Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Can I?

This is definitely a "post and run" post. This week I don't have a minute to spare.

Just reporting that I am constructing a new novel. I have made the decision not to begin the first chapter until I have the whole plot worked out. So my document presently is a collection of dialogue and character notes and possible cliff hangers.

I'm not sure I can do this. One of my characters is an Afro American  girl. Can I get close enough to her to write about her? They say you should write what you know.  Am I qualified?


  1. Hi Linda-- Wow! Enjoy the new beginning stage of your novel! Don't let doubts creep in! Just let it flow! You can always revise and question later. (Whenever I start to question too early in the process, I end up stopping a project in its tracks. So please don't do this. :o))

  2. Writing what you know is overrated. Writing what you imagine is far better.

  3. I would work the same way - working out the plot in advance. I know others who would never write this way because they feel the characters should have some say in what happens.

    I guess some of us are uneasy with the unexpected.

  4. You will probably meet with some flack about it in the children's literature world, Linda, but I say, seize the day!

  5. You can do it Linda, and you wouldn't be the only one. Other writers take on personalities, and voices that are not the ones they are most familiar with. Research always helps. Your character will be yours -- let her run.

  6. Write what makes sense to you before asking questions, and then when you start worrying about authenticity, go into journalist mode (at least that's what I do) and ask questions about the character from people who share his or her particular ethnic/racial/religious/economic class.

  7. Hey Melinda,

    Just wondering. Is this character's race central to the plot? Does something about her race come into play in the novel?

    My advice is just to write the best character you can, no matter the race.

    I am black and have written novels with white characters. In fact, that's all I've ever written!

    I only just recently finished a MG book with a black character because the book was calling on me to write it.

    If there is something in the book where her ethnicity comes into play, you can always reach out to an African American friend or writer.

    That would be me, if you wish!

    Good luck!