The question of race when it comes to writing came to me one day after editing my second novel in my Deamhan series. I’ve never given it any thought. For me, race isn’t an important detail for my characters. However, I believe it should be. Thinking about it now, I haven’t really defined what race some of my characters are. I keep a folder for each character containing information from history, background ect. Looking through my character profile sheets I realized that I left the race information blank. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to deal with “how many *insert race here* characters should I have in this novel?” Don’t get me wrong. I believe the race of a character is important, when the author has to describe it and give it attention. What I mean is, how often do you, as a reader, think about the race of the character you’re reading about? I don’t and I don’t assume either. With that said, I do know the race of some of my characters in Deamhan. Hallie, the Metusba Deamhan, is black. Remy, the Lugat Deamhan, is white. Alexis the vampire, for example, is black. I know this because of her history with Lambert, her sire, and the date she was sired. I based her race around that, not the other way around. As for Veronica, the main character, and Anastasia, my favorite character. Veronica is white and Anastasia . . . well . . . she has dark hair and she was born in Europe. That would make her white. I prefer to let me reader decide. If it happens that I have to dive a little deeper into the background of my character and the issue of race needs to be resolved, then I’ll resolve it at that moment. So the question is, do I decide race first or do I wait after I’ve created the history for my characters? It’s easier to decide race later because I’m more interested in the history of my characters than what they look like, although I understand how important it is for a reader to absorb as much information as possible to understand the story. If a character was born in American, came from a rough background- that pretty much describes any race, right? As a reader, writer, or both do you think the race of a character is just as important as the background of a character?
Showing vs Telling In high school I read a lot of Stephen King novels. The one that comes to mind is The Stand. The version I read was the complete and uncut version, over 1000 pages. I found myself skipping through some of the reading, wondering what it had to do with the storyline. Even though I questioned, I continued reading because I loved the description. Stephen King wrote enough description to make me understand but not too much to hold my hand like a baby through the novel. Showing versus telling has always been a huge topic for writers (a pain in the ass for me.) From High School to College, English teachers have told me that you need to show more in your pieces of fiction than tell more. I worked on it and now, after all that time, I’ve seen a huge change in my writing. Throughout the ten years I’ve been working on my novel Deamhan, several beta readers told me that it’s too descriptive. I’ve also been told I need more description. I’ve always taken their advice, adding stuff here and taking stuff out there until the novel slowly developed into something I didn’t recognize. I started to feel that my novel wasn’t my own. I had a younger adult, 23 years of age, read my novel. He told me I had too much description, not enough action. I started to pay closer attention and it suddenly came to me . Younger readers want more action while older readers want more description. So what to do? My novel is marketed toward 18-30 year olds (hard market, I know) so should I pay attention to the beta readers in that age bracket? I personally love a mixture of both. Some novels I just want action and some novels I want more description. So how can you tell if you’re writing needs more or less description? I decided last year after a publishing company wanted me to revise then later rejected my novel that I like my novel as is. I’m not saying that when it gets accepted, I won’t change it. Oh no. I will. But right now, I like my novel as is. There comes a point when you have to just take a deep breath and believe that your novel is right for publication. Some say you can never edit your novel enough. I disagree. You can edit your novel enough, perhaps too much. When you as the writer start don’t understand what’s happening in your novel or you question your edits after the millionth edit, you’ve gone too far.