That’s how Kenzie usually opens these things, right?
*puts on fake moustache*
What am I saying? I AM Kenzie!! Haha, of course I am!!
*rips off fake moustache*
OKAY SO I’M NOT KENZIE ALRIGHT?? Sheesh! You Followers Of Kenzie are a suspicious lot. Relax a bit! It’s not like I’m going to put you under a spell
so that I can eat you for my supper that will make you abandon Kenzie and start following me instead ha, that would be weird. *shifty eyes*
Aaanyway. The lovely Kenzie whom you call your Queen has generously allowed me to borrow her audience and shriek at you about a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.
Diverse characters yay!
Except not when you do it wrong. Which is all too easy, thanks to
the government human error.
So I will guide you all with my wisdom and teach you how to be like me. Because I am flawless.
Ahem. Shall we begin?
1. Crush All The Stereotypes!
This means that every female character should not be talkative and every male character be Silent At All Times. This means that “strong females” should not always beat up a Roomful Of Men whilst wearing high heels. This means that not all the parents are dead, not all the black people talk with a drawl, and not all romances are falling apart or patterned after a certain geometric shape that I despise.
Yes, stereotypes are grounded in some kind of truth, but let’s face it – breaking stereotypes is too much fun not to do it, amirite?
Another idea is to play with the stereotype (read: mock the stereotype). Bring back a stereotype that has been dead for a long time. The Talkative Female I mentioned earlier? Has not been done in ages. Because Broody Girls Who Kill People are all the rage just now. Do not obey The Rage, sir. If you can make that chatty girl relatable and fun and not-as-shallow-as-everyone-thinks, my hat is off to you. Think of it as a challenge! Or what about High Heel-Clad Woman who unrealistically defeats all the men ever? Hmmmm. What if… what if she wasn’t wearing them at all but instead used the high heels as her only weapon, hm? Wouldn’t that be fascinating.
Excuse me while I go write this. Don’t steal it, it’s mine! *wrestles shiny idea out of your grip*
2. Research, Research, Research! (Maybe Via Human Interaction?)
Research is hard, dude. I know it, you know it, we all know it. Let’s go eat ice cream instead, yes?
Research is essential to writerly existence. You must do it. Bite the bullet, my friend! Bite it. Chomp down nice and hard.
So obviously check out the background of a certain ethnicity, or if your character has a disability you do not personally have, do extensive research on treatment and symptoms and all that fun stuff.
However! It would be even better if you did this research in person. Terrifying idea, I know. Like, leaving the house? Talking to humans? What is this madness?
Well, before you charge at me with your pitchfork for suggesting it, let me just point out that if you base your Russian dude or your New Yorker or your Autistic child on someone you know personally, critics can’t say “Oh, that is so unrealistic!”
Or, at least, if they do, you can slap them with a jellyfish and say, “Oh yeah? Cuz I happen to know someone just like that! So there!”
And then slap them a second time just for good measure.
Besides, how hard can it be, really? We are all surrounded with humans of various skin colors and accents and disabilities and religions and beliefs. My grandmother is deaf. I have a friend with cerebral palsy. I know a little boy with Autism and a little girl who has cochlear implants and people with depression and a man who is paralyzed and a woman who is a burn victim and more war veterans than I can name. I know African American, Asian American, Vietnamese, Japanese, Haitian, and Chinese families.
That’s why we call America the great melting pot, right? (And yes, I know some people reading this do not live in America. But chances are you know lots of diverse people, too. How can you go through life without bumping into people who are different than you?)
3. Remember: People Are People
What I mean by this is that all people are essentially the same. I believe so, anyway. I mean, we are all human and our skin color doesn’t change that and our beliefs don’t change that and our physical abilities don’t change that.
There are these cute sayings like “everyone smiles in the same language” and “everyone laughs in the same language” and I think that what they’re trying to say is that at our core, people are all the same.
We all want to connect with other people to form friendships and we all want to be accepted and to feel like we are a part of something greater than ourselves, we all pull for the good guy in the story, we all hunger for justice and we all want love, we’re all on a search for meaning and purpose and we all love food. Which is important. Food is, I mean.
Am I making sense? Probably not, I rarely do.
What I’m trying to say is this – when in doubt (about what your character [who may not be anything like you] would say or do in a given situation) remember that people are people (and specks are specks [#savewhoville]) and some things are universal. Profound, no?
4. Don’t Force It
Writing diverse characters is a great and lovely thing, but seriously, do not force it where it will not go. Like a puzzle, right? Sometimes things just don’t fit. Be aware of this fact and respect it.
Probably someone is really mad at me right now for saying this like, “how can there ever be a time when you should not be writing diverse characters, you fool?!”
Let’s just say you are writing a book set in Yugoslavia in the first century. That would probably not be the best time to throw in some Mexican characters.
Sometimes a story is set somewhere that the characters will be predominantly one race. One of my novels is set in Africa, which means there aren’t tons of different skin colors present. How dare me, right? Other people focus on a different part of the world, like Russia or some other cold European country, and most of their characters are pale. That is okay!
Sometimes a book will be about mostly-healthy people. Some people are, in fact, healthy and they deserve to be represented too. That is okay!
Sometimes a book will be about a group of people who all have the same religion. That is okay! (Also it irks me severely that religion pretty much never makes its way into fiction but it influences literally 100% of humanity?)
This is all okay.
Do not ever feel guilty about “not being diverse enough.” That is ridiculous. You novel is amazing, just the way it is.
