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January 23, 2017

Diverse Characters - A + B



Welcome to the third new feature on my blog! This one will hopefully help writers and push them to use more diverse characters in their work.


INTRODUCTION:

There’s been a lot of talk about adding diverse characters to fictional books. Most of the time, this is about including people of color if you’re a Caucasian writer, but all writers can add diverse characters to their books. And why stop at race? In this series, I’m going to list all sorts of diverse characters.

Note: I'm not knowledgeable about all types of people, so I'm skipping my usual tips in favor of letting others share their knowledge. See below.

**I won't be able to list them all, so here's a list of ethnic groups...with a list of even more lists at the bottom of the page. lol



Here are the diverse characters for A:


Aboriginals

Acapella Singers

Adopted Children/Adoptive Parents

Afghans
Africans
African Americans 

Individuals with AIDS/HIV 

Alaskans

Albinos 

Individuals suffering from Alcoholism

Elderly with Alzheimer's

The Amish

Amputees

Individuals with Amnesia

Individuals suffering from Anorexia

Individuals with Asperger's 

Argentinians 

Artists

Asians

Athletes

Australians 

Individuals with Autism




Here are the diverse characters for B:



Babies

Ballerinas

Belgians (Individuals from Belgium)

Bikers 

Biracial Individuals 

Individuals suffering from Bipolar Disorder

Blind Individuals

Individuals with Braces (teeth)

Brazilians

Brides 

The British 

Bolivians (Individuals from Bolivia)

Bounty Hunters

Buddhists 

Individuals with Bulimia



SHARE: If you can come up with more diverse characters that start with A or B, let me know and I will add them to my list, if they don't fall under other categories or a later letter. :)

QUESTION: Do you have tips or Do's/Dont's for one of the characters I mentioned above? Share your advice for writing about those characters in your comment.

Have you written about a character from my list?


62 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

This is very interesting Chrys although I don't write fictional books, thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas.

Yvonne.

Pat Hatt said...

If the character comes to be I use them indeed. Had bounty hunters and british and babies within.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It would be interesting to combine some of those.

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Yvonne. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I have a WIP with a bounty hunter character. I just don't know when I'll be able to finish it.

Chrys Fey said...

It sure would. That was the fun part of creating these posts, imagining characters that are a few of these at once.

Bish Denham said...

Let's see A: Argentinian, Angolan, Afghani, android
B: Botswanan, Bhutanese, Brazilian, baker, brick layer

Chrys Fey said...

Yes, there are SO many out there. Thanks for these! I'll add some that don't fall under other categories. Or that won't be used later.

A Beer for the Shower said...

I had a few childish giggles combining some of these. "Oh, my new book? It's about a guy who's an autistic Amish amputee."

But that's a great list. I think it's fun to step outside of your comfort zone and write about someone who's totally different from yourself.

Chrys Fey said...

Some of the combinations can be funny, but they'd also make very interesting characters. :)

Lidy said...

One major tip for writing diverse characters is ditching whatever preconceptions you might have about race, religion, sex, etc. Because all that is just distinguishing factors. Just write your characters as real people.
A- a person or group performing acapella
B- individuals suffering from bulimia

Chrys Fey said...

That is an excellent tip! I had thought to add that to my post. I can't believe I forgot about bulimia. Thanks for the additions!

diedre Knight said...

Awesome list of examples! I have written about a Leprechaun with Alzheimer’s, alluded to canine alcoholism, and have unabashedly confessed to an innate adoration of babies ;-) Having enjoyed this post, I’m now considering a story about an Alaskan Eskimo Fortune Cookie writer – thanks, Chrys!

Chrys Fey said...

A Leprechaun with Alzheimer's? I love that!

Ha! See? We can come up with fascinating characters when we think outside the box.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have diverse characters in many of my books. Since my books are mostly set in the future, I usually treat that diversity as something so accepted, it's not really remarked upon. It just is. Hopefully, the future will really be like that.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope the future will be like that. <3

Carrie-Anne said...

I have one young Aspie, who was born in 1994 and thus won't have to grow up and get as far into adulthood as I did before finally having the condition's existence confirmed. Incidentally, most of us in the neurodiversity community prefer identity-first language (e.g., an autistic, an Aspie) over person-first language (person with autism, person who has Asperger's). It's an integral part of our identity, something that makes us who we are, not something we consider a disability or disease. It's different from saying, e.g., a person with cancer or someone who has Down Syndrome.

I have one amputee character so far, who lost part of his arm during the Battle of Saipan, in a very similar way to the late Senator Daniel Inouye. Another character will become a leg amputee after serving in another war.

Sarah Foster said...

Awesome new feature! I did write about an anorexic character in a short story once.

Chrys Fey said...

I thought you'd appreciate this and would mention a lot of diverse characters from your books.

I forgot about individuals with Asperger's. I'll add that.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you! And that's great. I've read quite a few stories about anorexic characters.

Anonymous said...

I've had biracial characters in my story and I do have a zombie that's of Asian decent in one WIP.

cleemckenzie said...

I haven't written about these, but I do have an author friend who writes nothing but Amish books. She's very successful at it, too!

Chrys Fey said...

Amish books are very popular. My mom loves them.

Chrys Fey said...

An Asian zombie character. That's interesting...moreso when I just think of a zombie being a character. :P

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Writing about a bounty hunter would be fun.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Neat series! I read an Amish romance once. It was a really interesting take on their way of life. Not sure how accurate it was though.

