by Shelt Garner
I was talking to someone recently who otherwise gave me a lot of relevant input on the novels I’m working on, when they said something that left me taken aback. They said I couldn’t write from the POV of anyone who wasn’t a CIS white male. In other words, because I’m a white male, I can’t get anything published that I write from the POV of a woman or an Asian or in the instance of my first novel an Asian woman.
This has been rolling around in my mind for about 24 hours and I continue to struggle with it. All I’m doing is exactly what Stieg Larsson did — write different scenes of the novel written from different POVs. Some of those POVs are men, some are women, some are white, some are not.
Now, if things have changed since Stieg Larsson wrote the Millennium Series, it is because of the controversy associated with the novel American Dirt. The reason why this made everyone so upset with the Hispanic community is it was an entire novel written from the POV of a illegal immigrant by someone who was not an illegal immigrant. I suppose that this controversy made publishers gunshy about publishing anything the author and the POVs are not identical.
But I also call bullshit.
I’ve spoken to a number of other similar people and not one of them mentioned this prohibition. But they had read some of what I’d written. So it’s possible that once it sinks in that I’m not using a first person POV, but rather a third person intimate and what that actually means, then the issue of me being a CIS white male author on occasion writing scenes in the POV of someone other than that isn’t all THAT bad.
I also plan on a second creative tract novel that will be shorter and more conservative with such things. So, theoretically, I could write a novel that is done in 1st person CIS white male POV, sell that and then turn around and say, “Well, I do have this whole novel series I wrote that goes against the woke cancel culture mob’s media narrative about what I can write….”
Or something like that.
I just had to get that out of my system. As I grow more serious about these novels, it seems the problems I have to ignore to finish them grow more existential.