Using the Power of Stereotypes for Good

Like I said on Sunday, I’m working on the final edits of Salvaged. One of the things that a Beta reader pointed out about my story was that with the shift from an earlier draft where I switched point-of view characters in the third person, to the current version’s single first-person perspective, we lose some of the insights of the other main characters.  Without those additional POVs, we miss out on some of the depth and nuance of character of some of my sub-characters.  Of the six secondary characters who are meant to go on and live their own lives in other stories, I’ve managed to reduce five down to stereotypes due solely to my protagonists’s ignorance.

I have been brainstorming ways to break that trend, and I ran across this fantastic blog post for using stereotypes in fiction written by a Twitter friend of mine.  Veronica does a great job of explaining the way to make this work. What I need to do is surprise the protagonist (and the reader) out of the assumptions she has already made about the characters.  This doesn’t apply for every extra who wanders across the screen, mind you, but the people who I know have deeper, longer more interesting stories to tell. Those people need to stand out a bit more.

Not too long ago, someone asked me how to writeStrong Female Characters“, and I wasn’t sure how to respond.  I said “forget gender and write real characters,” in my initial response, but I think there might be more to it than that.   So, while I think about that topic for next week, I will leave you with a link to “Overthinking It” – and a flowchart of one and two-dimensional female character types that are common in modern fiction. Enjoy.


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