Friday, June 06, 2014

Real Life is Sometimes Stereotypical - Our Writing Can't Be

A contemporary YA novel I'm currently revising was based on a true story. The problem is, the girl involved was a cheerleader, her boyfriend the hot but not-so-bright quarterback, and the one person who came through for her during the most difficult time in her life a nerdy girl from India she and her friends had once ostracized.

Sound familiar?

There is a reason why stereotypes exist, sometimes there is a grain of truth in them, but none of us wants to be defined by a stereotype, and in fiction it's just plain boring. As writers it's our job to mix things up and surprise our readers.

Because this story was based on something that really happened, I didn't want to change my characters to the point where they were unrecognizable, so, when I found my characters fitting into neat compartments, I asked myself, what would I not expect from this character? Then I emphasised gave each character at least one major trait that defied stereotype.

Have you ever written stereotypical characters? What did you do to change that?

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