All right, guys, here's the second character guest post, by Mandy Gale from THE PSYCHIC STORY on stereotypes, including commentary by Darren Beamer (in blue). It's brief, but thanks for reading, and come back next time for June's humor post!
Hi guys! This is Mandy Gale. :) I'm here to talk to you about stereotypes, on Kira's request. Kira wanted me to talk about this because, I suppose, you asked for it, but also because stereotypes is one of the main themes in my story. I've brought Darren, who's... well, the other main character in THE PSYCHIC STORY, to kind of help us. He'll be writing in blue.
Hi guys. I guess it's good to be here.
:) So anyway. stereotypes isn't only a huge factor in our own lives, but also a huge factor in writing stories for teens and preteens. I know this because I like to talk to Kira about these things. She's kind of nice, I suppose, honest to who we are when she wrote our story, at least. And I like to learn things.
*snort* Yeah you do.
Hush, Darren! Anyway, stereotypes are a huge part of middle and high school, which anyone who has been through school knows, unless you were at some different school where cliques didn't exist. Stereotypes define lots of modern culture, how you grow up, and especially, the way you look at people throughout life. Because of this, authors writing teen fiction have to play with and be aware of the stereotypes of different talents and social groups.
The problem is, stereotypes aren't always right. Putting people in little groups is easy, and I guess it's how we work, as people. Judgments help us be safe, but pretty quick you start needing to move out of that. So when you're looking at stereotypes... you have to start playing with it.
Exactly. You can't just stick with black-and-white, cardboard characters. You need to make each character individual, listen to the way they speak as you create them, and then play with how they identify themselves. What stereotype are they, according to society? Who are their friends? How does this affect them? And especially, who are they really, underneath the image presented to the world?
Us characters, like any person, have to have depth. Not just the image. The reality.
Yes. And your job, as a writer, is to take hold of those stereotypes and see how they play into everything else that defines a character. Stereotypes are at their strongest in the teenage years, and they're probably some of the most interesting things to look at, if you do it right. I know Kira enjoys it. She's done a couple different stories looking especially into the power of stereotypes and judgments, and where the line has to be drawn.
Yes. :) Like our story.
... well, I guess that covers that.
The conclusions you draw as an author, the characters you define, and the way your story plays with stereotypes are all up to you and the idea that you have to work with. We can't tell you about that. But we can tell you to be aware of stereotypes, and of the depths of characters beyond that.
People are more than their image.
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. Basically, stories are my life.
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