Diverse Storytelling IS Good Storytelling

Diverse Storytelling IS Good Storytelling

Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life.

So if you know me, you know that I’m all about the diversity in the writing and the publishing.

But this being the internet, a lot of people are NOT into the diversity. They think that including diverse characters and voices from diverse storytellers is censorship. Somehow.

Then there’s another subset of people who aren’t necessarily against diversity, but who say it’s just not that important to them.

Story, these people will tell you, is the only thing THEY care about. It doesn’t matter to them if a story is or isn’t diverse, as long as the STORY is good.

Well I am here to break it to you that diversity is PART OF good storytelling.

Let’s take a storytelling fundamental: protagonist versus antagonist. You’ve got to have them both, and the better your protagonist is, the better your story is, in general.

And what makes a good antagonist? Well, most good authors will say you have to make them a real person with a personality the reader can empathize with.

Why is this good? Well, your book has a point, right? It’s discussing a topic, a subject matter, something important.

The more points of view you show the reader about that topic, the more they’ll understand it.

Even if one of those viewpoints comes from a villain, someone who views the world in a warped and twisted way, you still help your reader get a greater understanding of the world.

Well it turns out that’s also true with diverse viewpoints. Because different people from different backgrounds tend to see the world in different ways.

There’s something more than a little bit racist about authors who are willing to research terrorist organizations so they can write more believable terrorists in their thrillers, but aren’t willing to research American workplace racism so they can more realistically depict people of color in their super spy organization.

Here’s another thing that usually equates to great storytelling: accuracy.

We praise authors who can capture the grit and sweat of coal miners, the tense humidity of Brazilian loggers, or the casual competence of the cowboys of the Old West.

Well, it turns out that people of all colors, genders and sexualities have been around human civilization since, well, forever.

When you write about medieval England and 100% of your characters are white and 80% of them are male and 0% of them are gay, you are not being historically accurate.

You are allowed to break the rules of humanity, and even of reality, when you write. Physics can be your plaything—as long as you have a good reason to break its laws.

But a growing percentage of the world is waking up to the fact that whitewashed, male-centric narratives are just not accurate in real life.

And they are starting to realize that your decision to tell another story of a tortured white man who’s irresistible to women, who are plot objects—is just inept storytelling.

No matter how beautifully you write it, no matter how gripping your plot, no matter your electric turns of phrase, modern readers will not respect you any more than they would if you wrote a sex scene where a woman’s breasts were located somewhere on the small of her back.

Because clearly you’re writing about something you think people will enjoy, but which you’re not actually that terribly well-informed about.

Maybe you think ignoring diversity is more marketable. It’s not. Maybe you think it makes you a more pure storyteller. It doesn’t.

Maybe you think straight white people are the ones who REALLY need their stories told in this politically correct world! In which case—what are you doing on my YouTube channel? Go away.

Right about now, some of you are feeling uncomfortable. You feel like the bad man on the YouTube is forcing you to conform to rules you never agreed to.

I’m not forcing you to do anything. I literally. Can’t. Physically. Do that. I am trying to help you.

I am trying to tell you that the way you’ve viewed storytelling is not only wrong, but it is going extinct.

I don’t want you to go extinct. I want you to evolve. I want you to study. To learn. To adapt. To discover what is expected of the modern storyteller so that you don’t get lost to history with the dinosaurs.

Though I will die before I admit they had feathers and not rubbery Jurassic Park skin. There’s only so much historical accuracy I can take.

That’s it for today, Rebel. While you’re here, why not check out another video on the channel? YouTube seems to think you would like that one up there. Or you could check out my Patreon and see the SECRET videos I release every weekend.

Thank you so much for watching, and I will see you Friday. Byyye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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