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April 12, 2023


            The other day I talked a little bit on my Saturday post about diversity. I thought it would be a good time to address the issue.


            In today’s polarizing political climate, the word “diversity” can be a hot button topic. It doesn’t have to be, but one can only do what one can and hope for the best.


            Regardless of how some may view diversity, it’s always been part of my life. Since I was a little kid right up to so many years working for the government, I’ve not only been exposed to, but have never seen an issue with diversity. What does that mean for you?

            As a writer, it’s part of your job to reflect society. If you live in some kind of bubble, which is getting harder to do, you may not be able to reflect the majority of society.


            Maybe you grew up in, or currently live in a place with little to no diversity. Many of you have grown up in a diverse society. While many of you can reflect your own experiences, what if they weren’t diverse? Why is diversity necessary?


            While the purpose of some stories is to deliberately isolate certain groups for either story purposes, or because of personal experience, as a writer, you should be appealing to the widest audience. What does that mean?

            It means that when certain minorities read your book, it’s far more comfortable for them if they see themselves somewhere in that story.


            It might not be the best idea to write a main character of a different race, gender, religion, or whatever if you have no experience in that area. You can research to make it more realistic, but for most writers, portraying someone of their own race or gender is most comfortable and accurate. Does that mean excluding everyone else from the story?

            No, not at all.

            You can introduce different people into the story, just be sure not to pander to tropes and stereotypes.

            Just because someone is usually represented as so, doesn’t mean you have to.


            For example, my main character in the Meleena’s Adventures is female, yet I’m male. Does that mean I can’t write the character? Of course not. Authors do it all the time. What they keep in mind is that they have to make sure the character isn’t just following tropes and stereotypes, or doing something they would never do in real life. This comes from deep observation and plenty of beta readers or critiquers. It can be done realistically.

            If you’ve grown up with diversity, it’s a lot easier to portray someone different from you, especially if you have experience and open eyes.

            At least half if not more of all the people I’ve known in my life were female. When I decided to go with a female protagonist, it’s from personal experience and plenty of observation. As I read the first drafts to my writer’s group and beta readers, I got called out if I had her do something a female would not do. Then again, if I did have her do something a normal female would not do I had to justify why she did some certain thing.

            When you’re writing about someone different from you, whether it be gender, race, or political/religious differences, you need to make sure it’s realistic and not stereotypical. Other sets of eyes, especially someone of that persuasion can be big help in getting it right.


            For the most part, people are people. It doesn’t matter race, religion, sex, political persuasion. People are still going to act like people for most things. There is no stereotype. They don’t call it diversity for nothing. Despite our many differences, we are still people.


            Including people different from you not only reflects the real world, but brings them into your world and makes them feel part of the story. The key is to include others realistically and not with tropes or stereotypes.

            Happy writing!

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