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ThisAdamGuy
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15 Apr 2017, 10:25 pm

You know, if there's one thing that's eventually going to drive me off WattPad (the site where my books have the biggest audience) it's going to be the army of people who go around demanding that authors change their stories to include more [insert their minority of choice here]. They say that fantasy is stuck in a rut because the characters aren't diverse enough, and they're not being adequately represented. They'll even go so far as to claim that a story's quality will go down if the main character is a straight white male. If you were to read my books, you'd see that I include several black characters, two Japanese characters, and an Arabian character. That doesn't even include the nonhuman characters, like sphinxes, elves, gorgons, werewolves, kitsunes, and much more-- which are usually the focal point of the story anyway. And yet, somehow, I've still been accused of writing "Racist white-@$$ fantasy tripe" because all of the MAIN characters (that are human, anyway) have white skin. It's no use trying to talk to these people, because they're so high on their horses that the words of mere mortals like me don't even reach their ears.

So, what do you guys think of the whole thing?

See, my problem isn't with including diverse casts of characters. The issue is, I don't want to do it just for the sake of diversity. My main priority is to tell a good story, and most of the time that can be accomplished without "diversifying" your characters. Would it hurt the story if the MC were to be black instead of white? No, but likewise it doesn't hurt for him to be white instead of black. People whine that they can't identify with a character that doesn't have the same skin color, or gender, or sexuality they do. Sorry to say, but that's BS. My favorite books of all time, Mistborn, have a woman as the MC, but I'm still able to identify with her. These complaints have no more credibility than the people who claim they can't enjoy The Legend of Zelda unless they're given the option to play as female Link.


When you start adding in "diverse" characters just for the sake of diversity, more often than not you end up with token characters. You know, the ones who exist just to tick off a box on your "diversity" checklist. Ironically, those same people will whine about those too. The difference between having token characters and not having token characters is that having token characters actually can lower the quality of your book. Given the choice, I'd prefer to leave them out entirely and still tell a well written, entertaining story.

Lastly, these people don't just want you to include their minority of choice in your book, they want you to push their political agenda with it. It isn't enough for them to be in the book, the book now has to be about them too. So in essence, you could potentially be giving up your plot for your book to write a feel good story for these minorities who want to be represented but are too lazy to write it themselves. And that, more than anything else, is what riles me up. My books are mine. Not yours, not theirs, mine. I write books that I would like to read, and I'm not going to give that up because some random person I've never met throws a fit because my romantic leads are a guy and a girl, and not a guy and a guy.

Now, I'm not against diverse casts. It's just that I don't think the quality of a book is dictated by it. I can't remember who said it, but an author was quoted saying "If you tell me there's a shotgun above the mantle, it had better go off before the book ends." I look at "diversity" the same way. If you make a big deal about how your character is different and special, that had better effect the plot somehow. Otherwise, what's the point?

And no, I don't think I'm biased. If I wanted, I would have just as much a case as any of these "minorities" to whine about the lack of autistic characters in my favorite books. I just don't. Why? Because the stories are amazing with or without them.

I've rambled long enough, I feel like. I guess I just needed to get that off my chest somewhere (hopefully) people won't immediately start pointing fingers and calling names. What do you guys think of the subject?


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ASPartOfMe
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16 Apr 2017, 2:30 am

You can not win with those Social Justice Warriors. They will criticize you if you put in just cis straight white males and if you put in a diverse charactor they will say you can not accuratly write a charactor because you do not are the race, have the sexual orientation, gender identity etc of said charactor. You have two choices give up writing or stand up to the bullies. f****d up situation we have here in "the land of the free".


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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16 Apr 2017, 7:00 am

Have some sci-fi/fantasy stores I play at writing and have hesitated putting anything on Wattpad because of suspicion that exactly this would happen. I'm just not interested in jacking around with it.


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16 Apr 2017, 7:05 am

And then there's the thing where if I'm imagining me in the story it is probably not odd that the main character would be a lot like me.

Exactly,

ThisAdamGuy wrote:
My books are mine. Not yours, not theirs, mine. I write books that I would like to read,


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248RPA
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16 Apr 2017, 8:10 am

ThisAdamGuy wrote:
People whine that they can't identify with a character that doesn't have the same skin color, or gender, or sexuality they do.
Some people don't realise that just because a character has the same skin color, or gender, or sexuality, it doesn't automatically mean that they'll identify with the character.

Although it was nowhere close to my favourite book, I felt that I had been able to identify with a black, male MC from colonial-era Africa more than other books I've read.


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248RPA
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16 Apr 2017, 8:19 am

I haven't been to Wattpad in years, but I still write stories sometimes. When I write a story, I don't describe the characters' appearence in a way that would specify any race.


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ltcvnzl
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16 Apr 2017, 9:58 am

As ASPartOfMe said, you can't win.

If you wrote a minority character, they would say you are appropriating their voice and didn't depict it rightly. That's the most annoying part, because diversity is important and a really serious issue to be treated this way that is basically just whining for the sake of whining, the only outcome is people stop taking this discussion serious or some authors just force this diversity even if it costs the quality of their work.


