Developing an Appropriate Voice for Readers

  Years ago, most nonfiction for teens and tweens in North America was
   written from the point of view of Caucasins. Times have really changed since
   We now live in a multicultural world that demands sensitivity to many
   points of view. North Americans are beginning to view their society as
   diverse, pluralistic, and fascinating. Kids and teens want more information
   about their neighbours who come from or live in a different culture from
   their own.
   Publishers usually demand inclusion and tolerance and are wary of
   cultural appropriation. There is more awareness today than in previous years
   that writers may not be able to adequately portray a culture different from
   their own. This means that the writer needs to research this background
   information very carefully so that his characters will be believable.  This is
   especially the case with characters from different cultures.
   Cultural differences are usually wider than racial differences, but race and
   culture also can be inseparable in one person. Be sensitive to truths about
   your characters and make sure that someone from that culture ,who is
   intimate with that culture, reads your work to see if it is accurate.
   As a writer for teens and tweens, it is essential for you to recognize the
   real, authentic values of the culture that you are trying to portray in your
   writing.  Make sure that you don’t set stringent prohibitions against who can
   write for whom.
   As a writer, you should also be acutely aware of the authenticity of your
   point of view while writing about other cultures. But balance that with not
   offending anyone or being rude in your writing. Try and invite the reader
   into your writing.
   As a writer, I feel my job is not to offend the reader but to expand and
   stretch my reader. And I do that in the kindest way possible. When you state
   your message kindly and compassionately, you will draw your readers in
   and you will make them feel better as a result of reading your book. And that
   is sure one way of inviting a lot of readers to read your books.
   ~ Irene


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