It seems very fitting that I should be reviewing a writing guide on the same day as an IWSG day. Before I let you know what I think of the book, here its description…
We’re living in a time of unprecedented diversity in produced media content, with more characters appearing who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), disabled, or from other religions or classes. What’s more, these characters are increasingly appearing in genre pieces, accessible to the mainstream, instead of being hidden away in so-called ‘worthier’ pieces, as in the past.
How to Write Diverse Characters discusses issues of race, disability, sexuality and transgender people with specific reference to characterisation – not only in movies and TV, but also novel writing.
Taking in blockbuster movies such as Mad Max Fury Road, Russell T Davies’ ground-breaking TV series Cucumber and and the controversial novel Gone Girl, the book explores:
– How character role function really works
– What is the difference between stereotype and archetype?
– Why ‘trope’ does not mean what Twitter and Tumblr think it means
– How the burden of casting affects both box office and audience perception
– Why diversity is not about agendas, buzzwords or being ‘politically correct’
– What authenticity truly means and why research is so important
– Why variety is key in ensuring true diversity in characterisation
Writers have to catch up. Knowing not only what makes a ‘good’ diverse character doesn’t always cut it; they need to know what agents, publishers, producers, filmmakers and commissioners are looking for – and why. This book gives writers the tools to create three dimensional, authentic characters … who just happen to be diverse.
Well what can I say, this book has been so helpful, I think this is a book that every writer whether aspiring or established should add to their shelves.
With more readers calling for diverse characters, it has become crucial as a writer to think about how we are representing people from different backgrounds in our work. However it can be a little daunting to make sure that your character seems authentic and isn’t just ticking the box of diversity. Writing Diverse Characters is a brilliant guide on how to better craft diverse characters. Dealing with specifically the four elements of race, gender, LGBT and disability, this book gives a unique perspective on what makes a well rounded diverse character.
It has lots of tips to stop any writer from falling into very clichéd territory when it comes to including diverse characters and is backed up by examples and ways in which you can turn tired ideas on their head. The examples used tend to be quite well known but even if you aren’t familiar with a character the points are always explained so well that you will still understand what Ms. Hay is trying to get across. Also the fact that Lucy is script editor means that you know she has had a lot of experience in seeing the trends that characters and scenarios have taken.
A lot of research has gone into this book, there are quotes from authors and people who work in the TV or film industry and I really liked reading what they thought, it helps to further put ideas into perspective. There is also a lot of useful information in terms of reaching your audience as a writer and on dealing with agents.
This is definitely another go to book for when I’m sitting down to do some writing, and I will be checking out the books that she has written.
If you want to find out more about this book then check out the stops below
Lucy V. Hay is a script editor and blogger who helps writers. She’s written three non-fiction books about writing, Writing Diverse Characters For Fiction, Tv & Film; Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays and its follow up Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays. Her debut crime novel, The Other Twin, is out now with Orenda Books. Check out her website HERE and all her books, HERE.