Wow did the summer fly past. I’ve gotten very lazy about maintaining this thing, what with school and all. I keep liking posts with great, detailed writing advice that I swear I will actually read and post here someday. To my six wonderful followers, I apologize. Thank you for sticking around.
In the meantime, I’ve been hearing a lot about representation in the media lately. What is representation? It is, essentially, what groups get actively and accurately portrayed in the media. In case you were wondering, these days it’s mostly straight white guys. There’s nothing wrong with straight white guys, but it would honestly be nice to have some characters that other groups can relate to. A lot of people are clamoring for stories about POCs, LGBTQ characters, women, and those with any kind of disability or disease. Obviously, any combination of these is also appreciated.
As I examined my own stories, I realized that they are absolutely full of straight white people. I have a few gay characters, but that’s about all I’ve got to my name in the representation category. Looking around me, it’s not hard to see why- I have lived my entire life in the same northeastern rural town. I’m surrounded by white people- so that’s my brain’s default. Try going out some time and seeing what kind of people are around you. I guarantee you’ll see the same sort of people in your stories.
That doesn’t mean those of us stuck in Sour-Cream Town get a free pass where representation is concerned. It just means we need to do some more research. This is incredibly important to ensure your characters aren’t just caricatures. For example, I want to include a transgender character in a future series. I have no clue what a transgender boy might go through or feel like in his life. So, I’ll research it. From what I’ve heard, there are some great resources on the Internet for connecting writers with knowledgeable individuals who can provide information.
I’m not saying you have to make all your characters different from you in some way, and I’m not saying you’re a bad person if you decide not to include underrepresented groups in literature. However, people are clamoring for stories that represent someone other than straight, white people. The demand is only going to grow. So why not right about a wide range of people? You might just learn something along the way.