• The Wacky Writer

Diversity VS Stereotypes by Nicole Nadeau


Today I would like to welcome guest writer, Nicole Nadeau. Enjoy!

*************************************


Variety is the spice of life. The world would be boring and stale if we were all the same. No excitement. As writers are starting to see that, we’re seeing more and more diverse characters.


But sometimes we wish we didn’t. Often, authors don’t know how to write those characters. They can’t relate to their character’s background, ethnicity, or other factors that might play a key role. Or the writer is simply misinformed. Which leads to the biggest pitfall when dealing with diversity.


Stereotypes. (Insert groaning).


Stereotypes aren’t just wrong, they’re hurtful. They mis-characterize a group of people by labeling them something they’re not. Think Dumb Blonde, Smart Asians, and so many more that I don’t feel comfortable listing them all.

Readers want to connect to the characters, and they can if they feel represented. But they’re more likely to throw the book down if they feel like the writer is stereotyping them.


And sadly, I can speak from experience.


I, myself, am in a wheelchair. I was born with something called SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), a form of muscular dystrophy. I can’t walk and my muscles are much weaker than the average person’s. But I still live a fun and happy life.


Enter the stereotype: Jojo Moyes’ romance novel Me Before You depicts the love story of Louisa Clark as she becomes the aide for quadriplegic Will Traynor, a wealthy and successful young man who became paralyzed after being struck by a motorcycle. They inevitably fall in love, but Will decides that he doesn’t want to live in a wheelchair, so he ends his life with the help of an assisted suicide organization.


Let me get this straight: a man with loads of money, a girl that loves him, and a whole life ahead of him chooses to die just because he’s in a wheelchair?


Are you kidding me?


Naturally, this upset me and many other handicapped people. But this is an example of the stereotype that those with disabilities can’t live full and meaningful lives. Which couldn’t be more wrong.


Stereotypes are horrible. They’re untrue and can ruin even the most well-crafted characters. But they shouldn’t be the reason to not write diverse characters.


Interview people that come from that background. Research. Or you can draw from your own experiences. By doing just that, you can create a diverse and fleshed out character that the reader can relate to. They’re supposed to feel like they’re real. So, make them real.


Also, don’t write a diverse character just to round out your cast. Let them do something. Let them fall in love, screw up, and save the day. Readers want diversity, yes, but they don’t want those characters to just sit on the bench. If you write them into your story, give them a role to play.


People—both real and fictional—come in all shapes and sizes. Having a diverse cast of characters will add to your story and ground it. And it helps readers better connect to it.


Just make sure you’re writing diversity, not a stereotype.

******************************************************************************


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Nadeau grew up in Springboro, Ohio, with her older sister, Paige, and younger brother, Mark. While she has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), she doesn’t let that stop her and is busy planning the next book in the Secret Life of Anna Goode series.


Death By Midnight: The Secret Life of Anna Goode can be purchased on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1708963103/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

© 2020 made with love by The Wacky Writer