There’s a lot in a name, really

One of the things that stuck out at me the most, from reading my writing from 2012 are the names. They are from a hodgepodge of different languages, all put together in one fantasy place, where looking back on it, I assume that everyone is supposed to be  the same ethnicity, thus probably going to speak the same language–so why should one be named Pieter and one be named Haruka? It’s quite possible that even though the characters live in the same geographical region, they still are from different racial backgrounds.

I don’t think race was something I ever thought about as a child. When I embarked on the journey of writing my first novel
(which involved more planning for a multi-series empire than very much actual writing) I had nine white characters and one vaguely brown-ish character. They were all the same in personality, and the only thing unique about them was their hair color, eye color, and what sport they played. And that was for the girls. For the boys, three of them were brothers, so they already looked similar. And I tried to name all three brothers basically the same thing: Tyden, Tyrone, and Tyson. And it gets worse. The brown boy? He was the brothers’ neighbor, and so close to them, that they all considered each other brothers. Their mothers were practically sisters, so it was like the boys were cousins. The neighbor boy was named Tyzhek.  No matter what, I had a lot of fun writing and planning that story and it was a huge part of my childhood. I would go so far as to say that it shaped me–at least some part of me.

Now, I’m a little better at names–if only slightly better. My most recent story juxtaposes class differences (though that is far from the intended main focus). The characters are Amelia Elizabeth Chance and Gus. And race matters more to me now, though as I am typing this I still have yet to write a story with protagonist of color.

As I dig through my before 2015 files of stories that I started as a child, I hope to find more stories to re-vamp and quite possibly add more true diversity to the cast of characters. I am still learning to write characters who aren’t myself. My go-to cheat for that is to write from a boy’s perspective–but I can’t cheat like that for the rest of my life. I have to actually learn. But I will. I will figure it out.

For now, I will continue to write from a white male perspective, and not help to further diversity in representation in print media at all.

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