1. Soul
    Offline

    Soul Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    1

    Help regarding sterotypes

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Soul, Jan 7, 2011.

    I am new to writing,yet my desire to write is great :) .I would be really greatfull if experienced writer's would offer me insight regarding stereotypes,when they are usefull,and when they are complete fluke.Genre isn't matter.
     
  2. Angharad Denby-Ashe
    Offline

    Angharad Denby-Ashe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think they can be helpful with comedy. Scene set. Stereotypical red-blooded American male, its Sunday, he has just left the grill and has a beer in his hands, he plops down on the sofa turns on the tv - to watch ballet. :)
     
  3. FrankABlissett
    Offline

    FrankABlissett Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sault, Michigan
    Do you mean racial/religious/gender/etc stereotypes? Or do you mean stereotypical stock characters? The two do overlap.

    In my mind, the first is where one uses a character as a stand in for a group of real people, with all the cultural baggage that is associated with that group. In the second, the character is a stand in for a group of fictional people. Obviously, the two feed off one another, thus the overlap.

    Stock characters are easiest to describe in parody. Think "Snidely Whiplash" as a parody of stock villains of the silent film era. Or any of the superheros from "The Tick". The moment you see them, you know what they are all about.

    By bringing in all that cultural baggage, stereotypes allow you to have a character who is already well developed the moment s/he is introduced. That's a powerful tool that especially useful in short fiction. On the other hand, if your reader is unfamiliar with the stereotype, the character will lose a lot of depth. It's sometimes considered lazy writing, though I don't have any problem with it myself.

    -Frank
     
  4. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I nearly always start with a stereotype then alllow the story to develop their humanity.
     
  5. Soul
    Offline

    Soul Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    1
    Tnx for help :) ,but what i thought was do you need stereotypes for story to be good,for example:if you are writing romance do you need you MC to hook up/marry or something else girl with who is he in love with.
    Or do the bad guy always have to lose that sort of thing
     
  6. SashaMerideth
    Offline

    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    California
    We try not to use stereotypes. If you do a stereotypical story, it becomes predictable and boring. Unfortunately, the old stereotypes have been added to by the new stereotypes, which are the opposite of the old ones.
     
  7. jottingsbyjim
    Offline

    jottingsbyjim New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Stereotypes

    My first impression of people is usually wrong. Once I get to know someone, it's funny to think back about that first impression. In writing, stereotypes can work the same way . It's fun to surprise readers and make them realize Snidely (sp?) Whiplash (see above) has a soft side.
     
  8. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    I personally hate stereotypes in romance because it always leads to this clingy, dependent female losing all her independence and capability the second she gets with the man of her dreams. She just stops standing on her own and lets her man deal with all her problems for her. I prefer strong female characters.

    As Elgaisma and Angharad have noted, it can be helpful to start off with a stereotype, then add on aspects that aren't normally associated with that type: quirks, so to speak.

    I think the main difference people have expressed is the difference between a *stereotype* and a *stock character*. Stereotypes are things like Asians being good at math; African-Americans being good at basketball; jerky Casanova frat guys; ditzy blond cheerleaders; etc. Stock characters refer to characters such as the hero, the godmother who saves the day, the wise mentor, etc. Characters that stand for a type of ficitonal character or serve a certain role.
     
  9. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,223
    Likes Received:
    4,228
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    In my mind, stereotype is just another word for prejudice. It can affect your story greatly.

    For instance, suppose you had a stereotype that all footbal players were nothing more than brutal thugs. Trying to create a football playing character who also got the ":DEEEE!!!ZOMGZ!!:D" over the sight of puppies and kitties and wept terribly when one got hurt or very ill would be difficult. It's possible to get pass this, but it will fight like the SOB that it is.
     
  10. Angharad Denby-Ashe
    Offline

    Angharad Denby-Ashe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh yes and another annoying one is the strong female character who proudly asserts that she, "can take care of herself" - in most adventure movies/books that is her queue to stupidly walk down a dark alley and be rescued by the leading man. Thus the author undermines her assertion entirely. :mad:

    Anyway using stereotypes, as with breaking any literary rule, can be done effectively as long as your conscience of the fact that you are breaking it and have some sort of set reason for doing so.
     
  11. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I have never had a set reason for starting with a stereotype I just always have - I even have a strong amazing lady with an army that gets kidnapped and is rescued by two gay men and a tribe of troglodytes the latter teach her how to turn into a dragonfly and the former remove a whole city worth of soil turning it into ceramic houses lol

    My Abbot started off fire and brimstone, my housekeeper is a bumbling old lady, Uncle Tom is kindly, the gay brother is elegant, the evil twin sister is wicked, the teen boy is scruffy, rude and arrogant, lol

    I just find that the story will give them depth if you let it and they evolve. My main character is a complete Mary Sue if I am honest - he is handsome, good looking, elegant, noble, self sacrificing, immortal with magic powers. However no-one has ever said he is flat - they have complained about other aspects of my writing but characters are usually given the thumbs up.
     
  12. Soul
    Offline

    Soul Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    1
    Totaly agreed with above post,most thing are not problem with story or plot itself,but with those characters that endlesly repeat themself,like lead male,or strong female character.It would be lot of fun as Link the Writer said,if you can make a football player who goes zomg on kitties :D
     

Share This Page