Ready for your final Thursday Quick-Write of the summer? Our guest author today is the brilliant Alicia Williams, whose debut novel comes out in the fall. Alicia is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFAC program. Her debut middle grade novel will be GENESIS RISING, with Atheneum/S&S. She started her storytelling as a folk storyteller and captivates audiences young and old with the Breh Rabbit and Breh Fox tales. She also writes and performs one-woman historical plays, featuring the likes of Sojourner Truth, Margaret Garner (slave that Toni Morrison based BELOVED on), Mamie Till (Emmit Till’s mother), to name a few. Alicia is also a Master Teaching Artist, combining her love of storytelling and acting, to teach writing based on an arts-integration pedagogy.
Since I’ve given several lectures on writing the other, and stress the importance and urgency of getting it right (for those who do venture off into that area), my prompt is in that area:
Write a scene where a character walks into a setting (ex. restaurant, church, school), creating instant discomfort and tension, due to their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or race.
Note from Kate: Adding to Alicia’s notes about “getting it right” when writing characters whose backgrounds differ from ours, I want to share a couple great resources you may want to check out. This Buzzfeed piece from author Daniel José Older is an excellent starting point if you haven’t thought much about how to write characters whose cultural backgrounds you don’t share, when to make that choice, and when and why it may be best to leave that story for someone else. Another great resource- this list of sensitivity readers from Justina Ireland. You can read all about what sensitivity readers are (and aren’t) here.
As always, feel free to continue the conversation in the comments!