Meghan Drummond reports:
"Writing outside of your experience is a challenge, but one with rewards...A cast of characters with differences creates a dynamic and exciting read with dialogue that pops and wants and needs that are often at odds...So, what are some steps you can take to writing outside of your own perspective?...You need to have a link to the inside of all of your characters. This is a place of commonality that allows you to understand what they’re thinking or feeling...Take honest emotions and use them to write your character. Real people make the worst characters, but every character should have a touch of real in them. People that have changed your world are a great place to start...As writers, our urge is to connect and unite. Writers are great at building commonality. But as a result, we often shy away from exposing the things about us that we think people won’t find appealing...And we shouldn’t. When Allie Brosh, author of the webcomic series Hyperbole and a Half, did a series of comics on depression, her readership exploded...Brosh’s comics were always amazing, but the episodes about her struggle with depression quickly became among her most popular. The Bloggess likewise has generously shared her experiences with anxiety, and has found an eager audience. Think about it this way[:] [A]re you more likely to make friends with...the person who says they like pizza or the person who loves the same strange cult classic movie as you? People bond over unique experiences and shared weirdness, so let your sparkle show...Too often writers build characters based on stereotypes and characters that they’ve found in popular media. This is like building your house on a foundation of sand. Not only is it unbearably difficult, but one wrong move and the entire thing is going to crumble. Instead, do two of the things that authors are amazing at. Research and lose your mind. Research what the life of your character would be like. Read books, read blogs, read novels outside of your usual repertoire. Then get out of your mind and into the mind of this character. Explore them the way you would any new character, figuring out their deepest wants, fears, and formative experiences. Once they feel real to you, start writing...[D]on’t include diverse characters just because you don’t want to be accused of having a white heteronormative cast; do it because that’s the way our world actually is. Look around next time you’re in the grocery store or taking public transit...(that fount of writer inspiration) and tell me that the world you see looks anything like the world portrayed in books or in movies. So, don’t be afraid to write outside of your experience, but like all things in writing, do it well."
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