Today I Learned…

…that chocolate is not okay.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I’m changing the skin colour of my character Alene from white to brown. I figured, she’d have skin the colour of chocolate. It’d be a nice way to describe it, right? Chocolate is, after all, awesome. Right?

Turns out it’s not as simple as that. To start with, I’d never really considered the implications of comparing someone to food. That in itself raises some interesting questions, but there’s more to it than that. Instead of going into details about it, I’ll just link the blog post I read about it.

Most of what I read there, I’d never thought of.

So, now that I read it, do I go and change my mind about how I’m going to describe Alene just because some random internet person I’ve never heard of says that some people might be offended? Yes – turns out I do.

Part of my goal with changing the colour of Alene’s skin is for me as a writer to have to deal with the issues that such a change brings with it. It’s meant to force me out of my comfort zone a little. Alene will be traveling throughout the world and she’ll visit places where the colour of her skin makes her stand out in a crowd. I want to try and portray that in as believable a way as possible and I want to try and do her justice as a brown skinned woman.

I don’t want Alene to play the role of a straight white guy who just happens to be described to the reader as a brown woman.

Speaking of which: I haven’t made up my mind about her sexual orientation yet. I haven’t even given it any serious thought until just now. There’s no particular reason she should swing one way or another. I haven’t planned any romance interests for her. She may or may not fall for Roy (who’s male), but I’m much more interested in having their relation grow into one of deep friendship and explore that, than having them romantically involved.

I’m also worried that making Alene a gay brown woman might be taking on too much at once. It might be a bit too far out of my comfort zone in one go. I’m sure I’ll get to a character like that at some point – just not now. I’ll take one step at a time.

Oh, also, chocolate is awesome – it’s just not soylent green.

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Today I Learned…

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