Random Notes on Writing and Diversity

Just some bullet-points I’ve thrown together, about a pretty big topic these days.

  • This isn’t ‘SJW snowflake liberal cuckoldry’. It’s realism. Real life is diverse. If your fiction isn’t, that’s on you as a writer. (Plus, you should get that it’s important people are represented anyway, but hey.)
White genocide in action.
  • As with anything, some people will have unreasonable demands, and you will never totally please everyone. But you should still try to do a decent job. Think of diversity like any other aspect of writing – you research it, do your best, and take advice and criticism appropriately.

  • Men writing female characters – there’s a lot to say about the Bechdel Test and annoying tropes. But for a start, can we at least not be like this:

  • Characters don’t need a ‘reason’ to be black or gay or anything else. People are just born like they are. Does your character’s hair colour need a reason to be what it is?

  • ‘It’s unrealistic how many […] characters there are in…’ If the writer is going to absurd lengths to try to cover every possible angle, you have a fair point. But aside from that, remember that people like to associate with others like themselves. Is it unrealistic, or just not your experience?

  • ‘But this historical period…’ Are you absolutely sure? Really, no foreign traders or anything? Nobody’s in the closet? You might be right, in which case fair enough. But if your version of Ancient Greece is completely straight, your research slipped up somewhere.

Raphael school of Athens
  • ‘Ah, but in my fictional world of…’ So your worldbuilding has the full details of a steampunk society powered by burning the blubber of sky-whales – daily life, ecology, politics, history, five paragraphs about perfumes made using sky-whale bile. But you can’t (or didn’t choose to) imagine someone who isn’t white, or a woman who (i) isn’t a package of copy-pasted tropes and (ii) talks to another woman at some point? Why? This is a bizarre lapse in imagination.

  • There are so many resources out there now. Use them.

There’s a lot more to be said about all this, but these basic points are hopefully a place to start.

5 thoughts on “Random Notes on Writing and Diversity

  1. I gotta go breast boobily now… that was hilarious. These are all good suggestions. Have you ever run across the idea that writing across race/gender/religion is cultural appropriation? There was a discussion about it in a writing group I follow (but rarely engage with) and the opinions seemed to run to the extreme. Really, we are writers. Imagination and empathy are requirements of the job. If you want diversity in your writing, just make sure you do your homework and have a friend or colleague check your work. Enjoy the rest of your day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. I think it *can be* appropriative depending on how it’s done, but, like… would it be better if I only wrote about white men? Lol.

      Cultural appropriation is a great example of an idea that has real validity in certain instances, and ought to be considered, but gets taken way too far by some people – to the point they give it a bad name.

      Have a good day too!

      Liked by 1 person

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