poc in fantasy fiction

Hey everyone! My name is J.M. Bates. I am a humble humanoid from Chicago, working in a pharmacy during the day and writing at night. I am also a contributor for Fuck Yeah Feminists!

I have finished my first novel after six years of researching, writing, editing, revising, and polishing it to perfection.

Brilliant Shadows is a feminist fantasy novel about a young lesbian of color named Nattie who acquires magical abilities from an ethereal being known as a Shadow. Nattie discovers a whole new world, finds love, fights for justice, and meets her favorite comic book heroine.

If you’re looking for a fantasy novel with diverse, complicated characters interacting in believable yet interesting ways, look no further. Check out the first chapter, free of charge: http://brilliantshadows.tumblr.com/post/116666560638/brilliant-shadows-introduction

let’s be honest. when you are reading a book that is describing a character, unless it explicitly says the color of the characters skin, what do you see?

I often imagine a white person and I find that to be sad. Why is white the default? why do authors have to add a “btw they are black” in their books but they never have to specify that a character is white.

Change the way you perceive fiction my friends. change the way you write. Minorities don’t have to be minorities in our fantasy worlds.

Truancy | Delinquent's Spice

DS is proud to announce a brand new venue for fiction based off one or more fairytale revision. Truancy, as the name suggests, allows for less conventional folk and fairytale retellings. Perhaps “retellings” is too specific a word. I want ambitious short fiction pieces, I want people to consider not just unusual folk or fairytales to retell. I want them to create their own fairytales.

This is guided by the same ethos as Delinquent’s Spice. I want stories from the planet that aren’t hegemonic or caught up with imperialism. I realise there’s a dearth of such venues and we need new venues for short stories that build off folklore and fairytale. The difference is that Truancy stories won’t be connected by prompts, and this allows me to give writers more freedom.

Here are the general guidelines:

1. Short fiction, between 2000-3500 words would be ideal but the hard limit is 4000 words. Payment is a flat rate of USD10 per story.
2. Prose poems, stream-of-consciousness and experimental prose are all welcome in this venue. It’s called Truancy for a reason, you know? Here you get to play.
3. There may occasionally be themed issues and guest editors in the future. When this happens, specific sets of guidelines will be released.
4. The emphasis remains on marginalised voices that are strong, bold, playful and experimental.
a.I want WoC/PoC/QUILTBAG writers. This is also a disability-friendly venue. I want lesser represented, non-Anglophone cultures. I will be happy with non-neurotypical/neurodiverse characters/writers. Non-binary writers are also most welcome.
b. Although the stories accepted in this venue should be primarily written in English, I also accept Englishes, and excerpts and dialogues in other languages, so long as the meaning is self-explanatory (this is important because we don’t want your story to be clogged up with an overload of exposition. That will obscure the story AND your voice).
c. I want stories that shine with dialect, with pidgin, with improvision, with beat, and meter. Let’s shake things up here, let’s be truant, let’s start a fairytale riot.Let’s get rid of that misconception that fairytales and folktales are for the twee, and that they’re no longer relevant. We need them for every age.
4. Do read the general guidelines for Delinquent Spice in regards to inclusiveness, diversity and appropriation. They apply to Truancy as well. This is very important. Do not give me stories that demonise any minority, displays racism, ableism, misogyny and stereotypes.
5. While I use the Aarne-Thompson-Uther (ATU) specifications for Volume One of Delinquent’s Spice, they are by no means the be-all and end-all for folk and fairytales (the systems-obsessed nerd in me does like the elegant simplicity of the categories, but that’s par for the course).
a. Therefore, do look deeper into the treasures of your respective cultures to find these stories. They may exist in children’s books or in a different language. Urban legends are fine too.
b. Do let me know in your cover letter about the fairytale or tale-type you’re referencing. If there’s no available translation in English, just give me the gist of the story! If you’re making it up as you go along but messing around with fairytale/folktale tropes, do let me know as well.
6. Please read the general guidelines here for very essential requirements for both DS pubs. The submissions email address is there too with formatting instructions!

People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! Submission Call for Sci-fi work by POCs

Lightspeed is looking for science fiction short stories of up to 10,000 words, reflective of the issue’s theme, written by writers of colour. Note that there’s a POC Destroy Fantasy issue planned, so the editors of the science fiction issue are going to make some judgement calls about whether a story is science fiction (for some values of “science fiction”). Note also that we will not be asking writers who submit stories to tell us what makes them “people of colour.” We leave that up to your world experience, your conscience, your sense of community, and your sense of fair play. Deadline is February 19th.

Writing Characters of Color (Erasing White-Default Mentality)

I am a Person of Color. I clarify this to make it understood that I use the phrases I’m going to talk about in this post on a daily basis. I use them without thought to those who are around me understanding, and I use them because I’ve always used them. They are my default.

