A long while back I made a fun post about stereotypes and received some good feedback, some positive and some negative. I wrote that post long before I had the idea for this new series. Many new readers have come along since that time and I was wondering how you feel about stereotypes.
There are those who are deeply offended by stereotypes. I am a most liberal-minded person, supporting both a diverse population and multifaceted lifestyles. I am seriously opposed to discrimination. Yet, there is a part of me that recognizes stereotypes exist for a reason. They are how we categorize typical characteristics. Now, those of us who like to think we are all unique don’t always appreciate that practice.
I hear author experts give guidance to aspiring writers to avoid stereotypes so as not to be cliché. Our characters should be profoundly unique and original to demonstrate our clever creativeness. But I think stereotypes are useful in creating a mental image of a person without going into elaborate detail. Sure, give your stereotyped image his/her own voice, behaviors that are specific to that individual. Is it a cardinal sin to pluck a stereotype out of a comedian’s routine and develop a novel character?
My crime series is filled with stereotypes, deliberately. It is not a comedy caper series, but the stereotypes do provide for some comic relief in an otherwise serious story. There is a transsexual biracial woman, a sweet, smart, petite Asian girl, a loner P.I., biker dudes, a nurse, a gay neighbor, a dragon lady, a sugar daddy and his trophy wife, a redneck, a philandering politician, a flaming fag, a few cougars, a couple of Jamaican Rastafarian-type dudes, a few gamblers…I could go on with this. I’m not speaking of racial profiling in society or condemning/degrading any group. These are fictional characters.
I am sorry if my words have caused offense. My point is; with these few words I have already created images in your mind of this cast of characters without revealing too very much about them. Sure, my characters are unique in that they have been carefully created to play their roles in the story. They have their own voice and their own individual identities. I was not looking for an easy way out, but they fit the story set in a very diverse community well. And there are also characters in the story that I have created specifically to defy the stereotypical images people have.
For an example of how these images sale books, the rocket scientist specifically looks for regional authors who write about bumbling criminals. The wacko, goofy, redeeming villain grabs his attention in a book blurb every time.
That being said, how do you feel about stereotypes?
Would you be able to enjoy a book that has them?
Would you deliberately avoid reading a book if you knew it was laced with them?
It is for marketing reasons that I ask your opinions.
Reminder, Red Clay and Roses remains on sale for 99 cents for the digital copy on Amazon through Saturday, July 12th. All proceeds are matched and go to the Russell Home for atypical children.