How to Write #DiverseBooks as a Writer with Privilege

You support the #weneeddiversebooks movement and the #ownvoices movement. You want to be an ally against injustice in our society. Congratulations!

But if you’re like me, then you’re cisgender, straight, and white, and you’re wondering:

  • How do I write in appreciation of others without appropriating from them?
  • If I write from other perspectives, am I amplifying those perspectives or drowning out #ownvoices writers?
  • In characterization and setting, where’s the line between stereotyping and authenticity?
  • How do I write characters of privilege who wrestle with their own privilege?
  • How do I avoid the pitfalls of savior complexes and proselytization?

Asking these questions is a great first step, and wanting to take action is a great second step. The third step, actual action, is the hardest. Perhaps we’re scared to take the *wrong* step, perhaps we don’t know which steps to take, perhaps we’re looking for permission or validation for the steps we’ve already taken. In this Wednesday series, I’ll suggest practical tips for writers with privilege (be it racial/ethnic, gendered, sexual, socioeconomic, religious, physical, or neurological) to employ concerning point-of-view, characterization, setting, and fantastical elements, as well as suggestions for writing the narrative of privilege. The series will run through early October.

To get ready for this work, let’s chat here or on Twitter. If you are a writer with privilege, what are your honest questions about writing diverse books? If you are nervous to post your questions publicly, contact me or DM me privately @jjbrinkmeyer.

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