Diversity has become kind of a checklist, like “your book is no good unless you check off all the checkable boxes.”
Do not fall into the Checklist Trap. It is evil.
Some books are naturally more diverse than other books. This depends on a lot of factors, like setting and time period.
Don’t let anyone impose their ideas about what a book should be on you. Tune out all the people who say your book has to be a certain way to be good.
Tell stories. Tell good stories. That’s all.
5. Too Much?
How to say this delicately…?
I believe there is, in fact, such a thing as too much diversity. (Kind of like too much birthday, amirite?)
For example, let us say that your main character has a major disability that affects every part of their life (most disabilities do). That is awesome. Go you.
But this is not the time to lay it on thick. So their best friend does not need to also have a disability and the main character does not need to also be Latino and the best friend does not need to be Buddhist and the main character does not need to be gay.
See what I’m saying? You can’t have it all in one book or it is going to be too much. Too confusing, too overwhelming, and so beyond unrealistic. People are diverse. But people are not that diverse.
6. Ignore People Who Shout, “We Need More —-!”
I am guilty of doing this. You probably are too.
Don’t feel bad!
I’m not saying you can’t whinge (that is the British version of whine, isn’t it so much more fun??) about wanting more assassins, more dragons, more ALIVE parents, more happy couples (something I personally have whinged about on more than one occasion), more sassy boys, more actively-involved dads, more sweet boyfriends, more, more, more!
By all means, keep whinging! Keep wanting better fiction to read, keep those standards high, keep demanding more diversity and less stereotypes.
But, writers, ignore them.
If you’re anything like me, you have seen someone else’s whingy list of things they want to see more of and you have thought, “my novel doesn’t have any of that! Does that mean… it’s no good? Should I rewrite the whole thing to incorporate what people want more of?”
Your novel is amazing and unique because you are writing it, dude. Don’t you change it for nobody!
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to write outside your comfort zone and stretch yourself every now and then. Something I enjoy doing is making my own list of things I want to see in fiction more and then writing them.
So! Next time you write a nice, whingy list, remember that the best way to get more of whatever it is you personally want more of is to write it yourself. “Be the change” and all that.
Next time you see a nice, whingy list – think of it as NOT ADDRESSED TO YOU but rather a note to the person who wrote it.
7. Kind Of “Write What You Know”?
You’ve probably heard the writing tip “write what you know.” This kind of bothers me because what I know is pretty boring and no one would want to read about it. So I write about warfare and mental illness and evil hospitals instead. And probably get all my facts wrong, but who cares?
The cool thing about being a writer is that you make the rules. Which means that you know more about your world than anyone else does. So you are not, in fact, writing what you do not know, you are simply writing what ONLY YOU know.
But I digress muchly. Forgive me.
We were talking about how to write characters of all colors and religions and other stuffs. And as much as I dislike the “write what you know” tip, it actually makes sense here. Write people the way you know people to be and you CANNOT go wrong.
Allow me to recall to your mind the jellyfish with which you shall slap all the hateful critics. That jellyfish will come in handy here also!
Because if you know one of those awesome black grandmas who says things like, “Y’all need to stop looking at them phones and start praisin’ Jesus!” or a Chinese woman who pronounces the word “little” like “leetle” or a Mexican family who lives in a tiny rowhouse with their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, and you base characters off of them no one can say “That’s stereotyping! African American grandmas are sophisticated! Chinese women have perfect American accents! Mexicans don’t all squish into one house!” you can pull out that jellyfish and, that’s right, slap them with it.
Because you know actual humans like the ones you are writing. You know for a fact that stereotype is not dead. And as long as you don’t generalize and say “all black grandmas, all Chinese women, all Mexicans are this way” then you are doing just fine.
By the way, all three of those examples are drawn from real life. Those people exist. And there is nothing racist about celebrating the culture or roots of the people around us!
8. No Cardboard Representatives, Please
I feel like I’m just repeating the same basic principles over and over again like a broken record, but if I haven’t made this perfectly clear already, my main point is that all characters should be real. Not necessarily based off of one person, but based on what you know about aaaaall people.
Every single individual in the world is unique, yes, but we are all human. Write that! Write characters that are unlike anyone else because they are themselves, but write characters that are human and therefore relatable no matter how different they are from you or the reader. Every. Single. Character. Should be relatable. There are no exceptions to this rule!
And please, please do not settle for a cardboard representative of a certain race, gender, religion, sexuality…
This is my big issue with the “Diversity” agenda. In making writers feel like they MUST include one female, one black person, one Muslim, one LGBT+ character, we are begging for these groups of people to be misrepresented or represented badly. Because the story is complete without them! They are just there to fulfill the quota, see?
All because of that darn Checklist.
Let me illustrate with an example. Johnny likes to write stories. Good for you, Johnny! But Johnny thinks everyone will hate him if he does not include women, black people, and homosexuals in his stories, so he goes back and changes all his stories to include these “diverse” characters. But they are stiff and awkward because they are only there as a REPRESENTATIVE of their Diverse Group.
Johnny’s story would be faaaarrr better off without them!
Basically: do not tack on “diverse” characters as an afterthought. If they are not necessary to the story, if the story is complete without them, if they don’t add anything meaningful, they. Must. Go.
Goodbye, Diversity! *waves pleasantly*
9. Person With ——, Not —– Person
You’ve probably heard this before. Instead of referring to someone as “the Autistic boy,” you should say, “the boy with Autism.”