(I can't help think about JK Rowling and her opportunistic review of Harry Potter in a diverse side because her public on internet start claiming for it)



Jacoby
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16 Apr 2017, 10:51 am

Ignore SJWs, just write stories that make sense. Every story doesn't need to include the Rainbow Coalition of diversity, I think it's more offensive when they make token diversity quota characters whose only quality is their skin color or whatever other quality that adds nothing to the story.



BrokenPieces
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16 Apr 2017, 7:05 pm

I agree. I've never heard of Wattpad before. But I write for myself and because I have a story to tell. I don't let others dictate what I will write and what my characters are like.

As for diversity, I do write about diverse characters but there are things I don't mention if it's not plot relevant. And really, diversity goes deeper than physical appearance and sexuality. There's also environment, social and economic status, background, personality, family, health...basically everything. I could read about a character that grew up the way I did and is the same nationality from the same area but they're filthy rich. I can't relate to them, or their decisions or their lifestyle.

Also these are fictional characters. They're not real even if they're based on real people. The only way you'll be able totally relate to a character is if you've written yourself into fiction. And hello, no one can relate to a youkai, a kitsune, a tanuki, an elf, a dwarf, a dark elf, a wizard, a warlock, a witch, a demi-god, or any other fictional race. Or even a person in a post-apocalyptic future, a dystopian future, a cyberpunk era, a steampunk era, a world with zombies or vampire or werewolves.

Your story is your own to tell, and it should include as much or as little diversity as you want because it's really a matter of perspective.



SnailHail
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19 Apr 2017, 8:33 pm

Just write what you want with characters in your image. You could cater to these SJWs and they'll still find something to nitpick about. Just look at Marvel they're a prime example of catering to SJWs and SJWs still give them crap for ridiculous things. Speaking of Marvel, never force in diversity, it is part of the reason Marvel comics suck right now, they expect you to like their characters just because of their identity traits (race, gender, religion, and sexuality) even though the personalities of the characters suck.

If you do want diversity, focus on making great characters first. Steven Universe does this well with gay characters. In most other shows being gay would be the character's only trait.


248RPA wrote:
Some people don't realise that just because a character has the same skin color, or gender, or sexuality, it doesn't automatically mean that they'll identify with the character.

Although it was nowhere close to my favourite book, I felt that I had been able to identify with a black, male MC from colonial-era Africa more than other books I've read.


I wonder how some of these SJWs feel if they realize that there is straight white male protagonist in series created by Japanese authors like JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (Nearly all the JoJo's are white and the ones that aren't are at least half White), Fullmetal Alchemist, Attack On Titan, Trigun, Blood Blockade Battlefront, Metal Gear Solid, Super Mario Bros, Cowboy Bebop, and etc. The protagonist and/or other major cast members are white but they still do incredibly well in Japan. Why? Because they're actually good series that no one cares about the race. Heck One Piece is the most popular series ever in Japan and the creator said himself that if the Straw Hats had real world nationalities pretty much only Zoro would be Japanese. Yet that doesn't stop everyone from loving them and many other characters in the series.



ThisAdamGuy
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19 Apr 2017, 8:53 pm

SnailHail wrote:
I wonder how some of these SJWs feel if they realize that there is straight white male protagonist in series created by Japanese authors


They'd probably call it whitewashing. Look at the new Ghost in the Shell movie. The major was a white woman with no Asian features, and people are still moaning that they didn't cast an Asian woman.

Then look at the Attack on Titan live action movies. In the anime only one person was Asian, but in the movie they're ALL Asian. When people brought it up, they were attacked for wanting to whitewash another franchise.


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05 May 2017, 7:26 am

Just adding my voice to say you basically hit the nail on the head with the OP. These people don't care about making the story better, they care about their agenda. Just look at the way that agenda has crippled the comic book industry. They shove the agenda into pre-existing franchises because it can't stand on its own merits, it has to leech off the popularity of already established franchises.

Don't give them an inch.



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05 May 2017, 12:20 pm

We need more diverse characters. You might not want to write diversely but allow others to want more diversity.


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ThisAdamGuy
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05 May 2017, 12:43 pm

thewrll wrote:
We need more diverse characters. You might not want to write diversely but allow others to want more diversity.


You, sir, are a master at twisting other people's words. Between this and my art thread, that's all you have successfully convinced me of. I'll offer this one final argument against you, but after that you can say whatever you want and I'll just ignore you.

If you'd read the entire thread (don't pretend that you did), you'd know this isn't about not wanting diversity. This is about not wanting people to force you into diversity. Because, as was already discussed, these types of people don't stop when you put their minority of choice into the book/movie/whatever, that just opens the door to them making even more demands. "Wah wah, you didn't represent me right," "Wah wah, I didn't make a difference to the plot," "Wah wah, I wasn't in the spotlight enough." If you give in to these idiots, you may as well throw whatever plot you came up with out the window, because suddenly the entire story revolves around them, and they're practically writing it for you.


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07 May 2017, 12:08 am

In my short fiction, I've had a secondary black character in one, and a Latina as the female lead in another, while in a book I have not worked on for a few years, the female lead is of mixed Chinese/German ancestry. Admittedly, most of my characters are white, in part because setting my stories in the Spokane area of Washington state (where I in fact reside) there are not many minorities. But also, another reason is because I don't have the understanding of cultural nuances, and thus I'm afraid my minority characters would come across as sounding white(!).


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