poc in fantasy

Ya know when people complain that they can’t put POC in a fantasy setting because it wouldn’t be “accurate to the times” (nevermind there exists dragons and elves in their world but that’s none of my business)

Fantasy settings don’t always have to be fucking, dirty ass medieval Europe there are so many other continents and countries you can set your world in and respectfully if you do the right amount of research.

But more dark skinned men and women in high fantasy. Let them be portrayed majestically.  Like I’m tired of these white elves, mages, witches, etc., dominating the fantasy world.

I think this gives our society a very “white-washed” version of fantasy, when fantasy is just as multi-cultural as the world itself.

Like modern media doesn’t do us the justice we deserve and I’m downright tired of it. please, more people of color in fantasy! 

2

Young Adult Books with Black Protagonists

Akata Witch/What Sunny Saw in the Flames Series by Nnedi Okorafor

Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

Writing With Color – Featured Research Guides

Although WWC shares resources when we can and bring some to the table ourselves, we don’t exist to seek outside sources for one’s writing; this is ultimately the writer’s job. Even so, we’re more than happy to offer guidance on the What, Where and How of doing research for your inclusive writing. 

Take a look at some of the research help & resources complied below:

Research

Research Sources

WWC Tags and Help

General Research

Cultural and Religious Research 

Historical Research

Fantasy Sci-Fi & Research

Name Research/Resources

Resources

Cultural and Religious Resources

WWC Naming Resources/Guides

–WWC

3

Young Adult Books with Black Protagonists 

Shadowshaper Series by Daniel Jose Older

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

The books have been optioned by Anika Noni Rose who also narrated the 1st audiobook.

the-spockicorn  asked:

Hi, I’ve been considering starting a book in the fantasy genre. I really wanted to give some Native American representation in it, since it's something that I rarely see. However, this story wouldn't take place in America, it would be in a completely different world (though one loosely based off of earth in the 14 hundreds ish?) This is similar to your mixing cultures post, but I wanted to know: is there a good way to give Native American representation in stories that aren’t historical fiction?

Representing PoC in Fantasy When Their Country/Continent Doesn’t Exist

The core of this question is something we’ve gotten across a few different ethnicities, and it basically boils down to: “how can I let my readers know these people are from a certain place without calling them by this certain place?” Aka, how can I let people know somebody is Chinese if I can’t call them Chinese, or, in your case, some Native American nation without having a North America.

Notes on Language

As I have said multiple times, there is no such thing as “Native American culture”. It’s an umbrella term. Even if you are doing fantasy you need to pick a nation and/or confederacy.

Step One

How do you code somebody as European?

This sounds like a very silly question, but consider it seriously.

How do you?

They probably live in huts or castles; there are lords and kings and knights; they eat stew and bread and drumsticks; they celebrate the winter solstice as a major holiday/new year; women wear dresses while men wear pants; there are pubs and farms and lots of wheat; the weather is snowy in winter and warm in summer.

Now swap all those components out for whatever people you’re thinking about.

Iroquois? They live in longhouses; there is a confederacy and democracy and lots of warriors from multiple nations; they eat corn, beans, and squash (those three considered sacred and grown together), with fish and wild game; they wear mostly leather garments with furs in winter; there are nights by the fire and cities and the rituals will change by the nation (remember the Iroquois were a confederacy made up of five or six tribes, depending on period); the weather is again snowy in winter and warm in summer.

Chinese? They harvest rice; there is an emperor appointed by the gods and scholars everywhere; they use a lunar calendar and have a New Year in spring; their trade ships are huge and their resources are plenty; they live in wood structures with paper walls or mud brick; they use jade and ivory for talismans; their culture is hugely varied depending on the province; their weather is mostly tropical, with monsoons instead of snow on lowlands, but their mountains do get chilly.

You get the gist.

Break down what it is that makes a world read as European (let’s be honest, usually English and Germanic) to you, then swap out the parts with the appropriate places in another culture.

Step Two

Research, research, research. Google is your friend. Ask it the questions for “what did the Cree eat” and “how did Ottoman government work.” These are your basics. This is what you’ll use to figure out the building blocks of culture.

You’ll also want to research their climate. As I say in How To Blend Cultures, culture comes from climate. If you don’t have the climate, animals, plants, and weather down, it’ll ring false.

You can see more at So You Want To Save The World From Bad Representation.

Step Three

Start to build the humans and how they interact with others. How are the trade relations? What are the internal attitudes about the culture— how do they see outsiders? How do outsiders see them? Are there power imbalances? How about greed and desire to take over?

This is where you need to do even more research on how different groups interacted with others. Native American stories are oftentimes painful to read, and I would strongly suggest to not take a colonizer route for a fantasy novel.

