In Gypsy’s Kiss, my current WIP, I’ve come to the point where I have to introduce a character I’ve been uneasy writing about. The character has already featured, but so far has been nameless and voiceless. Now he has come into confrontation with my protagonist and it’s his time to step up and be heard so to speak.
The only thing is this character is not a nice guy, he’s a thug, a killer and foremost a racist. From the WIP title I take I can assume that you know Gypsy’s are involved in my story, and this character has no love for them and has some derogatory things to say about them. But the problem I have is I am uncomfortable writing what he has to say.
I’ve always wondered how other writers have approached this subject? It’s not an easy thing to do, especially when the language involved is alien to you. Now I’m no prude, I swear, I cuss, but I’ve never used racially abusive name calling. I know what the names are, I’ve heard others use them, but using them myself – even within the context of a story – does make me feel uneasy. In the back of my head a voice is saying “what if people think that’s what you really think”, that maybe daft but that’s me.
I have considered dropping the character altogether, or watering him down. But to do that means excising a thread within the story, of the prejudice some people in the world I have created have towards certain sections of society. My protagonist is at odds with this prejudice and that is partly why he is in opposition to this new characters view.
Am I being overly sensitive, should I just take it as read that my readers will accept this is just a character, and not me, saying what is said?
All Rights Reserved © Philip Norris July 2012