This is more sensitive because we are all people “with” something. And no one likes to be labeled.
This applies very nicely to writing. You don’t introduce a character as African American – “The African American woman walked across the street briskly.” That would be weird. Instead you’re your best to describe the color of their skin at the same time as you describe other outstanding features like high cheekbones or a hawk nose. Ivory, chocolate, tan, marble… there are an abundance of lovely words that can be used to describe all the beautiful shades of skin people have!
Even the gender of a character can be implied instead of announced. “She walked briskly across the bridge” – pronouns tell us it is a woman without a flashing neon sign.
I would definitely prefer a disability to become apparent in the same way. Don’t announce it, show it. Or… describe it?
10. Unite And Conquer
I know we’re not supposed to tell other writers that their way is wrong. Because there is no “wrong” way to write a book. You have to do what you want to do – no one can make you do any differently
except the government obviously. But…
I’m going to break the rule and tell you that if you don’t follow this step, your book will be awful and no one will like it and J. R. R. Tolkien himself will frown upon you.
Write stories that bring people together.
Okay? That is my rule. You can do whatever you want – whatever floats your cute little boat! As long as you follow this rule.
Truly great stories bring people together. Never, ever seek to divide. That isn’t what storytelling is about.
I know I said this before, but it’s worth saying again. People are essentially the same and there are things we all have in common if we would just look a bit closer. Write that.
In America, race once divided people in a terrible way. But all of the great literature about that miserable time has been great because instead of widening the gap between black and white, slave and free, they made you realize just how similar we all are.
To Kill A Mockingbird is about segregation in the South after the Civil War had been over for years. It deals with racism. You would think, then, that it would intrinsically isolate the two races from each other. It would paint their differences starkly. But it doesn’t. Scout and Jem – white kids – are raised by Cal, their hired black cook. She is the only mother figure they have ever known and no one loves those kids more than Cal. Cal is part of the family, loved deeply by both children and their father.
Woodlawn is a film about racism at a school in Alabama. You would think that it would only serve to remind people of their differences and of the history of slavery in this country. But it doesn’t. The white coach of the football team doesn’t see the color of his players’ skin. He sees hurting boys who are desperate for someone to look up, to be a father to them. This need transcends race.
Even more controversial stories like Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn seek to bring people of different races together. Evangeline didn’t see the color of someone’s skin. Huck and Jim were best friends and Huck risked his neck to save Jim even though it was illegal. Because beneath their skin, they were two runaways who didn’t belong.
Write stories about people who are different from each other. Different races, different religions, different morals. But don’t forget to write the resemblances as well. The underlying influences that make us all the same.
Okay that got really deep. I’m sorry, Kenzie. All your followers seem to have fallen asleep?
WAKE UP, YOU PEASANTS!
How can you possibly be dozing off at a time like this?
*slaps you all with a rotten biscuit*
There. Now that you are all properly awake again, please allow me a moment to squeal and fangirl for eternity because KATE ACTUALLY WROTE A GUEST POST FOR MY BLOG
WHILST STUFFED IN A BROOM CLOSET (#technicalities) I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS ASDFGHJKL!!!!!
Seriously, guys. This is like a dream come true for me. If you happen to be among my Ultimate Stalkers, you should already be aware that I have never ever had a guest post on Smudged Thoughts before.
Until now, that is.
And my very first guest post was written by none other than my smol twin, Kate, who, if you are currently unaware, is literally the coolest and funniest and most amazing person to ever have existed in this galaxy.
(can you tell how much I adore this human? CAN YOU???)
I am on a cloud, folks.
And for those of you who don’t already know this, Kate is THE MASTER when it comes to writing diversity in her stories.
thus the reason I asked her to write this post. Obviously.
It’s like she has a magical superpower, or something. I–being the extremely lucky bean that I am–have gotten to witness this first-hand
(because I am a special snowflake, obviously). And let me tell you–Kate never ever ever writes boring, stereotypical stories. Her ideas and plots are so unique and original and just so beautifully dark and soul-crushing that I am honestly in awe at her brilliance.
And her characters?
There is always diversity. And not just your run-of-the-mill cookie-cutter diversity, either.
I mean authentic diversity. Diversity that is so beautiful you can’t even comprehend it.
So for those of you who might be sitting there thinking, “But Kenzie! What could possibly qualify this human to teach us how to write diversity???” my answer to you is–
Everything, dear beans. Everything.
As I said, Kate is the master of diversity. And for a limp noodle like myself who can’t write a single sentence of diversity without feeling like I’ve botched the entire thing up, I am just so eternally honored that she has written this masterpiece for my blog.
and also taking notes like the ferocious chipmunk that I am because I NEED ALL THE INFORMATION, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
So I would just like to say the hugest of THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!‘s to my fabulous friend and twin for writing this brilliant post for my smol blog. I honestly cannot thank you enough, Kate! You are literally the bestest person/writer/blogger/friend/twin of ever!!! *squishes you in a hug*
And as for all you beautiful peeps still standing there, WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU EVEN STILL DOING HERE, SIR. You should be over at the Evil Overlord’s blog so that you can punch that follow button in the face and stuff cookies into the comment sections and also read my guest post that I wrote for Kate, which was posted on Sunday.
(in which I stuff her in a closet [#oops])
SO STOP LOITERING AROUND, MY MINIONS.
Go. Follow her blog. Shove cookies in her face and tell her Kenzie sent you
because that sounds really cool and I like sounding like a gang leader apparently. if you do not do this, I will probably murder you with a pitchfork. #fearme
talk to us, peasants!
