Hello SE readers, Gwen with you today and together we’ll review and conclude the series on diversity and character development. Over the last several months, we have considered religion, race, wealth, physical ability, and gender identity as elements to ponder when creating fictional characters. There are many, many other facets to this important topic, but hopefully these five areas can serve to stimulate ideas for introducing character differences.
A little side note. My mom was an identical twin. She and her sister were much alike, so much so that Ancestory.com claims I have nine half-siblings, not cousins. Mom and my aunt looked alike, had common interests, had nine children each, and married a man named James — and yet there were distinctions.
I share the above because, among the eight billion people on this beautiful planet, not one is a carbon copy of another. Writers have an incredible freedom to create the impossible — characters we know, love, hate, and sometimes think about for a long, long time. I hope this series has assisted with that endeavor.
One of the joys in writing this series was reading the responses from each of you. The collective wisdom was and is humbling. Let’s look at a few of the comments:
- Humans are complex and full of that great unknown. We are truly all different, yet so much the same. We each yearn to be loved, to be accepted, to figure out who we are and where we fit in. It’s life. ~Beem Weeks
- I’ve often found that once I MEET someone who’s different than I am, I find the things that make me care about them. I see them as a person instead of a label, and then I understand them better. ~Judi Lynn
- I like stories with flawed characters because they depict the reality of different kinds of people living in a world where people learn to overcome and accept others. ~Pat Garcia
- These days, when putting disability into my books, I find many readers want a positive slant on it and are intolerant of what they see as a ‘weak’ character if I draw that person as anything but well-adjusted, which is both unrealistic and a shame. ~Harmony Kent
- It is important to understand not only how we view the have and have nots but see it from all sides. Bringing this into our characters can add that extra depth so we can understand from another point of view. ~D.L. Finn
- One thing that has always bugged me when I read some novels that have characters of different races, whiteness is assumed. The only time a character’s race is brought up is when they are not white. ~Janis
- The notion of ‘walking in someone else’s shoes’ is an excellent one and guarantees a layer of authenticity that no amount of reading can capture completely. ~Trish Power
- I love your advice to dive deep into character and leave the shallow stereotypes behind. Readers want characters that are real and relatable, and depth is how we get there. ~Diana Wallace Peach
Thank you for accompanying me through this series. I’ve learned a lot from the shared experience. Have a wonderful weekend!