Tag Archives: writing diversity

March’s Ketchup

30 Mar

Spring has started, and we’ve officially gotten through the first part of 2016. How crazy is that? About as crazy as this month.

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this March.

Big Moments:

Cover

#1 Clicked Item: Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

This month the content disclosures for Bad Bloods released by Clean Teen Publishing! I was really excited to show future readers more of what they can expect when the novels release this July. We’re getting so close to pre-order, too! If you haven’t already checked them out, be sure to read the content disclosures for November Rain and November Snow by clicking the links.

In the meantime, I moved offices, which was a big deal to me. I’ve been working in a rather small space with a tiny desk, so now that I have a lot more room, I’m hoping I can get a larger desk and get more work done than usual. So far, so good. I am in love with my space.

Also, thank you for making Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, the #1 clicked item on my website this month! Links below, in case you missed that click. 😉

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Top Three Blog Posts: 

1. Diversity is Vital, But Be Genuine: I tackled the topic of diversity in fiction this month, mainly because I’ve been DYING to discuss this issue for a while now, but I didn’t feel like I had a lot to add to the conversation until recently. As an editor, I heard a controversial question about forcing diversity, so I discussed why it’s so important to be genuine when writing your novels (and how you can be genuine).

2. Writing Tips for Book 2 in Trilogy: I worked on book 2 in a trilogy almost all month, so I thought I’d share my thoughts and advice about that step in the series process—mainly because I came across a lot of very scary articles I whole-heartedly disagreed with. Book 2 doesn’t have to be boring! It can be the best book there is.

3. How to Avoid Writer Burnout: Writer’s block is famous, but there’s another culprit I’m all-too familiar with. It’s called writer’s burnout, and I discussed how you can recognize it, tackle it, and avoid it, so it doesn’t happen again. Here’s a hint: Take a break.

#1 SEO Term: pros and cons of Wattpad

#1 SEO Term: pros and cons of Wattpad

Other Blog Posts:

Writer Problems 11-15: I continued my writer problems card series, a series a started over a year ago but then took a large pause.

Six Ways to Write Efficiently For Full-Time Workers: This guest post helps many writers find ways to tackle writing when they cannot be full-time writers.

Being a Writer Isn’t Everything: An inspirational TED talk for writers.

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

Saturdate: Lady Midnight, House of Cards, & Coffee Grinds: I loved the new Shadowhunters novel, and I binge-watched the new season of House of Cards. I also got a coffee grinder.

Where My Girls At? A WONDERFUL guest post by Kendra Saunders. I highly recommend her article about women in fiction.

Saturdate: Witch, Writer Madness, Fairyland, & Rooftops: I saw a movie and ran into a plot twist 40,000 words into writing.

Saturdate: Cassandra Clare, Content Disclosure, & Lemon Cookies: I met one of my all-time favorite writers (and my hero), so my life is complete. Also, I need those lemon cookies again.

Saturdate: Lore, New Office, Paint Swatches, & Snow White: My fourth weekly update during the month. I’ve had quite the moving week.

Website Wonders: A monthly classic.
march16

#WritingTips Diversity Is VITAL, But Be Genuine

16 Mar

The word diversity is being thrown around a lot in the publishing world. Agents are asking for it, readers are requesting it, and publishers rejoice in it. As am I. Rounding out literature with realistic and varied groups of people is vital and wonderful and exciting and overall, beautiful. The world, after all, is made up of many different types of people. So should books.

That being said—and a lot of my articles are inspired by my full-time editing job—I am quite shocked when I hear questions like, “Should I make my main character a person of color, LGBT, have a disability, and/or be a part of an underrepresented religion to fit the market?”

Um…

Face to desk.

The quick answer to that question is a resounding NO.

Diversity is not a “fad.” It’s not a bullet point on your novel’s checklist. It’s not an aspect to treat like a trendy topic, and it’s most definitely not an afterthought.

Diversity is a fact of life. Diversity is all around you. Diversity is found in your friends and family and co-workers and strangers at the coffee shop. Diversity should appear in literature just as naturally as it does in real life. If you’re forcing it, there’s a likely chance you’re probably adding to the stereotypes and clichés that are even more damaging than leaving diversity out.

Case and point:

Avoiding LGBTQ Stereotypes in YA Fiction, Part 1: Major LGBTQ Stereotypes

Race in YA Lit: Wake up and Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!

Writing Tips: How NOT to write disabled people

Yes, we need more diversity. We need more people of color in hero roles and LGBT protagonists and characters with disabilities. We need to see a variety of religions and cultural norms and languages and backgrounds. We need varying body types and personalities and dreams and ambitions. We need more characters that are just like everyday people, but we need to be true to our stories. That means being honest. It means researching. It means taking that time to talk to those who represent the cultures we wish to write about. As authors, we need to communicate effectively and efficiently. We need to stay true to our work—not force in characters just because—and we need to love our characters because they are our characters, not because they were warped to fit a trend. Diversity isn’t about being trendy. Diversity is about being genuine. It’s about celebrating the unique characteristics of all types of people, so that readers can rejoice and relate to the stories they read. On top of that, diverse stories help teach acceptance, shape understanding, and encourage friendships to those outside of their own “box.” Diverse stories are a result of a diverse life.

So go out there and explore your world. Meet new people. Listen to their lives. Discuss topics and real trends. (Like fashion and movies and Pilates.) Get to know all the people around you, and who knows? You might find they inspire you to create a character just like them.

Favorite Go-To Article About Diversity: Diversity Writing Tool-Kit. She basically links to a million places to get in-depth knowledge about numerous topics.

Favorite (Recent) Novels Featuring Diversity: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Both of these wonderful women tackle diversity with genuine grace. You can read both of my 5-star reviews on Goodreads by clicking the titles. I highly recommend both books, but Everything, Everything is contemporary, while Lady Midnight is urban fantasy and a part of a much larger series that I recommend you start with City of Bones. She has diversity throughout her entire Shadowhunter series. I had the absolute joy of meeting Cassandra Clare last night. She signed Lady Midnight for me, and I took home some awesome Shadowhunter runes.

I also met Cassandra Clare, just last night! She is the greatest.

I also met Cassandra Clare, just last night! She is the greatest.

Soon, I’ll share my own experience with writing and diversity. As an example, my next release is a YA duology: Bad Bloods features illiteracy, LGBT characters, deafness, people of color, PTSD, and disabilities, such as one character who only has one arm.

I didn’t force any of these aspects. In fact, the cast was inspired by real people I have met (and Barbie dolls, but that’s a different story you can read about here). Talking to those in the groups I was writing about was vital. Don’t be afraid to reach out. The world is waiting.

~SAT

P.S. Today is the day my mother suddenly passed away in 2003. You never know when your life will change forever. Take a moment to say I love you today. Thank you for changing my life, Mom.

My mother and I on Christmas, 1999

My mother and I on Christmas, 1999

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