Monday, 18 May 2015


A few days ago someone in one of the writing groups I belong to on Facebook put up a post that set off a discussion. The post was asking for views on racial stereotypes and whether it is OK to use them in our novels.

Now I'm against any stereotypes; to be honest I hate them (I have my own reasons why) but it got me thinking... 

Can we really escape stereotypes? In our novels? In our lives?

It's mission impossible, I know. Stereotypes are well known, or they wouldn't be stereotypes. But does that give us the right to use them?
I have to admit, I usually find that if an author uses stereotypes, then you can usually guess what's going to happen in the story. Somehow, stereotypes destroy the anticipation, the not knowing what will happen.

I know. I know. We writers do lots of things that reveal the plot too soon and spoil the story. But I do think that using stereotypes makes the story even 'thinner' and you can just look through it, right?

So here are some of the stereotypes that I think are really just too common 
(and I appologise in advance if this offends anyone - it's really not my intention).
- stupid (blondes, cops etc.)
- fat (cops (double sorry), 'lower class' moms)
- lazy (people from the 'lower classes')
- brilliant minds but socially impaired (usually police detectives, MD's)
- bi**hes (all the rich women in YA or not so YA)
- whores (basically young women from what we used to call Eastern block countries)
- criminals (hmmm... black people, white kids from the 'lower classes', Serbs, Russians) 
- terrorists (too large group to count them all, but let's face it, at the moment this group is usually depicted as being Muslim)

And here is another – well, actually another two. Unfortunately, both are so true:


  1. I think that sometimes if you create lots of characters that go against stereotype completely, it can make the reader uncomfortable, which might switch off some readers. But maybe a nod to stereotypes instead? Or stereotypes with a twist? Also I was so disturbed by the idea of 50 shades that I couldn't read or watch it!

    1. My thoughts exactly... Crucial thing is to find balance... not too much, but then, just enough to satisfy the readers...