So, Cyberspace! What did you think? Are you good at writing diverse characters? Did you absolutely fall in love with this post like I did? Did you learn something about writing diversity? (or a million things like me?) What are some of YOUR top tips for writing diversity? And most important of all. . .
ARE YOU FOLLOWING KATE’S BLOG???? Because if you are not, my dear bean, I shall STAB YOU WITH MY RUSTED PITCHFORK AND SLAP YOU WITH THE JELLYFISH (who is already very tired from being slapped around so much, obviously). So go be a good bean (for both me and the jellyfish) and follow her blog immediately, okay? Okay.
(I’ll stop shoving links in your face now.)
32 thoughts on “How To Accurately Portray Diverse Characters In Your Novel Without Being Insensitive (Literally The Worst Title You Have Ever Seen On This Blog)”
HOW DO I EVEN SAY ALL THAT I WANT TO SAY HERE??? I suppose I shall be mushy and sappy first.
Alright, Kate. You probably already know how much I adore your existence and your friendship and how you’re literally the bestest friend of ever. But I just want to say thank you SO ETERNALLY MUCH for writing this post for my blog. You said that I was an inspiration to you, but honestly, you’re an inspiration to me, as well. You are so insanely talented, and I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me, for all of our hilarious conversations, for writing this post so that I can understand how to write diversity and not be a limp noodle, and for just being my friend. You are the BEST. *hugs*
And now–THE POST! (Prepare for a long comment)
1. UM EXCUSE ME WHILST I GO WRITE THAT AMAZING STORY IDEA ABOUT THE HIGH HEELS, HAHAHAHAHA, I SHALL BECOME FAMOUS FOR THIS.
But also, THIS IS SUCH GOOD ADVICE??? I mean, women USUALLY ARE UNABLE TO ANNIHILATE AN ENTIRE ROOM OF MEN? It’s just not very plausible, given our size differences and muscular deficiency. (If course, not EVERY girl isn’t muscular) But still! These stereotypes NEED TO DIE!!!! And also the parents need to live because normal teenagers cannot exist without their parents??? Like where do you even find food???
And MOCKING the stereotypes is such a wonderful idea!!! I never really thought about it… Bringing stereotypes back from the dead sounds like so much fun… I HEARTILY APPROVE OF THIS.
2. RESEARCH IS MY SWORN ENEMY. *whispers* I don’t know that many diverse people…??? I AM A HERMIT, OKAY??? But I absolutely adore this idea, because it is such a wonderful way to meet people and learn about new cultures and disabilities and all that diverse stuff! So perhaps I should become less of a hermit…
SLAPPING PEOPLE WITH ELECTRIC BLOBS OF BLOB IS FUN AND I HEARTILY APPROVE.
3. This tip is just SO ADORABLE, SQUEE! Like yes! Everyone is a person and if people could just REALIZE THIS the world would be so much nicer. And THIS IS ALSO A WONDERFUL REALIZATION FOR WRITING. Like ‘some things are universal’ is my new writerly motto. I am stealing it from you. (#savewhoville!!!!!)
4. THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!! I thought I was the only one who thought Diversity had become like a checklist. It’s like if you DON’T have all of this diversity, your story isn’t good enough. SO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS BLESSED POST!!! (Also YESSSSS to the religion thing! Like WHY IS THIS NOT IN MORE FICTION???)
5. I totally agree with this!! Even though I’m terrible at writing diversity, I still feel like it shouldn’t be used TOO thickly. There should be enough that it is a mirror to the real world, yes, but not so that it’s TOO diverse to the point of coincidence.
6. Again…THANK YOU. I see SOOO many of these lists, and I really don’t feel like everlost has ANY of them??? But then I look at the list that I myself have for what I feel should be in more fiction, and I see traces of that in my story… SO THANK YOU FOR THIS. I really needed to hear that…
7. I am honestly in love with this jellyfish… And also, I, too, don’t like the Write What You Know advice! It MAKES NO SENSE FOR I KNOW NOTHING. XD But I love how you put it with, ‘write people the way you know people to be’. Like, that is a beautiful phrase… #stealingthattoo #thiscommentisgettingwaytoolong???
8. YES. JUST YES. Again, I really don’t like the diversity checklist, and I definitely DO NOT want to write terrible representations of characters… Or terrible representations of ANY characters. So I love how you say that every single character should be relatable!!! And also POOR JOHNNY!!! I feel you, bro. I feel you.
9. I AM TRYING TO SHORTEN THIS COMMENT BUT ASDFGHJKL YES!!! The flashing neon signs are so annoying! I love it when stories show rather than tell, and excuse me whilst I go change something in my current WIP because I THINK I DID THE FLASHING NEON SIGN #OOPS. (See? I’m learning!)
10. I think this probably has to be my favorite step of all, actually. You are SO right. Stories are meant to bring us together, not to divide, and I feel like that’s something writers often forget when writing all this diversity?? Because it seems like in all the push and shove to broadcast other cultures and races (WHICH IS WONDERFUL!!!), white people are getting put down simply for being white, and it’s dividing the races once again. But this was such a beautiful reminder of what stories are TRULY meant to be. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH OKAY??
