Anonymous said: I was wondering if you had any advice to white authors for writing a main character of color. Its something that I've always wanted to do, because it honestly bothers me that so many stories are focused around white characters. But its not something I've ever been able to do for the fact that I don't want to whitewash a character. I want to write a Korean female and I want to do it as well as I can. Are there certain things I should avoid, and other things that should be paid attention to?
good question. I think the key to making a good character of color is just… regular old character building. which requires research & creativity.
like, “korean” — are we talking a korean who has always lived in korea? the children of korean immigrants to america? a third generation korean-australian? depending on the answer, your research topic will be different.
also ask yourself: why do i picture this character as a korean? does her korean-ness have something to do with the way i see her personality?
if so, really interrogate why this character is korean. is it because the character’s supposed to be meek & pretty, and it’s easy to see her as asian? if so, try to go deeper than that.
like i’ve written before, stereotypes are just bad writing, even if they’re not in a racialized context. like a nerdy character with glasses. or a hero who’s an orphan. boooooring.
doesn’t mean you can’t write a nerdy character with glasses or a hero who’s an orphan — or a korean girl who’s shy. just means you have to be extra creative and do your research to make this character complex.
if you really think your character through, then it will be next to impossible to write them as a stereotype.