|Photo credit: harshxpatel on Flickr|
Over the years, the internet (namely Twitter and tumblr) and campaigns like #weneeddiversebooks, Diversity in YA, DiversifYA and Disability in Kidlit really opened my eyes to the assumptions I was making about my cast of characters without even realizing it. And for that, I’m seriously grateful.
It used to be, when I started brainstorming characters, I never really gave much consideration to their race, health, sexual orientation or gender (beyond the binary, at least). It’s not that I was deliberately cutting diversity out, it just hadn’t even occurred to me that there were more options to consider.
Now I make a point not to make any assumptions about my characters before I start brainstorming. By keeping an open mind, I’ve been able to come up with a way more diverse cast of characters for my more recent WIPs, something that’s occasionally scary (because representing minorities well is just as important as representing them at all) and pretty exciting.
Diversifying my work is something that’s become increasingly important to me, but I think the other side of the coin is to make sure you buy books with diversity in them—after all, not supporting the diversity that’s already out there is pretty counterproductive.
So some great books with diversity that I’ve read (or whose series I’ve started to read) and recommend include:
- Otherbound by Corrine Duyvis
- Every Day by David Levithan
- The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson
- Paper Gods trilogy by Amanda Sun
- Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa
Also on my TBR list:
- Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
- Far from You by Tess Sharpe
- If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
- Pantomime by Laura Lam
Now I want to hear from you—do you have any diverse recommendations for me? And have you ever made assumptions about your characters?
Do you make assumptions about your characters while writing? @Ava_Jae talks diversity and keeping an open mind. (Click to tweet)