This does, however, mean you might not be researching how Natives saw Europeans— you’ll be researching how they saw neighbours. 

You’ll also want to look up the social rules to get a sense for how they interacted with each other, just for character building purposes.

Step Four

Sensitivity readers everywhere! You’ll really want to get somebody from the nation to read over the story to make sure you’ve gotten things right— it’s probably preferable to get somebody when you’re still in the concept stage, because a lot of glaring errors can be missed and it’s best to catch them before you start writing them.

Making mistakes is 100% not a huge moral failing. Researching cultures without much information on them is hard. So long as you understand the corrections aren’t a reflection on your character, just chalk them up to ignorance (how often do most writers get basic medical, weapon, or animal knowledge wrong? Extremely often). 

Step Five

This is where you really get into the meat of creating people. You’ve built their culture and environment into your worldbuilding, so now you have the tools you need to create characters who feel like part of the culture.

You’ll really want to keep in mind that every culture has a variety of people. While your research will say people roughly behave in a certain way, people are people and break cultural rules all the time. Their background will influence what rules they break and how they relate to the world, but there will be no one person who follows every cultural rule down to the letter. 

Step Six

Write!

Step Seven

More sensitivity readers! See step 4 for notes.

Step Eight

Rewrite— and trust me, you will need to. Writing is rewriting.

Repeat steps seven and eight until story is done.

Extra Notes

I’ll be honest— you’re probably going to need a certain amount of either goodwill (if you’re lucky enough to make friends within the group you’re trying to represent— but seriously, please do not make friends with us for the sole purpose of using us as sensitivity readers. It’s not nice) and/or money to get to publishing level. 

The good part is the first three steps are free, and these first three steps are what will allow you to hurt others less when you approach. While you’ll still likely make mistakes, you’ll make a few less (and hopefully no glaring ones, but it can/does happen) so long as you do your due diligence in making sure you at least try to understand the basics.

And once you feel like you’ve understood the basics… dive down even deeper because chances are you’re about to reach a tipping point for realizing how little you know.

People will always find you did something wrong. You will never get culture 100% accurate— not even people who were born and raised in it will, because as I said in step five: cultures have a huge variety of people in them, so everyone will interact with it differently. But you can work your hardest to capture one experience, make it as accurate as possible, and learn more for next time.

~ Mod Lesya 

3

PARANORMAL ROMANCE WITH BLACK HEROINES

Earthsinger Chronicles by L. Penelope

Young Adult Fantasy Romance.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. She is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive—an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines nearly cost him his life but leaves him convinced that the magical barrier between Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall. He is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to protect Elsira and its people from the wrath of the True Father, and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They embark on a perilous journey to save their land and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. But Jack has secrets of his own, and as an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

2

Young Adult Books with Black Protagonists

Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor

In the northern Ooni Kingdom, fear of the unknown runs deep, and children born dada are rumored to have special powers. Thirteen-year-old Zahrah Tsami feels like a normal girl – she grows her own flora computer, has mirrors sewn onto her clothes, and stays clear of the Forbidden Greeny Jungle. But unlike other kids in the village of Kirki, Zahrah was born with the telling dadalocks. Only her best friend, Dari, isn’t afraid of her, even when something unusual begins happening – something that definitely makes Zahrah different. The two friends investigate, edging closer and closer to danger. When Dari’s life is threatened. Zahrah must face her worst fears alone, including the very thing that makes her different.

The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor

In West Africa in 2070, after fifteen-year-old “shadow speaker” Ejii witnesses her father’s beheading, she embarks on a dangerous journey across the Sahara to find Jaa, her father’s killer, and upon finding her, she also discovers a greater purpose to her life and to the mystical powers she possesses.

Both novels are part of the shared Ginen Universe a mythical Africa where many of Okorafor’s books like Akata Witch and Who Fears Death take place or make mention of.

You know what’s a shame?

When your favorite VOD streaming service cancels  one of their most diverse Shows right at the beginning of Pride Month!

I mean srsly…..

When was the last time I saw a Show that wasn’t either dominated by white folks or kinda exclusive to POC? Instead Sense8 has a mix of 8 wonderfully different main characters, such as…

Will Gorski:

The cop from Chicago, the loyal friend, the lover; a man confident enough to trust the woman by his side with his whole conscious & unconscius being to save him. 

Riley Blue:

The DJane from Iceland, the mother, the lonely spirit; the woman who would walk trough hell and back to save the ones she loves.

Capheus Onyango:

The Matatu driver from Nairobi, the optimist, the one who won’t let himself be defined by poor or rich but just his courage to make a difference. 

