Oct. 8th, 2009


Oct. 8th, 2009 03:30 pm
ilthit: (writing)
[personal profile] ilthit
Stories need to be to the point and include nothing extra, say the experts.

I agree in most cases, though I'll also not budge in my opinion that every arguably boring scenery/walking passage in Lord of the Ring was pure gold, but then I'm a nerd. This is a very specific question though.

Mentioning a character's race: necessarily significant and generally insignificant, or not?

The argument being that if race is mentioned, it must be relevant later on, and that unless it has an effect on the plot you do not need to know the race of any particular character.

My counter-argument being that the race of the main characters are significant in the same way their gender or age or ability status are important, because it colours their experiences of the world and change the way the people in their world view them. Even if it doesn't change anything in the story, it adds its own nuance. I think it IS significant, for that reason and also because the assumed default race is so often white; leaving out the characters' race works out a lot of the time as if you're writing all-white casts, even when you're not.

This was probably covered somewhere during RaceFail '09, but I'd like to know what you think.

Edit: This post on The Magic District is relevant to this conversation!


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