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Proper Representation in Narratives

Throughout the worlds of stories, the reader will meet a variety of characters. Whether they are kind, brave, or crazy or not human at all, there is an abundance of these kinds no matter where the reader looks. However, in the matters of minorities, these characters must be searched for with more effort; not including stories of which they are the main focus. 

If you were to look into any story, a majority or all of the main cast would be light skinned, straight, or able bodied. Too many characters could be named for matching these three traits. Other characters that don’t fit at least one of these categories would require thought in order to find them.

Despite this issue, the most important part is how they are presented in stories. The amount of these characters do not matter if they are inserted so sloppily and crudely that the story is ruined by the inclusion. 

There are good examples of stories that are able to have such characters that don’t distract the reader’s attention from the plot. The webtoon, “Castle Swimmer” by Wendy Lian Martin, is one of those rare stories where you don’t need to look so hard to find a character that is from a minority. Even with so many of these characters, the story does not deviate from the main plot in order to deal with conflicts involving these traits. In fact, no characters blink an eye at these differences which they consider to be normal. 

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This is the ideal where minorities blend in with every other character. There is no need to make them stand out because of their differences. Unless it is relevant to the plot or the overall theme of the story, there is no point since they are like any other character aside from these few traits. 

Another factor to keep in mind with characters is the time of the story and the setting. These would influence the appearance and behavior of the characters. Their traits must make sense considering how the world is built. Otherwise the character and the lore of the world will clash. The existence of one destroys the structure of the other.

Stories are influenced by other stories. An author would base their style and ideas on what they’ve experienced. There are always common tropes in stories and characters would, of course, follow suit. That is why the default traits of characters are extremely easy to find as they were common in the past and are thereby repeated.

Writers are not obligated to include all minorities into their stories. The main focus is to tell a story or teach a lesson, these ways of writing do not need to appease any groups. It all depends on what the author wishes to convey in their narrative. If the reader is looking for inclusivity then they should look for an author that can provide that.

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