Sun Bak:

The Warrioress from Korea, the unbent, betrayed by those closest to her but not even prison could break her. Now she’s on her way for justice.

Lito Rodriguez:

The closeted telenovela star from Mexico, the passionate dreamer, along his career he learnt to be the hero of his own destiny. Can he make it big beyond the borders of his homeland?

Kala Dandekar:

The Pharmacist from India; the believer, once she learnt that traditions are not necessarily the safest option she finds the courage to fight for her happiness.

Wolfgang Bogdanow:

The safecracker from Germany, raised by a brutal and bullying father he found family much closer then bound by blood and even love where he least expected it.

Nomi Marks:

The transgender hacktivist from San Francisco, rejected by her family who refuse to accept her new Identity as Nomi, she made herself a name by blogging about political issues. Her fiancee Amanita a beautiful WOC with 3 father figures have her back in all this.

Now imagine these 8 completely different characters living their individual life finding out that they’re mentally connected with one another. Called a cluster  they explore step by step each others world by visiting one another. Visiting means they can only use the regular given senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting etc from the person they visit. Another ability is sharing. Sharing means they can use each others skills  regardless of their own but this works only within the cluster.  So in short word that means Capheus can share his driving skills with Nomi who can’t drive as much as Lito can feel Sun Baks menstruation symptoms sometimes. Yes they have very a lot of funny and emotional moments together along they way. 

Originally posted by amanitacaplan

Other Characters:

Angelica Turing:

Better known as the mother she appears to be the one capable of giving birth to clusters by releasing/activating their connection to each other. When her last cluster awoke she commited suicide. She was in a relationship with Jonas which whom she released several clusters.

Jonas Maliki:

He shows up when Angelica’s last born cluster awoke to guide and teach them their abilities as sensates. He’s doing this mainly through Will Gorski. Jonas and Angelica were in a relationship and part of the same cluster. 

Dr. Whispers:

He’s the main antagonist of the Show goes by several aliases but best known as Whispers. Although as a sensate himself he’s part of an organisation that hunts down other sensates. He can only connect with a cluster by making direct eye contact. 

Amanita Caplan:

Amanita works in a bookstore, supports LGBT charities, she has a mother named Grace and three father figures because they never cared to find out who’s the biological one. They loved her all the same. She is Nomi’s fiancee.

Hernando Fuentes:

He’s an Art professor, loves to cook and is the lover of Lito. Despite his relationship with Lito needs to be kept a secret due the career of Lito he’s very supportive. Nontehelss he has strong beliefs of its own and is mostly the more grounded part in their relationship.

Daniela Velasquez:

She comes from a wealthy background, is an actress and Lito’s friend as well as his cover at events. Later she finds out about his secret and formes a close bond to both Lito and Hernando based on her fascination with gay men in general.

Felix Berner:

He’s Wolfgangs best friend since they were kids. Although he’s having the talent to getting himself in trouble and Wolfgang along with him hes fairly loyal and the only one who knows about Wolfie’s abusive childhood.

Despite this amazing concept of 8 fully developed individual characters forming a worldwide bond to defeat a greater enemy who’s after them for experiments and killing them in the process Netflix canceled this Show after only 2 Seasons. Sure filming in 8 differerent cities all over the globe is expensive but that makes the quality even better and so much more authentic. There is no need to kill off characters for the shock effect, no need to sideline anyone for the sake of one major pairing. They’re equals, they’re individuals, not dependent on each other but stronger together if it’s necessary.

If you don’t believe me go and watch it for yourself on Netflix if you have it!

Here’s a little preview:

FEEL FREE TO SHARE, ADD TAGS OR CORRECT THINGS! 

SHOW AWARNESS ~ #BRINGBACKSENSE8 ~ SIGN THE PETITION (x)

2

PARANORMAL ROMANCE WITH BLACK HEROINES

Angelborn Cycle/ The Eternal Flame Series by L. Penelope

He gave up eternity for love… and lost. Will she be his second chance?


Maia sees dead people. Since she can’t distinguish them from the living, she ignores everyone in order to appear sane. But the ghost haunting her roommate breaks through her hardened shell. Not only does he claim to not be dead, he makes her feel things she never has before—dangerous feelings for a man who can never be hers.

For an angelborn like Caleb, dying without a soul sentenced him to eternity in the Wasteland. Now he’s escaped, but the only way to stay free is by convincing his true love to share her soul with him. You only get one soulmate and his is not the broken, scarred young woman he can’t stay away from. With dangerous angels hunting him, Maia is a distraction he can’t afford.

After inadvertently leading a threat to Caleb’s door, Maia is willing to risk anything to keep him safe. Even if that means losing him forever.