Tara Tyler said...

this would've made a terrific A to Z challenge!
loved reading your extensive lists!

and hope your tsunami blog hop was a resounding success! i had fun with it and reading many of the stories =) congrats!

Birgit said...

I have A-holes and Bitches to add:) I could never write about someone who is African American, Asian, Native American, Inuit or anyone else on this planet that is a minority because I would just do them an injustice. I am a white, blonde gal who has no clue except I what I read and what I watch but I can't feel their plight or emotions. Now if I can be allowed to write about a purple alien who contracted aids while having sex with an Amish woman and is now on the run because the bigots have found out he actually comes from the planet Bluto, well, I'm all in.

Liz A. said...

That's quite a list. So many different people out there. I don't know if there's really a way to list them all.

Chrys Fey said...

I have a bounty hunter in a WIP, but he helps a cop.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope it was accurate.

Chrys Fey said...

I had thought of it for the Challenge, but I decided I wanted to take April off.

Chrys Fey said...

I think I might keep a-holes and bitches off the list, but those are creative additions.

Well, you don't have to write about those ethnicities or cultures. You can write about any diverse character. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's why I added a note that I can't list them all, especially every ethnicity. :)

emaginette said...

It's a good list, but I have nothing to add. I tend to think about their inner workings. Except for babies. They are just too cute.

Anna from elements of emaginette

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'm a hillbilly...that makes me a strange character.

M Pax said...

I like writing about regular people instead of rich, successful, and royalty people. I think that is diversity too. I always try to put color in my cast. Recently read an interesting book where the hero was missing an arm. It was a strange and beautiful story.

Sandra Cox said...

Lots of diversity here and that's just As and Bs:)

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly. More to come. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Later, poor and wealthy individuals will be on my lists.

Chrys Fey said...

Hillbilly. That's an H I can add! Thanks! :D

Chrys Fey said...

Babies are just too cute.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This is a great list. In a new story that's forming in my mind the main character is leaning toward being a character of diversity. I need to do some research, but I'm liking the idea of what he'll be like.

Denise Covey said...

In his book, Writing the Block Buster Novel, Ken Follett has a great chapter on just this which I try to stick to. It's so easy to characterise just by using quirks of the people around us. It's so interesting to learn about people we don't know much about. :-)

dolorah said...

I don't specifically look for "diverse" characters to put in my stories. A lot of my stories have diverse characters because there are so many present in life. I rarely have them as main characters though. Soon it will be impossible to sell stories without them.

Rachel Pattinson said...

Love this list - thanks for sharing. I love that there's more of a push on diverse characters in books nowadays. I was about to ask if 'British' could be on your list but then I realized it was - we Brits are awesome ;)

Chrys Fey said...

That's great! I wish you luck with it. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I've seen his book around, but I don't think I've looked at it. I'll have to. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's wonderful! I try to make an effort to add diverse characters. Like you, they usually aren't the main characters, but I'm trying to change that.

Chrys Fey said...

Brits are awesome!: D

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I think it'd be interesting to tell a story from a blind person's point of view, because then the focus on what people look like wouldn't be included in the blind person's narrative. Instead, it would focus on all the other things that they learn about the world due to their other senses.

Crystal Collier said...

So... If that's what you consider diverse, I'm actually doing okay. Actually, the MC of my WIP is Hispanic, and the daughter of an illegal immigrant living in NYC. My worry is just being true enough to her culture because that's really a challenge. When you're writing a diverse cast, you have to research and immerse yourself like crazy.

Chrys Fey said...

People are diverse in so many different ways. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I once wrote a short story in a blind girl's POV. It needs to be revised though, as I wrote it many years ago.

Jacqui said...

Love those pictures. Those aboriginal body art means something special to them. I spent several years totally taken by the Maori and how their culture was displayed on their person.

CA Heaven said...

I just write about whatever I want. No ambition of being politically correct. I get enough of that at work >:)

Cold As Heaven

SK Anthony said...

This is a fantastic list! I once had a character, who was Indian (Hindu) and Spanish, and was told it was unrealistic. Except, I am Indian and Spanish . . . so . . . lol. I like diversity, but really dislike when it's forced *just* to check off a list. Great advice here!

S.K. Anthony: Amazon’s New Print On Demand Feature

Chrys Fey said...

The body art is fascinating. Thanks for commenting, Kali!

Chrys Fey said...

And that is perfectly fine. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It should never be forced, but throughout carefully and for the good of the story. Funny how you wrote about something you know and people said it was unrealistic. Nowadays, I don't think anything is unrealistic when it comes to people's ethnicity.

EliasM said...

I can't believe I didn't comment on this the first go-round. So, late, LATE, to the party but I just re-read this and I'm about to re-share it on twitter. I cannot tell you how many crit-group submissions and/or beta readings I've done where EVERY CHARACTER was WASP/straight/able-bodied/etc.. IT'S SO BORING.

Of course, there are reasonable fears behind most of these vanilla characters. No one wants to write a caricature--or worse, a racist/sexist/ableist stereotype. It's not easy, neither is writing a cohesive story. Diverse characterization--like every other aspect of writing--is a skill to develop, not an innate gift from Yoda. Salt is a great seasoning but black pepper, cayenne, cumin, basil, and turmeric will really make your dish come alive. Thanks for sharing, Sis.

Chrys Fey said...

I love the comparison you did with the spices. Clever and well put. Thanks for commenting. Late I'd fine. :)