Diversity and Writing: The Intro
I’m not sure how one writes about diversity without irritating someone. So this is my disclaimer: If I offend, leave a professional comment and I shall endeavor to be more aware in the future. That’s the best I can do.
Diversity is all about inclusion or bringing together diverse ideas. A variety, mixture, mélange that allows for the inclusion of a color, a spice, a thought that changes the whole by adding to the original interpretation. Or as Star Trek’s Spock put it…IDIC: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.
Diversity is more than the socio-political minefield many of us have encountered. As writers, we create worlds and characters. I know when I create my characters I have a mental image in mind. I try not to fall into stereotypes. In fact, in my next book, Desperate Overtures, I leave much of the physical description of the characters to the reader’s imagination. I don’t want to label them as ‘this is an Asian person, this is a Caucasian person’. I want them to be interpreted by their actions, their input to the team, not their ethnicity.
So the next few columns will be about diversity in writing. In story, characters, plots, and approach while crafting our magnum opus. Here are a few suggestions to start.
If you are including a character with a different culture, religion, belief system, sexual orientation, Do your homework! Research the differences so your interpretation is true. In other words, if you are doing a fan-fic of Star Trek (might as well stay with what works) and your Klingon is tip-toeing through Andorian daisies, you should make sure some hallucinogenic drug is involved. Klingons just don’t do that.
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Look at your own perspectives and evaluate if your world views need expanding. Just a suggestion. If you want to stay well within your comfort zone, you have every right. Nobody is demanding your next book have a specific type of character, location, or approach. On the other hand, if that is your choice, go for it.
Talk to other people. Online or in person, it doesn’t matter. Explain what you are trying to achieve and ask for their assistance. You might catch a few negatives (there always are no matter what you try to do) but there are fellow writers and researchers that will be there for you. Avoid the nay-sayers and the extreme. They have their own agendas. You want accurate information.
My goal with this series is to not to deal with the socio-political aspect as much as the many different aspects writers can incorporate diverse ideas into their writing. So let’s get started.