So what does that have to do with anything?

Let’s talk about explaining ethnic phrases in fiction. I was writing yesterday and I caught myself doing something that made me a little angry with myself. I caught myself trying to explain in my narrative what a few ethnic phrases meant.

Things like papi, mami, mamita, oye. And see what I did there? I caught myself doing that, too. Italicizing the words. Marking them out to the reader. These are in a different language. Note it.

You know why this made me upset with myself? Because this action was perpetuating what I speak against all the time. I promote diversity and inclusion. I want to see bookshelves across America reflect all of their citizens, to see readers pick up a book and say, “I connect with this individual because they are a fellow human being. Their life experiences are different from my own, but that holds true for all of humanity, and I still find value in their story because I, too, am human, and I sure as hell connect with that.”

By trying to explain these words, by italicizing them to highlight their “otherness,” I was perpetuating White-Default Mentality.

Let’s talk about White-Default Mentality. What is it? You see it all around you in fiction. It is what it sounds like. Too often, in the USA, White is the default. In books, in movies, in television, main characters are often White by default. If there are characters of Color, they are often “token” characters, completely stereotypical, and devoid of any meaningful characterization and character development.

And when it comes to books, I don’t even mean that the characters are actually White. Readers will often automatically assume that a new character, unless they are described differently, is White.

White is the default. Often. Not always, but often enough.

Often enough that when books turn to movies, people are actually surprised if a character is a different ethnicity. Sometimes they’re even angry, but that’s another discussion altogether, one that breaks my heart even more.

This brings me back to my writing dilemma. I was explaining words/phrases that I use every day, that people around me use every day—my defaults—because for some reason I didn’t consider my default to be THE default. It was “other.” Not the norm.

And that’s ridiculous.

You know why I don’t have to explain those words/phrases? Because people can gather from context. Even if context doesn’t make the definition clear, it will (if I’m doing my job as a writer correctly) make clear the meaning.

No one has to explain why some words have a “u” in them (colour, favour, etc…) or what “Oi!” means. People just accept, “Oh, that’s a British thing. And even though it’s not what I personally use, it doesn’t make this text less relatable to me because I accept that not every human being communicates in the same way. I can still make parallels to my own experiences because the context clarifies the meaning.”

So why do I have to sit there and explain what “Oye!” means? (Spoiler:  it’s the same sentiment as Oi!”)

No one has to explain “mum” or “pa” or “dad” or “mom” or “pops” so why do I have to explain “Mami” or “Papi?” Context will show the reader that those individuals are parental figures, so the reader should just assume, “That’s what this character calls her parent.” See what I mean? Even though I don’t lay out the definition (spoiler:  those words are just “mommy” and “daddy”), the reader can gather the meaning.

No one has to explain “darling” or “sweet heart” or “baby” or “honey” or “sweetie,” so why do I have to explain “mamita?” If character A only calls character B this word in tender moments, moments when one or both of them are emotionally vulnerable, or even just emotionally frank, the reader can gather that this is a term of endearment. They don’t need the definition (which wouldn’t have the same connotation translated anyway), but everyone knows how a term of endearment works, so they get the meaning.

This holds true for all words, really. If you think about it, what do you do when you come across a word you don’t understand? You try to gather it’s meaning from context clues. If that doesn’t work out, you look up its definition. Why should non-English words be treated any different? (See what I did there? Non-English words—not other words. We have to start accepting that all of humanity does not speak English and that is okay. Slightly different (though related) subject for a different time, however.)

So what’s my point here?

If we want to work together to make our fiction more diverse, we have to make these adjustments in our way of thinking. Writers of Color (Not just them, really. ANY writers writing characters of Color), stop explaining non-English words/phrases. Stop trying to teach the reader about ethnic habits, clothing, etc..  Stop discrediting your own life experiences. Stop making these things “other.”

White is not the default. Humanity is the default. That includes all ethnicities. And just like no one has to explain why a character is White, no one should have to explain why a character is not-White.

I look forward to the day when I don’t have to say that I am a Person of Color. But right now, we are so underrepresented that we have to announce our presence, so we are no longer invisible. When enough of us do so, and seeing a Person of Color in a book, or movie, or TV show is no longer an event, but just normal, completely ordinary, then our ultra-visibility will become another kind of invisibility, but a good kind of invisibility, born of equality instead of otherness.

Then I can be a Person.


The suggestions I make here for how to treat writing people of color aren’t rules. There will obviously be times when you have to explain things (this holds true even when writing characters who are not of Color). These are discussion-starters, meant to make you really think about what you’re writing and why you’re writing it that way. We need to think about how we’re presenting People of Color in fiction. Don’t contribute to White-Default Mentality.

Color is not “other.”

