Home › Forums › 2 – Characterization. “Writing the Other” with Nisi Shawl and Tempest Bradford › Homework and thoughts › Reply To: Homework and thoughts
I didn’t so much have a story in mind as just a situation. I was going to go into more the juxtaposition of memories of military combat with domestic life, how violence from the past can become its own “layer” on top of current reality. There’s so much hope for the future in these characters: wanting to get better jobs, wanting to start a business, having a baby. But Maurice feels like his own father didn’t give him good memories, and that his time in the military is so far removed from everyone else’s life that he’s just supposed to forget it and almost like it is a bad dream he keeps having.
I felt like I was way overthinking the racial elements. Every time I put in something that I felt indicated the couple is black I wondered if I was being stereotypical. Then I worried I was making them “sound too white.” It highlighted to me the assumptions that I make reading something–I really think when I open a book and start in on a character it’s unfortunately like the character-creation screen in an RPG where we start off with a white male default and then you have to *work* to change it. That is, because I wanted to make sure the audience knew this couple was black I felt I had to “flag” it somehow, whereas if I were writing about a white couple I probably wouldn’t have felt that way. Having this critical part of my brain going on overdrive made it hard for the creative part to just do its thing.