Marshall Payne (marshallpayne1) wrote,
Marshall Payne

Diversity Statistics

Pilfered from[info]aliettedb. Behind the cut is the breakdown of my 107 (mostly) main characters from the 32 stories I've sold and/or had published.  Though with the wacky offbeat stuff I often write, this is a questionable estimation of exactly what a lot of these characters actually are. Though their gender is almost always evident, some of them aren't "real" people in the traditional sense but representations of humanity in a gonzo SF/F storytelling environment, as I tend to let my muse run off and get in trouble sometimes. Still, my goal is to make them feel like "real" people with human wants and desires. What I find the most rewarding is playing around with the ideas of science fiction and fantasy, as well as storytelling, and peopling my worlds with odd characters to show the absurdity of life. I guess that's my disclaimer for what follows. :D


Male:     70 (65%)
Female: 33  (30%
Other:    4   (5%)

I was a bit surprised that I have so many more male characters than female characters, as a lot of my fiction centers around women. But I think in a typical story of mine I push the main female character to the fore of the drama and have a couple or three men around to complicate it and act like asses. But there's always exceptions. My story "Dharma and Bert" that's published at Polluto has four lesbian goddesses and one mechanical man who's a metaphor for a human vibrator. My next story coming out at Polluto has an all male cast: four midgets from the cast of The Wizard of Oz, transported into the far future to be hanged and buggered by four decadent rich men—after they place bets on them in a mud wrestling match. I told you I wrote a lot of wacky stuff. :D


Caucasian: 56 (52%)
African-American: 8 (7%)   
Asian: 3 (3%)
Hispanic: 1 (1%)
Unknown: 12 (11%)
Other: 27 (26%)

Interesting that 25% of my characters fall into the Other category. Some aliens, a few gods and goddesses, mechanical constructs, otherworldly beings inhabiting earthly humans. "The New Elementals" is a boy-meets-girl story where the uptown girl is high-frequency light waves and the downtown boy is low-frequency radio waves and they try to get their frequencies to hook up despite their "cultural" differences. I tend to mess with the fabric of reality and warp humanity to my own purposes, so I often go with what one would assume is "Caucasian default." To define a character's ethnic background too much would probably overcomplicate the narrative in an already bizarre and fucked-up fictional setup. I like to poke fun at the American way of life.


Straight: 86 (83%)
GLBT: 15 (14%)
Unknown: 6 (3%)

Usually I assume that my characters are straight, unless I make them otherwise. The 15 GLBT characters are very much that. Or just so liberal that "gay" or "straight" isn't a clear-cut definition for them. Having sex is a natural thing in most of my fiction. But amidst all the weirdness I tend to have a fair amount of romance, and I like to write about the power play and sexcapades between men and women mostly. Though in my story "Edward's Second Shot" I put Plantagenet English King Edward II (who was gay) in a modern-day gay biker bar with a straight protag to act as a comedic foil on the gay lifestyle. The only zine that would touch it was Forbidden Fruit, but they published only queer fiction before they folded. So it was a good fit there.


0-17: 25
18-35: 53
35-65: 18
66+ 4
Other: 7

I write many coming-of-age stories, so I use kids and teens a lot.  The age of 33 is probably my default age for adult characters, who are mature enough to make important decisions but not too old to be set in their ways. Meaning they're on the last cusp of still finding themselves.


Ruling Class: 16
Upper Class: 30
Middle Class: 34
Working Class: 32

I make fun of rich people more than poor people. They can afford it!


Personally, I don't feel like what I'm trying to do fits in with the ongoing discussion over cultural approbation. I'm not trying to build a cultural up, but tear it down with satire, irony, and other irreverent observations. It's really not cricket to make sport of someone else's culture. I only I have the right (and knowledge) to make fun of my own. I find a lot about my own culture to poke fun at and show its hypocrisy and stupidity.

Moreover, when I'm playing it straight, I don't create my characters to fit any cultural expectations or stereotype. I try to make each character different from others in the story and especially from previous stories I've written. So the protag in a new story doesn't seem like the protag in an older story with a different name. To me, accomplishing this has less to do with any of the demographics cited above and more to do with who the characters is. Whether they're white or black, gay or straight is probably the least important thing about them. It's who they are as an individual that counts.


Tags: fiction writing, stats

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