I created a mother with a son who has a variant of OCD. I spent probably ten plus hours researching this brand of OCD, reading into parenting methods for that very specific brand of OCD, and so on.
I had two readers write in, one who was absolutely furious with me because how dare that mother work with her son like she did, that parenting method is unacceptable and boys with OCD do not respond that way. The other mother thanked me for having researched the type of OCD because her son has that variant, she recognized it, and she knew and understood that is how experts recommend parents work with children with that brand of OCD.
Two people, two experiences.
But the best moment for me for that book was the reader who wrote in because she has that type of OCD and was very excited to have seen herself in my pages.
I do not have OCD. I have no idea what it’s like. All I can do is guess and do my very best to somewhat accurately portray what it might be like.
I like to believe authors do their best. We screw it up.
When I wanted to write an Asian main character, I decided she needed to be a mix. I was not ready to write a first-generation Asian woman living in America. My experiences versus hers would be difficult to ‘get right.’ Worse, I don’t personally know any first-generation Asian women. This makes me sad. But I do know plenty of second-generation Asian women with one white American parent and one Chinese parent.
I ambushed every last one of them and begged for help to understand Olivia’s household. I took the commonalities most of them shared, and I used that as the foundation for Olivia’s experiences growing up. I read online. I read about Chinese culture. I read about mixed households and the challenges the couple faced.
I read a fucking lot. So much reading. And it was needed. I still hesitate about writing Olivia, because she is so far outside of what I know. But every time I sit down to work with her, I do my best.
That is the most important thing an author can do for those they’re trying to represent. They try their best, and with an awareness life is not the same for everybody.
I want to write diverse characters.
Writing about myself? That would be boring. My characters would be a little like this:
Get up. Drink coffee. Have stomach problems. Sigh over liking coffee. Drink tea instead. Try to drink less coffee. Read books. Read more books. Write stuff. Read. Okay I just want to read books why do I have to do the rest. Write books I want to read.
P.S.: I write books I want to read, just so I can read them later. I literally am an author because I could not find the books I wanted to read, so I started writing them. Now I read them whenever I want. Except I have more books I want to read, but I have not written them yet.
This is a constant problem, and I resent that it can take hundreds of hours to write a single book. Resent it so much.
Just stop assigning morality to authors. You look like an idiot when you do it. Stop complaining the author needs a good editor when you don’t like how they wrote the book. (There is a difference between a writer using they’re when they should have used their versus not phrasing things the way you want.)
If you don’t like how they wrote the book, write books for yourself how you want them to be written.
Just because you do not like how a book is written has nothing to do with if a book is in need of a ‘good editor.’ It has everything to do with how you’ve closed your mind to a fluid language.
Hint: regionalisms exist, and people speak and write in completely different fashions on one side of the continent than in the other. Sentence structure is different. Word choice is different.
It’s all different.
One section of the continent uses hazards.
The other uses four-ways.
Yes, the flashy doohickeys you hit when you’re warning people you’re either driving slowly or you are a hazard.
I grew up referencing them as four-ways. The first time someone used hazards, I was an adult, I had absolutely no fucking clue what my damned husband was talking about and we (a cabbie and I) had to finally point at the button to turn them on to restore clarity to the conversation.
The cabbie and I used four-ways. My husband used hazards. There was much confusion.
This is how important it is to realize that regionalisms are so ingrained into how someone speaks or writes.
My syntax, my way or writing, and my general presentation of words is a blend of five different languages. 1: American English, Mid-East Coast. 2: American English, Tennessee. 3: American English, Pennsylvania with a smattering of Jersey and New York (Bronx, if you please.) 4: Canadian English 5: Quebecois.
Yes, American English by region may as well be a different language at times. I’m now picking up language #6: Californian English.
The syntax, the accents, the way of phrasing varies fairly spectacularly between these six regions. For example, ‘to be’ is commonly dropped in two of the six regions I have lived in. It is up in the air in a third region. The other two regions religiously include it and will hang you from the nearest tree should you drop it. Yeah. “This needs to be washed” versus “This needs washed.” Both are 100% correct depending on region.
Please note I avoided the term lynched. It’s pretty damned racist. (This is one I struggle with, because it’s so ingrained in two of the regions I lived in for a damned long time.)
People from the “This needs to be washed” regions are far more likely to be unaccepting of other regionalisms, so I tend to include the to be washed because honestly, they just can’t handle it being excluded.
I love my readers, but if you could kindly relax a little regarding this linguistic regionalism, I would be very appreciated.
How to get jumped in a hurry: drop a to be.
So, yeah. Be aware.
If you think a book needs ‘a good editor,’ please take the time to decide if the book actually needs a good editor, or if you’re actually upset because that’s not how you would have written it.
In the needs a good editor category: the author uses they’re instead of their frequently.
In the ‘not how you would have written it’ category: the author drops to be when you prefer when it is used. (And sometimes, to be is necessary, and excluding it IS an error. But in the instance of “this needs to be washed” versus “this needs washed” it is a matter of regional preference.
I just got tired of being yelled at over it. (Also, it is worth mentioning, those from the region who drop the ‘to be’ do not get upset over its inclusion.)
Food for thought.
Please enjoy this picture of my food, and have a good night.