Diversity: Changing Your Language Helps Your Story

You Can Improve Your Diversity by Changing Your Language

If you’re like me, you might have spent a lot of your time wondering how you can make your stories more diverse. Sometimes the task might seem so impossible! There are so many things that you have to think about in order to make people happy with your story that it might seem like it will never happen. Believe me, I get it! But there are small things that you can do to make diversity that much easier for you. One of them that I thought of recently was changing the language we use when we’re speaking about diversity. You see, language can help us change our attitudes about certain things. If we shift the way that we speak about diversity, we can change the way to think about it and treat it in our stories. That’s going to help us so much!

No, I’m not here to police you or tell you to stop using the words you want to. This isn’t about forcing you to speak about diversity in a certain way. Sure, language can help us to change and grow as writers, especially when it comes to diversity. That doesn’t mean someone’s bad or wrong if they don’t use language in this way, though. We shouldn’t shame people who are trying! This is about helping yourself, not hating others. If you use language in a productive way, people will (hopefully) understand and respond to the way you see diversity and we can have helpful talks about how we can grow and improve as writers.

So stick around! Here are my suggestions on how you can change up your language to make your diversity come more naturally to you. If we can change the way people think about diversity, we can make the discussion a healthy one!

Read moreDiversity: Changing Your Language Helps Your Story

Why Diversity Matters and What That Means for You

Why Diversity Matters - Image

Diversity has been a big deal with audiences lately. It seems that no matter where you look, you’ll find readers talking about how there’s not enough diversity in one story, or that a film has some great diversity in it. For a lot of people, this seems to have come out of nowhere! I mean, not long ago, we weren’t really spending much time talking about diverse casts and representation. So why does everyone suddenly care now? What’s changed? And what should you do about it?

Why Diversity Matters - Image

There is nothing wrong with asking these questions. I know that it can sometimes seem like people want to scream at you whenever you ask the most simple of things. That’s an awful way to react, but it doesn’t come from nowhere. There is a very small but very vocal group of people on the internet who hate the thought of writers adding minority characters to their stories. The trolls and the racists don’t make up even a small minority of the people asking questions, but they do speak the most and the loudest. It means a lot of minority people out there are on the edge already.

But I’m not here to tell you not to ask questions. I’m here to answer any serious ones that you might have. I’m here to not treat you as evil just because you don’t understand yet. So as long as you’re willing to keep your mind open and keep a rational head, I’ll help you to understand what’s going on here.

Read moreWhy Diversity Matters and What That Means for You

Is Elsa Really Gay? Why Should it Matter?!

So, this post has been a long time coming. I mean, I didn’t actually have a blog to write my half-rant-half-informative posts on when I initially found this issue annoying, but it recently came up again, and I felt the sudden need to clear a few things up for my younger readers.

You see, since the release of the hit Disney film in 2013 (oh my gosh that’s five years ago. I feel damn old), people have speculated about Elsa’s sexuality. Initially, I found this really weird. I mean, we have one of the very few stories about a Disney princess (and a Queen) in which the main focus of the plot isn’t the romance! While there is a romantic element to the story, the act of true love that saved Anna was one of sisterly love, which is exciting and wonderful. Even better, it is an act that she performs herself. We have a princess who takes matters into her own hands and affects the plot without the explicit need of a man. Yes, men help her along the way. Everyone needs a little help from time to time. But it’s a world away from the times when women would just have everything done to them instead of trying to actively make their own lives better. I wouldn’t necessarily call this film revolutionary. I mean, by the time Frozen came out, we’d already had Military Mulan, Entrepreneur Tiana and Rebellious Merida, just to name a few! However, I can’t deny that the reception of Frozen and the subversion of the ‘magical-queen-is-evil’ trope helped Disney take a good few steps in the right direction.

Read moreIs Elsa Really Gay? Why Should it Matter?!

The Hermione Granger Curse: Misplaced Good Intentions

If you haven’t read the Harry Potter books or had an in-depth discussion with a Harry Potter-fanatic friend, the acronym S.P.E.W probably won’t mean much to you. Frankly, after spending a lot of consecutive Christmasses rewatching the film series, I forgot the small, intricate differences in plot and characterisation myself, and the pro-Elfish rights group was probably among the first of many minor book points to slowly leak out of my head. However, recently, upon finding myself stuck on long commutes to and from work with limbs pressed against me and smelly breath invading my personal space, listening to Stephen Fry’s silky voice was something I really needed to make sure that I didn’t crack under the pressure of London rush hour. So when, in The Goblet of Fire, we are introduced to the acrophobic house-elf Winky, I remembered with bemused confusion the farce that was Hermione Granger’s first attempt to bring about positive change for the poor “slaves”, as she so passionately puts it.

So what’s the problem with that, you’re probably wondering? Why would it be such an issue that Hermione wants to help those who are at a disadvantage to wizards? What could you possibly say, Shannii (if that’s even your real name), that would be a good argument against the basic human instinct to try to help those in need? You would be right to ask those questions of me, of course! To some extent, I will agree with you. I do not deny that those of us who have the most in society should feel a moral duty to help those around us. In an ideal world, no one would be treated as subordinate because of their race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or (in the case of Harry Potter) species. Dumbledore’s affirmation “It’s our choices… that show what we truly are” would not only be accurate but also a practised and embraced worldview. That’s the world that I hope I can at least try to help accomplish. So, with the fact that I don’t agree at all with the enslavement of house-elves firmly in your minds, let’s continue with the actual issue when it comes to ‘being a Hermione Granger’ on this specific occasion.

Read moreThe Hermione Granger Curse: Misplaced Good Intentions

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Before you go, have you subscribed to our newsletter?

We’re always here to give you lots of great tips and tricks on how to improve your writing! Stay up to date with us for all the best tools and info, free of charge!