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Willing to critique diversity manuscripts

Home / Forums / List of Forums / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Willing to critique diversity manuscripts

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #6722

    racheludin
    Participant

    Looking to give back to the community and I have an avid interest in especially helping those with diverse characters, whether they be QUILTBAG, PoC, Truly poor (rather than on their way to making it rich), disabled, have mental health issues, or non-dominant body image. Intersectional characters–YES! Preferably without the usual pitfalls (say PoC suddenly magically becomes white… O.o) Not the main point of the story, but leading their own stories and navigating their worlds in their own ways.

    I also have a thing for liking fantasy without the agricultural/industrial systems. I kinda prefer steampunk set in other countries outside of Europe, though I do like PoC historical stuff set in Europe too. And perhaps magic systems that aren’t based on animatism only. Cross genre is fine too.

    I also tend to like Soft Science Fiction, but I’m pretty open.

    I don’t usually like Paranormal Fiction, for really stupid personal reasons. I will take a parody version of it.

    I don’t hold the white straight cis farmer boy in mostly a fakey historically inaccurately white Europe that ends up going into Outer Space/becoming King in bad esteem–it’s just that I’ve read so many and there is such little diversity in the book world compared to the real world. And I tend to write it anyway…

    Just an aside, but when I’ve posted such requests on other forums, I’ve gotten, “Why do I have to write it?” “Isn’t it a fad?” I’m not really up for debating those things… and kinda wish it wasn’t in this thread. It’s just a request for a certain type of book/story I like to read and asking if you’ve already written it. So kindly asking it not go into debate mode… Thank you.

    #6744

    katje
    Participant

    Hello!
    Are you offering to do one directional critique, or do you have stuff that you would like critted as well?
    Either way, you sound like an interesting person – can we be friends?
    I might need QUILTBAG spelled out though. I’m guessing LGBTQ is in there,but what’s the rest? The ace spectrum?

    #6755

    racheludin
    Participant

    If the person features the diversity in the main characters, instead of token diversity best friend, and the story is really good without too many polemics and soap boxing on the diversity itself (i.e. diversity is just smack there and the characters deal with it in a day to day way rather than that’s the plot of the story…) then I’m definitely interested. I’m not fond of privileged people explaining diversity type of plots. (Such as the book has mentally healthy protagonist and then is trying to explain the injustices of mental health and the need for advocacy is irking to me.)

    For me to give a critique one way for the entire book, the thing special about the story has to be beyond it’s in a diversity setting. It has to handle the diversity well and thoughtfully and intersectionally. The story should be daring regardless of the diversity and not afraid to smack people across the face with something unique in its own right.

    I also write diversity myself–mostly about intersectional characters (Intersectional characters are rare)… because I am intersectional and it just occurs to me naturally. Characters tell me different sexualities, sexual orientations, races, etc and I often search for premises that will allow me to naturally drop it in. Sometimes I find an idea that has intersectionality in it… and it’s just a matter of me either looking for or adding diversity (in a natural way) Trading is nice, but I kinda would like people to read it who like the story rather than out of obligation to return a critique and half-do it.

    QUILTBAG is a wider umbrella term for the queer community as a whole. Some of the letters now stand for multiple things, so I may forget a few… (sorry)
    Questioning/Queer Undecided,(plus some gender terms) Intersex, Lesbian Trans Bisexual Asexual (spectrum)/Agender, etc Gay/Gender. Summarized, sexuality, gender and sexual orientation identities.

    BTW, I’m aching for Ace characters, especially intersectional ones that aren’t “magically” made ace and books that have more than one type of ace character. I have a book on docket writing an aro ace main character with a lot of other ace characters, but there are so few books out there with aces, especially bisexual serial monogamist aces, it’s really difficult. The lack of ace characters out there is heartbreaking… and most of the spectrum isn’t portrayed.

    #6756

    katje
    Participant

    That reminds me – I saw a post asking for ace a while ago. Was that you?
    I don’t know about other genres, but I read mostly romance and I think it’d be a hard sell because it’s inherently foreign to a lot of people, because a lot of the gratification in a lot of romance spirals around the lust/love axis (an argument could be made about it just being a shift from the demisexual framing in some stories to something more ace), and maybe also because it’d be hard to write any sort of sex involving the main characters without it feeling …squicky due to questions of dub-con, with the leaving out the issues circling back to item #2.
    It’d be turning at least half of the tropes on its head, now that I think about it.
    I have two characters who are on the spectrum. One of them is a jing, a leopard spirit who gained enough favor from the heavens through self-denial and self-refinement to gain longevity/human shape. The other is someone who turned to a monastery and became a monk to avoid being drawn into politics and being made to marry. Both in stories set in non-modern times.
    It’s something that’s been slipping into my stories, but I haven’t yet taken the plunge and really worked with it yet.

    #6757

    racheludin
    Participant

    Jing, if he is just abstaining from sex as a goal for something, then that’s not asexual. Asexual has two axes… one is the sex repulsion and the other is sexual attraction–the second of which has nothing to do with how much the person is willing to have sex. If he just hates sex, then he hates sex–no matter what forces are out there, he’ll hate sex even as a human. It shouldn’t be a “reward” if he’s truly asexual. Abstinence is not the same… From what I understand, a person can fall on either axis and still count as asexual, though the majority report the lack of sexual attraction compared to allosexual people who have sexual attraction without special conditions.

    I tend to write romance with demisexual set ups because I can’t really process the one-night-stand-insta-in-love bit. I think this would jive really well with Victorian and Historical romances. (Anne of Green Gables kisses the line between that… Emma was contemporary, but had a demisexual set up in places.) Most of the Best friends fall in love set ups auto fall into demisexual.