Actually, I JUST LOVE THIS ENTIRE POST. You definitely do not have to respond to this giant if it is frightening you, and I wish I could go through and be even MORE detailed on what I love, but I think I’m probably maxing something out here, haha! XD
THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS AMAZING POST, KATE!!! And also for writing it for my blog!! YOU ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST!!!! *finally vanishes after writing a small novella*
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Oh. My. Kenzie and Kate, you literally just made me relate sooooo bad!!!!! I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one out there who feels like writers are pressured into putting as much diversity as possible into their books and if they don’t have a non-white/non-female/non-disabled/non-who-knows-what person as a character they are condemned to jail forever and ever and their books are going to be burned in the streets, and baadlfkhasf;j.
And Kenzie and Kate!!!! You literally just hit the nail on the head! THANK YOU for pointing out that one girl can’t just annihilate a roomful of men (I doubt if she could get past four, actually)!!! Like, people need to realize that women/girls aren’t these huge, muscular beings who are super strong and can do all these different things that men have a hard time doing because they’re stronger than men. Like, yes, there are very muscular women out there and I have been impressed with how much body strength some have, and some are, no doubt, stronger than some men, but as a general rule, they aren’t. It’s a fact. And that is coming from a girl, so don’t immediately scream “SEXIST!!!!!” at me. :P
And thank you again, Kenzie, for pointing out that it seems white people are being put down simply for being white! I feel like since most writers think that they have to put a lot of diversity in their books, white, non-disabled, male characters are disappearing because “that’s not diverse enough!”. And that in itself is discriminating, isn’t it? So, it’s like writers, by trying to not discriminate and put lots of diverse characters in, ARE discriminating by leaving out characters that are termed as “not diverse enough”.
But I’m totally not saying that I feel like diversity in books is the worst thing ever known to mankind on this habitable earth. I’m just saying that I hate it when it’s forced in just for the sake of meeting the “diversity checklist”, and that people are made to feel like it’s the worst thing ever if you DON’T put diversity in your book/s.
And I’m so sorry for the long comment, but I really hope that all made sense! :) And great post, Kate and Kenzie!! Loved it! <3 <3 :)
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DUDE YOU SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN THIS POST. WOW.
I heartily agree with ALL of what you just said, okay??? HARDCORE RELATE.
I think as writers a Big Decision is in front of us… Please The Masses or write Good Stories. And seriously, ladies, LET’S DO THE SECOND ONE!!!
I WILL STAND BY YOUUUUUUUUUUU!!!
Yes, yes, and YES. Also why us it a roomful of men????? Maybe women could fight OTHER WOMEN for once???? Or a mix of both genders????? PLEASE??? As it is, it kiiiinda feels like a Statement of “Ha! Girls are so cool that ONE girl can beat up TEN dudes!!! In high heels!!!” It’s insulting and unrealistic. Ugh.
It makes me SAD that white people are now under attack simply for Being White or… Being the Majority or Not Diverse. Whut is this.
It’s like… Reverse Discrimination????? I am so confused at the world, tbh. Let’s just stop causing EVEN MORE division!!!!
Thanks for reading and commenting and YO! DON’T LISTEN TO THEM!!! YOUR STORIES WILL BE AWESOME – DIVERSE OR NOT OKAY?!?
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Lol, thank you!! I probably would have just said the same things you did, though. :P
YES!!! That’s exactly it!! And really, I think that by writing good stories and not trying to please the masses will inherently PLEASE the masses, because I really think that people, as a whole, don’t care about whether a book meets the “acceptable” amount of diversity; so long as it’s a good story, they’ll like it. It’s just that some die-hard supporters of “Diversity!!!!” hype about it on the internet, radio, etc. which makes everyone think that’s the popular thing to do (which then makes it the popular thing to do). That might be just me, though. :P
TOGETHER WE CAN DO THIS!!!! :P
Lol, well first you have to show that “women are MUCH stronger than men so this woman can totally beat up a roomful of guys with no problem at all,” and second, that would TOTALLY be unfair for the woman, wouldn’t it??? Because it would be easier to fight a bunch of men, because obviously they are weaker than her, but to fight women?? She might be beaten in that case!!
Ikr?? It’s almost as if people are saying, “You know, since black people had it hard decades ago (which I agree, they did have it hard back then), we need to reverse that and instead of making it such that blacks and whites (and other races) can dwell peaceably together and forgive and forget past mistakes, let’s lift the blacks up as a superior race, and put down the whites!!!” And then the whole “skin color shouldn’t matter” goes out the window. And I certainly agree that people should not be judged according to their skin color; but if you don’t want blacks to be judged just because of the color of their skin, the same thing should apply to whites (don’t judge them either according to their color). Anyway. I will stop ranting at the world. :P
Lol, thank you! I enjoyed reading! And yes! It’s so hard to just forget about going with the flow and trying to change my story into something such that it “fits in” with “correct thinking”! But you’ve definitely encouraged me to just write the way I want, and not worry about “what everybody else thinks is the correct thing to have in a book”, so thanks a lot for the post!! :)
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This is true…
I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT, SIR! Like seriously, people love stories! And good stories are the ones that stick with us, whether they top the charts (or whatever!) or not. The Super Diverse books might win a gazillion awards, but good stories will stand the test of time. LET’S WRITE STORIES LIKE THAT. And let’s NOT making winning people’s approval our main goal because people can tell when you’re being a suckup and they don’t typically like you for it (well, unless THEY’RE the person being sucked up to, of course…). So. BOLDLY GO FORTH AND WRITE THE BEST STORY YOU CAN. Amen.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Wow. I had not even thought of that. 12/10 recommend using that sort of logic to SLAY THE MASSES, my friend!!!
