How To Avoid Writer Stereotypes

By on January 15, 2018
How To Avoid Writer's Stereotypes - Writer's

When it comes to writing one of the most costly mistakes an author can make is writing cliches or creating character stereotypes.

Great writing should be unique and original. It should make your reader sit up and pay attention. If your story just reads like something they have read before, you can’t blame your reader for not wanting to bother to continue. There are too many great books to be read out there after all!

Avoiding stereotypes, is, however, easier said than done. They are stereotypes for a reason after all, and if you are not paying attention, it can be difficult to avoid them altogether when writing your book.

However, by staying alert while both writing and editing your story, you should be able to weed out cliche’s and stereotypes and ensure that your book is truly unique.

So what are some good techniques to use?

Play opposites

Next time you are working on your story focus on how you could surprise your reader. Make the scary thing happen in the morning over breakfast instead of in the dead of night. Make your hardened criminal get all choked up when he see’s an old couple holding hands and walking down the street. Make your nurse a huge, hulking, tattooed man and your bouncer a skinny, weak looking woman. Thinking about how to turn stereotypes on their head and writing something unexpected will feel great, and your readers will appreciate it too.

Think about your adjectives

Descriptions set the scene and help your reader to imagine and become immersed in your world. Therefore it’s important not to be lazy with them! Make sure you think carefully about the words and phrases you use to describe things, try to make them unique but also perfectly capture the image you are trying to convey. Put words together that don’t necessarily belong together, experiment, refine and keep on trying until you find the exact perfect way to say something.

Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries

When it comes to writing, fortune favours the brave. Being daring and experimental is a risk, but indeed, one worth taking. Don’t deny yourself the creative freedom to tell your story exactly the way you want to, and be honest and brutally unashamed in your writing. Focus on things that are grotesque, create characters that are hopelessly flawed, and, above all, trust in your reader and give them space and freedom to involve themselves in your book. Avoid writing about what is familiar, what we see and hear and think and talk about every day. Your book should capture events and experiences and adventures that are so far removed from what happens in the every day that readers cannot help but be intrigued.

But don’t forget to be real…

At the end of the day, however, your reader has to believe in your characters and their stories. If you try to challenge conventions and avoid stereotypes too much, by continuously being unrealistic about the things that happen it could make for frustrating and challenging reading. Juxtapose normalcy with the surreal, the every day with uncertainty about the future and so on, and you’ll create the perfect balance in your book!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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