multicultural

All posts tagged multicultural

First Post of the New Year!

Published January 10, 2014 by G.L.

If anyone hasnt noticed, we’ve bought out domain!

We love the great work done by Blogovation Design!

Now that we have a new look,and the year is young, we wanted to go over some of the goals we wanted to achieve for 2014!

  • Release two self published titles at the very least. Two multicultural fantasy titles(Including our anticipated “The Mark of Noba”)and if we manage our time well, a contemporary Young Adult title featuring all Latinas(of all races).
  • Chronicle each learning experience from our first 3 critical reviews.
  • Highlight each self publishing experience, good or bad. It will definitely help for anyone unsure of self publishing with specific ventures.
  • Highlight ways to incorporate diversity in anyone’s writing who may be skeptical of touching a marginalized group they’re unsure.
  • Attend one multi genre convention, martial arts convention and writer’s conference(It’s based on our finances).
  • Create a special blog hop for promoting diversity in fiction.
  • Start up a multicultural virtual blog tour company(First year it may start out slow to maintain amazing service).
  • Produce three web series pilots for multicultural themed Youtube shows.(Should be interesting. If the response is positive, perhaps they can go further.

Many of these goals, once they’re achieved, we wont worry about whether it’s a huge success. We just plan to keep it moving to the next goal.

Anyone else have any goals for 2014?

Do we really need more Diversity in books?-Guest post by Rachel Halpern

Published December 4, 2013 by G.L.

Today we have a lovely guest post by the founder of a new online magazine in the works by the name of Inscription magazine. The project spoke to my sister and I on such a deep level. Here is this young woman in our generation who finds representation in all forms important in books and that’s exactly what Guinevere and I are trying to promote! It’s always great to find like minded people and when we discovered her Indiegogo campaign to launch her magazine, which would be offering free diverse stories to teens in our 2 favorite genres, Science Fiction and Fantasy; We just had to help her spread the word about her Project!And now to our Guest post…….

Do we really need more Diversity in Books? By Rachel Halpern

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The goal of Inscription Magazine is to publish short stories for teens, with diverse characters, diverse authors, and diverse sci-fi and fantasy worlds.

I’ve talked more about the vision I had for Inscription on the diversityinya Tumblr, here. And you can read more about Inscription, and the fundraising we’re doing for it, on the Indiegogo campaign page, here.

I wanted to address here what I think is often the first question I get when people see Inscription Magazine, or blogs like this one – do we really need more diversity?

The answer is a resounding yes. In the 250 top-grossing films, 83.6% of the lead characters are straight white men, even though they make up only 31.3% of the population (x). And it’s not because diversity doesn’t sell! A recent study found that television viewers are actually more likely to watch shows with racially diverse writers and racially diverse casts (x). It’s just that our society is built to privilege some voices and some stories over others.

Does that matter? So what if representation isn’t equal? Can’t people just identify with the people they see on television regardless of race?

I’m sure that happens to some extent, but of course it’s not as good as having someone who looks like you on TV, or in the stories you’re reading. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in outer space, said seeing Nichelle Nichols play Uhura in Star Trek was a key inspiration for her, and she wasn’t alone; even Martin Luther King, Jr., pressured Nichols to stay on the show because of the difference it was making to television viewers (x). Representation really does matter.

Maybe it’s better in children’s and young adult books, though! Everyone knows Hollywood has its problems, but surely teens are being exposed to more diverse literature!

Unfortunately not. Study after study (after study) has shown that diversity is lacking in both the authors of and the characters in YA novels.

Publishers like Tu Books; anthologies like Diverse Energies; and the incredible work of authors, bloggers, and publishers everywhere are making some changes, but it’s slow going. I wanted to help speed up the process, to give more young adult readers a chance to see themselves in diverse science fiction and fantasy stories.

That’s what Inscription Magazine is all about. Telling great stories that can appeal to everyone. Telling stories that give young adults great role models. And telling stories that tell teens they can become anyone and anything they want to be.

