Character Development and Diversity

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 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!

56 thoughts on “Character Development and Diversity

  1. This has been a wonderful series, Gwen. It is beautifully written, easy to understand, and has that added personal touch, as you’ve introduced us to some of those who have helped form you into the person we all love and cherish here. Thank you for creating this amazing series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That your mother and her twin were so similar is interesting. I read an article once about adopted children. My dad and I used to argue about how much genetics and nurturing made a person who he is. I argued on the side of nurturing, but genetics play a much bigger role than I realized. The study looked at twins who were separated at birth by adoption. And after being raised by entirely different parents with different lifestyles, the twins ended up making very similar life choices. It was astounding! I really enjoyed your series. It made me think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve enjoyed your series on diversity, Gwen. Such fascinating and even mind-blowing posts. Even though I’ve been writing for what feels like forever, there’s so so much to learn. You, as well as the whole SE team, have opened my eyes to many avenues and thoughts. Thank you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My mother was deaf. She had many fine qualities, but she also had her flaws. I think if you write a person as the perfect disabled person, you are doing them a disservice. For instance, my mother was very inflexible. This characteristic was a direct result of her disability. She couldn’t hear the other side of many conversations. It was impossible for her to truly understand the world she lived in and the people in that world. The fact she never learned sign language compounded the issue. This didn’t make her a bad person.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Isn’t it wonderful how different we all are? How terribly boring otherwise. How funny that, confuses your cousins and siblings. Biology, the measurable part of who we are, is so tiny compared to the vast sea of experience and personality. Great collection of quotes from comments, Gwen. I loved that and was grateful that I said something intelligent enough to include. Lol. This was a wonderful series. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When you first announced this series I did wonder how it would pan out – we live in a world now that’s fraught with dangers regarding our responses to diversity and this was a courageous step on your part. What you’ve achieved is to turn a spotlight onto several major issues and given me pause for thought about them. It’s been genuinely beneficial to read your examples and consider aspects of diversity that might have slipped my attention otherwise. An excellent choice, Gwen, and a valuable one. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a journey this has been, Gwen. The whole series has been wonderfully presented, each segment providing insight and much to ponder. The quotes you pulled couldn’t have wrapped it up better.

    And I loved the glimpse of your mom and her twin sister. How intriguing that they each had nine children and each married a man named James!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This has been an amazing and eye-opening series, Gwen. I love the personal touch you’ve given each segment using your own experiences as examples. How amazing that your mother and her twin had so many similarities, even to marrying men named James. It’s uncanny. Thank you for presenting some tough topics in such a relatable way!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. This has been a great series, Gwen, and I love the way you wrapped it up. The quote from Sharon made me realize I’d never stopped to think about that before.

    You’ve given me much to think about when creating characters.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Pingback: Character Development and Diversity — Story Empire – Reaching out; one person at a time

  11. Pingback: Character Development and Diversity | Legends of Windemere

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