Tips to writing poverty realistically

Tips to writing poverty realistically

I know it has been a while since we had an author speaking to us about the craft of writing and we have Beatrice who will talk to us about a topic that is very relevant today – writing diverse characters and poverty as a diversity factor.

I will let Beatrice talk now!

Say hello to Beatrice!

poverty

Beatrice De Soprontu began writing at the age of four, when she scribbled on the walls with a crayon. Now an adult, she mostly scribbles on her home computer surrounded by her noisy children and their less noisy father.

Born and raised in New York City, (which includes: Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, maybe even Staten Island – a.k.a. the real New York and not the tourist trap that is Manhattan), she enthusiastically travels the world on a budget whenever she gets the chance.

You can find her book Vices/Virtues on Amazon or B&N

Let’s get on with it shall we?

One of the greatest tenants of fiction writing is that a strong character needs to overcome major adversity. In modern literature these hurdles can stem from identity markers such as race and sexual orientation, or they can be of a more fantastic nature such as aliens or monsters. Oddly however, being impoverished is rarely depicted as a problem.

Roughly a third of the world live in poverty and that’s not just in the “third-world”. In the arguably wealthy United States, roughly 40 million people are impoverished. That’s a lot of poor people. All of them differ in their backgrounds, beliefs and lifestyles, yet they face a common foe: grinding day-to-day poverty. Their stories are important and should spur us as writers to represent them in our tales.

Hence, for authors who wish to incorporate the struggles of being destitute into their fictional works here are 5 easy suggestions.

Separate poverty from race

In many fictional works race and/or ethnicity are linked to poverty, especially “urban” poverty. It’s understandable given that disproportionate numbers of minorities are poor. However, the problem is that this merging of class and race easily leads to stereotypes.

When poor characters live in rural areas, they become hillbillies, when they reside in urban areas we get a scene from “Boyz in the Hood”. Please just don’t.

Separate poverty from crime

Newsflash: lots of rich and even middle-class folks commit crimes. While poorer areas might be affected by higher crime rates, illegal activities don’t have to define the characters’ lives.

Remember the very admirable Evans family from “Good Times”? The episode titled the “Debutante Ball” is all about how the older son J.J. tries to date a young woman whose family feels his is not good enough for her. Their opinion isn’t based on anything he’s done, but solely on the fact that he lives in the “ghetto”.

Voila! A plot that tackles urban poverty minus the gangbangers!

Poverty is relative

A person might not even realize how poor they are. Curious but true, if everyone around you lives a life just like yours, you probably won’t know life could be different. Especially when you are young, it’s easy to imagine those wealthy people you read about or see on television are fictional. (I’m a grown woman, yet I still find it hard to wrap my head around the flying airplane suites of “Crazy Rich Asians”.)

Likewise, you might have quite a number of conveniences (clean water, free schools, tv, cell phones, microwavable pizza, really fancy sneakers, etc.) and still consider yourself to be quite poor, leading to the next point…

Poverty can damage a person psychologically

The impact of poverty in a character’s life doesn’t have to be confined to the tangible here and now. Psychologists have written extensively on how prolonged impoverishment results in long lasting detrimental effects.

Increased stress and internalized shame are just some of the possible legacies. It’s juicy stuff for an author, real psychological foes that need to be vanquished. Why not mine the possibility?

Characters are more than identity tags

We are all more than our identity markers. Never trap a character in a label. Your poor character is more than that, he or she also has feelings about religion, sexuality, and ethnicity. This person may be irked by the incorrect positioning of toilet paper. (What’s best rolling over or under?)

Write to all of it. Don’t feel you have to explain every decision they make. Fictional characters, like all people, are mysterious creatures and that complexity is part of their beauty.

Final words

Make your characters diverse. Make them interesting. Make them struggle. It’s easier than you think. Just rob them. Take away all their cash. You’ll find that when resources are scarce, your characters become richer.

Thank you, Beatrice

And I am back to thank her for taking time off her busy schedule to write us a guest post. You can follow and contact her through these links.

Twitter | Blog | Facebook |

If you have something to add to Beatrice’s story, drop a comment here or send him a word of thanks on the social media. Both of us would love that.

Also, if you are interested in writing a guest post for the independent publishing community, write to me right away. I am still accepting guest post submissions.

Pin me!

poverty

Let us chat

What books according to you portray poverty realistically? What makes a economically poor character more appealing? Let us talk.

Tips to writing poverty realistically

Sunday Musings #57: Back from the break; Maybe?

Remember a while ago I posted that I was taking some break as I was visiting India? Well, I did and then some.

