Monday, February 10, 2020

Writing, Politics and Racism

We recently did a group blog on the present culture and writing. I thought I’d continue that train of thought because I ended up thinking the only genre that was safe for writers now was sci-fi or futuristic. And I wanted to touch on a couple of topics which I’m curious as to what other writers think and do. Maybe I shouldn’t even be writing this blog, but I’m curious.

Politics around the world is changing. Do you ever address politics in your fiction? Do you write fiction where your characters are politicians or involved with politicians? Why or why not?

Personally, I stay away from politics because it can be a personal thing that riles up a lot of people. People could be quickly turned off a fiction book if it was written from the wrong perspective. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned politics in a book. But now I’m thinking about it. What about you?

What about race? I know many authors write racial focused fiction. There’s an African Romance genre. I do have race included in some books. I’ve had Native American heroes. I took a course from a Native American writer and hope that I’ve written and presented the characters appropriately.

In my present novel which I’m almost finished the woman who is killed is black. Her daughter is white.  I’m hoping I’m presenting it in an acceptable form and the color isn’t an issue. The focus is on the murder and way she was killed, rather than her race.
It was interesting, one of my critique readers made the comment that she hadn’t realized the woman was black until about 7 or 8 pages into the book. She suggested I should address that issue. Her comment surprised me because the setting is New Orleans and it didn’t occur to me that I needed to make sure people knew the color of the victim’s skin.

I’ve also had a secondary character with Alzheimer’s.  Again, I hoped I handled it appropriately.

In this day and culture, how careful do we have to be when it comes to race and politics? I remember years ago being told by publishers and editors not to write sports characters or stories about a football player. Is that where we are today only now it’s politics and race? Just askin’.

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