Unfortunately the solution is a $500 workshop in Chattanooga next July!Here's one of the great circular conundrums of our time:
We need more characters of color/LGBT characters/characters with disabilities/characters that aren't the default white, able-bodied cis male in speculative literature.I, a speculative fiction author, am afraid of writing characters of color/LGBT characters/characters with disabilities/characters that aren't like me or from my cultural and social understanding because I might get it wrong, and if I get it wrong people will be angry at me and yell and also ruin my career.I've seen and heard writers (mostly white) express some version of that at least a hundred times since RaceFail 09. The point to that discussion or any number of other public Fails since then and go: SEE?! You see? That's what happens when we try!
There are a few things about this that need addressing. First, large, public Fails actually happen when authors don't try. Second, the problem is rarely that the author tried and didn't get it exactly, 100% right. It's that they failed and then acted like an ass when someone pointed it out to them. Third, avoiding author Fail isn't as hard as some people make it out to be.
Most importantly, the consequence of being ruled by that fear is that you aren't helping with the first problem. And if I may be so bold, I think the issue of representation is far, far more important than individual fears of getting it wrong. I also know that it's hard to tackle that first issue without addressing the second. Luckily I have the solution.
But I think there's an even easier solution. How about we all write about all kinds of people?
I'm a 42 year old, white, middle class, married, mom. But I live in the world, and am aware of the people around me. I have friends and neighbors who are different races than I am. I know people who were born in other countries. You probably do as well. Why can't more of us draw on our normal experiences, and write characters that are every shade, from any country?