Exercise 3

First of all, take your time with this exercise. Be as thorough, complete and honest as you can. You are not going to show the results to anyone, but you will be using them with Friday’s lesson.

Before you begin the next lesson, I need you to pick a diversity characteristic you would like to work with. Perhaps a transgender individual; a Hindu or a blind child. Someone living in India or perhaps Dubai. Make sure they are different from you or anyone you are close to, (no best friends or relatives allowed). No diversity characteristic that you are personally familiar with or that you have  used in your writing in the past or have extensively researched. We’re creating a starting point here.

Once you have picked the characteristic, write down everything you know about the kinds of people who possess that characteristic. Be as thorough, complete and honest as you can. You will never show the results to anyone. If it helps, pretend you were going to write a story with this character TODAY. There’s no time to research, so what do you feel you know about them right now. I want you to be 100% honest without mincing words or fearing someone will think you are not being politically correct, or that this could end up on social media attributed to you.

Just as an example, let me show you a list about blonds (I know it’s not a real diversity attribute, and no, I don’t really think any of this, but I want to give you something for illustration and I don’t want to use a real diversity character that might change something that one of you might be considering using – OK?)

  • The go-to people for makeup tips
  • Used to standing out in groups
  • Prefer to get by on looks instead of brains
  • Adore attention
  • Females blonds all want/wanted to be cheerleaders
  • Male blondes are/were jocks
  • Have either blue or green eyes
  • Usually tall/statuesque
  • Always part of the in-crowd
  • Often bossy, making the rules for their group
  • Get frustrated when things don’t go their way
  • Good to hang with because they attract all the cool people
  • Even when they are smart, they hide it and pretend to be unintelligent

You may find contradictions in your list. That is normal, don’t worry about it. Just put down everything that comes to you, things you know or think about people who have this characteristic.

Then get ready for the next lesson when you will use your list, and when we will begin dealing with the R word – Research our number one tool in the hard job of creating “The Other” in our manuscripts.

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