Diversity

Something everybody seems to be talking about these days is diversity and I think that’s great. Diversity is about inclusion. We include diverse characters, not because the agents you want to query are asking for it, but because our communities are made up of all kinds of people that want to be represented in the media they consume. It’s not about a catch word, it’s about acceptance. So what are some things to keep in mind when dealing with diversity? Let’s take a look.

  • Diverse people can’t be reduced to a single trait. Nor do they represent everyone who shares that trait. Don’t tokenize people or resort to hurtful and limiting stereotypes. Diverse characters are more than just their skin color, orientation, or disability.
  • Write them as human first. Human with their own distinct personality. We are all people and can relate to each other through our humanity. Make your character three-dimensional and fully fleshed out. They should have story goals and flaws to make them relatable and real.
  • Research is key to getting this right. You want to accurately portray your diverse character’s story. Talk to people from that culture. Read interviews and articles online. You would do research to accurately describe an archer loosing an arrow or using medieval weapons, so do your due diligence here.
  • Don’t include diversity just to fill a quota. You want them to be fully realized characters that serve a purpose in your narrative. Don’t write a POC just to kill them off first.
  • Respond to criticism with grace. You’ll never be able to satisfy everyone, but listen to critiques and revise accordingly. If someone is giving you feedback, recognize that as a gift. Someone is giving you a glimpse into their story. Don’t get angry, it’s not a personal attack against you. Respond with grace and try to understand where they are coming from.
  • Similarly, get beta readers from the community you’re trying to represent. Listen to their insights. Make sure your story is as strong and well represented as it can be.

Diversity makes our stories stronger and more realistic. This world is wide and includes all sorts of humans. Don’t limit yourself or your characters. What are your best tips for writing diversity? Share below and happy writing!

Julia

Follow my column at Our Write Side and Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration. Find me on Facebook for weekly prompts.

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