I had to travel to Macau, China as one of my close family member was hospitalized there while on a trip. And then I returned to a mold infested house back in Dubai, no thanks to the scorching summer and a broken AC. 

Well, now I am back to blogging from a cleaner house and a reading slump that I am struggling to get out of.  I will definitely share some beautiful pictures from my travel soon. 

So that is my sad little story, so what about you? What did I miss in these two months?

What I read this week

I am not at all proud to say I have not read a book since the end of July. At least I had solid reasons for that, during August.

It has been almost two weeks since I returned and I can’t seem to find some time to read. And even if I did, I can’t get myself to focus. Can I blame it on the mold infestation?

But now that I am done with all those pesky household chores, I am determined to get it over with and I am hoping The Bookish Life of Nina Hill will be the book that will pull me out of the abyss.

What I watched this week

On the bright side, I have been catching up with a lot of TV shows that I had missed due to my travels.

  • I loved and adored the Money Heist new season S4. And my dislike for Tokyo has heightened. Fight me, Tokyo-fans!
  • All those who recommended me the K-drama Love Alarm, thank you! I loved everything about it, except for the fact that I have to wait for the next season.
  • I also finally caught up with The Ranch. I didn’t love it but it was okay. 

On cinemas I watched IT: Chapter two and the Ad Astra.

I liked IT better than Ad Astra, being the horror and Stephen King fan I am. Even though this second part had a lot of things going as expected, I missed the nostalgic 80s warmth and humor.

And I found Ad Astra to be too damn slow for my liking, despite loving the premise and visual grandeur of the film. 

On my blog

Obviously I have nothing new to show under this topic, so I am gonna go ahead and link to some of my popular posts of all times, in case you have missed it earlier. 

I will be linking today’s post with Caffeinated reviewer’s Sunday post Meme

From the Insta-world

Pin me!

Let us chat

So what I have been missing around the blogosphere? What are you reading currently? Any words to help me get off this slump and regain my mojo? Let us talk.

Tips to writing poverty realistically

Five feet apart by Rachael Lippincott- A book review

I jumped at the chance to buddy read Five feet apart by Rachael Lippincott, because it is not something that has ended up quite well for me historically and I would not pick it up on my own even though it was on my TBR. Go figure!

It has been a while since I read a young adult based in a hospital romance (or sick-lit, if I may). Yes it is supposedly a trope by itself, if you had not known earlier.

About Five feet apart

Five Feet Apart

Book Name: Five feet apart

Author: Rachael Lippincott

Genre: Fiction – Romance, Young Adult

Characters: Stella and Abby Grant, Will Newman, Poe, Camila, Mya

Setting: The United States of America

Plot Summary of Five feet apart

Stella Grant is a high schooler who is at the final stages of Cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that mainly affects the lung. She has been a regular at the hospital for most of her life. She loves lists and being in control is the only way she knows to cope up with her health.

While she has a great support system and friends circle in and around the hospital, she has to avoid putting herself at the risk of infections she would be eligible for lung transplant.

Will Newman is a new CF patient to the hospital and all he wants is to get away from it. He has spent most of his life between clinical trials and staying at various hospitals and is now waiting to turn eighteen so that he can get away from all these restrictions and enjoy life as it should be. 

When they both stumble upon each other, they know they should stay away from each other. But what if they maintained a five feet distance between each other? Would that be so bad forms the rest of Five feet apart.

Book review of Five feet apart

Due to my earlier disappointments with the romances with sick teens, I was skeptical when I started reading Five feet apart and I was mildly surprised that I enjoyed it as much. Though I have a few misgivings about the plot, the easy writing and witty dialogues kept me going. 

I wish books would stop portraying that kids who are suffering some physical ailments do not get to enjoy anything in life and they need to break free of their treatments / medical restrictions to get to be “normal”.

I liked reading about the CF which is a new thing for me, and the story was cutesy as YAs tend to be and am totally looking forward to watching the movie Five feet apart starring Cole Sprouse now.

Things that worked for me

  • Five feet apart plays exactly into the trope of sick lit and does a good job with it.
  • I enjoyed the easy writing style and the witty banter between the characters.

Things that didn’t work for me

  • I didn’t feel related to the characters but it is just me. It did not hinder my reading.
  • As I mentioned earlier, I personally had issues with the trope that encourages patients to break free of the treatment.

Bottom-line

Five feet apart is a typical sick lit that does its job in opening up talks about the CF with a positive ending. I would recommend it for all John Green (of course) and Nicoola Yoon fans.

Similar reviews that you might like

Pin me!

Five Feet Apart

Let us chat

Have you read Five feet apart by Rachael Lippincott? Do you enjoy reading books set in hospital and people with physical ailments? Let us talk. 

