Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Stereo

One of the mistakes newbie writers can make is the overuse of stereotypes, the squeaky clean hero or the evil villain, the cigarette smoking slut, or the straight-A virgin. What about the dumb jock or the awkward nerd? These one dimensional characters don’t exist in real life so it’s not easy to make them believable or ‘real’ in print.

Heroes often have troubled pasts and villains are rarely all evil (or all gay). Straight-A students can be sluts and virgins can pick up bad habits like smoking just as easily as anyone. It’s these very flaws that make us relate and see them as more than just characters in a story. It’s what makes us love them.

So, remember to change it up and Keep It Real.

And here are a few peeps we tend to stereotype just for fun.



Anyone with a southern accent must be retarded and look like this guy.

Note: In direct conflict with my above post - there are quite a few movies which have become hits using extreme stereotypes. Check out this article, you’ll like it.


  1. Stereotypes can be fun, but they'll never be real. Great post, Marsha! :)

  2. It's funny, I've been watching this British television series MI-5 and in almost every show they bash Americans as arrogant and uncooperative. And whenever they portray an American as the "bad guy" he comes from Texas and talks with the weirdest southern drawl I've ever heard (probably Brits trying to sound southern). Anyway, it's a stereotype that worked for their audience because at the time the episodes were made they all hated Bush so much. But watching it as an American it really is kind of offensive at times. I just want to talk back to the screen and say, "but we're not all a**holes."

  3. Wear'd'ya find that pichur a my cuzin? I want me my truck back.

  4. When I first moved to the U.S., everybody I met was like, "Oh, you're Canadian? I love Canadians. Canadians are so NICE."

    Really? Because I know plenty of obnoxious Canadians! (not me, of course)

  5. I think it's a lot of fun to use a stereotype to draw a reader's expectations, and then shatter them :D but maybe I'm just eeeeeeevil. (Okay, I AM evil. Maaaaaaybe.)

  6. I totally stereotype people of walmart.


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.