August 30, 2006 Justin Chin

Mahjong African American

Seemingly random second post. This was supposed to be a quick review of Monster House since I saw it last night. Sleep prevailed.

During my morning writing regiment, I typed these words into Google; mahjong + african + american. One of the links on the first page pointed me to a blog by Tess Gerritsen:

… her latest book was going to be marketed solely to the AA niche market — even though the story itself did not specify the race of its characters, and could just as easily have been marketed as mainstream fiction…

An interesting peek into “racial” book marketing. I guess I find this interesting at this time because I’m writing a treatment for a film that is primarily African-American centric, and I assume it to be marketed as such.

The real point about all this would be a personal admission – I have no idea how to write for that market. Perhaps a better question might be, should you even bend your writing with a market in mind?

My approach right now (at the treatment stage) is to create a treatment with a solid story structure and developed theme. Currently, because of the speedy schedule for the treatment, I have to do research while I write. So this format is forced upon me.

In the end, I believe that this approach will do fine. As I learn new things I can layer them into what I hope to be a great story foundation. If a particular special subject in my research moves me, I can still change my story spine to suit it.

After the script is done, I’ll let the marketers do their thing, and hope that the film sees a larger audience. Most importantly, though, I hope the African American audience believes in it; because in the end it’s about them and an beautiful slice of their culture.