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Sunday, February 10, 2013

African American . . no wait, Caucasian American . . . no wait

The question of race when it comes to writing came to me one day after editing my second novel in my Deamhan series.

I've never given it any thought. For me, race isn't an important detail for my characters. However, I believe it should be.
Thinking about it now, I haven't really defined what race some of my characters are.

I keep a folder for each character containing information from history, background ect.
Looking through my character profile sheets I realized that I left the race information blank. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I don't want to deal with "how many *insert race here* characters should I have in this novel?"

Don't get me wrong. I believe the race of a character is important, when the author has to describe it and give it attention. What I mean is, how often do you, as a reader, think about the race of the character you're reading about? I don't and I don't assume either.

With that said, I do know the race of some of my characters in Deamhan.
Hallie, the Metusba Deamhan, is black.
Remy, the Lugat Deamhan, is white.
Alexis the vampire, for example, is black. I know this because of her history with Lambert, her sire, and the date she was sired. I based her race around that, not the other way around.
As for Veronica, the main character, and Anastasia, my favorite character. Veronica is white and Anastasia . . . well . . . she has dark hair and she was born in Europe. That would make her white.

I prefer to let me reader decide. If it happens that I have to dive a little deeper into the background of my character and the issue of race needs to be resolved, then I'll resolve it at that moment.

So the question is, do I decide race first or do I wait after I've created the history for my characters? It's easier to decide race later because I'm more interested in the history of my characters than what they look like, although I understand how important it is for a reader to absorb as much information as possible to understand the story.
If a character was born in American, came from a rough background- that pretty much describes any race, right?

As a reader, writer, or both do you think the race of a character is just as important as the background of a character?


  1. I always let my imagination fill in the race if I even think about it in the first place. I'm usually too caught up in a story to worry about looks unless it is in a specific time period.

    1. I agree.
      I'm usually more caught up in my story to worry about race unless I have to make it known for the readers and/or if it's important for the novel.

  2. I do not think it is that important. Usually, I'll picture the characters based on the description. The background has more to do with the story than race unless the story is about race. I really liked your post.