*sigh* I know. Racism is STILL a thing, I don’t argue that. But creating new labels just serves to divide people more… And why should I feel guilty for something I can’t help (my Scandinavian ancestry)????
YOU ARE VERY WELCOME. And know that your book doesn’t need to change to be AWESOME, OKAY???
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THANK YOU!! I will henceforth keep that in mind!!! :)
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I’m just sitting here silently laughing at the ‘seriously, ladies, LET’S DO THE SECOND ONE!!!’ XD XD XD
I totally agree with stopping division. Like WE ARE DOING THIS TO OURSELVES???? Why is it that no matter, we always seem to be divided by our color? It literally makes NO SENSE.
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I KNOW, RIGHT??? This post is an absolute MASTERPIECE!!! I am SOOOO proud of my twin!!!! Exactly! Diversity should not be a checklist….
I totally agree! There are definitely some strong women out there, but personally, I am a limp noodle and can barely lift a gallon of milk (coughoverexaggerationcough), so girls like moi should be represented, too!!!
Yes, exactly! I just feel like the book-world, and the world in general, should stop fretting over how diverse everything is, and just write and show the world how it truly is. There are white people. There are dark skinned people. There are medium tones and pale tones and creamy coffee tones (that I simply adore and wish I had, to be honest), and we just need to show it how it is.
Oh no, I totally understand!! Diversity is a WONDERFUL thing! And I definitely agree with you!! (And Kate, who, once again WROTE SUCH AN AMAZING POST, ACK!!!)
Long comments are wonderful!!! XD And I TOTALLY AGREE! I LOVED THIS POST SO MUCH, EEEK!!!
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I love our friendship and you and this post and the fun I had writing it and just EVERYTHING, okay??? Like you shouldn’t even thank me because I loved doing it so much!!!
I love long comments, you know this!!!
1 – NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO IT’S MIIIIIIIIIIIINEEEEE!!! Honestly, if I ever get around to it (or you do) I think this story would be super fun??? Like there is so much possibility… like why is she wearing high heels??? Is she a spy??? I’m so confused?? Because when I kill someone, I wear something PRACTICAL… tennis shoes, basically. So I feel like she really needs a good reason to be wearing something so painful??? I NEED ANSWERS!!!
Like I really like Black Widow, but that one scene where she is just wearing like high heels and this tight dress and tons of makeup and has her hair all perfectly styled and I just want to scream at the screen because whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. It maketh NOT SENSE!!!!
And I agree (obviously… I did write the post, after all)!!! Not only are girls typically a bit smol, but where are the ONLY dudes in the room???? EVERY. STINKIN. TIME. WHY. Like isn’t THAT sexist??? Shouldn’t there be an EQUAL mix??????
Like I’m SURE that some girls are super trained and awesome and skilled and maybe know how to make the MOST of their smol size and clever brains… but why can’t they fight other girls sometimes??? I think that would be kind of cool!!!!!!
I’m just saying… it doesn’t come across like “wow, that girl is so cool and strong!!” – it seems more like “wow that girl HATES men!!” And I DO. NOT. LIKE.
Bahahahahahaaha same!!! Teenagers need food!!!
Yesssss!!! So many stereotypes have faded and would be fun to bring back and give a new twist!!!
2 – I’m sure you do know all sorts of diverse people!! You’re just so used to their diversity that you don’t notice it anymore!!!
3 – YES.
4 – Agh, I have been thinking this for aaaages!! And YES. I would venture to say that EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEAN in the universe is influenced in a huge way by religion but fiction is just wiped utterly clean of it???? Wut. Like… Unrealistic Cool Christians sometimes show up… Slightly More Realistic Pushy Christians occasionally show up… Atheists are common… Vague Other Religions float about as well… BUT! What if… AND HOLD ONTO YOUR HAT BECAUSE THIS IS PRETTY WILD!!! … What if we wrote ACTUAL religions and wrote them REALISTICALLY??? Whoa. Wouldn’t that be crazy!!!!
5 – Yeah… let’s not make things Awkward!!!
6 – I knoooooooooooooooowwwww!! I’ve seen them too and you just have this moment of panic like “oh my word! My book is so lame!!” But it’s NOT. Really, it isn’t. Write your awesome story!!!! (Another awkward moment is when you see a list of things people DON’T like in stories… and everything on the list can be found in YOUR BOOK???? Like… “ooooops!!! Guess I’m gonna have to rewrite the WHOLE THING ahhahhahahahahah SOB”)
7 – This point was confusing, tbh. I was confused by myself. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY, KATE??? Like do we write what we know or NOT???? I think I was kind of reiterating points 2 and 3… like if you know someone in real life like that then people can’t mock you??? And that people are the same everyone, so… use that??? NOT EVEN SURE.
8 – I AM JOHNNY.
9 – That’s what multiple drafts are for!!! But yes, we should always endeavor to SHOW the IMPORTANT stuff and not just blurt it awkwardly.
10 – Awwwww, thank you!! This means a lot to me… Stories are this BEAUTIFUL thing!! And when people use them like WEAPONS to rip people apart and erect BARRIERS between different sorts of people… they’re ABUSING the beautiful gift of Story. And that’s not right. RESPECT THE POWER OF STORIES.
Bahahahahaha, I am waaaaaaaay too Obsessive to not reply to a comment!!! Besides, I loved this!! Everything you had to say was lovely and brilliant and gah, I just feel so lucky to be your friend!!!