Your weekly reminder that we are currently open for submissions! Short stories!

Book Smugglers Publishing is currently open for submissions for short stories to be published between April and June of 2015.

We’re looking for original SPECULATIVE FICTION short stories from all around the world as long as they are written in English. Our goal is to publish at least three short stories, unified by a central theme. Each short story will be accompanied by one original piece of artwork from an artist commissioned by us separately.

For the publication period between April and June of 2015, the theme is:


It is important to note that even though the theme is FIRST CONTACT, the stories don’t necessarily need to be Science Fiction! You can work the theme into a Fantasy story! A horror story! Anything!

Sounds fun? Here is what we are looking for:

- Stories by people of colour and featuring people of colour: YES PLEASE.

- We welcome and encourage LGBTQIA submissions, please. PLEASE.

- We welcome and encourage newbie writers to submit. We’d love to get original stories written by fan fiction writers as well.

- YA and Middle Grade: YES PLEASE.

- Feminist stories: YES PLEASE.

- We pay pro-rates.

- We love aliens. Please send us aliens.

- But we also want other stuff: subversive, dark, light, fun, funny, ALL THE THINGS! Go wild!

- If you are curious about us, we have already published three stories: Hunting Monsters by S. L. Huang (which you can read for free here); In Her Head, In Her Eyes by Yukimi Ogawa (which you can read for free here); Mrs Yaga by Michal Wojcik (which you can read for free here) And check out the cover art we commissioned for our fourth story (upcoming, Tuesday 18 November) The Mussel Eater by Octavia Cade:

If you have any questions at all, contact us over at submissions@thebooksmugglers.com

Submissions are open now, and will be open through December 31 2014 11:59PM PST.

Who among you is writing an Original Story? I know we got a lot of fanfic writers here ( and i love fanfic and the writers) but for academic purposes I’m curious to know who is working on an original work of writing? Especially if it involves POC characters or queer chracters or female chracters who break the cliche mold of female chracters in all the books being terrible. I want to read your stuff, people.

Support Silvia Moreno-Garcia creating Stories

I’m a writer, editor and publisher of speculative fiction, which means anything from magic realism to horror. My debut collection This Strange Way of Dying came out last year and I have a novel, Signal to Noise, coming out next year from Solaris. While I have no problems with “traditional” publishing I’m always interested in exploring new ways of creating stories, hence I’m here!

I’m interested in using patreon to fund some of my flash fic, experimental stories and exploratory writing. Flash fiction can be a hard sell and exploratory writing is…um…exploratory. So what you’d get by funding me would be a bunch of weirdness. Since I blog, too, this might also include reviews and articles on pop culture and science (I’m completing my Master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies). A potpourri of weirdness, basically! 

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Mexican-Canadian author who also runs Innsmouth Free Press! Taking Lovecraftian mythos from the old dead racist hands! You should all read her! 

King of Claws, Part Three

Summary: The crown prince returns home from university only to learn that his closest friend may now be Wakanda’s greatest betrayer. With his friend’s sights set on Wakanda’s throne and Kidade’s life hanging in the balance, to what lengths will T’Challa go to protect crown and country? Keep reading to find out.

This is a fic series. Read Part 1 & Part 2 here! Part 4 coming soon!

Rated: Teen 

Author’s note: Buckle up for this emotional roller coaster.

[Image: Chadwick Boseman as Prince T’Challa of Wakanda, dressed in Black clothing, listens solemnly to a Black female doctor who wears a lab coat. Her hair is tied back in neat dread locs she bares a sad facial expression. Text across the image says King of Claws, A story, Part three, in bold red lettering. The background is out of focus and stylized with scratch marks.]

On the other side of the opening, the sky is grey and full of dense smoke. Other campus buildings have caught fire, and people pour out of them in a confused droves. The prince and his Dora Milaje scan the crowd for a pathway through.

Strangely, the crowd gives them room, clearing a path as they run forward. The gathering horde notices the Black Panther’s mask on Kidade’s face. They see T’Challa’s panther uniform, see Okoye dressed as the Dora Milaje. If it hasn’t already, word of their presence here will definitely get out.

“The Black Panther of Wakanda was caught in the bombing at the University!”

“He rescued someone…”

“The Dora Milaje were with him!”

“Wait, did he bomb the school?”

“Why was he there?”

“Why did he only save one person…?”

The publicity will be a headache. A headache T’Challa can worry about later. Right now, they need to get back to the chopper.

Keep reading

LADY OF KHANEYA | Character [3/10] | The Phoenix Princess

The Phoenix’s gaze swept over the assembled. “It will be my honor to match wits and skill with such brilliant candidates. My only hope is to acquit myself well, and bring pride to the heart of my beloved mother.” She smiled at Queen Zhané, showing a perfect set of white teeth.