Writing Workshop: Writing the Other

So, like I promised, here are some notes that I want to share with you all from my workshop on “writing diversity in fiction. It’s collection of tips/tricks and some helpful resources that I was able to find(and given to me by friends who helped me out.)

And obviously a big shout out to In Print for hosting me on Saturday! It was a lovely time to meet writers and talk about writing for an afternoon.



Tips & Tricks

Interview someone that’s not like you in order to understand them better. Sometimes you’ll pick up details about their culture as well as what they tell you that may surprise you.

The Bechdel-Wallace Test, this looks at a work of fiction and checks to see if the women characters talk about something more than just men. (Most of the time, male authors have no idea how to write women, but this is getting better.)

Try restructuring your world through a feminist lens, which means giving power to women more often than men. Even gender-swapping your main character can have this effect.

Write them the way you would write a character from your own race, your own religion, your own sexual orientation. With empathy, love, meticulous attention and care. Like a human being with human experience you can embody yourself. Strip them down and write them as if they were you, and you them. Not as an Other.

Sonali Dev, Romance writer (Author of BOLLYWOOD BRIDE)


Writing Diverse Characters for Fiction, TV or Film by Lucy V. Hay – Screenwriting has a lot of carryovers that are valuable to us as writers of novels/short stories etc.

Find examples: Go read this year’s Hugo finalists(in all categories, especially short fiction/novelettes) for examples of other perspectives.


www.bang2write.com – lots of articles on diversity(especially from 2017)

Diversebooks.org (Resources for Writers) – Plenty of sites/books on diversity and novels who do “diversity” right.

Writingwithcolor.tumblr.com – has a section called PoC(Persons of Color) where people can anonymously fill out facts about themselves in order to help writers understand them. The list of possible topics is below.

(sidebar)They also have a great resource tab with blogs, recs, and other resources. They have a stereotype/trope navigation tab that will help you with dos/don’ts. Really the whole site is a goldmine if you want to dig into more of this.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks – use on Twitter and you’ll more than likely find some sources there as a jumping off point.

Where we ate lunch that day, great place.

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