How to Write Black Characters: An Incomplete Guide

  • Jun 24, 2020
  • 2 minute read

You care about writing diversely. You know how important it is to have accurate representation in your stories. You want to include characters whose experience is outside of yours.

It’s easy to find examples of writing gone wrong, but where do you start to get it right?

Begin right here with the first book in Salt & Sage’s new writing craft series: How to Write Black Characters: An Incomplete Guide.

Written by Black editors and readers in their own voices, this e-book is an affordable, accessible primer for topics like caricatures, hair, language development, and code-switching.

Each brief section points the reader toward resources for further study, including links to university papers, Gallup polls, NPR, and bell hooks.

What Incomplete Guides are not:

- a long, comprehensive text

-a claim to speak for the opinions and experience of all people within that community

-a replacement for individualized sensitivity reading

Incomplete Guides are just that: incomplete. Cultures are not monoliths, and no one person can represent every individual or anticipate every concern. No one book or perspective can reflect the diverse experiences of Black folx, nor should you use this as your only guide. We strongly encourage you to hire a sensitivity reader (or several!), to listen to Black voices, and to extensively read #ownvoices books by Black authors.

What Incomplete Guides are:

-an affordable starting point for creatives new to sensitivity reading

-an accessible resource for further personal research

-expert insights given in Sages’ own voices

These Guides can help you identify some of the most common issues our sensitivity readers address as you consider new projects, revise current works, or want to prep your piece for a more comprehensive, customized sensitivity edit.

Our Incomplete Guides are by no means exhaustive–but they are a great place to start.

Pre-order here! How to Write Black Characters: An Incomplete Guide (Incomplete Guides Book 1)


A note about attribution: We allow our contractors to choose what they share publicly through our company. POC creatives are all too familiar with trolls and doxers who wish them harm. While they are proud of their contributions to this guide, they are understandably wary of putting their name on a body of work that could invite that kind of reaction from those who aren’t receptive to its message.

Ready to learn more from our experts? Want a custom consultation for your project? Hire a Sage here: Request a consult!