Reading is an important part of developing as a writer. But what happens when all the books and authors we read are a homogenous group of white males? Non-white, non-male writers may still end up defaulting to writing about white male characters. Victoria Cho examines why she often found herself creating straight, white, male characters even when her own experiences offered a greater reservoir to draw from:
I didn’t consider until recently why I had written so many straight white characters, or in some cases why I wasn’t sure of my characters’ races. Writers sometimes say, “You write what you read.” About five years ago, I sat down and looked at my bookshelf. I had moved into an apartment in Bed-Stuy, and I was considering MFA programs, writing workshops, and residencies all over again, as I had applied and been rejected from MFA programs twice already. I was thinking about my writing, including my characters. When I studied my bookshelf, I saw a sea of white authors.