Character development

I know two of my my characters like I know myself - I have known them for years as the idea for my one-day-to-be-written novel has grown up in a cranny somewhere behind my front temporal lobe.  I can see both in my minds eye: Both have characteristics I like such as the slim hips of one (predictably shallow of me) or the fierce tenacity in the face of extreme challenge of my lead female.  I know what they wear, what they eat, their loves and their histories.  So far so good.

But what about the others?  I was asked the other day if there would be any black characters in my story.  In the setting in which my story takes place it would be careless if there were not.  Clearly real authors write as ‘other’ all the time - women write in the voice of male characters and vice versa, some write as members of the Glubon race from the planet Xaniiita in languages set in the year 3027.  Sometimes it works gloriously and sometimes it is painful.  I am slightly afraid of this part of the task and so want to get it right.  Something to think more about ……..

Then of course there is the issue of lesbian or gay characters.  One of my lead women is lesbian and this is incidental.  In books with straight characters there is never any kind of explanation or back story related to their being straight so I don’t intend there to be for ‘Jess’ but will this lead to a clunky void in the narrative?  I guess I need to see how this goes.