As I continue to write the rest of the ‘Once Upon a Reality’ series, I find that I’m learning more and more about how media affects people, both positively and negatively. Seeing as that’s one of the main points of the series, you’d think that’d be a given. But in my research into how media representation and portrayals can affect one demographic, I’ve become absorbed in how the way all demographics are portrayed in the media, and how that affects people.
I found that I’d inadvertently made no less than two media representational sins in my first book (though pointing them out here would spoil the book for people who haven’t read yet). One of them I cannot fix, but the other I do hope to fix in future editions of the novel. Furthermore, in editing To Dwell in Dreams, I find that I keep coming up across descriptions that I have now learned are wildly offensive (such as describing skin colors in terms of food). I’m grateful for the opportunity in my editing to change these things and to fix them before they can get to print this time. It just goes to show how much I’ve already learned about this industry, and just how much more I have to learn just in general about the world around me. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to have my eyes opened like this.
Point being, I would like to take this opportunity to invite my readers to never be afraid to contact me if you find something in any of my stories that you find problematic in terms of representation, or the use of stereotypical tropes or description. It may have gotten beyond the point that I can fix or redact it if the story has already been published, but I can ensure that the product of the discussion we have makes is applied to the next piece that I write. I want to be able to work towards a world where writing can help bring out the best in people through imaginative dialogue- and I can’t very well accomplish that if I’m perpetuating media representational stereotypes. I haven’t had anyone complaining to me yet, but I know my own work well enough to have my own complaints against myself already. Let’s keep on learning together!