Breaking Stereotypes

Apparently a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force was selected as Miss Arkansas. This makes a great real-world lesson in breaking stereotypes. Being a beauty queen doesn’t make her too delicate to break a nail, nor too dumb to be the deputy chief of Public Affairs for an airlift wing. Being in the military doesn’t somehow make her too masculine to be a beauty queen. Keep things like this in mind when creating your characters. Not all characters have to break stereotypes so obviously, but they should always have depth to them beyond the obvious archetypes and common assumptions.

Today, go through a piece of your writing (or if you don’t have something appropriate, pick a piece of published fiction you’re reading now or have read recently). List the names of a few major characters across the top of a sheet of paper. First, list ways in which they fit a stereotype or archetype. Next, list ways in which they bend, twist, break, or go beyond those types. If they don’t, then think of a few ways in which they could.


Character Dictation Tile Box

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