On the YA subreddit recently there was a question and answer session hosted by three authors who know a bit about writing non-white, non-straight, non-cis, non-fully-abled characters. Also known as ‘diversity’.

Since I find reddit threads a bit hard to read from a graphic design point of view (and also because I could probably spend waaay too much time on reddit if I weren’t careful) I will summarise a few takeaway points right here.

  • One of the best resource for getting started on this is Writing The Other by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward. (Here’s a link to the Kindle ebook.)
  • Publishing is a disproportionately white industry.¬†Any place that’s disproportionately white will also be disproportionately heavy on white privilege.
  • Where I run into trouble–especially as a YA and MG writer–is the worry about writing conflict for my diverse characters. Can I have really, really bad things happen to my POC/disabled/LGBTQ characters? I know the answer is, “Of course you can,” but in practice it’s really hard to know you’re not being offensive.
  • The key is to not have the negative/bad traits or circumstances or conflict stem from stereotypes or tropes.
  • A list of Queer YA SFF

 

Books Recommended

Deals with cross-dressing very oddly. Very strange but well done.