Tips to writing poverty realistically

Sunday Musings #56: Meeting Indian Bloggers

I am on vacation in India still, and I kinda extended it by ten days. So I thought I will give you an update on how things are working out currently. I have been shuttling between cities, just as I expected and it is not as bad as I have been whining about. 

But hey the good news is I am avoiding returning to Dubai’s heat for another ten days and spending time meeting family, friends and even catching up with some bloggers in real life. The only downfall seems to be my inconsistent blogging schedule and I have been feeling terribly guilty about it. Do you have those bloggers’ remorse?

What I read this week

On the other hand my reading has been going great and I have been on track mostly. I read two books in the last week.

  • The joy luck club
  • Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

On my blog

As I mentioned already, I haven’t blogged in a while. It is not that I don’t have time to write up one but it is just not the same when you are on a holiday. 

I am lost without a routine and probably that’s what holidays are about! Anyway here is the single post I published in the past three weeks.

The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle – A Book Review

I will be linking today’s post with Caffeinated reviewer’s Sunday post Meme

From the Insta-world

Around the blogosphere

Since I haven’t had blog hopped and don’t even know what’s happening in the blogosphere, I am gonna talk about whom I met in last few weeks! 

I met Shruti from This ls Lit and Mathangi from The Word Glutton in Chennai two weeks ago! And you will not believe this is the first time we are hanging out outside of a book event. 

Meeting bloggers

We ended up spending more than five hours talking about nothing and everything. Who am I kidding? We were talking about books, feminism and representation of brown people in books! 

And we clicked a lot of fun pictures. 

Tanvi from A reader to whatever end visited the town when I was around and Nandini from Unputdownable books and I caught up with her.

Meeting bloggers

Again a coffee date extended to a five hour giggle fest! Wait who said we bookworms are the quiet ones?

I am totally looking forward to meeting some more Bookstagrammers and bloggers this week! Fingers crossed!! 

Pin me!

Meeting bloggers

Let us chat

What’s up with you? Who are the bloggers that you have met in real life? Do you think it is my bloggers’ remorse is normal and do you have ever faced it? Let’s talk.

Tips to writing poverty realistically

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – A book review

If you have been reading my reviews for a while you might know that I love jumping into a book without even reading the synopsis of a book. And I solely depend on recommendations and reviews of other bloggers and my mood swings to pick a book. 

When I assumed that it was a contemporary murder mystery, I could not have been more wrong about The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton when I picked it up, after three other bookworms suggested it to me. I can’t wait to rave talk about the book to you all. Shall we get on with the review now?

About The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Book Name: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Genre: Fiction – Thriller, Paranormal

Characters: Evelyn Hardcastle, Sebastian Bell, Dr Dickie, Aiden Bishop, Daniel Coleridge, Michael Hardcastle, Charles Cunningham

Setting: The UK

Plot summary of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Our protagonist wakes up with just a name in his mind and no other memory what so ever. He does not know his name or his history, except that he has to save Anna. He finds his name to be Sebastian Bell, a drug peddling doctor who is invited to a party at the Blackheath estate. 

Soon he realizes Bell is just one of his hosts and has eight days and eight lives each in a different person’s body tasked to find the murderer of Evelyn Hardcastle, one of the heirs to the Blackheath. 

He discovers that he is Aiden Bishop who is stuck in a time rut and until he finds the murderer he has to relive these eight days for eternity. What brings Aiden to Blackheath and does he solve the murder forms the rest of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Book review of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a perfect blend of mystery novel with time travel fantasy. It took me a few pages to get into the story especially since I was not sure what to expect. But once I did, I just couldn’t put the book down until the end. 

I should start with I have not read a book as complicated as The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in the recent while, or maybe in a long time. 
And it reads like a puzzle than a typical mystery novel.

It offers more than unexpected twists and suspense that is maintained till the last page. There are quite a number of captivating plot lines and characters that make us question our trust and their perceptions. 

Things that worked for me

  • As a newbie to the time travel genre, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle blew my mind and I am sure it would be as good even if you are a regular.
  • I loved the methodical approach in solving the mystery, which is becoming a rarity these days.
  • And also, here is another unreliable narrator to love and rave about.

Things that didn’t work for me

  • Being a vividly plotted novel, many may consider the pace to be slow, especially for a murder mystery
  • I felt The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was a little long winded during the last few chapters. 

Bottom-line

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one of those rare books that I would not mind rereading for the plot itself, just to make sure I had not missed out anything. And I am sure The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle will be worth reading twice. Just pick it up already. 

Books similar to The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Pin me!

Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Let us chat

Have you read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle? Do you have any other recommendation in time travel as a genre? Let us talk.