Turning Stereotypes on Their Heads: Five Tips for Better Writing

Turning Stereotypes on Their Heads: Five Tips for Better Writing

Turning Stereotypes on Their Heads: Five Tips for Better Writing

Posted on 03/15/2024 Evan Swensen
Turning Stereotypes on Their Heads: Five Tips for Better Writing

Creativity often thrives in the vast landscape of storytelling when we challenge conventions and push boundaries. Anthony Ehlers, a seasoned writer, offers five insightful suggestions for elevating your craft and breathing new life into your narratives.

  1. Gender Bends: One effective technique for subverting stereotypes is to switch the gender of your characters. Imagine transforming the typical lone male serial killer into a popular young woman. This simple twist can inject fresh perspectives and add complexity to your story.
  2. Familiar but Fresh: Embrace familiar tropes but infuse them with unexpected twists. Consider the scenario of two single characters meeting through an online dating site, only to forge a deep platonic bond instead of a romantic relationship. By defying expectations, you invite readers to engage with your narrative from a different angle.
  3. Making Stereotypes Work: Sometimes, leaning into stereotypes can be a strategic choice. Ehlers highlights a story where a character embodies the stereotype of a racist shop owner but is portrayed in a highly exaggerated and comical manner. This approach entertains and serves as a poignant commentary on prejudice and political correctness.
  4. Changing Viewpoints: Alter the narrative lens to explore familiar dynamics from fresh perspectives. For instance, the archetype of the cruel father and abused son introduces an unreliable narrator and depicts the son as a pathological liar. Each retelling of the story becomes a distorted reflection, challenging readers to question their perceptions.
  5. Cut and Paste Creativity: When faced with stagnation, unconventional methods can spark inspiration. Ehlers suggests creating a scrapbook by cutting out pictures and words from magazines and arranging them randomly. Connecting these fragments with written words can craft unconventional narratives that defy traditional storytelling conventions.

These five techniques serve as potent tools in any writer’s arsenal striving to break free from the constraints of clichés and stereotypes. By embracing innovation and daring to challenge conventions, you can breathe fresh life into your work and captivate audiences with deeply resonated narratives. Ehlers aptly demonstrates that the path to exceptional storytelling lies in the willingness to embrace the unexpected and explore the uncharted territories of imagination.

So, the next time you find yourself at a creative crossroads, remember Ehlers’ sage advice and dare to defy expectations. Your stories will thank you for it.

Evan Swensen
8370 Eleusis Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99502
(907) 349-2424

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