So, I read a book recently that was meant to feature an empowering female lead and be LGBT friendly and such.
But it was pretty mishandled.
The female lead did want equality for women, but she was also…a manipulative, scheming, murderous bitch. Not exactly a role model, by any means.
100% it was written through the perspective of a villain. Which is cool. It was interesting enough for me to finish it.
But in a Q&A, the author said she wanted it to empower women. Seducing a man with the intent to take everything he has…That’s no role model.
That’s a bitch.
And the LGBT aspect consisted of one side character with very few speaking parts, but every time he danced with a guy, it was pointed out as if to say, “Hey, look, I’m inclusive.”
And it kinda breaks the world a bit because it’s set in a society VERY similar to Victorian England.
Two dudes dancing probably wasn’t gonna happen.
Now, I’m all for writing diversity into your books. Characters with the goal of equality are great.
But DON’T shoehorn diversity in for the sake of patting yourself on the back for being inclusive.
That ain’t how it works, my dudes.
If you do that, it will be obvious, and it will not make you look like a hero.
You want to know how to properly write diversity?
It’s that goddamn simple.
Look at the world you’ve built. Look at their individual backstories. Look at their cultures. Shape each character as an individual within that culture with those experiences.
Don’t rely on stereotypes. Just write people.
Diversity will come naturally if you do that.
Honor the setting if it’s historical.
If your story takes place in medieval Scotland, don’t drop one Asian guy in there with no reasonable explanation and call yourself inclusive. If it’s set in Victorian England, don’t drop one flamboyant gay guy in there and pat yourself on the back.
If it’s a fantasy setting wherein everyone is seen as equal, then those things that tend to divide us should hold no bearing over their personality, whatsoever. Their experiences would shape them far more than the color of their skin or who they go to bed with.
If it’s set in a place where there is a lot of division, still don’t go to stereotypes. Build a person.
Think about what you’re writing and the way those characters interact with the world you’ve built.
Maybe the division in their land made them more defiant or more repressed, more prideful or more self-conscious. It isn’t going to guarantee they act one specific way.
Just write people.
Keep reading. Keep writing.