And beyond that, we hope it will become a community. Even the most inspirational stories can lose their power if they sit in a vacuum. We want to have forums and discussion threads where young adult readers can talk about the stories we publish, the books they’re reading, and everything else happening in their lives. It’s easy to feel alone when the media you consume doesn’t reflect you; we want to help young readers find a place where they can be themselves.

If that’s something you want to help us accomplish, you can check out our Indiegogo campaign here. Every dollar and every post can help us work toward our stretch goals and provide our readers with more content and more opportunities to build a sustainable community. Take a look and consider donating or spreading the word!

Inscription Magazine’s Indiegogo Campaign

Inscription Magazine on Facebook

Inscription Magazine on Twitter

Inscription Magazine on Tumblr

Rachel on Twitter

Rachel’s Tumblr Page

Advice on writing for a character outside of your race, sexual orientation or religion

Published July 20, 2013 by G.L.

Since becoming a book blog reviewer and part of an assortment of book loving communities I’ve engaged with many aspiring as well as published authors. I have to say I’m always the biggest fans of the ones who make a conscience  effort to incorporate some kind of diversity in their writing. This doesn’t always mean you HAVE to have a checklist of what’s missing in your book. For example:

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Do I have at least one Asian character? CHECK

Do I have at least one Black character? CHECK, CHECK

Do I have at least one gay person? CHECK, CHECK, CHECK

If that’s someone’s approach I advise you to put down your pens, laptops or other useful writing aids and take some time out to read this post.

I don’t think authors should ever feel pressure to write characters that they aren’t emotionally attached to. I also don’t think authors should write characters of different backgrounds just to “do it”, because that makes it come off as a chore. Writing from a different perspective other than “what you know” is such a rich learning experience, especially if you do it well. But for others who are still confused on how they should go about it, here are some tips to help writing for diverse characters easier.

First of all I want to point out that this is not a post to help white authors write non white characters, but a post to help ALL authors write for different characters. Gay, straight, Muslim, Buddhist, Sri Lankan, Brazilian, Angolan, disabled, plus sized or whatever you’d like to explore. Because face it writing “what you know” is becoming a really lazy excuse to why authors aren’t writing characters outside of their own comfort zone.

I think the main problem with writing a character outside of one’s race, culture, physical makeup or religion is that too many writers focus way too much on how we differ as people and not enough on how we’re similar. Forget about how we look on the outside for a few moments and recall the things people go through on a regular basis. Just graduated from USC with whole bunch of student loans and a job that will barely keep you afloat? So does Juan from East LA. Fall in love for the first time?Guess what so has Ravinder from Richmond Hill, Queens.Going through some tough times since your mom passed away about a month ago? Your coworker Keshia lost her mom 3 years ago and knows exactly how you feel.

All I’m saying is that we all go through similar if not the same issues. Problems are not “race”thing. Everyone in life has problems.The only way authors make writing for diverse characters difficult is by going to extreme measures to make a character “authentic”. And authentic to one writer may mean “Stereotypical” to the next.

The way I define authenticity is writing a character that is both honest and relatable. If that honest, relatable character just happens to be of Asian ancestry, then they just happen to be of Asian ancestry. I know a lot of writers are worried that they will have to do a ton of research to “nail” their multicultural characters but I have to say i disagree. Unless you’re writing about someone that lives in a different country you don’t have to spend hours at the library looking into Japan’s history to write about a Japanese American. Other than the types of foods you eat at home, the language you speak with your parents or the way the people of that culture conduct themselves socially, the only research you’ll need to do will be based on what YOU want to do with the character. If an author writes about a black teenager named Penelope adopted into a white family from Bixby Knolls,CA; the character is not going to talk like Yolanda from The Bronx. Keep in mind where your characters live and what their lives were like before the events in your story, because that will make a huge impact on what you put on paper.

