How Can I Make My Cast of Characters More Diverse?

Think of all of the books you’ve read recently. Of those books, how many of them had white male protagonists? Probably most of them, right? Of those remaining, how many of them had white female protagonists? Is that your whole library? The world’s a big place, but unfortunately, media can be pretty myopic. Thankfully, as writers, we can change that. Here are some ways to make your cast of characters more diverse.

Female Perspective

Male protagonists are more common than female protagonists. That’s true for movies, where men take55% of all speaking parts. It’s also true for books, especially children’s books. Boys grow up seeing themselves as the heroes of the media they consume, while girls are relegated to minor roles at best. Writing layered and nuanced female characters will make your writing better, more interesting and more memorable.

GNC Representation

Of course, including female perspectives is just the beginning. While female protagonists are a minority, gender nonconforming (GNC) protagonists are almost unheard of. Thankfully, content creators like J.Y. Yang and Rebecca Sugar are leading the charge against cisnormativity in media, but all things still aren’t equal. We can do better as writers by including trans, nonbinary, and intersex characters in our work.

Racially Diverse

Truly diverse media should be racially diverse as well. People of color rarely see themselves portrayed as complex, three-dimensional beings in media. Racial diversity is about more than just including characters of color. Accuracy and empathy are also important. If you are writing an African-American character then it’s recommended that you study black culture to get a better understanding of that character’s perspective.

Sensitivity

In an ideal world, content creators from all walks of life would be represented equally. We do not live in an ideal world. Chances are, as a writer, you have some kind of privilege. Everybody does. That’s why sensitivity readers exist. As privileged people, it is our responsibility to amplify the voices of those without privilege and not to smother them. If you are writing about an underprivileged group that you don’t belong to, it’s critical that you listen to people from that group. Hire sensitivity readers. Don’t get defensive when they criticize your work. They know their world better than you do.

When people talk about diversity in media, they talk about it like it’s a trend. Like pogs or bell-bottom jeans, diversity will be out someday. That’s not true, though. Diversity is all around us. It always has been and it always will be. Whether or not we portray that diversity is up to us.

Here’s another article you might enjoy: How to Write a Convincingly Car-Savvy Character

How to Write a Convincingly Car-Savvy Character

You’re writing away and you realize that one of your major characters is a car nut and you don’t know your wheel well from a wishing well. How can you make your story work? Check out these tips for how to more convincingly write a character who knows a lot about cars.

They’ve Always Got a Project

You can tell the car fanatics by the car sitting in their garage in some degree of disrepair. Maybe the vehicle is jacked up so that the character can roll under it, seemingly not nervous at all about oil or other car fluids dripping down on them. Maybe they have a pile of protective aftermarket accessories they’re getting ready to install. Give them a minute and they will fill you in on their latest improvement on their car. They also spend a lot of time detailing their main car and might even enjoy building their dream rides in miniature versions.

They See the World Differently

To a car person, a sports car isn’t just a sports car and a truck isn’t just a truck—they’re likely to know about these things, so they will be specific. Did you know that there are actually six different categories of trucks? What about the major sports car makers? You need to research these things in order to write a car character realistically. He or she might also use car-related lingo regularly in their speech. For example, instead of saying that they are tired of waiting, car enthusiasts might say something like, “Put it in gear, and let’s go!” instead. 

They Have a Deep Understanding of Car Mechanics

Let’s face it—a car-savvy person isn’t really a car-savvy person unless he or she has a deep understanding of how cars work and talks like it. You could illustrate a character’s knowledge by having them mention different parts of cars and offer expertise to other characters on how to fix their cars. Think about the parts of cars that an average person wouldn’t know a ton about. Have the car-savvy character be the voice of knowledge when it comes to figuring out what a car does. These things will set your character apart as someone who is especially car-savvy compared to the other characters. 

If you don’t know much about cars yourself, you’ll need to make sure you do adequate research so you can make your character more realistic. If you really want to understand a car-savvy character, you might consider learning how to fix a car or taking a class on auto mechanics. Every little bit you learn will take you that much closer to creating a realistic character who’s a car enthusiast.

For more help with your characters, contact me to review your story and I’ll give you some tips!

Yes…Writing is Work!

Authors, you may have experienced this but nothing flares my irritation than someone who says “Oh, a writer? It’s pretty easy, I just don’t have time to do it.” or it’s variations. Am I about to rant? More than likely.

I find it very interesting how many people truly don’t understand what writers and authors do. I have the opportunity of doing both, a freelance writer who writes blog posts, listicles, and articles for companies and an author who writes stories and novellas. They are two totally separate jobs and they still make me sweat blood and tears.

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Goodbye Smashwords, I’m through.

My new book Jassik Creed & The Meek Prince will be the last book I will be uploading to Smashwords.com. This tickled the back of my mind for a while, but after several infuriating attempts to get my book on to their market, I’m fed up with them and will no longer be using their services. Let me explain.

I will also be discussing a different platform that I am going to, and it might sound like product placement, but it isn’t. I’m seriously pissed with the struggle I have gone through.

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The Indie Author #3 – Writer’s Block. What to do?

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6008927/height/90/theme/custom/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/cd1515/” height=”90″ width=”100%” placement=”top” theme=”custom”]

Writer’s block. Even the best writer suffers from it, and nobody escapes. This podcast is more about making sure you have writer’s block than actually having a process issue with your story. It also follows up with some tips and tricks that might help you get that story moving again.

The Indie Author #1: The Freelancer

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5961526/height/90/theme/custom/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/cd1515/” height=”90″ width=”100%” placement=”top” theme=”custom”]Books are a writer's best friend, just like a podcastI like to talk a lot and sometimes I think both my wife and my muse get irritated at me saying the same thing over and over. I’m passionate about writing and I’m passionate about other subjects like computer programming and Star Trek: Online. My wife loves the story conversations but not so much the other two.

So, she inspired me to create a podcast where I can not only talk to other self-published and independently published authors but also give us a chance to commiserate together. My podcast is not going to be designed to teach as much as it is going to discuss what’s going on with the freelance/publishing world and to just go over some of the common struggles we authors have.

Interested? You can sign up for the podcast in any of your mobile apps you have or listen to him here at jtworld.net as new episodes come out! Want to keep up on other things like new stories I’m releasing or news and tidbits? You can do that also by signing up for my newsletter!

Hang in there, we can get through this writing life together!