Black Authors : Amateur author seeks discussion

Phoenixbutterfly

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May 7, 2016
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hi

I am here because I'm a white woman who is writing a mystery with a black protagonist. I want him to be "real" and relatable. Not many authors cross racial lines - lines that shouldn't exist. I want to be able to realistically represent his culture and his mindset which is a tall order since I'm coming from ignorance. I've only had a few friends who were from a different racial background. Those that I've had the pleasure of knowing taught me a great deal. I hope to further add to this.

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance!
Phoenixbutterfly
 

Clyde C Coger Jr

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hi

I am here because I'm a white woman who is writing a mystery with a black protagonist. I want him to be "real" and relatable. Not many authors cross racial lines - lines that shouldn't exist. I want to be able to realistically represent his culture and his mindset which is a tall order since I'm coming from ignorance. I've only had a few friends who were from a different racial background. Those that I've had the pleasure of knowing taught me a great deal. I hope to further add to this.

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance!
Phoenixbutterfly

Welcome again, glad to have you join us, Phoenixbutterfly.

Several questions concerning your proposed book:

Is the Black protagonist male or female?

(I did see this though - I want to be able to realistically represent his culture and his mindset) ... just being sure by asking.

Presuming this character is male, is there anything specific about his/her culture and mindset you wish to develop in a mystery novel?


...
 

Phoenixbutterfly

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May 7, 2016
39
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Well here's the rundown on his character:

Hopefully I won't give away too much

His name is Tobias and he's a detective. This book plays with both race and gender issues so he's not only very dark skinned but also bi. He's a philanderer. As a detective he's a "good ol' boy" per their code but out in his everyday life he is either affected by racism or at least aware of it. I'm not sure if he's active in his community yet... His black identity is still being developed. I'm not interested in portraying him as a stereotypical black man.. Whatever that may be. I want him relatable and real. The way he talks, the way he thinks, the way he views the world. I don't want someone from this community to read it and think "no way was this written by a black author"

Specifics? I don't know enough to answer that. I'm ignorant of most of what's discussed here. I know that it's different but not exactly sure how to define that difference.
 

Clyde C Coger Jr

going above and beyond
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Nov 17, 2006
53,170
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Well here's the rundown on his character:

Hopefully I won't give away too much

His name is Tobias and he's a detective. This book plays with both race and gender issues so he's not only very dark skinned but also bi. He's a philanderer. As a detective he's a "good ol' boy" per their code but out in his everyday life he is either affected by racism or at least aware of it. I'm not sure if he's active in his community yet... His black identity is still being developed. I'm not interested in portraying him as a stereotypical black man.. Whatever that may be. I want him relatable and real. The way he talks, the way he thinks, the way he views the world. I don't want someone from this community to read it and think "no way was this written by a black author"

Specifics? I don't know enough to answer that. I'm ignorant of most of what's discussed here. I know that it's different but not exactly sure how to define that difference.


Are you familiar with the movie and television series called, Shaft, or the song written by Issac Hayes?

All of the above reminds me of that movie, which could be helpful to you.




...






 

Phoenixbutterfly

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May 7, 2016
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i want to ask... Hopefully without offending.. Is it disrespectful to describe race (across the board not limited to Tobias) as a flavor in a sexual context? I.e. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel (black, white, Latino) I do this in the thoughts of one character and words of another.
 

Clyde C Coger Jr

going above and beyond
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Nov 17, 2006
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i want to ask... Hopefully without offending.. Is it disrespectful to describe race (across the board not limited to Tobias) as a flavor in a sexual context? I.e. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel (black, white, Latino) I do this in the thoughts of one character and words of another.

Remember this, authors possess the right of literary freedoms within the context of nearly all prose.

...

 

Phoenixbutterfly

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May 7, 2016
39
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True. Technically I suppose offending may be par for the course when dealing with gender and race but offending others isn't a goal. I definitely don't want my protagonist offensive to those he's supposed to represent.
 

Clyde C Coger Jr

going above and beyond
PREMIUM MEMBER
Nov 17, 2006
53,170
11,457
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Speaker/Teacher/Author
True. Technically I suppose offending may be par for the course when dealing with gender and race but offending other isn't a goal.

It depends on your target market. Who are you trying to reach with the book?

Is it fiction or non-fiction? Consider these things as you get underway with the effort.

...

 

Phoenixbutterfly

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May 7, 2016
39
2
My audience right now are the judges, it's for a contest. I'm not sure who my market will be and I'm hoping that should they choose to publish, they will know the business end. This is my first contest. Publishing under my own power would require intimate knowledge with the business. Something I am aware of but know nothing about yet.
 

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