A certain school project comes to mind a few years back. In one of my creative film classes , I had to write my first screenplay.(I’m working on turning it into a novel )

I choose to write from a male point of view and mapped out his entire backstory.

1.He loved Baseball

2.He was a native New Yorker but since graduating from North Eastern, made a new life in Boston,MA.

3.He worked as a Junior Executive in Marketing.

Halfway through the story, I realized I mentioned very little about what his race was and what he looked like. I started to experiment on what race I would make him, what his sexual orientation would be, what features would he have. Days went by and in those days he was Asian, he was black, he was gay, I even painted him white in my head for a day. Want to know what i came up with? Kelly Rodriguez, a Brooklyn native of Puerto Rican descent. Nothing really else changed about the way I wrote him other than how he identified himself culturally, but the thing is I wrote the story first and in my second draft is when I painted his picture. When his culture came into play I was able to add some things that made him special, like the fact that he was bilingual and his love for New jack swing music but other than that it was very easy for me to write him Puerto Rican because I don’t see people in this culture any differently than I see myself. We all have relationship issues, we all have money issues and we all cry at the Lion King(well maybe not), but I guess the point I’m trying to make is that characters outside your norm are not Aliens. They’re people just like you!

We may have different accents, or speak different languages or look different on the outside but our everyday experiences are what makes us the same. Next time you decide that maybe, just maybe you want to write a gay character(because gays fall in love too)or a Latino character or a disabled character; take this ounce of advice first: Write a story that you’re passionate about. Write the story that makes you want to not procrastinate and finish already. Write the story that rings true to you. And please don’t ever let the race of your character dictate what they will experience and how they will behave because you’re the writer of the story, only you can dictate how your character will behave and what they will experience. To follow old rules is falling into the trap of old times and from here on out readers want to read modern stories!

In short, just write a story. If, when you’re finished with the story you find it so universally appealing that the race, sexual orientation, religion or mental state could be added later on when you’re going through your second draft(because no one’s first draft is the final draft)then you may just be on the right track!

Helpful Links:

FIVE WRONG-HEADED REASONS FOR NOT WRITING DIVERSE CHARACTERS IN SCIENCE FICTION

DEGREES OF DIFFICULTY: WRITING THE OTHER

WRITING THE OTHER

photo credit: Daniel*1977 via photopin cc

Showing my support digital artists!

Published July 13, 2013 by G.L.

Recently, Libertad and I have been working on interesting ways to promote our future project!

Due to the editing process being a taxing process ;p , we’ve put up the money to create companion books for our “Sterling Wayfairer Series.” It is a Young Adult time travel fantasy based novel, although it crosses a few genres, such as science fiction.

Since it creates a lot of multiculturalism as far as race(I haven’t crossed much as far as sexuality, but it has a lot of characters of different races, and incorporates spirituality) and because for so many the default with most books are Caucasian characters, we have been working with two digital arts to create the characters and landscapes of our series, as well as our future work. We figured a promotional gift companion book would take out the mystery behind the main characters races. And with the extensive world building, we were interested in making it come to life with our own eyes. It’s been an interesting and fun process!

Alice Bessoni- Originally from Brazil does our character art. She has very reasonable rates and can be found at:

http://alicebessoni.daportfolio.com

In fact our characters can be found on her “Character Art” page.Labeled as “The Mark of Noba.”

Our Landscape art is done by:

Jose Borges-Originally from Puerto Rico, he is based in the United States. He is very detailed, and captures landscapes beautifully! He is also studying abroad, and has a kickstarter that I thought would be great to promote =D

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1887115899/portraying-traditional-and-contemporary-japan-thro

Our landscape of Noba is the second picture on the kick starter project. But he can also be found at:

http://www.jcborgesdesign.daportfolio.com

Im just curious to know, have any other new authors ever considered companion books? Would any readers enjoy the idea of self published authors releasing companion books to promote their work?

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