    There are other types of romances that one could pull too with asexual spec, like platonic and squishes, and cupioromantic. It might less likely have 2 seconds to sex rules, but romance can also be the fundamental core of falling in love itself. I kinda also like the idea of being able to examine different types of love in romance and asexual spec allows that. What is love? What is sexual attraction? How does it manifest differently? And if examining these things can’t be done in a romance environment, where would they be used?

    After all, most courtly love was about never having sex with the person. And a lot of courtly love came from the Islamic Empire…. Historically Dante’s work to Beatrice is courtly love. He never had her.

    There is also the aro spec too… you could have an aro spec character with an allosexual look on the world as well.

    There is also healthy sex drive in a romantic ace.

    The thing is that when people hear asexual, they auto assume aro asexual, strict, unipolar.

    But what about lithosexual complicating things? What about lithoromantic? Squishes? Having non-romantic crushes? There is a lot about love that doesn’t get explored in literature in favor of portraying sex as fast as possible, but then wouldn’t it be interesting to try? And couldn’t that lead to a natural without a rival type of split for the second-leading to the third act?

    #6758

    katje
    Participant

    He is jing because he has no interest in sex or the usual animal desires of …well, being a normal animal. He is simply not interested in either sex or being a carnivore or so such, and that led him on his road to becoming jing.

    I think it can be done – the question is more of whether or not current tropes support that in today’s perception of what is desirable in romance. It is not a judgement call either way, more of a wondering based on what I see. Even a lot of the “clean” romance has sexual attraction in it, just behind closed doors.

    Again, it’s something I find intriguing. I just think that the reason it’s so hard to find anything remotely connecting to it in mainstream romance is because it’s not a mindset most people tend to think of when they think romance. The plus side is that things will likely change as I’ve been seeing a lot more diversity in romance lately.

    #6759

    racheludin
    Participant

    I think asexual romance probably would work better under other genre subsets like YA, NA and other genres… but it would really float my boat to see it as part of romance proper too. I know at least one writer working on a cupioromantic storyline in a YA setting. Plus I think it would really work well for the poly community.

    A book on docket I have has fantasy and a natural need for asexual characters. I stumbled on it before I knew I was part of the spectrum and spent a lot of time doing it wrong. (I’m sure women, trans, PoC, disability, etc will slip in just because and I’ve been doing a little research into how to make it work out.)

    Main character is aro asexual, but kinda needs to be. I loosely am basing her culture on early northern Thailand (because I was eating Thai food and had some Thai connections… sue me–it’s going to be difficult, but fun.) Her friend is biromantic, black, allosexual, serial monogamist and asexual. (loosely based on Igbo.) There is also a character who is CIS male and Chinese-based (most likely Han).

    But I honestly have to finish the book I’m stuck on before I move onto another long project. I snuck in demisexual, kinda into it. One of the main characters says soemthing about needing to fall in love first before having sex, which the original legend semi-back up, but I thought why not. The narrating character is probably allosexual? Not sure because I don’t think she has much emotional connection to sex besides that she needs a son. 90 percent of the book gets finished before any sex scene. I have trouble with allosexual characters… so I often have to cheat it with a demisexual storyline.

    #6760

    katje
    Participant

    I’m not sure… but how is the friend both allosexual and asexual?

    I think it would be nice to have have something set in YA leading up to NA and then maybe into adulthood because god knows I’m tired of the usual YA and NA tropes of twu wuv and forever and triangles and sexual tension and black and white notions of love.

    #6765

    racheludin
    Participant

    Ah, editing error. The Chinese-based character is allosexual. The Black Igbo-based character is a bi-romantic serial monogamist ace.

    I tend to write out love triangles. It’s just not my taste. I think you can amp up the tension in plenty of other ways in love from inner conflicts, to conflicts with the lover, to conflicts outside of the relationship that don’t look like cheating.

    I would love to see the ace spectrum overall… just smack put in, just because. Is it bad that I don’t generally like Grey’s Anatomy–though I watch it because of the diversity, but keep hoping for an openly ace character? Shonda Rimes… pleeeeeaaaaseeee?

    #6767

    katje
    Participant

    Lately I tend to just ship all triangles as triads.
    I do not watch Grey’s Anatomy, so I don’t know if it’s bad or not. 😛

    #6770

    racheludin
    Participant

    Poly them up? Some aces accept Poly arrangements so there isn’t pressure to do sex, but they still get the romance. That hasn’t been explored in books as far as I know…

    #6772

    katje
    Participant

    Yep. It’s what I did with one of mine. The other is just going to be part of a household of weird. It’s my re-telling of The Seven Swans, in which two of the foster brothers are gay, two are ace, maybe three now that I think about it, but in massively different ways, and the last two are in a relationship with the princess.

    #6773

    racheludin
    Participant

    It would be a good opportunity to cover disability too. Also some people don’t know that Russia has PoCs in it. =P I actually had people object and argue that there would be no PoCs or other ethnic groups in Russia and how dare I say that Russia has PoCs because that’s impossible and they are super insulted. I didn’t even suggest they input PoCs, but posted the need for PoCs. They posted it was impossible with their story, then I pointed it out and then they got insulted that I would point out there are PoCs in Russia. lol

    Then what happened to Eastern Russia if there are no PoCs?

    Yeaaaahhh…

    Anyway, just a suggestions and maybe a nice middle finger to the idea that people with more melanin can’t travel by foot or boat outside of their country borders. Disability would be nice to cover too. (From the original tale.)

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