Tuesday, January 8, 2019

#TipfulTuesday - A New Way to Deepen Your Story

#TipfulTuesday New Year topic: A New Way to Deepen Your Story. 

This year, consider deepening your story by adding characters of different cultures. This is not easy and will require a bit of work, but your labor will not be in vain. Trust me. 

Nearly every city across the world has a dominant people group. Among them are men and women from other cultures, skin colors, religions, etc. Therefore, our stories should not solely be built on any one people. We should include in our cast of characters men and women representing others who live in the same community.

The setting for my novel, "Daring to Live", was New York City. Ah, perhaps you understand now. NYC is a potpourri of cultures, races, genders, ages, etc. To make my story strong, my cast of characters included Hispanic (which I drew from experiences on mission trips to Mexico and Honduras), African American (I lived in inner-city Detroit for a time), Cowboy (I lived in Montana and spent time on ranches), military (I have several family members who were in the military), urban, suburban, foster care, and more. All of which have been a part of my life at some time. You probably have had a taste of Americana as well.

Including characters from other people group that are not your own is not easy to write. We must be respectful. Not typecast. A huge key to writing these characters is not to use labels. For example, I should not say, Brian, a white man wearing... These characters deserve the same respect you would want.

So how can this be done? You might be surprised how much you already know. My experiences have helped me include unique local islander language in one story and inner city jargon in another. Think back to your school days. A time you went on vacation. Shopped at a mall (not so much anymore, eh?). 

You have been around other people groups. You know what they might wear. What they might choose to say and how they might say it. Expand your reading to include stories about Middle Eastern characters, Asian, and more. These are fascinating people. Men and women who have also moved to your community.

I play a game of sort with my critique partners and beta readers. I purposefully don't include character descriptions like skin color unless done in a creative way, no name clues either. Instead, I write the character as true as I can to their culture. Then I ask those readers to describe the character for me. No answer is incorrect. Their imagination and background filled in the picture in their mind.

So, what do you say? Will you choose just one novel that has characters representing a group other than your own? Will you include at least one in your current or next WIP to deepen the story? 

~Mary Vee
#amwriting #characters #TheWritersAlley #TipfulTuesday #writing #multiculture
Photo credit: Pixabay

Mary Vee -  Mary Vee - Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, earned her MA in Counseling, and married an Air Force vet.  Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.

Visit Mary at her websiteblog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


kaybee said...

Mary, you are right, this IS tricky, but so worth it.
Kathy Bailey

Mary Vee Writer said...

So while writing a scene yesterday, I decided to take my own advice. I needed two characters to serve a purpose in the background. One at the beginning of the scene and the other towards the middle. Each had different roles and both afforded the opportunity to give honor to another culture. I chose to somewhat identify the culture with the character's name, but not heavily blatant. I then gave a brief description. Later in the story, I will give more identifiers when they appear, probably a mannerism. It was a fun challenge.

Thanks for stopping by today, Kathy!

Danal Gerimon said...

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