Episode #64: How to Write Diverse Characters with Caitlin Berve

We live in a diverse nation, a diverse world, but often the characters in our fiction don’t reflect that diversity. With all that’s going on currently in the world surrounding race, as writers we can feel pressure to be inclusive in our writing, but we want to avoid writing in a way that’s offensive or harmful to that community. Wanting to have a diverse cast, yet being terrified of backlash or doing it wrong can stop us from writing diverse characters. Which is why editor Caitlin Berve and I dove into this topic.

Mostly, what we want you to take away from this interview is an awareness – an awareness of the need for diverse characters, an awareness that we have our own internal biases that we need to be aware of as we write characters who are different from ourselves, and an awareness that we have a responsibility as writers to research, fill in our own blind spots, and do this work well.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • What it actually means to write diverse characters, and it’s more than including racial or ethnically diverse characters
  • How to approach it when it’s not necessarily your lived experience
  • Some tips to make sure you’ve done it well before you give your work to readers
  • How to address the majority bias

Links Mentioned in the Show

Meet Caitlin Berve

Caitlin Berve is a fantasy author, editor, and speaker. Through Ignited Ink Writing, she edits novels, creates video tutorials, and writes. Using her MFA, she teaches creative writing at conferences, colleges, and Colorado writers’ organizations. Her collection of modern fairy tales When Magic Calls is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats. Caitlin seeks to fill the world with the kind of writing that lingers with readers and find magic in modern times.

Connect with Caitlin

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