I ran afoul of an author(?) tonight on Twitter who is part of a minor clique of shrieking harpies who seem dead set on making authors miserable. In nearly every instance, they haven’t done well with their writing. Instead of working on improving their craft, they seek excuses to blame others for their shortcomings.
Part of their schtick is to bully authors into pulling their stories or massively changing them on the grounds of “diversity/sensistivity” or some other nonsense. The one that really boils my writer’s blood is the claim that unless you are the same race/gender/sexual orientation/whatever as your main characters then you have no right to write a story with them in it.
If you will pardon my French: What a load of horseshit!!!!
What amazing classics we would have been denied if this wrong way of thinking had been the norm throughout literary history. Was Shelly a mad scientist or a creature constructed from body parts of the dead? No, she was not. Does this disqualify Frankenstein as a classic that should be pulled from the shelves? Of course not.
Hemmingway was not a Cuban fisherman. Should we remove The Old Man and the Sea from the lists of great works? Of course not.
It has always been my position that all authors should be allowed to tell their story, their way. If they have done their job researching their story, it will show and the story will be well accepted by readers.
Every author should be free of the bullying from these small-minded troglodytes that cannot accept that you don’t have to be a person of color, the same gender or sexual orientation as your MCs. Nor are you required to have lived every minute of the life your MCs live in order to write well about them. Good writers can write excellent stories about incredible characters of any kind. Bad writers can only whine about those that can do what they themselves cannot accomplish.
Do NOT let these negative people shame you, nor demand that you filter your story through “sensitivity readers” or even demand that you pull your book from publication. They have NO right to silence you. They do NOT represent the majority of readers that are seeking the kind of story you’ve written.
The greatest crime is when even a single author’s voice has been shamed into silence. Write your story. Share it with the world. Do NOT give a second thought to these shrieking harpies who only want you to be as miserable as they are so they can feel better about themselves.