Voice of The Other

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Anatomy of Perceval Blog

Credit: SkyLightRain.com Credit: SkyLightRain.com

As a writer, I explore the human condition and human behavior. People fascinate me. As I create a character, I ask myself a lot of questions — in fact, I have a list of questions that I go through several times until I feel in my bones that I’ve gotten a character right.  Each character tells me who he or she is, history, desires, goals, friends and family. I listen and write.  There are times when I feel as if I’m channeling a character.  I believe this is how it should be when writing fiction.

Last week at nytimes.com, I read interesting commentary in their “Bookends” feature from Anna Holmes and James Parker entitled “Who Gets to Tell Other People’s Stories?”  When a writer creates a character outside the writer’s own race, gender, sexual orientation, income, and heritage, is the writer operating with empathy or…

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2 thoughts on “Voice of The Other

    Yvonne Hertzberger said:
    May 30, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    This is the comment I left there: I agree that “it’s also important for each writer to know himself enough to know and understand his prejudices and guard against them or purge them” but this is often (always?) a tall order. As a white, educated, western, heterosexual I believe it is not my place to attempt to portray, for instance, a black, poor, non-western, lesbian woman as a main character. No matter how empathetic I may be I admit that I will never get that voice right. To try to do so, is, in feminist studies, termed “appropriation of voice”. The same goes for any “other” whose world experiences are very different form our own. I believe we may possibly be able to pull it off with a minor character, one we do not need to know intimately. To attempt to go further invites outrage – rightfully so.


    ccyager said:
    May 31, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for the re-blog, Charles!


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