(I liked your novella!!)
I am so happy you had fun writing it!!! It really shows in the post, too! And also, I absolutely love how proud you are of this masterpiece. Like seriously, it’s constantly making me grin like some bizarre purple cat. (#CHESHIRECATREFERENCEWUT)
Oh goodness, I’m not ACTUALLY going to steal your idea. That would just be horrible. BUT YOU MUST WRITE IT SO THAT WE CAN LEARN THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS!!! Although, I really do feel like she’s some psychopathic spy. Also, it’s strange how you say you wear tennis shoes when murdering someone. I always go barefoot. It really frees my feet for combat.
Oh, I know, right?? Black Widow is a prodigy or something, because 1) STYLED HAIR??? HAHA, RIGHT. 2) TIGHT DRESS?? Ew. No thank you. 3) High heels are blech. And 4) killing a roomful of men is slightly unrealistic. And that’s actually a very good point! There SHOULD be an equal mix. Or at least have SOME women getting beaten to a bloody pulp. It would make it more realistic.
I know! Girls battling girls with nothing but their high heels would be SO much more interesting. There definitely needs to be more of that in today’s fiction.
Ugh, exactly. :P It’s just very unrealistic in my humble opinion. XD
2. That’s a good way of looking at it… Actually, the more I think about it, I think you’re right??? I DO know quite a few diverse people… It’s just…it’s so normal to me at this point???? Okay, this is just weird…
4. Okay, so YES. Yes to the unrealistic cool Christians and the slightly more realistic pushy Christians (we have all met these people, haven’t we?? XD They are slightly annoying, even to me…). And I know that this is slightly off-topic, but WHAT IN THE WORLD IS UP WITH CHRISTIAN FICTION???? Like, I get that some Christians might like to read about Amish love stories and all that–everyone has their own taste, but please oh PLEASE can we get some action/adventure/fantastical Christian fiction up in here?????? Where are the magical realms that are clean???? NOT EVERY CHRISTIAN WOMAN GOES BACK HOME TO TRY AND HEAL A BROKEN HEART AND “OH LOOK!” there’s some cute farmer boy who’s had a DARK AND DANGEROUS past that has been haunting his every footstep since his terrible last marriage, and now together–with God guiding them, of course–can they both heal their broken hearts????
JUST NO. STOP. PLEASE.
OH MY WORD THAT IS WILD NO STOP IT. WE CANNOT WRITE REALISTIC RELIGION. THIS IS BLASPHEMY.
6. Oh my word, I KNOW! Cait actually wrote a post of some things she didn’t like reading about in stories, and like EVERY SINGLE THING was in everlost, and I sort of had a brief period of complete rethinking everything. But then I realized that I was writing this story and it was amazing and I would just keep pushing through… XD Also, THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS!!! You are so encouraging and amazing!!!!
7. I LIKED IT. And it is SOO true…
8. No, I’m Johnny. Obviously.
9. Thank goodness for those later drafts, amiright??? XD XD XD XD XD *distant sobbing* Also, I always blurt things awkwardly… #fail
10. Oh my word, I love how you put this!!!! Just YES! This exactly!!!! RESPECT THE STORY, PEOPLE. RESPECT IT.
Awwwwww!!!! YAY!!! I am glad it wasn’t too daunting for you to reply back, haha! XD and I am so lucky to be YOUR friend!!! #luckyfriends
I’m just so happy it turned out well because your blog is so amazing I wouldn’t want to ruin your perfect record!!!
Muahahahahahah!! Well I don’t fight with my toes so. #MakesSoMuchSense
I actually like Black Widow (#shocking) but there are a few scenes that have me rolling mine eyes over here. ;)
GIRLS BATTLING GIRLS YASSSSSS.
Well in Sunshine, all the teenagers are pretty much helpless doofs who rely on Daddy to save and feed them so I’m balancing the world out, thank goodness. ;))))
2. I’m psychic.
4. IT’S SAD BUT TRUE – THOSE CHRISTIANS EXIST. But hey, so do the less-annoying ones!!! Can we please get some rep for those guys??? EW EW EW EW EW EW EW WHO EVEN WRITES THAT AMISH FICTION OHMYWORD IT IS SO HORRIBLE HIDE ME. And yesssssss, thank you for saying those words. Ergh. The dark cowboy man who is all wounded from his Previous Marriage, gah. (Psssssstt!!! The Song of Seare trilogy is CHRISTIAN fantasy. And so is the Corus the Champion/Song of Unmaking series – I can’t remember the exact title??? And… the Tales of Goldstone Wood series (which I didn’t like unfortunately) and the Safe Lands trilogy by Jill Williamson and Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore (but I didn’t like that trilogy actually…) and Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul (which I didn’t like either…) ANYWAY. There is some stuff out there but only one in ten is actual good quality writing in my opinion but it is a picky opinion so take all of this with a grain of salt, as they say…)
6. Oh noooo!!!! :)))))) SAME THOUGH. Like… exactly the same thing happened to me, which is why I think this is important to know. Especially for beginner writers who might be tempted to give up anyway.
8. No you are not!!!
9. Eeeeek. Has there ever been a book in the history of books that didn’t require five thousand drafts to get right???? AHAHAHAHAHAH OBVIOUSLY THE ANSWER IS NO.
