What Kind of Writer Are You?

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So, there has been a great discussion sparked by a post that I reblogged from Ja’da of quizoticmuses.  I highly recommend checking out her blog and she has a book that you can purchase on Amazon here (which I just purchased on Kindle 🙂 ).

So, I am going to copy my two comments, and expand on each one, because I think I was on to something good, but stopped before I got too winded lol.

I feel like there are many times when African American authors are put in the urban fiction category, even when their work is not necessarily considered urban.  I think people hear urban and link it directly to “Black” or “African American”.  I don’t agree with this, because I don’t feel like I am an urban fiction writer.  I am a fiction writer.

I also feel that a lot of people read novels, and they place their perception on the characters.  For example, I can be talking about an average american couple, but in your mind, you are already going to decide whether those characters are going to Black, White, Asian, Latino, etc. I also feel that just because I am Black, doesn’t mean my characters will always be Black.  I feel like little things like those, come with the territory of being labeled “urban”.

Today, I read the post in response to Ja’da’s post by Pearls Before Swine, which offered AMAZING perspective as well.

Her post went into more of a detailed discussion on writing style, which has a lot to do with how your work is portrayed as well.  Another aspect of that is reminding yourself that how you write, has a lot to do with what you read.  I will admit that my first taste in “urban” or “erotic” fiction came in middle school when I read “Flyy Girl” and “The Coldest Winter Ever”.  After that, I dove head first into Zane novels.  So as you can see, I was heavily involved in African American authors, and catering to more of the urban, erotic and street aspects of fiction.  It was not until I got older than I started to read what I feel is more general fiction (Eric J. Dickey-my fav) and what I consider mystery (Walter Mosley-my other favorite).

Both posts really resonated with me, because as I prepare to publish my first novel, I begin to wonder what type of audience will I attract; or how people will portray my work.  Will they see me as a fiction writer, or more of an “urban” fiction writer?  I didn’t write my novel with the intention of being categorized as urban; however, I understand my characters and the plot in my story could possibly suggest that it could fall in the urban genre.

I thoroughly enjoyed both posts, and they have definitely made me think of what type of writer I want to be and how I want my writing to be portrayed and represented.

So, I would like to hear from you; What Kind of Writer are You??

6 thoughts on “What Kind of Writer Are You?

  1. Yecheilyah – I write Black Historical Fiction, Poetry, and Inspirational Non-Fiction for the Freedom of all People. Visit me on the web at yecheilyahysrayl.com/
    Yecheilyah says:

    Excellent response Whitney and thanks for the mention. I love the topic / question”What kind of writer are you?” because ultimatlely how you see yourself is what really counts.

  2. 4everQuixotic – I know you've heard this before but there are people in my head. A few of them are good and then there are the bad ones too. Together we muse quite often on the absurdities of life. This is our minutes of meetings.
    4everQuixotic says:

    This was my first “I have arrived!” moment & I thank you so much, Whitney. This might sound crazy but I feel so honored to have been mentioned on a fellow writer’s blog. I do hope you enjoy my book! Also, I think “Flyy Girl” and “The Coldest Winter Ever” were two books on everyone’s starter list. My nose was wide open! You and I practically mirror in our reading timelines. Because after them came Zane, E. Lynn Harris, Eric Jerome Dickey – I can really go on.

    What sparked this thought process for me was a conversation I had with my friend about what her coworker said to her about the preview of my upcoming novel “Hotter than 6°.” She was afraid that it would be “too urban” but the “polyamorous spin” made it different. I was stunned but that’s when I realized that having Black characters is what makes a book urban. But that’s not what I want. I just want the book to be an excellent read.

    In my first anthology, there are a lot of musical references whereas going forward I have tried not to use so many. Then I question that decision because removing the music makes my writing less authentic for me. I often use music to set the tone but in light of what I’ve been learning, I am trying to find other ways to do so.

    I think at the end of the day writing about Amy and her tryst with a drug lord will make a novel gritty whereas writing about Keyshawna and her love affair with anyone would make a novel urban. So then the question is “are my names ambiguous enough?” “am I selling out or am I thinking outside the box about my characters and their descriptions?”

    It’s just tew much!

  3. Janice Wald – Santa Clarita, CA – By night, I am a happy blogger, wife, mother of three daughters, and a dog owner. By day, I am a teacher. Ancient and medieval world history are my passions, and I have taught both at the middle school level. It's my dream to one day teach education at the college level so I can empower other teachers. Toward that pursuit I recently completed my Masters Degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. My Email is Broadwaymusicalfan which speaks volumes about my other passion, musical theater. I have acted in community plays three times and would relish the chance to do more acting, even on a professional level. I might even have the chance to act in my own movie since I am currently collaborating on a screenplay! After Tweeting for years and collecting thousands of followers, I look forward to a more in-depth analytical exchange of ideas about a wide variety of blogging-related topics.
    Janice Wald says:

    Hi Whitney,
    That was nice you promoted Ja’da. I hope to be a published author with a book on Amazon kindle one day.
    I meant you on Jason Cushman’s site. Maybe you can check out my blog, especially if you could use a blogging tip or two. That’s what I blog about. Like Jason, I have regular networking opportunities.
    Janice

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