Nov. 3rd, 2009

Yesterday was a better writing day than I was expecting. I'd intended to spend it mostly on planning. In the end I solved two of the problems I was hoping to solve, and also wrote 1500 words. Which isn't very much, until you consider that I'd stalled on that bit for a year, and I really enjoyed writing them, and they didn't suck.

Today I wrote much less, because I was busy with other things (tattoo retouch; visiting National Maritime Museum; rehearsal), but I finished the chapter I was working on.

I've been thinking about Racefail and Nano. Avoiding Racefail is basically a matter of Not Being a Racist Arsehat, but given we live in a racist society, Not Being a Racist Arsehat is harder than it ought to be.[1] And I think there's a dilemma there, because Nano is about writing quickly and giving yourself permission to get things wrong. But I'm not convinced that white people have the right to give ourselves permission to get race wrong - either to exclude BME people from our writing because that's easier, or to resort to stereotypes, because that's the first thing that comes into our head.[2]

I don't think there's an easy solution to that. Maybe it doesn't matter too much if the first draft you don't show anyone is racist - but I'm uncomfortable with the idea that 'not being racist' is something you can add on at editing stage.

Under the cut there's some slightly incoherant rambling about a technique I used which uncovered a racist trope that might have been lurking in future chapters had I not noticed it at the planning stage. )


[1] Right now, I'm not interested in debating with people who want to reserve the adjective 'racist' for the Nick Griffins of this world. I hold the basic assumptions about racism in this post, and I currently writing for a readership which shares them.

[2] I hope it's obvious to all and sundry that I'm using "right" in a loose sense here. Obviously we have the legal right to write anything we want to, and that's how it should be. But I don't think of myself as having a 'right' to exercise my white privilege, though I know that I inevitably will.

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Catriona Mackay

November 2012

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