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HA! That is adorable. This blog has seen plenty of random and terrible posts that I am personally ashamed of. There is literally nothing you could have done to beat any of THOSE. XD
But toe fighting is so much more fun…
Yeah, she’s very cool! Definitely an unrealistic prodigy in some cases, but still cool! XD
YOU ARE GOING TO SAVE THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE WITH SUNSHINE, YOU DO REALIZE THIS RIGHT???
2. Apparently. That’s simultaneously terrifying and amazing.
4. YES!!!! PLEASE give us more rep for the non-annoying Christians!!! PLEASE. Oh my word, you are a life-saver!!!! I must add these (or the ones you say are good, at least) to my ever growing TBR… Also, I REALLY WANT to read the Song of Seare, but MY LAME LIBRARY DANGFLABBIT!!!! Thank you SO much for these recs, though!!!! It is very refreshing to know that there are fantasy realms out there that are nice and won’t make me want to rip an eyeball out…
6. Yet another reason why we are #twins. XD I definitely agree. Never read those kinds of lists as a newbie writer. It would probably be crippling… XD
8. YES I AM HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
9. I’m hoping so… I’m almost ready to dump everlost and try again with a new story but I’M HOLDING ON TO THE HOPE THAT THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. Please. I need this. WAIT. YOU JUST SAID THE ANSWER WAS NO… #ohdear
*screek* Sunshine has been on the back burner for far too long, but I DO hope to break some lame old tropes and bring a little sense to the table.
READING THIS NOW IS LIKE TIME TRAVEL BECAUSE YOU ARE DONE EVERLOST NOW???? *mind explodes*
Ah yes!! But this is only because you are currently writing about an adorable smol snowflake who is perfection in every way and who I love dearly with my Vulcan heart. (i’m talking about Snow, by the way. aha. see what i did there?)
Weeeeeeell…not necessarily DONE. But done with the second draft, which is weird… I’m kind of working on the third now? This rewrite thing in the middle is HUUUGGGEE, so it’s kind of like a new draft??? Maybe??? Maybe not??? XD (i’m thinking about starting a side-project, though??? i’m not sure though. i want to keep my focus primarily on EV…)
WOW I AM SO BRILLIANT.
Also awwwwwwww!!! That postscript!!!! (Mine was positively cold in comparison!! I feel bad now…)
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YOU ARE SO BRILLIANT. YOU ARE A STAR.
Um…no. Your postscript was literally the bestest thing in the history of ever. I feel like mine was almost a blatant copy, but I DIDN’T MEAN FOR IT TO BE!!!!
AW THANKS!!! *hugs*
No!!! You never copy anyone for you are brilliant!!!
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HAHAHAHAHAHA! Let us hope that is the case… *squints suspiciously at current WIP*
I just adore this entire thing.
I have nothing else to say.
*lots of clapping* *Flowers are thrown*
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*throws chocolate at you*
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THANK YOU, KATE, MY DEAR FRIEND.
*noms chocolate ^-^*
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You are always and forever welcome, my friend!!!
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WASN’T IT WONDERFUL????? *claps with you* *eats flowers* *gags*
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Everything about this post is the bomb. The actual post, Kenzie’s postscript, the comment section. #Blogpostgoals XD Y’all are fantastic. Also concerning #10: I do believe J.R.R. Tolkien frowning upon you is the most frightening threat you could give a nerd. O.O May it never be! The Kate shall be obeyed.
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Thank you, thank you, thank you… (Wasn’t the postscript sweet, though?!? Asfhkkkhfsdgh!)
We are #goals. Yes.
I knooooow. I LIVE IN TERROR.
Wow that is my new motto >>> THE KATE SHALL BE OBEYED.
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Awwwwwww!!! Thank you SO much, you wonderful bean!!!! (Obviously I cannot take credit for the main post, but I DID WRITE THAT POSTSCRIPT, SO WHOO!!! 😂😂😂)
I LITERALLY SCREAMED. J.R.R. Tolkien frowning upon you is TERRIFYING. (okay, so maybe I didn’t scream but I COULD HAVE!!!! 😂😂😂)
I need that in a hashtag… #theKateshallbeobeyed
“and not all romances are falling apart or patterned after a certain geometric shape that I despise.”
This is my favorite line in the whole post. XD
Any sort of You Must Write This In Your Story Checklist is a a checklist I despise. And if I do think up a story idea that fits within such a checklist, I start wondering if it naturally sprang up, or if it’s just from the Societal Checklist Pressure and I’m just like, “Let my characters and settings spring up naturally, please.”
DO THINGS NATURALLY AND ORGANICALLY AND FROM WHAT YOU OBSERVE IN THE REAL WORLD! And what clicks for you.
That is all.
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Ha!! Thanks, Jethan! YOU DA BEST.
Exactly so!!! Nobody should be making you feel like your book MUST CONTAIN a whole litany of items – or it’s garbage. #lies
Amen and AMEN.
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That line is PERFECTION!!!
Oh my word!!! YES!!! After a while I begin falling under that societal checklist peer pressure and I just begin questioning EVERYTHING. It’s no fun to have outside people dictating how and what you write… :(((( YES! LET ALL OF THE THINGS BE NATURAL!!!
This advice is absolutely perfect… #newlifemotto
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Well done, Kate! These points are excellent, and give me hope that I may yet see a well written- and actually diverse- book.
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Thank you so much!!! I BELIEVE IN YOU, FRIEND.
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WASN’T THIS POST PERFECTION??? And oh my word, just wait until she gets her stories published!!! She is SOOOOOO good at writing diversity!!! It is BRILLIANT.