Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Diversity

One of my writer's groups has been discussing a blog written by another writer, calling out romance authors about their lack of character diversity. There's probably something to that. Especially, if the writer's circle of friends all look/think/live like him or her. There are lots of people who never really associate with folks that aren't part of their circle.

Most of us, though, deal with diverse groups of people in our daily lives. As we shop, go to the doctor's office, do laundry at the Laundomat, visit the library, and work, we brush up against a host of different individuals. The trick is to see them. Most of us don't.

Think about it. If I asked you to describe the last five individuals you dealt with (in any capacity), could you?

I'll be honest, I will be hard pressed to do this, but that's because I haven't dealt with five people in...two or three weeks. Hmmm. The cashier at Wal-Mart. She was a young woman, possibly Indian or Pakistani in background, very pleasant. Dark hair, and in spite of what is probably a tiresome job, her eyes smiled.

Another woman at Wal-Mart, obviously fatigued, but very patient, located and helped me tape an envelope closed so I could mail it. She also smiled. She was what I think of as standard Caucasian-American, on the skinny side, light hair going gray. 

At the post office, the clerk (I suspect he was a supervisor), very patiently explained the forms I needed to fill in so I could mail a package overseas. He was pleasant to deal with and smiled a lot, even though the post office was very busy. Maybe forties with dark hair, not fat, but solid.

So three people. All smiled and that's what I noticed first and last.

The first four books I wrote had a wide cast of characters:

Dancer's Delight--the hero was an assassin whose cover was as a concert violinist with a penchant for cooking. His heroine was a tall, queenly blue-skinned woman with pointed ears, tilted eyes, and fangs who was fond of gardening.

Chrysanthemum--the hero was King Arthur's son, a librarian in the castle with a penchant for...piercing. The heroine was the daughter of the king's wardrobe master and a wannabe historian.

Honeysuckle--the heroes were twin Firebird shifters serving the king (their uncle) in a security capacity. The heroine (Chrysanthemum's sister) was a fiesty redhead also serving the king in the same capacity (unbeknownst to them).

Traveller's Refuge--the hero (Dancer's brother) was a spy who longed for retirement and did stained-glass work as a hobby. His heroine, was also blue (sister of the heroine in Dancer's Delight), but shaped more like a pixie, who served as the potter for her village.

The cast of secondary characters were blue, white, asian, black, green, tall, short, skinny, fat, old (nearly 100), young (newborn), dragons, firebirds, unicorns, packits, dintis, pirates, knights, trolls, fairies, wizards, warriors, weavers, healers, 'working girls' and...even a couple really, really bad guys. I believe life should be interesting. So should stories. Variety is everything. I suppose you could say my books cover the diversity issue. I was ahead of my time.


2 comments:

  1. I like your characters. They are all different colors! Many shapes and sizes!

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