Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writing from the point of view of an African American... when you're not

I've been wanting to write a romance idea that occurred to me. I think it would be amazing.

The problem? The main, POV character is African American.

I'm not.

At first I thought, "Okay, that'll work. I've written from a man's point of view, surely it wouldn't be any harder to write from another's woman's, even if she's African American and I'm not."

But then I started to wonder.

I don't want to do a rotten job or be cultural offensive. I'm not a genius, just a writer.

I always enjoy trying to write from under someone else's skin, imagine other people's experiences and viewpoints. But I can't know how well it will turn out, or even IF it will turn out.

Is writing this character something I shouldn't even attempt? Or should I try, and see how it goes?

Any advice for the process (or research I should do), if I do attempt this story?


Enita Meadows said...

I think it's a lovely idea, and I don't think you should be afraid of offending people. I say just put yourself in your character's skin like you always do. Her personality shouldn't be defined by her ethnicity, right? It's just a small part of many pieces of her character. :) If you don't make a huge deal within the text about how she's Black/African American, there's no reason you would risk offending people. I don't see any wrong in going ahead and doing it. :)

((And if you ever need a beta reader, I'd love to take a look at it. :]))

madcapmaggie said...

Do your research. Read books by Black authors. Speak to Black readers/writers. Ask Black authors/readers to read a draft of your book. In short, do your research the way you would anything else.

But I agree with Enita -- give it your best shot. We need more White authors willing to put Black characters in their fiction.

Lum said...

Enita--thank you so much!! :D I really appreciate your words and your offer to beta read!! :)

I don't know how long it will take to write the story, but I definitely want to try, and I will surely think of you as a beta.

Thanks so much!! :)

Lum said...

madcapmaggie, Thank you for your advice, and you're right, I should do some research & give it a try at least!! :D Thank you for commenting~!! :)

Annie said...

Hi Alice,

See you've set yourself another challenge.

I've nominated your blog for the Liebster Blog Award and hope you'll do me the honor of accepting.

Details at

Brandon Barr said...

Alice, I love the cover for your new novel. Very eye-catching.