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Diversity, More Of It!

July 11, 2012

Diversity. You would think, writing in the genre I do, that there would be quite a bit of it. Problem is, there just isn’t. In fact, when you step out of the expected mold, you tend to get thwacked in the head for changing it up. The books I see are a parade of white men, no religious affiliation, with decent jobs, good apartments/homes, and great one-dimensional friends who don’t do anything of interest. It’s really quite depressing. Sometimes, I see something that might pique my interest, but just reading the blurbs or glancing at the reviews puts me off.

It’s saved me a ton of money, but at the same time, it depresses me. We see a lot of readers calling for diversity, but I wonder if the sales hold true that it’s diversity that’s really wanted. I don’t know. So far, all my published works have been with white main characters. Some are Christian or they don’t declare their religion in the course of the book. I admit, I haven’t done much myself to further the cause of diversity. >.> I’ve promised myself to change that as soon as possible. I do have one interracial story brewing in my head, the full story of Malachi and Phinn from Breaking Point, but other than that…

We need more diversity. More people of color. More people of various religious backgrounds. More characters with disabilities–both physical and mental. More women. More trans* characters. More scope of employment. More financial backgrounds. More characters over the age of 25. More character who aren’t 6′ and 200 pounds ripped. We simply need more diversity in the fiction presented.

I love that Kasper was almost 40 in Catalyst. I love that Zach is on welfare and scraping by in Mae. I love that Hadi and Judas in The Keeper aren’t white. However, I know I need to up my game, bring more to the table than the occasional older man or impoverished main character. πŸ™‚ Hopefully, while I’m dragging my ass to get my current WIPs done, other authors will provide me with awesome reading material offering the diversity of color, class, religion, physicality, and gender I’m seeking!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2012 11:46 am

    And when someone does write a good, diverse novel, we need people to pick it up and review it. We need readers to look at those reviews and step up and take a chance that they might like–or love–something they thought was a little out of their comfort zone. Because if those of us writing diversity don’t find readership in romance, we’ll end up migrating to other genres, leaving a bland and bigoted-looking landscape behind us. 😦

  2. July 11, 2012 11:57 am

    Ruth — Exactly. I find it telling that I’m reaching for my own genre less and less. 😦 I don’t want to stop writing it it, so I recognize the need to start writing what it is I’d like to be seeing. Readers, authors, and reviewers all need to work together to create the diverse, welcoming atmosphere with a lot less negativity. πŸ˜€ Less of the ‘I hate X’ and more of the ‘Everyone deserves a voice’. We can write and read outside our usual comfort zones respectfully if we try.

  3. July 11, 2012 2:33 pm GWM, straight-acting atheist, seeks same for romance genre.

    We write non-religious white men, because we are, for the most part, nonreligious white people. (and some of us consider Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean to be white, as it isn’t black, or Asian) Even those of us who are religious people tend to write characters whose religion is not a big part of their lives. Let’s be blunt, for most people, they go to church because it shows they are a good person and never give God a second thought. (or they’re obnoxious Jesus shouters, but even those really don’t believe and are using the volume to cover their unbelief)

    I like writing diversity. I’m hesitant to cross color lines again, after Race!Wank 2009. I’m hesitating to cross trans lines again after TransFail2010, which I fear I sparked. A Latina transwoman complained that I, a white cis bitch, was making money on her life experience and I snarked about “I’m sorry, I had no idea you were a 13th century Norman prince raised as a princess to save your life from your wicked uncle.” It was on.

    I get burned often enough and I learn not touch the fire.

    The rest i like and will and do write. (You’re gonna love the diversity in Barbarossa: christopagans, Catholic priests, a rainbow of amazons, a variety even in the pack. But my heroes are still white.)

  4. July 11, 2012 2:54 pm

    Angelia — And I think you hit the nail on the head. Those of us who choose to write diversity are often smacked for not writing it right by those marginalized peoples we’re writing about. πŸ™‚ I mean, this genre is a case in point: gay men don’t want women of ANY orientation or identity to write about their lives. We start off behind the eight ball, and then we just compound interest. There’s a difference between ‘I think you missed the ball on this aspect of a black man’s life’ and ‘Cis white bitch stole my life!’. >.>

    The former I’d welcome as a chance to learn so the next book is better. The latter is not helpful and makes me just not want to attempt again. Or, attempt it out of spite and write from a place of anger, which is never a good road to walk.

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